We need to get one thing clear, as we progress in our pursuit of our martial arts.
When we first joined the school, for me it was Aikido, there was an agreement to what Aikido means, seldom would a person join an affiliation which he/she does not agree with.
That would mean that our sensei’s becomes our frame of references, or others put it, ‘idol’ ‘master’ or ‘inspiration’. For those who study the art a little longer, will realise that it is impossible to become them, as much as we try to, with our most diligent efforts, we can only mimick them, even so we are not them. So who do we become then?
We become disillusioned. We look, often in awe, at what our sensei can do that we cannot. And knows it in us, it is hopeless beyond any standards to reach the levels which our sensei has reach.
It was never meant to be that way. What I learned from Harry sensei, opened my eyes, not as much that I want to become him, but I know that it is possible to get where he is, in my own time and effort. He inspires me, not to become him, which is impossible, but inspire me to strive, because it is worth striving. He strived too and got where he is today.
Harry sensei strived to be free. He too, wants us to be free, free even from his practice. He wants us to become masters in our own lives, free to decide for ourselves how we live our lives. Certain times there are rules, we need to follow and break often, he is there to catch us breaking it, tell us again and again why the rules are there. He can be dogmatic at times, and gets technical with how things should be done. On the other hand he does not want us to be caught by that ‘shouldness’. He keeps telling us to come back and practice, and after that forget all that we have learned for that evening. ‘Just practice’ is what he says.
Slowly, we all mold ourselves in training, His job as my sensei, helps me with my molding. Never once did in insist that things are to be done in a specific manner. Well, I guess this is the culture of Aikido as well, most Aikido movements are not mechanistic and specific to the dot. Which is also why sometimes Harry sensei pulls his hairs trying to teach his students the ‘unteachable’.
So in modern terms, going to Harry sensei’s class for me, is like ‘Train the trainers’ session. He is training us to train ourselves, and train other trainers as well.