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Part 1 -- Energy
My Aikido sensei always pushed us to find applications of Aikido outside the dojo, and I have done that for years. One of my other activities outside of work besides Aikido is mountain biking. I can leave my house on my bike and be on a desert trail in about 90 seconds. I don't get to ride very often but when I do my brain always seems to make connections between my Aikido practice and what I'm doing on my bike.
One of the most important parts of riding off road on hilly terrain is energy management. You have a constant exchange in energy between gravitational potential (elevation), kinetic(speed), and the chemical energy (food, ATP) your body uses in manipulating the bike. Many novice riders find a speed they are comfortable with and keep it relatively constant during their ride, up hill or down. This makes for a more tiring ride. They will tend to use their brakes to reduce speed on downhills and then have to use their own energy to get up the next hill rather than exchanging gravitational energy for kinetic. This technique results because they are not yet comfortable with their ability to control the bike at higher speeds, and they are afraid of crashing. The average speed of the rider is also slower since the up hill climbs are started at a lower speed and are more difficult.
The experienced rider will be using the hills to their advantage to gain speed and keep as much as possible of it to help them get up the next hill. This is best illu
Many people around the world have read "The Book of Five Rings" (Go Rin no Sho) by the great Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Even though the book is about swordsmanship, it is one of the greatest works on tactics ever written. Musashi's book is to tactics what Sun Tsu's "The Art of War" is to strategy. It is practically required reading for any Japanese businessperson and anyone that wants to do business with them. The ideas expressed in the book can be applied to virtually every interaction between individuals or groups. Of course as a martial arts practitioner, I am most interested in the philosophies as they can be applied to the art that I teach, Aikido (in addition to Wing Chun, of which I am a student).
In the "Earth Scroll" section of his book, Musashi lists the rules for those intending to pursue his martial art:
1.Think of what is right and true.
2.Practice and cultivate the science.
3.Become acquainted with the arts.
4.Know the principles of the crafts.
5.Understand the harm and benefit in everything.
6.Learn to see everything accurately.
7.Become aware of what is not obvious.
8.Be careful even in small matters.
9.Do not do anything useless.
In my search for a name for my Aikido school, I recently re-read portions of The Book of Five Rings (TBOFR), including these "dojo rules" from the Earth Scroll. I remember reading them the first time and being struck by the principles outlined in them. My training as an engineer and work teaching physic