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Old 01-03-2003, 10:30 PM   #1
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
Budo and Everyday Life

This may get wordy...

1. I came to aikido as a frustrated yogi: I really liked getting to know the rest of the universe by getting to know my body, but I didn't like the philosophy of yoga, which has a very Egyptian, fear-of-death emphasis on preserving and healing the body ad infinitum. I was getting into Zen buddhism, and thinking about how yoga's tendency to retain/preserve/protect really feeds into a very serious fear of death that I have (doesn't everyone?)...

I didn't want to feed my fear of death, and started looking past yoga, and started looking at budo instead, especially aikido.

2. I spent a year plus doing aikido with a great teacher and enjoying it a lot and reading a fair amount about the philosophy of budo and aikido, and was feeling really good about things. The philosophy of Budo seems to emphasize ephemerality, says "Yes, death happens, could happen right now" in a way that really helped me to "be present" - to engage fully with the world around me rather than withdraw from life and control it through yoga practice. I liked the idea that I was getting a little hurt every now and then in practice. I liked the fact that practice was in no way restorative. I'm not a masochist or anything, this helped me to understand that my life is an essentially ephemeral thing, and that I have a certain amount of control (good ukemi), but that eventually everything plays out, including me.

So far so good.

3. But you know, I have chronic pain for the first time in my life - my hips are tight, my knees hurt, my feet are flat again after years of yoga to create an arch! I need my body for other things, like making money. This has put me in a real aikido slump.

In all seriousness, has anyone else been trying to resolve this paradox? Does anyone else need the acceptance of destruction/ephemerality/death that budo fosters on an existential level - and yet have a hard time accepting or managing it on a physical level?

Just wondering,

Deb Fisher
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