There are a few days left to return to the Sports’ Facility where Sara and I hold a course. Paying all the required attention to the safety protocols and aware of the constraints of a situation that has not completely set back to normal, this is an important moment. Small, unequivocal signs of incremental serenity.
We have already written about this: within the limitations of what was allowed, like many others, we have never stopped.
We are convinced that we have received the greatest gift, both from our sensei and from our group. We never felt distant -rather: even more followed. We never felt alone. But, above all, the desire, the constancy and the availability of the people with whom we trained – even “just” with weapons, at a distance, masked, for months under any sky in the evenings of our town, were an immense gift. And it is right to thank and honor this.
So a sentence from Morirei Ueshiba came to mind: “合気道は 天地 人 和合 の 道 と 理なり – Aikido is the way and the reason for the harmony of man who integrates Heaven and Earth”
People who had the courage to respect the law and, also for this reason, didn’t give up to the temptation of fear and concealment.
People who have been able to practice, in social distancing, to build and make clear the channels of contact and communication, mediated by humble wooden tools waving in the wind of the evenings of last months.
People therefore incredibly aware of the situation in which we are immersed, who have been able to witness the concreteness of living, orienting it to the beauty and to the “reason” of a discipline. To what a way shows to each of us.
Has there been any kind of technical growth? Of course. But the most valuable element – to our eyes – was having the courage not to hide from our own sight and the sight of society what each of us was, night after night.
From this point of view, in these weeks in which the greatest Aikido performances have taken place in Japan, we can surely say that we have experienced a continuous Enbukai. Limited in form, unlimited in spirit.
Miles Kessler Sensei, in the last seminars before the pandemic we attended, based his teaching on the concept of 天地 人 – ten chi jin, the human being in which Heaven and Earth coexist. Or, with his words, “the Heaven-Earth human”. He stressed how a fruitful practice of technical forms could not ignore such dimensions.
Now, seeing the desire, the clean and serene eyes of the people with whom we had the pleasure of sharing these times and these training methods, I understand those teachings a little more.
Furthermore, this reflection of serenity was the cornerstone of the relationship we had with the many people who, during training, stayed for a while just to see or to try.
Dialogue, this great unknown of the time we are living, is not possible if we do not ground our roots in concreteness and our soul in what unites us. Law enforcement officers, mothers, fathers, children, former practitioners: everybody not attracted by the mastery expressed by the group. Yet from the “how” and “why” that transpired from what the group was trying to do.
“The way and the reason for harmony” worked, experimentally, in a field trial that lasted uninterrupted from the end of October 2020 to today. They introduced a discipline to many people who otherwise would never have stepped in a Dojo.
They gave a few hours of peace, some physical training, socialization to people deeply affected by the contingency.
Now we are reopening. We get back on the tatami, with a desire and an enthusiasm that make that part of us shine in which Heaven and Earth blend and make us capable of transforming small things into sparks of infinity.
Disclaimer: picture by Joshua Welch from Pexels