For the past four years I have be a student at an Aikido dojo. An Aikidoka, if you will. I started late in life, I was almost 50. I would not claim to be very good at it, but I have been persistent. It has been a life changing experience.
Aikido is a difficult martial art, full of blending turns and throws. It challenges me every time I step onto the mat. It carries a philosophy of compassion that forces me to reevaluate my own ideas of what a proper response to a threat is.
But from the beginning, it intrigued me, led me in, and confounded me. It took me months to do a shoulder roll. I still don’t do them as well as I would like. The blending techniques and throws require thousands of repetitions to master. Perfection is elusive, even basic competence might take a lifetime.
My test for Nikyu, brown belt, is a week from Sunday. I do not think I deserve it, and would be happy to study another year, but testing is a funny thing. You cannot ask for it, conversely, if called out to test, you cannot refuse. So I will face this as I faced many things. Somehow it has become part of the path my life has taken.
A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.