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DGLinden 02-16-2003 05:14 PM

One True Thing
 
After thirty years at this I can honestly say I have only done one true thing; and then gave it away. It was a decanter/vase that was glazed in a deep blue and brown glaze that seemed to show a scene from the moors of Scotland on a fog deepening evening.

My Aikido Sensei saw it and it was then his. I once did a techinique against a fellow named Mike in 1971 that I still remember. It was close. And I shot a pheasant a few years back with a 4/10 as it rose and circled and seemed to run along the fence line but somehow I just knew it would rise up above the trees and it did. That was close too.

In some of our lives, we seek the sublime. Aikido gives us the opportunity each and every time we step on the mat. I'm interested in these events - when we are able to rise up and do 'one true thing' be it a perfect pot, song, technique, or shot. I hope that there are some out there who would be willing to share their experiences.

Ta Kung 02-17-2003 01:47 AM

You shot a peasant?

DaveO 02-17-2003 01:53 AM

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Pheasant! as in ring-necked. A game bird; and very tasty too.

DaveO 02-17-2003 02:18 AM

Anyway, I have one which may or may not qualify; in my mind it comes close. About 2 years after I got my pilot's lisence, I began expressing interest in getting my instrument (IFR) rating - perhaps the hardest course a civil pilot can take. I was, of course, nowhere near experienced enough to even consider taking it, but one of our IFR instructors, Thom, asked me to come along on a routine ferry flight of a C-206 from Kitchener to London. Yay! So, off we went, me flying, Thom sleeping (more or less) in the right-hand seat. Around Chatham, to the SE of London, the sky went away, as expected. 100% cloud cover over London. I expected Thom to take over, but he just asked 'You have the frequencies? Good; carry on."

I was sweating bullets - flying an approach blind is not only hard, it is terrifying to one who hasn't done it before. Well; Thom was there if I needed him, so off I went - caught the localizer, rolled onto the approach. Picked up the glide-slope and trimmed for descent. ("Err...Thom? I could REALLY use some help now..." "Nah - yuo're doing fine.")

Deep breathing exercises followed... I shut my brain off and let my hands do the work. The localizer and glideslope stayed nailed in the middle of the dial, the vertical airspeed needle almost never moved. I throttled back, flared, and felt the wheels hit right as the threshold of the runway flashed underneath - a perfect landing. At this point, Thom sat up, said, "Well done" and took over, taxiing the aircraft to the ramp. Afterwards, over a burger, Thom let me know all the mistakes I made. They were all procedural - he never said it out loud, but he was impressed as well.

One amazing piece of beginner's luck. How the heck I made a perfect landing, I'll never know, I never have since; but even though I was nervous, right from the start I never really had any doubts of the outcome - I never really was thinking about what was happening at all. Interesting.

DGLinden 02-17-2003 07:04 AM

Thank you, Dave. That's exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for. Call it the Luke Skywalker moment ( Use the Force, Luke...) if thats what it takes to allow some to understand. The search for the sublime - when we rise above our training and touch something special. Again thanks.

One question, did the thought of death ever come to mind during the actual moment of descent?

DaveO 02-17-2003 08:19 AM

Hello, Daniel; never at all - I'm confident enough in my own abilities within the limits of my experience, and having a veteran instructor (and former Air Canada pilot) there gave a strong measure of security. The weather was good; little turbulence; just cloud, and the 206 is a strong little bus; a pickup truck with wings, so there was little real danger. I've only been in one situation flying where the thought of possible death occured and frankly, when it happened I was way too busy to worry about it. (That's my personal solution to fearsome situations - work the problem; don't whine about it. :) )

Thanx!

MattRice 02-17-2003 09:49 AM

Not sure if this is relevant but here goes. I went to school for art (photography), and ended up working as a network administrator (IT guy) by way of a convoluted chain of events that I will spare you. So a couple of weeks ago I started going to this alumni life drawing studio (nekkid people). No teacher, just show up and draw. I hadn't drawn in years and in fact have been pretty slack on doing artwork in general lately. (wife, baby, job, aikido = ahhh!)

Anyway, to keep this short, I had no idea how well I would be able to draw, so I had no preconceptions about anything. I started drawing, having no idea what I was doing, but apparently my hand had all sorts of ideas. I could draw fairly well, and I was really not thinking about what I was doing. Kind of hard to describe the feeling, but it was slightly overwhelming. Like I wanted to jump up and down and sing "I can draw, I can draw!!!"

I kept my composure.

John Boswell 02-17-2003 10:11 AM

Interesting thread you've started Daniel. Only because you had the guts to ask will I share my story:

My first few weeks into Aikido, I was REALLY into it. If I wasn't at class, I was reading up on it, meditating on it or thinking about it at work. (Not to mention surfing the web!)

We were practicing a technique one night that was well beyond my means, but we are always encouraged to try. And granted, I had a good uke, but I did this one technique and away my uke flew! He was a 2nd kyu and knew his stuff, but when he got up from his roll we looked at each other and the look on his face was total surprise! The moment felt effortless. The whole thing was a moment that had stopped in time. I have yet to repeat it, but I intend to.

Not to stir up something or detour this thread, but I'm a firm believer we are spiritual beings and that bodies are only temporary things. The body is not Me. When you experience "One True Thing", you are experiencing something from your TRUE perspective, not from your body's. Its spiritual in nature because our natural state is that. If it feels comfortable, it should, because its natural.

I'll shut up now. Most people wanna argue yes or no on this subject. I'm just bringing it up because someone asked me to.

Have a nice day! :)

Dennis Hooker 02-17-2003 02:56 PM

Once several years ago I was at winter camp. This was just after I had a sever bought with Myasthenia Gravis and nearly gave up the ghost. I told Sensei I was sick and weary of the struggle and ready to just give up the fight and hoped it would all just end. Sensei had everyone leave the dojo that night and he lock the door. He ask me to get into a gi and be ready in one hour. I was ready in one hour. He was already on the floor. The dojo was mostly dark with lots of shadows. He told me to think about my children and my students and wife and then he said when I was ready attack with all my skill. You would have to have been there to understand the seriousness of the situation. There was no light heartedness here. A reckoning was about to take place. Between a severe teacher and a sick and very very angry ex soldier. I stood there in that dark dojo and thought about my children, my students and my wife and I un-balled up my fist looked at my teacher and started to laugh. I never laughed so hard in my life and then Saotome Sensei laughed and ask me if I now understood. I said yes and I have never looked back or regretted a day of sickness or health again. I found out that day what was truly important in life and my life was not it.

DGLinden 02-18-2003 05:45 AM

Dennis, having been a part of one of those 'darkened nights' with Saotome Sensei I wonder if I missed it. He just taught me kote gaishi 200 different ways - without touching my wrist. Darn. Thanks for sharing such an intimate experience - it shows that Aikido allows us to transcend into all parts of existance and allows us to search beyond.

John, I still remember a single technique I did over 30 years ago. So will you. Great story, thanks for sharing. And you're right about that other too...

otto 02-18-2003 07:47 AM

Hummm , my mother has Myasthenia Gravis too Dennis and Lupus, i always wondered if she could do aikido being such an active woman as she was....

Its very inspiring to hear about people overcoming such unfair conditions...

Fall nine times....rise Ten

Best of Wishes...

Sorry for the Off topic

Dennis Hooker 02-18-2003 08:35 AM

Ottoniel Ojeda, please contact me off line at denniswayne33@aol.com. Can you handle a large pdf file?

Dennis

Dennis Hooker 02-18-2003 09:09 AM

Dan my friend please forgive this intrusion on you wonderful topic. I will take it off the list as soon as I can.

Ottoniel;

I wrote a book for my grandchildren and great grandchildren about my life and Myasthenia Gravis ( A Collage of Poppy's Life) and how Saotome Sensei and Aikido and some rather austere practices brought me through some very hard times. From wheelchair and respirator to dojo and training and life. I do not recommend this a process to anyone but myself, but perhaps it will offer ideas and encouragement to others inflected with chronic illnesses. I do not offer it as a medical or holistic remedy but only as one mans experience. I offer it to people sometimes who may need everything from a good laugh to some encouragement. . I only ask that authorship be respected. At least one fool took parts of the breathing section and rewrote it as his own work and now tries to sell it. I can send you the book over e-mail but it is 2,974 KB if you can handle it.

Dennis Hooker

www.shindai.com

Gregory King 02-18-2003 04:26 PM

one moment
 
Hi Daniel,

I have one moment that I can think of although it was many years ago when I was 17 years old and experiencing my first crayfish (others would know them as lobster) season off the West Coast of Tasmania in the Great Southern Ocean. We were shooting pots in eighty fathoms of water and as the skipper liked to get things done were quickly moving along at a fair rate of knots, as the dan bouy was thrown over (that's the job for newbies) the rope wrapped itself around my leg. Time slowed as I watched the rope snake itself over the gunwhale and into the green, I have a clear recollection of remembering that this trip could be my first and last but as things continued and the rope was about to tighten I calmly lifted my leg and turned away in what I can only describe as a ballett style stance, the rope snaked off and into the water, I felt absolutely nothing, it's the closest thing to truly blending I've yet to achieve. Of course the skipper who was standing right next to me called me a @#$% idiot and told me watch what I was doing. I just got on with shooting the rest of the pots, a little bewildered but in a state of peace, it was like I actually deserved to live.

bob_stra 02-19-2003 10:43 AM

Re: one moment
 
I had and continue to have lots of little moments here and there. I also have some horrible days - natures way of keeping the scale in check.

I recall a argument that wasn't. I was in car with my girlfriend, on one of those rare occassions when we irritate the bejesus out of each other. I was just about to say something horrid when, lo and behold, my body breathed, the tension drained away and without any emotion other than sincere care, I managed to end the conflict without bad feelings. For once, I said the right thing, at the right time and in the right way. A first!!

I'm still not sure how that happened - i've not had it happen since ;-(

( I could also tell you abt the first "perferct horrible moment", but that one's kinda personal and all ;-)

Dennis Hooker 02-19-2003 11:08 AM

I wrote this long ago fomr my grandchildren about an experence in my life. I hope it meete Linden Sensei's goal for this topic.

"Once as a boy on a cold bright winter day I stood in the snow in front of an old store on Paris Avenue. My feet were tingling from the wet cold snow soaking through my black canvas tennis shoes; my nose was running from a cold, my ears were red and aching from the wind and my cheeks were burning from the cold wet winter air. My old brown corduroy coat was missing a few buttons, and yet all was fine with me. I remember being warm inside like there was a fire in my belly, just like one of the pot bellied stoves down at Kester's house. I was standing there in an empty lot beside the building with the brown uncut grass and weeds sticking through the white snow. I was standing there looking at the aged dried gray wood, and the long-ago faded white paint letters declaring a Buggy Works with the sun shining on them. That was the first time I experienced a glimmer of pure truth. If you don't know what I mean by this statement then perhaps you're too much of this world and not enough of the universe and have a bit more living to do yet. My hope is you fully understand what I felt, because that means you have felt it too. Too few are the times in our lives where there is nothing but the moment, and all eternity is caught in that one millisecond of understanding that last forever and encompasses all and contains nothing. I wish I had better words and was better able to communicate this to you, but perhaps you know full well my intent."

MattRice 02-19-2003 11:42 AM

It's interesting how much light is involved with these moments in my life. I have had a few times in the dojo like this. We don't have much heat in there, so it's pretty cold in the winter. One morning at early class there were only three of us, and I was sitting out while the others were taking a turn. Sitting on the mat in seiza, the sun began to peek above the skyline of downtown Baltimore, and shown through the windows of the dojo. Shafts of light blazed through the air articulating the dust motes floating about. I could see steam rising up in front of my eyes, and I realized it was coming up off of my cheeks. I could hear the breathing, shuffling and slapping of the teacher and partner engaged in practice. I seemed to be aware of all of this at once without directing my attention to any one thing. Incidents such as this happen to me periodically, and nearly always involve sunlight in some way. As if events and the shifting of ambient light converge to make a special moment.

Anyway, this is a great thread. Thanks for starting it, and thanks to Hooker Sensei for sharing such personal events.

Matt

DGLinden 02-19-2003 01:06 PM

Thank you all - these are the kinds of things I was looking for. Most seem to come unexpectedly while we are getting on with the rest of our lives; sometimes they actually come out of effort and endeavor.

There was true intent when I made that vase although I have never been able to duplicate it. My grandfather took me hunting once when I was about 9 or 10 and he told me that pheasant will do that little trick sometimes and by God, there it was. The Aikido? Ahh, there's the rub. Should be able to do it all the time after all these years and my lovely wife says that I only remember that technique because it was the very first time I touched the infinite. She says I do it all the time now and it is just old hat, but what does she know?

I reach for the infinite all the time now. I search for the sublime. When you face the mirror and realize there are more days behind you than in front it makes the effort and the success much sweeter and that one true thing that much more dear.

Yes, I remember a light coming through a window on a clear spring morning and a young girl looking at a photo of my grandmother - the soft blond hair, the light, a single touch and the years melted away and I found myself touching the flow of time and space. I don't want to wax too emotive, but that moment happened 35 years ago.

Okay. Osawa Sensei used me for uke about thirty years ago and stepped on my gi as he motioned me to get up - holding his hand above me. I couldn't move and looked down to see where he was holding me. I saw both his feet and naturally assumed he had moved and I could now get up. I couldn't. I lay there looking up at him and trying to move, completely puzzled, and then realized why I was pinned to the mat without a single part of him touching me...

He smiled, removed his hand and the weight was gone. I remember this as clearly as if it were yesterday. Moving back to the side of the mat in a complete daze, actually quite terified, my partner looked up at me and mouthed "thats B--- S---, nobody can do that!"

Osawa Sensei then called him out and repeated it. He walked off the mat and never trained again. I've spent my life trying to find that nexus once again.

mike lee 02-20-2003 03:54 AM

polishing the link
 
Quote:

I'm interested in these events - when we are able to rise up and do 'one true thing' be it a perfect pot, song, technique, or shot.
It can and should be in every moment. But perfection? Not sure what that is other than the pure fabrication of the human mind.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

During my college years, I worked as a trip guide for young boys up in the boundary waters of the US and Canada (northern Minnesota). We travelled in groups of three canoes with three people in each boat.

We would often troll as we paddled, and if the fish started biting, we would stop for awhile and catch some more.

One day, after having just portaged, we entered the mouth of a long (maybe 3 miles) beautiful lake. It was late afternoon and the conditions must have been perfect. We couldn't haul the fish in fast enough. Mostly large-mouth bass big healthy ones. Our mouths were watering; we were going to have a feast that night.

Then, for a brief moment, everything got still. The water started bubbling around the stringer that was in the water and now heavily loaded with our catch.

I yelled over to the kids in the other boat: "Pull the stringer up. Pull the stringer up."

When they did, there was one of the biggest freshwater fish I'd ever seen. It was a full-grown muskie. It was trying to eat our fish! I's fished for years with my grandfather, and I'd never seen such a thing in all my life!

It must've easily weighted 35 lbs. I thought, "that'll feed the whole camp easily."

But the fish was too heavy and the boy was shocked, so he dropped the stringer back into the water. I yelled over for another boy to help him. I said, "Pull it up and put it in the boat!"

As they pulled it up the second time, the entire fish jumped out of the water, fighting like the true beast that it was. And then suddenly, all was quiet. I asked, " What happened?"

The kids were stunned. The boy held up the empty stringer and said, "He ripped the metal ring right off the stringer."

That night, after the best fishing day of the entire summer, we had no fish to eat but what an incredible story we had to tell.

JJF 02-20-2003 04:43 AM

Quote:

Dennis Hooker wrote:
... He told me to think about my children and my students and wife .... I found out that day what was truly important in life and my life was not it.

Thank you Dennis. If I wasn't sitting at work right now I wouldn't have to hide those tears gathering behind my eyelids.

All the best wishes

one4k4 02-20-2003 06:45 AM

I felt this way when I took my second AFF skydive jump.

It was my second jump, period.

(coincidentally, it was my last, as cash flow pretty much halted my progress there..)

But after the 8 hours of training, the hundreds of questions I asked, and finally climbing into the King-Air, I knew I was in heaven..

Jumping out at 13000 feet wasn't bad, it was more procedural than anything else, I wanted to make sure I didn't slip and fall.. but do it right.

But after I did what I was supposed to do (turning, tracking, etc.) while falling for the rough minute or so, I pulled the ripcord.

Looking up, to make sure things came out right, I noticed that the chute was only open about 60%/70%. The left side was flapping away.. The cord was still twisted, maybe the elastics hadn't popped off in the proper order.. who knew. I flapped the risers a bit, and the slider finished coming down.. then the chute was open and normal..

All was ok.

I looked around, looked at my altitude, and just enjoyed the view. It was me and nobody else, in this entire world. I was the only person controlling me at the time. I loved that feeling, so quiet.

When I landed, my instructor said he saw what happened while he was watching my chute open, and the guys on the ground had radioed, but I didn't hear a bit of it. I got a "good job", a pat on the back, and I knew I was happy. Wanted to go back up again right away.

Oh, and I landed about as good as I could have for my second jump. Unlike my first, which was on the other side of the runway. (Didn't cross the runway under 1,000 feet. ;))

DGLinden 02-21-2003 05:27 AM

I think we might be getting a bit far from the subject here but Mike reminded me of a trip I took with Dennis Hooker Sensei off the Florida coast about ten years ago. Somehow we ended up at the edge of the Gulf Stream in a huge slick of anchovina that was being hammered by every major predator in the sea. Dennis hooked one cobia so big it rolled and stripped 80 pound line like it was sewing thread - we saw it - never got it close to the boat. But it was then that the water darkened and the sky seemed to dim and everything took on the essense of 'other'. So strange a feeling - all of us noticed - like the world had turned slightly and we had not. It was strange.

Anyway we did hook about 2000 pounds of game fish, but never landed a single one. Truthfully we did not have a big enough boat. Ask Hooker Sensei about it sometime, Mike.

Trying to turn this back to Aikido I'd be interested in events that rise above the ordinary on the mat, as well.

one4k4 02-21-2003 06:13 AM

Oh, and one time, I also shot a peasant.

Ta Kung 02-21-2003 06:20 AM

I have a few moments that would fit in. But the only one related to martial arts (not that this is a must in this thread) is not nearly as fantastic and beautiful as most of the posts here.

Anyway, a few years ago, I was in the army. A friend of mine were scrubbing the floor. We started a friendly wrestling "match" (like most of us would do sometimes). A few people stood there watching. Suddenly I tried a footsweep (practised judo when I was little). My friend fell instantly, and it felt like I never touched him. And my friend was almost twice my size, and MUCH stronger! He was, and probably still is, convinced that someone in the "audience" tripped him. He couldn't belive I did it with such ease. It was the best sweep if my life, and I've never come close to it again. It's nothing much, but I still smile when I think of his face when he got up.

/Patrik

PS. Thomas, good for you! You're sure it wasn't a pheasant? :D *I've learned a new word!*

DGLinden 02-21-2003 06:50 AM

Patrick, I am interested in how many years back that was? Is the feeling as fresh today? Was there a moment when you saw the opportunity to do the sweep and/or did it just seem to spring from the well fully realized?

Mr. Sullivan. Yes, I've shot a few peasants myself although I have chosen to move on and forget about it.


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