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Old 01-25-2011, 03:11 PM   #88
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 306
New Zealand
Re: The Essence of Training

Hello all.

As the OP I have been very excited about the responses my post originated. Initially my post was put out there because I, personally, was struggling with why and how I am training, now I am seeing, for some of you, this is a bigger thing.

I'm going to try and touch on some of the comments. All have been great BTW.

As far as I'm concerned, a great martial artist must be a great martial practitioner. Beyond that, one can quibble if it makes tactical sense to be a decent human being, because you'll have less enemies, or follow certain behavioral rules, so you will gain allies, and the like. But the bottom line must be a superlative level of skill which can only be acquired by sacrificing other things, even the needs of one's family.

Most great martial artists whom I have met have been, in some respects, selfish. (I would not put myself in the category of great martial artists - for I would have had to have been willing to sacrifice a lot more than I did - but as a somewhat-better-than-adequate martial artist, I certainly was selfish in my pursuit of skil). Perhaps instructive at this juncture would be Dave Lowry's essay, Get a New Wife.
Thanks, Ellis, I always enjoy your honesty. I have read that essay before and I know I would not wish to prioritize my training over my family like that. That is a decision I made when I decided to have kids. At times I wish I could train more, however, I accept that I will not be a martial artist of the highest caliber due to that decision.

In the end the person that is respecting the art the most, IMO, is the person that never feels enough is enough. They never feel like they trained long enough, or hard enough. You are never good enough. It is the "I think I'm doing enough", or "I think I'll figure that technique out later, maybe someday" attitude that is causing the issues in Aikido I expressed frustration in. There is no summit to this sort of thing. Even the people who have a non-negotiable amount of training time will still feel like they need to do more, I do at least.
I agree, Maggie. It sounds like you just got in my head I remember talking to a guy after training one night and discovered he comes to aikido because it was 'a bit of exercise'. That was the first time I realized that not everybody treats training as seriously as I do.

I am committed to keeping aikido part of my life. I have a family and career, both that precede aikido in priority. However, Aikido is highly prioritized and positioned in my life. I understand the sacrifice my prioritization requires. Some day I hope to change my priorites as my life allows; until then I keep aikido in as much of my life as I can.

However, my aikido is still prioritized highly enough that my instructors and those people with whom I associate should notice progress in my training. I rely on them to push me and keep me advancing my aikido education; I appreciate their criticism even when it is harsh. This is why I believe in testing and social interaction with peers in aikido.
This is exactly where I am at, you wrote it much better than I.

I think we have witnessed a failure on a massive scale of the top down, hierarchical model in my opinion. The stated goal was to train leaders and the result was actually to create a generation of seniors whose greatest aspiration is to escape notice. Initiative in the Japanese model is a very touchy area. Usually it's easier for folks not to take any.
This whole line of posts has been very interesting...and exciting. My club's lineage is through Robert Nideau sensei so we have links with the States. New Zealand now has a real mix of aikido styles and associations, its pretty messy really, but at least the training opportunities are diverse. Consistency can be an issue.
It's great to hear people with experience thinking critically about aikido training.

Overall there seems to be two sides to this discussion. What aikido training means for the individual and what it means for aikido as a martial art. The two are obviously connected and one can affect the other.

Great reading, thanks!


Last edited by Amassus : 01-25-2011 at 03:15 PM.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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