I acquired a new belt in my aikido yesterday. It’s yellow, not black, but I’ve not been doing it for long, so give me time.
Aikido is a funny old martial art. It is quite “meta” and attracts (a) people who have previous martial arts experience and (b) people who are a quite well-educated. Or at least it seems to.
Here is an excerpt of a recent warm-up that might give you an inkling of what I mean.
Sensei: “Okay – get into a circle… actually, there are only three of us, get into a triangle. Wrists!”
Me: “Who’d have thought there would be so much geometry in aikido?”
Sensei: “What’s the sum of the internal angles of a triangle? Hips!”
Me: “Er… 180 degrees?”
Sensei: “And do all triangles have 180 degrees in them? Knees!”
Me: “Um, no, sensei. Only in Euclidean geometry.”
Sensei: “That’s right! So does this triangle have 180? Toes!”
Me: “I suppose it has slightly more than 180?”
Sensei: “Good! Line up!”
This is presumably what they mean when they talk about keeping both mind and body active.