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Old 04-16-2006, 06:03 AM   #30
Amelia Smith
Amelia Smith's Avatar
Dojo: Martha's Vineyard Aikido Club
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 154
Re: Am i missing something??

I find your analysis of Paige's situation unduly harsh. You seem to be saying that she is not committed to aikido, that her desire to train or not train is trivial in the context of the great practice of aikido, and that taking time away from physical practice has no value.

In my experience and understanding of desire, desire inspires commitment, more than working against it. It's kind of like romance and courtship leading into marriage. Maybe Paige is at a stage in her life where it's not appropriate to be married to aikido. Maybe she needs a sense of herself, of who she is, without aikido. One can cling to notions of commitment and dedication as a kind of crutch for a fragile ego -- sometimes practice is not the thing that inspires growth, or gets one beyond a stuck point.

I took a 6 or 7 month "break" from aikido in 2004 (traveling, and living in an area with no aikido within about a 2-3 day travel radius), then came back to practice for a month or two, had some issues with my local dojo, quit for a month, and now I'm still practicing, and going through a re-commitment phase. I've had to redefine my relationship to aikido, because the community has changed, and I've kept practicing. Kanai Sensei died. Some of my sempai stopped practicing or pulled back. We had a real crisis of leadership. Now, what I got from that time away, along with a couple of extra pounds and a chance for my joints to heal up from an excess of breakfalls over the years, was a sense that yes, I could live without aikido. I didn't necessarily like it, but I could do it. That very take-it-or-leave-it sense which David is condemning is a large part of what's allowed me to keep practicing without relying on a strong leader (for now), to recommit to aikido even though Kanai Sensei is no longer with us.

That's my situation. Paige, I don't know if that sheds any light on your withdrawl from practice or not, but I say, what the heck, take the time. It could even be your body needing a bit of a break -- look at all those old guys who have been practicing for 30, 40 or more years non-stop. Their joints are a wreck! (Well, for a lot of them, anyway). I know you're young, but if you adjust your practice now to fit your needs, that's one thing that will allow you to keep practicing long-term, over the course of decades.

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