writings

The Power of Contemplative Practice

I suspect if you’ve been practicing Aikido for a few months or a many years, you have experienced the challenge of describing what it is.  Perhaps you have found that it’s not so easy to explain the value of ‘Aikido’ to a person who knows little about the art.   Over the years when I have been posed with the question, ‘what is Aikido?’ I used to say “Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art and….”.

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Reflections on Dan Ranking in Aikido

‘What is your ranking system and how long does it take to get a black belt?’

Over the years I have heard newcomers to aikido ask this question many times. Perhaps my favorite tongue in cheek answer is this: it takes as long as a car ride to the local martial arts store where you can purchase one.

Mary Heiny Sensei says that when Mitsugi Saotome Sensei was asked to offer his reflections on the meaning of the dan ranks: shodan, nidan, and sandan, at a seminar years ago, he drew a little stick figure and traced a circle around it.

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