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Old 08-23-2001, 05:48 PM   #1
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 189
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Ki Symbol How severe should a student be?

I posted this on another BBS, I am curious to see what response it gets.

I have a teacher who I very much respect. He has said, more than once "A teacher should be very severe, on himself" to learn and be able to teach Aikido as well as possible. It is because I really believe that, that I have chosen, at this point in my life, not to teach.
My question (though it's less a question than a topic of conversation, I think- I've already kind of got my opinion):

How severe should a student be on him/herself in learning and practicing this art, in light of other commitments and interests? Many of us have jobs, families, careers, school, hobbies, religions etcetera. Is there such a thing as a balanced amount of severity in training both in quantity and quality?

How much weight should we put on our trials, physical and spiritual, in continuing to practice?

This is much less about technical training than spiritual forging.

Let me know your thoughts.
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Old 08-23-2001, 06:13 PM   #2
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 715
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Hi Mikey
I agree with where you are...
Just put everything into it...when you are doing it.
If it seeps into other parts of your life, fine.
More than fine as far as I'm concerned.
But then...I'm obsessive
I hope I got the essence of your post.

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Old 08-23-2001, 09:29 PM   #3
Jim23
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 482
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I agree with MJ (I always agree with MJ ). I think the answer is to push yourself to the limit (you'll have to determine what that is for yourself) while you are training, then try to forget about it when you're not. Meaning, don't think about work when you're at aikido, or aikido when you're at work. Otherwise, you'll always be in two places at once. However, if you're a true aikidoka, then you won't have that problem.

Stick to japanese when in the dojo, and English - or whatever - in your regular life. Go for balance. Darn it ... I just realised tomorrow's Friday and I'm completly out of sushi rice. I suppose I can pick some up after work, on my way to the _*cough*-- aikido seminar.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 08-24-2001, 12:37 AM   #4
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
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I think you are taking yourself and the art overly serious. I excel at this by the way. Something I recently found gave me a nice perspective on this whole thing.

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/baker1.html

Ok, I just thought it was funny and wanted to put it someplace.

Mike, it's interesting to me how similar your teaching comments are to what a lot of people say when it's time to test and they don't want to. It sounds so similar that I can only conclude that at the first opportunity you should teach a class. I don't mean to tangent too much but the fact that you mention it made me think about this.

By the way, aren't you guys hosting an AANC meeting this weekend? My shoulder is royally munched (not directly from Aikido) so I won't be on the mat but I've been pondering going down for the meeting. I don't think we have anyone going.

Last edited by Erik : 08-24-2001 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 08-24-2001, 05:57 AM   #5
TheProdigy
Dojo: Aikido Kokikai Delaware
Location: Delaware, USA
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 57
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For me, I believe aikido is far more spiritual than technical. It's about bringing all aspects of yourself into harmony. Of course, much of the technical is a great gauge as to where you are spiritually.

Contrary to the idea that it should be kept seperate from everyday life, I think aikido should become a part of everything you do. Within all areas of your life, it should be found. At least this is how I am. I don't think of aikido every second of every day, but I do think of it in regards to everything I do. Especially at work!!

I think it's very possible to balance everything in your life with good training. You must live life in the now. If you would rather do something other than aikido at a certain time, do so... If you would rather do aikido instead of something else, do so. Over time, you may find yourself giving up something that only held little interest to you, in place of something of greater value.

For training intensely, I think constantly trying to better bring yourself into harmony is the most intense thing to do(in aikido training). It doesn't just benefit the physical side, but rather the body, mind, and spirit.

-Jase

Jason Hobbs
"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life."
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Old 08-24-2001, 07:52 AM   #6
Jim23
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 482
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik

http://www.aikiweb.com/humor/baker1.html

Ok, I just thought it was funny and wanted to put it someplace.
Nice one. Now I understand why my kids always laugh at me.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 08-24-2001, 09:07 AM   #7
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 189
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I take my self too seriously?

That's it Parduneru, if you are not out of this village by the setting of the sun and haiku time, I'm going to explode your brains.

You are an unelevated, unclean, somewhat deteriorated, cat from the pole.

Okay, that's enough of that. I have taught at various times, I still will from time to time, when asked. I meant that I don't want to make teaching something I would do on a regular basis. And the reason for that is that I have other priorities which I feel, for me are more important than Aikido (and a hush comes over the assembled crowd).

My point of conversation was, how "hard" should we be on ourselves in training with pain, giving up other things we value for the sake of training time, training when we simply don't feel like it?

See, I see that as the spiritual aspect of Aikido (And if I'm gonna tell the truth, I ain't much of a Catholic, either). The forging should, I believe, take place prior to a person deciding to be an Aikido teacher. It takes commitment to do 1000 sword cuts a day, or 500 squat cuts, or 85 forward rolls or whatever the individual practice is. Some of us may never make that commitment, and I gotta believe that's okay. I'm curious what level of commitment a "student" should make to be taken seriously without turning his/her life over to the art.

I hope that clarifies the original post.

And this weekend, I'll be in San Francisco at Suginami Aikikai, training with Kato Hiroshi Sensei. A wonderful teacher, and a great seminar. I ain't much for politics.
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Old 08-24-2001, 03:37 PM   #8
Steve
Dojo: Salina Aikido Club
Location: Salina, Kansas, USA
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 33
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Re: How severe should a student be?

Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey
I posted this on another BBS, I am curious to see what response it gets.

I have a teacher who I very much respect. He has said, more than once "A teacher should be very severe, on himself" to learn and be able to teach Aikido as well as possible. It is because I really believe that, that I have chosen, at this point in my life, not to teach.
My question (though it's less a question than a topic of conversation, I think- I've already kind of got my opinion):

How severe should a student be on him/herself in learning and practicing this art, in light of other commitments and interests? Many of us have jobs, families, careers, school, hobbies, religions etcetera. Is there such a thing as a balanced amount of severity in training both in quantity and quality?

How much weight should we put on our trials, physical and spiritual, in continuing to practice?

This is much less about technical training than spiritual forging.

Let me know your thoughts.
Good God! How servere should you be in your training? How severe should you be when you play golf? Or take dance lessons? Or learn long division? How severe should you be when you do something that you enjoy? If you can't hurl yourself into it, should you withdraw from such pleasure completely?

Train as hard as you want. When training doesn't satisfy you immediately any more or it doesn't seem to hold any long term payoff, stop. It seems to me, though, that some training is better than none at all.

Steve Hoffman
+++++++++++
That's going to leave a mark.
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Old 08-24-2001, 04:02 PM   #9
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
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Is there any benefit, other than the immediate having something to do, in casual Aikido practice like that?
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Old 08-24-2001, 05:40 PM   #10
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mikey
Is there any benefit, other than the immediate having something to do, in casual Aikido practice like that?
Is there any evidence that hard-assed severe training produces any useful spiritual benefits? Or, do we just make them up to justify the practice?

I do think this is a great topic even if I am having fun with it.

By the way, 1000 cuts is for wusses. If you want real training hang out with these Koreans.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...24/SP74433.DTL
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Old 08-24-2001, 05:56 PM   #11
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
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Don't mistake training severely with stupidly hard assed training. Forcing the body to give up a little (or a lot) more than the mind believes is possible, training when you feel like hell, training when you'd rather be at the beach- that is what I mean by severe.

For teachers and/or those who'd like to be Martial Artists/Saints, I think that is necessary. I'm asking what level of severity is appropriate for students who have no such goals or commitment, but want to be taken seriously.

I feel like present training, with a slightly stretching amount of severity is right and appropriate, I'm just curious what other folks feel/think about this.

If you're a student, why not go to the beach? Why not sleep in when you've got a cold? Why force yourself beyond what you believe you can do?

I don't even think there is a right answer, but it seems like a hell of a lot more fun to think on these things than whether or not Steven Seagal can kick judo Gene LaBell's ass.
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Old 08-24-2001, 06:18 PM   #12
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik


Is there any evidence that hard-assed severe training produces any useful spiritual benefits? Or, do we just make them up to justify the practice?

[
Misogi?

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Old 08-25-2001, 01:27 AM   #13
stratcat
Dojo: Chendokan Aikido, Costa Rica
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 34
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Do symbol Severity

Maybe the question, "how severe should a student be on himself?" is somewhat off the mark, I think. Now, I know that I have little or no moral authority to say much on this matter, being a publicly recognized Aiki- Holic (I've done the 12 step program, but it didn't take) according to my girlfriend, parents, siblings, friends and other assorted riff-raff.

I think the question you're trying to ask is: "How much of my non- aikido/martial art life should I sacrifice to train in such a way that I feel I'm committed to my training?"

On this I can only say two things: first of all, committed training (or severe training if you prefer) depends not on quantity, but QUALITY of that training. If every time you step on the mat, you train at least as if your life depend on it, pushing yourself just a little bit further every day, then you have advanced and become a little bit better for it, which is the be all and end all of severe or committed training.

Secondly, obviously, practice makes perfect- how you juggle your personal life and your martial arts life is a very touchy subject. Personally, the key is Dynamic Balance, but I'll let you figure that one out by yourself.

In any case, don't confuse severe training with training every single day, all day, all the time. Try to go to class at least three times a week, alternating classes. Say, one week you go to mostly open hand techniques, the week after that you mostly to the weapons classes, etc. But when you do go, pour every single ounce of yourself into the training, strive, strain and sweat (the three "S's") if you haven't done all three, you didn't train right I heard a Sensei say once. THAT's severe training.

P.S. Mike Collins San- IMHO I don't think that training because it's fun is necessarily "casual" training. I agree that some people may take it as such, but they never last. Once the luster of the new has worn off, some people leave (casual trainees), others stick around and find deeper meanings to "fun"; as in "enriching", "enrapturing", etc. O'Sensei always said "Train JOYOUSLY."

Sorry 'bout the long post. I'll shut up now.

Andy Hertz.
"Standing before me
enemies my mind does not ignore
I take a step forward
and act!"
Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-25-2001, 08:02 AM   #14
mariko nakamura
Dojo: Dobunkan Japan
Location: Toyama Japan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25
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I think its safe to say that most of us practice Aikido because we enjoy it. But I also think that maybe alot of us also train because we need to. Maybe you should ask yourself first is there another reason why I pactice? Maybe a real reason. There are so many things in life that we, as humans lack I think. Discipline being one of them.
In the Japanese dojos there is really no choice of how severe you should train because it just simply exists that way and this is our only path and there is no seperation at all. Aikido exists in all you do. There is no technical or spiritual side of Aikido. It is Aiki. Life is Aiki.
As far as teaching or not teaching. This is also not a choice that you have to make if you live Aiki. Teaching is learning, it is not teaching. How can you learn if you dont teach. There are levels of progression and without learning how to teach you wont progress. The purpose of our training is to eventually harmonize with everything in life right? For everybody to harmonize through Aiki. If you do not teach it, How are we going to reach this level?

Mick
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