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So I've been training for 2 1/2 months now, or I should say training at ASL again. I took a break in 95, then started again in 2000 at SFSU. Injuries, rather serious chronic ones to both my knees have prevented me from being the martial artist I want to be. My fault. I used to feel like 'no pain no gain' and 'mind over body' were good motto's. Now I know better. So I can't be the ~martial~ artist I'd like to be, and sometimes it makes training hard.
It sucks to say 'sorry I can't do that one.' or to back off when someone bows to me, then sit off to the side and watch while others train. I have been over protective of my knees for the last 8 years, now I need to push myself, but I don't know what is a healthy push to the limit and what is getting me back to the gonzo martial mindset that got me injured in the first place.
I have a test coming up soon. 9 years overdue. A fellow aikidoka joked about my serious racking of hours without a test. Anymore I don't know if I even want to test. I don't feel I deserve the rank if I can't perform all of the test requirements the way everyone does.
There are people who were at the dojo when I first left who were happy to see me return. I feel like I let them down by not being able to engage them the way I used to before the injury. I feel frustrated when I want to join in and worry that one small mistake and I'm out for weeks yet again.
I'd like to find a middle ground. I want to train and feel like I am part of my dojo. My
How lucky I was to sit and witness the coming together of so many different skillful people. In the morning it was weapons at Chabot park. Everyone was training in an opening surrounded by eucalyptus and redwoods on a day of perfect weather. There was a lot of clacking of wooden weapons and varying ki-ai's. At the end we all circled up and introduced ourselves with name and dojo affiliation. So many people from so many different places. Nevada, Texas, Hawaii, So-Cal, Germany.
Later, back at the dojo there was a very entertaining children's demonstration, and then on to the adult sempai. It was really fascinating to see the unique physical signature of each demonstrator. Eric Winters sensei, Michael McVey Sensei, Bill Essig, and others were each highly skilled in their own right, but each had their own piece of what was passed from O'Sensei, to Saito Sensei, to Hendricks Sensei.
Still there were those who gave small classes. Robert Nadeau sensei, Jack Wada sensei, Kayla Feder sensei, Danielle Smith sensei, and Vince Salvatore sensei all came to contribute. They too had their own grasp of O'Sensei's teaching. It really reinforced to me that it's all legitimate, it's all aikido. Stan Pranin was there as well. He gave a lecture on O'Sensei and discussed a study that he was doing through old film and photos of O'Sensei. Wada sensei and Linda Holiday sensei performed a shinto purification ritual. Very cool. We all sat seiza and participated in spirit while Wada sensei and
Today we had 5 (6?) new uchideshi from Germany. They are all students of Jirka Friedl Sensei. It is interesting to me to be connected to how the uchideshi treat 'my dojo'. Having been an uchideshi when the dai sempai at the time had very high standards for the kohai uch' I have a different perspective on the practice. Jirka Friedl Sensei had also been a very vigilant uchideshi, and I'm sure he will impart the importance of what it is to give one's self to the dojo. Before he arrived however, I saw some of them just sitting while others were cleaning and preparing for class. It was tough to see the lack of interest in taking on what it is to be an uchideshi. It was probably ego related but I took it upon myself to go to the sempai UD and ask him if there was anything I could do. He gave me a few tasks and I think they got the gist. I respect Jirka Friedl sensei and have always thought highly of every one of his students when they have come for an uchideshi-ship at this dojo. I'm sure this goup will prove themselves very worthy of the same impression. Maybe they're jet lagged.
Saturday we all got together and put a new canvass on the mat. Everyone was stretching and anchoring. Nathanael and I were turning to one another and saying things like 'Quick! First tae no henko on the new mat!'
The new cover comes just in time for the 20th anniversary. We've got an amazing itinerary...
10am - 11:30am: Pat Hendricks Sensei Weapons class
11:30am-1pm: Lunch (potluck)
1pm-4pm: Demos and Open House.
Special Class with Bob Nadeau Shihan
Lecture Presentation by Stan Pranin Sensei
Mini classes by Senseis: Danielle Molles Smith, Kayla Feder, and Louis Jumonville
Demos by Sensei: Stephanie Yap, Michael McVey, and Eric Winters
Demos by Sempai's: Bill Essig and Scott Hassler
I'm so eager for the 21st to arrive.
What does this have to do with the philosophical end of aikido? Well I guess it is more my connection to the community aspect. I enjoyed seeing so many people get together to do our own twist on a barn raising, this is the type of community I would like to be immersed in. Those who step forward and come together for the betterment of the group. I know that there are plenty of other venues for such an experience, but mine is aikido. The tennet of harmony is made manifest in our 'play' and 'work'. Yes, not in every instance, not in all moments are we perfect, but our intent is there.
As for the anniversary itself, it is awesome to see so many people coming from so many different places to celebrate the tenure of ASL. There are students com
I guess I haven't really discussed my own intent with aikido or with this journal. I guess I'm trying to flesh out the philosophical aspects, or my understanding of it. My hope is to build on the lessons of my Sensei Pat Hendricks, the Dai Sempai when I was an uchideshi Louis Jumonville, the current Dai Sempai Bill Essig, and one of my best friends Eric Winters. I owe my initial perspective of Aikido to them. Let me send out an official 'domo arigato gozaimashita' to these people.
Humility is a constant keiko, I don't have it down yet, but I'm working on it.
I have been known to take the logical path in terms of aikido, most people generally do not have the understanding of my spiritual path in that regard, I tend to keep it to myself. It has changed my life. My outlook, my demeanor, my understanding of how to relate to people has changed because of aikido. Most people I know now do not see this. They did not know me before aikido.
So what I've journaled so far is a regurgitation of my feelings on some philosophical aspects of aikido. I'm not perfect, but I'm working on being as authentic in my aiki-practice as I can be.
To say 'Aikido is...' can be a dangerous beginning to a broad generalization, which can lead a person to think thay must choose one tine in a forked road. I believe Aikido can be many things. Yes, it is a lot like dancing. The concepts like musubi, and ma ai certainly lead to such an observation, but that sense of timing and spatial understanding is imperative for martial disciplines. Take boxing for example. The martial art of boxing requires one to be quick on their feet and maneuverable in order to dodge jabs and other fast punches. That same boxer must also have a good enough spatial concept so that s/he will deliver an effective blow with appropriate power generation and extension to score against the attacker and possibly stun them enough to land another blow before they dodge or parry.
Consider also that the lack of connection, lack of musubi, lends itself toward injury. The nage must have an understanding of timing and positioning of their uke in order to deliver an iriminage or shihonage (for example) without causing significant injury. The uke is also responsible for cooperating with a nage who might be learning a technique for the first time to perform the task. Aikido has never been described as easy in my experience, the dance in learning allows the nage to create a new neuromotor program that will make the technique easier when the timing, spatial differences, resistance, or variety of ukes, makes the task more difficult.
Masakatsu Agatsu ~ True Victory is self victory
We all have an enemy of sorts in ourselves. Our parents, our peers, our traumatic experiences, all influence our actions and reactions. We have fears, preconceived notions, and prejudices which limit our experience of the world around us and guide us down a path toward self fulfilled prophecy. Many of us have a disconnect related to these limitations. We have a ‘firewall' of sorts which can be constant or triggered by some sort of stimulus. This disconnect can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. What many of us are not conscious of is that our very being is dynamic in its existence. Our body is our mind is our soul. These fears, notions, traumas, and prejudices manifest and have crossovers in the analogy of body-mind-spirit which is one entity. Our physical brain reacts to spirituo-emotional experiences and releases neurotransmitters which send out messages through the tendrils we call nerves which virtually cover the entirety of our body. Our body responds and in turn affects the environment in which we live. This feed forward causes our environment to reciprocate in some fashion. This reciprocation or feedback is a mirror of our affect. This mirror effect is a gift, but it is up to us to take this gift and apply the lesson functionally. We must choose conscious interaction, unconscious reaction, or some facsimile that is our best effort.
How do we ameliorate? How de we salubriate? What can we do to reach a more clear st