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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.
Last night, was by far the toughest class I've had to deal with these days.
I started off with 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 back extensions, 50 squats.
I was sore from the previous days work out, and felt like I had no strength left in me for class.
Every single technique throughout the class was impossible. No one could I throw, No technique could I perform.
Totally stuck, with everyone, with every attack.
I felt worthless by the end of the class, exhausted and spent.......
I have to admit, though, I was the only one that made the whole class with out having to take a rest......must be back in shape.
I had the most interesting conversation with Mike W. while he and Panda Conqueror were trying to catch their breaths after training with me.......
Can't remember the exact words, but Mike kind of asked me (because I couldn't perform a single technique on him) Is it OK for me to keep getting you.....
For my personal training and my personal Aikido, it's not how many times you get the technique, but how many times you fail.
If I get attacked 10,000 times and can truly perform the technique once, then for me that's great......why......truly because uke is attacking me.
It doesn't matter how long you've done Aikido, the only thing that truly matters is the moment. A beginner can perform the technique better than someone that has been doing aikido for 50 years, if he is there at the moment. Some people call it luck, some people call it "the zone",
Last night I had a wonderful time teaching the class. Don couldn't make it to teach, I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't going to get to train, but...........
Towards the end of class I was showing the technique of Yokomen-uchi shihonage. Anguel was my uke. He is a tough guy! Always gives me a hard time and very strong attacks.
He went to strike........I slowly performed the technique of shihonage.
Slowly I picked him up off his feet........took him around and..........threw him to the ground. The whole time, his feet were about two feet off the ground. I wish I could have had a video recorder going.
I got home last night and was having a nice conversation with my wife.
For the first time, she told me she is amazed at my movements and the power of my techniques. She said that my movements are not the same anymore.
She asked me when I started understanding Aikido......She actually got me thinking about it.........
Wasn't until last night........funny thing is that if feels that way each time I reach a new level...wasn't till I got there that I understood it, and when I look back beyond that point always feels like I thought I had it but must not have.......
Erik Sasha Calderon