Which is more important? Knowledge or imagination?
Knowledge or the lack of it, is what we can hunger for. We all know what Aikido is, so we try to learn as much about Aikido as we can. Seemingly the knowledge we acquire about Aikido will make us skilled Aikidokas. As if on knowledge alone, we will be able to perform feats like those of O sensei?
If knowledge alone is enough then we will all be O senseis. Despite of reading up all the Aikido books out there and more, Karate, MMA, Jiujitsu, it still doesn’t makes us skilled. Ok, so we practice, 7 days a week. we become super Aikidokas, and yet, something is missing, that connection between the technical skills and spiritual, esoteric skills. We seem to know everything we can know about Aikido and yet it is not enough.
We need to use our creative faculty!
Aikido as it is, is already very, very well known and established despite of only being in existence for about 50 odd years, and why is there, no other O sensei, except O sensei himself? it is because, Aikido is slowly being choked to death by the very knowledge of Aikido.
The true magic of Aikido is about creativity and imagination.
Without imagination and creativity, Aikido is simply a physical exercise, you might as well go for a jog. We need to imagine, bring metaphor in, stories, examples. Sometimes, I tell my junior peers, that the nage is liken the planet Earth, and the uke is liken the Moon, the Moon orbit around the Earth, and there are some Aikido movement that mimics that. You cannot visualize that? Good! It is time to tap into your imagination! What you cannot solve, you solve with your imagination!
My friend Siew Chin, told me that her Aikido sensei in America uses the movement of arm wrestling to show how ikkyo works, and it took me a while to imagine, but hey, the sensei is creative! there is some similarities in the way the energies are channeled, and of course in a non resistant manner.
So if you find your Aikido stagnating, perhaps you know too much, like in the metaphor of a cup too full of tea, I’d say, not empty your cup, simply put it, get a bigger cup! drink from the table! drink from the teapot!, don’t pour away good tea! what a waste! It is not what you know, it is what you can imagine, that makes you grow!