Aikido and Schizophrenia


Aikido Kenkyukai Pennsylvania

Ambler, Pennsylvania

“…your Self was just forgotten and all you must do is remember it again.  And it is larger and much more beautiful than you have imagined it to be…”

October 11, 2006

The following letter is an act of bravery. When asked to write something describing his experiences as a schizophrenic training aikido, Justin readily agreed. When we offered to edit the letter so as to hide his identity, he declined, saying, “No, use my name. Maybe it’ll help someone.” Here is the letter written by Justin, who has been training in AKI PA since the late ’90’s.

Dear fellow aikidoists and friends,

Hello. I am Justin, an aikidoist who was once diagnosed as having acute schizophrenia. I’d like to thank Steve Trinkle Sensei for giving me this opportunity to write a little about this. I feel it my joy to tell you of this, Aikido, and what it perpetuates, seemingly forgotten by many and yet to be found and remembered by some again.

Through encouragement from Aikido Kenkyukai and its Pennsylvania dojo, I have found My Aikido – training my mind and my will to move beyond hardship and toil, now within me or without before, but that which was before and now not again.

From Lia Sensei‘s helping me start Aikido, through Kirisawa Sensei, and now with Steve Sensei, I have learned many difficult meanings lost within a sickened mind, at which there is much undoing to be done. This is a vital part of that. I have found Mind may be forgotten or lost by some, like myself, but will again be remembered in the end. Now I can say, as you also may find, I have the courage to choose this again. And that which this is, was that in all. That when I decide to move forward I have found where I must remain. And this, among many other teachings, are the hard lessons I am learning from this method.

I feel unable to speak of the joy and wonder I can achieve, together with the support of my fellows. I mean it feels so much to say just that. And because of changing only that part of that reality, that reality is starting to change for me, all together without much saying or doing in excess. Now my future ahead at least, looks promising, yet I now know this success is not at all self inclusive. I still wonder what it must have been like for me to have not known that my self was a larger Self. And now I have only to remember that this Self was not lost, but only forgotten. And I now say to my mind, “Mind, feel more and think less and better on you go.”, for it was not my loss of thought but my gain of a new mind, the Mind, of feeling. So now, I leave you to find it to be so for you, by finding that your Self was just forgotten and all you must do is remember it again. And that it is larger and much more beautiful than you have imagined it to be, so small and alone as you might once have been.

Thank you,
Justin.

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