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12-13-2001, 10:55 AM
My love for the martial arts started as a kid. My mother would take me to Manhattan to see those badly dubbed kung-fu movies. :cool: Back then you could catch a triple feature for the price of a single ticket. I could stay and watch those movies forever. The actors were simply amazing. I was a pretty sickly kid, always in and out of hospitals. My mother was very overprotective of me and wouldn't let out much. I promised myself when I grew up I would study martial arts. When I went away to college, I found out they had a taekwando club and I quickly joined. I stayed with it for about 1-½ years, but my Sensei was really into competition and I could careless. What I wanted was to be a great martial artist not an athlete.
I went home to finish up my bachelors degree in engineering (this hood rat couldn't take the corn country of Indiana, what was I thinking?). The school had a freestyle karate club that did tons of sparring. It was pretty much people from different dojos and styles teaching and hoping to pick up some new moves. I loved to spar and I would frequently spar against the black belts. I also took up saber fencing under an Olympic bronze medallist for about a year. It was in the karate club that I met Sensei Polmar and was introduced to the aiki-arts.
He didn't do any of the high-flying kicks or the explosive movements that I thought was martial arts. Upon talking with him I found out he was a black belt in Aikibujitsu. I asked questions, did a few rolling drills and heard stories about his training under his master who recently passed away. I think he was lonely and looking for some ukes. He was trained alone in one of those backyard dojos and didn't have any other people to practice with. He tried a few aikido dojos but he didn't fit in with their idealized philosophy.
After a while he started teaching me. He didn't ask for money, he said I would pay with blood and sweat. While training with him people came to join us and went. He didn't ask for money, but it sure as hell wasn't free. He would train me in his basement, the park or his friends recording studio. I actually learn how to breakfall on an old smelly mattress. I would wear weightlifting gloves to help with the stinging of my hand from slapping out on his basement floor. To this day I can still do breakfalls on concrete, and when nobodies looking I practice rolling in the street. For the two years I was with him I didn't learn many techniques. What I did learn was movement and blocking drills, and how to take better ukemi then most black belts I have met so far. The fundamentals I learned made learning techniques now a breeze. I could always just break up the choreography into simple basic movements. He would tell me stories of how he and his sensei would practice with live katanas and showed me the scars that went along with them. He told me about his trip to Japan to test for his black belt, and the day he got jumped by 10 guys and proved that randori really works (Works if your willing to cripple people in the process.). During his training he dislocated both of his shoulder, broke his collarbone and shattered his knees. "What makes a good martial artist is not how fast or how strong you are, it's about pain threshold, about being willing to never quit no matter how much it hurts," that was his theory of combat. He told me he was constantly in pain. He was the scariest martial artist I have ever met. His control and extension of ki was amazing. With barley a touch he could throw me so fast I would experience tunnel vision, yet I would land unscathed. He got hit by a car.
It took me a while before I came around to aikido, but I wanted to practice and finding a school in Aikibujitsu is very hard. In the long run I think aikido would be better for me. For all his technical expertise Sensei Polmar was a man out of time. When I looked at him I could see what it was like to be a samurai. He was arrogant, opinionated and confrontational. If he saw people doing something wrong he would confront them, no matter how many of them there where. He was a crazy little white man. "Anybody can kill with a punch or a kick, it takes skill to kill someone with your ki" like I said a crazy little white man. But the lessons I learned from him I will always carry in my heart and spirit. He knew what budo was; he just lacked the refinement and compassion that his sensei never got a chance to teach him.
I really love aikido. I've been doing it for two years now. Next year I'll probable test for my Shodan if the gods are willing and my new sensei can help me tame the fire t that Sensei Polmar put inside of me. :D
That's about it. I hope to stick with aikido all my life. Pick up some Filipino stick fighting and defensive tactics along the way. Arnis is so beautiful. I think Aikido works so well for me because I'm a pagan and it blends so well with my beliefs. I guess I should thank Ueshiba and Shinto for that. I really believe that aikido can be used to make you a better person, and that's all I really want. I look in the mirror each day and I know I can be better. Maybe when I'm older and retired I'll open up a small backyard dojo for poor inner city kids. I won't charge any money but it sure as hell won't be free.:)
I'm 28 years old, of Puerto Rican decent (that pretty much makes me a mongrel). I grew up in the mean streets of Brooklyn (Usually hiding in the corner hoping the bigger predators didn't see me.) I am an engineer that works in product safety (Bore, but there's no place for a warrior monk these days, Kain made it look so easy in Kung Fu.). I love to play paintball (I have a Tippman 98 with a new flatline system that I have yet to try out.). I'm a pagan with no real tradition. I'm torn between Taoism, Wicca and Shamanism. (I'll probably combine them all into a nice shake). I'm vegan, but not a super vegan yet. I'm anti-establishment, but not as political as I should be (What is the Matrix?). Favorite movies, Highlander, Blade, Demon City Shinjuku (Anime rocks) and The Matrix.
Thanks for your introduction! I've had the chance to visit your dojo a few years back; although I didn't get to train there (but, rather, with Toyoda sensei about an hour away), you have a bunch of great people there!
12-13-2001, 03:27 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
Your story has similarities with a friend of mine of a jujutsu school.
I remembered when my Aikido was quite rough that it looked like a form of jujutsu (even all the way to grappling and ne-waza). I've come a long way from there, but the violent feeling were still there. Only recently I've been trying to resolve anger and those violent feelings. This is also thanks to the Ki no kenkyukai classes that I've been taking. This class is free of charge, but we pay with our dedication, with the promise that we will always try to better ourselves each day and that we will always have a good heart. My sensei and I both are taking these classes.
My spirit is a lot calmer now, but it is still a long way from calm. I still yet to have a resolution with myself. But it is a never ending quest of mine, as with martial arts, in this case, Aikido.
This could be the best thread ever :)
I'll put mine in after a couple of others.
12-14-2001, 04:14 PM
I'm also sure you like metal gear solid very much! :p
But you're right, your sensei was a crazy ol man! Not many colourful ppl here where I'm at though. More's the pity.
01-22-2002, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
Martial Arts-My love for the martial arts started as a kid.
How shall I put this... As gentle as possible. I miss Ghost Fox. He was not only a dedicated student, but a good person and a friend.
Yea, he was speaking about me. I am the crazy lil white guy he spoke about. I figured the best way to introduce myself is by replying to a post left by a former student of mine. I guess he introduced me enough, but nonetheless, it would only be proper for you all to hear from me.
Ghost Fox was in my second group of students I've ever had. There have been 5 groups total with a range of 3 to 19 students per group. With the exception of the NYPD Academy, of course. That would make the numbers staggering!
My life has changed since Ghost Fox knew me. I was a pedestrian run over by a cargo van and it took away everything I knew. Medical experts told me 'it's over' basically. Letting me know the use of my legs would certainly be quite limited.
That was in December of 1995. 18 months later, I did what they said couldn't be done. I walked without crutches, walked without a cane, fell all over the place but still regained enough strength to make it last. They never completed the surgeries on my legs, the insurance company felt I was of no consequence. So, for obvious reasons, I was on my own.
I hd lost most abilities and worst of all, my students. I cared for them more than I can ever describe. Years passed me by and I grew stronger but still, the pain remained inside of me. I had worked for 12 years to attain what I had and someone takes it away with a 10,000lb vehicle. I guess that is what it takes to TRY and remove your love and passion for the art.
Aiki is much more than a technique. It becomes you and you become Aiki. It's a unity with yourself and the Earth. Tenchi is everything and for 12 of those 18 months, I came to realize that embracing the whole concept of Tenchi and what it involves would certainly help me back onto my feet.
I'll say this much, if I didn't know how to take a fall, learning to walk again would have been much more painful than it was .
In any case, I am Polmar, Sensei of the Ogasawara Takeda/Shinoseishin-Ryu. My Sensei before me taught me as a courtesy to his nephew, who was a friend and schoolmate of mine. I excelled far beyond any expectation he would have of a gaijin.
I loved what Sensei has shown me and I loved Sensei. He was a friend, a mentor, a counselor and a gentle person (when he wanted to be). He was a descendant from Aizu in the Ogasawara. His discipline was Daito/Takeda-Ryu Aikibujutsu. Founded by brothers of Minamoto-Kai as Daito-Ryu, it was later carried by the Takeda-Kai to show a greatness in the art of self-perfection. Sensei was a student of Takeda Sokaku and then of Sagawa Yukiyoshi and soon after, I became a student of Beyamoto.
True, Bujutsu is violent and vicious, but if it weren't for the foudning principles of Aiki, many wonderful and harmonious arts would not exist today. Ueshiba would not have been a student of Takeda and all of us would not be here talking about it.
Regardless of the stories how Aikido came to be or the ancient methods of Bujutsu which have little or no place today, the technique is never important but moreso, the feeling of extending ourselves with our innermost feelings. That is Aiki.
Come in the next 2 months, I'll be at my 19th anniversary celebrating Aikibujutsu. My health has returned as much as it can for now and yes, I am teaching again (and yes, it's vicious and violent, but hey, I do teach Aikibujutsu after all).
Ghost Fox, if you still rad this forum, you were a wonderful student and I am so proud that you stayed with Aiki. 2 years to your Shodan? I think the stinging of your hands paid off. Makes me wonder what Brad has been up to.. Makes me wonder if you know (Last I heard he was studying some octopus system of ninjutsu-no comment).
In any case, time to close this up. I'm sure many of you either overlooked my intro because it is long-winded or that you don't care for the older combat-based systems. That's fine either way. Just thought I'd drop a line and say hi, and that I found you guys on a web search (my name showed up and I was like 'whoa').
Wishing all the best to you all.
Shinoseishin ne dawa
G. Polmar, Sensei
PS- Arrogance is a tool that is used when teaching Aikibujutsu to allow the deshi to feel completely and totally overwhelmed. Obviously, it works.
01-23-2002, 04:38 AM
Thank you for sharing a valuable lesson, Polmar-sensei. You have taught your students well.
I am still a beginner in understanding Aiki. I am hoping that I will get a sufficient understanding of the principle of Aiki before I pass on.Enough so I can share it with others.
01-23-2002, 09:27 AM
Great post! Keep it going!
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