Mostly I’m not into rules, although O Sensei’s “Practice joyfully” comes to mind once in a while. I had some thoughts on these that I came across [1] [2] :

  1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
  2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.
  3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
  4. Consider everything an experiment.
  5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
    This relates to my thinking regarding faith and relationships within a learning context, and “sunao”.
  6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
    Kind of hippie-sounding, but wherever you end up, that’s where you are so accept it and deal. Whether it is “good” or “bad” is significantly up to you. Also, it’s surprising how many aikido people fight it – doesn’t it go against being peaceful and working for one’s own safety?
  7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
  8. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They’re different processes.
    Every aikido person to whom the idea occurs to feel or be more sensitive seems to come up against this one. It’s really apparent how you can’t be an observer without participating at the same time – especially when you’re one party in a two person conversation. It’s a skill – it’s possible to do it well or poorly.
  9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
    Practice joyfully. As with everything, expand your definition.
  10. “We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” – John Cage.

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