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aikigirl10
04-11-2006, 05:25 PM
Well, the past few months in my life have gone by with little to no aikido training in it at all. I think i may have been to the dojo once in the year 2006. And while sometimes, the atmosphere at my aikido dojo can be somewhat annoying, this dry spell seems to be more of my own will. Not only that, but also probably the longest "break" i've ever taken. I also don't feel guilty like i normally do after taking a while off. I dont know why. Usually i beat myself up over missing practice but not now. I don't know what to do really.

It's not that i'm even upset about the whole thing. I mostly am just curious. I'm curious about why i have no interest. I dont want to quit at all, but i just have no interest in going right now. I haven't even practiced at home any. I haven't studied my Aikido 3D, and i've rarely been thinking about Aikido. And, i have absolutely no one and nothing to blame for it, except my mind just isnt in it.

Anyway, My question is , has anyone here ever simply lost interest for a while? Or is it just me? Did you pick back up later? If so, how long did it take you to get back in it?

Any answers, suggestions, or stories would be very helpful. Thanks!!
*Paige*

Dennis Good
04-11-2006, 06:35 PM
I've seen this many times and experienced it myself. Sometimes we get "burnt out" and need a break, sometimes our priorities simply change and sometimes we just stop getting what we need from where we are. For me, when my instructor left a while back and sold the school my options were very limited and not very desirable. After a while I had all but given up. Just recently circumstances have changed and I am now doing Aikido regularly again and will soon be teaching again. I've also gone through a burn out stage early on in my aikido career. What I've seen is those that make it back from something like that come back better and more focused. They remember the framework but have lost the bad habits. For those that don't make it back on the mat, there is nothing wrong with that either. But the worst thing is wanting to do Aikido and can't.

Derek Gaudet
04-11-2006, 08:24 PM
I've also seen it happen to friends of mine. Actually you paraphrased quite well what they had told me. I too experienced it, but not quite to your extent. My former place of training became the "burn out" for me, the atmosphere that was projected, but never the Aikido itself. I now train with some friends on my own until I move to the area in which another dojo is located. Been doing it only 6 years, but never thought of giving up, and I don't believe you want to either judging from your post. I simply got rid of the source of my mal feelings to enhance my enjoyment of the art itself. I used to beat myself up over missing a single class too, but near the end of my stay at that dojo it didn't bother me anymore. You may just need a break, so take one, then go back and see if it changes. Good Luck Paige, in whatever you do.

Perry Bell
04-11-2006, 08:33 PM
Well, the past few months in my life have gone by with little to no aikido training in it at all. I think i may have been to the dojo once in the year 2006. And while sometimes, the atmosphere at my aikido dojo can be somewhat annoying, this dry spell seems to be more of my own will. Not only that, but also probably the longest "break" i've ever taken. I also don't feel guilty like i normally do after taking a while off. I dont know why. Usually i beat myself up over missing practice but not now. I don't know what to do really.

It's not that i'm even upset about the whole thing. I mostly am just curious. I'm curious about why i have no interest. I dont want to quit at all, but i just have no interest in going right now. I haven't even practiced at home any. I haven't studied my Aikido 3D, and i've rarely been thinking about Aikido. And, i have absolutely no one and nothing to blame for it, except my mind just isnt in it.

Anyway, My question is , has anyone here ever simply lost interest for a while? Or is it just me? Did you pick back up later? If so, how long did it take you to get back in it?

Any answers, suggestions, or stories would be very helpful. Thanks!!
*Paige*

Hi Paige

What makes you think you have stopped training, you have come to the biggest dojo in the world here on Aikiweb to learn what to do about how you feel, so mmmm the training continues, just when you thought it was safe not to train you find out you never stopped wow how cool is that. ;) Now get back on that mat and rest your mind :D

Take care, be happy

Perry :)

ian
04-12-2006, 06:56 AM
Yep - I've lost interest for a while. Don't beat yourself up about it! Do whatever you need to at the time.

Dirk Hanss
04-12-2006, 07:57 AM
Hi Paige,
I 've been reading your post quite a while now, so I wonder, why you're really taking the break.

I had a break of nearly ten years and I had good reasons for all the time - I thought.

Yes I felt missing something during this time, but how much I missed it, I only realised, when I came back to practice, although I never felt not being an aikidoka.

Now I am active again, at least twice a week and everything is fine. Yes I missed some grading, my health/fitness could have been better and my weight a little bit lower, but whatever I missed all over the time is back.

Just my 2 cts.

Dirk

SeiserL
04-12-2006, 08:00 AM
Learning plateaus, lost of interest, and burn out are very common in extended activities such as Aikido training. Usually its temporary if you train through it and get to the next level of training. read George Leonard's "Mastery".

Nick P.
04-12-2006, 09:52 AM
8 years in for me, and I find myself in the same position; sure there have been several low spots along the way, but nothing as sustained (3 months) or as deep as this one. Perhaps it's my two children (2yrs, 3mths) + lack of sleep.

Are you asking about how to regain interest or how to get back to training? I used to think they were so closely related as to be almost the same thing, but now see them as separate; related, but separate.

I was included in the instructions given to my Sensei by his Sensei in Japan four years ago; "If it's Tuesday and there is class, go. If it's Friday and there is class, go. Just go and do Aikido when it is time, and when it is not, don't." ~ maybe this can help you. And when you figure it out you can tell me!

Go. Train. Enjoy.

James Davis
04-12-2006, 10:16 AM
I also don't feel guilty like i normally do after taking a while off. I dont know why. Usually i beat myself up over missing practice but not now. I don't know what to do really.
Hmmm, how can I say this as gently as possible?

You shouldn't feel guilty for missing your training, but you could feel a little guilty for the opportunities that you're denying people that want to train with you. ;) While you're gone, nobody is benefitting from your experience.

I'm curious about why i have no interest. I dont want to quit at all, but i just have no interest in going right now.
You're just burnt out a little. You have no interest in going to aikido class for the same reason that I have no interest in going to work. :rolleyes: It's not that it's such an awful place, I'm just a little tired of it. :)

And, i have absolutely no one and nothing to blame for it, except my mind just isnt in it.
I know you've had some minor problems at your dojo, so I'm glad you said that. :)

Anyway, My question is , has anyone here ever simply lost interest for a while?
Yup.
Or is it just me?
Nope.
Did you pick back up later? Yup.

If so, how long did it take you to get back in it? When I was a white belt, a week or so; now that I'm a black belt, I don't feel that I have a choice in the matter. Sempai should be there. :straightf

Any answers, suggestions, or stories would be very helpful. Thanks!!
*Paige*
You're welcome, Paige. It was nice to hear from you again. :)

crbateman
04-12-2006, 12:25 PM
It happens... Sometimes the motivation is misplaced if you don't feel like you're getting out of it those things you want. Often, one can rekindle the energy by taking the training to a different level, thereby giving rise to questions and issues not encountered in day-to-day physical practice. Is there more than this? Why can so-and-so do things easier than I? What did Jones Shihan or Smith Sensei mean when they said that? And how did they learn? What are the core philosophies in Aikido? How did they come to be? If you can ask yourself questions and challenge yourself, emotionally, philosophically and physically, you will naturally be motivated to respond to those challenges. Doesn't work for everybody, but it might work for you. :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-12-2006, 12:36 PM
I took two years off a few years ago for various reasons. Dojo change over in leadership, my son being born, and burn ou and job issue.. I missed it, but made a choice, free and clear. I helped restart our dojo right before I left, and one of the "new" guys at the new location was now higher rank than I was! (Hi to Jim Singleton!) Jim is now a Shodan (maybe Nidan???) and I am still Kyu!

Anyway, I hold no regrets and resentment and actually I feel like I grew some during that time in other ways.

I now am stationed in an area where there is little aikido within a practical commuting distance to train, and I practice BJJ and Army Combatives, because that is part of my job. That said, I do practice the principles of aikido and do work with guys in my classes with AIkido concepts when appropriate.

I may not be progressing along the normal aiki way, I have been "studying" for about 10 years now, and I am not Dan rank...but I also realize that this is not what is always important.

Aikido should be a life long study, it is not like training for the olympics where you only have a few prime years to excel. Take your time, listen to your heart, and body. Be honest with yourself and study (or don't study) for the right reasons!

Good luck in your pursuit of harmony and peace!

wmreed
04-12-2006, 02:47 PM
Paige,

Aikido is part of my life, it is not "my life". As a result, there have been many times when I have stopped training due to other parts of my life becoming more important (birth of a child, new job, birth of a second child). I never completely left, as I have been teaching the children's classes throughout it all. For several years, that was ALL that motivated me to go to the dojo. The result was that my "advancement" stalled at second kyu many years (more than four).

However, in my case, that children's class taught me a lot about my aikido. In fact, my sensei observed me at a seminar and just promoted me to first kyu one weekend.

Obviously, if I'd stopped coming altogether that wouldn't have happened. But some time after that, my interest was renewed for training for my own sake. And it's still interesting. I still enjoy aikido more for the time I spend with my students, but I'm learning to enjoy it again for myself.

If you lose all your interest, it's not the end of the world. But don't be "afraid" to come back if you get interested again. I know some that worry to much about having to justify to the people still at the dojo about why they stopped coming. So now, they'd rather give up on the whole thing. That, to me, is sadder than someone dropping out, or taking a break.


Bill

Bronson
04-13-2006, 10:54 AM
I wholeheartedly second the suggestion for the book "Mastery" by George Leonard. The ups and downs of the learning cylce are much easier to work through when you can recognize them for what they are.

I think most people who've been doing this for a while have experienced some sort of burnout... I did. I was out for almost six months. Eventually my desire to train came back but I had to adjust my training schedule to balance better with the rest of my life.

Good luck with it.

Bronson

aikigirl10
04-13-2006, 09:30 PM
Oh gosh...

Sorry guys, i havent responded back to any of your posts. I totally forgot i even posted this thread lol. I told you I wasnt thinking about Aikido lately!!

Anyway, Everyones been very helpful , i'm just gonna try to wait it out i think and just see what happens. If after a while i still dont have interest, maybe i'll force myself back to one class to see if jogging my memory will also jog my desire to train.

Thanks guys, keep em coming.
*Paige*

aikigirl10
04-13-2006, 09:33 PM
Paige,

Aikido is part of my life, it is not "my life". As a result, there have been many times when I have stopped training due to other parts of my life becoming more important (birth of a child, new job, birth of a second child). I never completely left, as I have been teaching the children's classes throughout it all. For several years, that was ALL that motivated me to go to the dojo. The result was that my "advancement" stalled at second kyu many years (more than four).

However, in my case, that children's class taught me a lot about my aikido. In fact, my sensei observed me at a seminar and just promoted me to first kyu one weekend.

Obviously, if I'd stopped coming altogether that wouldn't have happened. But some time after that, my interest was renewed for training for my own sake. And it's still interesting. I still enjoy aikido more for the time I spend with my students, but I'm learning to enjoy it again for myself.

If you lose all your interest, it's not the end of the world. But don't be "afraid" to come back if you get interested again. I know some that worry to much about having to justify to the people still at the dojo about why they stopped coming. So now, they'd rather give up on the whole thing. That, to me, is sadder than someone dropping out, or taking a break.


Bill

That was very well said, i completely agree
Thanks

emma.mason15
04-13-2006, 09:44 PM
If it helps im on an indefinate break too ..... my dojo closed ... and when he reopens i dont think i'll be able to pay the fees .... but im ok ./.. i do a little at home with a mate ... and we get by ...

aikigirl10
04-13-2006, 09:44 PM
Hmmm, how can I say this as gently as possible?

You shouldn't feel guilty for missing your training, but you could feel a little guilty for the opportunities that you're denying people that want to train with you. ;) While you're gone, nobody is benefitting from your experience.


This is a very good point, (not to brag) But not only that but i *do* miss training with all the people there as well because it usually is a great experience and all of them are great aikidoka as i see it. And even more importantly, its not so much about the training but just seeing everyone again. Idk, i really do miss seeing my sensei, hes a great person and always motivating me, but i just can't see myself going back unless i'm going to train, and right now i dont want to train. Deep down maybe i do, but until those feelings towards aikido surface again, i think i may just have to relax for a while.

I'm still going to shaolin as often as possible so i know havent lost interest in MAs in general. Thank God.

*Paige*

James Davis
04-14-2006, 10:24 AM
I'm still going to shaolin as often as possible so i know havent lost interest in MAs in general. Thank God.

*Paige*
Glad to hear it, Paige. Happy Easter. :)

senshincenter
04-14-2006, 09:18 PM
I say to learn to move beyond interest, motivation, want, and the such. This stuff is only there to get us in the door. They are like the tip of a spear - when all the thrusting power comes from what's backing it up. Figure out what backs up what. In my opinion, no practice can survive if it is based upon interest, entertainment, motivation, want, etc. These things are fleeting, they change with the wind and with the planet even, etc. If your practice is dependent upon these things, eventually your practice will halt. Why? Because eventually these things always halt themselves.

I say real training has nothing to do with wanting to train. It's about doing what needs to be done because it needs to be done - like breathing. You inhale, you exhale - or you don't, never again.

aikigirl10
04-15-2006, 09:09 AM
I say to learn to move beyond interest, motivation, want, and the such. This stuff is only there to get us in the door. They are like the tip of a spear - when all the thrusting power comes from what's backing it up. Figure out what backs up what. In my opinion, no practice can survive if it is based upon interest, entertainment, motivation, want, etc. These things are fleeting, they change with the wind and with the planet even, etc. If your practice is dependent upon these things, eventually your practice will halt. Why? Because eventually these things always halt themselves. .


Ok... so you're saying i should force myself to do something i don't want to do at the moment? Ok, thats fine when it comes to having a job, or getting school work done, or going to church, but hobbies, or sports?

No, see that never works. Been there, done that.


I say real training has nothing to do with wanting to train. It's about doing what needs to be done because it needs to be done - like breathing. You inhale, you exhale - or you don't, never again.


Well, i can't help that i breathe. My body does it on its own. My body doesn't do Aikido on its own. My mind has to tell it that i want to do Aikido. And right now my mind doesn't want to tell my body that.

And like i said, It's not that i'm totally not motivated. If i had lost interest completely then i wouldn't be here doing this right now.

senshincenter
04-15-2006, 01:23 PM
Ok... so you're saying i should force myself to do something i don't want to do at the moment? Ok, thats fine when it comes to having a job, or getting school work done, or going to church, but hobbies, or sports?

No, see that never works. Been there, done that.

Well, i can't help that i breathe. My body does it on its own. My body doesn't do Aikido on its own. My mind has to tell it that i want to do Aikido. And right now my mind doesn't want to tell my body that.

And like i said, It's not that i'm totally not motivated. If i had lost interest completely then i wouldn't be here doing this right now.

Forcing is part of attaching want to training. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about a totally different way of relating to training something beyond wanting, not wanting, forcing, etc.

If one can't move beyond that, then one knows very well why sometimes they quit and/or don't mind quitting, etc. - because desire is fleeting. If our training remains based in desire - even when we are stubborn enough to force ourselves against our desires - our training will be fleeting (just like our desires always are).

There are ways of relating to training - so that it becomes like breathing - so "our bodies do it on their own." Until we figure that out, until we realize that it's not about forcing ourselves into something, etc., then we should at least know why we quit, want to quit, think of quitting, etc., and we also know that we will eventually. Desire cannot ever support commitment. Desire supports only convenience.

my opinion,
d

giriasis
04-15-2006, 01:40 PM
Paige, follow your own instinct on what is best for you for this time in your life. One or two things are going on. One, you're discovering that you enjoy Shaolin more than Aikido hence you are still going to Shaolin more. Or, two, you really want to go to aikido but you are feeling guilty about not going so you don't go. If you miss aikido and want to feel that feeling again that you got before then just go and go to enjoy yourself. Or, If you really prefer Shaolin over Aikido then practice Shaolin.

Mark Uttech
04-15-2006, 01:55 PM
This is a typical situation where one tries to "kill two birds with one stone". Actually it is better to stay with one art alone for ten years. That is the art of killing one bird with one stone. You might get good at it.

aikigirl10
04-15-2006, 08:44 PM
This is a typical situation where one tries to "kill two birds with one stone". Actually it is better to stay with one art alone for ten years. That is the art of killing one bird with one stone. You might get good at it.

So after exactly 10 years, all of a sudden something will just trigger inside of me and i will miraculously be able to handle more than one art at once. Omg, i don't want to say thats ridiculous, but thats ridiculous.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with crosstraining as long as your body, and mind can handle it. Maybe you should reword that to " I choose to stay with one art for 10 years" What works for you may not work for everyone else.

aikigirl10
04-15-2006, 08:52 PM
I'm talking about a totally different way of relating to training something beyond wanting, not wanting, forcing, etc.

And what is that "way"/ "something" exactly?

If one can't move beyond that, then one knows very well why sometimes they quit and/or don't mind quitting, etc. - because desire is fleeting. If our training remains based in desire - even when we are stubborn enough to force ourselves against our desires - our training will be fleeting (just like our desires always are).

..snip...

Desire cannot ever support commitment. Desire supports only convenience.

my opinion,
d

Omg, this makes no sense whatsoever. lol Why don't you talk more like a human being and less like a science book?

Derek Gaudet
04-15-2006, 09:29 PM
Paige,
I think David is trying to say, that a desire for training is not important. Even if you enjoy training, the desire is not necessary. If commitment is based on desire, then what happens when desire is temporarily lost?...well commitment is temporarily lost. Commitment should not be temporary, or it is not true commitment. However, if we want to train it is convenient to us when we have to train, therefore the desire of training is only convenient to need of training. If we understand, that we only have a lifetime to focus on something as large as Aikido, then to even attempt to understand it will take commitment, meaning weather we want to or not, we train. David was saying that Aikido training to a serious practitioner should be like breathing, one does not desire to breath, they simply do. Now I understand anyone could say "I desire to breath" , not true, you desire to live, breathing is innate. Therefore if we simply train, and understand that we train regardless of how we feel that particular day (I.E. "I feel lazy so I'll stay at home", or "I just don't want to"), then in the end it does benefit us. No one "desires" to "screw up" or have a "Bad night", or take a hit, whatever, but all those are part of training, and we accept them as such. Well that's my attempt at understanding David's post. I personally like his post, they make you think ;) .

Now, something tells me you are not wanting to give up on Aikido, or you would not of posted here, or still be posting regarding this particular subject. It tells me your looking for a reason either to justify your "Leaving", or reinforce your "Staying", but only you can make this decision. If you do not wish to train in Aikido anymore, then no one will hold it against you, and if you want to continue training, then simply go to class. I understand that the fire may at times feel like it goes out, but it usually comes back. When you do the same techniques 1000 times you tend to get bored, and feel like there is a loss of interest, but repetition is essential to understanding. Basically good Aikido comes from dedication, train whenever possible regardless of "how you feel" and good Aikido will come.
This is all assuming some part of you wishes to return to Aikido, but if that is not the case, then nothing here applies.

Just my opinion, nothing more,

aikigirl10
04-15-2006, 10:08 PM
Paige,
I think David is trying to say, that a desire for training is not important. Even if you enjoy training, the desire is not necessary. If commitment is based on desire, then what happens when desire is temporarily lost?...well commitment is temporarily lost. Commitment should not be temporary, or it is not true commitment. However, if we want to train it is convenient to us when we have to train, therefore the desire of training is only convenient to need of training. If we understand, that we only have a lifetime to focus on something as large as Aikido, then to even attempt to understand it will take commitment, meaning weather we want to or not, we train. David was saying that Aikido training to a serious practitioner should be like breathing, one does not desire to breath, they simply do. Now I understand anyone could say "I desire to breath" , not true, you desire to live, breathing is innate. Therefore if we simply train, and understand that we train regardless of how we feel that particular day (I.E. "I feel lazy so I'll stay at home", or "I just don't want to"), then in the end it does benefit us. No one "desires" to "screw up" or have a "Bad night", or take a hit, whatever, but all those are part of training, and we accept them as such. Well that's my attempt at understanding David's post.

Thank you, it makes much more sense when you don't talk like a robot. And I understand entirely what you are trying to say. However, i don't agree that Aikido, in full, should be involuntary like breathing. There are certain principles that i think should "be like breathing" , and those principles are still with me throughout my everyday life, so in a sense, they have become involuntary. But the physical aspect of Aikido (which involves attending practice) is not involuntary to me, nor do i think it really should be. I think the physical part is the part that should be chosen, and right now I am not choosing to go to practice. Reason? Solution? Thats why I'm on Aikiweb right now.

And at some point I do intend on going back, whether it's by choice or by force, simply because i do consider myself committed and i think it would do me good.

It tells me your looking for a reason either to justify your "Leaving", or reinforce your "Staying", but only you can make this decision. ,

Well, i don't think you used the right words here. Either that, or you're not saying what i'm trying to say.

I'm not trying to "justify" why i left or why i should go back, I'm simply discussing the possible reasons of why i have taken such a long break. Not only that, but just getting others' opinions on the subject and seeing what other experiences people on here may have had with this.

You're right though. In the end, it is my decision and it will be my decision, but there's nothing wrong with some simple discussions on a public forum , while i weigh things out in my mind.

Thanks
*Paige*

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 12:06 AM
Come on - who's the robot here? Who has one level of training, starts finding out it wasn't all that, then looks to attack the messenger while at the same time saying nothing new is being said? Talk about a habitual reaction-preprogrammed response to certain "touchy" issues.

This is all very simple - if you want to see it - but to see it you got to realize how stuck you are. You know you are stuck, but you don't want to be stuck, and more than that you don't want anyone pointing out that you are stuck. You seem interested in only hearing folks say, "Yeah, that happened to me, but it just went away - keep going, you'll be fine." The truth is, sure, maybe you can keep going, but you'll never be fine. The cycles of desire and convenience reduce one's practice to an immature level, and from there it is always prone to ending.

Some part of you knows things are not fine. Things are far from fine - because "fine" was when you were training, wanting to train, etc. Now - "Why aren't I training?" Answer: Because you don't want to. "Why don't I want to?" Because all desires end - because desires do not last forever. Asking why desires end is like asking why tomorrow comes. Tomorrow comes because it comes, because it is tomorrow. Desires end because they end - because desires cannot last. In the end then, it is silly to ask, "Why don't I want to train anymore?" It is especially ludicrous to ask it of strangers.

Desires end - period. That leaves you, or anyone else like you, three choices: 1) let the desire die out completely and the practice as well; or 2) find some new desire to hold your interest to training (e.g. hallow crap most folks get attached to: a new rank, a new hakama, a new seminar, a new teacher, a new title, a new federation, a new time in your life, some Aikido fame, or some delusional sense of power or skill, etc.) - starting a never-ending cycle of desire-finding and chasing; or, 3) find a way to take your training beyond desire - to the level of commitment and integration.

That's it - there is no fourth option. It's not robotic - it's just the way it is. As to how do you adopt the third option? First, you stop thinking with your old habits - such that you can first see that what you are currently doing is totally different from what you could be doing; such that you do not feel hostile or insecure in the face of the new and better third option - the only real option for a mature practice. Second, you seek to develop a practice capable of containing and fulfilling your heart/mind (i.e. your inner and most complete self). Third, you surround yourself with a community of other practitioners that also practice in this manner. And fourth, you endure in the art of laying experience upon experience (tanren). It's that simple - and it only gets complex when you are stuck, resistant to self-transformation (the real kind), and/or unable and unwilling to recognize what you are for fear of realizing what you are not.

Derek - you understood the post perfectly.

Josh Reyer
04-16-2006, 12:57 AM
What David is saying is relatively simple. "Do, or do not. There is no 'I want/don't want to'."

In other words, if you want to say, "I do aikido." Then you have to do aikido, rain, sleet, or funky mood. This is budo; if you let "I don't feel like doing aikido today" stop you from training, then stop training altogether; aikido is not for you. Seek for what you need somewhere else.

If you will go "at some point", then go today. There's no good reason not to. Budo in today's society has two goals: a) to defeat an enemy before you, b) to improve oneself, on a physical and mental level. In order for b) to occur, you have to have the discipline to do something even when you don't want to. You have to keep at it.

Does that sound too tough? It is. That's the nature of the beast. Nobody has ever attained a high level of skill in anything by only practicing when they felt like it.

Amelia Smith
04-16-2006, 06:03 AM
David--
I find your analysis of Paige's situation unduly harsh. You seem to be saying that she is not committed to aikido, that her desire to train or not train is trivial in the context of the great practice of aikido, and that taking time away from physical practice has no value.

In my experience and understanding of desire, desire inspires commitment, more than working against it. It's kind of like romance and courtship leading into marriage. Maybe Paige is at a stage in her life where it's not appropriate to be married to aikido. Maybe she needs a sense of herself, of who she is, without aikido. One can cling to notions of commitment and dedication as a kind of crutch for a fragile ego -- sometimes practice is not the thing that inspires growth, or gets one beyond a stuck point.

I took a 6 or 7 month "break" from aikido in 2004 (traveling, and living in an area with no aikido within about a 2-3 day travel radius), then came back to practice for a month or two, had some issues with my local dojo, quit for a month, and now I'm still practicing, and going through a re-commitment phase. I've had to redefine my relationship to aikido, because the community has changed, and I've kept practicing. Kanai Sensei died. Some of my sempai stopped practicing or pulled back. We had a real crisis of leadership. Now, what I got from that time away, along with a couple of extra pounds and a chance for my joints to heal up from an excess of breakfalls over the years, was a sense that yes, I could live without aikido. I didn't necessarily like it, but I could do it. That very take-it-or-leave-it sense which David is condemning is a large part of what's allowed me to keep practicing without relying on a strong leader (for now), to recommit to aikido even though Kanai Sensei is no longer with us.

That's my situation. Paige, I don't know if that sheds any light on your withdrawl from practice or not, but I say, what the heck, take the time. It could even be your body needing a bit of a break -- look at all those old guys who have been practicing for 30, 40 or more years non-stop. Their joints are a wreck! (Well, for a lot of them, anyway). I know you're young, but if you adjust your practice now to fit your needs, that's one thing that will allow you to keep practicing long-term, over the course of decades.

--Amelia

Jorge Garcia
04-16-2006, 10:28 AM
I agree with everyone-on different points. My own experience is that I have trained in Aikido continuously for 11 years with no more than a 2 week break three or four times. I have been injured and I have had back problems (semi serious) but I have trained through all that carefully and am whole and healthy today.
I have been burned out many times and have gone from burnout to burnout. Burnout no longer means anything to me except ashes on top of ashes.
In the first four years, I was excited, learning and going to class to 4 to 5 times a week. From years 5 to 7, I experienced burnout every week. I handled it by skipping the days I felt more burned out and going the days I felt less burned out. I averaged 2 days a week during this time period. Once a month, I would take a week off from Aikido practice to empty out my barrel of ashes and the next week, I returned to picking the day I felt less burned out and going to class that day. In 2003, I started my own dojo and everything went back to happy and excited.In 2005, I started a second dojo and in 2006 my 3rd dojo. My hours of teaching went from 17 a month to 65 hours a month for the last year. I always try to train with the students myself and try to leave as sweaty as the others. I feel great and look forward to every class. I have assistants teach about 10 of those hours for me and sub for me whenever I need it.
I guess three thoughts have always dominated my thought about this.
1) I never plan to quit completely
2) I think this activity is good for me on many levels so I am going to do it.
3) I can always let everything go - tomorrow.
Best,
Jorge

Pauliina Lievonen
04-16-2006, 10:35 AM
I think it's ok to not be committed. I do a lot of stuff in my life that I'm not commited to, like hang out here on Aikiweb when I feel like it, and only when I feel like it. I think the important part is to decide what things you want to be commited to and what not.

This discussion came at a very good moment for me, I want to thank you all!

kvaak
Pauliina
off to cook some chicken&sweet potatoes...

Pauliina Lievonen
04-16-2006, 10:45 AM
3) I can always let everything go - tomorrow.
Best,
Jorge
I think this is an important part of being committed to something actually. It's like my marriage - I know I could leave - but I decide not to, and I stick to my decision even when I feel like leaving. Which isn't often, but even once would be enough to end it if I hadn't decided to stick to it. Still, I know it's my decision and not something imposed on me, and I do have the freedom to choose otherwise, I just don't.

What I find intriguing though right now is that it's possible to commit to a certain level of practice, and it's difficult to change that. I'm not even thinking about quitting aikido, but I find it difficult to increase the amount I train, even though I feel like I'd like to. "Like to" and "want to" aren't just very powerful motivators in the face of any slight difficulty...

kvaak
Pauliina

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 12:14 PM
I admit that it is harsh, or that it can be seen as harsh. However, it is not because I made it harsh. Like Josh is saying as well, and Derek too, it is the nature of the training that can be harsh when we seek to train via desire more than we do via commitment. It is harsh like Nature can be harsh – it does what it does, and we can either find a way of working with it or we can try to work against it (failing in the end).

I am saying that desire and commitment is not the same thing – this is the heart of what I am pointing out. If we are considering commitment to be part of “the great practice of Aikido,” and I do, then, yes, desire is trivial from that context. As Josh said, no one ever got good at anything by training only when they wanted to. In a way, from a common sense point of view, “commitment” means precisely that you are able to endure beyond your desires. I find your marriage example very relevant here. Sure, desire may start a process – I think it was here that I earlier posted about desire being the tip of a spear, etc. However, if you expect a commitment like a marriage to be based upon desire, or even affected by desire, then you will soon be looking at a divorce. This exact same thing happens in training. Sure, folks are not “old enough” for marriage (to someone or to Aikido) – that is the difference between a mature practice and an immature practice. However, that does not mean that a “commitment” that is based upon desire works or that an immature practice should expect to be able to reconcile the same difficulties that a mature practice can. At most, an immature practice works for the time being, and anyone asking more of it is really asking too much. This is not “unduly harsh” – it is more that it is painfully obvious. It works like this:

If we train because we desire to train, and if all desires are temporary, then we will stop training when we no longer desire to train.

This is as painfully obvious as pointing out to someone that it is not wise to build a paper house during the rainy season. It is not unduly harsh to say, “You know, water gets paper soggy.”

I did not make any comment on whether or not taking away from physical practice holds value. However, here, now, I will say this concerning the “value” of taking time off: If one takes time away from one’s training, because a desire has wavered and/or burned itself out, to figure out that desire is irrelevant to true commitment and thus to a mature practice, then that time off has value. If one takes time off, because a desire has wavered and/or burned itself out, to figure out that they desire some other activity, practice, person, place, or idea, then that time off has value. If one takes time off, because a desire has wavered and/or burned itself out, to find a new desire upon which or through which they can return to training, then that time off has no value.

Here is another perspective: Training is about transformation of the Self. If it is not, it will not hold our “interest.” If training is about material things – things that are far from universal and/or eternal, then our practice will not be universal or eternal. If training is about cultural things – things that are far from universal and/or eternal, then our practice will not be universal or eternal. If training is about our moods – things that are far from universal and/or eternal, then our practice will not be universal or eternal. Only the inner Self is our connection to what is universal and eternal; only through the inner most Self can we tap into what is universal and eternal. Our outer self, our small self, is very much seated in things like our desires – where we lust for things material and cultural, and where we seek to satisfy our moods. Our outer selves live a temporal existence and so any practice based upon it is at best temporary.

Our outer self, our desire, is itself based upon our incapacity to reconcile fear, pride, and ignorance. This is why, though temporary, the satisfaction of our desires, or rather the thought of satisfying our desires, brings with it a sense of relief and pleasure (i.e. because they seek to address our fear, our pride, and our ignorance). That is to say, if our Aikido is based upon the temporality of our desires, and if our desires are based upon our fears, our pride, and our ignorance, then our Aikido, or the thought of our Aikido, is AT FIRST going to bring with it a sense of relief and pleasure. It is going to “speak to us” because we are relating to it via our fear, via our pride, and via our ignorance. This is what most folks call the “Honeymoon Stage.” Some examples: At this stage, our practice is being fueled by our fear – in which we wrongly glorify violence and posit the world around us as a place in need of fighting evil with our bare hands or with our sword. At this stage, our practice is being fueled by our pride – in which we wrongly believe we will become more by attaining a hakama or the next rank, etc. At this stage, our practice is being fueled by our ignorance – in which we wrongly believe that our desires, and the relevant fears and issues of pride that they are based upon, are of our true inner self and thus capable of sustaining a mature and life-long commitment.

If one has not found a way to relate their training to the inner Self – to the universal and eternal, to that which is not based within our desire, fear, pride, and ignorance – one’s training will remain temporal (i.e. temporary and without integration). This is not “Paige’s problem” – this is a problem for any one, for everyone. From this point of view, if a practice is providing you with notions of relief and/or pleasure, if it is speaking to you perfectly, if it can never rub you the wrong way, if it is everything you love, if it is always exciting, if it is everything you never knew you always needed, then chances are you are simply having your fears, your pride, and your ignorance fueled by your training. Chances are that your practice is satisfying your desires because you are only training at the level of the outer self. Nevertheless, that practice remains temporary. In contrast then, a mature practice, or even a real level of training, which is one that is seeking to transform your self, one seeking to aid you in the reconciliation of fear, pride, and ignorance, is (especially at first) going to bring you no relief or pleasure, it will be everything you hate, it will be boring and tedious, it will be everything you have always avoided up until then. Why? Because, at first, it will make you face your fears, it will shame you for your pride, and it will pain you for your ignorance.

The problem here, or the truly difficult aspect to address here, is that most training is of a quality that it cannot fulfill or support the inner self. This is a sign of Modernity – as we are losing our places and our times for sacrality. In my experience, most dojo are too mundane and/or too incomplete in their method to truly support the weight of our inner selves. For this reason, most dojo, again in my experience, settle for mundane transformations (e.g. some social awareness – vs. compassion; some good citizenship – vs. spiritual salvation; physical conditioning – vs. wellness; etc.). We do not need a life-long practice to become socially aware, just a few good PSAs; we do not need a life-long practice to become good citizens, just a strong economy, a low unemployment rate, and a complex punitive system; and we do not need a life-long practice to gain some physical conditioning, just a gym blaring a nice track over the speakers, some technologically advanced-looking equipment, and both genders treating it like a singles bar.

aikigirl10
04-16-2006, 03:00 PM
Come on - who's the robot here? .....

.....This is all very simple - if you want to see it - but to see it you got to realize how stuck you are. You know you are stuck, but you don't want to be stuck, and more than that you don't want anyone pointing out that you are stuck. You seem interested in only hearing folks say, "Yeah, that happened to me, but it just went away - keep going, you'll be fine." The truth is, sure, maybe you can keep going, but you'll never be fine. .

Lmao! shew... I'm glad you know soooo much about me David. Maybe i should switch your name from "Robot" to "Fortune Cookie"



Some part of you knows things are not fine. Things are far from fine - because "fine" was when you were training, wanting to train, etc. Now - "Why aren't I training?" Answer: Because you don't want to. "Why don't I want to?" Because all desires end - because desires do not last forever. Asking why desires end is like asking why tomorrow comes. Tomorrow comes because it comes, because it is tomorrow. Desires end because they end - because desires cannot last. In the end then, it is silly to ask, "Why don't I want to train anymore?" It is especially ludicrous to ask it of strangers.

Desires end - period. That leaves you, or anyone else like you, three choices: 1) let the desire die out completely and the practice as well; or 2) find some new desire to hold your interest to training (e.g. hallow crap most folks get attached to: a new rank, a new hakama, a new seminar, a new teacher, a new title, a new federation, a new time in your life, some Aikido fame, or some delusional sense of power or skill, etc.) - starting a never-ending cycle of desire-finding and chasing; or, 3) find a way to take your training beyond desire - to the level of commitment and integration.

That's it - there is no fourth option. It's not robotic - it's just the way it is. As to how do you adopt the third option? First, you stop thinking with your old habits - such that you can first see that what you are currently doing is totally different from what you could be doing; such that you do not feel hostile or insecure in the face of the new and better third option - the only real option for a mature practice. Second, you seek to develop a practice capable of containing and fulfilling your heart/mind (i.e. your inner and most complete self). Third, you surround yourself with a community of other practitioners that also practice in this manner. And fourth, you endure in the art of laying experience upon experience (tanren). It's that simple - and it only gets complex when you are stuck, resistant to self-transformation (the real kind), and/or unable and unwilling to recognize what you are for fear of realizing what you are not.

Derek - you understood the post perfectly.

Let's settle down Ms. Cleo. Give me a chance to speak.

Aikido, to me, is a hobby. It's not a way of life. My religion is my way of life.

And thats fine if you want to make a MA your way of life, but you shouldn't try to impose your beliefs on other people. As far as principles go, i do still incorporate "aiki" principles into everything i do, the only thing right now is that im not physically practicing.

^^^^Your posts above ^^^^ are your personal opinions. Are they right for me? No. So, lets try not to make them fact. But you are still entitled to your opinion, and thats fine

Deep healing breaths David, let's be calm.
*Paige*

aikigirl10
04-16-2006, 03:05 PM
I1) I never plan to quit completely
2) I think this activity is good for me on many levels so I am going to do it.
3) I can always let everything go - tomorrow.
Best,
Jorge

I also agree with these three thoughts. And these three things sort of sum up how i feel right now as far as my opinion on Aikido. My problem is really not as serious as some people on the forum, make it out to be. I do intend to try to get back in there and train as soon as i feel it is best for me to do so. For me this isn't a matter of just being "bored". It's a matter of discovering what is best for me at this time in my life.
Thank you, i really enjoyed your post.

*Paige*

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 03:58 PM
Well Paige, I tried to make it clear on what was my opinion. I also tried to make it clear that this is not your problem - that I'm not trying to solve you. So you can stop taking things so personally. Like I said, your issue is a simple one - you have said why you have quit training several times already. One does not have to be a psychic or a robot to figure it out - though one would have to be honest and capable of reason.

Your post was a platform for other ideas here - deeper matters relevant to folks that train a bit more seriously than you can and/or decided to do. You should let it go - not hold this thread so tightly - like your Aikido. Others, including myself, as teachers, find this topic interesting, because the ranks of Aikido are made up with more folks that train like you (i.e. desire-based, hobby) than like anyone else. Moreover, others, including myself, as practitioners, know that these issues are issues for all of us - for those of us that seek to train beyond desire and deeper than the hobby level. Others, including myself, are more interested in discussing those issues relevant to deepening our practice - which is quite different from wasting energy trying to find ways of believing that desire-based Aikido (or hobby-Aikido, or Aikido-lite) can or should be able to achieve everything that a mature Aikido practice can or will.

As far as I am concerned, this is not about you Paige. Your person here is just an abstraction, an anonymous delegate for millions - for all of us. You have made your bed, now sleep in it. Hobby Aikido is good for you. It is good for me that it is good for you, or rather I could care less how you practice. I mean, please, how exactly does your practice affect my own? How would it affect mine ten years from now (should you not have moved on to another hobby by then)?

What irks us when we are stuck like you, why we thus to turn to petty insults like you have, is not what I have said about your hobby-Aikido, but rather that I do not hold that hobby-Aikido is good enough for me. You act like you do not want a blessing from me on your hobby-Aikido, but you demonstrate clearly that you do desire a blessing from me on the necessary delusions regarding hobby-Aikido. Deep down you know you are unsatisfied by your practice (hence why you are not practicing now), like any of us would be sooner or later, and the fact that there others out there that would also be dissatisfied with such a practice is threatening to you – or you’ve let it become threatening to you. I cannot respect that.

What I can respect is someone that trains at the hobby level or the desire level and is TRULY fine with it – I mean, TRULY FINE WITH IT. Someone that can say, "Man, Aikido is just a hobby for me, and that is cool. As a hobby, I don't expect it to do more than a hobby can do." We have folks that train like that at our dojo – and they are a great part of the overall community. This is not you Paige – you are a hobbyist, but you are not totally fine with it – which is why you are ignorantly asking how come you are not into your hobby anymore – as if hobbies are supposed to last for forever. I mean, how many times do you think stamp collectors feel pressed into a personal crisis for moving onto a new hobby, such that they feel motivated to ask the larger stamp collecting community: “You know, I just can’t get into my stamps anymore – not like I used to. What’s up with that?”

The fact is that very very few hobbyists ever really speak AND think like they are totally fine with being a hobbyist. Usually they just speak like they are fine. Deep down most are festering in insecurity regarding the superficiality they cannot seem to move beyond. This is even more the case when one is dealing with practices, like Budo or Aikido, that ideally are not supposed to operate at the hobby level. I cannot bless a practice that has someone training at a hobby level and expects everything to be his or hers just the same, like they are training seriously (i.e. expecting hobby-level interest to not inevitably wax and wane). If you are looking for a blessing here on hobby Aikido, you will just have to keep offering insults and/or acting like you are above it all – I guess. Serious practitioners, like the others here that have also moved beyond your personal crisis concerning the topic of the thread, are never going to give blessings to such ignorance concerning what one can and/or should expect from the various levels of training.

Derek Gaudet
04-16-2006, 04:07 PM
Aikido, to me, is a hobby. It's not a way of life. My religion is my way of life.

And thats fine if you want to make a MA your way of life, but you shouldn't try to impose your beliefs on other people. As far as principles go, i do still incorporate "aiki" principles into everything i do, the only thing right now is that im not physically practicing.

^^^^Your posts above ^^^^ are your personal opinions. Are they right for me? No. So, lets try not to make them fact. But you are still entitled to your opinion, and thats fine

Deep healing breaths David, let's be calm.
*Paige*

Well you said it yourself, to you Aikido is a hobby not a way of life, so why the fuss, why even worry? Hobbies come and go. But understand you posted on Aikiweb, so your going to get a mix of answering styles, some who treat it as a way of life, some who don't. You like what you hear, fine, you don't, fine too. Dave is giving you a different point of view to ponder on, so why not use it. I never read anything imposing in his post, all very knowledgeable stuff, and all very nicely written opinions. At least he's taking the time to write these things for you. Try not taking everything to heart, no one is imposing anything, everyone is offering advice and opinions.

Your question says it all "Am I missing something?", well sorry to be harsh, but perhaps at the moment what you are missing is an open mind... Dave's original post were not harsh, but you responses seem to be. My opinion, if you don't want to go, don't and leave it at that, trying to understand why may be too complicated.

giriasis
04-16-2006, 05:09 PM
Deep down most are festering in insecurity regarding the superficiality they cannot seem to move beyond.

I'm sorry, Dave, but who do you really think you are that you think you have the right to judge people like this? Just because you teach aikido? Give me a break. :rolleyes: These kinds of comments is what is setting some folks off and which at least in my mind takes away from the credibility of any statement you have to make. If you were clear enough in your statements you would not need at least three other people attempting to explain what you mean. On web bulletin boards, there is no need to go into a 5 paragraph structure to explain yourself or to hid insults like the above, because you essentially just called Paige superficial.

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 05:31 PM
First off - Paige is the one that said she doesn't take her training that seriously. Did you not catch that?

It was Paige that said her training is just a hobby for her, that she trains when she wants to and wouldn't when the want is gone, etc. If she was truly fine with that, or if you were fine with it too, the word, "superficiality" would not be so threatening. If you want to look at something, why don't you look at why that word is so threatening to you. The word "hobby" implies superficiality, a lack of investment, etc. No one ever uses that word to refer to something serious or deep. We don't say "My kids are my hobby," for example. The problem is that most folks are not really fine with it - like I said most hobbyists aren't. So, please, give me the break. The problem is not with what I said, but that I said it out loud and clearly. Of the two of us, it is I, I am suggesting, that is more fine with folks training as a hobby.

Second, in the sentence you quote, it's clear that Paige's name is not mentioned nor that her person is being referred to in any kind of specificity. At that point, I have moved on to the generalities of the topic in question - issues that affect us all. There is nothing hidden here, certainly not insults. There is nothing hidden but for the discrepancies some hobbyists often try to hide between what they say, think, feel, and do when it comes to their training.

The reason it takes several folks to make the same point is because folks that read things often miss the obvious - for being too stuck in their own fear, pride, and ignorance to see what's in front of them. Where I come from, it says more about the reader than the writer when the reader is saying things are too "intellectual" or "complex" for them. So, please excuse me if I do not accept you as the bulletin board authority on what is proper and/or needed in terms of explanation.

If you do not want to read something, use the scroll button. You'll have a better chance of affecting your world that way than by trying to be the bulletin board police.

aikigirl10
04-16-2006, 05:34 PM
I'm sorry, Dave, but who do you really think you are that you think you have the right to judge people like this? Just because you teach aikido? Give me a break. :rolleyes: These kinds of comments is what is setting some folks off and which at least in my mind takes away from the credibility of any statement you have to make. If you were clear enough in your statements you would not need at least three other people attempting to explain what you mean. On web bulletin boards, there is no need to go into a 5 paragraph structure to explain yourself or to hid insults like the above, because you essentially just called Paige superficial.

Thank you Anne. I think there was just as much hostility from him as there ever was from me.

And I'm sorry David that i made you mad when i said you sounded like a science book. But i seriously could not understand anything you were saying. If you like to talk that way to make yourself sound more intellegent , then go ahead, i just won't read your posts. <<< Wait!!! hold up that was a joke don't starting steaming out of your eyeballs.

Sometimes i like to joke around that's how i am that's my personality. If you can't take a joke, then you can't talk to me without getting mad and thats a fact.

So, i apologize to all the stiffs out there! The real meaning of me posting on Aikiweb was to just hear different ideas and responses and thats what i got, but apparently i made the all-too-bold move of trying to play around with people. My bad.

;)

aikigirl10
04-16-2006, 05:40 PM
First off - Paige is the one that said she doesn't take her training that seriously. Did you not catch that?

It was Paige that said her training is just a hobby for her, that she trains when she wants to and wouldn't when the want is gone, etc.


Ok you are completely putting words in my mouth.

I never once said that i don't take my training seriously. I do alot of things as hobbies and i take them all seriously. Just because I don't live my life like Morihei Ueshiba doesn't mean i don't take it seriously.

I believe what i said was "My problem really isn't as serious as some people on this forum make it out to be" or something close to that.

Should I put that in robot-talk, b/c that seems to be the only way you can understand things.

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 06:33 PM
Now I do believe Ann Marie was right in seeing you directly in what I was saying: you are one of those folks that wants to be a hobbyist but doesn't want folks to acknowledge it out loud. Like the folks I was talking about, you opt to use the term to excuse you when it suits you - for all that you aren't - but want to drop it when all that are not is exposing the little you are (in terms of Aikido and being an aikidoka) - because you'd rather be more (e.g. you'd rather be training than not training). Of the three of us then, it is only me that is truly fine with folks doing Aikido at a hobby level.

If you train only when you want to (which you said), stopping when you don't (which you also said), even if you want to coin the oxymoron "serious hobby," you still are training superficially. Saying "just kidding" now won't make you serious about Aikido - right? That should be obvious. The hard thing is that it won't make you fine with your own superficiality (i.e. the downside of it: losing interest when you would rather not) when it comes to the training. Hang in there - no need to apologize for anything, but thank you just the same - very kind of you. All is good.

senshincenter
04-16-2006, 07:54 PM
I'm going to chime out of this one - not feeling any need to discuss whether or not Paige is serious about her Aikido or not - but I would like to start another thread on how we can or cannot deepen our training (e.g. moving it beyond desire, the temporal, etc.).

That thread is here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=137938#post137938

aikigirl10
04-16-2006, 08:10 PM
Now I do believe Ann Marie was right in seeing you directly in what I was saying: you are one of those folks that wants to be a hobbyist but doesn't want folks to acknowledge it out loud. Like the folks I was talking about, you opt to use the term to excuse you when it suits you - for all that you aren't - but want to drop it when all that are not is exposing the little you are (in terms of Aikido and being an aikidoka) - because you'd rather be more (e.g. you'd rather be training than not training). Of the three of us then, it is only me that is truly fine with folks doing Aikido at a hobby level.

If you train only when you want to (which you said), stopping when you don't (which you also said), even if you want to coin the oxymoron "serious hobby," you still are training superficially. Saying "just kidding" now won't make you serious about Aikido - right? That should be obvious. The hard thing is that it won't make you fine with your own superficiality (i.e. the downside of it: losing interest when you would rather not) when it comes to the training. Hang in there - no need to apologize for anything, but thank you just the same - very kind of you. All is good.


Ok, David. At any rate you really don't know me and you also don't know how serious I really am towards aikido.

You might be right about "serious hobby" being an oxymoron, but for lack of a better word that was the word i chose to use. Do you have a word for more-than-a-hobby-but-less-than-a-way-of-life? In all seriousness, if you do please tell me.

Any more nitpicking? or are you done now?

Derek Gaudet
04-16-2006, 08:22 PM
Let it go Paige, it's not going to do any good continuing a meaningless argument of whether you are serious or not, only you know that. Very few here "really know you", and when you go to a forum your going to get answers from people who don't know you. That's what's great about it, you can except what is said, or you don't have to, and most will never know. It's all opinionated. You don't have to look for anymore nitpicking though, that will just contribute to continuation of this argument. Just get back to training if you want to, or don't...It's all up to you. You weren't attacked here, so you don't have to defend. Sometimes reading replies to posts can distort the original post by making it seem like something it's not, so perhaps you took the posts harshly, because someone decided to say they were harsh. Just a thought, I know I can read posts on other forums in different ways depending on the reply it gets. Just don't worry about these things and move on. Good luck in finding the answer.

Ron Tisdale
04-17-2006, 12:57 PM
I think David's posts have been mis-characterized in this thread, and that what he is saying here is very important. It has been touched on in some other threads by instructors like George Ledyard as well.

Paige is in a difficult position relative to how this thread has developed. She is very young (which is not to say that the commitment David speaks of cannot be developed in one so young). She is understandably somewhat sensitive about so personal an issue (I am too...but experience has taught me when my heart gets plucked by a topic like this, I need to listen).

David is not saying that being a hobbyist is bad...he is saying it is what it is. If we have trouble accepting that...maybe we need to look deeper into ourselves...not take pot shots at David's writing.

My Opinion Anyway,
Best,
Ron

MM
04-17-2006, 01:16 PM
From an entry in my aikiblog dealing with phases:

Everyone goes through phases in their life. Studying aikido is no different. At some point, you train hard, diligently, and many times a week. You love being at the center of things when uke attacks or being uke and whirling around with enormous amounts of energy.

At other times, you train half-heartedly, slowly, and maybe one day a week. You dread going to class and you drag yourself there because of some reason you come up with.

There will be times when you want to go to class and times that you don't. And usually, there is a phase where you will drop out from aikido altogether for some amount of time (anywhere from a month to a year).
Accept that there are phases and when you hit one, maybe it won't be as bad if you realize that phases are typically temporary.

When you hit that train hard phase, push it for what it's worth. When you hit the half hearted one, slow down and take a look internally for the reason you're at that point. And when you hit the drop out for awhile phase, relax and understand that it isn't a permanent thing. Enjoy other aspects of your life because quite often, after that drop out phase is over and you return, you have a renewed, refreshed, and invigorated zeal for aikido. It's like going from black and white to color and looking at the world in a whole new light.

Just like we train in the dojo, don't fight the phase, but blend with it, understand it, and perhaps redirect it to where you want it to go.

Mark

Dennis Hooker
04-17-2006, 01:27 PM
Paige, sometimes it is in how we approach our training and why we train. I wrote this for Aikido Today some time ago and perhaps it will put a little different slant on things Or perhaps not.


Why We Continue to Train
by Dennis Hooker

I recently conducted a seminar in Pensacola Florida and was struck by the diversity of the people present. They ranged from flight students and instructors to doctors and housewives. They ranged in experience from rokudan to rokkyu (from 6th degree black belt to beginner) and the former was as eager to train, share my knowledge and share my life, as was the later. It was a humbling experience.

During the first day one of the younger attendees made the remark that he was a little bored with coming to the dojo everyday and doing shomen-uchi ikkyo (the first technique of Aikido). He said it got old after a while. Well as I have never been bored with anything concerning Aikido, I took pause to consider this statement. I thought about why I was there along with another rokudan, godan, yondan, sandan, nidan, shodan as well as a number of various other kyu rank. Looking at the more experienced Aikido folk I knew I shared a bond with them that the younger people, especially the one that made the comment, did not or could not share. It is a bond that transcends organizational structure. It is an understanding that all Aikido, all students of Budo (the martial ways), must eventually develop and nurture or they will soon become bored with technique. They will gain their shodan trophy (1st degree black belt) and move on to other endeavors. In doing so they will lose their grasp on the most precious gift offered by Aikido. That gift is not the ability to destroy another person, but a deep and abiding love of life.

This seminar had been postponed twice as I was going through another bout with a debilitating kidney illness and an episode of Myasthenia Gravis. Once I finally got well enough to teach, the seminar was rescheduled. Then ten days before the seminar I got a call that my mother was terminally ill with brain cancer. Two days before the seminar I sat with my frail, terminally ill mother in my arms knowing it would be the last time I saw here alive. Then I left to teach an Aikido seminar. I could never have brought myself to leave my grief and self-pity had it not been for Aikido and its lessons taught to me over a very long time by some very fine people. I could not have left my dying mother, had I loved her less. Among her last words to me were, "Denny, Aikido and Saotome saved your life. You have an obligation to pay them back, go." So I went.

Standing there looking at my fellow students all this went through my mind and I knew I had to try and teach the young fellow that nothing about our learning Aikido is boring. I had to try and teach him something of "ichi-go ichi-ye", or "one time, one beginning". I had to try and teach him that every encounter is a first and last. I had to try and get across that nothing can be repeated and nothing can be practiced. It can only be experienced once, and then it is gone forever. How can you become bored with something you only do once?

I had to try and teach him that each encounter with another of God's creations is a once in a lifetime event that can never be repeated nor taken back. Each encounter should be full and true, and never done with half a heart or half a mind. Each time you face another person, and that person gives their body to you in technique, right then you hold that life in your hands. You hold in your power a gift more precious than gold and one that can never be replaced. It is a unique and wondrous thing. How can you become bored with that?

I had to try and teach that young man that accepting the gift of that life is an ominous and yet joyous responsibility. You accept it; you protect it and you return it in better condition than it was before your encounter. Then you offer yourself in return. The uniqueness of good Aikido is that we can do this in total trust, and in so doing, we will all be richer from the encounter. I had to try and teach this young man we do not practice shomen uchi ikkyo. We experience it only once and in that one experience we share a lifetime with another of God's beings. How can you be bored with that?

You give yourself to me and I give myself to you in total trust. No equivocation or self-evasion what so ever. To learn to trust and be trusted is ikkyo. It is the first principle of Aikido, without which all other training becomes less by its measure. It is the first because it is the hardest. The hardest to learn and is the hardest to keep. I had to also try and teach the young man that coming to the dojo everyday should not get old and should not need to be boring.

As I looked at the faces of each of the more experienced men I knew they too embrace the concept of "shoshin", the beginner's heart. How else could those other old worn down tattered ragamuffins of old men, of whom I am one, be there. Our combined days of stepping through the doors of a dojo must be in the tens of thousands. Yet there we are class after class, seminar after seminar, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Why do we not become bored to tears? It is because each time we step through that door it is with the heart of the beginner. We are ready to encounter shomen uchi ikkyo for the first time, and we can hardly wait.

Each time I hold my children, each time I kiss my grandchildren, each time I tell my wife I lover her, is the first and last time. And two days ago I held my mother for the first and last time. How, oh how, can one become bored with that? I am convinced that without Aikido this knowledge would have evaded me. This peace I have would never have been. I don't know if the young man really understood the lesson he got that day, but I hope so.

Ron Tisdale
04-17-2006, 01:33 PM
Liked your post then Dennis, and like it now. Thanks for that.

Best,
Ron

aikigirl10
04-17-2006, 01:56 PM
Wow...

I'm done now.

giriasis
04-17-2006, 02:04 PM
Unfortunately, I don't really think I'm mischaraterizing David's postings. He does have some good points, but whenever I read what he posts his message gets lost in his condescending attitude. He really comes across as a "keyboard shihan" on this board. I have a real problem when someone is clearly taking the effort to understand themselves and someone turns around and degrades them. And I can not see how comments like, "Deep down most are festering in insecurity regarding the superficiality they cannot seem to move beyond," can not be seen as derogatory and judgmental.

We have different levels of training in aikido and each kind is equally valid and respectable. In my opinion as long as someone puts in their fullest effort, even if they are hobbiest, then their training is as worthy as those who plan to to make their aikido their life long pursuit. As a tree can not grow with out its leaves and branches, the leaves are as important to the tree as the roots. Just because some leaves fall off does not mean when they were there that they did not perform a worthwhile and meaningful function. When you care for a plant, you care for the ENTIRE plant not just the roots or trunk. My impression from his message combined with his attitude is that he appears to only care about making everyone trunks and roots. There will be no tree with only a trunk and roots -- there will just be a trunk and roots. However, this was not my impression from Ledyard Sensei's postings, just David's.

Berney Fulcher
04-17-2006, 03:05 PM
We have different levels of training in aikido and each kind is equally valid and respectable. In my opinion as long as someone puts in their fullest effort, even if they are hobbiest, then their training is as worthy as those who plan to to make their aikido their life long pursuit.
I didn't take what David was saying as being any different than that. He outright said, that being a hobbiest is fine - as long as you realize you are a hobbiest. Aikido being what it is, i.e. supposed to have a spritual component, shouldn't that level of self-honesty be something we all strive towards?

(I'm on the hobby track myself, btw :p)

Ron Tisdale
04-17-2006, 04:02 PM
Hi Anne Marie. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree then. I think this quote verbatim from one of David's posts sums it up:

What I can respect is someone that trains at the hobby level or the desire level and is TRULY fine with it -- I mean, TRULY FINE WITH IT. Someone that can say, "Man, Aikido is just a hobby for me, and that is cool. As a hobby, I don't expect it to do more than a hobby can do." We have folks that train like that at our dojo -- and they are a great part of the overall community.

He pretty much spells it out that this is fine, there are people like that at his dojo, and that is fine. I really don't know how much more he can do along those lines.

I have seen other people react to David's writing style. I believe that he is an academic, and that influences his writing strongly. As such, I find it no surprise that it turns some people off, and maybe even makes some others feel inferior. That happens with A LOT of academics. Peter Goldsbury is one fine exception to this rule. When I first began reading David's posts, I too had something of that feeling that he might be 'looking down on us from the ivory tower'. But I stuck with his prose, and found so much gold it was worth whatever effort it took to figure out what he was saying, and where my own perspective and or emotions got in the way.

Let me sum this up this way...by David's definition I am more of a hobbyist than I would like.

So I am taking steps to get my body into better shape to withstand the assaults that serious aikido training make on me. In my case, this means physical training outside of aikido, something that I never had to do before. But if I am really committed to aikido BEYOND THE HOBBY LEVEL, I MUST start doing that. In my case, yoga seems to be doing the trick, but ask me again in a few months.

There is nothing wrong with my current level...except that I am not happy with it. I want to go deeper. That will take commitment, and there's nothing wrong with challenging myself to do that, or being willing to call a spade a spade. I can't say for sure if David's message applys to the original poster, or if it applies to anyone else but me. But I do think people who react to the message strongly should take a long, hard look at themselves. Before they start with the name calling.

Best,
Ron (hobbyist currently, looking for more)

Amelia Smith
04-17-2006, 04:43 PM
Good academic writing is clear, consistent and concise. It should not be condescending or confusing. Obviously, our reactions to David's writing style and content vary widely. I found myself impressed with what he had to say... at first. On further exposure, it began to grate on me. Why did he take so long to make what seems to be a simple point?

The point of David's posts, as far as I could stand to read them, is to emphasize the importance of making a commitment to training. One's practice should not be subject to whim or superficial, shifting emotions.

So far, so good. Then came post #28, in which he called Paige stuck, immature, and reactive. Sure, she called him "robotic" first, but I believe that was her way of saying that he had not been clear in his earlier statements. Then David wrote: It's that simple - and it only gets complex when you are stuck, resistant to self-transformation (the real kind), and/or unable and unwilling to recognize what you are for fear of realizing what you are not.

I object to the implication that real self-transformation can only come about through committed training (as defined by David -- what do you mean by committed training, David?), and that Paige's not-practicing is based on fear and insecurity. To me, that is a constricted view of the situation, based on a rigid world-view. Self-transformation can come about in many ways, and often the effects of our previous hard work come to light in a period of rest and reflection.

--Amelia

Pauliina Lievonen
04-17-2006, 05:14 PM
Let me sum this up this way...by David's definition I am more of a hobbyist than I would like.

Best,
Ron (hobbyist currently, looking for more)Hey Ron, maybe we could start a club? :D

kvaak
Pauliina
another not-quite-satisfied hobbyist

aikigirl10
04-17-2006, 05:26 PM
Good academic writing is clear, consistent and concise. It should not be condescending or confusing. Obviously, our reactions to David's writing style and content vary widely. I found myself impressed with what he had to say... at first. On further exposure, it began to grate on me. Why did he take so long to make what seems to be a simple point?

The point of David's posts, as far as I could stand to read them, is to emphasize the importance of making a commitment to training. One's practice should not be subject to whim or superficial, shifting emotions.

So far, so good. Then came post #28, in which he called Paige stuck, immature, and reactive. Sure, she called him "robotic" first, but I believe that was her way of saying that he had not been clear in his earlier statements. Then David wrote:
I object to the implication that real self-transformation can only come about through committed training (as defined by David -- what do you mean by committed training, David?), and that Paige's not-practicing is based on fear and insecurity. To me, that is a constricted view of the situation, based on a rigid world-view.

Thank you Amelia.

You can see real intellectual writing, first-hand in the post above. I just had to say that.


Self-transformation can come about in many ways, and often the effects of our previous hard work come to light in a period of rest and reflection.

--Amelia

I can only hope this is what will come of my period of rest and reflection. :)

*Paige*

Patrick Crane
04-17-2006, 06:09 PM
I think i may have been to the dojo once in the year 2006.

I've picked up my guitar about as many times in '06 as you've been to your dojo. No biggie............it will always be there and so will aikido.


And while sometimes, the atmosphere at my aikido dojo can be somewhat annoying

Find a new dojo....eventually, when you're ready.



I also don't feel guilty like i normally do after taking a while off. I don't know why. Usually i beat myself up over missing practice but not now.

Good.
It's called emotional maturity.
Your decisions are your decisions, period.
Congrats.

Guilt???? Yuck...what's that?
Sounds like something they serve with......religion. :yuck:


Obviously other interests have taken precedence for a while. Good.
Makes you a well-rounded person.

aikigirl10
04-17-2006, 06:20 PM
I've picked up my guitar about as many times in '06 as you've been to your dojo. No biggie............it will always be there and so will aikido..

Interesting...




Find a new dojo....eventually, when you're ready..

Well when i said my dojo's atmosphere could be somewhat annoying, i guess i should have said that differently.

What i meant was, some of the *former* <<(thank God) aikidoka had really gotten under my skin. It had nothing to do with my sensei or the sempai for the most part. I love my sensei dearly and i think he's a great guy, and i would never even consider finding another dojo , even if there was another one around here.


Obviously other interests have taken precedence for a while. Good.
Makes you a well-rounded person.

This is true... i do have other things going in my life at the time. You have a nice way of putting it lol ;)

Amelia Smith
04-17-2006, 07:32 PM
You can see real intellectual writing, first-hand in the post above. I just had to say that.
:blush:
No, no, thank you Paige. Best wishes in your ongoing journey.

--Amelia

Josh Reyer
04-17-2006, 09:10 PM
Wow. I lost my father last month and Dennis's post really hit home. Thank you.

senshincenter
04-17-2006, 10:23 PM
Amelia,

Where were you when Paige first said that I do not write like a human being? Was that a kind response to some time and effort on my part to contribute to the discussion? Was that condescending? If not, why? If so, where were you then as the defender of bulletin board justice? If you read the thread you see that it was only Paige and Anne that made insult after insult ("science book" "robot" "keyboard shihan", etc.) - where were you then? Where were you when Paige gave her response to Dennis' obvious good intentions? Was that kind of her? Was it condescending to Dennis?

How about a little consistency, or at least explaining why we should understand your actions as consistent...?

My feeling is that you are not consistent and that your call for justice is not all that it feigns to be. My gut instinct is that you too may be stuck on the same part of what I said: How what I said did not favor folks that want to train at the hobby level but that want to be considered serious for doing it (i.e. they do not want the word "superficial" attached to what they do -- like Anne).

As Ron has said, my view of Aikido is quite accepting of hobby level training. Additionally, I can tell you that no one at our dojo trains like me, nor are they expected to. Because of that, I do not attach all the baggage that someone might that is not so accepting of hobby level training (even hobbyists). Thus, I have no problem using the word "superficial" to describe the relative yield of a hobby -- when the word "hobby" is being understood in its proper sense. If you look up the word "hobby" - for ease of use, go to dictionary.com - you'll see it meaning, "small," "an auxiliary activity," and being synonymous with "by-line," "sideline," "spare-time activity," and "avocation" (with this last word having a definition of "distraction" or "diversion"). The limiting of any practice, Aikido or anything else, to such a level of investment, will limit one's understanding and/or gain from said practice to things "near the surface" (i.e. superficial). This is not an opinion of mine, and therefore something I hold rigidly. This is a fact of all practices, and therefore I hold it as part of my own understanding of Aikido.

Nevertheless, I get what Anne is trying to say - that her level of investment should not be put down below anyone else's, and that it does yield real results and things of great significance for her, etc. I 100% agree with that and teach that in my own school. I understand her but she does not understand me. What she does not get is that I can personally concede the viability of hobby level training (to myself, to her, and my own students that train thusly) while nevertheless being able to note that there remains a depth that is going untouched (for whatever reason, but here by choice). So accepting of hobby level training am I that I can easily note its superficiality while not saying it is completely false, impossible of being real, and/or without any value.

The real problem for many folks that do not train at depth, for personal reasons (that have nothing to do with my writing style), is the replacing of the phrase "do not train at depth" with the English word "superficial." As a result, you get oxymorons like "serious hobby" being generated. You also get posts that speak about hobby level training openly and acceptingly being totally misread. That is fine-- at a personal level. However, personal or not, things should not have to go beyond, "I am a hobbyist, but it irks me when I hear the word ‘superficial' being applied to what I do and what I receive from my hobby." One does not have to go on to denounce what was written as immoral, unethical, or discourteous, the writer as an idiot, etc. HOWEVER, in a way, you almost have to -- because grammatically there is nothing wrong with replacing the phrase "do not train at depth" with the word "superficial."

For me, this tells me that this is really about a war of words for some folks -- such that "serious hobby" can make sense (even when it means: "do it when you want, don't do it when you don't; and you can still be serious about a practice even when you are not doing it and/or not wanting to do it." Me? I am fine with the word "hobby" as is, and I know that folks get some very real things from their hobbies -- Aikido being one of them. I am not stuck on the words, or the related war, nor am I blind to the very real reasons for such wars. In my opinion, before one can see what I have said in the spirit that others here have been able to accurately see, one will have to look at why they are so attached to this war on words (a caveat Ron has said as well). I say this not as a denunciation for those involved. I say this as a person that is himself not satisfied with hobby level training and struggling daily to move beyond -- to deepen my practice.

In answer to your question on what is a committed (mature) practice (which for me has nothing to do with Paige's initial post): A committed Aikido practice is one that has Aikido integrated into the whole of one's existence.

Thanks for your posts Amelia - honestly grateful.
david

Jerry Miller
04-17-2006, 10:45 PM
Thank you Dennis Hooker. I have read that before. Sometimes it is good to read something and view it as never have been read before. A fresh look in other words.

giriasis
04-17-2006, 10:58 PM
Nevertheless, I get what Anne is trying to say - that her level of investment should not be put down below anyone else's, and that it does yield real results and things of great significance for her, etc. I 100% agree with that and teach that in my own school. I understand her but she does not understand me. What she does not get is that I can personally concede the viability of hobby level training (to myself, to her, and my own students that train thusly) while nevertheless being able to note that there remains a depth that is going untouched (for whatever reason, but here by choice). So accepting of hobby level training am I that I can easily note its superficiality while not saying it is completely false, impossible of being real, and/or without any value.

David, I understand that you are taking an effort to attempt to understand what I am saying. I appreciate your effort, but once again you fail to understand.

I would be fine if you said for yourself a hobby is superficial, but that is not what you are saying. You are saying that if someone does not train as serious as you expect them then they are a hobbiest; therefore, they are superficial. Then you say that people: Deep down most are festering in insecurity regarding the superficiality they cannot seem to move beyond. Those kinds of statements really cross the line and really define to me more what you are about. Such statments of generalities really put a meaning behind your idea of superficiality. Some how, any hobbiest, by your definition, has some sort of deep festering insecurity that people can not let go of. It is not that you only take a serious view towards yourself and your own training, but you also take the time to place a judgment on those who do not meet your standards of a "serious student." And, in an effort to make yourself sound like a serious martial artist, you end up putting others down in order to raise yourself up to a supposed higher standard.

MM
04-18-2006, 06:09 AM
David, I understand that you are taking an effort to attempt to understand what I am saying. I appreciate your effort, but once again you fail to understand.

I would be fine if you said for yourself a hobby is superficial, but that is not what you are saying. You are saying that if someone does not train as serious as you expect them then they are a hobbiest; therefore, they are superficial.


I'd have to agree with David. A hobby is superficial. BUT, what you are saying isn't the same. You state that a hobbiest is superficial. That isn't what I took David as saying. Those are two very different sentences. Look at them closely. A hobby is superficial and A hobbiest is superficial. In the first, the definition is narrow in scope to the hobby itself. In the second, the definition is wide in scope in that it defines a person's whole activities. David never said a hobbiest was superficial, or at least, I never read that. What I got from it was that if you studied something (here it is Aikido) as a hobby, then you're being superficial in that study. That in no way represents the person as being superficial.


Then you say that people: Those kinds of statements really cross the line and really define to me more what you are about. Such statments of generalities really put a meaning behind your idea of superficiality. Some how, any hobbiest, by your definition, has some sort of deep festering insecurity that people can not let go of. It is not that you only take a serious view towards yourself and your own training, but you also take the time to place a judgment on those who do not meet your standards of a "serious student." And, in an effort to make yourself sound like a serious martial artist, you end up putting others down in order to raise yourself up to a supposed higher standard.

Sorry, Anne Marie, but I never got any of that from David's postings.

Mark

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 06:28 AM
I would be fine if you said for yourself a hobby is superficial, but that is not what you are saying. You are saying that if someone does not train as serious as you expect them then they are a hobbyist; therefore, they are superficial. Then you say that people: Those kinds of statements really cross the line and really define to me more what you are about. Such statements of generalities really put a meaning behind your idea of superficiality. Some how, any hobbyist, by your definition, has some sort of deep festering insecurity that people can not let go of. It is not that you only take a serious view towards yourself and your own training, but you also take the time to place a judgment on those who do not meet your standards of a "serious student." And, in an effort to make yourself sound like a serious martial artist, you end up putting others down in order to raise yourself up to a supposed higher standard.

Anne, was it not Paige that said she was a hobbyist? Did you miss that?

What I did concerning the word "hobby" was understand it in its proper English context. Nothing more, nothing less. It's your baggage, not mine, that is getting in the way.

I do not expect any person to train at any level. You are missing that huge point. Additionally, I do not think that everyone can train at the same level - nor do I believe that deeper levels of training are even open to everyone (and most certainly not by conscious decisions alone - which you seem to believe).

I understand that your misreading of key statements, even your ignoring and/or glossing over of key statements is helping you define me for you - but what you do not understand is how your definition of me is NECESSARY for you, and how that all fits in with what is being said here as far as issues concerning the deepening of one's training.

Case in point, I never said ANY HOBBYIST. Why change my words? I used the word MOST. Why? Because that has been my experience (which this thread is adding to), and because it takes a great deal of self-honesty and integrity, which are not common traits in human beings at any level and in regards to any practice (which is why we call them virtues), to acknowledge one's level of investment as "hobby" and to truly be fine with that. Case in point: my wife. She has been a hobbyist aikidoka for nearly ten years now. She has no problem with being a hobbyist aikidoka. She does not need to be called a "leaf" to accept that her training is not happening at depth. Nor does she need to call those that are training at depth "roots," in order to accept that there is a superficiality to her training when compared to the former. She just trains. She puts in what she puts in and she gets out of it what she gets out of it. It is a pure experience and remains so even if others in the dojo speak of deeper matters.

This is not different for any of us. No matter who we are, there should be a struggle in us concerning how we are training and how much deeper we can train. But to have that struggle, one must be drawn to the inconsistencies - so as to settle them - between what we are doing and what we think we are doing. To settle these inconsistencies, one must accept them; to accept them, one must practice self-honesty and integrity.

If you could be self-honest and hold integrity, you would not have to change my word "most" to your word "any" - nor would you forget that it was Paige that called herself a hobbyist. You'd also be able to see that I said exactly what you said concerning training at "the level of leaves."

Rather, you are stuck making characterizations, and insults, and it is most likely because what I say goes 100% contrary to what you need to believe about your own personal training (not what you believe concerning courteous behavior and/or Aikido training in general).

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 06:33 AM
I'd have to agree with David. A hobby is superficial. BUT, what you are saying isn't the same. You state that a hobbiest is superficial. That isn't what I took David as saying. Those are two very different sentences. Look at them closely. A hobby is superficial and A hobbiest is superficial. In the first, the definition is narrow in scope to the hobby itself. In the second, the definition is wide in scope in that it defines a person's whole activities. David never said a hobbiest was superficial, or at least, I never read that. What I got from it was that if you studied something (here it is Aikido) as a hobby, then you're being superficial in that study. That in no way represents the person as being superficial.



Sorry, Anne Marie, but I never got any of that from David's postings.

Mark

Mark - this point is right on as far as I am concerned. I'm only referring to Aikido practice - making no general or overall statements about anyone's person. If I do make reference to a person, it is only as that person is a practitioner of a given practice (i.e. Aikido). For me, that should have gone without saying, but I'm thankful you said it Mark nonetheless. Thanks.
d

Amelia Smith
04-18-2006, 06:53 AM
David,

I did acknowledge that Paige called your writing "robotic," but that came after several posts in which you were quite dismissive of her question. She reciprocated by not being receptive to your perspective on her situation. She was trying to understand her lack of interest, and looking for other people who had been through the same experience. It is an emotional, feeling-based question. When you say that feelings and emotions are irrelevant to deeper training, you are essentially denying the validity of her question. I found her initial question more interesting than your insistence on unflagging commitment.

So, David, I now have a few questions for you. Have you ever suspended your aikido training for a month or more? What was that like? How did it affect your training afterwards?

I would also like to repeat, and clarify, the question I asked earlier (which you did not answer): What, specifically, constitutes committed training? How many hours per week do you train, currently? If you have ever trained at a lesser commitment level, how was that different?

I answered my first set of questions above, in my first post. I'll answer the second set here. I myself am trying to train 5-6 days a week at the moment (1-2 hours per day), but because we only have a small group, some days I can't find anyone to meet me at the dojo. I find that 3-4 days a week of training is best for me, to develop physical skills, but that daily training helps me work more on the mental (and possibly spiritual) dimensions of the art. I also try to make it to seminars as much as possible, and train at other dojo when I can, but I can't always afford to do that (financially) as much as I would like.

--Amelia

giriasis
04-18-2006, 07:45 AM
What I did concerning the word "hobby" was understand it in its proper English context. Nothing more, nothing less. It's your baggage, not mine, that is getting in the way.

This is what I mean David, you make assumptions about people and jump to conclusions about them as if you don't have your own baggage. I hate to tell you this, but you, too, have baggage. It's your baggage that gets in your own way, not mine. I do not have to accept your attitude.

Rather, you are stuck making characterizations, and insults, and it is most likely because what I say goes 100% contrary to what you need to believe about your own personal training (not what you believe concerning courteous behavior and/or Aikido training in general).

Actually, I'm not making characterizations and insults I was only using your own words as if you and others have forgotton that you had used. If you do not like me quoting your own words perhaps you need to re-examine yourself and stop writing things like that. The one sentence I quoted you had previously mentioned was a "generality" and therefore I used "any" instead of "most." Once again, I am only using your wording. Thus, you yourself, just caught on to the danger of generalization. Although, I'm not surprised that you see it me and not yourself.

On this board and on this thread you have generalized about those who do not meet your standards of serious training. How do you know that I DON'T train seriously. You DON'T. You just jump to the conclusion that because I'm defending another point of view as equally valid that you assume that I am a hobbiest.

If you could be self-honest and hold integrity, you would not have to change my word "most" to your word "any" - nor would you forget that it was Paige that called herself a hobbyist. You'd also be able to see that I said exactly what you said concerning training at "the level of leaves."

If you could be self-honest and hold integrity, you would not put words into peoples mouths, which you have done in this thread and in other threads as well. If you go back and re-read my rephrasing of Ledyard Sensei's tree analogy, you'll see that I said you are making the same point as he but you throw in loads of condescention along with it. The difference is your attitude. If you were as self-honest and hold integrity as you so claim, you would realize this.

giriasis
04-18-2006, 08:00 AM
I'd have to agree with David. A hobby is superficial. BUT, what you are saying isn't the same. You state that a hobbiest is superficial. That isn't what I took David as saying.

Mark, I suggest you re-read this passage by David.

The fact is that very very few hobbyists ever really speak AND think like they are totally fine with being a hobbyist. Usually they just speak like they are fine. Deep down most are festering in insecurity regarding the superficiality they cannot seem to move beyond. This is even more the case when one is dealing with practices, like Budo or Aikido, that ideally are not supposed to operate at the hobby level. I cannot bless a practice that has someone training at a hobby level and expects everything to be his or hers just the same, like they are training seriously (i.e. expecting hobby-level interest to not inevitably wax and wane). If you are looking for a blessing here on hobby Aikido, you will just have to keep offering insults and/or acting like you are above it all -- I guess. Serious practitioners, like the others here that have also moved beyond your personal crisis concerning the topic of the thread, are never going to give blessings to such ignorance concerning what one can and/or should expect from the various levels of training.Emphasis Added.

He used the word "superficiality," not me. I'm just reminded him of his previous statements. I do no see how people can not find comments like this as someone trying to raise himself up while bringing others down.

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 08:15 AM
Well, it's obvious to me that the context for superficiality is the practice of aikido as a hobby.

It's also obvious to me that just because one practices aikido as a hobby, and perhaps is superficial in that regard, they could just as well practice something else (many other things) and not be superficial in another way. It might not even be a 'practice' as such...there are many types of commitment to many different things that can bring about growth.

I don't see comments like this as someone trying to raise himself or bring others down because I am willing to look at the words on the page and not change them to suit my own ego. It has been admitted here that words in a quote were changed...but somehow that is ok because of the 'assumed' context...double speak. Big Sis is here.

Best,
Ron

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 08:20 AM
I really don't want to get back into this argument.

But, i will say this -- (to no one in particular):

I take my aikido training very seriously. However, my life does not revolve around Aikido and it's teachings. I do wish to improve my training, and i do wish to (at some point) go back to class and hopefully one day be able to teach aikido.

Now, based on the statements above ^^ you can label me however you want. I don't care. If a hobbyist can be a serious practitioner then fine, i'm a hobbyist. However, i don't consider myself superficial at all.

Thats my view on Aikido, now there shouldn't be any argument at all about whether or not i am serious, because i just told you that i am. And there also shouldn't be any argument about whether or not i'm a hobbyist because i just told you that you can label me whatever you like based on my views expressed above.

Thanks
*Paige*

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 08:26 AM
However, i don't consider myself superficial at all.


Maybe i should explain this sentence a little better as well.

When i say i'm not superficial, what i mean is i don't train in Aikido in an on-the-surface manner. I read books by Ueshiba and i have also studied the various principles and meditations etc, etc.

However, i don't base my life around this.

hope this clears things up
*Paige*

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 08:29 AM
Paige, it's not a matter of someone else labeling you. It is a matter of our actions, decisions, and choices labeling us. We do that ourselves. I also don't necessarily believe that it is a matter of our life revolving around aikido. While it may well be an undercurrent through out all our endevours, at least my own teacher believes in balance. To do aikido to the neglect of anything else necessary in our lives would be un-balanced.

Personally, if I am looking for a teacher in budo, I am not looking for a hobbyest. And that doesn't mean that they earn their living from teaching budo.

Best,
Ron

giriasis
04-18-2006, 08:29 AM
I don't see why people can not see that some can take a hobby seriously. Just some folks don't get it. I just have the problems with the judgments and degrading of others. I'll let this dead horse alone.

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 08:32 AM
Ron,

It's not that i do Aikido, and totally ignore the budo aspect of it. I would personally include all those teachings as well. What i'm saying is Aikido is not my life, i don't make decisions based on WWMUD?

If we can agree on that much, then there is no argument left.
If not, then we can agree on disagreeing.

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 08:47 AM
Amelia,

You did not even answer half of my questions - can you please take a second attempt at them. Or, can you at least tell me why they are not worthy of addressing -- please/thanks.

Moreover, I was not referring to Paige's "robot" comment - which was her second such insult. Her first discourteous blip came with the human being vs. science book dichotomy. Again - where were you then? What does that do for your "you said it first" reasoning? Where is your consistency? Why should anyone (especially me) -- when your view is currently the minority view here -- take your summary of the events seriously?

You are wrong in how you understand my initial comments. When I am saying that deeper training goes beyond wanting or not wanting to train, I am not dismissing or denying the validity of her question. I am suggesting she use her initial question as a point of self-reflection - where the question itself becomes less the tool of our study and more the topic of our study. This in fact is a suggestion to take the question more seriously -- taking it less for granted. When you take the question more seriously, when you take it as your point of reflection, you see there is really no question there at all. (As I said earlier: "I train when I want to; I don't train when I don't want to; I'm not training now because I don't want to -- Why aren't I training now?" Answer: Because you don't want to.) However, you see that there is a whole lot of other stuff there to learn and grow from if you use the question as a point of reflection (vs. as a tool of reflection). Additionally, you not only see that it is a question that everyone asks, but that it is a question that everyone must reconcile in order to move on to where Paige was (at least initially) suggesting she wanted to go (i.e. away from the waxing and waning of training interest).

When I suggest that training needs to take place beyond desire, I am not at all suggesting that one force him/herself to train (as Paige misunderstood), nor am I suggesting that one train without feelings or emotions (as if such a thing were ever possible). On the contrary, by seeking to reconcile the waxing and waning of one's desires, one is going to have to address one's emotions and feelings in ways not even imaginable when one only seeks to train when one wants to. Suggesting that training happens outside of desire or beyond desire, is not at all suggesting that that we ignore our inner self. Rather, suggesting we reconcile our desire as it is related to our commitment to train is a technique we can use to explore our inner self. After all, how much self-reflection really needs to go into desire-based training? You train when you want, and you don't when you don't -- end of story.

On the other hand, seeking to reconcile desire in regards to our training is going to raise a whole lot of emotional issues for us (as this thread has already proven for some). As we make the mistake of bouncing back and forth between lusting for training and forcing ourselves to train, we will experience frustration, exhilaration, entertainment, boredom, joy, sorrow, intimacy, alienation, etc. Along the way, we will think we are alone with such issues, we will want to quit, we will think we have solved matters when we have not, etc. This is a path of self-reflection, and as such, the entirety of our humanity is going to have to be addressed -- emotions, feelings, identity, ideas, our subjective experience of our environment, etc. There is no such self-reflection needed in desire-based training. If anything, in most cases, desire-based training, like a desire-based life, is all about denying huge aspects of ourselves. We simply do what we want to do, when we want to do it, and don't when we don't. This is the non-self-reflective life. If anything is a call to do way with our feelings or our emotions it is to seek to settle such things by looking at them with no finer a tool than the measuring of our desires.

Answering your questions in the hope that you answer my initial questions:

- Yes, I have quit Aikido for a month or more. It happened when I moved to Japan (about ten years ago). Initially, I was greatly discouraged by the general level of Aikido being practiced there. I was disillusioned because of my own self-held delusions concerning "the motherland." It got the better of me, and the frustration rose to a point where there became little difference between training and not training. I opted to replace my Aikido training by training with a very prestigious Kendo instructor in the Kansai area (i.e. the lure of quality training). Because I was pained by the results of my frustration, I analyzed my initial reasoning: Is there really no difference between training and no training? The obvious answer was "no" -- there is a difference between training and not training. There is always a difference. Why am I not training then? -- came the next question. Answer: Because there is nowhere to train hard? -- was my answer. Continuing the reflection -- Why does training "hard" require a place? Does not training "hard" involve a level of self-responsibility and self-reliance? Can you always train "hard" if you are at the mercy of others and of your surrounding? The answer became clear to me: I was wrong and I was deluded -- both concerning what training "hard" was and also what training in Japan was. As part of bringing more self-reliance to my training, I went right back to the Aikido mat, and when I did, I met some of the most dedicated practitioners I have ever met in my own experience of the Aikido world. I learned a lot from then when it came to becoming more self-reliant (a lesson not so easily learned in a place like California where quality Aikido can be considered in abundance). When they weren't there, I trained by myself doing suburi and other various exercises particular to my Nobuo Iseri.

- I did answer your question on commitment. If I did not reduce things down to mat hours, it is because I do not believe the numeric value of mat hours to be the main criteria for commitment. For example, as I have said many times, one can train seven days a week, three hours a day, and have such training be based upon convenience (which I see as the antithesis of commitment). Such a person might have no job, no spouse, no children, etc. -- having plenty of time for training. With the abundance of time, they never have to practice commitment because there is never anything in the way of training, never anything that requires sacrifice, planning, and/or integration. I have known several practitioners like this and have trained several students like this. What happens when they need to get a job, or when they get married, or when they have a child? They can no longer find time to train. Why? Because in all of the training they did, they never sought to move beyond finding time (the level of convenience) -- to the level of making /creating time (the level of commitment).

As another example, right now, my most committed student is not even on the mat -- no mat hours per week. She is suffering from an aggressive attack of MS and her whole life has been thrown upside down and inside out. She cannot walk, is losing her vision, and her body is in continuous muscle spasms. She is a single mother, with two children -- the youngest recently diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. She recently became a full-time student at the University of California, Santa Barbara (at 35). She has an aggressive ex-husband that bogs her down in court via his refusal to provide financial assistance for the children. Etc. Though not currently on the mat, Aikido is thoroughly integrated into the totality of her life. She is committed to the art, to the dojo, to her sensei/deshi relationship, and to her own practice. She is committed to these things because her life and her Aikido are in a process of integration. She is not a hobbyist. She would never call herself a hobbyist; and no one in our dojo would ever call her a hobbyist. She works hard to create a way for her to follow to the mat. She always has. She works harder than me to reach the mat. Sometimes (in the past -- before the MS) she is on it five days a week, sometimes six, sometimes three, right now -- she's not on it at all. Integration is the key to commitment, not necessarily the number of hours one trains.

- I have never trained in the martial arts at a level where integration was not my goal. Therefore, I would never say that I trained at a "lesser level of commitment."

- As for mat hours (which hardly completely the totality of my commitment to the practice), here is our schedule:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/dojoinfo/schedule.html

I train at all of the classes but two (Tuesday Evening Body Art and Thursday 9 a.m. Body Art). I do all the classes -- I do not teach and watch. I demonstrate, instruct as we go, do nage 50% of the time, do uke 50% of the time.

Here is video of what our mat time looks like:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/video.html

Again, please answer my questions above, because I'm really interested in how you reconcile Paige's lack of shoshin to Dennis' wise and kind effort to offer a point of reflection capable of generating that virtue, or how you let a teenager speak on the validity of academic discourse when she in all likelihood has not read one book that is today key to the Academy (e.g. any of the post-modernist, the post-marxists, or the post-structuralists, etc.).

In addition -- please answer these two questions: Why do you think that integration is not the core of commitment? Why do you think the core of commitment is the number of mat hours? (such that you would say that I did not answer your question on commitment because I did not speak of mat hours)

thanks in advance,
dmv

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 08:54 AM
Again, please answer my questions above, because I'm really interested in how you reconcile Paige's lack of shoshin to Dennis' wise and kind effort to offer a point of reflection capable of generating that virtue, or how you let a teenager speak on the validity of academic discourse when she in all likelihood has not read one book that is today key to the Academy (e.g. any of the post-modernist, the post-marxists, or the post-structuralists, etc.).


wow... talk about insults.

There are a million and one things i could say to you david but none of them would do me or you any good.

All i ask, is in the future, please be less judgemental about people you don't even know.

I have said this before and i will say it again

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next, Skill is knowing how to do it, and Virtue is doing it."

Just think about that.

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 08:56 AM
Anne,

You are not quoting me - you even said you changed the word. Your example on my usage of the word "supeficiality" only justifies Mark's position - not yours.

I cannot reply to you any better than I already have - for me, your position is without merit and speaks only of a some sort of personal issue you've allowed yourself to adopt. I certainly cannot reply to you any better than Ron Tisdale already has:

"Well, it's obvious to me that the context for "superficiality" is the practice of aikido as a hobby.

It's also obvious to me that just because one practices aikido as a hobby, and perhaps is superficial in that regard, they could just as well practice something else (many other things) and not be superficial in another way. It might not even be a 'practice' as such...there are many types of commitment to many different things that can bring about growth.

I don't see comments like this as someone trying to raise himself or bring others down because I am willing to look at the words on the page and not change them to suit my own ego. It has been admitted here that words in a quote were changed...but somehow that is ok because of the 'assumed' context...double speak."

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 09:04 AM
wow... talk about insults.

There are a million and one things i could say to you david but none of them would do me or you any good.

All i ask, is in the future, please be less judgemental about people you don't even know.

I have said this before and i will say it again

"Wisdom is knowing what to do next, Skill is knowing how to do it, and Virtue is doing it."

Just think about that.


Paige,

it is not an insult to point out that you were dismissive to Dennis' insight and assistance. nor is it insulting to suggest that a person that has not yet finished high school has probably not been partial to the latest academic discourse being practiced at the university level. we are dealing here with a matter of likely exposure - not a matter of personal intelligence. if anything, you'd not want the exposure level you have at the high school level to be the apex of your experience. i'm giving you the benefit of that doubt by expecting you to be exposed to a great deal more as you progress in your education.

giriasis
04-18-2006, 09:06 AM
Oh, Great David, I bow down know and kiss your feet for thou has shown me the error of my ways. :rolleyes: You are so moral and just you can not possibly judge others. :rolleyes: You are such a great and awesome Aikido Sensei that I must come to your school and train. :rolleyes:

Amelia Smith
04-18-2006, 09:10 AM
All right, I'll start from the bottom: Why do you think that integration is not the core of commitment? Why do you think the core of commitment is the number of mat hours?
I was curious as to what this commitment looks like to you, how this commitment and integration expresses itself in your life. Mat hours are important. That's when we really practice, when we can test and experiment with the physical expression of aikido principles. I find it a useful gauge of commitment. I neither said nor implied anything about integration. I do not know what the core of commitment is. I don't know how serious or superficial anyone else's training is, but when I train with a person I learn something about their aikido, and I believe that good aikido springs from a commitment to training. In other words, I am more interested in the effects of commitment than in its supposed core.

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 09:11 AM
In all of this, David has not been so dismissive.

What a shame.

Best,
Ron

giriasis
04-18-2006, 09:19 AM
In all of this, David has not been so dismissive.

What a shame.

Best,
Ron

Shame me all you want Ron. I just can't take David seriously anymore because he reminds of my first sensei from Juko Kai -- charismatic, arrogant and full of it. I call him out on his condescending comments and all of a sudden he backs down from them as if he never made them, and people ignore them. He then uses his superiority card to act as if he is better. Just because he's "an academic" gives him no right to treat others like this. There is no use in engaging him in anything serious because he MUST be right. What he doesn't realize is that some of us here are as educated as he is and we don't speak to others like this.

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 09:22 AM
All right, I'll start from the bottom:
I was curious as to what this commitment looks like to you, how this commitment and integration expresses itself in your life. Mat hours are important. That's when we really practice, when we can test and experiment with the physical expression of aikido principles. I find it a useful gauge of commitment. I neither said nor implied anything about integration. I do not know what the core of commitment is. I don't know how serious or superficial anyone else's training is, but when I train with a person I learn something about their aikido, and I believe that good aikido springs from a commitment to training. In other words, I am more interested in the effects of commitment than in its supposed core.


But why ask twice then? I said what commitment is to me the first time. You felt I did not answer your question and you then prompted a discussion on mat hours. You didn't do that because you felt mat hours to be more important than integration? If not, why did you do it then? Why wasn't my first answer of integration an answer for you?

So commitment for you is a kind of "you know it when you see it"? Not knowing the core of it, how do you aim your practice in a committed fashion? Just show up as much as you can - accumulate as many mat hours as you can? If so, how does that sit in with my example pertaining the practice of convenience that can have someone training every day several times a day?

In all of this, I'm assuming you will lead us to some point you are trying to make - deducing something from the defining of my terms. So, please feel free to continue to ask questions of your own toward me. I'll answer them as fully as I can.

thanks,
dmv

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 09:27 AM
Oh, Great David, I bow down know and kiss your feet for thou has shown me the error of my ways. :rolleyes: You are so moral and just you can not possibly judge others. :rolleyes: You are such a great and awesome Aikido Sensei that I must come to your school and train. :rolleyes:


Wow Anne - real nice. You could have just stuck your tongue out and meant as much. Perhaps we should not push this conversation any further. I will note that you found my tone insulting. I will be mindful of that in the future. Let us both move forward with this topic and/or to some other future discussion.

On this side, the slate is blank as far as your actions - peace between us and the possibility of more meaningful discussions. I will do my best to not add to your own slate of my actions.

take care,
dmv

giriasis
04-18-2006, 09:31 AM
Wow Anne - real nice. You could have just stuck your tongue out and meant as much. Perhaps we should not push this conversation any further. I will note that you found my tone insulting. I will be mindful of that in the future. Let us both move forward with this topic and/or to some other future discussion.

On this side, the slate is blank as far as your actions - peace between us and the possibility of more meaningful discussions. I will do my best to not add to your own slate of my actions.

take care,
dmv

Thank you David, I will take an apology when I get it. And I'll leave the slate clean as far as your actions are concerned. Until the next time...

Ian Upstone
04-18-2006, 09:32 AM
A paragraph from my dictionary:

"Superficial suggests too much concern with the surface or obvious aspects of something, and it is considered a derogatory term because it connotes a personality that is not genuine or sincere."

I think that says it all.

In hindsight (given the direction this thread has moved in) I think David chose the wrong word in his post (technically correct, but perhaps diplomatically a poor choice given the subject has a personal, rather than an abstract direction).

This is a shame - folks are busy being offended by perceived motive in the use of that one word rather than actually considering the valid comment contained in the post around it.

In an attempt to get back on topic, David's initial posts really made a lot of sense to me and has made me rethink my attitude and concept of myself that I have to admit If I am being honest: My concerns really are "surface level" in my training, despite how serious it is to me.

The next step for me personally, is "How do I attempt to change that?", or again, being more honest, "Do I really want to change that?" But that's another thread I guess...

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 09:36 AM
What he doesn't realize is that some of us here are as educated as he is and we don't speak to others like this.

You just did.
Best,
Ron

senshincenter
04-18-2006, 09:39 AM
For the record, I referred to an apex of exposure, not an apex of sophistication. Meaning: there are many styles of academic discourse - mine being one of them (very much in line with the post-structuralists, etc.). Not Meaning: There are many levels of academic discourse, mine being the most sophisticated or advanced.

Amelia Smith
04-18-2006, 09:40 AM
Again - where were you then? What does that do for your "you said it first" reasoning? Where is your consistency? Why should anyone (especially me) -- when your view is currently the minority view here -- take your summary of the events seriously?
I was browsing along, seeing what people have to say, until your comments started to really bother me. They bothered me because I found them insulting. I don't see a need to define myself as a hobbyist or as a serious aikidoka. I just practice. Every now and again, I get obsessive about aikido and waste half my day on bullieten boards like this. I believe I have been consistent. I found Paige's question interesting and honest. I did not find the same level of self-reflection in your posts. Instead, I found a vague perscription, and condemnation based on ideas which seemed more abstract than practical.
where Paige was (at least initially) suggesting she wanted to go (i.e. away from the waxing and waning of training interest).
I did not see that suggestion in her initial post. That is your agenda. Many people here obviously agree with you, but their agreement does not render my interpretation invalid.

When I suggest that training needs to take place beyond desire, I am not at all suggesting that one force him/herself to train
What are you suggesting, then?


- Yes, I have quit Aikido for a month or more. ... As part of bringing more self-reliance to my training, I went right back to the Aikido mat, and when I did, I met some of the most dedicated practitioners I have ever met in my own experience of the Aikido world. I learned a lot from then when it came to becoming more self-reliant...
Now, that section was interesting. I see that your not-training time led you to increased self-reliance, which I also found to be the main benefit of my time away from aikido. However, I live in a place where there is only one, small aikido dojo. If I had access to a more active dojo, with more advanced practitioners, I would certainly train there. I wonder why you choose to run your own dojo, rather than training at one of the pre-existing high quality aikido dojos in your area. (I don't know how long your dojo has been around, but if you went to Japan 10 years ago, it can't be older than that, at least under your leadership).

With regards to mat time, I do not see "finding time" and "making time" as fundamentally different, and of course people have different abilities to make it onto the mat, and finding the proper balance in one's life is important.

I'm sorry, but I can't watch the video of your class, as I have a very slow modem connection here. I will look at it at a later date, perhaps.

--Amelia

Mark Freeman
04-18-2006, 09:41 AM
two people practice aikido, one goes twice a week as regular as clockwork, it's her 'hobby' an she loves the benefit it gives her and how it enhances the rest of her life. The other person practices aikido 5-6 days a week and is very serious about their practice. Although on the surface it would seem that the latter student is more 'committed' to aikido, this can only be borne out as true many years from now. What if the 'hobbyist' continues training for their whole life well into old age, they still only manage twice a week but they just keep on going. No one could doubt their committment, could they?
What if the 5-6 day a week student stays for a few years then decides to expand his 'martial' skills by practicing a different art. Where is his committment to aikido?

At the end of the day 'who cares' how much training you do? Aikido practice is for everyone, for their own ends, for their own benefit.
Some may want hard long training, fine, go ahead, but don't think your aikido is any more valid than those who chose to train differently. Conversely, for those who train sporadically, don't put yourself in the same league as those that train long and hard.
If a student of a mediocre teacher practices for many hours, will they ever compare to a student of a great teacher who practices less?

Just a few thoughts to stir up an already cloudy debate ;)

regards,
Mark

Amelia Smith
04-18-2006, 09:46 AM
So commitment for you is a kind of "you know it when you see it"?

No. I can see or feel skill and attitude. I cannot see or measure commitment, much less "integration." I do not find your definition of commitment as integration meaningful in the context of my practice. Obviously, it has meaning to you, though.

akiy
04-18-2006, 09:48 AM
Hi folks,

Can I step in here for a moment and ask people to move away, please, from discussing personalities and writing styles and, rather, to discussing the topic at hand?

Thank you.

-- Jun

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 10:04 AM
The next step for me personally, is "How do I attempt to change that?", or again, being more honest, "Do I really want to change that?" But that's another thread I guess...

No Ian, that is the crux of this thread (as it has morphed somewhat). Let me take this a bit further to address some of my own personal challenges to going deeper in my training.

My challenges to my commitment are partly physical, partly something else. I am trying to address the physical by training outside of aikido to improve my overall physical ability to stay on the mat injury free. When I first had problems with my left knee, I stopped training on the mat for about 6 months. I consistantly did the therapy my doctor recommended. In the same time period, I switched to a dojo that I felt (and still feel) offered me the best way forward in my training. When my right knee got injured, I did not do the therapy, and it has delayed the recovery for quite some time. Now that I have been doing yoga outside of the dojo, the knee is already showing serious improvement. But I have a ways to go...part of which is commiting to being at the dojo for a set number of times per week.

Another problem is my smoking. It has to stop. It amazes me that I can do some many different things, and yet this stupid weed is still messing with my head.

These are just some of the things I have let stand between myself and commitment to another level of my training. I am slowly addressing them...but it does take hard work.

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
04-18-2006, 10:21 AM
Another problem is my smoking. It has to stop. It amazes me that I can do some many different things, and yet this stupid weed is still messing with my head.

It's been nearly 48 since my last smoke, and the cheeky little monkey on my back is just starting to have some fun. :eek:
one day at a time, one day at a time.....

It's alot easier not to give up :crazy:

regards
Mark

Derek Gaudet
04-18-2006, 10:46 AM
two people practice aikido, one goes twice a week as regular as clockwork, it's her 'hobby' an she loves the benefit it gives her and how it enhances the rest of her life. The other person practices aikido 5-6 days a week and is very serious about their practice. Although on the surface it would seem that the latter student is more 'committed' to aikido, this can only be borne out as true many years from now. What if the 'hobbyist' continues training for their whole life well into old age, they still only manage twice a week but they just keep on going. No one could doubt their commitment, could they?
What if the 5-6 day a week student stays for a few years then decides to expand his 'martial' skills by practicing a different art. Where is his commitment to aikido?

At the end of the day 'who cares' how much training you do? Aikido practice is for everyone, for their own ends, for their own benefit.
Some may want hard long training, fine, go ahead, but don't think your aikido is any more valid than those who chose to train differently. Conversely, for those who train sporadically, don't put yourself in the same league as those that train long and hard.
If a student of a mediocre teacher practices for many hours, will they ever compare to a student of a great teacher who practices less?

Just a few thoughts to stir up an already cloudy debate ;)

regards,
Mark

I like that analogy. I would say if the hobbyist stays, they move beyond "Hobby-ism". And if the Committed student leaves...then it was "untrue commitment". At least regarding their place in Aikido. I guess just because we think of ourselves as a hobbyists, it doesn't make it true, especially considering your example showed it benefited their everyday life. Kind of an identity confusion, where we have to figure out just who we are. And that usually takes a long time. In some psychological theories it is a key issue during the teenage years. It is probably difficult to draw a line where a hobby-ism stops and commitment begins. But I'm sure that someone who starts as a hobbyist can surely develop into a committed student. Just my thoughts...

giriasis
04-18-2006, 10:52 AM
You know we have one man in our dojo who trains twice a week every other week. He is there consistently, and he has done this consistently for more than 6 years (longer than I've been at my dojo). You can count on him like clockwork. When you train with him, you have no doubt of his seriousness towards aikido. I'm more like Amelia, I don't really take the time to think is this a hobby or not. I seek to strive to improve my self and being everyday, and I use aikido as a tool to do this. There are ways outside of the aikido dojo. If I'm not focused on my work in my job, I'm focused on aikido, improving my health, and spending time with my family. Aikido is not my life but it plays a vital part of my life. I'm about fully living my life. It's just when we go into comparisons with others when we start to have problems. It's a lot like comparing your rank/ skill against someone else. Does it really matter to a particular person's training if someone is more or less committed than you are? No, my good friend who trains on occasion does not take away from the committment I've made to my own training, but that still doesn't mean aikido is not important to her. I see newbies come into the dojo and train 5 days a week. One of our 3rd kyus trains once a month. But when each of these people are on the mat, most of there the great majority of time are fully there and present in the moment. Once they are there, they are there, and that is what matters. Because when I train with our 3rd kyu who comes once a month he is serious and focused as with our 5 day-a-week newbies.

End the end all this "I'm a serious student and you're not" is just talk, and what really matters is what happens on the mat.

cck
04-18-2006, 11:14 AM
Terms, terms, definition of terms, perception of terms…
I started aikido because I wanted to be the Avenging Angel in the Night (I was 21 years old and so very young). I started practicing and learned how to roll and thought wow, this is cool stuff! I nevertheless stopped, moved on, lived in China for a while, did some taijiquan, came back, got married, finished school and moved again.
Found myself another dojo and again thought that this was indeed “my sport”. Unfortunately, I ended up having to make the very difficult decision to leave because I had lost all respect for my sensei – a pompous ass with a clear and demonstrated inability to practice what he preached. He did not match my expectations of someone I could learn from.
So I left again… Had a child, moved some more, and one day passed a dojo on my way to work. Took a class and have been there for two years now. I’ve had a couple of months where I only went four times, but I go.
Desire, pain, fear and commitment, then:
Desire for what I get out of aikido keeps me going – it does something to me that makes me what I consider to be a better person. It makes me so ridiculously happy sometimes that people stop me and ask me what I am so happy about. But is that a warning sign?
Pain and fear belong in the realm of watching my father die and never appears in aikido – at least it never reaches the same level. It can be uncomfortable, absolutely, to see some of your blind spots reflected in a very tangible, physical and undeniable way through practice. It can be really, really, frustrating – but then desire kicks in, the desire to work through it and come out on the other side and focus on something else. If there is something there, by all means, let's have a look at it. Practice affects how I relate to my work and how I am with my family. But is that “self-transformation”?
Commitment – well, I’ve been arguing about that one before as well. I understand David better now, I think; I would still say that once you’ve made a choice, what David calls “integration” follows – at whatever level you practice. I don’t make that choice every day, I only had to do it once. I understand myself as a committed individual, and perhaps feel that if my commitment in one area is being questioned, then all of it is – hence a conflict with a very deep rooted sense of “me”, something close to the core – it still gets me every time. Now, however, I am asking myself why? Didn’t even really know I had a “core”. Interesting… What else lurks there?
That, to me, is the main benefit of David’s (in Erick’s term) a-gressio posts – the question “why does this affect me so?” He can be heavy to dance with, absolutely, but give it some time and real thought. I’ve reacted to him too and likely will again, but in retrospect, when the emotions fade, there are valuable afterthoughts. Honestly, I think my problem has been that I wanted (his) approval, or to win the discussion; in the end, though, it is me I am trying to convince.
Right?

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 11:20 AM
Completely agree. I don't think David was saying that "I'm a serious student and you're not". The example of the woman in his dojo who has MS is a good example of just that. Some people really can only make it twice a week, or twice a month, or whatever, and they supplement the dojo time with other methods of practice. I've seen people who are much better than I am breeze through a 3rd dan test inspite of school, work, relationships. Me, lately...I have a hard time being consistent. Working on it...

Best,
Ron

Richard Langridge
04-18-2006, 11:58 AM
Here here. I've only been doing aikido for 3 months now, and due to money/distance can only train 2 or 3 times a week, but I think that this just makes me focus more once I'm on the mat. (Because that time is more important)

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 01:55 PM
Paige,

it is not an insult to point out that you were dismissive to Dennis' insight and assistance. nor is it insulting to suggest that a person that has not yet finished high school has probably not been partial to the latest academic discourse being practiced at the university level. we are dealing here with a matter of likely exposure - not a matter of personal intelligence. if anything, you'd not want the exposure level you have at the high school level to be the apex of your experience. i'm giving you the benefit of that doubt by expecting you to be exposed to a great deal more as you progress in your education.

It's an insult David, that you think you can make assumptions about people based only on their age and level of education. Don't assume i'm not smart because i'm a Sophomore in highschool. You don't know me and you don't know how much i've been exposed to.

The first time I took the ACT was in 7th grade. No, i'm not trying to impress you by any means believe me, I wouldn't waste my time. I'm trying to tell you that you need to stop questioning my intelligence and you need to stop making assumptions. "Likely exposure" is just that likely THis means often but not all the time.

So please David.... You're making my ears bleed...
*Paige*

aikigirl10
04-18-2006, 02:02 PM
Omg... I am soo done with aikiweb. Every thread I post in ends up in a big fight. I'll see you guys later. And i'm sorry to those of you who are not the ones causing it.

C ya!!

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 02:03 PM
Paige, he made no reference to you being smart or not.

That is the crux of the problem here...people continually read things that simply aren't on the page.

Cough. Pardon the pun.

Best,
Ron

giriasis
04-18-2006, 02:51 PM
Paige, he made no reference to you being smart or not.

That is the crux of the problem here...people continually read things that simply aren't on the page.

Cough. Pardon the pun.

Best,
Ron

But, Ron, part of interpreting literary writing (prose as you like to call his "writing") goes beyond what is written on the page. You can disagree with me, Amelia, and Paige all you want and you can stand behind David all you want, but we will continue to interpret the implied expressions behind his "prose." I already essentially agreed to disagree with David, now, can we?

Now, can we go back to discussing the actual issue here on this thread? (Paige, you too, Jun came in already to ask us to calm things down. It's really rare for Jun to use his moderator powers so it's best to respect his request. I know how hard it can be to run a board like this. And, mine, well, is small time compared to this. Please come by and visit us.)

Ron Tisdale
04-18-2006, 02:58 PM
I already essentially agreed to disagree with David, now, can we?

I wasn't speaking to you...I was speaking to Paige. That would be why I specifically addressed my post to her.

My general opinion about what is happening here is unchanged, as is true for you as well. That's ok by me.

Best,
Ron

giriasis
04-18-2006, 03:03 PM
I wasn't speaking to you...I was speaking to Paige. That would be why I specifically addressed my post to her.

My general opinion about what is happening here is unchanged, as is true for you as well. That's ok by me.

Best,
Ron

But I was speaking to you. You have already in a previous comment attempted to engage me with this quote here: I don't think David was saying that "I'm a serious student and you're not". You were quoting me remember? I'm choosing not to get into a "tit for tat" debate over David any more. Understand? If you want to debate what I meant with the comment we may, but I wish to leave David and his personality out of it -- as Jun requested.

Keith R Lee
04-18-2006, 04:35 PM
Man, this thread has been almost as entertaining as the Aikido does not work in a fight thread!!

Back and forth, tit for tat, eye for an eye; I'm imbued with the peace, harmony, and aiki in this thread!!

I'd have to say that I'd agree that David's posts are being taken out of context, mostly because it puts the onus of the issue on the practitioner themselves and people would rather shift the burden to somewhere else. Again, the crux of the matter being the difference between one who practices Aikido as a hobby or attempts to fully integrate it into their lives. Even then, I would say there are a range of levels in between these two levels. For the person who trains in Aikido purely for martial skills and focuses on that aspect of the art only, are they a "committed" student? What about one who focuses on the spiritual? Are both sides necessary to fully incorporate Aikido into one's life?

Also, in terms of who is a "hobbyist" and who is not, I would argue that the vast majority of Aikido practitioners fall under the "hobbyist" category, myself included. The only time in my life I felt like I was seriously pursuing Aikido was during my stay as an uchi deshi between my shodan and nidan. During that time, and over the years, I have been fortunate to meet people who I think are seriously, deeply committed to the Way. They are far and few between.

As in I could count them on two hands.

Sure, for any certain individual, they might be making a "commitment" to Aikido, cycling, or Catholicism in regards to the time and energy they have available. A few hours a week, some extra practice here and there. Even if they are "fully engaged" focusing all their energy on that task, it is not the same as being Ando shihan, Lance Armstrong, or a priest or Arch-Bishop in the Catholic Church. There is definitely a standard by which people judge others in terms of their commitment to what they do and it being relative to the time they have available has nothing to do with that standard.

There are better cyclist who are more committed than me and probably anyone else on this board; they are professionals, athletes, people completely dedicated to fitness and their bikes. There are people more devoted to Catholicism than others. Priests, Nuns, Bishops, sometimes even the quiet little old lady who has never missed Church in her whole life and prays every day. And there definitely are Aikido practitioners who are more committed than others, and have a deeper and more complex understanding than I, and most of the others on this board. Shihans, instructors, and sometimes just a very dedicated and special student. Regardless, there is definitely some standard by which one judges the "dedication" of another person in regards to Aikido, or anything else for that matter.

What David is saying, and Ron seems to agree with (if I'm putting words in your mouth Ron, please call me on it), and I agree with as well is that standard is very, very high.

And it is non-negotiable.

Just because you think you're "committed" does not make it so. Just because you have romantic ideals of being a sensei does not make it so. Just because Aikido "clicks" with you, and seems to help make sense of what is wrong in your life does not make it so.

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that most of us are hobbyists. And, in spite of that, perhaps because of that, our practice is all the more important. It gives us a glimpse of our potential, our untapped abilities that would rise out of us if only we were willing to make that commitment. It is that aspect of Aikido, or cycling, or Catholicism that is truly wonderful. The potential to touch and be a part of something better and greater than ourselves. It does not lessen us to be cognizant of our own shortcomings in regards to practice, it should make us stronger. Knowing our weaknesses and our faults should encourage us and spur us to grow. Anything else is merely stroking one's ego in order to inflate the purpose of one's practice, never a good thing. Instead, it only serves to diminish the examples that people who came before us (sensei ) because we are not as good as them and feel the need to justify lack of commitment.

...

This thread has made me think of this quote:

"It is better to never have known the Way, than to follow it and then step off."

Qatana
04-18-2006, 06:32 PM
It seems that what is missing is that almost everyone here has forgotten that Paige is 16 years old and has an entire lifetime to train. And that Many teenagers who have been training in an art since childhood decide to take a break, take a walk, try something else. And sometimes they return and go on to greatness, and some have perfctly satisfying lives doing Something Else.
Paige, you just keep on doing what you are doing. Question yourself but don't beat yourself up because you are different today than you were yesterday. Odds are you will be different tomorrow, too.

Michael O'Brien
04-18-2006, 08:43 PM
Man, this thread has been almost as entertaining as the Aikido does not work in a fight thread!!

Back and forth, tit for tat, eye for an eye; I'm imbued with the peace, harmony, and aiki in this thread!!

I'd have to say that I'd agree that David's posts are being taken out of context, mostly because it puts the onus of the issue on the practitioner themselves and people would rather shift the burden to somewhere else. Again, the crux of the matter being the difference between one who practices Aikido as a hobby or attempts to fully integrate it into their lives. Even then, I would say there are a range of levels in between these two levels. For the person who trains in Aikido purely for martial skills and focuses on that aspect of the art only, are they a "committed" student? What about one who focuses on the spiritual? Are both sides necessary to fully incorporate Aikido into one's life?

Also, in terms of who is a "hobbyist" and who is not, I would argue that the vast majority of Aikido practitioners fall under the "hobbyist" category, myself included. The only time in my life I felt like I was seriously pursuing Aikido was during my stay as an uchi deshi between my shodan and nidan. During that time, and over the years, I have been fortunate to meet people who I think are seriously, deeply committed to the Way. They are far and few between.

As in I could count them on two hands.

Sure, for any certain individual, they might be making a "commitment" to Aikido, cycling, or Catholicism in regards to the time and energy they have available. A few hours a week, some extra practice here and there. Even if they are "fully engaged" focusing all their energy on that task, it is not the same as being Ando shihan, Lance Armstrong, or a priest or Arch-Bishop in the Catholic Church. There is definitely a standard by which people judge others in terms of their commitment to what they do and it being relative to the time they have available has nothing to do with that standard.

There are better cyclist who are more committed than me and probably anyone else on this board; they are professionals, athletes, people completely dedicated to fitness and their bikes. There are people more devoted to Catholicism than others. Priests, Nuns, Bishops, sometimes even the quiet little old lady who has never missed Church in her whole life and prays every day. And there definitely are Aikido practitioners who are more committed than others, and have a deeper and more complex understanding than I, and most of the others on this board. Shihans, instructors, and sometimes just a very dedicated and special student. Regardless, there is definitely some standard by which one judges the "dedication" of another person in regards to Aikido, or anything else for that matter.

What David is saying, and Ron seems to agree with (if I'm putting words in your mouth Ron, please call me on it), and I agree with as well is that standard is very, very high.

And it is non-negotiable.

Just because you think you're "committed" does not make it so. Just because you have romantic ideals of being a sensei does not make it so. Just because Aikido "clicks" with you, and seems to help make sense of what is wrong in your life does not make it so.

The cold, hard truth of the matter is that most of us are hobbyists. And, in spite of that, perhaps because of that, our practice is all the more important. It gives us a glimpse of our potential, our untapped abilities that would rise out of us if only we were willing to make that commitment. It is that aspect of Aikido, or cycling, or Catholicism that is truly wonderful. The potential to touch and be a part of something better and greater than ourselves. It does not lessen us to be cognizant of our own shortcomings in regards to practice, it should make us stronger. Knowing our weaknesses and our faults should encourage us and spur us to grow. Anything else is merely stroking one's ego in order to inflate the purpose of one's practice, never a good thing. Instead, it only serves to diminish the examples that people who came before us (sensei ) because we are not as good as them and feel the need to justify lack of commitment.

...

This thread has made me think of this quote:

"It is better to never have known the Way, than to follow it and then step off."

Wow, go on vacation for a few days and things get really interesting while you're gone. LOL

Keith,
I think you summed up a lot of what I would have liked to have said after having read through the last 4 pages of this and definitely said it better than I could have (especially coming from someone who has his bike hanging in the shed right now so he can spend more time trying to move beyond Aikido hobbyist). :D

Nick P.
04-18-2006, 08:55 PM
OK, that was a little ridiculous...

Paige, you asked, and you got whay you might not have liked to hear. Stop using OMG and lol.

David, some of your comments can very, VERY easily be misinterpreted.

The rest of you, move along; there is nothing (left) to see here.

vjw
04-18-2006, 09:31 PM
"England and America are two countries separated by the same language."
-- Sir Walter Besant

It seems that a lot of great contributors to aikiweb are too. I hope you all step back, take a break, then continue with your contributions which I usually find very worth while reading.

Vic

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2006, 07:12 AM
Anne Marie,

I'm sorry you have taken this so personally. I was not trying to engage you...I was simply stating my opinion. I wish you the best.

Ron

giriasis
04-19-2006, 09:51 AM
Anne Marie,

I'm sorry you have taken this so personally. I was not trying to engage you...I was simply stating my opinion. I wish you the best.

Ron

Don't worry about me taking threads like this personally. I've learned a long time ago not to take things like this personally thus is the nature of internet bulletin boards. :) I have no problem with you stating your opinion, but a trite response like "I wasn't talking to you" deserved another trite response like "well, I am talking to you because..." Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself. ;)

James Davis
04-19-2006, 10:28 AM
Sorry, but I just couldn't help myself. ;)
It's crazy how we get sucked in sometimes, isn't it? :D

Ron Tisdale
04-19-2006, 10:48 AM
[terminator voice]No problemo [/terminator voice]

Best,
Ron (I didn't mean it to be trite, sorry)

Keith R Lee
04-19-2006, 10:55 AM
Thanks Mike,

I hoped I was being clear with what I was tyring to say. Glad it resonated with you.

Good luck with Aikido, and don't forget that bike!!! :)

giriasis
04-19-2006, 11:49 AM
It's crazy how we get sucked in sometimes, isn't it? :D

Yeah, but it's so fun when it happens. ;)

Mike Collins
04-19-2006, 06:03 PM
Lotsa words got spoke here. Not many did much though.

I never quit Aikido. I stopped training for a time, a few times, but I never quit Aikido. I thought about it. Then I tried to figure out why I still wanted to continue training. Truth is, I don't think I know why.

I train because I train. Now it's a part of who I perceive myself to be.

I vascillate between being a dilletante, a hobbyist, a serious Aikidoist, and a fool. I suspect everyone else here does too. This thread proves some of that.

Sometimes you make the poop, sometimes ya sling it, sometimes, ya gotta pick it up, throw it away, and start over. People expect an awful lot from themselves, I think.

None of us will leave this life alive, not even the smart ones of us.

But we'll all spend time convincing ourselves otherwise. It's who we are, and it's what we do.

Have Fun!

Mike

Mark Freeman
04-20-2006, 12:07 PM
Sometimes you make the poop, sometimes ya sling it, sometimes, ya gotta pick it up, throw it away, and start over.

My american cousins have such a wonderfull turn of phrase, spot on! :D

None of us will leave this life alive, not even the smart ones of us.

See what I mean. :cool:

Thanks Mike, I may have to quote you down the pub tonight when we go for our post practice pint. ;)

Cheers
Mark