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Old 12-19-2003, 12:32 PM   #1
vanstretch
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train then smoke

Hi all, one of my teachers just got back from testing in japan and noticed the following at honbu dojo; many old-timer,high level dans where outside puffin away on cigarettes. these guys were just throwing like crazy for several hours inside and appeared to be some very in-shape seasoned vets, yet now were out on a "smoke break"! I just think the visual is funny. It made me think of the album cover to "Heaven and Hell" by Black Sabbath. any thoughts people?
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Old 12-19-2003, 12:40 PM   #2
Qatana
 
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You should see what Intermission backstage at the ballet is like!

Q
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Old 12-19-2003, 12:51 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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It used to be like that in the USA. When I was a teenager, my dentist would give me the novocaine shot, then we'd light up and smoke while waiting for it to take effect (circa 1972). Then when I got out of nursing school, there was one hospital where nurses still smoked in the hall at the medication cart, and in almost all the hospitals we smoked in the clean utility rooms (kitchens) during breaks (circa 1980).

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Old 12-19-2003, 01:04 PM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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I have a very bad habit...I smoke. There is nothing more enjoyable than training hard for a day, then going outside for a nice smoke (ok, slight exageration). I'm always amazed at some of the company I have outside for those smokes. But I'm not as good at aikido as any of those folks.

Ron

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Old 12-19-2003, 01:04 PM   #5
Nacho_mx
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In Tokyo, I noticed many japanese were heavy smokers and drinkers (of beer, liquor or coffee). General stress may have to do with it.
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Old 12-19-2003, 01:39 PM   #6
aikidoc
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There is no medically known benefit to smoking.

My first exposure to a shihan smoking was in California-this 8th dan (prefer to not name names) put on an impressive seminar and then went out and had a cigarette. It kind of blew my awe of him and his discipline. I have a personal bias here in that my dad died of lung cancer at age 46. My last was a seminar in El Paso TX where the shihan seemed more interested in having long smoke breaks than teaching a seminar-I was very disappointed. What he taught was good but I found he took several breaks just to smoke (and the breaks were extended so he could smoke more). This is not very harmonious with the body. It also cuts 10 years off the life of these instructors who could better use it to continue making a contribution by teaching aikido-given they are the last who directly studied under O'Sensei. Just MHO.
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Old 12-19-2003, 01:49 PM   #7
Ron Tisdale
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No arguement...its a stinky habit and it sucks. The instructors I know never short change their students for their habit...sorry to hear that one did.

It is strange how humans can be sooo disciplined in one area, and so addicted in another. I strongly recommend that anyone who does not smoke, does not start. One day I'm going to lick this nasty habit.

Hey, Gozo Shioda chain smoked! I'll never figure that one out.

Ron

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Old 12-19-2003, 01:52 PM   #8
Erik
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Bob Nadeau will break during class for a smoke.
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Old 12-19-2003, 08:52 PM   #9
Suru
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Despite what American society throws on me, smoking just isn't that bad. I made it my New Years' resolution for the coming year 1998 to START smoking. I thought that was funny. Maybe it wasn't because I became addicted. I also became addicted to caffeine which is no better. The only difference is that other people think they are going to die if they inhale a bit of second hand smoke. This just isn't the case. A smoker brings about no danger for those around him. Someone who tends bar at a smoky place his whole life might have a problem, but not aikidoka catching a whiff of smoke at a seminar. There's nothing wrong with an aikidoka, a sensei, or any other human being smoking a cigarette. Yes, if we smoke too much, we'll probably die of lung cancer. This is a problem the smoker is confronted with, not the non-smoker.

Drew
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Old 12-19-2003, 09:19 PM   #10
aikidoc
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"Despite what American society throws on me, smoking just isn't that bad."

Wow are you brain washed or trying to convince yourself. Sorry but even Phillip Morris has a website on the dangers of smoking. One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide. Read the literature-none of it is good. I had a patient one time tell me she was getting a check up due to some bladder problems. I encouraged her to follow through and gave her the lecture on how it could cause bladder cancer-she came back a few months later with a lot of body parts missing-she had bladder cancer that had metastasized. I felt bad for my lecture even though it was accurate.

"...other people think they are going to die if they inhale a bit of second hand smoke. This just isn't the case. A smoker brings about no danger for those around him."

This is simply inaccurate. Read the literature. A little smoke maybe but being around a spouse or someone else smoking-like a parent causes problems. Children of smokers frequenty have problems with allergies and asthma. Studies don't give second hand smoke any cleaner a bill of health.

"There's nothing wrong with an aikidoka, a sensei, or any other human being smoking a cigarette. Yes, if we smoke too much, we'll probably die of lung cancer. This is a problem the smoker is confronted with, not the non-smoker."

Legally wrong no you are right. We all have the right to pursue whatever self destructive behavior we choose in life. Does that make it right? Probably not an argument I'd win-individual freedom and all-so I won't go there. Harmless though is a different issue. Find me one study showing smoking is not harmful. The government compiles studies on a regular basis-I forget the name of the books-which are voluminous. None I ran across when I used to get them showed any benefit to smoking. Sorry but you sound like someone who is trying to justify his mistake in becoming addicted. Yes, caffeine is bad too.

If you ever watch someone die of lung cancer (like I did my father), you'll change your perspective-especially if it is someone close to you. There is nothing pretty about watching them spit up pieces of their lung tissue and essentially suffocate. The pain can also be so unbearable that they don't even get mujch relief from opiate type drugs-especially when it metastasizes.

I lost a very nice patient to cancer which developed from smoking. She had not smoked in 30 years. She had lung cancer that metastasized to her liver and then both hips and when discovered it killed her in very short order.

If you want to see your kids or grand kids, if you have them, grow up, quit while you can. Yes, there is the rare individual that can smoke and never get cancer (a few years back a French woman lived to 122 and had quit smoking at 100 so it didn't become a habit-rare individual, she might have lived to 132 if she had not smoked). If you don't die first of heart disease, emphysema or circulatory problems, it will usually get you.

Sorry for the lecture but your statements were blatantly inaccurate.

Last edited by aikidoc : 12-19-2003 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 12-19-2003, 10:01 PM   #11
Michael Young
 
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Just some food for thought before we jump to judgements on the habits and failings of others.

Unfortunately we lost a high ranking Uchi Deshi of O'Sensei a few years back, due to cancer that spread through his body. He was a lifelong smoker, and the smoking probably was a big contributor to his illness. He was relatively young and I still morn his loss. This Shihan was of a different generation, when smokers weren't considered piriahs, both here and in Japan, and it was socially acceptable if not even socially desirable. In Japan of today there is still less of a stigma than here in the states about smokers. This particular Shihan was a soldier in WWII and was in training to be a Kamikaze pilot, when the war ended 2 weeks before he was to fly his mission! (I'm not making this up...he related the story himself). I can only imagine the stresses this remarkable man had to go through in his life. After the war, despite or maybe more because of his dissillustionment, he searched for something to dedicate his life to, and found Aikido. After training for years under O'Sensei and advancing to instructor level he was the first Shihan dispatched to mainland America to teach...can you imagine that? Sent to the very land of the "enemy" he was taught to hate from a child, to teach them, without even being able to understand the language? Can you imaging the depth of spirit and commitment to O'Sensei and Aikido that such an action would take? Uprooted from home, family, and familiarity, to go to the very country of the men he was taught to destroy with his very life just a few years earlier. When he came to this country, he started a federation that eventually grew to over a hundred dojos. Despite the many students he had throughout the United States he tested every single one of them himself for every kyu and black belt level, such was his commitment to his students: not because he didn't trust his senior instructors to administer testing but, in his own words, he wanted to get to know each and every one of his students (again, desptite the many hundreds of them). Besides teaching full time at his home dojo, he spent almost every weekend away from his family travelling all over the country to teach to his various dojo and students. Truly remarkable, and an inspiration for what Aikido can do for the human spirit. I'm sure smoking was something he started as a very young man in the midst of a country at war, with the very knowledge that his life was forfeit...why would the health risks of smoking even be a consideration in such a situation? Then came a lifetime of incredible changes and stresses that most of us will never experience...I think I can forgive him the "character flaw" of his habit...even while it may have shortened his life and took away from the "extra decade of teaching" he would have selflessly given us. I think he earned his small pleasure. The few it may have offended or put off, was made up for a thousandfold by the many he selflessly and courageously gave to throughout his life, and the legacy of spirit he left.

Sincerely,

Mike
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Old 12-19-2003, 10:52 PM   #12
aikidoc
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I'm not passing judgment-those are self issues that if one choses to pursue it's their problem. However, the statment that smoking is not causing any real harm to others is innacurate. To take it a step further, I realize the cultural and health orientations of different times and areas made smoking appealing-even sexy. Those choices, however, do impact others-it deprives those who love us of our presence and places emotional and physical hardships on those exposed to the ravages of the destructive elements of smoking. I know also it is a hard addiction to break and many never do. With today's knowledge of its detriments, it wouldn't be approved for human consumption if introduced as a new product.

Again, I'm not judging the decisions of other to take that path -but it does sadden me to see people chose a such a destruction path when it ultimately deprives them of a healthy life and others of their presence.

Try visiting someone you love and whom you know is dying of cancer tell you they know you are there to help them die. And then watch them die a very horrible death. It is gut wrenching to say the least.
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Old 12-19-2003, 10:55 PM   #13
aikidoc
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PS. if I'm right about the shihan you are referring to it has almost resulted in the destruction of his organization-so his wonderful gift has been diminished and lost to other generations.
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Old 12-20-2003, 12:04 AM   #14
Suru
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"Wow are you brain washed or trying to convince yourself."

Maybe you're trying to convince yourself that by not smoking you're not going to die.

"One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide."

Being born is slow suicide.

"Find me one study showing smoking is not harmful."

Of course it's harmful. Don't insult me.

"If you ever watch someone die of lung cancer (like I did my father), you'll change your perspective-especially if it is someone close to you. There is nothing pretty about watching them spit up pieces of their lung tissue and essentially suffocate. The pain can also be so unbearable that they don't even get mujch relief from opiate type drugs-especially when it metastasizes."

Both my grandfathers died of lung cancer. I know they had painful deaths. Should I spend my whole life looking forward to a pleasant death?

"Sorry for the lecture but your statements were blatantly inaccurate."

If you were sorry about the lecture you wouldn't have given it to me.

Drew
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Old 12-20-2003, 12:08 AM   #15
Michael Young
 
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Mr. Riggs,

I'm sorry for your loss. I hope my post didn't cause pain to you... I'm very fortunate to have a father who did smoke, but gave it up over 25 years ago, and he is still with me. I'm thankful he gave it up, and lucky to still have him. You're probably right that if cigarettes were introduce today, they wouldn't be approved for consumption. I didn't mean my post to be an endorsement of cigarette smoking, but I am not adamantly against smoking...it is a part of our world, and it isn't something we are going to force people into quitting...nor do I think we should (I know that your post did not advocate this, but there are plenty of people who do). More people die in this country from heart disease and complications caused by diabetes and obesity...maybe the government should start regulating our diets? (rhetorical question) I work in the emergency medicine field, and I make far more obese patients with heart problems and diabetic problems than I do breathing problems with smoking involved. Smoking related disease is far less of an epidemic than the statistic mongers want to brainwash everybody into believing (when the statistics for smoking related deaths are given they always include deaths due to heart disease, despite the fact that most heart disease deaths are not due to smoking) Does any of this make smoking healthy? No. But then niether is driving your car too fast, imbibing too much alchohol, overeating, undereating, malnurishment, sexual promiscuity, and a whole other list of preventable self-destructive behaviors. People are gonna do 'em despite common sense. I do applaud the fact that more education about the dangers of smoking is available, and I'm sure the great majority of people know it is an unhealthy and dangerous behavior...if they deny it, its more out of a sense of anti-establishment rebeliousness or some other motivation. I don't smoke cigarettes, but I do smoke the occasional cigar...and damn they're good! I know there is evidence that I have increased my chance of cancer...I don't believe it is as high as some of the so-called studies would have us believe, but I won't deny the risk. I try to strike a balance between my vices (I drink and play the occasional round of poker with the boys) and good habits (family, Aikido, work, diet[notice the order ])...I think a life devoid of some guilty pleasure wouldn't be for me, and I'm thankful I live in a country that allows it to be so. That's my two cents...and I'll give it to you that your two cents is just as valid, thanks for for the food for thought (I'll try not to overeat)

As far as the Shihan is concerned...Yes, you know who I am speaking of. I specifically haven't mentioned who because of the problems after his death with the organization, and I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest. I have my opinions about why that happened...just let me say it wasn't due to his smoking or his death, it has more to do with human egos and weakness (I guess you could draw some parrallel between smoking and human weakness if we want to make a stretch) As far as his legacy though...I think that lives in his sincere student's hearts and minds from the things passed on to them...its unfortunate not all of them got the message, or misconstrued it. I wish he wouldn't have smoked, just like I wish his organization could have survived the aftermath of his death, but I don't think any of that besmeers his character one iota. He was still a great man (albeit a human one). I don't think anyone should fault him for his vice, and I'm thankful to have known him.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 12-20-2003, 06:01 AM   #16
aikidoc
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"Maybe you're trying to convince yourself that by not smoking you're not going to die.... Being born is slow suicide."

Drew, I have studied Buddhadharma some, I know and accept we are going to die. No one has made it out alive yet. However, there are better ways to go. We are exposed to enough toxins without doing it on purpose.

"One cigarette maybe but a habit of it (addiction as you put it) is slow suicide."

I'm not trying to insult you, you were the one saying it was not harmful.

"Both my grandfathers died of lung cancer. I know they had painful deaths. Should I spend my whole life looking forward to a pleasant death?"

Sorry about your grandparents. I hope you were not in the room to watch their last moments of suffering. Life according the the Buddha is about suffering but it is also about reality. The reality is death can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on one's

perspective. Death by lung cancer is never pleasant.

Mike, I agree obesity is a very serious problem, heart disease etc. Heart disease also is a factor of smoking. The rise in diabetes is alarming due to the promulgation of high carb dietary habits. It's an issue of over indulgence. As is any bad habit. I don't begrudge people the occasional vice-we all have them.

Thanks for your comment. My father died in 1976 so I have come to accept it. However, my kids and my siblings kids never got to meet a very good person. He got to see very few of his grandkids and none of his great grandkids. A sad aspect of enjoying something or being addicted to it.

Obviously, smoking is one of my biggest hot buttons.

I'm curious Drew-how old are you? We all die and could tomorrow for whatever reason-I accept that and know it for reality. we all have the right to chose our vices and I know a lot of Japanese shihans smoke-culture, etc. It just doesn't make it healthy or harmonious with the body. Just mho.
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Old 12-20-2003, 11:12 AM   #17
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I have a very bad habit...I smoke.I'm always amazed at some of the company I have outside for those smokes. But I'm not as good at aikido as any of those folks.
Intensive for Ron:

Smoke more.

Smoke cigars.

Chew 'baccie during training.

You'll catch up. Ganbatte!

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 12-20-2003, 09:49 PM   #18
Don
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Well, let's see. Drew's profile indicates his birthdate was in 1978. That makes him around 25. Says he started smoking in 1998; about 20. Sounds like a typical young male who thinks it'll never catch up to him. Fred Bilitnikof was a great receiver for the Oakland Raiders even though he puffed away, but man can you imagine what tackling him must have smelled like? Does the same hold true for aikidoka? Based on my experience, I'd say yep. It stinks.

Smoke as much as you want; turn your lungs black; wrinkle yourself up; stain your teeth. I don't care; its your body-just turn away from me if I ever have to do kokyu dosa with you!
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Old 12-21-2003, 01:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
Don McConnell (Don) wrote:
Well, let's see. Drew's profile indicates his birthdate was in 1978. That makes him around 25. Says he started smoking in 1998; about 20. Sounds like a typical young male who thinks it'll never catch up to him. Fred Bilitnikof was a great receiver for the Oakland Raiders even though he puffed away, but man can you imagine what tackling him must have smelled like? Does the same hold true for aikidoka? Based on my experience, I'd say yep. It stinks.

Smoke as much as you want; turn your lungs black; wrinkle yourself up; stain your teeth. I don't care; its your body-just turn away from me if I ever have to do kokyu dosa with you!
Your investigative work has proven somewhat accurate. However, I'm not one of those "young and invincible" types if that's what you think. Would you ask an Aikido shihan who smokes to turn away from you while doing kokyu dosa? Or would you respect him more than me? Anyone who can't handle the smell of smoke on someone's breath is a spoiled pretty boy who obviously hasn't endured much hardship in his life.

Drew
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Old 12-21-2003, 01:15 AM   #20
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
My first exposure to a shihan smoking was in California-this 8th dan (prefer to not name names) put on an impressive seminar and then went out and had a cigarette. It kind of blew my awe of him and his discipline.
I wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on .

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-21-2003, 09:31 AM   #21
taras
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I recently had to write up a risk assessment for my dojo (something to do with health and safety legislation in the UK), where it literally says:

Members are informed about the general disgusting nature of the habit and warned of ingestion of pesticides, fertilisers, etc. because of smoking.

HOWEVER smoking members have a 10-minute cigarette break. The way I see it is I did not found the dojo, those people have been there longer, and to them it is sort of a tradition.

I used to smoke myself, but quit 3 years ago. I remember though how much harder it was to do a number of rolls after a smoke. Why would I want to make my training harder? Like Mr. Weider said, have you ever tried carrying a dumbbell with you all day for extra weight?

Still, everyone has habits. I once watched a program about Jamaican football team, and they had a smoke I half-time (I don't think it was tobacco though), and they were saying something about 'stress from da game' I thought that most aikidoka were into drinking. That doesn't do much good for your body either. I think everyone has bad habits, addictions etc, things to overcome. I am more concerned about my own training though.
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Old 12-21-2003, 03:55 PM   #22
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Ignacio Jaramillo (Nacho_mx) wrote:
In Tokyo, I noticed many japanese were heavy smokers and drinkers (of beer, liquor or coffee). General stress may have to do with it.
Well, perhaps the stress is part of the picture, but I think alcohol consumption is very much ingrained in the culture here. Last week I attended a bonenkai with the local police chiefs and you would not believe the amounts they put away: beer, sake, shochu, and whisky (with water, in a combination called mizu-wari). Most of them smoked, also, and I would think they had at least similar levels of fitness to the average aikido shihan.

There is also a practice called iki-iki nomi, where beer or a concoction of alcohol is downed in one draft. This is a favourite pastime in university sports clubs. My own university severely frowns on the practice, but, as with the police, at university year end parties one can almost swim in the alcohol provided.

With smoking there has been a more pronounced change over the past few years. Hiroshima City now has a smoking ban in public places and in the university one may smoke only in one's own study. What is more, the rules are being obeyed far more. Japan has a curious attitude to laws, in that the mokuhyou (the aim behind the law) is seen to be of more importance than actual compliance with it. But smoking has now become a more private, even furtive, pastime.

And a surprising number of aikido shihans smoke and drink\and also believe that this has nothing to do with 'polishing the mirror'. The counterpart of the Puritan tradition here is much more forgiving.

Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-21-2003, 06:57 PM   #23
MikeE
 
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I can't speak to whether it is wrong or right, and personally I don't really care.

My only consideration is watching two of my nikyu perform randori and take ukemi for other tests. The one that smokes has infinitely less vascular stamina than the one that doesn't. They are more or less the same body shape and fitness level.

So, I guess my thoughts on smoking are negative in regards to aikido. (Although I do enjoy the occasional beer waza )

Mike Ellefson
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Old 12-21-2003, 08:20 PM   #24
aikidoc
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Chris:

"wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on"

You assume I wear shoes at home. I live in the South (although I'm a yankee).

Even if I do wear shoes at home, he'd never see it. It's a smoke free environment. Culture vs. bad habits-don't see the connection.
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Old 12-22-2003, 12:27 AM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Chris:

"wonder if he thought the same kind of thing about you when he saw you walking around the house with your shoes on"

You assume I wear shoes at home. I live in the South (although I'm a yankee).

Even if I do wear shoes at home, he'd never see it. It's a smoke free environment. Culture vs. bad habits-don't see the connection.
The connection is that many Japanese would see wearing shoes in the house as a filthy habit. You see shoes as a "cultural" habit - odds are that he views smoking in much the same way.

Also, whether or not you wear shoes and whether or not he smokes (as long as it is not around you, and you did state in the original post that he "went out" to have a smoke) really has nothing to do with either one of your Aikido.

I wonder if you're as harsh on Aikido instructors who eat fried foods, since heart disease is by far a more common cause of death in the US than tobacco related disease...

Best,

Chris

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