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Old 05-01-2002, 02:04 AM   #26
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
I might debate the words all and frequently but it probably did happen some.
I caught that too but either I have got used to Edwards absolutes or have become more forgiving with familiarity.

We have an idea what he meant and they crop up far less than they used. I look forward to his posts.

Deb: I am not an Aiki-brute and not really that tough its just that I see Aikido primarily as Budo, secondarily as a philosophy. The path to self awareness comes from training on the mat and is not meant to be easy. Softness - that is exactly the thrust of my current practice.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-01-2002, 02:14 AM   #27
Edward
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Well, you know Guys, we Mediterranean people tend to add a little spice to our words sometimes you would however be surprised how often such things did happen.

I agree with both of you, Peter and Erik. I would like just to give some other example of situations where Uke could be hurt by Sensei.

I have occasionally seen some Yudansha challenge their Sensei when they are called to demonstrate a technique: They might resist the technique, be uncooperative, or respond in a non conventional way. In such cases, I have seen the Sensei rightfully put some extra pressure on a Nikkyo, or throw a little harder than usual, in a kind of punishment, or reward, for the challenge. But things can go wrong, and a little extra pressure can be enough to brake a wrist or a forearm.

I believe it is the Yudansha duty to keep their Sensei's technique sharp and effective, despite the promise of a painful but instructive outcome.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 05-01-2002, 03:17 AM   #28
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bullying and abuse

There is an excellent article on this 'abuse' thing written by Ellis Amdur, in his book Duelling with O Sensei. He talks about being treated very badly by a senior aikidoka, within the ear and eyesight of the instructor (who I seem to recall was K. Ueshiba) and it was allowed to happen. He explains a lot about the difference in culture between Japan and the US and how this influences this type of behaviour.

I took away the impression from his writtings that the kind of behaviour being discussed here is considered more acceptable/the norm in the Japanese culture and is present throught the school system, with society handling it in a very different way to how a westerner would expect.

Very interesting stuff. Get the book - you won't be disappointed.
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Old 05-01-2002, 03:19 AM   #29
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culture......

Edward, how do you know all that stuff about how often injuries happened, and about how nikkyo tendon damage is like a yearly event and expression of love? I'd love to read about this kind of stuff.
I am very curious about these cultural differences you mentioned, because I've always wondered how training back then could have been so shamelessly injurous while being called the "martial art of love." Well, this thread presents a great answer: the injuries themselves were an expression of love in O-sensei's culture, so there is no discrepancy at all!
However this presents a horrible dilemma:
If the cultural differences between O-sensei's Japan and our modern countries are so large, are we really sure that we can understand the genius of what O-sensei tried to explain?

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward


Sometimes I do wonder if the decision to teach aikido to Westerners was not O sensei's biggest mistake. ..
These are very sad words. If there is no way to reconcile the differences of the cultures involved, can we still follow a path that we all so dearly want to believe is a path towards something great?
In other words, yes we happen to believe things in our culture, like that intentional hurting of a child by a parent or student by a teacher is abuse. Or that it is possible to become strong and able and wise by practice and learning that does not openly endorse injury to others. Maybe in O-sensei's culture that would make us wimpy. In our culture that makes us normal. So, does that mean our budo practice (and our budo) is wimpy? Or is it normal? If our cultural values are applied to this martial art , will we still have something valuable, or is it possible for changing cultural values to strip a budo of its value as an art and a way?
Am I just rambling, or do I have a point??
Oh yes and the original issue.. the thread has drifted from chronic to accute injuries. I (idealistically?) agree with Colleen and others that chronic injuries are not necessarily tied to Aikido practice, rather that their occurances are errors (not just one person's errors, but they are mistakes in the practice nonetheless). As for acute injuries.. it's like I said before. Culturally, there is no love or respect tied to the giving of an injury in my culture, and consequently their occurance is entirely a negative one, to be avoided by everyone. As for challenging the sensei in front of the class.. well, let's face it, he's better than you, and you get what you ask for (an energetic throw, not necessarily a broken limb).
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your posts.
Oh yeah, and Deb: hi, it's so weird to see someone I know here. You can do breakfalls?? I guess I should be training harder with you!! heh heh heh!!!
--Jonathan Wong
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Old 05-01-2002, 03:22 AM   #30
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Oh.

Well Justin, I guess in the time it took for me to finish rambling you have answered my question.. I'll try to check that book out for sure.
--JW
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Old 05-01-2002, 04:07 AM   #31
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Jonathan, I will only answer your first question since I consider that the rest is about stating your opinion about the subject.

I have had the great privilege to personally meet with 2 of the Uchi Deshi of Osensei and listen to their stories, as well as many first hand information from direct students of the above shihans. Moreover, our dojo receives the visit of high ranking teachers quite often and I also like to listen to what they say. That's all.

The ritual Nikkyo has been related to me by one of the victims, so to speak (a 4th dan aikikai). He holds no grudge against his teacher, in the countrary, he's very proud of the enormous wrists he developed from this punishment.(There is no way you can have a grip at this guy wrist in katatetori!)

I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...

Last edited by Edward : 05-01-2002 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 05-01-2002, 04:25 AM   #32
JW
 
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Thanks for the reply Edward, it's definitely good stuff.

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward

I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...
How thoroughly depressing for us, for the future of Aikido, and well, for humanity in general.
Can't someone come to our rescue? Surely someone has stories of how they have seen that the newer generations are as impressive as the old! Let's here them! Personally I like the few young shihans I have seen, but then again I realize I have NEVER seen any of O-sensei's uchideshi!
--JW
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Old 05-01-2002, 04:33 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally posted by JW
Can't someone come to our rescue? Surely someone has stories of how they have seen that the newer generations are as impressive as the old! Let's here them!
They are out there - I personally know some top rate yondans that will mature well. Seriously good foundation.

Why just this week-end I was choked out by one such .... this guy was deshi to Nariyama and has now started teaching Aikido professionally. There was one guy better at the same age but he's become a priest - sad when you think about it. Not that he doesn't do great Aikido but he just doesn't have the time to get really good at it.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-01-2002, 05:48 AM   #34
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
Well, you know Guys, we Mediterranean people tend to add a little spice to our words sometimes you would however be surprised how often such things did happen.

I agree with both of you, Peter and Erik. I would like just to give some other example of situations where Uke could be hurt by Sensei.

I have occasionally seen some Yudansha challenge their Sensei when they are called to demonstrate a technique: They might resist the technique, be uncooperative, or respond in a non conventional way. In such cases, I have seen the Sensei rightfully put some extra pressure on a Nikkyo, or throw a little harder than usual, in a kind of punishment, or reward, for the challenge. But things can go wrong, and a little extra pressure can be enough to brake a wrist or a forearm.

I believe it is the Yudansha duty to keep their Sensei's technique sharp and effective, despite the promise of a painful but instructive outcome.

Cheers,
Edward
Again, Edward, uke in these cases got hurt because of their bad ukemi---resisting past the point of stupidity, not moving or tapping when a joint was locked, etc--- I doubt the senseis were smiling because they were benevolently thinking 'oh, what a fine young man this is' but because they were wondering why he was such an fool, and how he could 'raise' one like that.

When i read people's posts who think broken bones, torn or strained/sprained tendons/ligaments are signs of progress and honor, required for honest and true practice, I wonder a) what their sensei is like as a man and a father and b) what the individual is like as a man and a father. Serious injuries (ie, sprains/torn things/breaks) should be looked at as unfortunate and RARE occurances as they are results of mistakes. If they occur, one or both partners DID SOMETHING WRONG. If one of them did it wrong on purpose, it is abuse. Now, if instead, you are calling serious injuries (which is what we are talking about) bruises, then you did not understand what we were refering to.

In the AF, we train very hard. We train very seriously. I'd be amused to see you walk into any fighter squadron bar in the afternoon and call them weak. But in that training, we work with a set of rules which recognises at the end of the fight, both pilots and planes come home. We have ROE to ensure that, and we follow the ROE or face serious consequences. Occasionally a plane or pilot is lost in training. But it is VERY RARE, it is a BIG MISTAKE, it is MOURNED beyond words, and it is published worldwide so no one else repeats that same stupid mistake. I look at Aikido practice that does not seriously injure anyone in the same light.
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Old 05-01-2002, 08:55 AM   #35
Krzysiek
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Confused

I would like to say that I don't know what cultural differences you're talking about. Bullying is currently alive and well as an American tradition. It happends with teachers watching from the time kids are in grade school until well past college. Often it's the primary mode of organization. Only the most formidable teachers I've ever seen are capable of making their students see past this.
This extends throughout the political, academic, intimate, and Aikido world as well as many others. I have ugly example from each one. Let's not forget why there are so many of us (west and east and north and south) who believe that bullying is wrong.
I have no problem with pain itself, it's a signal, I can read it. My practice is perfectly honest. I can elaborate, but that's not my point in this post.
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Old 05-01-2002, 09:54 AM   #36
Sylvayikum
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Ki Symbol Injuries...a part of aikido training?

If the uke got an injurie, it's probably because the first aikido's idea is not followed. Always use the energy of the uke, no more.

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Old 05-01-2002, 11:31 AM   #37
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
I would like to add something quite important: Probably you wonder how come this generation of shihans is so gifted and powerful in aikido, and you wonder how come the younger generation of teachers does not show the same genius. The answer is that the formidable training these guys received under Osensei and others is no more acceptable nowadays and is called abusive, illegal, criminal...etc. Yes, I do think the new generation is wimpy, to use your words. Myself included, of course...
This went slightly OT but it seemed appropriate.

I can't think of a single sport where the athletes are not significantly better today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. In some cases the skill levels aren't even really close and you have college athletes who are better than what you had professionally or at the world class level 40 years ago.

Professional football players (the US kind) are one of the best examples. Athletes today are far, far better conditioned, they have far more information to learn from (multiple cameras, video, etc), have better drugs than their predecessors and the sport is much more complex than what it was for their predecessors. One of the significant changes in this sport is that training camp and practice is toned way down from what it used to be. Training camp is no longer the ordeal from hell and there are many people arguing that they should be shortened even more.

Training camp changed for a few reasons. First, you don't want your very highly paid athletes getting hurt on the practice field. Second, it's a long season and you need your athletes functional at the end of the season and too much training camp can burn them out. Third, they come into camp at a physical level that would have been unimaginable to athletes 30 years ago.

Why then have professional athletes advanced so rapidly? Certainly their training methods have significantly improved. In Aikido most of us are still operating almost exactly the way we did 40 years ago despite advances in training methods. Secondly, high level athletes, in the US at least, can make a profession of their sport or find a sponsor in the case of non-professionals.

Today, Aikidoists are lucky if they can make a few bucks off their school, if they have one, and I don't know of a single place in the Aikido world that provides a real solid climate for professional development. Some places have live in student programs but is there anyplace able to pay assistant instructors a living wage? Even $30,000/yr, which is barely a living wage in these parts, would be a big step up. The live in student gig only goes so far. Professional opportunities and development would do a world of good for advancing the skill levels because it would allow people to practice Aikido as a profession, which is what that first generation was able to do in a certain sense. It's certainly what has significantly changed the professional athlete.

Anyways, I don't think we've degenerated (I'm not certain how much we've advanced either) and if we have degenerated, in my opinion it's not our wimpy nature and refusal to accept injury which is hindering us.
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Old 05-01-2002, 11:42 AM   #38
jimvance
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Man, I knew saying that would raise hell...

I am glad that we have so much to talk about. To reiterate what Colleen and others have said: Please don't think that training is not without pain or any injury, but pain and injury is not part of the repertoire we rely on.
I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.

Jim Vance
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Old 05-01-2002, 11:51 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance

I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.
Having trained, albeit oh-so-briefly, with Jim and his current teachers and training partners, I have to say that there's nothing wimpy about their aikido. I sometimes "sneak" in the principles I learned through training with them during my own regular training and have gotten some responses of "How the heck did you do that?" after they got back up.

Looking forward to seeing you, Jim, as well as the rest of the folks attending from your dojo at the Aiki Expo!

-- Jun

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Old 05-01-2002, 01:35 PM   #40
Jonathan
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Peter R and others who think I have over-reacted to Jim V:

I have no problem with an emphatic statement -- exclamation points don't trouble me. What does bother me is being called stupid, however obliquely, by someone who has an opposing point of view. If Jim V. favors a less rigorous style of training than I, great. There is no need, though, for him to express his opinion in a way that denigrates me personally.

By the way, my shihan is not a "rapist", nor is he a bully. He is, IMO, a truly excellent aikidoka and a very likeable person. While his teaching is sometimes a little medieval, I accept it because I believe his intentions are to toughen and develop a fighting spirit within his students.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 05-01-2002, 01:56 PM   #41
Lyle Bogin
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Pain is a permission slip. You hurt me, I have permission to hurt you. You attack me vigourously, I throw you vigourously.

Of all of the rules that I have followed, or cast aside, this one seems the most universal.

So, when said sensei is snapping on painful techniques, is the student mildly approaching, leaving themselves open to what the sensei choses to do? Or is the student attacking with real intent...trying to cut down the sensei?
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Old 05-01-2002, 02:30 PM   #42
Krzysiek
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Quote:
Pain is a permission slip. You hurt me, I have permission to hurt you
I believe that pain is a message that your body is in danger or being damaged. I don't think one should attach any more philosophical meaning to it.

Ethically I don't think that being attacked (even in a painful way) changes the situation any. Either way you need to defend yourself (so I'm not advocating letting somebody beat you while you stand there). Responding to hurt with hurt only perpetuates the situtation.

Just so somebody doesn't jump on me for promoting Aiki-dance instead of 'do' I think that if you're in a dojo and you're attacking your partner so they can learn a technique, an attack which matches their level of experience is very appropriate (and even white belts should see full attacks so they learn not to freeze when it happens.

That's my $0.02 for the moment... back to the thesis...
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Old 05-01-2002, 03:01 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jonathan
...What does bother me is being called stupid, however obliquely, by someone who has an opposing point of view.
After re-reading my initial post, I see where you could think I was calling you stupid. Without having any idea who you or your teacher are, I was referring to myself from my own experience. I apologize.

Jim Vance
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Old 05-01-2002, 06:17 PM   #44
cdwright
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I agree

Quote:
Originally posted by erikknoops
Chronic mental injuries?? Yes, they are a necessary part of aikido. (Ouch, those ego-bruises keep on hurting )

Physical chronic injuries?? No way with proper and correct training.
All too ofter people think that training ends on the mat. A person should do exercises everyday that strengthen their muscles, joints and bones. Doing this will protect your joints and make them less prone to injury.

If all else fails, JUMP into that ukemi.
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Old 05-01-2002, 07:55 PM   #45
janet
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Hmmm....coming in late so I'm addressing the original question:
it is clear that accidents and injuries WILL happen.
A certain percentage of acute inuries are serious enough that, in and of themselves, they will result in some form of ongoing disability or chronic ailment/injury.
HOWEVER, I do believe, as somebody who trains in aikido, and has been a RN over 20 yrs, that many many chronic injuries in aikido and in life itself were preventable were they appropriately treated when they were acute injuries.
In aikido we see this a lot with soft tissue injuries, esp tendons, that sustain a minor insult. But nobody wants to stop training. So put on some tape or a splint instead. Ice and elevation is all very good. But I work full time and its too much bother to figure out where to store a cold pack on the job, so I'll just ice it after work, before I head to the dojo.
Yeah, I twisted my neck, but....
Yeah, my pinkie is broken, but....
yeah...
well we each have one body. There is enough stuff we have no control over. We DO have control over how we treat our acute injuries.
rant mode off :-)
janet

janet
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Old 05-01-2002, 08:48 PM   #46
Edward
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimvance
I find it humorous that by championing the idea that "purposefully inflicted pain is abuse", that myself, my teachers, and my culture have been judged as wimpy without having a clue to our principles, methods, or ability.

Jim Vance
I am not sure where did Jim find any allusion that him, his teachers, or his culture are being judged as wimpy. I can see here mostly interpreting others' posts too liberally and also trying to play the victim.

I don't know Jim nor his teachers, but having seen his website, I have no doubt that they belong to the hard side of aikido since they are originated in Tomiki style. But again, this is only an impression, and I could be wrong.

I myself said that the new generation in aikido is wimpy because it lost the meaning and value of hard training, and the pain which is inevitably associated with it. I have seen this so often and believe it applies to the majority of aikidoists. Fortunately, not all, otherwise I won't stay in aikido. In my dojo, less than 50% could be described as wimpy, maybe due to the fact that we have a high percentage of young highschool and university students who really want to practice hard. But I have seen other dojos where the entire class is like that, and you can imagine the frustration of the teacher.
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Old 05-01-2002, 11:00 PM   #47
Chuck Clark
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
I don't know Jim nor his teachers, but having seen his website, I have no doubt that they belong to the hard side of aikido since they are originated in Tomiki style. But again, this is only an impression, and I could be wrong.
In my experience, aikido practitioners that have reached a relatively high level of practice (yondan sometimes but more often higher grades) often have access to the full range of the paradoxical qualities known as "hard" and "soft."

Proper posture and movement along with a high degree of sensitivity for distance, timing, and connection give these senior people the ability to produce technique that is soft and hard at the same time.

Soft touch with energy flowing like water coupled with the correct distance can make the energy felt by the uke to be also soft ... or hard like running full tilt into a rock wall.

Uke can feel like a cloud just surrounded and "seduced" him into falling down gently. Or...the uke may feel like thunder and lightning just exploded inside them and the world they trust tilts away and then they feel like celebrating still being alive as they get up.

None of this needs to rely on pain to cause it to happen. Pain and injuries can and may result over the course of time in anyone's practice. However, as I understand aikido, pain isn't necessary to cause uke to lose control of their center and intent. It can be an option (anywhere along the entire scale of lethal force) depending on the need in a practical defensive situation.

You don't have to hurt uke to control them. Lock their system up so that they instantly understand that if they even think about moving, they'll hurt themselves. As stated above, if necessary you can always go further along the scale of lethal force.

Part of our technical "signature" within Jiyushinkai is trying to give as little information (feedback) to the uke as possible while having total control over the uke's structure through proper engineering, not pain control.

Sorry for the length of this post, but some may find it interesting. Part of our lineage is from Tomiki Sensei's system. There are also large influences from other teachers.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-02-2002, 03:04 AM   #48
Edward
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Clark Sensei,

Thanks very much for the very interesting information about your system.

I think I know what you mean about soft-hard in the same time, because when I took Ukemi to some visitor Shihan, I was aspirated into his circle irresistably but with an incredible softness, and I was led to the Ukemi in the same soft but irresistable, almost magnetic way. The Ukemi itself was very relaxed yet very powerful. It was not painful at all, but the power was quite shocking and impactful, and as you said, I was surprised to be alive as I was getting up.

The concept of giving as little information to Uke as possible is very interesting. I hope that I could practice some day at your dojo and learn more about it.

Best regards,
Edward
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Old 05-02-2002, 09:16 AM   #49
PJ Royer
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injuries

I don't know how a person could possibly learn anything about aikido with out regular bumps,bruises and strains! How can progression be possible without pushing your personal boundaries to the limit and knowing what your body, spirit and mind are capable of dealing with? Learning to accept resposibility for these injuries and how to protect yourself from serious problems as well as learning to protect a partner is an integrel part of aikido! Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven. Injuries have taught me more, quicker, than any other experience I've probably had. Even tho I will probably go to my grave with worn joints and stiff mornings, I am glad for what I've learned about myself through them. It is worth it to me!

PJ's
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