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Nobody likes you.
Everybody hates you.
You’re gonna loose.
Smile, you fuck.

The Last Boyscout

I have a condition I have been seeing an osteopath trying to fix. The system for carrying information in my body is very thin, so the information does not flow as it should. The solution for this problem is probably a big part of what I have been searching for in aikido. This goes both for the body and the mind, so it deeply affects my life. My personality and everything I do comes partly from this, and it has been like this for a long time. I could probably live my whole life assuming that all of this is perfectly normal, but when going to the deeps in the study of aiki it becomes apparent that something is terribly wrong.

In aikido the movements are being prevented from freely going trough, both as tori and as uke. The impressions from the outside world does not come through because there are bottle necks preventing the flow. The same thing happens in life. I see, I hear, I experience, but my feelings inside and does not change because it does not come through the system as it maybe should. I proceed on the same path for a very long time before I react to the outside world. The world moves on, but I stay constant a little bit lost, stuck with feelings that belonged in a past moment.

Maybe this is how I found it impossible to get a job, no matter how hard I tried when I finished the education in physics. I had been working on that, going straight since I was four years old, never diverting from the road. When my education was done I never found a new direction in life. They basically threw me out of the university and there I was, a little bit lost, without any distinct goal to work towards achieving.

I just returned from the last European seminar with Seishiro Endo sensei before a period of treatment (my best wishes are with him). So I will probably not meet him again for a period of time. I enjoyed the seminar very much both in the actual classes and in the post class throwing sessions with my friends, and of course the lovely relaxing time between sessions with my very good friends, my aikido family members there.

Seminar in Púchov with Seishiro Endo sensei in July 2014. Photo by Tomas Svec.

Seminar in Púchov with Seishiro Endo sensei in July 2014. Photo by Tomas Svec.

As usual Endo sensei asked me to check what I felt. He asked more specifically a question which I have heard very many times before, but never really asked myself. The question about how well I succeeded with whatever I was doing. For me it was maybe different this time. I have attended a quite substantial number of seminars with him during these few years I have known him, and now… I feel that I am at a turning point.

I do really wish him all the best and hope to see him again in February. Still, where have I gotten since I started? When I hear his question, my mind screams the answer back to me before I can think: “I sucked!!!” Before I started analysing the situation I already had the answer ready. I have always rated myself at the lowest score before I really had time to check out what had happened. For the first time I was aware about this process.

I think this automatic reply by the mind before I had time to really examine what really had happened can be a key factor in my thin system. There is too much disturbance on the lines in there. Information which is not useful are constantly being sent, spending all the bandwidth of the inner body network.

I have always been intrigued and fascinated by my own failures. It is what drives me forward, and probably the reason I could continue enjoying the road even though I have huge problems in my way. However, I have really neglected half the study. What about the times I did not fail? How about when I threw the partner and I could see the big smile of him/her hurrying back to be thrown again? It must have felt all right as he/she obviously enjoyed it and came quickly back for more? I have always suppressed these situations, and even if somebody have told me directly it has fallen to deaf ears. I just kept searching for the failure.

My osteopath asked me if I had been in a car crash or a serious accident, but I have never experienced anything even similar to that. I think my problem has been a social one. In my early years, back when I was in elementary school, with my class mates I was never allowed to think I ever did anything well. So by always rating myself worse than anybody else could, no matter what they said, nobody could ever hurt me. So I locked myself inside a shell. I regarded all I did as the worst possible. So if somebody told me, then my response would be that they are stating the obvious. Even if somebody told me something positive, I never believed them, watching out for a trap. If I was always at the bottom there is no way I could fall and get hurt. So the car crash was a very quiet one. It was a culture among kids in a small place of the world. It was the combination of my personality and the personalities I grew up with.

kata dori pavel

Seminar in Púchov with Seishiro Endo sensei in July 2014. Photo by Tomas Svec.

I needed to check again all the questions which I thought I had checked and rechecked for years. It is true that a lot of times I did fail. The ego is hiding and makes us want to do more. However, sometimes, just sometimes, I believe I at least partly succeeded. I can tell by the reaction on my partner, both when I am tori and when I am uke. I do know if I am making the partner uncomfortable or not during the practice. Now I have to allow myself the possibility to think that I am making the partner comfortable, if I feel that. My partner is my guide. He/she indicates wether or not I succeeded in my attempt, not the automatic defence from my mind screaming how much I sucked before I have the chance to feel.

I do not fear demonstrations or examinations. However, I fear the grade it gives. The grade makes it difficult for me to rate myself the lowest score. The same goes for jobs. I have always desired a low paid, low prestige job. I did apply to a lot of jobs including cleaning service, painter, janitor, etc. during my time as unemployed. Probably not the most common job applications by people graduating with MSc in theoretical physics. I have always shunned prestige, high income, ranks and respect. I was always afraid to get hurt, so I always thought of ways to think less of myself.

Seminar in Púchov with Seishiro Endo sensei in July 2014. Photo by Tomas Svec

Seminar in Púchov with Seishiro Endo sensei in July 2014. Photo by Tomas Svec.

I have always hated to think anything positive about myself or anything I have done, and I still do. So analysing the situations where I partly, or more, succeeded is something which I have never really done. I thought I did it, but I already had the answer before I could check the result. It is a door which has been locked all my life. Maybe finding the door, starting to explore what lies beyond is my road to cure my thin system of communication inside my body? Maybe it will silence all the negative comments I make about myself as I go probably preventing the useful communication which let me communicate with the outside world? Or maybe it is just another dead end? However, I do not know before I have thoroughly explored it. It is a long road ahead for me trying to repair my inner body network, but I do enjoy every step of the way.

As I have written before: We can’t choose what to feel and what not to feel. However, we can become increasingly aware about our feelings. I would like to extend my thanks both to everybody who has professionally guided me on my road in aikido, but maybe most of all to all my lovely friends who has helped me realize this. Thanks for all the love!

Enjoy your keiko! Aikido make people happy!