38th Annual Summer Camp Message

Everyone has a limit to how much they can practice and because of this you must catch something from your practice.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Shuji
Maruyama

Professional athletes, like baseball players, soccer players and golfers, train very hard, often more than 8 hours a day. They develop strong bodies and work to build up whatever natural talent they have. They all practice so hard because they want to get stronger and stronger and make more money. They even practice so much that they sleep very little and because of such rigorous training, they often become sick and this is because human beings have a limit to how much they can practice. This is easily understood when we consider human evolution.

For a long, long time, ancient peoples ate, slept and fought their enemies – that’s it! Modern people’s brains and society have developed very quickly. First thinking and then action. If they practice hard and more often, they can beat their enemies. This idea is correct; however, human beings cannot use their bodies infinitely. There are limits to what we can do and how long we can do it. People practice and practice to be top-notch competitors, capable of winning the gold medal or some other trophy.

Consider, for example, the former Soviet Union or any of the countries with powerful, authoritarian governments, and how they control the lives of their citizens, especially their athletes. These countries force their athletes to practice and train beyond what is reasonable or even logical and for these athletes, running away is impossible. The United States is different; it is a country of freedom! If a player wants to quit, they can without risk or fear for their own lives or the lives of others they care about. So, why can the United States win more gold medals? In the United States, athletes practice from their own will and they are not forced to do so by their government; therefore, they can catch something from their practice.

Everyone has a limit to how much they can practice and because of this you must catch something from your practice. Some soccer players aren’t so big but yet, they can be better than other players. For example, the Brasilian player, Neymar, who was injured at this year’s World Cup couldn’t continue to compete and Brasil lost. He was an excellent player. Why was he better than others? He understands himself like Kokikai principles! His mind is calm, his body is relaxed and his reflexes are also strong. Therefore, he can easily adapt to changing situations. Think of a calm mind as the surface of a pond with no wind. The pond reflects everything so clearly. The Brasilain player’s mind isn’t influenced by other things and that is why his results are always positive. Other players might have lots of talent and practice just as hard and they should be able to do the same thing but their minds are excited, their bodies are a little stiff and their 1-point is a little higher. They become so excited and try so hard and this is what makes them a little bit stiff and their results not so good.

Because of Kokikai principles, our minds can become very strong and our bodies, relaxed. Very simple! Our minds and bodies need to be in balance and this is not easy to do. By losing even a little of our correct feeling, we cannot use all of our ability. How do I understand this even though I never played baseball, soccer or golf? I have practiced aikido for a long time with lots and lots of ki-testing. My weight is only 128 pounds and when younger, bigger, stronger men, often weighing over 230 pounds, push my body, I can throw them all so easily. At camps and seminars with 250-300 attendees, I can prove this in front of everyone. I never move…I can even push back! Even though I can do this now, I am still trying to be even more correct and get even stronger. If I am not correct and my partner resists, my bones will certainly fracture. I catch this correct feeling. I can stand in a correct state and I have become very strong. If my partner is big but my mind is calm, natural, think “do nothing,” feel good. I am not influenced by their size or muscles or their mean faces. Doing technique, same feeling. Throwing people is so easy, especially Dave.

It is important to emphasize that before throwing, I feel so good; after throwing, so what! Someone must play the violin for it to be beautiful because by itself, it does nothing. Humans need to play it. I research how to use your whole ability. Athletes, musicians, everyone has a limit to how much they can practice but during practice you must catch something! What is that something? How to use your whole ability! If you catch this feeling, you can apply it in daily life, in sports, in your job, everywhere in your whole life. Continue to practice and try to catch something – you need to find it out for yourself. If I can help, it is my greatest pleasure and happiness.

See you soon at Summer Camp!