Something new under the sun

I was at Aikido tonight and chatting to someone who was at the Doshu's course in Cardiff over the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn't able to be there.

One comment he made kind of surprised me. He said that he learnt nothing new over the weekend. I'm guessing that he meant new techniques but it caused me to reflect that I learn something new almost every time I step onto an aikido mat.

At some stage in a session I get the sensation that I have participated in 'real aikido'. For me, it's always surprising. Often I've been giving a hard attack and I'm met, not by opposing force, but by openess, by spaciousness and a feeling of things opening out. It's always a mystery, even though we're training for it all the time, it certainly doesn't happen all the time. Usually it happens when we stop trying.

For me, it's a gift. It's an event that calls me back into the present moment. And somehow, that's always surprising!