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Sometimes I need to quote myself. Yesterday I wrote in a thread about what's missing in aikido:
Peter's series of articles on "Transmission, Inheritance, Emulation" (best to start at the beginning: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?filter=Peter%20Goldsbury&t=12008) deals precisely with questions of what aikido was for O Sensei and he passed it on to his students.
From what I've read, I don't think we can assume that O Sensei was concerned about his students being able to replicate exactly what he was doing. I'm also not convinced that the ranks he gave correlated all that well with the students' ability to demonstrate a deep understanding of aikido as O Sensei saw it.
I don't doubt that his students were darned good martial artists. Nor do I doubt that many of them got an appreciation for internal skills. It's just that (based on what I've read by Ellis and Peter), O Sensei didn't have transmission of the art as his primary goal. Rather, aikido was a religious expression for O Sensei, who saw himself as a shaman dedicated to the divinity of the Japanese emperor because of his understanding of Japanese creation myths, and (at least until his move to Iwama in 1942) who was tightly associated with right-wing militarism. O Sensei saw the power of aikido coming from the kotodama -- which contains mystical word-sounds with innate power. O Sensei did not see it as his responsibility to explicitly teach what he was doing, nor did he expect his students to adopt h
My father spent a few days in the hospital with heart problems this week. His bypass from ten years ago is starting to fail. Dad is doing better now (as I write this). He's home and about to embark on a new regimen of medications. The end result was a scary week, but a good prognosis.
But all this got me thinking about death. I train in large part because it's fun, but also to learn an effective way to defend myself if the need arises. Yet being diabetic and overweight, I'm far more likely to die from heart disease or a complication from the diabetes than I am from some sort of violent encounter. Hell, a car accident is more likely to take me out than a mugger or home invader.
But there's only so much I can control. Training does nothing more than help give me an edge -- or at least improved odds -- in the event of a violent encounter. The same thing with driving: I can do a lot to improve my odds of not getting in a car accident (be alert, don't speed, don't talk on the phone when I drive), but all that does is improve my odds, not guarantee survival.
I need to take the same approach to my health. My diet and exercise regimen has helped me lose 70 pounds (so far) and get off my diabetes meds, but that level of effort takes dedication and a willingness to continue even when it gets hard. It's very much like a "do" of its own.
I need to continue to approach my health like an extension of my training: just keep doing it as often and as well as possible. That way