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I've finally got the details and the specifics ironed out for our trip to Japan, to visit the World Headquarters for Aikido at the dojo where the grandson of O'Sensei teaches.
It's so exciting to get to go and learn Aikido from the top Aikidoists in the world. I'm soo excited, and so is Mike and Chris.
I've planned it out so that we can train many hours a day, and be able to visit some wonderful historical places in and around Tokyo.
I used to walk to the honbu dojo (world headquarters) everyday. It was a 30 minute walk from Shinjuku station, everyday. That's a 1 hour round trip walk and worth every minute.
I used to pass a small temple on my way everyday. It has a beautiful statue of a dragon. It was my favorite spot to pass on my way to train. And boy would I train. I had some incredibly wonderful times at the Honbu Dojo, I have met some of the most incredible people while training there.
I remember one Friday night, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, son of the founder and late Dosshu, came up to me to show me kotegaeshi. He was already pretty old and I was worried I might hurt him in my attack, but attacked hard anyway. He threw me effortlessly, which was not so impressive to me anymore, but what truly impressed me, more than anything that I have every experienced in Aikido, was when he pinned me, it really felt like I had a ton of weight, and I mean a ton in pounds of pressure, smashing me to the mat. I thought this little old guy was going to put me throug
Finally after 10 years of trying to run and manage a dojo, I've decided to quit! That's right, I quit! Trying to teach Aikido as a business, just isn't for me.
When I came to Houston, from Japan, I really thought I could make teaching Aikido a business. If you look at the numbers, it's there: 100 students at $100.00 per month = $10,000.00 per month, after rents and bills that would leave you with $7,000.00 per month. That's not a bad salary for only a 100 students. Then imagine if I could double that to 200 students, then with uniform and weapon sales....Wow....
Well, it's been 10 years, and yes I've had over 600 students come and go, some staying......
But, my trip to Mexico, truely had an impact on me and my Aikido.
My technique changed. My mind changed. My strength level's changed.
Can't explain it, but my students are complaining about it....
So, I've decided to quit the dojo business.....
Walked into a billion dollar business, anyhow......and focus my time and energy on getting more and more of my students to complain about my Aikido, instead of focusing my energies on the business of Aikido.
Erik Sasha Calderon
After a three week journey to the Baja Peninsula, I am back in Houston, back at the dojo, and just about back in shape.
The journey was amazing, and I met some amazing people.
I met an 84 year old man that built his own 400 passenger ship, with his own hands and a few assitants. He told me about his adventure in Hollywood and how he made 184 movies in the span of 8 years and all the wonderful actors and actresses he met. This guy had more energy than two of me put together. He took my dad in a ride in his helicopter to an organic farm that he built himself. I can't even begin to express how amazed I was with the amount of things he is doing at the age of 84.
I visited the famous "Hotel California" where the Eagles stayed and wrote the famous song, "Hotel California."
I met a guy that was given most of the land in Los Cabos, I think I need to repeat that, he was given the land in a lottery. Now here it get's interesting...He lost the lottery and got the land on the beach! You see, back then the land on the beach was worth absolutely nothing! The land on the other side of the highway was the land that was worth something because you could put your cows on it.
Well, that was decades ago, he held on to that land and now he's the one with a lear jet, a super yatch and a lifestyle that we only dream about.
I got to dine in the most incredible restuarants, with the most incredible views.
Maybe, in 14 years, I'll retire to Cabo. It's like a dream o
I haven't been able to train again. My schedule has been incredibly busy.
I have visited so many places in so little time. I was asked to start an Aikido Program in a health club in Cabo San Lucas. I think I may pass on the offer, or I'll set someone up with the opportunity.
It is the most beautiful place here. The growth is phenomenal.
I went to Japan, wanting to become one of the greatest Aikidoists in the world. 17 years ago at 20 years old, a senior in College, with no idea where Honbu dojo was or where aikido is taught. I simply left to Japan with a dream.
It took me two months to get situated and find Honbu dojo and nearly 6 years to leave.
I went to Japan with a dream, a thought, I wanted to learn Aikido from the best so that I could be like the best.
It's been a bumpy road, with lots of interesting turns, lots of stop signs and lots of miraculous outcomes.
I must admit that all this time I thought I was trying to learn aikido but recently discovered that it wasn't aikido that I was learning.
Last night, I taught class again. I've been trying so hard to stay away from teaching, but when the time comes, I step up and teach. Funny thing is that I learn so much more from teaching.
It's so hard to explain in words what I realized last night. Let's just say that it's hard to explain the stuff that you can't explain. I think that about sums it up.
The techniques that I am focusing on are designed to use the force and the energy of the person attacking to throw, pin or subdue him/her. The only way to learn how to do this is to actually have someone attack you. That in itself is a great feat, and the first very important step to learning the techniques.
If you think carefully about it, by trying to throw or pin your partner, you are actually attacking them.
So then, what do we focus on? Harmony, Peace, Love,…… Easy to say, easy to read, but how do we do it?
One important point: the person that is doing the technique is the one that needs for focus on these things, not the one attacking, he/she needs to focus on attacking.
Sounds kind of hard to be able to flip your mindset so fast while you are training. You attack four times, left…right…left…right, then you have to change your mindset to Harmony, Peace, Love, and get attacked four times, then back to attack mode.
I guess that is an important part of learning the technique…..flexibility of mind.