We cannot choose to live, life is given to us, in non-negotiable terms. And since it is absolute, many of us end up in despair, trapped by this physical being, unable to make sense of the choiceless-ness of the entire experience of living.
But we can choose the choices we make when we are alive. That makes the difference. The mechanism of Aikido is one big humongous choice machine. You cannot choose the parents you are born with, the siblings, the gender, the environment. Many things in life, including life has no choice. but you cannot be forced to take a martial art. No one can force you to excel in martial art. In martial art, you make the choice, to come, to be subjected to a form. And yet the paradox begins again, as, in any martial arts, once you have chosen the form, you cannot choose your own form. Hence your exercise of choice, ends even before it begins!
Take Aikido then, you choose to subject yourself into the form of Aikido, the turning, the ‘irimi-nage‘ , the history, the syllabus. Once you have chosen Aikido, you cannot choose the form in which Aikido is built upon. You cannot learn an arm-bar technique and call it ‘Aikido’ when an arm-bar technique is generally ‘un-Aikido’. So very often people get stuck in their specific discipline, i know i do, when at times during free practice, I have to conform to the movement of Aikido, and i cannot strike my partner, and cannot do a lot of other things which would makes it ‘un-Aikido’. It is frustrating, but it has its purpose.
Ever so often we look at how our sensei move so freely, unhindered by the numerous ukes coming to get him. So many time we see a Karateka executes a beautiful kata, with such grace and poise that can only come from practice an oblivion times. And why do we train so hard? so that we can find a freedom in form. And until we subordinate our being unconditionally, to a form, we can never be free. Life is such a paradox.