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We had a special training class on Labor Day. I was a class where you might get a technique to work well one day and the next you are struggling with it trying to break to the next level. Your frustration level is high. It is from stepping out of your technical comfort zone to try something new, approaching the technique from a new angle, from ground zero once again. It is a challenge that tests everything about you and in you; a problem that needs to be solved. It is a familiar feeling any time you want to go to the next level. A perma-frustration it seems, you're off your game more than you're on.
After class, we all went to dinner and had the opportunity for good food and good conversation that always brings on good spirits. As the food and drink flowed the higher the spirits rose and more heartfelt the conversation fill our souls. It was one of those rare times when your open to all things good leaving you vulnerable to unleashing those Freudian slips of carnal wishes to be great, to be great martial artists.
And to define that, to cleave the martial from the art is to separate ourselves from the flesh of violence and retreat into the spiritual realm of that higher being that we see ourselves as Aikibeings. Amidst the reason why we turned a fraternal dinner of like minds, high in camaraderie, into the Symposium rather than a drunken belligerent swaggering of ego and testosterone was merely because our sense of who we are and what we want to achieve in Aikido.
We didn't hesitate to disavow the wretchedness of our souls that hungered secretly to be the hero in all testosterone laden males whose fantasies are those romantic exploits. We gallantly defeat the ominous evil villain, rescue the beautiful helpless girl from her violent impeding doom, and call it a night. The part of us men where in our genetic code lingers a need to be a hero. A part in us men that once started out as a survival application that has now become obsolete in purpose. But now twisted 180 degree to an over immoderation survival/hero fantasy of middle aged men. As self indulgent as it was into our fantasies, our purpose in discussion as well as in life was to reach a higher level.
At the Symposium table, the ideal of love sailed to every port of each Aikidoka's diatribe, as it was earnestly crafted in lively and robust Rhetoric. There where times where the idea of love was the answer to all the ills of the world to love being merely a romantic interpretation through those wearing rose colored glasses, next port of call, some how it was the jaded hang-over of the forlorn, and finally, love experienced through an allegory of unordinary seagull. Never truly sailing back to its port of origin, we didn't really truly know what O'Sensei meant by love, Yet we continued to drink up the conversation like pints of warm beer and bread. And like those drunken sailors or yore Shanghaied, we never found our way back to port, where we started.
If O'Sensei had a last supper, there be seated around him, his Uchi-deshi apostles and despite their sins, would all be in agreement there that violence had no place in the world. And, if O'Sensei gave a sermon on the mount his epitomization of violence would remind us all of the fragility of our universe and how our primative genetic code that once used for survival has not evolved. Violence impeds our ability of a higher purpose much like the once held belief that if man was to fly, God would have have him wings. For our higher purpose there is no sun to melt the wax of our wings. Only our own insistance that it is better to accept the lot given to you in life and not try to fly at all. To hang on to that rock and stay there. To never let go and move with the tide.
We all agreed though training that we no longer needed to be dictated by impulses that seem to come from dark place in the recesses of our being where violence plays out. Impulses we have disciplined through training where it is no longer an autonomic indulgence seeking the use of violence as a power over others. We imbibe the difficultly in training is that we must evolve. No longer can we sit idle in contentment at the same level of evolution of where we came from, the dank, dark, murky pool that all life once sprang from. It was our obligation as carnal beings who wore heavy white cotton jackets and high water pants with no fasteners other then a string for the pants and a 2"cloth tied around our waists to contemplate a better being.
The night ended with a few cheers and gulps of warm beer and remnants of a finely cooked meal savored as the conversation. It was a bonding, a reassurance of our purpose in a world that indulgences in violence and refrains from creation. Where in a world violence is more popular that and good romp in the hay. A world where man gives no thought to his own evolution and the power that comes with that. In our world, we find violence to be far too easy to indulge, and far too easy to profit from. We fail to evolve…………..where the last comments before we all settled back into our lives.
So we actually had two classes that day. One carnal, and one spiritual. Both taught us allot about ourselves and who we are. And in each class we struggled to get to that next level. We are artist, in the martial art of Aikido. Where the vision and lessons of one old warrior had for a peaceful world was hammered out in a purposeful dance from the old violent martial ways. He did so in order to bring an understanding and need for a transformation, an evolution of being. Like anything worth while, it isn't an easy thing to do.