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I've been thinking I need to post more regarding Aikido. This is a public forum for the subject after all. In my search for what to talk about, I was reminded of a confidence that has been growing within me for some time.
It was probably around 4th kyu when I came to the conclusion that I was no longer fearful or worried or concerned about any potential fight or threat made to me. Over the years, I have met a number of alcholics, drug addicts on the street, friends with bad tempers (worse than mine), and just plain idiots looking to start something. For the longest time, I would daydream and think out the situation: If X happened I would need to do Y. Before aikido came along, the end of such a scenerio always ended with someone getting hurt and going to jail.
Since my training began nearly 3 years ago, I've learned to focus my philosophy in life and have fine-tuned it into a physical form as well.
You see, I'm a nice guy. That is who and what I am. Know how alot of people are always trying to figure out who they are? Well, I've figured that part out. And with that comes the responsibility to BE that. And aikido is the tool box from which I do my work.
Aikido isn't just a martial art. It's a philosophy that permiates all things. Personal relationships and communication, self defense and defense of others, protection of yourself and others from themselves.
You see, life can deal out just about anything and you have to always be prepared. Whether it be a crimin
Often times, and moreso around the holidays, I think back on simpler times when life was not as complicated and commercial as now.
Remember when, back in the 70's (if you can remember that far back) when we used to look forward to "Charlie Brown's Christmas" on CBS? or Rudolf the Red Nose Raindeer with those cheesy puppet things? When those came on, you knew Christmas was here!
Life was simple then... at least as a kid. Santa was a merry old elf and not Billy Bob Thornton being bad. Gay meant happy and everyone could feel gay without feeling "funny" about it. Christmas was a time to think about angels and peace on earth instead of political correctness and being sure to include Hanakah & Kwanza & agnosticism, etc. ad nausium.
People went to church, in my case Midnight Mass, and you felt just a little bit closer to God... as opposed to hem-hawing over which church is "just right" for you, along with which version of the bible. And heaven forbid you make the "wrong" choice.
And I miss SNOW! It used to get cold in West Texas... believe it or not. And I've seen LOTS of snow here, especially around Christmas. Where the hell did THAT go! Hell, my brother's and I made the front page of the paper when we carved out a freakin' dragon/dinosaur in our front yard that had to be at least 15' long, 3' wide and was pretty spectacular.
I miss simple times.
I miss the ease that childhood carried with it.
I miss having holiday's NOT filled with commercials that repeat every
I started that thread the other day and boy... has it ever escalated!
1) Uke locks me out.
2) Nage (me) loses his temper and makes ass of self.
3) I blame uke, should have looked to improve technique.
4) Now everyone is gunning for that "uke" who's not being uke.
Starting to feel sorry for the poor guy. He's dead meat if he locks up on my sempai because they're all lining up ready and waiting for it now. "At ease, men! Stand down!"
What I have really learned from this situation is the following and some I'm sure I'll forget:
A) Connection! I was in no way connected to the uke's center or I would have moved him, right?
B) Extension! I need to lower my center on this guy. It's not enough that I have longer arms... on anyone. On this uke in particular I found myself bending at the waist to get him to go over... I need to drop my center.
C) Take it to Sensei! I have a real fear that at least one sempai is retaliating against this uke... on my behalf, and I don't like the thought of that. If someone gets hurt, responsibility is mine as I should have taken my concerns straight to my instructor and ONLY him. No one else should have been involved... now EVERYONE is!
I guess, if anyone in my class is reading this, feel free to comment, but I hope that all understand that I have truly realized that I have much to change within myself. The uke has much to learn, but I have much to improve. Think about it like this:
Ever heard Ikkyo described to you as the 30 Year Technique? This is true.
It seems I never do it the same way twice. And thankfully, I learn a great deal each time I attempt it. Talk about "scared" though. When someone told me "This is called the 30 year technique because it takes that long to master it," um.... come again? eep!
Looking back now, it seems so simple. Yet at the same time, we'll be in class working on some advanced technique and I'll suddenly realize, "Didn't you show us that at 7th kyu?" It's amazing what time will do to your perception.
Last week, we had been working on some ikkyo and irimi nage techniques when sensei did one technique that was so fluid and flowing, I was just utterly amazed at how graceful and easy he makes it. Next second, I find myself bursting outloud laughing when I realize how similar this was to a 7th kyu tech. we had done!
Which reminds me of another pondering thought I had:
"You have to learn something 100 times over before you ever Know it."
Yes, yes... this was a feeble attempt at being "deep" and "insightful." Cut me some slack, I'm on to something here! But seriously, think about it. How many times did you "get" how to do a technique like Ikkyo, only to realize something else later on and it makes think you've figured it all out! Only then to realize something else down the road?
I do. Every day.
7th Kyu was good. I used to think that a white belt was embarassing and degrading. "I know more than you thin
I was raised catholic, kid number 5 out of 6 kids.. 4 of whom were brothers and all of whom picked on each other and me. Being the baby for 7 years, I learned that telling Mom was the best and easiest way to get what I wanted. Whether it was to be NOT picked on or to be allowed to participate in what my siblings were doing, telling Mom always did the trick.
Later in life, I began studying other religions and philosphies. In high school debate, I get into current events topics, whether they were right or wrong, what WAS right and wrong and deciding for myself what to believe.
Right and Wrong always seemed to be common sense to me. By the time I was 16 or so, I had it all figured out and I was POSITIVE that the world was wrong and everyone should listen to me. Hard part was selling it, which I was rarely good at. In debate, I would lose. But in Impromptu Speaking... I always won! So why didn't I pursue that? Because I wanted to debate and tell others... they were wrong.
Hmm... just had a thought: I couldn't tell anyone what was right because I wasted too much time telling THEM how THEY were WRONG! Now there is an interesting thought. This is one of those, "Ponder this on the Tree of Woe" thoughts for all you Conan fans out there.
Anyways, life moved on. I'm gonna skip a big part and never go into it as I did spend about 5 years researching a very controversial religion that people will insult me for. Suffice to say, I learned a great deal and brought it back wit
Let's go back to the 5th grade briefly. My parents wanted me to do something physical for exercise. Scouting went bad when I changed troops, soccer began to suck. In looking back on things, I really was a lazy and unmotivated kid. (Yuck, don't like admitting that one!)
Anyhow, since they insisted on something and I had an interest in martial arts (Bruce Lee... YEAH!) then I guess I'd have to tolerate doing that. 50 bucks later I'm enrolled at the all knowing and all powerful YMCA Tae Kwon Do class! Me, a 70 year old lady and a dozen of so others all in our white belts wandering around looking at the posters thinking "Wow... neato!"
About 3 months tick by and I learned: snap kick, roundhouse kick, reverse "mule" kick, side kick, punch from the hips and "KI-AH!" Yup, I was bad! AND... I get to test for ORANGE BELT. Yes! er... rather, no. I screwed up and missed one more turn, ended up facing away from the judges instead of facing them. Still say that I counted right! Oh well, so down in flames I went and so did TKD.
Advance this another month or so. There we are outside class at the school waiting for the teacher to show up and unlock the door to let us in. (Our school halls were exposed to the elements.) Anyways, "Emillio" starts picking on me. Now, this in itself is nothing new. But in front of everyone I know??? Now that was just wrong. I did my best to turn the other cheek, but that got slapped and laughed at to.
Over the years, I've tried many times to keep a written journal on different subjects. Whether it be writing itself, or poetry, etc. things always seem to come up and my journals and writings go by the boards.
I have often feared that aikido would fall prey to this fate. When I first started my training "brown belt" seemed to me just as unatainable as a black belt. But I brushed aside my doubts and just kept moving on, day by day... by day.
Well, I tested for 2nd kyu a couple weeks ago: brown belt. Guess what I'm wearing these days? Yup! I got it. Through the good graces of my sensei, the will of God and encouragement of my classmates.
Now that I've reached an impossible goal, I guess I'll move on to the next with my "day by day" mentality. It seems to be working for me.
This is the begining of my Aiki Journal. It will be an on-going story that few will ever read, but perhaps I'll touch one subject that makes a difference for one person. Who knows, it may even be me! But if you stumble onto this rambling and feel the need to comment, by all means do so. But in the end, I'm starting a journal for the sole purpose that I never forget.
Never forget where I started.
Never forget where I am.
Never forget where I'm headed, even though I don't know where that is yet.
PS: All my thanks and gratitude to the generous Jun! Thanks for creating a wonderful web-site and allowing us "knottheads" to speak up in the world of