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One time during a seminar with Endo sensei while I was experiencing some quite severe difficulties with doing the lowering/extending the arm exercise, something really funny happened. As I was standing there struggling to relax my shoulders (and extending my arm) Endo sensei comes walking by. He stops and looks at my failed attempts for a little bit, then he smiles and asks me: “What mean hmmm?” I didn’t at all understand what he meant there, so he laughs, shakes his head and walks away.

The next session we did the same exercise again. Once more I had problems. However, this time I realized something that made me immideately break down in laughter: Every time I got stuck I was making a sound like “hmmm”!

From the seminar with Endo sensei in Prague October 2011. Photo by Aikido Karlín.

By being conscious about the sound I made helped me analyze my feelings at that exact moment. Not being able to succeed creates a socially weird moment together with the partner. This is kind of scary, I think. This fear becomes a great obstacle when I try to do this kind of thing. Maybe my sound was a desperate attempt of trying to make the situation a little less weird than just struggling with something together with the partner in silence, an uncomfortable silence. Also, it expresses puzzlement and some frustration. “I really want to do it, but I just can’t!” translated to “hmmm”.  As I realized this, the exercise suddenly appeared less difficult the next time I tried it. At least I didn’t have to say “hmmm”.

From the seminar with Endo sensei in Prague October 2011 (a few seconds after the first photo). Photo by Aikido Karlín.

It is fascinating for me how sounds can be triggered by feelings, and also the other way around!

Enjoy your practice! Aikido make people happy!