Dojo: aikido academy/alhambra,california
Location: Los Angeles, California
Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Being Committed to Aiki
It is well documented that martial artists, as a group, are incorrigible romantics and idealists, perhaps more interested in pursuing dreams over accomplishing realistic and more pragmatic tasks on a daily basis. Perhaps too they are viewed with envy, and even a bit of child like jealousy by normal folk who wish they could also “be like Mike”.
It is so natural to fall in love with stories of “derring do”, impossible feats of physical prowess, mind boggling techniques, and the romance tinged exploits of our favorite heroes and heroines. If they happen to be historical figures as well, hell, all the better.
The fictional accounts by the renowned historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, of the legendary “kensei”, Miyamoto Musashi, are further enhanced by Musashi having actually existed, and those same battle scenes historically plausible. And who can easily forget the “Last Samurai”, depicting the exploits of the Satsuma patriot Takamori Saigo, who along with 40 like minded samurai, ushered in the death of the 400 year old feudal system in 1701, along with their glorious own.
The word “story” has its origins in what historically were “myths”, recounting in spoken form what could not easily be preserved in other ways. As such, the retelling of these stories inevitably fell prey to embellishments, poetic license, and the need for vivid imaginations to be feed even more lurid and fantastic versions of the original.
Despite the denigration by Koichi Tohei of the Founder’s personal epiphany, enhanced by a “golden” moment, wherein he chided “Why gold? Everyone knows that diamonds are more valuable!”, we can fully appreciate the exquisite moment as if we too were there. Of course, we all loved the stories of the same Koichi Tohei, who bested American Judo players, and even kid handled beefy Honolulu policemen. Why not Tenryu and O Sensei, enjoying their special moment of interpersonal enlightenment?
Yes, myths, legends and titillating accounts of superhuman exploits will always have their appeal, and rightly so. Not by facts alone can a man live, as one might say.
Nonetheless, let us not be haplessly tied to dubious “factual” accounts, and feel forever “second class”, as we could probably never hope to duplicate such events. Reality has much better “stories” in store for those who actually follow through with their honest pursuit of pragmatic, and even idealistic goals. History is replete with such accounts, although not quite with as much fanfare. Not for nothing do “Medals of Honor”, “Silver Crosses” and the “President’s Medal” exist for real life heroes we have all heard about, and possibly know personally.
Let us reserve our very best stories, for the actual accomplishments, possibly being enacted right now, by our own yet undiscovered “Best of the Best”. Those impossibly brave families dealing with Cancer afflicted kin, or of Alzheimer relatives. Those resolute firefighters, who braved the Twin Towers, and who unflinchingly march into blazing infernos of forest fires started by our lesser folk, on an annual basis.
We really do not need to primarily look to myths, legends and “stories” from the past to inspire us to make Aiki Principles come alive, and to make true differences in our own precious lives, and the lives of those we love. The best remains within us, and the best truly is still yet to come.