In the movie Hitch with Will Smith and Kevin James, Hitch, played by Will Smith, is the ‘Date Doctor,’ a man who hires himself out to help other men get dates with women, often unattainable women. Albert, played by Kevin James, is just such a man, shy, clumsy, and awkward. He wants the beautiful, rich, and famous Allegra. In one scene Albert tells Hitch that dancing is one area that he does not worry about when it comes to women. He thinks he has moves. With a questioning look, Hitch asks Albert to show him what he means by that. Hitch puts on some music and what follows is one of the funniest scenes in film.
Hitch’s advice to Albert of “this is where you live” to show that Albert does not need any wild moves to dance made me think of beginners in Aikido. Yes, Hitch and Aikido! When we start in aikido, everything is so awkward and strange, we don’t know which foot goes where or what to do with our hands. We are timid and try to make as few mistakes as possible. On the other hand, we also watch the advanced students, the black belts, and we see how they fly around the dojo, we observe their confidence and their ability to know where to step and what their hands are supposed to do. To a beginner, the advanced students look like Will Smith dancing.
So…as beginners we want to emulate the advanced students and try things beyond our abilities. We want to fly so we attempt to breakfall when we’re not ready. We want to show that we have confidence so we go charging in to attack one of the advanced students and find ourselves crashing to the mat. As beginners we want to throw in the ‘making the pizza’ move.
My advice to beginners. Take it slow. Yes, watch the advanced students. Observe what they do and how they do it. Take the steps and train so that you can do what they do…one day. But don’t try to do it all at once or before your body is trained in the correct form. Don’t try to prove that you can handle it or that you are strong enough to take it. As Hitch said, “you is a fluid concept right now.” As beginners we are learning, changing, and growing. Fluid.
Stick with the basics. “This is where you live.”