Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 16,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
Last night at the dojo I attended two of Garza Sensei's classes. I don't normally train on Wednesday night, but this was the first night I was going to begin tutoring him in Japanese, so out of respect I trained with him on the mats.
I enjoyed both classes a lot, but I can't remember much of what we did. (I'll explain why in a moment) Having the chance to work with a slightly different set of uke was nice. It always helps to have different body types and skill levels to work with. There was a newly minted blue belt training with me. He was in the very first class I ever attended. I always have enjoyed training with him because he's a really thoughtful nage. He pays attention to you in an intense and friendly way.
At the end of the class, after the final bows, Toyoda Sensei called me to the front of the class to present me with my scroll. As he was reading the scroll in Japanese, my mind completely left the dojo. For a moment I was back in the Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto. I completely lost touch with everything that was happening around me, just as it happened when I was in the temple earlier this year…
Something connects me with Aikido and Japan. I feel this really strong connection that's haunting and comforting at the same time. My trip earlier this year woke something up inside of me that's been sleeping for a long time.
…I heard hands clapping, and in an instant Toyoda Sensei was presenting me with my scroll and a small AAI booklet. It was almost like whiplash. Bam! I was back in the dojo and everyone was clapping. After class I was given the stripe for my belt, making my 7th kyu rank official.
The whole experience shook me up on the inside, much the same way it did when I was in Japan. I don't mean it was a bad thing, but it knocked my mind off it's axis for a while, so I really have no clue what we did in those classes. I keep trying to remember but I can't. Maybe in a few days the experience won't be so cloudy.
It's the beginning of the beginning for me. I know little more than a handful of sand in an entire desert. But that handful of things, those little pieces I do know, need to become smooth and shiny. I'm not just speaking about Aikido, I'm speaking about life. Adult life.
When I turned 25, I took a good look at who I was and the kind of life I was living. There were good points and bad ones, and I made it my goal to try and smooth out the bad things and strengthen the good ones. In three years, I've done a lot. But there is still so much more to do.
Aikido has opened up so much for me in just a short time. It's given me the chance to meet some fantastic people, and to learn volumes more about myself than I ever knew. In many ways, Aikido is a new set of eyes for me. It's a new way of seeing the rose through world colored glasses.
senri no michi mo ippo kara
a thousand-ri journey begins with a single step*