Impermanence and It’s Brothers and Sisters

Shihoo nage, a aïkido technical falling, illus...

Recently I made a significant change in my life. We put our New England  home of many years on the market, had the requisite tag sale, and moved 1,000 south to a much warmer place.

Along with the turmoil and emotions involved in saying good-by to friends and neighbors of 15 years, moving and leaving,  I realized that I received multiple doses of the Buddhist concept of impermanence.

Of course a move of this magnitude makes any of us face change, and it was obvious even to me. But it was the more subtle reminders that surprised me. One of the more significant reminders that surprised me the most was  the first class at my new dojo.

I had been pleased to find that the new aikido dojo was near my home and had a small group of  dedicated students led by a Sensei who after 24 years of practice still brought great energy to practice and enthusiasm for his students learning. Yet my first night on the mat—you know when you don’t know anybody and are just trying to get the lay of the land— impermanence came front and center immediately after the warm ups.

At my old dojo we had been practicing together for a number of years so everybody knew everybody else’s capabilities. At the new dojo, after the warm up and at  the first pairing off , I was paired with an Uke who kept correcting my technique…every time, all the time.

I was a little taken aback but I quickly realized something.  My ego had moved with me and I really didn’t like some younger, less experienced  practitioner telling me what to do.

It dawned on me that impermanence, ego, and possible some other unsavory aspects of my personality didn’t get left up north. And here I was in this instance thinking that a new start at a  new dojo would mean something different here just because I moved.

I guess that just like at my old aikido dojo, it’s show up, shut up, and practice.


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