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Old 12-04-2005, 01:58 AM   #47
6th Kyu For Life
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, Oberlin Ohio. Utah Aikikai, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 59
Re: Article: Clarity and Self-Delusion in One's Training by George S. Ledyard

So, I guess I need some advice on this whole clarity issue.

Basically, in the context of this article, it seems like I am at the point in my own life and Aikido training where I can say "Yes, this is my life's work" or "this can take me far, but I don't know how far." I know that's incredibly bombastic to say, but please bear with me. I'm nearing the end of my college career, the better part of my life lays ahead of me. I've fallen in love with Aikido, to the point where it is the most important part of my life right now. A part time job and the virtue of college loans pay for my training. My major is East Asian Studies, emphasizing Japanese language and religion. It is prime time to make Aikido my life, but I just can't do it, I just won't do it.

If I look at my life four years ago, when I was still in high school, I probably could have said the same thing about photography. I could have gone to art school, and become a photographer, but why didn't I do that? I have no idea, I guess I lost interest or something. The last time I shot a picture was actually at the last Aikido seminar we hosted. So who's to say that Aikido won't be the same? I'm as dedicated to Aikido as I was to photography, if not more so. But I'm starting to see that the reasons I continue to do Aikido today are not the same as the reasons I did Aikido a year ago. How can I possibly say that in a year from now, I'll be this dedicated to Aikido? How can I make a commitment for my whole life when I have no idea what my whole life will entail? Aikido is the most important thing at this point in my life, but what about when I find a wife, or when I have a child, or when I am asked to move to a city without Aikido? Is it even possible to be comitted to Aikido to the point where Aikido is truly the most important thing? Or am I deluded into thinking that my idea of commitment to training is something more than dilettantism? Am I just pretending to be a root when I'm really a leaf?

So what are my goals? Monday: Go to class. Tuesday: go to Class. Next week: test. Next month: Train elswhere. Next year: Continue to build up the Dojo. Graduation: Make it to the top of a pyramid? Go to live in Japan? Somewhere down the line: Become "amazing?" I'm not able to find clarity, because there is no clarity in the future for me. The odds of me doing Aikido until I reach "shihan-level skill" are practically 0. I'm not about to make the mistake of putting some silly martial art in front of an entire lifetime of unknown possibilities. Does that mean I don't have clarity in my training? Should I put off all hope of making Aikido my path in life, because I'm not willing to be locked in to some goal thirty or fourty years in the making?

Maybe somewhere in these legnthy dissertation lies my answer, but I feel like I may be asking the wrong people. All these post are way over my head; it's pretty obvious that everyone here has spent much more time thinking about Aikido than I have. You're also probably all past the "Oh, crap, what's next" stage in your life, and have some kind of stability in your career and training. So, if I were to ask this advice of myself, I'd just say what I said in my earlier post. That is "just keep training." It's ok that you don't have an answer to this question now; at least you're thinking about it, so stop worrying and go to class (you're late again).

If four years of therapy, two years of Aikido, and Zen meditation aren't helping me understand clarity, hell, maybe some internet friends will.

Tom Newhall

Last edited by 6th Kyu For Life : 12-04-2005 at 02:03 AM.
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