A little mokuso never hurt anybody

I've been struggling to try and squeeze a little sitting meditation into my life, and haven't been very successful. My life is fairly jam-packed, as it happens (I'm sure that's most people's excuse). I have too many interests and hobbies, it seems.

In the past, I had entertained the idea of adding it to the routine of our morning classes, but feared I would be the only one truly interested in it (although the others would probably be too polite to say they weren't interested in it).

And then, lo and behold, someone else actually suggested it! My friend and fellow budoka, Scott, happens to have had a little experience with it and he wanted to know if we could do a little seated meditation in aikido. Well, sure, I said!

Now, most traditional budo classes start right off the bat with a little mokuso (meditation), but he suggested doing it after the ukemi practice and just before the Walking kata (tegatana no kata). Since some have described the Walk as a form of "moving meditation", he thought it might be nice to be able to carry the feeling directly over into it. Which makes a certain amount of sense when you consider how ukemi practice tends to go: black belts have a habit of hanging around and chatting about this and that while everyone else rolls, which would kind of ruin that nice meditative state we worked so hard to achieve

I'm not sure if anyone else likes it or not. They may be into it, or they could very well just be too polite to object.

As for me, I studied shotokan karate years ago as a teenager, and I always enjoyed the practice of starting (and ending, as is the tradition with many schools, I understand) the practice with a bit of meditation. If anything, it has a way of helping you shift gears, an opportunity to put aside all the cares and worries of the outside world much the same way we take off our shoes in the genkan and put them aside as we enter the dojo.

Frankly, since we've broached the subject, I'd like to work in a little more structure to the beginning of class altogether, too. You see, when I started coming, the class never had a specific "bow in" moment. People just sort of rolled in whenever, stretched out on their own, and we didn't really do any ukemi as a class. Eventually, someone would get things going by starting up the Walk. On the average, we waste about 5 to 10 minutes per class. And if you do the math, that comes to about 80 minutes a month (almost and hour and a half) of wasted class time per class per month. That's a whole class or so worth of training!

I don't think anyone would be opposed to having a more structured start, but old habits die hard I suppose, and I'm not one who likes to rock the proverbial boat. Still...

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, meditation. I'm glad we're dabbling in it, and I hope we keep it up.

How about you? Do you meditate in your classes at your dojo? If so, how is it run or included?


  1. I have attended different schools where the instructor tried to work in a little bit of meditation. I was not a fan. No more than I would be if I signed up for an aerobics class, and the instructor tried to work in a little bit of Aikido (i.e. on the basis of their passing interest and not their curriculum or credentials).


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