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A reader in the forums complains that aikido lacks a theory or a teaching in supplementary training designed to improve performance and prevent injuries. My experience and knowledge are limited, but this seems to me to be true.
In the Mugenjuku dojo in Kyoto, there is the Kenshusei program and then there is the Part-Time Kenshusei program. This takes places only on weekends and includes many older students who have jobs and lack the time to devote to the 3+-times-per-day-5-days-per-week course.
One middle-aged part-time Kenshusei got injured about 6 weeks ago. Did aikido training from the dojo include injury management advice? By no means! He was immediately out on his own, searching for special diets and lifestyles to "re-set" and "heal". I think this is par for the course in non-sport martial arts. Are there many sport judo or MMA vegetarians trying to fix damaged ligaments with healing touch and amulets? No. Why? It's not because they aren't fufu, it's because their lives are really dedicated to training and they have coaches managing their choices while keeping on eye on mid- and long-term goals.
This is a major difference between historic-era training in actual olden times, modern koryu, gendai budo, and modern athletics. Respectively, master-student relationships central to livelihood and social standing, master-student relationships of an incidental nature, sensei, and coaches.
Sorry I dropped posting. There are multiple reasons including fatigue and constant aches and pains. I've also been much shorter on time since I got a job teaching English.
Here are some important updates...
visa & job status
My Cultural Visa application was approved very quickly, despite a lot of handwringing. So for the next year, I am a resident alien in Japan. About the same time, I was offered a job teaching English, so I actually have enough income to pay rent and dojo fees and buy some food. However, I am living on the equivalent of about 110% of the US Census Bureau's poverty line. If you know anything about economics, you know what that means.
Yesterday, we had our first exam, for the "Dai Ichi" set of waza. We all passed up through 4th-kyu, although when the instructors talk to us about the test, they sometimes break eye contact, which I think means they were disappointed. I would have rather gotten a lower rank and be told straight up why, but I'm not the sensei.
So now Dai Ni begins...
knee pain, etc
My knees are just shot. I was hoping that they would get more flexible, but no luck. Sometimes I can sit in seiza properly, but usually not. It's not just pain. Sometimes the butt just can't get down to the heels. Too stiff. I can get down into seiza ho a little easier, but basically I am too crippled to do aikido properly. At
About 3 weeks ago, I got an English-teaching job. It turns out one of my students takes Aikikai aikido in Kyoto. At the beginning of each class, students go around the table and tell what news they have from the previous week. My Aikikai student has gotten in the habit of telling what's gone at her dojo, in a way that's vaguely challenging to me. I find it rather annoying.
Last class, she told about a seminar that was held at the Heian Shrine here in Kyoto. In case you don't know, the Heian Shrine is a biggy. My dojo has weekly classes at Shiramine Shrine, which is not nearly as well known as the Heian. However, both are are listed as "jingu" class of Shinto shrines. Jingu are shrines closely associated with the Imperial family. Shiramine is dedicated to two emperors and Minamoto no Tametomo, which is why it has its own dojo and multiple martial arts practice on the shrine grounds in order to mollify the martial spirits of its kami.
I'd like to snarkily invite her to do hajime geiko with us sometime, but I have a professional demeanor to maintain.