Learning Attitude

has been twenty years since I graduated from University and became Soshu Koichi
Tohei Sensei’s Uchideshi.

starting Aikido at a very young age, the time it took for me to begin my proper
Uchideshi training was actually a little late.

I became an Uchideshi, the very first lesson I had from Soshu Koichi Tohei
Sensei was about having the correct “Learning Attitude”.

is similar to pouring Japanese Sake into a glass. If the glass keeps leaking
and no Sake remains in the glass when Sake is being poured in it, there is no
use or meaning.

Attitude” is the Sake glass in this example. Why the Sake does not remain in
the glass, can usually be classified into 3 reasons.

1) There
is a crack in the glass that causes the Sake to leak out

there is a crack at the bottom of the Sake glass, the Sake that is being poured
into the glass will keep leaking out. The same example can be used to describe
the beginning of my Uchideshi training. I was like a Sake glass that had many
cracks. I first had to repair the cracks in my “Sake Glass”.

example of one of the cracks in the “Sake Glass”, is not watching carefully
when a teacher is teaching or giving a lesson. The essential aspect of learning
is watching carefully and being able to imitate, repeat, or recreate what a
teacher is showing. If there is a crack in the “Sake Glass”, you can never
learn even though you practice for many years.

The first thing to do is to repair the cracks.

2) Having
another type of Sake already in the glass.

there is another kind of Sake already in the Sake glass, it is not possible to
pour new Sake into it.

the example of a full Sake glass to explain “Learning Attitude” further, in
this case the full Sake Glass is all our “experiences and knowledge” that we
have gone through, or what we think we already know and understand based on “our
own opinions”, or “the way we think”.

we think of the teachings our teacher has given us as “I have heard this many
times before already,” it means we will never really understand or learn the
meaning of what our teacher is trying to teach us. Lessons that are being
repeated many times are usually very important and the reason they are being
repeated and given again and again is because we have not yet understood or
learned correctly the meaning.

We first have to empty out “Our Glass”.

3) The
glass is too small.

the Sake glass is too small, only a small amount of Sake can be poured into it.

is impossible for things that have physically fixed shapes to continue to
become larger, but things that do not have physically fixed shapes in this case
our “Learning Attitude” can always improve and grow infinitely depending on the
effort we put into it. If the size of our “Sake glass” continues to get bigger,
more Sake can be poured into it.

Our “Sake glass” that we make and maintain should
continue to grow bigger and improve every day.

should not try to begin with what we what we are learning or studying, but by
changing and having the correct “Learning Attitude” which is the most basic and
important aspect of training and practicing. I would not be where I am today
had I not been taught this from the beginning.

in schools and at home, children are taught what to learn but they are usually
not taught “How to learn” or the importance of having a proper “Learning
Attitude”. The foundation of learning or practicing anything is having the
right “Learning Attitude”.

this experience, when teaching and helping my Instructors develop, the first
thing I teach them is having the correct “Learning Attitude”. I will come back
to this lecture and repeat this class till my Instructors have understood and
cultivated having good “Learning Attitudes”. As a result, most Instructors can develop

believe having a good “Learning Attitude” is more important than having “ability
or capabilities”. Recently, there have been more requests and chances to do
Seminars and lectures with “Learning Attitude” as a theme. I think this is a
very important lesson that most children and students from this generation

above examples of “Sake in a glass” also works well with “water in a glass”,
the reason why it was probably “Sake” instead of “water” is because Soshu
Koichi Tohei Sensei liked drinking Sake very much.

is from hearing that story as an example, that I felt how important it was to “not
spill or waste a single precious drop”….