Are You A Partner or An Opponent?

In Aikido we train with a partner. The Uke – Nage relationship teaches us the importance of working with others as opposed to against them.

Hello, today I just want to talk about having partners as opposed to having opponents in our training in Aikido. We all know of a training partner who may be overzealous and always looking for victory as opposed to defeat in their training and trying to be the strongest partner they can be and trying to win at all costs. And that’s all very well you know in a real self-defence situation, if you like, but in training, they can be quite detrimental to your progress and also to your training partner’s progress and so I’m talking about opponents and partners and what the difference is. An opponent mentality is only a mentality coming from the ego, and it’s purely ego-based, trying to get whatever they want out of that training routine as opposed to helping out their training partner and helping them to try and improve. It’s kind of like a “the strong will prevail over the weak” type of mentality and having a rivalry mentality as opposed to working together for the common good in our training. What we want to try and do as opposed to having an opponent mentality which is said before, based on ego; we want to try and dissolve that as you go onto the mats and so aside from that, on the other side of the coin, you’ve got your partner equation there where we’re talking about working together, progressing together, working to improve each other on the mats and having a partnership rather than ego-driven relationship. So, with that comes so with the encouragement of others on the mats it comes to trusting the process and by trusting the process you’re still pushing each other but we’re pushing each other for the mutual benefit of each other and as Minoru Mochizuki, my sensei’s teacher always stated that we always want to try and think of mutual benefit. In other words, trying to do things to help each other progress and by helping each other we can push through obstacles better by helping each other out and make better progress not just in our martial art, but this is for life as well. We often talk about martial arts that we can use, not just on the mats, but we’re using it out in our community. Using it in our work and in our family etc.., relationships and having you know a mutual benefit mentality, a partner mentality, as opposed to an opponent mentality helps you with so many more things in life. So, try and keep that in consideration especially when you come on the mats. Work as a partnership, and that way you will make progress a lot quicker and not just that; you’ll be a lot better with your technique and your technique will improve and you’ll also make friends and influence people better within the dojo. So hopefully that helps in each training session and I wish you the best with it, and let’s all improve together.
So thank you!

Domo arigato,
Sensei Ross Taylor
5th Dan Black Belt (Godan) Aikido
Owner & Principal Instructor

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