The past year I have spent grappling with one central issue: whether to truly accept responsibility for my life.  On the mat and off, I reached crossroads that asked me to finally and firmly chose whether to take my life and my training into my own hands, or to let them both slip away from me, to hamper my own personal growth, to die.  My preparation for Nidan has been saying yes to being vulnerable, saying yes to the truth, and honoring uke and uke’s falling sword, whether uke is another person or myself.


A Glance Towards Nidan


How is it that four and a half years have passed since my shodan?  What do I have to show for it?  What has changed about my Aikido?  What has changed about me?  What have I learned?  What am I working on? 

I could spill a lot of ink answering any one of these questions; in all likelihood, it would devolve into gratuitous navel-gazing that would be of interest to no one other than myself.  Having said this, I will attempt to explore some of these questions in the space of a few pages in what might amount to a coherent narrative.    


To Mom and Dad

From an old martial art teacher - about martial arts lessons and children.

I'm going on 50 years old, which really isn't that old, but to talk to you about what a child, your child, stands to learn from taking martial arts lessons, it's old enough. I took my first lesson at the age of 9, received by first degree black belt at 19, and this year I will celebrate my 30th year of teaching and assistant teaching the martial arts.


Why I Practice Aikido


When I practice Aikido, I practice ma'ai and aiki. When I am meet with ukai's ki, I have to blend with it to keep both me, and the ukai safe. They have hurtful intentions, I must not meet it with strength, but with aiki. It is very fun to learn about this stuff, and to see how effective taking balance is. I incorporate this, and rna'ai into my everyday life. It has made me more aware, grounded, and harmonious.



Aikido Red Belt Test

The prompt for this essay is to compare my relationships with myself and others in the time before
I started Aikido and after I started studying Aikido. But because of the young age I started
studying Aikido, I've chosen to contrast the time my parents took me to Aikido with the time after I
chose for myself to study Aikido. This is probably the more important transition because when I
first started Aikido it was mostly my parents doing.

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