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Coleman Ridge

It is the central problem in education, how one goes about transferring knowledge. At its simplest, it is the question of how ever to apply what is learned in class outside of that class.

We had a talented, bad-tempered jujitsu student. He came in with a nidan in aikido, earned when he was sixteen. Someone had put very good work into him, but he was all dissatisfied with aikido, and with himself, and with his ukes, and with everything. He was rough with smaller ukes. We held him in brown belt two extra years, working on that temper, and we gave him the most irritating, frustrating ikkyu test possible, alternating between big tough difficult ukes and small fragile difficult ukes. He performed beautifully, as cool as you please, and collapsed weeping into the sensei's arms when it was over.

After that, I told him "No one can make you lose control of yourself any more. If you can keep it together through that, you can keep it together through anything. You have no excuse any more. You know you can control yourself. Now you have to do it."

One can transfer knowledge, but it has to be done, and done over again each time. It does not just happen.

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Aikido Quotes


  • O-Sensei: My students think I don't lose my center. That is not so; I simply recognize it sooner and get back faster.

  • Morihiro Saito Sensei: Aikido is generally believed to represent circular movements. Contrary to such belief, however, Aikido, in its true KI form, is a fierce art piercing straight through the center of opposition.

  • Furuya Sensei on Swordsmanship: Letting go of the idea of “sword” and the idea of “action” is the meaning behind “willow in the gentle breeze.” When the slight summer breeze blows, does the willow follow the “nature of the willow,” or does it follow the “nature of the breeze?” Please think about this - in this lies the essence of sword technique.