98. What's In A Name?
100. The Window

99. A Loud Shirt with Flowers, A Camera and a Look of Astonishment

If I were Ed MacMahon and Johnny Carson were still alive I'd be standing off to one side repeating that phrase while I chortled (I like that word "chortle", has ring to it) while Johnny wore his turban and opened the envelope to say .......... "What do Hawaiian tourists, dojo tourists and gym tourists all have in common?"

I was at the gym this morning having fully commited to getting back into shape afer the last 2 to 3 years of being inconsistent; remembering that I've had years prior in living at the gym and having a BMI way above what is supposed to be normal for a 5 foot 8 guy (I have little to no body fat and my chest measurement is 15 inches more than my waist ......... try buying a suit sometime).

I've lived in weight rooms, gyms, dojos and athletic field houses since the 4th grade and by spending my whole life working out I've been described as a fire plug who looks 10 years younger than my calendar age.  This works out pretty well but the downside is that as each decade passes I have to stay more focused and more consistent since staying in shape is more difficult now than when I was 20 or 30.  Not a biggie as the results are well worth the effort. 

I'm not the only one at the doj' who benefits from this as I have a Yudansha who is 70, looks and acts like he's still in his late 50's and who, based on his stories, walks into board meetings with guys younger than he who can barely lift their coffee cup, much less walk onto a mat and take a few hard breakfalls while teaching waza to someone who is literally in high school and 50 years his junior.  His co-executives look at him like he walks on water.

The long and the short is that for he and I and others like us, staying is shape takes focus, discipline, commitment and all three of those take a lifetime to understand, develop and to stay with.  Yes .... I've had periods when I was down or too busy at work or a little sick or consumed with personal or job issues but ........... I've always, always, always gotten back to the gym and to the dojo and now at age 60 can still run circles around guys less than half my age (don't tell anyone but I do need some additional aerobics work to get fully back up to speed so I'm revised my workout sheets today for my 4 day split).

What sets me, Mr. G, and all the others like us at my dojo and at your dojo is that we go to class or the gym and we wear pretty simple clothing, stay focused and don't take our cell phones or cameras with us.

This morning, for example, I remembered just why I intensely dislike January and February of each year and have for as long as I can remember.  I have my sheets for my 4 day split routine of anerobic and aerobic exercises, I'm puttering along feeling pretty good and starting to get back to lifting heavy again having just found a new, really good NO2 booster that's chock full'o BCAA's and I look up and find two bimbo's I've never seen before with their cute exercise books and technicolor uniforms and their cell phones and their hats (on backwards of course). 

They have between them every free weight dumb-bell off the racks ranging from 5 to 25 pounds and in between and they're guarding them lest someone ask for one to use since they weren't (I'm honestly not exagerating here people, not one iota) making biceps at each other and taking their cell phones and photo'ing each others tatoo's and muscles they're going, "Ooo, I like that one.  Have you done your arms yet?  I'm done with my arms and moving on to my butt next.  OH that's a cute pink outfit you have.   Where did you buy it?"

I said nothing but mentally I palmed my face and thought to myself, "Oh God, please let the New Year Resolution crowd go home and quit using up oxygen."  These two young women appeared more interested in trolling for trouser trout than in working out.  The only saving grace is that they'll be gone from the gym likely by mid-March or so because it's too difficult and other things are more fun at 7 AM.

This was the gym but also I've seen it (the tourist phenomena) in dojo's my entire MA career.  Folks who come in with good intent but essentially fall off the weight bench (or tatami) and who, unable to develop the focus and personal commitment, eventually quit and go home.  It's too bad actually because so many dojo or gym tourists could greatly benefit and would do well with enough focus and c0mmitment.

I consider myself really, truly fortunate to NOT have any people like this in my dojo and to have a great group of dedicated players, both male and female and ranging from high school students to guys older than me.  They're all commited and they're all focused and none of them are tourists, none are wearing loud Hawaiian shirts and they all left their camera's at home.

Only, ONLY by commitment, focus, dedication, personal discipline and only by doing all of those consistently over our entire lives can we move forward and develop those skills that others do not have.  Only by consistency can we progress and learn.

Leave the Hawaiian flower shirt at home along with the camera.

L.F. Wilkinson Sensei

Aikibudo Kancho

Aikibudokan, Houston, TX

February 2011



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