My friend Steve, asked me to join him for a class of Kendo, which he is taking up next year.
A Kendoka conjures an image of a person, armoured. protected from the strikes of a bamboo weapon. Being hit by one must have been very painful and perhaps potentially fatal, so much so that an armour is designed to protect the Kendoka from harm.
Tae Kwon Do also have similar design to protect the practioner’s torso from kicks and punches, head gears as well. Boxers uses that too. Well, soldiers wear Kevlar armours for obvious reasons.
Aikidokas, well for these whom i practice with, has no armour, we practice with what we have. Well, we can argue that the mat we roll on is a form of armour, fair to the fact. My critic here is, sans the ‘external’ armour we use to protect our body from harm, what ‘mental’, ‘psychological’, ‘spiritual’ armour are we deploing or have deployed to protect us from harm?
It is important for us to know these, as we can remove physical armour, we cannot remove our metal armour without us knowing that we have put it on.
An armour, is useful as it protects us from harm. It is less useful as it detached us from reality. Can a Kendoka take a full shinai strike sans armour? Can an Aikidoka roll or take a break fall sans the cushioning of the mat? Reality hurts, but our expectations and anticipation of that hurt, sometimes hurt us more than the actuality of the hurt.
The mental armour we wear, can impede our learnings, makes us aloof. Surely it is useful for protecting us from hurt. Without hurt, there is no learning. Without putting our mental armour down, we cannot face our hurt courageously, and learn, graciously.