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Making the Leap

Many a times in our training we come to the point where we feel why do we do this? What is this instructor really teaching me? Or, I am just not getting this. Which comes to my point how do we know when our instructor is good? What makes us as students drawn towards certain instructors and retreat from others?

Sometimes the answer is as easy as charisma; sometimes it is a lot more difficult. We enter the dojo, with much expectation and sometimes a lot of baggage as well. We have expectations as to what a "Sensei" or aikido "master" should be. And upon the realization that they don't hold the secrets to the world like a real life Yoda, we become disappointed and disillusioned.

More often than not, we can't explain how we know when one instructor is "legit" and the other a bit "shady". We just know. We make the Leap of faith and put our trust in our training to our instructor hoping that they can guide us in a certain direction.

Sometimes we as students need to take the step back and realize we will not get what the sensei says the first time, the second time maybe not even the fiftieth time as well. Some things are meant not to be answered, but to be revealed. I feel the only true way to make such discoveries is to put faith into what sensei says, make that leap, so to say. If we spend way too much time analyzing what was said or every subtle nuance we can miss the forest from the trees. Many things my instructor told me, or even taught me, I thought were "stupid" or a "waste of my time" or even "too Basic". But now that I have slipped on the instructor role, these lessons are seen in a new light, like seeing your hometown years after you have left it. I have a tendency to leave certain answers purposefully vague, or I tend to ramble on tangents to the extent that the original question is answered by even more questions. This can spur the mind into further reflection or stall in the mind into further confusion.

When we put the focus of our training on sensei we have a tendency to attach unrealistic goals to our training. When prospective students tell me that they "want me to teach them Aikido" I say that I am terribly sorry but I can not teach them anything. But when a prospective students comes to my and requests "To learn aikido" I reply that I can help them the best I can. With a slight change in word choice the bulk of the responsibility of their training changes. When one wants to learn Aikido I can help, as they have accepted responsibility for themselves. When one wants me to teach them Aikido they put all of the attachments on what I can do for them, not what they can do for themselves. Therefore if they are not at the level they think they should be at, it is I the instructor whose fault it is.
With the impetus on my teaching them, they are not making that leap of faith in themselves or in my role as an instructor. Remember any instructor is just that an instructor, not a demi-god or guru, a good instructor can help you understand O'sensei's message, but I wouldn't ask one for career advice, or whether or not to confess to your wife about your affair.

Making that leap is a difficult one to make. We will not get an immediate answer to a lot of our questions regarding our training. But if we just simply train to train, then a lot of the answers to our questions will reveal themselves

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