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This can means many things - a message that makes a pledge, contractually binding, or consigning someone to prison or a mental hospital. But it's the other interpretations that I want to focus on - the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose; "a man of energy and commitment" - the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action and dedication.

In your early days in Aikido you naturally focus on the technical movements and the precision of the defences once you have worked out who the attacker is and the meaning of the attack. You then work on your stance, posture, ukemi and the form of the technique.

Then, having taken on board these elements, you work on leading balance, keeping momentum of uke whilst developing kokyu, maai etc. But it is also important to train the mind, Zanshin, and the spirit at the same time. The combination of an engaged free flowing mind that is positive combines with the body to become one that will succeed. To be successful combining these facets takes hard work, dedication and attitude of mind.

It's 'attitude' that I now want to focus on - you need positiveness in your actions. Any doubt as to success of a defence or conscious thought - will defeat you or slow you. So how do you do this? I surmise there are many routes to this but in essence it has to come from within in you. Are you in control of yourself? If it's raining, cold, you had a bad day at work, you have other things to do - the decision to go and train is the first step.

Obstacles are thrown by everyday life - can you overcome these to train? Are you wanting / hungry to go?

Once you are there - you now, on stepping onto the mat, leave your problems at the mat's edge and train for the moment. You should watch carefully - and try to piece together what your teacher is trying to convey. Taking time to discuss if it was this way or that way is not engaging your mind at the level it needs - you need to do and do again. Why is it some execute more techniques to others on the mat in the same space of time?




I believe the action of repeating in quick succession allows the body and mind to work together and begins to hone the technique automatically or on auto pilot, if you like towards correctness.

Physical tiredness can assist and accelerate the learning curve of the body and mind especially when there is reliance on the physical. But how often do we give up before that point and deny achieving what might have been within our grasp? People talk about an indominatable spirit, this comes from within – why can some get up and go and go again and others can't? (I'm not talking about genuine health issues here).

It is I feel a state of mind and commitment. Who controls you; or your mind.

Andrew Baird Published 2012


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