Awareness feels central to my aikido practice. Awareness of myself: where I hold tension, the quality of my breathing, the beating of my heart, and the feel of the mat on my feet. That awareness then extends to my practice partner and others in the dojo. Only from center can I really have awareness of all at one time.
Another extension of awareness is our practice space. The space has a feel too; its own energy. The dojo is the place where the way is revealed, a place for the strengthening and refinement of spirit, mind and body. The dojo is also a reflection of its people.
As we prepare for the opening of the dojo for the year, Kagami Baraki, is also a good time to think about the dojo space. Do you see something that could be cleaner, arranged more beautifully; is everything in the space necessary? All members have ownership of the space.
As expressed in the ASU Handbook, cleaning is an active prayer of thanksgiving. It is each student’s responsibility to assist in the cleaning of the dojo and to cleanse his or her own mind and heart.
Does our space reflect that which you wish to reveal in yourself? As we advance into the New Year, I invite all of us to consider the ‘dojo’ space as part of our practice. See you on the mat!
Doumo arigatou gozaimasu,