“Keiko” is Japanese for practice. Kei means to consider. Ko means something that is old. Rather than “pressing forward” the word suggests a kind of “pressing backward” and repeatedly revisiting something.

We can’t hope to “get” any aikido technique on our first pass at it – or maybe not even our 100th try. Without the spirit of keiko, without ignoring the chatter in our own head, we’ll find ourselves defeated before we take a step. Every technique contains infinite levels of understanding – it’s like staring into the abyss. So in truth, no one will ever completely “get it.” The value I place in a student for technical skill or athletic ability is very small compared to a student who demonstrates the spirit of keiko.