I went for my usual CNY visitation to Harry sensei’s house, and if i remembered correctly. this would have been my 4th or 5th visitation. and with every visitation, I learned something from him.
This time I managed to asked him through his 40 years of teaching, what is the common ails amongst the students he has taken? ‘Ego.’ to sum up his answer. People with ego always will want power. For him he has been asked countless of times, ‘How long does it take for me to get a black belt?’ that would very much defines how much a person can do in this line of work.
It baffles him as well, why people are so caught up in their ego and the desire for power. It baffles me too at times, and sometimes i can understand why we get so caught up. it certainly feels good to know that you are in control and you can do some amazing things with your skills. Having a brief taste of that kind of power, it is euphoric, and dangerously addictive.
He also shared with me why he is so open when it comes to sharing his skills, and how he was disappointed with a certain sensei in the past for being so secretive (and still secretive) about his skills. He said that it took him so many years to know what he knows, and it would be impossible for us as his students to learn everything so quickly. He doesn’t believe in secret technique, there is no secrecy in what he teaches. In fact he could teach all he could and share all he wants, not everything can be absorbed in its full fidelity and potency.
we agreed that given a student’s desire to learn, that fire to absorb new skills, can only be hampered by the teacher’s bias and unwillingness to share. Take me for an example, I can be in the prime condition to learn Aikido, mind willing, body raring, only to see that look in my sensei’s eyes that he is holding back, teasing you with a little secret that he is only NOT willing to share with you, because you are ‘not good enough.’ How then can i sustain my motivation?
Which is why i am so thankful for being in this situation. I am willing, my sensei is willing. In this dynamic, there is no limits to where my learning can take me, and for my sensei, he will be able to reach a higher learning from where he is now. We both win, we both benefit. The blossoming is fantastic.
When training with Harry sensei, I never felt any form of ‘holding back’ from him. in fact his power comes from not holding back. He is always giving, sharing and being open. He is only frustrated when we cannot comprehend his understanding of the art. Because at our level of understanding we cannot see the view he is looking at, we are blinded by our own ego, clouded by our own judgments or misjudgments, holding back, letting our ego take control, expecting, wanting.
As my sensei, he is always there, telling us to that we can see beyond our wanting, he wants us to see what he sees, that joy and openness. I as his student would very much want to but that very wanting is the source of my blindness. Still my sensei accommodated to my blindness. Fancy having a seventy-odd year old man leading this thirty-something bloke around the place. showing me the treasures he has seen and i cannot comprehend all that, because of my ego.