Beginner’s Mind


Aikido has the concept of “Beginner’s Mind”. Basically, it is the idea that everytime you go to train you do so with a completely open mind. This is meant to help the student “see” repeated material as if for the first time in order to learn something new (or additional) from it.

A couple weeks ago, this concept became pretty obvious. During a training session with our Haidong Gumdo Sabumnim (teacher), we were lectured rightly on making a change in a cut movement. He demonstrated it and explained it well, then asked us to practice it.

Well…it didn’t go so well. Many fell back into the old way immediately. Our “Beginner’s Mind” had turned off. To be able to “perform” a technique or movement doesn’t mean the you “know” it. The automatic question becomes “Why does it have to change?” The answer is, typically, that you were never taught the “complete” technique or movement in the first place. You were given a portion of it to practice and now that you understand that portion, here’s the next stage. Very few of the changes are because the technique was being performed WRONG but rather to make it more complete and correct for its application.

We accept change in things like medicine…or I’d have had to quit a long time ago (for those who don’t know, I’ve had total hip replacements on both sides)…but in something that should be pushing us to expand our thoughts, attitudes and abilities, we struggle to move forward. Odd.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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