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11-13-2006, 10:37 AM
Discuss the article, "Temple Dogs" by Ross Robertson here.

Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/rrobertson/2006_11.html

11-13-2006, 12:50 PM
As one accused of having a bit of wolfhound somewhere in my ancestry, I really enjoyed this piece. Once inside, take comfort, for whatever it's worth, that those you meet also have had their own experiences with the dogs. These are people whose desire and necessity sustain them. They will be your partners and your friends. Understand that their dogs bark differently than yours, but that everyone faces their own balance of commitment and fear. Work with them to make your dojo as welcoming as it possibly can be, but know that every visitor and every new student will have to have their reckoning with the Temple Dogs An appeal to empathy, and to consciously keep your dog outside at the gate as well. I haven't enjoyed the columns this much in a while.

11-13-2006, 02:45 PM
I heard a story once that the temple needed five guard dogs. One for each of the north, south, east, and west wall. When asked about the fifth dog, the trainer said that most temples fall from within.

The dogs and demons are not just at the gate.

11-16-2006, 02:27 PM
Good article. Reminds me of a Sensei story.....which I'll tell another time.



11-17-2006, 06:31 AM
A beautiful piece of writing. Simple, original and profound, as good writing should be.

Jerry Miller
11-17-2006, 05:31 PM
Great piece of writing. I have two Foo dogs at the home sitting on the mantle. One regarding the front entrance and the other the rear entrance. Of course I have my own demons that I carry around like baggage.

R.A. Robertson
11-20-2006, 12:59 PM
Thanks for the comments, everyone.

After more than 27 years, I still have my own dogs. Possibly the biggest of them all is apathy from my students. Not that they don't care at all, but overall, there is a general malaise about the self identity of the dojo. It's health, vitality, and success seem very removed from their day to day concerns. As long as I show up and teach, that's all that matters to many of them.

Robert Fripp once observed that the best way to effect the collapse of a system is through "passive commitment, i.e. apathy." I have seen the truth of this again and again.

Growth of a community, spawning new communities, outreach to the larger society, all of these things are fundamental to the survival and self defense of a communal organism. It is to my everlasting bitter shame that I have failed to communicate these values to my students, and there are days when I simply cannot face it anymore.

All your kind words of encouragement are deeply appreciated. I am grateful to have your generous attention to these thoughts and words that I write monthly.

For every kiai, yamabiko.


11-20-2006, 05:04 PM
A truly wonderful piece. I shall be sharing this with some of my students who do not have access to computers (Rio Vista is a very small town). I have a couple who could use a little, um, encouragement. Although this piece isn't entirely encouraging.

Still, I think it will have the desired effect.

01-20-2007, 02:36 AM
A fantastic piece - thank you so much for sharing.