I have a book called Kodo: Ancient Ways by Kensho Furuya.
It is a book based on old martial wisdoms. I read and reread passages from it all the time. This morning I read a passage titled "The essence of training".
This part stood out for me.
"To be a great martial artist, you must work hard, study hard, raise a good family, be a good citizen, do good deeds, and think good thoughts."
"What really matters is that you lead a good healthy, wholesome life. And that is what a martial arts master is."
I don't know...at what age did Kensho Furuya die?
I remember him when he was called Dan Furuya.
What was the cause of his death at such a young age?
The kinds of things he said sound good, but I'm not sure that he followed his own advice.
Now, I have a demanding job and young children. So I can't get to training as often as I like but when I'm there I believe I value that time and train mindfully. I take what I have learned home and do what solo exercise I can. I will not be training with any of the IS guys mentioned on the forums anytime in the near future, I live in New Zealand and don't expect my family to have to sacrifice money to get me over to Japan or the States. I read the articles and advice given here and elsewhere and do what I can. Am I doing it right? Who knows? I try and keep my training honest and look for disrupting the structure of uke first and foremost. Technique comes second these days. I'm doing what I can in the confines of my life. But the passages above suggest that life is training. Isn't that what training in budo is all about? Not learning how to fight but learning how to better oneself through martial training.
I think you're on the right track, Dean. You have to care for your family first and, frankly, most aikido training, no matter how hard or faithfully you hit it is not really going to do you that much good that you should neglect your family over it.
I think the best thing I could tell you is, if you're in New Zealand, get with David Lynch. That's probably as good as any aikido you'll be able to find and most likely a better way to get it than going to Japan, in your case.