Early on in life I was forced to become fiercely independent. Instead of relying on others for guidance, I taught myself. And rather than to invite feedback, I relied on my own sense of what was right. So for a long time, I felt capable and strong.
And while that was true, I was also tired and isolated. My fear of loosing control – because that is what it comes down to – had cramped my mind. And I had been shutting out others, who meant well and had things to say.
And I thought: this is no way to live. Spirit cannot thrive in exile. We are meant to relate and connect. So, slowly, I began to open my heart and mind to others. It was around that time that I came to the dojo and accepted Francisca, and later Robert, as my teachers.
Now, I enjoy being taught. It is pleasure to receive and accept guidance. This is what I mean when I say “onegai shimasu” at the beginning of every practice. It means: I am open, I am ready to give and receive in equal measure. I welcome you.
I try to approach ukemi with the same spirit, but it’s tough and often frustrating. There is still fear in my body and I tense up when making breakfall. And I still get caught up in my internal monologue, while I really want to listen to what my partner is doing.
There is progress and there is a long way to go. I guess it means I won't ever be bored in my life.