If you happen to train in Aikido, do you see your practice as a ‘striving for’ the ‘perfect’ aikido to be reached at a later time? This is, I’m sure, not unique to Aikido, but to other activities and practices as well. I’ve held this ideal many times when training, but when I think of it, I believe it’s the wrong way to go about it.

Aiki is based on your natural movements and consciousness. Notice I say ‘natural’, not ‘normal’, there is a difference. Try thinking about viewing aikido training as a celebration or enjoyment of the aiki state, which you already have, through the wonderful movements of the art. It’s more of a ‘remembering’ than a ‘learning’ in some ways. Now, if I could just train some more, maybe I’ll remember it too!

What is ‘it’, you might ask. Only through experience can we tell. I think everyone has experienced perfect ‘aiki’ at one time or another, even if they don’t train in the art. The snowboarder hitting that jump perfectly, flying through the air, and landing soft as a feather. The father connecting, without words, to his daughter. The zen practitioner, achieving that all encompassing experience of no-mind. The taxi cab driver having that perfect day where all of the interactions with his customers are enriching as he weaves in and out of traffic perfectly getting everyone to their destination safely and on time. The common thing present in all of these scenarios is that incredible presence of being that we in aikido call ‘aiki’, but is called many different names by many different people.

The more unachievable you make it, the more unachievable it is. I think we should go with the mindset that it’s only natural to experience it. Make it light and fun, not heavy and tryingly difficult to experience. It’s who we are. Enjoy this ‘aiki’ state that you already have. Celebrate it.

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