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Old 01-02-2011, 12:10 PM   #1
Amassus
 
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The Essence of Training

Lately, I have been wondering about the purpose of my own training. With all the threads about how aikido could be improved with internal strength, or real attacks or 'hard' aikido or 'traditional' aikido. I started to get a little confused. Frankly a lot of what was said didn't sit well with me.

Why am I studying aikido?

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."

Then,
"What really matters is that you lead a good healthy, wholesome life. And that is what a martial arts master is."

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.

Anyway, those passages resonated with me and now I think I'm not as far off track as I thought I might have been.

Thanks for reading.

Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:22 PM   #2
guest1234567
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Re: The Essence of Training

Thank you Dean for sharing your thoughts, I think the main point is
Not learning how to fight but learning how to better oneself through martial training
Train as much as you can, but of course first is your family and your job. You have plenty of time for everything, try to enjoy every minute. Seeing my children grown up, I realize that the first and main thing is to enjoy every minute with them. I also enjoy my job and relax with Aikido from the stress of the job, we train hard but always laugh at the end of each class. Laughing is also a good thing to keep a good health.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:35 PM   #3
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: The Essence of Training

Hi Dean,
I sympathise with your first paragraph. Craig Hocker wrote recently in another thread:

Quote:
As popular as aikiweb is, the number of participants is a small minority of those practicing aikido world wide (...). What you are reading is a self-selective sampling. It's only natural those who have questions or concerns would be the ones that would make the effort to find and post on this forum. Those that don't or feel they are getting sufficient answers in their training probably won't be found on here posting about such topics except maybe in response. It's very common for online forums to have the same questions asked over and over in many different threads.
So there is a real argument to make that we are weirdos with issues

Then again, to some extent, that is how many of the masters started out.... and I am not joking. I am convinced they still do. However, we other weirdos are real weirdos, and you may not want to listen to us

So who is who, which is which, why on earth do I follow this, it often confuses me as well. But then, I have met real people (in person) and learned real things (techniques) through the mediation of aikiweb, and I am very grateful for that.

As for the rest of your post, I do wonder why it is martial arts I have chosen to supposedly improve myself and live a good life, not something else, and that is where the questions start and sometimes take over.

Best for your life and training in 2011

Last edited by Nicholas Eschenbruch : 01-02-2011 at 12:39 PM. Reason: clarity, and last sentence
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:17 PM   #4
graham christian
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Lately, I have been wondering about the purpose of my own training. With all the threads about how aikido could be improved with internal strength, or real attacks or 'hard' aikido or 'traditional' aikido. I started to get a little confused. Frankly a lot of what was said didn't sit well with me.

Why am I studying aikido?

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."

Then,
"What really matters is that you lead a good healthy, wholesome life. And that is what a martial arts master is."

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.

Anyway, those passages resonated with me and now I think I'm not as far off track as I thought I might have been.

Thanks for reading.

Dean.
Hi Dean.
Well done in recognising that. So now you can look at what it was that attracted you to Aikido for I would assume that something about it resonated with you and now you want to understand it.

Don't be troubled by what others say what should or shouldn't be in Aikido but rather look at the various principles you learn and see how they apply to your life, your work etc.

For instance, you may be practicing keeping centered and practicing disrupting the opponents center. Well, apply this to something you do at work even if it's moving a table from a to b. Where is the tables center? Do you align your center with it before moving it? Do you disrupt it's center or do you respect it and move it? Test the principles in life and learn yourself as well as listening out for those who say something you can relate to rather than be confused by those who confuse you.

Finally, have faith.
Good luck. G.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:09 PM   #5
jonreading
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

As I understand the English definition, "martial" was derived from Greek and in its origin was a reference to that of military design. "Martial arts" was a term used to categorize those arts used in military organizations and the education process by which soldiers learned those arts. I believe these arts [at one point in time] included board games, literacy, several husbandries, geography, history, horsemanship as well as more commonly known weapons and empty-handed combat skills. Somewhere along the line we condensed our definition to just refer to combat skills and more specifically Eastern combat skills; I do not know why.

All this for me to say that we forget at one point in time for most of our cultures it was easier to kill someone than to find food for a family.
Quote:
"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."
I have seem some variation of this wisdom in other readings. This would have been a harder task for many than "Find a meek community and take what they have."

Martial arts are more than just skills, they are skills disseminated using an educational process designed for mass consumption. Sometime we forget that our martial art is about learning to better ourselves using the military educational system and not just about how to fight.

Live. Train when you can.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
Amassus
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Thanks for the replies so far guys.

The general feeling I'm getting here is that we are all out there living life and the forums is perhaps a place to vent or discuss issues at a minuscule level. If I forget that, it looks like everyone here is deeply entrenched in aikido, training many hours a week and not doing much else. I'm sure this is not the case and I need to step back a bit from time to time and soak up reality.

I have learned a great deal here at aikiweb, even if it is nothing more than getting a feel for the mindset of a mostly American group of aikidoists (generalization).

Quote:
Train as much as you can, but of course first is your family and your job.
Thanks. Great to hear from another parent.

Quote:
I believe these arts [at one point in time] included board games, literacy, several husbandries, geography, history, horsemanship as well as more commonly known weapons and empty-handed combat skills. Somewhere along the line we condensed our definition to just refer to combat skills and more specifically Eastern combat skills; I do not know why.
Good point, thanks for reminding me. It puts things in perspective.

Yours in training,
Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:29 AM   #7
Mark Uttech
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Re: The Essence of Training

Onegaishimasu, training once a week will keep you busy Dean, especially if you manage "once a week no matter what". The book, "Kodo" is an excellent book to keep your mind on the whys and wherefores of training. Raising a family is a noble undertaking, sharing your training with your family helps create fine harmony.
Gambatte friend!

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
Shadowfax
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post

The general feeling I'm getting here is that we are all out there living life and the forums is perhaps a place to vent or discuss issues at a minuscule level. If I forget that, it looks like everyone here is deeply entrenched in aikido, training many hours a week and not doing much else. I'm sure this is not the case and I need to step back a bit from time to time and soak up reality.
For some this is the case, for others it is not. Each must follow their own path. But seeing these other perspectives helps us to define what path we ourselves are on and whether or not we need to alter our course.

I made the mistake once of taking certain posts here too personally, and getting upset. Fortunately some long talks with my teachers helped me to put things back into their proper perspective.

Do what is right for you and don't worry about what others feel is right for them.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:31 AM   #9
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
Train as much as you can, but of course first is your family and your job.
Thanks. Great to hear from another parent.
Another parent asking.

I always wonder:
Why is this a matter of course???

Why is it a matter of course that proffessionel career comes first and aikido practice is second?
Why isnt't it a matter of course to organize ones job in a way that allows intense practice in the first place?

And why is it a matter of course that a familiy can't be organized in a way that allows such intense practice?

I deeply respect if someone doesn't see aikido practice as the first and most important purpose of his or her life. There are different lifes to live by different people.

But why should this be a matter of course???

When I look around me there are a lot of the higher graded students who practice very, very intense and who besides that "work hard, study hard, raise a good family," are "a good citizen, do good deeds, and think good thoughts" and who "lead a good healthy, wholesome life".

There are different ways to integrate practice into ones life.
Why should just one of them be a matter of course???

Carsten
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:41 AM   #10
guest1234567
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Another parent asking.

I always wonder:
Why is this a matter of course???

Why is it a matter of course that proffessionel career comes first and aikido practice is second?
Why isnt't it a matter of course to organize ones job in a way that allows intense practice in the first place?

And why is it a matter of course that a familiy can't be organized in a way that allows such intense practice?

I deeply respect if someone doesn't see aikido practice as the first and most important purpose of his or her life. There are different lifes to live by different people.

But why should this be a matter of course???

When I look around me there are a lot of the higher graded students who practice very, very intense and who besides that "work hard, study hard, raise a good family," are "a good citizen, do good deeds, and think good thoughts" and who "lead a good healthy, wholesome life".

There are different ways to integrate practice into ones life.
Why should just one of them be a matter of course???

Carsten
It is easy, my family won't eat, my children wouldn't go to the university and so on, if first comes aikido. If you have small children or like me teenager you must be there and take care of them,control their friends and so on in the world we are living now, we cannot leave them to take care of themselves., ,
You must choice your priorities in life. Once I'll retire maybe first will come aikido, but until then it is like that..
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:03 PM   #11
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
It is easy, my family won't eat, my children wouldn't go to the university and so on, if first comes aikido. ...
You must choice your priorities in life.
That's what I mean. This is true for your life.
And please, this is important to me: I deeply respect your choices, the way you live your life and the place your aikido practice has in it!

But:
It doesn't has to be true for everybodys life.
It's not that easy.
There are a lot different ways to live.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:07 PM   #12
guest1234567
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Re: The Essence of Training

Of course Carsten, another fact is, that I must drive 15 minutes to the dojo, and there are only 2 times a week 90 minutes of Aikido, it is in an Taekwondo dojo, the owner teaches this the other days and the rest of the time. So even if I had the time, there is no possibility.
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
Mark Freeman
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Re: The Essence of Training

A phrase that my teacher uttered many years ago and has stayed with me ever since was - "Don't live to practice Aikido, practice Aikido to live!"

There were many times that I would have loved to have trained more and to have devoted myself to learning the art that I had found and wanted to get good at. However, three small kids and a shakey income, had first priority. It never stopped me practicing regularly, but certainly put paid to any thoughts of a full time life of practice.

Now I realise it is how I translate the principles of Aikido into my every day life, that makes the difference to me. Practicing an art just to perfect techniques or to become a bigger badass than the next man, seems like an empty endeavour to me.

There are some who bang on about the martial effectiveness of aikido (and in some few cases they may have a point), but they don't seem to understand the essence of what lies inside the art. The development of the mind, body and spirit.

We all come to the art with our own adgendas and we all take from it what we can. Aikido does have a different take than many of the other 'fighting' arts, for me really good aikido cannot be done with a 'fighting mind'. Which is not to say that it is martially ineffective, only that to make aikido work well, the mindset has to be different.

It's what you do with what you learn, that people notice.

If Aikido, helps to improve who you are, what you do and how you interact with others, then keep going for as long as you can. If it doesn't, then find another pursuit that does, there are plenty out there.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:59 PM   #14
mickeygelum
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Not learning how to fight but learning how to better oneself through martial training
Train as much as you can, but of course first is your family and your job. You have plenty of time for everything, try to enjoy every minute. Seeing my children grown up, I realize that the first and main thing is to enjoy every minute with them. I also enjoy my job and relax with Aikido from the stress of the job, we train hard but always laugh at the end of each class. Laughing is also a good thing to keep a good health.
If you can not defend yourself...how are you going to defend anyone else?

Last edited by mickeygelum : 01-16-2011 at 06:01 PM. Reason: This why Aikido is for pussies!!
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Old 01-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #15
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
If you can not defend yourself...how are you going to defend anyone else?
Calling 112 (european equivalent for 911) and praying?

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:27 AM   #16
guest1234567
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Calling 112 (european equivalent for 911) and praying?
112 is my internal number at the office, so they can always call me
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:07 AM   #17
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: The Essence of Training

I call 999 (UK) after I have sorted the buggers out.....
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:45 AM   #18
Hellis
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
If you can not defend yourself...how are you going to defend anyone else?
Good point Michael...perhaps one could have a good laugh with their aggressor ?

Try this technique.
"" Before you hit me. have you heard this one ??

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:51 AM   #19
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Good point Michael...perhaps one could have a good laugh with their aggressor ?

Try this technique.
"" Before you hit me. have you heard this one ??

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
Or in a posh voice "Hang on a minute chum, could you hold my jacket while I hit you old boy?"
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:09 AM   #20
guest1234567
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Good point Michael...perhaps one could have a good laugh with their aggressor ?

Try this technique.
"" Before you hit me. have you heard this one ??

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
that is what I usually do when I see an agressor
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:53 AM   #21
Hellis
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Carina Reinhardt wrote: View Post
that is what I usually do when I see an agressor
I truly believe you Carina

Try the laugh first, followed by a couple of good one liners ( remember its the way yer tell em ) ..If that fails try a stern look and a bit of conversation.
Good luck

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:10 AM   #22
Amassus
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
If you can not defend yourself...how are you going to defend anyone else?
Here's the deal...maybe in your part of the world you really feel the need to be able to deal with a physical confrontation and that is what matters to you.

However, in my world, for self-defence reasons, I'm better off taking a Defensive Driving Course as more people die from car accidents here than from that elusive 'bad guy' in the street.

The interesting thing is some people in my club come from some tough backgrounds, a guy that came through the grades with me did eight years of muay thai kick boxing and has some amazing stories to tell from his 'past life'. Including misunderstandings out in the street. He can obviously handle himself in a fight, so why is he now enjoying aikido so much?

He is also a family man now and his priorities have changed too. Perhaps you consider us wussies, or perhaps we are people simply getting on with our lives and aikido is only one part of that life.

Keep training.
Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:53 AM   #23
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Here's the deal...maybe in your part of the world you really feel the need to be able to deal with a physical confrontation and that is what matters to you.

However, in my world, for self-defence reasons, I'm better off taking a Defensive Driving Course as more people die from car accidents here than from that elusive 'bad guy' in the street.

The interesting thing is some people in my club come from some tough backgrounds, a guy that came through the grades with me did eight years of muay thai kick boxing and has some amazing stories to tell from his 'past life'. Including misunderstandings out in the street. He can obviously handle himself in a fight, so why is he now enjoying aikido so much?

He is also a family man now and his priorities have changed too. Perhaps you consider us wussies, or perhaps we are people simply getting on with our lives and aikido is only one part of that life.

Keep training.
Dean.
Those that train as wussies are wussies....... Fine, so long as you train to be a wussie and take a wussie approach which is pointless if you train to defend and not play..... wussies.....
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:16 PM   #24
mathewjgano
 
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Re: The Essence of Training

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Perhaps you consider us wussies, or perhaps we are people simply getting on with our lives and aikido is only one part of that life.

Keep training.
Dean.
Well said. Different people have different priorities. It would be stupid to assume we all trained for the same reasons. Hell, I know a number of people who haven't even taken a martial art and somehow manage to not get thrashed at all in their whole lives. Some even kicked ass without a day on the mat. Go figure.
Point is, while I agree that people who want to learn serious body skills with regard to attack/defense should train very very (very) seriously, people who are content with something less should probably do less.
Wasn't there a famous karateka who lamented about how much good in the world he could have accomplished if he had taken his discipline and focus and applied it to something else?
And some of the toughest people I've known were marked as wussies. Life aint so simple. Yeah, pay attention and be sharp, but for gods' sake "enjoy yo'se'f."
Yours in wussiness,
Matt

Quote:
Those that train as wussies are wussies
Not necessarily, because you bring your character with you where ever you go. Bad mo-fos can do yoga, sip fruity drinks, wear spandex and take synchronized swimming classes: they're still bad mo-fos.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 01-17-2011 at 06:27 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:39 AM   #25
gates
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Re: The Essence of Training

Dean,

The wonderful thing about Aikido is that it can be what you want it to be.

It seems to me what really matters, and obviously you have already come a similar conclusion is that you enjoy your training. Most importantly it seems it is a time when you need not worry about your kids, work or whatever.

This in itself is a wonderful thing and will help you to become a better father, husband, colleague and human bean. Just as you quoted from your book.

To quote (roughly) from an Alan Watts book (Become what you are), Life is like you are running on a wheel, sometimes you feel like life (the turning of the wheel) is getting too fast and you are going to fall off the back. Sometimes you feel like you are rushing around and going to fall forwards.

The reality is that the wheel has no "right" way up and turns in harmony with you it is your life. It is, therefore, impossible to ever fall off.

That is to say in a very convoluted manner, you are always on the right path and never off track.

"There are many paths to the top of Mount Fujiyama but only one summit"

good luck
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