Hello everyone. I hope this message finds you all well and training hard for Fall Camp. Recently, my message to you has been that you need to pay attention to the quality of your aikido. When you are doing an aikido technique and your quality isn’t good, you can’t throw. Bad quality is when you are stiff – not consciously stiff but still stiff – and when this happens you can’t use all of your ability. Consequently, your quality is poor and you can’t throw. In order to develop your quality, it is necessary that you practice correctly.
The purpose of Kokikai principles is to help improve the quality of your aikido and in order to make progress and grow, you need to catch this feeling. Words are only words: you still need to do it yourself; you still need to prove your quality. If you are stiff and negative, even if you practice really hard and try your best, you will only be able to climb 30% of the mountain before you start walking around and around in circles.
Professional athletes do their best and practice to their utmost limit but when they go beyond their limit, they get seriously injured. They practice lots and lots and when they win, they keep practicing and they often go beyond their physical limits, get sick and, sadly, they harm their body systems. This is dangerous for your health. My idea is that we should practice to our limits and not go beyond them; however, we need to do so using our minds and bodies correctly. We need to research what is correct and grow from there. Aikido doesn’t have any competitions or tournaments, so how can we tell if we are correct or strong? After practicing for many years, I have come to understand what it means to practice correctly by using my mind and body correctly. And now, I can easily throw everyone. The longer our members practice, the more they grow and it is my responsibility to give stimulation by having the big guys resist.
Kokikai Aikido is a martial art of self-defense. On the street or in a bar, we need to be aware that there are strange people everywhere who can attack at any moment. There is no time to say, “I am nage. You are uke and must fall down.” Some aikido groups have commented that they have heard that Kokikai members always resist each; however, in the long history of Kokikai no one has ever been injured because we don’t counter-attack. This is one of our strongest rules. We use correct, logical techniques to throw and uke is always safe.
Now, I am 127 pounds. Dave, who began Kokikai Aikido when he was 19 years old at Princeton University, tries his best and still, I can throw him. Even though he trains hard and does other things to be strong, my response is always “So what?” I prove this at camps and seminars that physical strength can be overcome through high quality, logical, correct technique. I have never said that “I am strong” and everyone else is weak or that they “lost.” As you grow stronger and become less stiff and your mind clear, you can throw, too.
Our modern society is very stressful and through Kokikai we can overcome this stress. Human beings can understand quality when they see it, so I encourage you to practice quality aikido and challenge yourself to grow. Kokikai Aikido is unlike professional sports because we are about practical, effective self-defense. Smaller people, weaker people, older people and women can be attacked by bigger, stronger people and this is an assumption of Kokikai Aikido. Quality equals growth and growth means confidence. In Kokikai, if you are 50, 60, 70 years old or older, you can continue to grow and make progress.
Please continue to have hopes and dreams and live a strong, happy life. See everyone at camp!