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II have been doing a lot of soul searching lately, and have concluded that I will no longer post my journal on a public forum. I think that for me the posting on a public forum is only making my struggle with my ego more difficult. With all the literature I have been reading on Budo, Zen Buddhism, and Aikido Philosophy I can't help but think that posting my journal on a public forum is saying "Hey look at me. Look what I'm doing"! That I think is a big part of my problem with following this way. I try too hard to gain recognition and praise, where what I really need to do is just strive to be the best I can be without worrying about what others think whether it be good or bad.
I have come to realize that every time I make an accomplishment I have a need for someone, actually everyone, to know about it. I now see how egotistical this is and I need to take steps to stop this. I'm pretty sure this bragging has caused a rift in some important relation ships in my life. So my goal now is to try and move away from the me/I focus and start training towards the we/us focus. I just wish I didn't have to struggle through this alone. But then again it's probably best this way as the need for a mentor to tell me whether I'm diminishing my ego or not is just another desire to get a pat on the back.
So to those that did read my journals I apologize. I do find my journals helpful to me, and I will continue to journal, but I am now questioning why I need to publicize them.
On the second day in Calgary I had planned to visit the Calgary Ki Society and hopefully train. While I headed to their dojo Diane and the kids went to the Zoo. I got to the dojo to watch the last half hour of the kids class with James Angevine Sensei, the head of Calgary Ki Society, instructing. While I was watching David English Sensei, 3rd dan yudansha, whom I had spoke to from Winnipeg on the phone, entered and welcomed me into the dojo. Upon discovering who I was English Sensei invited me to train. I couldn't say no despite the trouble my back was giving me.
Since it was a long weekend it was a small class. Five of us in all! Angevine Sensei is a 6th dan whom has trained under Tohei Sensei in Japan. His technique is extremely light and he emphasizes to his students to be as light as possible. This lightness of technique was practiced in the exercises at the beginning of class. Sensei went through sankyu and rather than gripping the fingers and hand into sankyu he had us lightly hold the hand with one hand and and merely control lightly the fingers into sankyu with the other. The lighter control, rather than grip, help the nage feel the uke's energy thus it seemed easier to respond to and follow the flow of the uke's energy. Despite the feeling I was a bare beginner under Angenvine sensei I felt like I had learned a lot in that class. I wish that I had time to practice what I had learned. It is apparent to me that if I ever have to move to Calgary as an RTC, I at lea
My vacation is coming up in less than a week and my family and I are going on a road/camping trip. We will be driving from Winnipeg to Calgary, north to Edmonton, over to Prince Albert, then to Dauphin, and finally home to Winnipeg. I have plans on visiting a couple of Ki Aikido dojo's in Calgary and Edmonton. It will be nice to train again. I haven't been on the mat for a while. The two dojo's I plan to go to are the Calgary Ki Society, and the Edmonton Yiushinkai. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Upon finishing the very compelling and informative "Three Pillars of Zen" I wanted to look into whether or not Zen sittings were held at any of the Buddist temples in Winnipeg. What I found out was that Zazen sittings are being organized, from my understanding, for the first time for lay people starting Saturday at 0930 at 761 Westminster and regularly there after Monday to Friday from 0630-0730.
I think this being available now is speaking volumes to my fatalist sensibilities. Everything happens for a reason and it seems that me discovering this now when my path in Aikido has been taken from me is nothing less than a sign. Aside from finding this new path is available for me at a time that is convenient for my family I understand that there will be a Sesshin organized at a later date for those who wish to delve more seriously into themselves using zazen. Sesshin is overseen by a Roshi, or Zen master, to help guide you to Kensho (enlightenment) through the use of intense zazen and Koans (Zen riddles such as what is the sound of one hand clapping). According to the book there are many stages of kensho, and it could take years to get to even the first stage.
I think spiritually this is something that I have been looking for. I hope that no obstacles stand in my way on this path. I will keep you all informed.
You will all now hear an admission of a rather unusual bad habit that I have had, and wrestled with, all my life. I am a perpetual motion machine. To be more specific I rock. No I don't mean I'm constantly playing the air guitar and bobbing my head to some unheard music, though it's not far from the truth. What I mean by rocking is that I can't sit in a chair without rocking back and forth in it. I have never liked it but have never been able to control it. As a kid in my teens I always hoped that I would just grow out of it, but I am into my forties now and still rock. All who know me well have seen me rock often and most think nothing of it any more. Those who don't know me must think I'm a little off when first they witness this odd physical tic.
Why am I telling you this? It's because I have noticed that the calmness that I train and strive for in my Aikido training is beginning to calm my habit of rocking. This is only just beginning mind you, but is happening just the same.
Before I started training in Aikido I was totally oblivious to my rocking habit when it started while sitting watching TV, or reading something on the computer at work, until someone made a comment about it. Now as part of my own training out of the dojo I am consciously and constantly trying to find my one point and in turn that relaxes my shoulders first then other parts of my body follow. When this happens that "need" to rock gets washed away. I sit there in my chair reveling in the stilln
Now that I am on an evening shift my family is finding it very difficult with me being gone to train at the dojo on the little time that is available when my wife or I are not at work, or my kids are not at school. My son is having problems at school that require my full attention now. The two days I'm off work I need to make myself available to him when he gets home from school. Now that my wife is working full time I almost never see her. The few times I can see her I was attending classes for the most part. So needless to say this new arrangement is grating on everyone's nerves. Because of this I have informed Sensei that I will no longer be able to train.
I was afraid that this might happen when I moved from night shift to evenings, but after 8 years on nights I couldn't do it any more. The pros of moving to a new shift definitely out weighs the cons of stopping my training as I new that if I were to continue on nights the way I was it would surely have killed me. This compromise was one that I needed to make at this time. I have been and will continue to investigate what my options are with respect to continuing my training in Aikido. Until I find an equitable solution I will try to train on my own the best I can and hope that I don't lose everything that I have learned.
I've been going "aha" about a few things lately that is not only making improvements on my nage waza, (for lack of a better term) but also my ukemi. Sensei has tuned up my nikkyo by showing me that when I'm applying it my fingers aren't pointing downwards and toward my center. I was more rolling my hand over the wrist so I was trying to apply the nikkyo with the weight underside my little pinky. That subtle change in finger direction made all the difference. Now I have to get out of the bad habit and into the good habit of finger placement so the ki is flowing through the technique properly. Practice, practice, practice.
When applying (or in my case trying to apply) three palms up pin, follow ukes energy to the ground during the throw as not to lock out uke's arm. Even though I can get him into a sankyo pin from there I should be able to perform the technique into the three palms up without uke blocking that pin. By following his energy to the ground ukes arm stays slightly bent thus being in good position for the TPU pin. Also I need to make a more cutting motion with my forearm at uke's elbow to initiate the bend in the arm. Practice, practice, practice.
With sankyo the stupid thing is I know what it is I'm doing wrong, and I know what it is I need to do to do it right, I just don't seem to do it. For some reason during sankyo I come up with uke into more of a version of a hammerlock. I rely too much on the wrist and upward movement rather than applying the sa
I have been asked many times by friends and family what makes Aikido different from other martial arts and two stories that I have heard in the last 24 hours seem to say it well. The first story was imparted to my sons cub troop by sensei during a seminar we were doing for them. It goes roughly like this.
A Karate martial artist, a Tai kwon do martial artist, a Judo martial artist, and an Aikido martial artist were standing at the bottom of a hill. A bolder was rolling down the hill for which the Karate martial artist punched and shattered it into dust. Another bolder rolling down the hill was kicked by the Tai Kwon Do martial artist and also was reduced to dust. Another bolder rolling toward the Judo martial artist was picked up and thrown by him. And the Aikido martial artist merely moved out of the way of the bolder rolling towards him. Of course sensei told it much better but you get the gist of the story. At any rate I thought it was a very good comparative parable.
The second story wasn't a story at all, but rather a similarity that Kensho Furuya Sensei was using to describe the difference between DO and JUTSU. This could apply to any martial art but I think it fits well to why and how most Aikidoka train.
He likened Jutsu to cursive writing and Do to calligraphy. One can apply Justu or the technique to make it work as a martial art just as one can write cursively to be understood. It is not difficult to understand a technique enough to apply it i
Ok, now my dojo mates have shed a little more light on the Oroshi, Gaeshi thing I posted in "I just found out". It turns out that with reference to the Japanese language they mean exactly the same thing. However, to satisfy the need for us North Americans to verbally differentiate the physical differences in the techniques, these are the Japanese terms we use. So in this case I really wasn't incorrect in using those terms.
Testing was briefly brought up tonight and even though it might feel nice to have that next rank under my belt (excuse the pun), and put behind me, I am not feeling like I am ready. I don't want a kyu rank that doesn't match my abilities. Also, I don't want to obtain my next rank and, due to my changed work situation, not be able to train as much as I have been. (Which isn't enough now). I am referring to the change from night shift to the afternoon shift at work that will take place in a couple of weeks. Once I start working the afternoon shift the only time I will be able to train is Wednesday's and every second Saturday.
I think the reduced mat time will not only cause me to slow my refinement of the techniques, it will take Sensei a longer time for him to impart these subtle refinements. Even though I will not stop trying to refine my technique, I think I will have to shift my focus more to the conditioning aspect of training in order for me to feel like I'm getting the most out of my training. This is not to say that I haven't been g
After a post by Jamie I decided that it might be prudent to copy this journal to a file on my computer and save it to disc just in case something happens to Jun's server and all this work is lost. While I was doing this I noticed that there were a lot of spelling, and some grammer mistakes. Now I know that my spelling is pretty bad, but after spell checking this journal I realize that my spelling is atrocious.
To the people who actually read my drivel I apologize perfusely. I will take better care in the future by typing the journal on a word program first to spell and grammer check it.
I also noticed that on a few occations I was refering to the shiho-nage throw as kote-oroshi. I was also spelling a lot of the Japanese terms incorrectly. I intend on remedying this by refering to the proper spelling in books such as "Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training" and "The Dynamic Sphere".
It is unfortunate that I can't go back and correct the mistakes I made in this copy of the journal. At least I now know what my mistakes are and I can learn from them to improve my journal entries in the future. A lot like Aikido training isn't it?