The tranquil mind of the Aikidoka(2/2)
Forging the body:
The first step, in our training, is to forge and shape the body. We often hear the expression: "Be an empty cup!" so we have to make to the "cup" first.
In pottery, it will take a minimum of 3 weeks to make a cup by following all the steps from start to finish.
A pottery apprenticeship will take 3-4 years and it might take even longer to become fluent with the material and to have the skills to make beautiful pottery.
Aikido is not different than making pottery, it will take 3-4 years or longer, based on the student's assiduity to learn the fundamentals to reach the first degree black belt, the beginner's level.
Time, repetition and practice will develop the student to the level necessary to start understanding principles and philosophy associated with the practice and only then the student will be able to forge the mind.
Forging the mind:
Some students might have the mental aptitude to train the mind and the body at the same time and this is usually the best approach however Aikido, the "Do" means the path.
We are all on our own path. It might take more time for some students to reach that level. We are all different.
Muscle memory is usually developed overtime as the student repeat each technique: 100 times, 1000 times, 10,000 times...
At that point, the mind is free from overthinking and it learns to focus on the present moment and nothing should distract the mind.
In an another blog, I will discuss the physiology associated with those natural phenomenon that occur in the human body after years of hard training.