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Old 07-17-2006, 08:34 PM   #1
aikigirl10
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Better to Train in Many or Few Techniques?

For me i think i've realized that part of the reason for my lack of showing up for practice is maybe the lack of new material coming in.

In shaolin, i'm constantly learning different things (internal and external) so it definitely keeps me interested both physically and mentally.

Aikido does keep me motivated physically to a certain extent because i can always keep improving, but then it gets tedious because i already know pretty much all of the essential techniques along with the different attack and everything. So there aren't really any totally new things for me to learn, therefore yeah i guess you could say i get bored sometimes.

This isn't to say im not learning, and of course i dont think this is the entire problem having known this stuff for quite some time. But its definitely something to think about.
 
Old 07-17-2006, 09:19 PM   #2
aikidoc
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
For me i think i've realized that part of the reason for my lack of showing up for practice is maybe the lack of new material coming in.

In shaolin, i'm constantly learning different things (internal and external) so it definitely keeps me interested both physically and mentally.

.
So it has to be new to keep you motivated? What about understanding something indepth? Or really owning the technique? The more techniques you learn the shallower your understanding or ability to execute in a real situation becomes.
 
Old 07-17-2006, 10:00 PM   #3
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
So it has to be new to keep you motivated? What about understanding something indepth? Or really owning the technique?
Wow, that was really rude.

In shaolin, we learn new things all the time. However, our constant practice of the old things helps our understanding of that thing indepth, which i agree, is probably more important.

But in aikido, it's sort of a constant depth thing. Yeah, in the end you turn out with awesome technique, but it's like how perfect does everything have to be? There's only so close you can get to perfect. Am i saying i'm that great, no of course not. I'm saying aikido is more tedious, therefore it is sometimes (not always) less interesting to pursue.


Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
The more techniques you learn the shallower your understanding or ability to execute in a real situation becomes
Are you living on another planet?

The more techniques you learn the more prepared you will be for any variety of attack. I would rather learn a crap load of good solid technique and have it halfway decent then to learn 3 techniques and have them absolutely perfect.

I would rather worry about whether or not my techniques are practical enough for self-defense then to spend time worrying about whether my foot should be faced at a 45 degree angle or a 90 degree angle in a meaningless technique (for self-defense that is) like kokyu-nage for example.

Oh, don't get me wrong i absolutely love aikido, it definitely has its perks. And there are times when aikido could come in handy. But if i were learning strictly for self-defense i would pick shaolin any day of the week.
 
Old 07-17-2006, 10:46 PM   #4
giriasis
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

~~cough~~

"brown belt syndrome"

~~cough~~
~~cough~~

kidding aside...

It does sound like you have "brown belt syndrome," and I think John might be pulling your strings a little. But I have a question for you, what are you trying to do to work through it? There is more to aikido/martial arts than learning a bunch of techniques. Sounds like you've been on an aikido plateau for a long time and you're not seeing the differences like you can when you learn something new from scratch. I bet there is as much honing and depth and technique development in Shaolin as you will find in Aikido. You just don't see it with Shaolin because it's new and Aikido is not. I guess that's my point -- finding another reason to train. For me, it's the elusive black belt. You, perhaps "new technique." Yep, you're bored with aikido, that's clear, but what have you done to make aikido interesting?

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
 
Old 07-17-2006, 11:16 PM   #5
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote:
~~cough~~

"brown belt syndrome"

~~cough~~
~~cough~~

kidding aside...

It does sound like you have "brown belt syndrome," and I think John might be pulling your strings a little. But I have a question for you, what are you trying to do to work through it? There is more to aikido/martial arts than learning a bunch of techniques. Sounds like you've been on an aikido plateau for a long time and you're not seeing the differences like you can when you learn something new from scratch. I bet there is as much honing and depth and technique development in Shaolin as you will find in Aikido. You just don't see it with Shaolin because it's new and Aikido is not. I guess that's my point -- finding another reason to train. For me, it's the elusive black belt. You, perhaps "new technique." Yep, you're bored with aikido, that's clear, but what have you done to make aikido interesting?
Ok, i admitted in an earlier post that yeah i am going through the "brown belt syndrome" so dangling that over my head really doesn't bother me to any degree because im fine with it.

Everyone else on the other hand seems to find it troubling that i put Aikido down a little bit. The thing is , every art has its flaws, get over it.

What concerns *me* is that apparently u ppl seem to think im some shallow kid who only wants to learn "a bunch of techniques" when that absolutely is not the case. I said that in response to a self defense comment that john threw at me. I was saying for self defense purposes yes i would rather learn in quantity than in quality.

Is quantity all i care about? Of course not! If that was all i cared about i would've quit aikido a loooong time ago.

Lets see.... another of your questions..... what am i doing to work through it.

My answer: absolutely nothing. Like I said, i'm fine with the stage i'm at right now. I know that i have a passion for aikido and when my heart decides to get back in it and get motivated then that's exactly what i'll do. However, right now my heart is in shaolin.

And i agree, the black belt should be a motivation for me, but it really isn't. I personally don't care about how fast i recieve the belt but more that i'm happy doing what i'm doing. Right now i'm happy doing other things for other reasons and there is no doubt in my mind that one day i will be happily practicing aikido again.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 08:32 AM   #6
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
The more techniques you learn the more prepared you will be for any variety of attack. I would rather learn a crap load of good solid technique and have it halfway decent then to learn 3 techniques and have them absolutely perfect.
Hmmm. "Halfway decent" still means "halfway effective," to me. But I get the point -- I've always felt that having practiced a "crap load" of different techniques allows me to see the similarities between the techniques, so that in the end I can think of them as only variations on a theme. All of the basic wrist locks are, to me, only a cycle of variations of Ikkyo, with another, "what if" thrown in.


The Crap Load becomes just that, under duress -- a load of crap -- those techniques that I haven't practiced often enough to be able to rely on them in a stress situation. And if I pull them out, it gets messy -- someone might get hurt, and that someone might just be me, or someone I care about (like uke).

So I like the Crap Load argument, but I won't sell it to others.

I'd like to think I have a few favorite techniques that I know so well that they can flow out and carry me through an attack sequence safely and without consciuos thought.... That, to me, approaches perfection -- and the only way to get there is through keiko, keiko, keiko. Doing the same (boring?) things over and over again until they are capable of being executed correctly without conscious thought...


A little danger is a knowledge thing...

"Helping the planet make an impact on people, since 1985"
 
Old 07-18-2006, 08:56 AM   #7
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Peter Zalinski wrote:
Hmmm. "Halfway decent" still means "halfway effective," to me. But I get the point -- I've always felt that having practiced a "crap load" of different techniques allows me to see the similarities between the techniques, so that in the end I can think of them as only variations on a theme. All of the basic wrist locks are, to me, only a cycle of variations of Ikkyo, with another, "what if" thrown in.


The Crap Load becomes just that, under duress -- a load of crap -- those techniques that I haven't practiced often enough to be able to rely on them in a stress situation. And if I pull them out, it gets messy -- someone might get hurt, and that someone might just be me, or someone I care about (like uke).

So I like the Crap Load argument, but I won't sell it to others.

I'd like to think I have a few favorite techniques that I know so well that they can flow out and carry me through an attack sequence safely and without consciuos thought.... That, to me, approaches perfection -- and the only way to get there is through keiko, keiko, keiko. Doing the same (boring?) things over and over again until they are capable of being executed correctly without conscious thought...
When i speak about a "crap load" of techniques, keep in mind that i'm not just talking about aikido techniques.

And when it comes to self-defense i'm not totally worried about hurting the person, since they were initially trying to hurt me. Of course i wouldn't want to kill them but having them suffer minimal pain wouldn't cause me to lose any sleep.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 09:07 AM   #8
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Peter Zalinski wrote:
... So travel. To Seminars. To other dojos, for a "friendship visit."
I would love to do this, but being at the age of 16 i don't exactly have the means to do that lol.

My parents have the means but not the time. Um, but i definitely plan on doing this a lot after college and everything. It's something that i've always wanted to do.

My sensei does go to quite a few seminars and he also offers to take anyone that wants to go. Unfortunately, i usually don't hear about these seminars until they are already over.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 09:45 AM   #9
aikidoc
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Wow! Paige. I'm not sure what hot button I hit. My comment was absolutely not intended to be rude. I was simply asking about your motivation. I think you are a bit sensitive on that one. Sorry, it's just my opinion. Some people find new things in the same technique, others feel more comfortable learning what they consider a totally different technique. My question was more directed at what motivated you-I was not being critical and I apologize if you misinterpreted my query. Different strokes for different folks.

I disagree with you on the learning a lot of techniques makes you capable of responding to different situations more effectively-that, however, is my opinion. Having practice aikido longer than you are old at least entitles me to that opinion. My point on that issue is that training your body to effectively and consistently respond no matter the situation is the point. You may feel knowing a "crap load" of techniques will get you there. I on the other hand disagree. However, knowing 3 techniques effectively in my mind does not prepare one adequately either. My point is training the body to respond automatically. One of the highest compliments paid my instructor an 8th dan aikikai shihan was by Ellis Amadur. He stated that no matter what happens with the attack, my instructor does not lose his form. That is his core does not fall apart no matter how much the situation falls apart. That is consistency and competency in what he is doing. It is there from training and thoroughly understanding the basics of movement and response to an attack and how to adapt to situations.

Last edited by aikidoc : 07-18-2006 at 09:51 AM.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 10:08 AM   #10
Walter Martindale
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
The more techniques you learn the more prepared you will be for any variety of attack. I would rather learn a crap load of good solid technique and have it halfway decent then to learn 3 techniques and have them absolutely perfect.
True enough - However - the professional coach in me has to rebut with the comment from movement instruction that says it takes about 5000 CORRECT repetitions of a movement for it to be truly "learned". Those 5000 correct repetitions may come at a slow pace initially, accelerating with progress. I.e., in a practice, the time you first attempt to learn something, you may accomplish only one "correct" repetition out of 20 attempts, but when you've been trying, with feedback, to accomplish the movement for a few months it may be that you'll get 18 correct repetitions out of 20 attempts, which indicates that you're learning, but it's not "learned" yet.

It may pay to truly learn movement principles, basic movements, and be able to incorporate those into the response to any attack. It may also pay to ensure that, as the level of experience improves, the attacks become closer approximations of what really happens. (i.e., most of us don't encounter Shomen-Uchi as she is practiced in the dojo, and need to see and feel what might happen "out there" more often - I suspect that the reason many of us don't experience "out there" attacks is that many of us and our sensei haven't been "out there" ourselves, and are well trained at dojo work. (or, we ain't good enough to deal with the "real" stuff)
I have been in dojo with only 2 or 3 Aikido sensei who conduct "practical" instruction.
(Point has wandered, hasn't it?)
Returning - If one were to spend quite a while working on being able to execute Tenkan, Irimi, and other tai-sabaki movements, it may not matter what "technique" came out at the end of the attack, only that it be something well enough learned so that it can be done with the "nage" being in the position of an observer, monitoring performance during execution, so that the performance can change if necessary.
This level of ability is presently beyond me, but I try to get it in the athletes I coach.
Walter

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 07-18-2006 at 10:18 AM. Reason: clarification
 
Old 07-18-2006, 10:57 AM   #11
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
My point on that issue is that training your body to effectively and consistently respond no matter the situation is the point. .
Oh my God...
Why do I even try to get a point across?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
You may feel knowing a "crap load" of techniques will get you there. I on the other hand disagree. However, knowing 3 techniques effectively in my mind does not prepare one adequately either. My point is training the body to respond automatically. One of the highest compliments paid my instructor an 8th dan aikikai shihan was by Ellis Amadur. He stated that no matter what happens with the attack, my instructor does not lose his form. That is his core does not fall apart no matter how much the situation falls apart. That is consistency and competency in what he is doing. It is there from training and thoroughly understanding the basics of movement and response to an attack and how to adapt to situations.
Well apparently no matter how i word myself from here on out, you are just going to bring the words "crap load" in quotations, throw in something about how consistency is the only way to improve, and tell me that i'm shallow for wanting to learn new techniques.

You have the totally wrong idea about what i'm trying to say but it seems no matter how i say it you say the same thing. Maybe that's my fault but I'm over it, you can think whatever you want.

Just forget i ever said anything.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 11:12 AM   #12
Taliesin
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Ah Debate points

Roll up Roll up lets see the great debate square off

John Riggs

"The more techniques you learn the shallower your understanding or ability to execute in a real situation becomes"

Vs

Paige Frazier

"The more techniques you learn the more prepared you will be for any variety of attack. I would rather learn a crap load of good solid technique and have it halfway decent then to learn 3 techniques and have them absolutely perfect".


Personally I side far more with John than Paige on this point - I'd rather have a very small number of techniques I can do well then try and have a technique for every attack. Because the more you try to have a technique for every attack, the more likely it is that they won't work. And that, in a real situation would be a BAD THING. on the other hand if you learn a smaller number of techniques well, you will be able to adapt them to a variety of attacks and have a better chance of making them work and that, in a real situation would be a GOOD THING.

Oh and BTW - make them as simple as possible as well.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 11:40 AM   #13
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

I would go a different route. I'd rather have a ton of ways to setup my favorite technique, rather then a perfect technique, or a multitude of techniques.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
 
Old 07-18-2006, 11:43 AM   #14
aikigirl10
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
David Chalk wrote:
Personally I side far more with John than Paige on this point - I'd rather have a very small number of techniques I can do well then try and have a technique for every attack. Because the more you try to have a technique for every attack, the more likely it is that they won't work. And that, in a real situation would be a BAD THING. on the other hand if you learn a smaller number of techniques well, you will be able to adapt them to a variety of attacks and have a better chance of making them work and that, in a real situation would be a GOOD THING.
For Christ's sakes... im not saying i like to learn a million techniques and not even improve them. Because that is seriously what you just made it sound like.

In shaolin we constantly i mean CONSTANTLY repeat, do over, again and again and again. And i do take time to improve my techniques, trust me i take alot of time.







Lets refer back to my original post which i believe was talking about how aikido can become more tedious than shaolin (or other arts).

I said this because shaolin has probably 10 times the amount of material as aikido, therefore there is always something new to look forward to while doing all that tedious stuff.

Am i clear now? That is seriously the best way that i can explain it. If you still disagree with me that's fine i really dont care.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 12:11 PM   #15
aikidoc
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I would go a different route. I'd rather have a ton of ways to setup my favorite technique, rather then a perfect technique, or a multitude of techniques.
Contingency technique. I like that. Some aikido authors suggest aikido has several thousand techniques. Most likely because every situation requires different responses.

In my earlier posts, I was not trying to be critical nor misinterpet someone elses point of view. I was simply stating mine and was asking a question. There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning new techniques. I never said there was nor did I criticize someone else for wishing to do so. I was focusing more on the depth of training being important, especially to me, and stating my opinion that I felt more comfortable.

There is an energy post that talks about the difficulties in conveying concepts or points of view. Apparently I suffer from this problem so I humbly bow out of the debate of a core vs multitude. It is already going down hill and apparently everthing I say gets misinterpreted. I'm just not experienced enough to have a point of view, which is simply a point of view. Humbly bows. Yep. That was sarcastic. I admit it. I've already been beaten up so I expect to take my punishment like a man. Lighten up folks. This is just a discussion.

Last edited by aikidoc : 07-18-2006 at 12:25 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 12:54 PM   #16
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Contingency technique. I like that. Some aikido authors suggest aikido has several thousand techniques. Most likely because every situation requires different responses.

In my earlier posts, I was not trying to be critical nor misinterpet someone elses point of view. I was simply stating mine and was asking a question. There is absolutely nothing wrong with learning new techniques. I never said there was nor did I criticize someone else for wishing to do so. I was focusing more on the depth of training being important, especially to me, and stating my opinion that I felt more comfortable.

There is an energy post that talks about the difficulties in conveying concepts or points of view. Apparently I suffer from this problem so I humbly bow out of the debate of a core vs multitude. It is already going down hill and apparently everthing I say gets misinterpreted. I'm just not experienced enough to have a point of view, which is simply a point of view. Humbly bows. Yep. That was sarcastic. I admit it. I've already been beaten up so I expect to take my punishment like a man. Lighten up folks. This is just a discussion.
I think its important to argue. It helps us learn. I take it too far though sometimes, almost to a fault. This thread has gotten me thinking on what a technique 'is'. When I think about it, there are techniques ( a jab, a roundhouse, armbar, ikkyo, etc) then there are variations (ikkyo tenkan, round kick to the leg, head, etc, armbar from top mount, inverted, guard, etc) finally there are patterns that some arts call technqiues (block with left hand punch with right, step off the line, throw jab to face, step though and sweep their back leg while pushing their chest with your hand).

I'm not sure the last part is really a technique. It is a example of an application of a multitude of techniques. For example, in bjj I love my half guard. I play a lot from half guard becuase I know a lot of sweeps I can do from half guard to get the mount, and I have a strong submissions from the mount. If I really break it down, I know about 4 'techniques' from half guard. I know about 30 variations on those technqiues based on experiance. Basically I feel my partner moving, I adjust and its a 'new' pattern. A lot of martial arts would call this a new technique, or a new kata, etc. This issue also shows up a lot in judo when you listen to two blackbelts argue over what throw was just used in randori. Most of the time it ends with them getting up, walking over to the students and asking them what throw they think they just did.

This is one of the things I like about bjj, and also the way I learned aikido. There is no white belt techniques in bjj, no blue belt techniques, etc. There are only techniques. You drill and train the basics over and over again. The basics are all that matters, everything else is variations that come with experiance. The difference between a black belts armbar from the guard, and a white belts armbar from the guard is how fluid the setup and exucution are. A white belt will do the same setups, but use them at the wrong times, setup improperly, try to force it etc. A blackbelt will have the knowledge to know when to try a setup, and how to vary the technique to work on the individual he is working with to keep it fluid and effortless.

To bring this back on topic. A lot of people seem to lose sight of the fact that there are no 'new' techniques after the first new months or years of training. Its all just learning to apply the basics. This bums a lot of people out and makes their training feel like a rut until they quit or learn to accept it and keep training the basics.

Last edited by DonMagee : 07-18-2006 at 01:00 PM.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
 
Old 07-18-2006, 01:17 PM   #17
aikidoc
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Red face Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
This is one of the things I like about bjj, and also the way I learned aikido. There is no white belt techniques in bjj, no blue belt techniques, etc. There are only techniques. You drill and train the basics over and over again. The basics are all that matters, everything else is variations that come with experiance. The difference between a black belts armbar from the guard, and a white belts armbar from the guard is how fluid the setup and exucution are. A white belt will do the same setups, but use them at the wrong times, setup improperly, try to force it etc. A blackbelt will have the knowledge to know when to try a setup, and how to vary the technique to work on the individual he is working with to keep it fluid and effortless.

To bring this back on topic. A lot of people seem to lose sight of the fact that there are no 'new' techniques after the first new months or years of training. Its all just learning to apply the basics. This bums a lot of people out and makes their training feel like a rut until they quit or learn to accept it and keep training the basics.
Ah, the basics. My point of view exactly. I would add that the black belt will also give you less openings to reverse the technique and with be able to respond better, hopefully, in the event the technique falls apart (henka, kaeshi, oyo henka etc.). I am of the impression this is where a lot of brown belt syndrome comes from-i.e., they know a lot of the core techniques and the refining does feel like a rut and can frankly be pretty boring. Over the years I have attended somewhere in the area of 50 seminars with high ranking yudansha. The one thing I've noticed is they focus on basics about 99% of the time. If you are paying attention, they'll sneak in something fancy once or twice just to show you how little you know. My sensei teaches primarily kihon waza. I've caught him sneaking in something cool every now and then but if you are not watching carefully you better have a good videographer with a good angle so you can look at it again. He just kind of gives you a taste.

The kihon repetition is a key point. It gives one the foundation to do everything else. It trains one to respond to every situation possible with time. However, our challenge seems to be as instructors to come up with ways to keep people from burning out when they approach the BBS stage. They need to really hone the basics at that stage and that's where the biggest risk of boredom can be. "I've done this katatedori ikkyo omote 500 times can't we do something else?" I think one of my challenges has been to find ways to keep the basics in focus while integrating something new to keep the interest. I try to let them know that they will have the skills to do the fun stuff after they get to shodan.

Last edited by aikidoc : 07-18-2006 at 01:20 PM.
 
Old 07-18-2006, 01:30 PM   #18
John Boswell
 
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Re: Brown Belt Syndrome

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote:
True enough - However - the professional coach in me has to rebut with the comment from movement instruction that says it takes about 5000 CORRECT repetitions of a movement for it to be truly "learned". Those 5000 correct repetitions may come at a slow pace initially, accelerating with progress. I.e., in a practice, the time you first attempt to learn something, you may accomplish only one "correct" repetition out of 20 attempts, but when you've been trying, with feedback, to accomplish the movement for a few months it may be that you'll get 18 correct repetitions out of 20 attempts, which indicates that you're learning, but it's not "learned" yet.
Thanks, Coach!

I had this (similar) thought one night in class and shared it with everyone. My version was," You have to learn something 100 times before you actually LEARN it."

Being a coach, you would be tougher than me, wouldn't ya?

But it's true. How many times have any of us on the mat said something to the effect of:

"Oh! You mean I should TENKAN first?"

or

"You mean I have to roll out of that to take ukemi from that technique?"

or

"OH! I'm supposed to be getting OFF LINE! I see now..."

I have had to learn things over and over, constantly and consistantly in order to get them down enough to do them for a test. I'm first kyu and I'm STILL struggling with Iriminage. I hate it! With a passion! Koshi's too, but that's another story.

Point is... we have to learn something a number of times before we ever truly get it for our own.

This is my own observation as it relates to me and is NOT intended to be an accusation or indication of anything for anyone else whatsoever, so help me God!

 

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