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Old 02-09-2002, 09:30 PM   #8
Dojo: The Dojo (
Location: Bavaria
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 76
A few more thoughts form Chuck

Originally posted by AikiWeb System
Discuss the article, "Facing One's Internal Demons" by Chuck Gordon here.

(This was a followup to the original article)

"My thoughts: if you want sport, go play with a ball. If you want fitness, join a gym. If you want therapy, find a support group."
-- Chuck Gordon (, 09-25-97)

"Now, shut up and get back to training. You'll never find better therapy."
-- Chuck Gordon

Contradiction? Nope.

I've seen people come to the dojo looking for training because they think it'll fix their lives.

I've seen folks who claim doing XYZ art (and folks, there's a LOT of this in some aikido circles!) will cure the world's ills, heal all trauma, make us more enlightened beings and clear up our acne.

It won't. Period.

What WILL budo training do? It gives you an avenue through which you can examine yourself, learn more about yourself, challenge and build yourself. Will it clear up that nasty rash and make you irresistably popular? Nope.

It will give you a set of tools that are kinda like those nifty Leatherman multi-tools (think of a Swiss Army knife on steroids designed by Tim 'Toolman' Taylor), they're useful on many levels and can do many things.

What _you_ do with those tools is what will affect your life and spiritual evolution.

Budo training is not panacea. It will not cure you of anything (except maybe doughnut-itis or couch potato fever -- and that still requires self motivation and self discipline).

It will offer ideas, principles, concepts that can _help you_ deal with your problems.

You have to take the initiative. The training, the teacher, the dojo, will not, cannot do it for you.

Is training good therapy? Hell yeah!

Should you come to the dojo JUST because you think you'll be HEALED? Hell NO!

I had an inquiry about our classes from a very earnest young man a couple of years ago. He was looking for some medium through which he could attain his manhood, verify his vitality, become more attuned with the universe. As we talked, I came to believe he was really looking for a substitute for the
salvation he felt had eluded him in mainstream religion. He talked about his disdain for Christianity and his disillusionment with Western culture, he said he thought Zen or maybe Buddhism was a better route and that he knew he could reach enlightenment by training in a good dojo.

My first thought was "Cut the crap. We're ARE talking about budo here ..."

But I thought about it a bit and ya know ... according to much of the hype spewed all over the place, the public perception of much of the martial arts practice in today's world is just that. It's supposed to fix what's wrong, make you invincible, turn you into a superior person, jack up your spiritual sophistication a few notches JUST by walking into the dojo and putting on a uniform.

Sigh. I told the young fellow, as gently as I could, that maybe he was looking in the wrong place for salvation, but if he wanted to learn
something about what we did, to please arrange a visit and we'd be glad to
introduce him to what budo meant to us. He never showed up. I suspect he found a place that would cater to his fantasy and help him along the road to Nirvana (for a modest fee, I'm sure).

Could traiing with us have helped that youngster? Maybe. Probably. But he would have had to give it a chance and would have had to be prepared to lose his self-imposed and popular culture-imposed illusions about what
martial arts training really is about.

What he wanted, I think, was a quick fix.

Budo ain't that. The therapy lies in coming to class. Training. Coming to class. Training. Coming to class. Training. And then repeating that process ... keiko-kokoro-keiko-kokoro-keiko-kokoro ...

The things we learn at the point of the sword, on the end of tori/nage's hand, are immensely valuable, but with very few exceptions (IMNSHO), the lessons of budo are lifetime lessons, and not satori.

So, I stand by both those statements. You want thereapy? Find a good therapist. You want salvation? Go to the church/temple/synagogue/mosque/oak grove of your choice. You wanna learn budo? Come play!!!


PS: Just saw a very appropriate sig on another forum:

"Anything you do exposes you to needless risk and liability. So follow this recommendation: Lock yourself in a closet and sit quietly in the dark until you die of old age."

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