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Have you ever dreamt that you were practising aikido? I mean that you have been doing actual keiko in your dreams? I have been thinking about aikido from the moment i open my eyes in the morning until my last thought in the evening for the past 14 years, but not once have I had a dream where I have been doing aikido with a partner. At least not which can be recalled after waking up.

I have dreamt lots of times about people from aikido, being at aikido seminars, hanging out in dojos, things happening around the actual practice, but not a single throw have I ever experienced during my dreams these years. Actually, multiple times I have been just about to start practicing. However, as my partner grabs me, or I grab him/her, I ALWAYS wake up. It is a very frustrating feeling, as the dream is just about to get really interesting. Usually, I wake up for no outer reason at all. No alarm clock, not a single sound, nothing. I just woke up as a consequence of the dream.

Kaiten nage with a free fall with Jorma in Moelv June 2015. Photo by David Ellard.

Kaiten nage with a free fall with Jorma in Moelv June 2015. Photo by David Ellard.

I have been wondering why for a long time. It does not make sense to me that I never dream about it when it is such a big part of my life. I think about it almost every waking minute. Why will I not dream about it once I fall asleep in the night?

The answer also came to me in a dream. I was sitting at a table with a person who is not in this world. I had an important question. I asked. The reactions of the person on the other side of the table was signalling that now comes the answer I have been wondering about for a long time. And then I woke up. At that moment I knew why I never dream about aikido.

I believe that when we are dreaming, everything happening is a construction of our own mind. Even though we are dreaming the dreams are usually based on reality.  We can’t fool our own mind. Some things needs to be answered by a mind who we are not in control of. Somebody else needs to answer.

If we had a dream of doing keiko the response from my partner to all my actions have to be generated by a mind different from my own. Just as the question I asked the person across the table. I had already thought about the possible answers, but I will probably never figure out what the response would have been. My mind knows this, so the reality of the dream shattered and it created such a shock that I wake up from my sleep.

Ikkyo with Andrea in Berlin in May 2015. Photo by Kokoro Aikido flow motion.

Ikkyo with Andrea in Berlin in May 2015. Photo by Kokoro Aikido flow motion.

For me, from the very beginning, these responses for my little questions, the answer from my partner, has been so important for my idea of what I am doing in aikido that I can’t even dream about aikido, because I have only one mind. I need a friend’s mind as well to do aikido.

I have dreamt about playing guitar sometimes. I play, I feel the answer from the instrument, I hear the sound. I know the responses quite well. Unless something unexpected happens to the equipment it is quite easy to predict, from my prior experience what will happen when I do different things. Touching the strings gently with my thumb while picking makes the high pitch screams according to where I am on the strings, and it will be the same every time. However, with humans it is different. I can know people well, but five seconds later, their state of mind might have changed. The response will be different even if I try to do exactly the same movement.

Jorma demonstrating the response of the partner at Moelv in June 2015. Photo by David Ellard.

Jorma demonstrating the response of the partner at Moelv in June 2015. Photo by David Ellard.

This eternal question and answer -situation continues throughout the movements, and is always there both when we are touching each other and even when we are only in a mutual distance contact with each other. For me, aikido without this communication, this conversations, is not aikido at all. My focus is these responses from my partners. I am completely dependent on interaction with a mind outside my own to do my practice.

I have several friends who can dream of aiki, and even teachers who invented practice methods from things coming to them in dreams. I wish I could dream of aikido, because I love the keiko so much. I want to do it all the day, I want to think about it every second of my waking time, and I want to have sweet aiki dreams at night. At least now I know why I can’t dream of aikido. I have to be happy with spending every free moment of my life doing aikido when I am awake.

Enjoy your keiko! Aikido make people happy!