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Home > Columns > Ross Robertson > December, 2004 - The Adventures of Ron Dorey, Finding the Secret
by Ross Robertson

The Adventures of Ron Dorey: Finding the Secret by "Erik Taison"

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The time had come for Ron to take his shodan exam. He felt confident and well prepared. Kancho was in town, and everyone was excited about the upcoming seminar. When the time came for Ron's trial, he proceeded according to the usual routine. He performed the required arts, answered the questions, and negotiated whatever surprises were thrown at him. Still, Kancho was not entirely satisfied. He quietly declared that Ron had not passed, and would need to be reexamined at some unspecified point in the future.

Understandably, Ron was angry and frustrated. Still, there was nothing he could do about it, and had no idea even of what skills needed to be worked on. So, he put the event behind him and got on with his life. Ron continued steadfast training.

Later that year, Kancho returned for another visit, this time in a city 200 miles to the north. Ron and several other dojo mates packed up their dogi and made the trip. In the locker room, Ron changed out of his street clothes, put on his training pants, jacket, belt, and hakama. He then decided it would be prudent to go empty his bladder before bowing in, so as to enjoy the training more.

Standing at the urinal, he gradually became aware of a presence just the other side of the partition to his left. To his astonishment, he saw a partially bald head peer around the divider. A short, round Japanese man stared interestedly at him as he continued in his business of nature. There was Kancho in the stall right next to him, and now he was watching Ron pee!

Now, for the unlearned, it is worth pointing out that it's possible for a guy to successfully urinate without removing his hakama. But doing so without embarrassment, without mishap, requires not only a bit of dexterity, but some ingenuity as well. Apparently it was this fact that had aroused Kancho's curiosity and led him to investigate. Kancho nodded imperceptibly, and said, "Ah... so, Ron-san, I see you've found the secret."

The seminar ran its course, and that evening there was a banquet held in Kancho's honor. During the festivities, Kancho presented Ron with a shiny new black belt, and congratulated him on his success. No explanation was ever given as to why Ron had failed in the first place, nor for that matter, why Kancho had decided to pass him at this time.


Etai the Sage comments: When relieving oneself in the presence of others, great calmness is required. Calmness -- but also true focus of aim, and resoluteness of purpose. These are attributes of an enlightened warrior. Train always.

"The Adventures of Ron Dorey" is a series of apocrypha, lore, recollections, hearsay, and invention, relating to life in aikido. The stories are gathered from personal histories, eyewitness accounts, eavesdroppings, and a somewhat exaggerated imagination. If you recognize yourself in any of these tales, and wish your true identity revealed, the author will publish your version of the story at a later date, pending verification, signed release forms, and appropriate submission of bribes.

E. Taison is a mischievous imp who haunts the mats at the Still Point Aikido Center in Austin, Texas, USA. He sometimes steals Ross' laptop and writes these stories. Any factual errors are entirely his fault.

© Ross Robertson, 2004

Ross Robertson
Still Point Aikido Center
Austin, Texas, USA

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