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Every so often, I wonder why I study martial arts -- not why I study aikido or iaido, but fundamentally why I'm attracted to the arts. For that matter, most of my hobbies are centered on war and conflict. I like building scale models (mostly of warplanes), I play board war games, I study history and military history and write magazine articles about those subjects, I like going to airshows and visiting warship museums, and I regularly compete in high power rifle competitions.
To be sure, I'm not completely off balance. I've got hobbies that aren't related to war or human conflict. I love baseball and regularly go to our local minor league team's games. I'm a huge Penn State football fan. I'm on my church's council. I'm also a computer geek and write magazine articles on Linux. For that matter, I enjoy my work and love learning more about my profession. Naturally, I enjoy my family and participating in the things that are important to my wife and child.
But still, war, conflict, and violence are implicit in a lot of my activities. My personality and temperament are such that I tend to embrace conflict. Healthy debate and sincere disagreement/engagement over something important energizes me. At the same time, I profoundly dislike violence. I've used my training in real situations twice so far -- both times I felt good about the way I handled myself and my opponent, but regretted that physical force had been necessary. I love a good fictional fight scene, but I know t
My schedule is somewhat flaky right now, but I plan for, and manage to attend, at least two internal strength classes each month. I must be starting to learn a little bit because I'm getting sore after that training despite the fact that it's not particularly strenuous. Most of the soreness was in my legs, lower trapezius, and upper lats.
My particular challenge right now is to get much better at the taikyoku kuzushi body movements and learn how to incorporate the internal strength principles and movements I'm practicing into the taikyoku kuzushi -- and ultimately into my waza.