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Old 03-30-2015, 02:41 PM   #1
Peter Boylan
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Aikido Isn't Life

I know my friends will laugh at this, but this week's budo blog is titled "Budo Is Not Life." I know too many people who make the mistake of letting budo squeeze out all the other areas of their life while they focus on training. Here is my take on the relationship between Budo and Life!
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/03/budo-isnt-life.html

So, am I wrong here, or not? What do you think?

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:39 AM   #2
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
So, am I wrong here, or not?
I think, that depends completely on what your purpose in life is.
And whether there actually is a such distinction in your life between "dōjō" and "real life", like you describe it in your blog.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 03-31-2015 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:30 AM   #3
lbb
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

It would all seem rather self-evident, no?
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Old 04-01-2015, 12:58 PM   #4
Peter Boylan
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I think, that depends completely on what your purpose in life is.
And whether there actually is a such distinction in your life between "dōjō" and "real life", like you describe it in your blog.
The problem that I've seen is people for whom the dojo and training swell in proportion to the rest of their life that there is little else. Life has many components that have to be dealt with. Hiding in the from the parts your uncomfortable with is not something I recommend.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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http://www.budogu.com
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Old 04-01-2015, 12:59 PM   #5
Peter Boylan
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It would all seem rather self-evident, no?
Mary, you'd think it was. I've know a lot of people over the years who couldn't see that though. And the number of people who have responded to the post in other forums surprised me. It seems a lot of people welcomed the reminder.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:50 PM   #6
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

We've been focusing a lot on 'off the mat aikido' over the last ten years or so. Basically applying lessons learned from training to everyday situations. Most people spend the vast majority of their lives outside of the dojo - hopefully their training helps better that aspect of life.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 04-02-2015, 06:00 PM   #7
JP3
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Budo is about the enrichment of life, the protection of life. It, in itself, is not life, but can be an aspect of life, yes?

If all you do is go to the training hall and train..... well, you've heard that old line, "All work and no play makes for a seriously dull conversationalist."

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 04-03-2015, 01:14 AM   #8
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I know my friends will laugh at this, but this week's budo blog is titled "Budo Is Not Life." I know too many people who make the mistake of letting budo squeeze out all the other areas of their life while they focus on training. Here is my take on the relationship between Budo and Life!
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2015/03/budo-isnt-life.html

So, am I wrong here, or not? What do you think?
I'd say you are quite right. Look at Miyamoto Musashi for example -the absolute extreme, and yet he was accomplished in art and writing etc. What Budo gives you is the ability to polish whatever you turn your hand to.

Personally, I have managed to maintain my practice while doing all kinds of other things. No one is perfect of course and at times I have chosen practice over more sensible options - but that is because this is what I have chosen to do. These days I find that the only way to fit it all in is to practice by myself, which I do daily. I have no idea why - it has just become part of my daily routine. Get up early and do my stuff etc.

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Old 04-08-2015, 03:52 AM   #9
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
... in proportion to the rest of their life that there is little else. Life has many components that have to be dealt with. Hiding in the from the parts your uncomfortable with is not something I recommend.
It seems to me, that you understand life to be a compound of different parts that are only loosely connected. And that one has to take care of and to cultivate each of those components of life, so none of them is neglected. Job and family in the first line. Then there may be friends, some volunteer work, a hobby.
Do I get you right?

I think everyone should try to find out his or her task, mission, purpose in life. Can be to live out one's creativity as an artist, or dancer or whatever. Or to do a certain work, that only you can do. Or to live a spiritual life. Sure: This purpose can also be to live your life as a father or mother.
Everybody has to find out themselves.
But I think, once you have found your way, your personal purpose in life, the other parts got to be integrated in that bigger perspective.

It is my experience, that when you live your life this way, it does not become more comfortable, easy or convenient. Quite the contrary.
But I think it is important, to use and to fill up the little time we have and call our life. And to fill it up with what is meant to be our personal way.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:04 AM   #10
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

I am on the fence with this one. On one hand, we live in a culture that almost categorizes people based on a single aspect of her life - we have workaholics, gym rats, nerds, metrosexuals, jocks, hillbillies, soccer moms, hipsters... you get the point. These categories all have meaning because they represent what is [presumably] such a large aspect of one's life that is grossly identifies that individual. We largely celebrate these categorical difference in some respect and I am not sure how someone who constantly practices is not just another group. I remember when I was young I trained many hours a week. I wasn't dodging life, I just had more life than things to do in it so I could spend more time on those things.

I think if you're giving out psychological advice, yes, ignoring problems and avoidance tactics are generally not positive traits. But that statement is true for anything on which we focus to avoid problems. If you are that budo girl training 5 nights a week because you'd rather be at the dojo than at home with your husband... yeah that's a problem. But is it budo causing that problem, or perhaps something else? I think you need some differentiation between a budo person who makes budo central and life choices surround that central choice and a budo person who makes another choice and then fulfills that choice with budo.

I often use expectation analysis to illustrate what we want to do with what is really happening. If I am going to class because I don't have friends and I can get social interaction at the dojo, I am still doing budo but clearly not for the intention of learning budo (I am doing budo to create a social outlet). This does not mean that I will be terrible at budo or not dedicated or [fill in mean comment here], but it does mean that I am prioritizing a choice to be social and using budo to fulfill that choice. I read a little more self-importance for budo in the article than probably really exists. For example, if you're not doing dishes for a spouse, chances are you'd find anything else to avoid doing dishes because the problem is that you don't want to do dishes. Budo can just as easily be replaced with that all-important job of arranging your sock drawer if that chore is more appealing than dish washing. I speak from experience on this one...

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Old 04-08-2015, 09:11 AM   #11
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Smile Re: Aikido Isn't Life

[quote=Jon Reading;343087]I am on the fence with this one.

I agree with Jon on this one. I feel that there are people who are dodging life and using the dojo to do that, but is the training the cause or the effect. I guess if you have to have something to do as you dodge, why not let it be training.

But we have all see the student dedicated to training only that is missing out on life as well.

Derek Duval
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:09 AM   #12
zafubar
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

In my experience, grasping too strongly at any one part of your identity is just asking for trouble - if not now, then down the line. However, I would also say that there are seasons for intense practice and commitment. For example, when I started aikido my life was falling apart and class was the only place it was not painful to be. I attended class after class, overlooking injury and exhaustion to be there. One result was that I learned how to fall properly. Another result was more psychological, in that training provided me with or revealed to me a lens for focusing on life in a better way. That's vague, I know; sorry. However, that lens became the foundation for rebuilding my life.

I also appreciate the efforts of teachers and leaders who commit their lives and often the lives of their families to building, maintaining and preserving the martial arts. I would not necessarily want to be one of them, but I sure am glad they're there.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:10 PM   #13
lbb
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Interesting reading, these comments. I wonder if "life in balance" hasn't become something of a platitude. Balance has a reference point, which is easy when you're talking about physical balance on the face of the planet earth...not so simple in the world of metaphor, where there is no universal "center of gravity". My sister is a nun. The things that are often mentioned when we talk about "life in balance" -- work, school, friends, intimate relationships, hobbies -- don't exist for her in the conventional sense. Is her life "out of balance"? Some would say so. What I observed is that she had to go through a process of paring her life down before she could make that commitment.

I can see aikido taking that big a part in someone's life without them being "out of balance", in much the same way. There's a paring-down. Even those of us who just train several times a week typically have to "pare down" to get to where we can do that on an ongoing basis. Time is the ultimate equalizer: no amount of money can buy you more than 24 hours in a day, and if you're lucky enough to have a life rich in opportunities, you will have to say no to some of them -- particularly if you want to pursue any of them beyond the dilettante stage. Is that "squeezing out"? Not necessarily. Sometimes people make choices like that with their eyes wide open.
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Old 04-09-2015, 02:57 AM   #14
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

Thank you Mary. You gave a perfect example, what I was talking about.

And it is my understanding, that although it surely is not everyone's task, to become a nun. It indeed is everyone's task find his or her individual commitement.
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:55 PM   #15
innernature
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Re: Aikido Isn't Life

I am taking a break from aikido, because I feel like other areas of my life are lacking, but now that I'm taking a break, I'm really bored. Aikido has been filling a meaningful space for me, and I suppose now that if i was meant to be doing something else, I would be doing it....
I've found a kind of community in aikido which is difficult to find elsewhere.
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