“Imagine that you’ve just started out a convenience store business, albeit a small little booth, and you have a few items to sell, and a cash register. One day your friend told you your cash register was left carelessly open. Despite of that, you repeated the mistake once more and someone stole the money in it.
You preserved you opened a convenience store. There are more items to sell, your customers come and go and transacted a reasonable amount of cash and your place become pretty well stocked with what the neighborhood wants. And you begin to make a tidy profit from it.
Years on, your convenience store is humming along, and you noticed that the kindergarten across the street has been in a neglected and dilapidated state for a while and you decided to do some community work, by giving them some sundry supplies and the grateful kids and teachers help you clean up your store a little.
Very soon, the neighbourhood learns about your deeds and people begin to flock to your store with kind words and gratitude. The store is no longer your store, rather, the store has become so enmeshed into the neighbourhood, it is the neighbourhood store. The kindergarten kids your sundry used to feed are now adults, but they never forget what that little corner store gave to them. and came back regularly to patronise their neighbourhood store, where it is always welcoming them with openness.”
Fancy this little story? this little story is about openness.
Openness is an evolutionary state of mind that shifts with us, being open when we are white belters, is different when we are more practiced. As a white belt, we are open, open to blind spots, vulnerable to attacks, with a limited response to what we can do. very much like a cash register left open. our friends, training partners can help us, pointing out our weakness in technique. but through training we will know for ourselves, how proficient we are and can become.
Further more into our training, we learned a few moves and grew a little confident, we probably could take a few rough rides and dish out a few of our own. The openness is redefined and we strategise our ‘openness’ to lure our opponents to attack, and we counter attack in return. The exchange carries an agenda, your perseverance and the less favourable demise of your attacker, you win, someone loses. In a convenience store, you stand to gain most, making a profit for what you sell with an economical motivation. People buy your stuffs, you sell your stuffs. it is still very much day to day.
When you grow a little more, and your catalogue expand, and soon you can contribute beyond a monetary terms, your exchange enriches beyond the day to day, ka-ching! of the cash register. You can give your training more value, and people begins to feel that. and reciprocate in kind, then something beautiful blossom. That is where you open your store’s resources to contribute to the kindergarten; not expecting anything in return. This selfless actions will expedite a selfless reaction and motivates them to respond selflessly as well. when you open yourself this way in Aikido, people with an intent to attack you, will no longer find anything worthy to attack. And you no longer fear an attack, because you have become a person with so much positivity to give, people are compelled to behave as the benefits far outweighs attacking you.
So keep your store open, open for a different stages of your life. at the end of the day the store is not in the neighbourhood, and the neighbourhood no longer has a store, the store is the neighbourhood and the neighbourhood is the store. When you are conscious about your spirit of openness in Aikido, the openness will lead you to your harmonious nature with the environment.