We all sometimes wonder… our sensei, some of them 6th dan, 7th dan. How do they train? who do they train with? Surely they must train with someone more senior to improve themselves.
I had this conversation briefly with Wai Mun, on of the Thursdays evening on our way back. We were wondering how do Harry sensei keep improving himself? We, at our level have more senior belts to train with. peers to point out where we can improve on. What about someone like Harry sensei, who would be his peers? His seniors?
I came to a logical conclusion, since he is at class almost every night of the week, he must be training with no one else but us! The next question is, if he is so much ‘better’ than us, how is it possible for us to ‘teach’ him anything? Well, one thing i can say is that when i am his uke, he is self-learning. because every time he calls me out to demonstrate a technique, I never grab him the same way. that is the essence of martial arts. Every encounter is new, despite of being training with each other for so long.
I did managed to ask him this when i talked to him and he agreed with my observation. Every time i hold him, he has to respond in a manner which is never the same, because i never grab him the same way twice, we never can. He is always testing, trying out new things, throwing out the old, when it doesn’t work on me. replacing and improving on his technique. He is not without weakness, but with his wisdom and long years of Aikido training, he has more or less the ability to ‘fix’ the situation and learn from it.
that’s how it is, the learning is mutual, for sure he knows a lot, he knows more than me, but he does not knows everything. that is what makes me want to train with him. because when he finds out what he previously don’t know, guess who would he share his discoveries with? His students of course! on the other hand, if my sensei ‘knows everything’, then there will be no more learning, just downloading. And i would be worried if my sensei professed that he knows ‘everything’, if that happens, what becomes of God as we know it?