Basic to all martial art training is the concept of Zanshin, or mindful awareness. A regular practice of meditation will greatly improve the student's understanding of what is termed "the nature of mind." All physical techniques ultimately reflect and rest in this state of present conscious awareness.
ASNJ students are given instruction in the principles of awareness and “just being”; and while only a small portion of class time is devoted directly to meditation, students are encouraged to develop a regular sitting practice of their own. Hand-to-hand self-defense techniques become a form of moving meditation.
In the early 1980's, after examination of many different Eastern meditation techniques, Shihan Stickles concentrated his practice on the Tibetan system called Dzogchen. This is an open-eyed, inclusive sitting technique. His principal teacher was Dean Sluyter, a dharma teacher in advaita and nondual traditions, who founded a meditation sangha at the dojo’s original Elizabeth location.
Each Sunday morning at 9:00, a regular meeting of the meditation sangha takes place at the Aikido Schools dojo in Roselle Park, led by facilitators who studied directly with Mr. Sluyter. Any member of the general public is invited to this Sunday morning sitting session free of charge. Additional instruction in this meditation technique is readily available.
"The secret of Aikido is not how you use your feet. It is how you use your mind."
Morihei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido