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'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley'
(The best laid schemes of mice and men often go askew)
My last blog entry, i was talking about to up my training and really preparing myself for Nidan with White Rose Aikikai,
Fate i guess had other ideas, as my gearbox has gone faulty, so i'm limited to public transport for at least 2 months while i save up for the repair and then my insurance.
The situation has forced me to take stock (as they say) and really look at the amount of miles and hours of travelling i do to attend my Aikido classes (approx 200 miles/week)
There is a dojo within 15mins walk, which i visited before, i actually went to train there, i wore my black belt (without thinking) and the Sensei was quite 'off' with me, he seemed to have a strange attitude - however beggars can't be choosers....and next Thurs i'll go and this time wear my old white belt, i'll let you know how it goes...
On our first lesson back, after the Christmas & New Year break, Sensei Derrick told me i was ready to take my Nidan.
My first feelings were that of gratitude that sensei thought i was ready, then i began to realize the amount of work i had in front of me.
Last week he asked what i needed to go through, i began to reel of what i thought i would need, he chuckled and added 'ok. make a list'
It reminded me when i was about to take Shodan, i was asked by Sensei Riley on the last class before my grade - what i wanted to cover, my reply was 'the last 5 years'
So i need to break out of my 'comfort bubble' and put in the extra effort, time, sweat, focus and mileage - clearly set my goals and ramp up my training to achieve them.
Sensei demonstrates -- we copy, to the best of our ability, but looking around how many differences do you see.
It's also interesting in Aikido, when we see the ‘same' technique performed differently, from different Sensei's and associations, each one equally valid.
In November Sensei McAuley was teaching Gokyo from Shomen Uchi during the Tuesday class, Sensei Derrick then showed a different method on Sunday, and during training Sensei Dean Sheldrake showed yet another version.
In each case the technique worked, using the gokyo ‘form'
This got me to thinking -
How strictly do we follow the set form and still call it ‘my' technique?
How much can we adapt our technique, and yet still follow the set form?
I remember attending a seminar with Judo Sensei Chris Dalton, who addressed this issue by comparing it to 3 famous artists creating a picture of the same building --
One painting in water colours.
One drawing in pastels.
One drawing with ink.
All 3 would be slightly different, even though they had worked from the same form, none could be called right or wrong -- just a different interpretation.
These expressions of personality should and will over time happen naturally.
If we compare a shihonage performed by a short and tall person, we will notice natural differences, due to their respective body mechanics.
However one should not set out to change their techniques, for no other reason than to be different or to appear special.
I'm typing this with stiff shoulders after yesterdays (Sundays) quite intense bokken practice.
(In my head the voice of our associations weapons teacher - is chastising me like jiminy cricket - i'f your shoulders hurt you're doing it wrong')
But anyway, that was a nice end to our Sunday classes, until the New Year.
And we finish at Aso Ryu on Wednesday.
My Osame Geiko (last class of the year) will be on the 28th, which i'm looking forward to.
So far i've asked Santa for an Aikido Dvd, book and new Gi, so hopefully i'm on his 'nice' list.
Saturday (18th) was our Christmas Party, which we all really enjoyed - and i was awarded a certificate, for 'most serious student'
Best Wishes to all.
I remember last year waiting for my Aikido class to begin outside a sports centre, I noticed the recent heavy rain and winds had blown the branches from the trees.
I noticed a pair of crows collecting twigs and sticks to rebuild their nest, which had been damaged.
They struggled against the strong winds and rain, as I waited in my car, I noticed time and time again they were blown around, but they continued their efforts.
I wondered to myself how long would we struggle, in a similar situation, would we have the ability and fortitude to continue, or would we simply give up.
Maybe we would find someone to complain to and have a good moan about how hard life is, maybe we would ‘pass the buck' and blame everyone else for our struggles.
We all face struggles in our lives, and this is also reflected in our training, good times and bad times, ups and downs.
Just like the crows I'll continue one stick at a time……..
Just wanted to say a big thank you to Broadlands Aikido in Lowestoft, i attended class there whilst on holiday, and they were very friendly and welcoming.
Thank you Sensei Frank Burlingham and everyone down there.
I had the clutch changed on my car this week, and it reminded me of an incident that happened about a year and a half ago.
On my way home from work a spring clip snapped on my clutch cable.
As it happened I was just crawling through traffic and was able to drift to the side of the road.
But what if that had happened on a busy motorway, whilst overtaking with my family in the car?
The consequences could have been really nasty.
All for the sake of a small steel spring clip washer.
Our lives are precious, fragile and temporary.
Please treasure your time in the dojo with your friends,
Cherish your loved ones and family.
You never know when the next ‘spring clip' will snap.
A big thank you to the organisers and guest instructors of last weekends course.
Sensei's Jack & Marril Poole (Shinwakai)
Sensei Les White (Traditional Aikido Ryu)
Sensei Roy Sheppard (Kurai Aikido)
Sensei John Jenkin (Koshinkan Aikido)
Sensei Joe Mcenroe (Cinque ports Aikido)
Sensei William Timms (Institute of Aikido)
Sensei Billy McAuley (Aso Ryu Aikido club)
Everyday we work hard to achieve goals and improve our lives, but sometimes it's the kindness of others that help make our lives what they are.
Unfortunately these actions and gestures are often overlooked or taken for granted.
At the end of Aikido class it feels right to give thanks, even though it's in Japanese and awkward to say, I want to say thank you, and show that I appreciate his experience and patience, to thank my teacher for his instruction and giving up his time for us.
Without the kindness of our instructors spending their time correcting our faults, we wouldn't get very far, and for many of us, our lives would be very different from what they are today.
Maybe it's not ‘cool' to say thanks, maybe the ‘customer' attitude is such that we think paying the hall costs is thanks enough.
Without the kindness of our parents, families and friends many of our happy memories wouldn't exist, how many times do we say thank you?
A true heart felt thank you, should feel right and be gratifying to both parties.
So here you are walking your path of Aikido.
Only you can walk your path, of course you train with your classmates in the dojo, making progress together, attending courses together -- but make no mistake the path you are walking is your own.
There will no doubt be students who have less commitments to family and work than you and can attend class more often -- this is there path.
Likewise there will be fellow students with a heavy burden of family and work, and although you would like to help them, that is their path.
Your path will not be an easy one, there will be obstacles and diversions along the way, at times you will feel your progress has stopped, though the small breeze against your face reminds you, that you are still moving forwards.
Every obstacle is an opportunity for personal growth and development.
This is your path, the quality of which is decided by you, progress along your path is achieved by your efforts alone