His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama said this very well:

“There is a very close connection between humility and patience. Humility involves having the capacity to take a more confrontational stance, having the capacity to retaliate if you wish, yet deliberately deciding not to do so. That is what I would call genuine humility. I think that true tolerance or patience has a component or element of self-discipline and restraint–the realization that you could have acted otherwise, you could have adopted a more aggressive approach, but decided not to do so. “
The Art of Happiness

As we search for the answers, practicing Aikido is one way to keep your humility in check. Gentil Pennewaert Shihan always says to his students, “Before you get on the mat, leave your ego in the trunk.” The practice of aikido allows us to see our weaknesses, discover opportunities, and work on ourselves to improve at every level. The mat is a mirror of your ego. You can either blend with the mat or it will clearly show you what you still need to learn. The journey of aikido will be a path that leads will you towards the betterment of your mind, body, and spirit. As the Dalai Lama states, even when you have attained the skills, it then requires you to choose not to display it overtly. Having the patience and self-discipline to hold back on flaunting your rank is important in your development of humility.

Humility for a Better World

According to Sensei Brian Ericksen (Head Instructor, Heaven & Earth Aikido, 5th Dan) of Heaven and Earth, O’Sensei talked about Aikido making the world a better place. Our late Seichii Sugano Sensei explained how to do that. He talked about the contradiction of the practice and the ideals of Aikido and the remedy. 

The idea of Aikido is about harmony and working with others. The practice makes people stronger than others who don’t. The ego becomes larger as they can do things to others with less practice cannot do. This is not real skill though. The practice is by established rules. This is false ego. How does someone go beyond the practice, past the ego and get to the philosophy? It must be by making the practice real. It must be by action which has a connection to the words the philosophy. If Aikido is about love, one must be loving- in actions and not words. If Aikido is about giving, one must give. This is why at some of my schools I have asked them to raise money for children who don’t have. This is real action and its helps to make the practice real. It makes the words more than just talking.

One must act on the ideals of Aikido in order to make one kind, generous, loving through the practice. As we improve our practice, we improve ourselves and a better world is made.

Aikido is Humbling

According to Charn Pennewaert in How to be more humble with 25+ top professionals, aikido is humbling.

When you are grateful and appreciative of life, you realize that there is room for improvement. Understanding this concept is so important to self-growth. When you have humility, you are more open to receiving and connecting with the universe and people. Humility opens doors while arrogance closes them.

As an assistant aikido teacher (Fukushidoin) and with over 20 years of experience, I am always reminded to let go of my ego. Aikido is a martial arts that focuses on connecting, feeling and awareness. This connection allows you to redirect the opponent’s energy towards a positive outcome.

Aikido teaches you humility because there is no competition. It is only you against yourself on the mat. Physically, you can see and feel the disconnect when the ego gets in the way. When you practice the true art of aikido with humility, you and your partner are aligned and there is no destructive or aggressive behavior. The result is harmony.

In business today, aikido is used in leadership strategies. The concepts of aikido parallel the concepts of leadership. When you are faced with challenges, being humble and open minded allows you gain strength to overcome life’s struggles.

Humbleness can also be gained if one practices meditation and grounding. The process allows you to be more in tune with nature and present. Being present allows him to have a natural confidence and appreciation that does promote humility.