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Old 10-30-2010, 10:59 AM   #122
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Brian Gillaspie wrote: View Post
I respect that you consider these as decisions but to be honest for me I do not consider them as decisions. I chose to start a family so I am obligated to them so for me it is a responsibility. Please note that I am not condeming anyone who puts aikido as a priority over family but it is something that is not appropriate for me and my situation.

By the way, I do train more than 2 hours a week so I just want you to know that I am not bashing anyone who trains several hours a week. I simply just sharing my thoughts.
Hi Brian,
It's all still choices... I think we all have to accept that every act we make involves a set of choices. Jack Kornfield entitled one of his books, A Path with Heart using a term from Castanefa;s Don Juan. It's about living intentionally. Most of us don't do a very good job living intentionally. Stuff just happens and we start in one place and end up in another without having much of a sense of how we got here.

Each individual picks his Path. A good Path has "heart". That means it is a Path that allows you to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and see someone who doesn't waste time on regrets. So you've chosen to have a family and see that it entails an obligation. Many folks have families and don't see that as a set of obligations at all. So your Path with heart is to be a good Father and if while doing that you can fit in some Aikido, that's great. But you are clear about where your priorities lie.

I would say that what you are doing is what the vast majority of folks doing Aikido are doing. My message for these folks isn't that they've misplaced their priorities or that in order to have value in the Aikido world they need to shift those priorities... My message is that, with only a slight adjustment in their effort and a lot of changes to the system of transmission, they could all be doing much more sophisticated Aikido. Can most folks really maintain that twice a week is really, absolutely the limit they can train? I know folks for whom that is true. One guy had his relationship falling apart and twice a week was what was agreed on in their counseling. But for most folks, when they say they can't, it simply means it is too difficult or inconvenient.

That's why I made it a requirement for promotion after 4th Kyu to train three times a week. Folks come in and right from the start they know what is expected and they tell their spouses, they build it into their schedules, their family quickly gets used to it... And I tell them that in exchange for the support that they get from the family for their training, they need to be really present when they are home. Often, when a guy says he can't get to the dojo three times a week, he is saying he doesn't want to miss the game on Saturday's TV or some such. He really isn't doing much with the family when he is there... they probably would have been fine with an extra day.

I don't believe that for most folks it's about the extra time to be good, it's about the inconvenience. It's harder to balance everything else in your life every time you add a day to your training. So, for most folks I am not saying every day or five times a week... I only say that to the young singles who should take advantage of this time in their lives when they are relatively unencumbered to train their brains out. If they can't find the time now, they never will.

All I am saying is that, finding one more day each week can make the difference over time between doing this art well and not doing it well. Rather than tell oneself that you can do it with less, or accept that you will never be any good at it, neither of which is true, why not put some thought into how one might get that extra time. Maybe you could ask your teacher to add an early am class and go before work. Maybe a Sunday evening class that would let you do all the stuff you'd normally do with the family, all your chores, etc and when everyone else is winding down you get in an extra session. Folks do this all the time. It's not about telling yourself all the reasons why you can't train more, it's about doing the work to find a way to do so. If twice a week just isn't quite enough to get good and one extra day would allow that to happen, isn't that extra effort worth it? I absolutely fail to see how that extra day would make one unable to meet ones other obligations, if one put some thought into it.

The art is worth it. The satisfaction of knowing that your black belt really meant something is worth it. Being able to read things that O-Sensei wrote and have a real sense of what he might have meant is a wonderful goal for a Path with Heart. And it doesn't take that much extra effort. To be great... sure, that is all consuming. But just to be good, no, anyone could do that.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 10-30-2010 at 11:03 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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