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
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX