Re: It Has to be Felt #0
You asked, 'When was the last time someone said to you "My life is so much better because of your aikido experience?"'
Well, I've said it myself, and not that long ago. My housemate who drug me to the dojo for the first time a year and a half ago has said it as well with some frequency.
There have been several obvious improvements in my life which go beyond the dojo walls:
My posture is dramatically improved. I was shrinking and have recovered nearly an inch in height.
My flexibility and mobility has dramatically improved. When I started I couldn't come anywhere close to touching my toes without bending my knees. Hadn't been able to in decades, if I ever could. And that's just one benefit among many.
You also asked: "Is your training a commitment or an obsession? Is it a way of life, a hobby, a contingency, an art, a sport, a philosophy?"
I would say Aikido is a darn near all-encompassing way of life. Its influence extends deeply into relationships, the way I approach disputes, it has even influenced the way I walk my dog!
That said, I'm about as likely to miss Aikido as my parents were to skip Church. In short, It just doesn't happen unless I'm out of town.
You asked: Is O Sensei still relevant? Was he ever?
O sensei was surely relevant, 'cause he taught Koichi Tohei Sensei, the first soshu of the Ki Society. Now, I understand Tohei Sensei discarded a lot of stuff he learned from O Sensei, 'cause he discovered his own variants that either worked better, were easier, or were less likely to accidentally injure uke.
A good, thoughtful column, Robertson Sensei.