The perfect failure, list

There is only one way to execute an Aikido technique the right way. Everything else is a miss, a failure and sometimes, a waste of time.
A student should be constantly absorbed in finding that right way and avoid the infinite possibilities of the wrong way.
I know that it may sound… preachy, (only one way and everything else is wrong) but we don’t talk about a theory, philosophy or religion here, we are practical and down to earth to the point of cynicism.
In other words, people don’t fly in the air only to land half a Dojo away because you have a good theory at hand!

The problem with anyone who is in the learning process of Aikido, is that they will probably hit on every possible mistake before doing something right.
This is the vice versa of the flawless Master. A true Master makes no mistakes, absolutely none except one. He, often, destroys what he has created!

The learner’s task is to go through his mistakes, learn from them, throw them away and finally find the right way.
The Masters can do also something to keep themselves at the top (and I consider it a favor to the rest of us when they do, so we can have something to look up to)
And that is, doing absolutely nothing!
(This is very likely to be misunderstood but I will leave it at that for the moment)

This failure list is more powerful than you might imagine. I will make it look funny and amusing, but make no mistake, very few go through it and survive at the end of the day.
This list exists simply because some mistakes are so common, so classic and you hear them so often (like every other day) it seems they have been established…
Please note that the order is of no importance and I will keep a logical extend to a list, that otherwise could literally be unending…

*All Arts are equally good, it all comes down to the practitioner.

This is nicely said, but more of a way out of the impossible difficulty of the right choice! Whenever you have a variety of choices, in any field in this universe, you must finally choose and then live with it.

*A Martial Art that will suit me best.

You can find many things in life that are to your liking, but a Martial Art is something that you will have to adapt yourself to, and not the other way round.

*If I practice more than one Art I will be better.

So sorry, that you will become incompetent on them all. A man progresses according to the limits of his abilities and not an inch further. If you want to become “better” this is what you have to work on, your own limitation. And one Martial Art is pain in the ass enough…

*Combining “this and that” will produce a “new” Art.

Each Martial Art has based its techniques on specific principles. As you can not “cross” an ant with an elephant, you can not cross Martial Arts and have a new… species.
What one can do is take a Martial Art to its limit and then go beyond that point. This act is an evolution of the Art, it is done by Grand Masters, and it sort of “happens” to them, they don’t go about advertising.

*Becoming invincible.

The true warrior does not give a sh.. if he wins or loses.
He cares only to fight as well as he can and will die fighting if need be.
In fact he will jump to his death, volunteer for a final stand, not retreat an inch, save the ass of other people while putting his on the line… that sort of things.
This looks already “invincible” to me. And tell me how could someone possibly win something like that?
Invincible is what the coward wants to be and he never will, end of story.

*I will become a Martial Arts teacher.
It is a sad fact that these kinds of teachers become the most boring of them all to train with!
This is not the university, were you target some position of being a professor… This is the Martial Arts, it works upside down, remember?
The best teachers are always those who are simply being spontaneously followed!

*The best teacher for me.

Okay, but tell me why do you deserve this kind of teacher?
And what are you prepared to do in order to learn your Art?
Because there are practitioners out there that are practically trading their life for what they do, and I mean their carrier, their education, their well being and more. Not for a week or two, a month or two, or a year or two… but for the entire ride.
Are you that sort of student?
Because even if you are, note that any, and I mean any, teacher who is better than yourself is teacher enough for you. The day you become better than him (by the simple act of defeating him) bow and move on!

*Martial Arts can’t answer my eternal questions.

Nothing could be further from truth… especially for Aikido.    
Keep in mind that O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba was very displeased when people attributed to the Omoto-kyo sect any of his Abilities, Insides and Wisdom, that he reached trough his very own Art.   
The only “drawback” is that you have to extract your answers from your Art by relentless practice. And not sit around, discussing, reading and assuming!

Stupid thoughts don’t happen only to stupid people. According to our experience we all have… our share to them.
And our mind seems like playing tricks on us, as if we, who possess it, could be somebody else… but in the end we know, that it is just us!

Maybe once too often I meet “students with possibilities” from the past that confess the following: “If I could have thought it differently back then I would have…”
It is not the best of things in life, to realize something only many years after, and then come up with the notion that you should have thought of it earlier!
Can there be an end to this sort of list that distracts?      
Yes it can, but again, there is only one way!

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities
                                   but in the Master's there are few”

 December 23, 2006