Off-The-Mat Aikido —Things Sensei Says

Someone on Facebook recently asked what your sensei says regularly that sticks in your mind & helps inform your Aikido or other Martial Arts practice mentally, physically, or spiritually?

Oops! But I Like My Question Better

I actually misinterpreted the question as asking about things my teacher, Dave Goldberg Sensei, says about Aikido that inform my life outside the dojo. Off-the-mat Aikido.

Lessons from Aikido, Applied to Daily Living

Here are the things Sensei says (not his exact words, of course) that stick in my mind:

  • Constant reminders to settle, check our own posture and alignment. Be in integrity with ourselves. 
  • Attend to doing what we are doing as well as we can, not focusing on trying to make it affect our partner.
  • Notice where we are, and where we are going. Being aware of these things is what allows opportunities for positive transitions to arise.
  • Keep our eyes up and see the big picture. Don’t focus attention on the attack.
  • Work with others at their level. Help them be safe, and don’t pile on information or levels of detail or finesse they are not yet able to understand.
  • It’s not about having a soft or a hard style. It’s about being appropriate to the situation. 
  • If you operate at the mind-based level, planning each action based on if-then decisions leading to codified responses, you won’t experience freedom in your actions, and you will always be limited in what you can achieve.
  • And one that I heard for the first time in tonight’s class, that seems to fit here: If your attacker wants to retreat, build them a golden bridge on which to get away.

Important lessons for every aspect of life.

Photo of my home shomen, with a picture of O Sensei watering plants in the garden. Charlie kitty, the chonk, in the foreground, sitting on a zafu.
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