When I was in a lesson one day with my Aikido Master Iwao Tamura, I was told to practice with several students, the technique was for how to deal with multiple attackers, this is when you face several opponents at one time and they all come at you at once.
Suddenly I looked at this one student that was built like a bear and this fear came over me. I lost all my confidence and could not move. Tamura Sensei asked me what was wrong?
I told him how I felt and he told me the following story,
During the civil wars in Feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly take control over a village or town. In this one particular town, all the people ran away before the invading army arrived. Everyone except one man, a Zen Master. When the general of the army heard about this old man that had stayed, he was curious about him and wanted to meet him. So he went to the Zen Master’s temple. He wanted to know what kind of man this Zen Master was. When they met the Zen Master acted normally, he did not act in a submissive or inferior manner which was what the general was accustomed to. The general got really angry and shouted
“You Fool!” to the Zen Master, as he reached to draw his sword.
“Don’t you know that you are standing in front of a man that has the power and ability to cut your head off without blinking an eye?”
But despite the threat, the Zen Master seemed unmoved. He replied calmly to the general
“And do you realize, that you are standing before a man who can have his head cut off without blinking an eye?”
I appreciated the story and asked how can I become like the Zen Master? Tamura Sensei told me, you need three things, meditate daily, time and practice. Meditate on quieting the mind and becoming still. Westerns are like barbarians they are rough and big on the outside but like jelly on the inside. True power comes from the center of your being not the size of your muscles or your talents with your fists. You cannot change the size of your opponent but you can control how you see him. If you use your mind and body in a unified and relaxed state there is no-one or nothing that you cannot conquer. Face death head on! The way to do that is to live every day to the full. Make the effort to improve yourself each and every day. At the moment your fear comes let it come and trust the Universe will guide your path. Fear is like a wave if you are weak it will wash you away. Be a rock and let it wash over you then act as you are guided by the Universe and whatever results come let that be ok. What is the worst thing that can happen? You will die. We all are going to die so why not die a good death? Die doing what you believe to be right and that is the best any of us can do. Be bold and strong! I Followed his instructions, closed my eyes, calmed my mind stood perfectly still, visualized completing the technique successfully and waited for the students to come. I went into my fear and it dissolved. I also was successful in controlling several students in the randori practice.
Until next time I wish you peace, love, and success Martin Acton sensei