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I remember in Japan, how often people would ask me, how do you do it? How can I do this technique? Which hand goes where? Where am I supposed to move my feet.
I usually always tried to keep silent and push them by attacking a bit harder.
Today, I find my self having to teach, when all I want to do is learn and become better.
I want to become the best I could ever be.....and the only way to get there is to have honest sincere training partners. People that will push me further and further the same way I would keep quite and push my fellow students a bit harder.
At some point in your training you may reach a point when you say, "Aikido is boring! I don't want to do this anymore."
I've reached that point many times throughout the 16 years I've done Aikido. I've even quit several times; but there is just something about the way I learned Aikido and from whom I learned Aikido that completely changed my life.
For some reason, I keep doing it.
While in Japan, I remember a very good friend of mine, photographer, Mr. Sasaki, once counseled me. When you reach a wall, you have to find a way to climb over that wall. In everything you do, no matter what it is, you will usually hit a wall. That's what separates the quitters from the conquerors.
When you get to that point in Aikido when you start to think it's boring, you've hit a wall. A wall that shows how limited your thinking is. Can you get out of that "box"? Can you climb over or go through that wall? Are you going to make something out of Aikido?
A wall gives us a choice: #1. Do I want to quit? or #2. Am I going to learn something here? It's up to you to make the choice.
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