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Old 10-13-2014, 03:05 PM   #1
Peter Boylan
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The Importance Of Perseverance

I was looking at some calligraphy from my teacher, including one of the character 忍 or perseverance. It made me think about my teacher and some people I know doing budo who really exemplify that characteristic and how important it is for good budo. I thought about it long enough that it turned into this blog http://budobum.blogspot.com/2014/10/...severance.html

Who do you know who has shown exemplary 忍 in their training?

Peter Boylan
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:55 PM   #2
lbb
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Well, sure. We've all heard about this kind of perseverance; it's the stuff of everyone's favorite martial arts movies: even if it gets compressed down to a well-edited three minute sequence, we get it...perseverance.

But there's a different kind of perseverance, and that's the will to keep training even when no one else believes in you. If those who can summon the martial-arts-movie kind of "perseverance" are in the minority, think how many fewer are those who train when no one thinks they'll ever amount to anything.
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Old 10-13-2014, 07:01 PM   #3
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Perseverence is really important but don't think that a martial art will give you any. People who continue have their measure of it before they enter the dojo, which probably explains why so many quit. Even black belts quit as the BB is their mistaken objective; once achieved, they slowly fade away into obscurity - motivation gone. It is really important to instil perseverence - and other qualities (concentration / honesty etc.) into young people because it will mold their life forever. School may help, but parents and family are #1 for this. The older you get - the harder it becomes - unless you land upon something that steals your heart.

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Old 10-13-2014, 07:44 PM   #4
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Perseverence is really important but don't think that a martial art will give you any. People who continue have their measure of it before they enter the dojo, which probably explains why so many quit. Even black belts quit as the BB is their mistaken objective; once achieved, they slowly fade away into obscurity - motivation gone.
Huh. I never really thought about it that way, Rupert, but I think you're right. Temporary goals can create a condition like "black belt tunnel vision" that keeps people at it for a time...but true perseverance is different.
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:08 AM   #5
Michael Hackett
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

It leads me to wonder, does any activity instill perserverence, or does one bring that quality to the activity? Perhaps a challenging activity requires that a participant bring that quality and even focus more on it.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
kewms
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, sure. We've all heard about this kind of perseverance; it's the stuff of everyone's favorite martial arts movies: even if it gets compressed down to a well-edited three minute sequence, we get it...perseverance.

But there's a different kind of perseverance, and that's the will to keep training even when no one else believes in you. If those who can summon the martial-arts-movie kind of "perseverance" are in the minority, think how many fewer are those who train when no one thinks they'll ever amount to anything.
Since very few of us live in martial arts movie scenarios, I suspect the other kind is more common than you think. Certainly most of us get little or no encouragement from the world outside the dojo. Friends and family members offer tepid support at best: they know aikido makes us happy, but would still rather we spent more time with them.

On the other hand, I think perseverance is overrated. If you aren't enjoying the journey, why on earth would you stick with it for the five, ten, fifteen or more years it takes to get anywhere? Life is too short to devote that much time to something that is not intrinsically rewarding.

Katherine
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Old 10-14-2014, 05:33 PM   #7
Dan Richards
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Perseverence is really important but don't think that a martial art will give you any. People who continue have their measure of it before they enter the dojo, which probably explains why so many quit. Even black belts quit as the BB is their mistaken objective; once achieved, they slowly fade away into obscurity - motivation gone. It is really important to instil perseverence - and other qualities (concentration / honesty etc.) into young people because it will mold their life forever. School may help, but parents and family are #1 for this. The older you get - the harder it becomes - unless you land upon something that steals your heart.
I'm totally with you on this, Rupert. It's never taken any "perseverance" for me to do the things I love and enjoy, such as martial arts, music, cooking, and writing. I do them because I want to do them.

I agree, and think that budo would fall low on the list of something will instill or even require perseverance. It's just an activity like bowling, surfing, needlepoint, etc.. And it's something that people do because they somehow click with it and just keep at it.

I've never had to talk myself off the couch to go to train or cook dinner. It's just something I enjoy doing. I want to do it.

I think the idea and quality of perseverance comes to us, and is much more applicable, in areas of our lives that can really get tough sometimes, and take us through phases we really don't want to go through. Dealing with career, relationships, health, etc. Areas of life that can really bite us in the ass at times. And using those unpleasant times as a tool to discover something deeper in ourselves. To really keep going when life is at its darkest.

There are people who actually do activities more because they think they should, and not as a result of natural desire and true enjoyment. And even though those people may show what appears to be perseverance, what it really shows is that they somehow - for whatever reasons - haven't been self-empowered enough to engage themselves in activities that they truly enjoy.

The heart provides more than enough power for anything we truly enjoy. And the reason I'm sitting here typing in an aikido forum, is because I love writing, exploring martial arts, and sharing in a community. And the reason I'm not going bowling right now is because I don't feel like it. It's not my thing.

I think this has more to do with people giving themselves the permission slips to engage in activities they truly enjoy. Because it's that ongoing expression of love and passion that will carry you through the tough times in life.

Speaking of... tonight sounds like a great night to lie in bed and veg out on some Netflix. And even some people have problems doing that. Because rather than truly enjoying themselves hanging out and resting, they're internally kicking themselves in the ass because they think they should be do something else - something "productive."

Rest is productive. Downtime is productive. Activities we love to do are productive.

Enjoy, relax, and allow. That's something I learned from Aikido.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 10-14-2014 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:45 PM   #8
Dan Richards
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post

Enjoy, relax, and allow. That's something I learned from Aikido.
I just wanted to add...

Enjoy, relax, allow. I can hear many people people saying...

That's something I learned from bowling.
That's something I learned from skating.
That's something I learned from painting.
That's something I learned from needlepoint.
That's something I learned from gardening.

ad infinitum

And not because they persevered, but because they simply had a real love for the activity.

I don't even see perseverance as a core quality. I see it as a byproduct.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:03 AM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
I just wanted to add...

Enjoy, relax, allow. I can hear many people people saying...

That's something I learned from bowling.
That's something I learned from skating.
That's something I learned from painting.
That's something I learned from needlepoint.
That's something I learned from gardening.

ad infinitum

And not because they persevered, but because they simply had a real love for the activity.

I don't even see perseverance as a core quality. I see it as a byproduct.
I would agree with this and then add something...

So first...why I agree....I have a ton of innate talent for 2 dimensional visual arts - color mixing and matching, depiction of space via mass and tone, etc....but it was not until fairly late in life that I realized I would never get nearly as far as less talented friends who plugged away, honing their technical chops....you could call it lack of perseverence or ambition but the bottom line is I lack an inner fire or passion to keep challenging my technical chops. Whereas in aikido, for which I have little innate talent (failed somersaults and dancing as a kid, don't learn well by watching, etc), I am willing to show up and plug away and plug away, coming back from an on the mat injury as well as an unrelated one some yrs later....because I have such incredible passion for the art and the training.

What I add is...for the person who perhaps never cultivated perseverance....it too is a skill, and if one learns the practice from doing something one loves, one can transfer it to having the patience to also persevere in something more banal or even odious that has to be done anyhow. That is very valuable.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:27 AM   #10
lifestylemanoz
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Thumbs up Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Great article. Aikido is thoroughly enjoyable once you get rid of all the waht if's and just turn up to training. I reposted this article on my blog here, hope thats Ok (link on the bottom to your site).
http://aikidohombu.com/quicker-can-empty-mind/
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Old 10-15-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
Peter Boylan
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Since very few of us live in martial arts movie scenarios, I suspect the other kind is more common than you think. Certainly most of us get little or no encouragement from the world outside the dojo. Friends and family members offer tepid support at best: they know aikido makes us happy, but would still rather we spent more time with them.

On the other hand, I think perseverance is overrated. If you aren't enjoying the journey, why on earth would you stick with it for the five, ten, fifteen or more years it takes to get anywhere? Life is too short to devote that much time to something that is not intrinsically rewarding.

Katherine
Perseverance doesn't just manifest in showing up for something you enjoy. It's also about working on and through the difficult parts that aren't terribly fun. I could just go to the dojo and do the only the fun parts, but I have learned to work on the boring and uncomfortable parts as well. It's not something I came into the dojo on my first day with, but something I have learned over time. The reward is there, but it's not an immediate one. It's a reward that you can only get through perseverance because the reward of many of these exercises in the immediate moment is frustration and fatigue. It's only after weeks or months of practice that you begin to see the effect and get the reward. That takes perseverance.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:16 PM   #12
Dan Richards
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

I hear you , Peter. The main activities I've enjoyed and pursued over the years definitely have their pain-in-the-ass aspects. Cooking can get a bit nuts at times, because I'm particular about where I source ingredients. And sometimes that has me running all over town for half a day. I might drive twenty miles just to score some eggs from a farm. And I hate driving in traffic.

But energy follows intent, and I need those damn eggs in my custard. The one I'm making because I finally found just the right Tahitian Vanilla, that took me months to locate.

In recording studios I've worked in and owned, I happily scrubbed the toilets and bathrooms. I've had interns who complained about having to clean bathrooms. I'd say to them, "If you really want to work in and someday maybe have your own studio, you ought to really appreciate that you're cleaning a bathroom - that's in a fu**'in studio. It's part of the service. And all the pretty ladies go in there. You should do everything in your power to make sure people have a great experience. If there's any place you can tell the level of service at a place, it's by looking at the bathrooms."

So, yes, I agree. There is sh*t to shovel, and sht to shine. And there are what can be considered, by some, to be extremes that people will go to for their passions. And also what appears to be horribly mundane tasks. But it's those aspects that are really the guardians at the door.

And, like Janet said, if there's no love and drive there -- you're not getting past the guards.
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:18 PM   #13
Ulven
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Perseverence is really important but don't think that a martial art will give you any. People who continue have their measure of it before they enter the dojo, which probably explains why so many quit. Even black belts quit as the BB is their mistaken objective; once achieved, they slowly fade away into obscurity - motivation gone. It is really important to instil perseverence - and other qualities (concentration / honesty etc.) into young people because it will mold their life forever. School may help, but parents and family are #1 for this. The older you get - the harder it becomes - unless you land upon something that steals your heart.
This touched me a little.

Short version of my history, I trained in karate back in no 80's and liked it enough, but it was like a hard thing. I didn't really believe it was "real" because of pulled punches, that when we suited up and did full contact nobody used the techniques, and for many other reasons. I had seen an aikido demo and thought it all looked even more fake than my karate (where we did "techniques" that seemed more like stuntman training) because I didn't understand that someone throwing themselves were actually only protecting their limbs etc.

Anyway, I moved to Norway in 1993 and a year or so after joined an aikido club, and fell in love with aikido. I never attained a high rank, but I did buy into the "just show up every week and see what happens" Thing. I har a helluva time learning ukemi. I couldn't roll like a ball. I hurt myself more learning that than I ever did after in actual training.

I was not like a ball I was like a rectangle. Hurt my shoulder and back, and then one day...there it was,
I found the key, I can't even explain what it is, because I don't know, but part of it was tucking my head in...but more than that it was relaxing, and just was such a wonderful feeling when I "got it".

Anyway I loved doing aikido. Not because I thought it would help me if I ever got into a serious thing with folk (though I did and do believe that) but more because I just love something about it I can't put into words.

I was in my 40's back then. I never attained a rank of any consequence. I think I got to 4th kyu back then.
But I went each week for a couple of years.

Fast forward, I just turned 58, I haven't trained in aikido in over ten years, but I've missed it like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes I check out local aikido dojos (I'm still living in Oslo) and think about starting again. I don't feel old, but I do feel out of shape.

I just started yoga, and even at a beginner level, am finding it hard, rewarding, and all I can think about is if I can get through this yoga course, it means I can handle getting back into aikido.

Seriously, I miss aikido like crazy. Learning to fall has helped me many times here, as I have tried skiing and this is a country with a lot of ice, I have fallen and you know what...somehow my struggle to learn ukemi has "set" in my bones. I have had potentially bad falls several times and instinctively I tucked my head and rounded my back and landed just fine. Thanks to aikido.

I know I am gearing up to try it again and have no idea how far I can even go with it but I just love doing it and miss it like crazy.

I also was a member of the old aikido mailing list, and I can't thank Jun enough for all his wisdom, compassion, help and encouragement. I probably would be very embarrassed if I read my old posts where I most likely lectured as if I knew something, or thought I had insights. Water under the bridge.
I think I may have had insights but I certainly didn't know what I was talkng about.

And that is the thing with perserverance. You just show up it doesn't matter if you put it into words or of you can or can't you just show up...night after night. That's the whole thing.

I cannot explain (and in hindsight nobody really could help me by explaining it) how I finally learned ukemi...but I did. It was wonderful. I don't know how to put it into words but I did learn it!

You just show up and do it. I am a novice and probably always will be , but I do know that is the the thing.
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Old 10-17-2014, 12:35 AM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

James, I remember you well from aikido-l days. I started aikido at age 41 in 1996 and joined aikido-l a yr later. I lost two years training twice (first an aikido injury, then a non-aikido injury) but could/would not stay away. So I will turn 60 in January and sometime a month before or after thst expect to rank for shodan.
In the words of Chuck Clark Sensei, to succeed, don't give up, don't die. :-)

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:56 PM   #15
Ulven
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
James, I remember you well from aikido-l days. I started aikido at age 41 in 1996 and joined aikido-l a yr later. I lost two years training twice (first an aikido injury, then a non-aikido injury) but could/would not stay away. So I will turn 60 in January and sometime a month before or after thst expect to rank for shodan.
In the words of Chuck Clark Sensei, to succeed, don't give up, don't die. :-)
Hey Janet! It's been a long time, and I always enjoyed your posts. Seeing more names still here, you guys are most likely even more awesome than before, and I learned a lot of great points from you all.

It's kinda funny, though I've been away from it so long, I get insomnia pretty bad, and sometimes at night through the years I have tried to get to sleep by picturing aikido techniques, most often done
very slowly. Sometimes it helps.

I really am gearing up to go back and do it some more.

Great to hear from you again!
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Old 10-17-2014, 04:30 PM   #16
Robert Cowham
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
James Acker wrote: View Post
This touched me a little.
:
Fast forward, I just turned 58, I haven't trained in aikido in over ten years, but I've missed it like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes I check out local aikido dojos (I'm still living in Oslo) and think about starting again. I don't feel old, but I do feel out of shape.
I have some good friends who run Tenshinkan in Oslo - give it a go. They are very cosmopolitan and there are different teachers with different styles, so maybe one at least will strike a chord!

http://tenshinkan.no/

Regards
Robert
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Old 10-20-2014, 04:15 PM   #17
Ulven
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Robert Cowham wrote: View Post
I have some good friends who run Tenshinkan in Oslo - give it a go. They are very cosmopolitan and there are different teachers with different styles, so maybe one at least will strike a chord!

http://tenshinkan.no/

Regards
Robert
Thanks Robert. I will check them out. I trained with Aikikan Oslo, and liked them a lot. I see also that they have branched out, and will check them all out. I appreciate the heads up!

Regards,

Jim
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:08 PM   #18
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
I'm totally with you on this, Rupert. It's never taken any "perseverance" for me to do the things I love and enjoy, such as martial arts, music, cooking, and writing. I do them because I want to do them.
Well said!

Chris Sawyer
Fountain Valley, CA
Tenshinkai Aikido Federation
Training day is every day
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:37 PM   #19
Peter Boylan
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Russell Bentley wrote: View Post
Great article. Aikido is thoroughly enjoyable once you get rid of all the waht if's and just turn up to training. I reposted this article on my blog here, hope thats Ok (link on the bottom to your site).
http://aikidohombu.com/quicker-can-empty-mind/
Hi Russell,
It's fine to report it, but please include a link the original, and the below:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2014 by Peter Boylan

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:34 AM   #20
Rolf Granlund
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Interesting topic as I am "re-starting" aikido after an absence and training with Peter Boylan. I am reminded of a quote, by Lynn Seiser I think, that goes something like "Sign up, show up, shut up, and train." To persevere in something there has to be some kind of draw. It's not something you can instill. You either have it or you don't. In a similar way, training doesn't build character, it reveals it, in my way of thinking.

With Respect,
Rolf Granlund
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Old 12-14-2014, 01:34 PM   #21
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Re: The Importance Of Perseverance

Quote:
Rolf Granlund wrote: View Post
training doesn't build character, it reveals it, in my way of thinking.
Rolf,

I like what you said here. Like you, I am re-starting my aikido training after an 8 year absence. Actually, I used to train with Lynn Seiser when he lived in southern California. You could say he helped to bring my character out through training. Another great quote of his is that

...we don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training...

Good stuff.


Chris Sawyer
Fountain Valley, CA
Tenshinkai Aikido Federation
Training day is every day
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