Looking back a few weeks ago at the newsletters from the Brisbane dojo I found evidence of my first aikido grading in November of 2012 – that seems like a long time ago, but I remember it pretty well – especially my woeful knee walking which I am sure must have resembled an inebriated penguin – but also the relief when it was over!
Not long after that first grading I asked the black belts at roughly what level they thought a student needed to reach to become proficient enough to use aikido effectively, as self-defence, in a street fight. It was obvious to me that doing a really good rendition of shumatsu-dosa while somebody was coming at me with a bottle was not going to save me! There was much discussion and some disagreement but the general consensus at the time seemed to be around second Dan. That was it then – second Dan or bust!
That grading, very thankfully, is now out of the way but my journey is still ongoing. I confess that aikido sometimes drives me a little bit crazy while at the same inspiring me – whenever I think I am just about getting the hang of a technique, Sensei shows a better, or faster, or more effective way of doing it. This seems never ending – and I think it actually is never ending – it’s like climbing a mountain and just when you think the final peak is over the next hill you see another peak beyond it. Just out of reach. But it’s good to remember that the further you travel, the closer you get…
No-one said aikido was easy – and it certainly is frustrating when you know in your head exactly what you are supposed to do but your body completely ignores you (you all know what I am talking about) – but that is why I like the challenge so much.
Thank you to all of my aikido family that have helped and supported me on the journey so far – and may we all have many peaks ahead of us.
Osu! Sean Keogh