(Continued from Day 6)
BE- You spoke earlier on breathing exercise. We do it as part of the warm up but it is not an important part of what we do.
“Breathing exercise is misogi, purification. We do it to clear the mind and connect to body. People are using mind too much now. They must return to the body for practice. The body is not the goal of practice but the spirit. But to get there we must go trough the body. Breathing exercise is a way to pull all three together and make person ready.”
BE- Breathing is misogi. How do you define misogi?
“Purification. We do breathing exercise to make Aikido misogi. O Sensei said that Aikido should be misogi. In order to make it more than just practice, more than just martial art, to make something else, we do breathing exercise. If you want to understand breathing exercise better you should practice.”
BE- I do the breathing exercises at the beginning of class. Like everyone else.”
“No. To understand you should practice like you practice Aikido. You should practice breathing exercises till you understand deeper.”
BE- Do you mean to just practice the breathing exercises by themselves?
“Yes. Practice of hours. Practice each one.”
BE- (Incredulous) Why don’t you tell us this? I have never heard you say something like this before in class??
“I cannot tell you everything. You must make Aikido for yourself.”
BE- But you are the teacher. If you don’t teach, how are we to learn?
“Teacher is one part of teaching. Students are second part. Teacher provides one part of teaching and students other part. I can only give what students are ready for. Almost no students are practicing Aikido.”
BE- Is this because it is not your school in New York? Are you able to teach what you want in Belgium or Australia?
“No. This is a matter of the students and not what I can teach. Some students are good, some not good.”
BE- Would it be best if we as your students travel to Belgium or Australia to learn there?
“Travel to learn is good but not important. I spend most time in New York teaching. I give my teaching here. You must see what I am teaching and respond. As you respond I can make teaching.”
BE- Who has the best idea of your teaching? Australia, Belgium or US?
“None! (Laughing) Some in Australia are good though.(Thinking for few minutes.) But I have changed over time. Some are trying to hold onto old ideas. Aikido must grow. Change is good. Restore.”
BE- What about the GIAS in Belgium?
BE- You teach many things that you don’t here.
“I teach other things. But there are problems there too. Don’t spend time there though and they have other influences. Many problems with politics there! (Laughing) Some have good practice though. A few understand.”
BE- (Joking with Sensei.) You spend the most time in New York. Does that mean the best practice is here?
“No!! (Laughs) The best practice must be made by student. In themselves. Some will learn but most will not. It is important that they find something though. This is for student.”