There is no ‘how’ in the path to learning Aikido. And yet our minds are caught in the visual aspect of a technique, we see our sensei execute a near flawless technique and in awe, we want to know ‘how’ to do it. As if by asking ‘how’ brings us closer to mastery.
The opposite is true. ‘How’ is the science of things, bringing knowledge and methodologies to systematically complete a given task. Yes, asking how, works on a functional level, a physical level. Knowing the technicalities of a movement is never enough. a technically proficient person may look impressive, as in a Karate kata, the movement can be executed to near physical perfection, and yet, it will look mechanical, hollow, lacking a soul, a spirit. Knowing and memorising a kata can only bring out the essence, and not the soul of the movement, the spirit of karate.
And yet, we are all caught in a ‘how to’ trap. just walk into a bookstore, and proceed to the self-help section, there are so many ‘how to’ books there, ‘how to’ date a girl/guy, ‘how to’ be happy. ‘how to’ write a perfect cover letter, ‘how to’ get rich, the list goes on. And yet, reading all those books cannot bring about true happiness, just like a map, the book describes the terrain, it is not the terrain. Books describe life, books are not your life. Similarly, sensei describes, represents a technique, the sensei is not the technique, the technique lives in each and every one of us, in its own unique way. Ways which we can only understand when we go above and beyond the ‘hows’.
And just be.
Allow the absorption of the science and the technique, then trust yourself to allow yourself to go beyond that. the full value of Aikido cannot be captured in the science of how. to fully understand martial arts, one as esoteric as Aikido, we need to embrace the science and anti-science aspect of the art.
If we keep asking how, how, how, we trap ourselves in that realm, we cannot rise above techniques, above our own physical limitations, the ‘how’ traps our potentials, as long as we are asking we will not be able to devote time to find the answers, the questions of how will drown us, and we will not be able to ride the waves of life. The answers is not in the ‘how’ of things, the answer is there, right in front of us, stop asking ‘how’ and grab the damn life of yours and run with it!