How KodenKan spirit helps my Aikido training

I’ve been tired lately. i’m attempting to buy a condo and it’s.. well it’s draining. Lots of things to think about, what do these reports mean? I have to pay what to which appraiser? All of this, along with a back that’s been bugging me and work kicking my ass is taking a toll on the time I spend at the dojo. i’m averaging 2 days a week now on a good week.

I thought a bit today, not about the Aikido training I do at Aikido of Petaluma, but of the KodenKan school Jujitsu I did as a kid. Kodenkan (ancient tradition school) stresses that the senior students teach the junior students. This tradition is something that is informally practiced at our dojo, without affiliation to the Kodenkan school. Everyone at our school has a voice and is encouraged to speak their voice, from sensei to sempai to the person that just walked on the mat five minutes ago.

What I’m thinking is simply this: We are a community. It honors our teacher to show up to class. It gives us the opportunity to have another mind and body and allow those that we train with the opportunity to train and experience a different person, a different way of attacking, a different way of taking a fall and a different way of throwing through this person on the mat.

“But what could I possibly offer? Surely there must be others that are better equipped to teach someone?”

As a student senior to someone else, I can simply offer my experiences and my way of moving through a technique. Since I’m a bigger guy (Think Sumo lite) then I can offer inspiration to someone else that may be hesitant to get on the mat because of his size. As a student junior to others, i can offer my humility and willingness to learn something from someone else. These are the ways we can honor ourselves, our school and our Sensei. Although the Danzan Ryu system is much different than Aikido, the concept of the KodenKan school can transcend to how we view our participation in the dojo.

I think that this is a much different concept than just paying your tuition, showing up and learning techniques. I’ve learned compassion, patience, kindness, openness of body, mind and spirit. Aikido was created by a man who could not be defeated. He decided that there must be more to technique and winning, and thus, came to create our art for two main reasons: the loving protection of others and the polishing of spirit. Through our training we learn to live in teh world happy, fearless and joyful. These are well worth me coming back with more regularity.