Benefits of Aikido Training Feed

13. Tsunami Ryu Aikido

Here in Houston about a week ago (before I got the electricity back in my home) a hurricane hit the coast about 90 miles from here.  Named Hurricane Ike, it was one of the largest storms to hit Texas since the 1960's during the last hurricane cycle, which runs in 25 year cycles and 40 year cycles.

The 25 year cycle is when a "big one" hits Texas or Louisiana and the 40 year  cycle is when a large number of storms hit land in the US instead of fizzling out over the Atlantic Ocean, turning north into the Carolina's or turning south into the Yucatan and Mexico.

Being without power for a week or so and having not only my home but also my business office and the dojo shut down for that time gives one pause to consider the value of Aikido training in circumstances other than dojo training or self-defense.

Calm.  Peace.  Adjustment.  These are the traits that I noticed in myself, my wife (a Rokudan) and the players in our dojo.  Even today, a full week after the storm hit, I monitor email and blackberry text-ing between the players and other than the "minor" inconvenience of not having electricity, everyone seems to understand the Zen of "just being" and "just dealing (with it)".

No panic, no insanity, just the recognition that there is no reason to be concerned and that this too shall pass.

Some non-Aikido people (even the newspapers have written about it) are getting frustrated with malfunctioning traffic lights, lines for MRE's and bottled water, no power and in a word are just getting ........... bitchy.

The longer I train in Aikido (you can't just "study" it like studying math, you have to TRAIN in it) the more value I recognize in the way it permeates your soul and your being.  It makes you "flexible" and gives you the ability to adjust to circumstances that others can't deal with.

You become able to flow and take that deep breath and relax and adjust because after all; if you can defend yourself and face an attacker with a knife who is trying to take your head off at full speed or deal with multiple attackers, then what's a little MRE or not having electric for a few days?

Aikido teaches you to understand the relative differences in life between that which is truly important and critical and that which is only an inconvenience.

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

12. The Aiki-Poodle

I receive a lot of junk mail from clients and friends and for the most part quickly delete it based on nothing more than the subject line of the email.  Every once in a while tho' I run across something worth passing on.  The one concerns why one should stay on the mat and get focused on training.

"A Short Tale"
by Unknown Author

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her faithful poodle named Cuddles along for the company.

One day the poodle start chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that he's lost.  Wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch.

The old poodle thinks, "Oh,oh!  I'm in deep doo-doo now!"  Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.  Just as the leopoard is about to leap the old poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard!  I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the yound leopard halts his attack in mid-stride and as a look of terror comes over him he slinks away into the trees.  "Whew!" says the leopard, "That was close!  That old poodle nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.  So off he goes but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed and figures that something must be up.  The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now the old poodle sees the lorpard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them yet.  Just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says, "Where's that damn monkey?  I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"

Moral of this story ..........

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.

Or, put another way, long -term training and "mat seasoning" develops your instincts in ways that "book-learning" and intellectualizing cannot.  You begin to notice things that you wouldn't otherwise pay attention to and the better we are at noticing everything around us, the more developed our instincts are and the more capable we become at making the appropriate decision for any given circumstance.

Developing confidence in our Aikido skills allows us to calmly sit back and make intuitive evaluations instantaneously in situations that to us merely resemble another training secenario; but that to other, untrained, non-Aikido players is utter chaos and frightening in the extreme.

Come to class and train.  There is no other way than exposure and a steady diet of study and practice.

L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudo Kancho
Aikibudokan, Houston
August 2008