A commitment may be made without conditions. It can be made without being "subject to
" to any reason or factor that would otherwise serve to condone or allow for any lapse in its application. As such, it is then intended to be good for "for the duration"
of the commitment itself, and does not have a "shelf life".
Commitment can be said to be a fundamental habit of the psyche, entered into willingly and knowingly of the full impact of its onerous burden and absolute sense of accountability. In a sense, its purpose is to ceaselessly strive to fulfill the full terms of making that commitment to begin with way back when.
The commitment itself is not the goal. Rather, it is a key tool with which to strive for, and attain the intended goal. By its very definition, it has no end date, no sunset rule, and no termination clause beyond the full and satisfactory completion of the commitment itself.
To cease to remain committed, is to experience a death of sorts, a permanent loss of something beyond price or value, even though the body itself continues to function and exist. As such, it appears to be a loss to the spirit itself.
One may choose to make a new commitment, similar to, or even as a necessary ‘improvement" to the original one. This does not, however, justify or mitigate the fact that a commitment was indeed broken, or that the consequences of such a self betrayal would be any less felt, or inevitably absorbed by the betrayed party. In that case, a sincere and honest apology is in order.
The Japanese term "shugyo"
may indeed be defined as "training, practice, an ascetic practice,"
or any example of a "thorough training". It also can mean "to train oneself".
It is this last definition that I translate as a truly personal commitment. It is a solemn promise to the self, and what oath or primary declaration of intent can indeed be any less permanent, any less sacred, or any less total in its profound purpose and the inviolate need for completion?
Training in Aikido, or any other cultural art of choice, does not necessarily require such a commitment as outlined above. A sincere person may definitely want to train "conditionally", especially when they are aware that they may not have endless resources of time, energy, resources or support from family. Training "conditionally"
then is most appropriate, as most students of Aikido do choose this method to become involved with Aikido training and its benefits.
Aikido, and the individual application of Aiki Principles to daily life situations remains an individual's right of choice. How strongly or how intently focused the interest should be exercised must remain open for the individual to choose.
Nonetheless, any and all who would declare themselves to be genuine "students" of the Aikido of the Founder, should examine carefully, after doing their honest "due diligence", and after carefully examining their fundamental reasons for choosing to create their own Aikido, and fully know why they have decided to align their growth and development with the Founder's theories, techniques and unique philosophy. Without this conscious and honest self affirmation, such a powerful commitment may be doomed before it is is begun.
For myself, I am content to train each day, knowing that no matter how often I fail, I can also choose to wake up the next day to try it one more time again.
Francis Takahashi was born in 1943, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Francis began his Aikido journey in 1953, simultaneously with the introduction of Aikido to Hawaii by Koichi Tohei, a representative sent from Aikikai Foundation in Tokyo, Japan. This event was sponsored by the Hawaii Nishi System of Health Engineering, with Noriyasu Kagesa as president. Mr. Kagesa was Francis's grandfather, and was a life long supporter of Mr. Tohei, and of Aikido. In 1961, the Founder visited Hawaii to help commemorate the opening of the new dojo in Honolulu. This was the first, and only time Francis had the opportunity to train with the Founder. In 1963, Francis was inducted into the U.S. Army, and was stationed for two years in Chicago, Illinois. He was the second instructor for the fledgling Chicago Aikido Club, succeeding his childhood friend, Chester Sasaki, who had graduated from the University of Illinois, and was entering the Air Force. Francis is currently ranked 7th dan Aikikai, and enjoys a direct affiliation with Aikikai Foundation for the recommending and granting of dan ranks via his organization, Aikikai Associates West Coast. Francis is the current dojo-cho of Aikido Academy in Alhambra, California.