I think today we admire people who go out and get anything they want or can. To me, some appear too forward, too aggressive and a little pushy. But I suppose as long as they themselves are happy it doesn't matter much. This goes for teachers as well as students. In Japanese, at least the older times, we spoke of "enryo" (遠慮). Enryo means to hesitate or show modesty or restraint.
The other day, I spoke of the immediacy of one's answer, "hai," to establish this mental-spiritual connection with the other person. We also see this connection with the other person having enryo by showing hesitation and modesty in their actions. When someone offers something, we used to politely refuse several times before accepting to show our modesty and level of self-restraint. To simply grab what is offered without this little pause of polite ceremony was considered crass and rude by Japanese standard. Some Japanese today say that this gesture is too complicated and takes too much time. For me, it is still a beautiful sentiment. It means that you really care for the other person and hesitate only to make sure of the other person's feelings.
Training is very complicated. Sometimes we must answer quickly but sometimes we hesitate to show who we are and that we are not being too forward or pushy. When we see the other person hesitate in this way with the feeling that they are not trying to offend us, it can really be touching and we respect this person much more. Anyone can grab at what they want, but few can put others before themselves. Aikido training can not only make us strong, but I think it is also to make us very beautiful people too.
Written February 3, 2002.