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Lesson 26: Steady Improvement


I’ve been to four Wednesday classes so far, and the last one was the first time I felt like I did something right 3% of the time, which is huge. However, tonight after going to the regular Thursday class when it’s open to everyone, I’ve noticed huge improvements. Perhaps a lot is changing underneath the surface. The more you practice, the wider varieties of practice you have, and the better people you practice with … the better you get.

That is the root of my lesson tonight. Continue to read if you want to follow some of my rambling thoughts that seemed to be pouring out my head tonight.

The other night on the drive to a Wednesday class, I was talking with my Sensei about a very simple yet profound idea: The more you do something, the better you get. If you want to get better at Aikido, then go to every class. If you want to get even better, then practice by yourself at home. If you want to get even better, than incorporate Aikido into your daily life when you’re “not” practicing Aikido. If you want to get even better still, read about Aikido. If you want to get better at Aikido, then you have to try sincerely. You are your own controlling factor for improvement in whatever practice you pursue.

This is something I think every serious martial artist must consider. Now, the problem I’ve always had, is that when confronted with this concept, my ego automatically forces me into this all-or-nothing mentality where I immediately assume that I want it all and to be the best possible. But such blindless devotion ultimately is not the way for me. Aikido is not the “#1” thing in my life. Martial arts are not it either. In fact, as many times as I’ve tried to make anything the “#1” thing in my life, it has turned out not to be it. It has been unavoidable and beneficial, but also really stressful. I have figured out though that martial arts and Aikido are at the highest of my lists, and I need a constant source of it to keep me happy. Actually, what I’ve figured out, that I need lots of physical interaction in my life. Lots of bodies, touching, falling, rolling … big bodies, little bodies, fat bodies, skinny bodies … lots and lots of genuine body interaction. “Fighting”, “kicking ass”, “defending myself”, or “being the best” I guess are all great things, but none of them are “the reason” I continue to practice martial arts. I will surely continue my incessant search for reasons and legitimizations for practicing, but not for the goal of finding that one ultimate reason.

Rambling rant over.

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