13. Tsunami Ryu Aikido
15. Maestro

14. The Family Affair

Having just gone through a hurricane and attempting to keep everyone in the dojo in some form of communications and still not having electric at the dojo (so classes are temporarily suspended for the time being) I sent out email that I know about half the dojo could receive, track and respond to either by email at home (they didn't lose power for long unlike me), or at the office (didn't lose power either so the boss cracked the whip, hurricane or no) or by BlackBerry (which I and most professional level business people use for staying in touch at all times).

Aikido teaches self-defense, Aikido teaches self-confidence and Aikido aside from being fun, is good physical fitness as it merges and unites body, mind and spirit.

Something that I noticed, however, as the last two weeks of hurricane joy ("oh happy, happy, joy, joy") is that Aikido, at least amongst serious players, tends to develop family outside the family.

As everyone came back on-line, those that never lost or just got back power, water, lights, phones, internet, invited those without to come stay with them, even if they didn't know each other all that well or were still fairly new to the dojo.

Aikido is incredibly good at teaching players how to learn to trust others (another semi-hidden benefit of long term training).

After all, if you trust someone to NOT dislocate your elbow during training then you learn by default that you can trust them in your home.

Aikido gives you that family you never had before.  You can't pick your parents and siblings nor can you choose your blood next-of-kin.  But you can choose your Aikido family.

L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudo Kancho
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX
September 2008

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