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I was thinking about this incident a few days ago, and wanted to include it in my blog.
While I was in Japan, I was training very hard in Aikido. I would wake up at 4:00 am to make it to the dojo by 6:00 am everyday. After training I would go to Sophia University campus and go to class or read books in the library.
In the afternoon, I'd head back to honbu dojo for some more training, or I would go to the Sophia Aikikai club at the Yotusya campus to train some more.
In all, I believe I would put in 4 to 5 hours per day of training.
Well, I'd get home most days after 11:00 PM, so most days I was sleepy, even though I kept pushing myself as hard as I could.
One day, on my way to honbu dojo with Junichi, he just happened to save my life.
I was in a daze, just walking and talking with him. We were getting close to the street, to cross.
I saw green, and to this day I swear I saw green, but the light was actually red. I stepped into the street about to cross. Junichi reached out grabbed me has hard as he could and pulled me down to the ground before I took that step. That step that would have put me infront of a yellow taxi cab speeding around the curve. He would have never seen me, and I would be dead, if Junichi had not been there walking by my side.
I owe him my life. He was a wonderful person and very sincere Aikidoist. I'll never forget that day.
Erik Sasha Calderon
Last week I left for New Mexico. We took the Mercedes and left at 8:45 PM.
We stopped about 1 hour from San Antonio to rest for the night.
My plan was to go to Albuquerque on business and train in dojo's in El Paso, and Albuquerque.
After about 2 hours from San Antonio in the middle of no where, a town called Balmorehea; population 600, The Mercedes, a 1999 500 SEL, started to over heat. Maybe because we were driving at very high speeds for a very long time, or maybe because that car just about had it.
We didn't notice until we pulled in the gas station to put some gas in the car.
The radiator started spitting out all of the coolant. It was the over flow valve that just allowed everything to dump out.
Nothing was broken, no hoses loose, everything looked OK, but the engine was at over 120 degrees C.
Luckily there was a guy there at the station that claimed to be a mechanic. He said it was the thermostat, that it was old and it was sticking. He said for $50.00 he'll take it out for us and everything will be OK.
Amazing how people begin to loosen up and talk as they work.
After dropping one of the bolts into the engine, not knowing where the thermostat is located and four hours later, I learned that him and his friend that was helping out, where both on 10 years parol, and that they had both just gotten out of jail. He even told us why they both went to jail (rather not post the reason here).
Finally after calling the Mercedes dealer we di
Can't help it, but that's the song that just kept on repeating itself in my head during the lunch class......
I didn't get to train with Nabil Wednesday night, so today for the first 15 minutes, he was the only student in the lunch class.
So for 15 minute we did suwari waza kokyu ho and shomenuch ikkyo suwari waza, then Vadim came to class.
Well, after the 20 minute marker, Nabil had to rest, and then rest, again rest, and then rest again.
Nabil just started training at the dojo about a month or two ago. He comes everyday, but today was his day to train with two black belts, myself and Vadim. Vadim is nicked named, the pit-bull. He is built like a fire hydrant, short stocky and extremely strong. He has been training at the dojo for close to 8 years. I don't think I ever been able to successfully perform a technique on him. And today, Nabil got the best of him and of me. Twice as good as a private lesson.
The best classes have been the ones when only one or two students show up. Always extremely intense, never boring and always exhausting!
Can't wait to train tonight……….
Erik Sasha Calderon
Panda Warrior is a nick name that some of the members of the dojo gave to Marc. They gave it to him for a reason. He is sincere in his attacks, has an incredible amount of energy, is extremely strong, and at the same time he is very kind hearted, very soft and very cute.
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with him the first two techniques of class....suwari waza kokyuho and tachi waza shomenuchi ikkyo (oh, inbetween was katate dori tenkan, which was long and intense with Chris).
Marc really tests me, he truly out weighs me and having to perform a technique against an attack by him makes me feel like how in the world am I going to redirect all this energy without hurting myself and crashing into him.
I feel the same way with anyone that is much bigger and stronger than me. I just do not have the opportunity to use strength against them, and I definitely don't want to use "the powers of psychology" over them. I think that defeats the whole purpose of becoming better.
Anyhow, last night was, again, an incredible class. Don Ramirez, Mike Nguyen, and Vinny Nguyen give incredible classes. It is an honor to be able to train in their classes and to train with each and every student in the dojo. Well, I missed training with Nabil last night, but I told him that we need to train together at least once next time.
And on a special note, my wife actually came to the dojo last night and trained. I trained two techniques with her and had the most incredible ti
On Wednesday night, Yulia made sure to bring up my statistic to 100%. I could not perform a single technique on her. It is amazing and at the same time extremely interesting to discover and experience different people with different levels of strength.
The training on Wednesday night was intense and the techniques hard to perform. I've always felt like Aikido is a cycle, some days I can perform the techniques without a single problem, then there are the days I can't, I'm using too much strength and no technique. I have notice though, that although the cycle never goes away, the interval gets smaller and my mistakes go unnoticed and unfelt by uke.
It has nothing to do with anything on the outside of me, and everything to do with what is in me, what is going on in my mind, in my heart, and I wonder how to even begin to work on that.
Erik Sasha Calderon
Slowly, little by little I think I might be getting back into shape. I was actually able to make the whole class yesterday without having to actually sit out to catch my breath.
I do have to comment, that Yulia attacked me like she never has before on Friday. She was committed to making sure that my statistic of 88% went up to 99%. It was a wonderful feeling to have such an honest committed attack. I really felt like there was not much I could do.
Don Ramirez is doing a wonderful job teaching the classes...WOW, I am just impressed. Last night the techniques he taught, the flow of the class and the attendance was incredible.
I got to train with Mike, Marc, Steve, Jordan, Anguel, Nabil, Adam...I'm not sure why Yulia stayed away from trainning with me, and hopefully I'll get to train with everyone next time.
As I looked out before class started, I was so reminded about the nick name Kato Sensei gave my dojo....."The Gorilla Dojo".
Feels like to the good old times!
Erik Sasha Calderon
Each day, each moment presents itself with a new challenge. Somestimes I am able to "out perform" the challenge. Sometimes I am overcome.
There is an amazing bridge that I can make between that and my Aikido training,.
I can't begin to express how wonderful the trainnig at the dojo has been coming along. How frustrating to have students attacking me so hard that I simply can't get the techiques about 88% of the time. But, I must admit, that that one time I get it, I really get it and to feel it's strength and power, to see it's effect on Uke, especially after the fact is wonderful.
Feels like I'm at Honbu dojo again, training my heart out, sweating blood.
Just about catching up after a 3 week business trip to Mexico.
The dojo is running incredibly smooth and the members did an incredible job while I was gone. It's wonderful to see members working together, training and teaching.
Last week I was very impressed with everyone's level of training. As I sat there and watched, literally sat there because I was so tired from being beat up, I noticed that no one was getting the technique. Everyone looked out right awful!
I was actually very happy to see this. It meant that the intensity of the attacks has increased substantially. It means that the students are working very hard at getting the techniques down. It means that no one is taking a fall, but putting the body and soul into the attacks.
I strongly believe that this kind of training makes a person better and stronger at the techniques of Aikido.
It was great to see "ALL" the students having to sit down and take a break from the intensity of the class. And all that, thanks to Mike Nguyen for teaching the class. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, Mike.
Wow, how times really flies. I went to Mexico for about 3 weeks. What a trip. I never realized how beautiful Mexico is. I went to 20 different cities from North to South and from East Coast to Wes Coast. Most cities I went to had an Aikido dojo, and I tried my hardest to visit, but just couldn't find the time. I was working from 6:00 am to 12:00 am everyday.
I did get to meet a man that had done Aikido for a very long time, so we just sat and talked. It was a wonderful talk, especially his stories about how he had had to use Aikido in many real life situations.
Getting back to the dojo, and starting to train harder than ever. I'm so impressed with the level that Don, Mike, Rafael, Vinny and Hector have pushed the students to. Mike told me that everyone would be black belt level by the time I got back, and he wasn't kidding.