Until today, those fundamental questions that bugged me almost to my death, is still here. but like new friends grown old, these usual rhetoric has ‘mellowed’ down. Those angst-y existentialistic questions still bothers me from time to time, but it doesn’t drives me as crazy as they used to.
Then I realized that it is another case of Aikido imitating life and vice versa. We ever so often goes on a quest for profound truths, some advanced knowledge about life, about existence, where the most fundamental answers are all here. We are often unsatisfied with simple answers, simply because our egos relish a challenge, when in life, in actuality and in reality, life is no challenge, life IS. But challenges defines the ego, and with it defines out larger than life existence. The ego simply cannot allow everything to be as it is. It questions everything and leave nothing unturned. When we really, really reached the truth, the ultimate of all truths, the mother of all truths, the ego will still roll its eyes and ask, “IS THAT ALL!!? IMPOSSIBLE!”
Similarly in Aikido, we chase the belt hoping to learn more and more advanced technique where the real advancement is the progression of our fundamental techniques. Once you can achieve mastery in fundamentals, all struggle ends. Look at an Aikido shihan in any Youtube demonstration, the master is doing nothing more than basic technique, Irimi nage, Ikkyo, Shihonage, etc,etc, techniques that any white belts can do and all white belt have to do. There is no difference other than the years a senior practitioner puts into making a simple technique ‘advance’. There are no ‘black belt’ syllabus. Not in Aikido lexicon, perhaps not that i know of.
So these questions still bugs me, ‘Who am I?’ ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ ‘What good is my life and this existence?’ It used to trouble me, and they still trouble me but not so often, My age, experience and maturity has some how armed me to face these questions in a different light.
These questions now serve as a checkpoint, keeping me grounded. These answers are useless to me if they cannot stand up to the acid test of these existentialistic questions. Very similarly, all those fancy Aikido techniques are useless if we cannot get our fundamentals right, if our Irimi sucks or our Tekan is half hearted. Without a good base, our Aikido cannot flourish. With a good set of nagging, killer questions, we will never find the truths.