Do we ever stop and think how lucky we are to be able to train in Aikido and the set of circumstances that we have that allow us to do this?
I think of this on a regular basis. Due to illness and my own personal circumstances it can be difficult for me to get to Keiko as much as I would like but this has left me feeling very privileged to be able to get on the tatami as often as I do.
Let me expand on this thought:
I have a condition that even ten or so years ago would have prevented me being active in any way. But through medicine, both conventional and alternative, I can still get involved in training to some degree.
Aikido is such a versatile art it can be adapted to meet the needs of individuals with various conditions or disabilities, so it can be open to many people from a wide range of ages and abilities. Gone are the days when the main purpose of a martial art was to protect life and home from marauding bandits or armies. In the main today we do not rely on martial arts to keep us alive so we can enjoy training as a “do” (way) to improve our spirit and mentality making us a more rounded person.
Even though we all have busy lives we can still find the luxury of the free time to train. In past times or in some parts of the world people had or have very little time or resources to invest in hobbies as making a meagre living takes all the time they have.
The energy intake an average man needs to be able to undertake a reasonably active life is 2,400-3,000 or so calories a day. The fact we have more than enough food available to have the energy to train is such a gift. Even in the recent past the availability of food was not guaranteed. That is why kings always ensured their soldiers were well fed as an army does indeed “march on its stomach”. This was often to the detriment to the general population. So in short, no food no training! A thought to have next time you have pie and chips.
Getting to training is easier as transport is better allowing us to travel further and faster than our recent ancestors.
We are also very lucky to have likeminded people and friends at the dojo who support and encourage us in the development of our art. For some people who may feel isolated, the dojo can become an oasis of human contact.
So by random chance or design we live in a time and place that affords us the opportunity to partake in learning Aikido. Many in the world would envy that, so let’s train with the true spirit of Budo and enjoy the gift of training in Aikido.