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Updated: 2 weeks 13 hours ago


Tue, 05/21/2019 - 21:36

I exist in a world that
Is not as it seems
It is so easy to get lost
I long to see past the illusion
Past misleading thoughts
I seek the hidden principles
The true reality behind it all
To find my true self
And finally become conscious
I fart and stand up, stretching
From my lotus position
Am I conscious, yet?
How would I know?

The greatest barrier to consciousness is the belief
that one is already conscious.

~ P.D. Ouspensky
Categories: Aikido

Conversing In Silence

Mon, 05/06/2019 - 00:46
Conversing In Silence

How many times are you going
to read all this stuff?
I mean, you always read stuff.
When does it end?
Are you that much smarter, now?

Well, I could say it is a process.
I am ignorant.
I am trying to learn how to BE
So, I read and read.
I study.

Yeah, I get that.
But, when does it end?

Think of it as a ladder, or,
if you are older, like me, an escalator.
One day I will no longer need to climb.
I will just sit
Just sit and be still
Bypassing all the learning
Bypassing all the processes
Actually trying to unlearn all my learning
To be unwise, as it were
And, BE there -- actually, be HERE

That's it?
That's what all this is about?

Well, yes and no.

Don't give me that mystical mumbo-jumbo.

I'm not trying to, but it's hard to explain.
Being-in-the-world is just the beginning.

To what?

Well, I'm sure when I reach that place
I will not have the words to explain it.

But, but….

Perhaps then, we both could just sit
and converse in silence, and be unwise

Categories: Aikido

Falling Leaves

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 01:25
Falling Leaves

They say that death and sacrifice
Are necessary for life and well-being
That apoptosis - the falling leaves
Of programmed cell death
Lead to a harmonious life

Categories: Aikido

What does Aikido Mean?

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 21:47
My name is Erik Calderon and I've been doing martial arts from the age of 5. When I was 20, I got this incredible itch to move to Japan and study martial arts full time.

In 1989 I went traveling to Mexico with my Dad. One night, he had some business to attend to, and I was left in the hotel to kill the time. I turned on the tv and a movie called, "Nico," was airing.

It was interesting, and I enjoyed watching it. I especially like the martial art that was highlighted in the film, Aikido. I knew nothing about Aikido, but from what I saw, it looked like fun.

When I got back to Boston, I looked up a few Aikido schools and started taking Aikido classes at Shobu Aikido of Boston under William Gleason.

I read every book I could find on Aikido and learned about it's history, it's culture and its philosophy.

Aikido was founded by a man named Morihei Ueshiba. He was born in 1883 and died in 1969. In 1926 he moved to Tokyo, Japan and opened up his dojo, the Aikikai World Headquarters. During World War II the dojo was closed and Morihei Ueshiba moved to Iwama and built a dojo there. It's important to note these two location, because they have developed into two distinct styles of Aikido, the Iwama Ryu and the Aikikai style.

Learning about the history of Aikido and Japan and how it influenced the development and ultimately the meaning of Aikido is very important to make note of. During the war, and Japan's loss, the martial arts as a whole changed in Japan. First off, during the US occupation, all martial arts were banned. This is about the time Morihei Ueshiba moved to Iwama and was able to continue his teaching and training in secret.

All arts transformed at this time, from "jutsu" (術 【すべ】 way, method, technique, means) for example, Ueshiba had trained in Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, to "do" (道 【みち】road-way, street, district, journey, course, moral) Aikido. This helps us understand how this word was shaped, from method or technique to way of life or path.

The Japanese language is structured differently than the English language. In English we typically have the Subject - Verb - Object structure, where as in Japanese the structure is Subject - Object - Verb.

This difference in language structure helped me understand, on a deeper level, what Aikido means and the practical applications of the techniques. Let's say that this is one of the hidden secrets of Aikido. Instead of me being an active participant in applying a technique, the subject, me and the object, my attacker are brothers and the technique is what comes last.

Let's take a look at the the word, Aikido (合気道.) The word is made up of three seperate Chinese Characters know as Kanji (漢字.) The first kanji - Ai - 合い means to fit, suit or join. We usually refer to this word as meaning harmony. The second kanji Ki - 気 - spirit; mind; heart​. We refer to this word as meaning spirit. And the last kanji - Do - 道 - road-way, street, district, journey, course, moral, teachings. We refer to this word as way.

So, translated into English, Aikido means, "The Way of Spiritual Harmony." But, what does that actually mean? The word has a deep philosophical meaning that transcends the literal meaning.

I've been doing Aikido for over 19 years, constantly thinking about what Aikido means and why I continue to pursue learning Aikido.

Constantly, I think about Aikido on three separate plains; the physical, the mental and the spiritual.

On a physical level, Aikido means the forging and training of the body. Constant and never ending physical exercise. Taking our bodies as far as they can go. And yes, that means being extremely physically fit. Training the body so that you can train all day long. Training the body so that even when you are tired, you can continue. Kind of like running a marathon. You need to constantly train the body so that you are at a level that, one, you can compete against the clock, and two you are physically able to run the marathon without injury.

This is a very important point to note. You do not train to injure yourself, but train in order to build the physical body to prevent injury and endure long training sessions.

On a mental level Aikido means that we are constantly studying and seeking for understanding on a philosophical level as well on a technical level of the movements of Aikido. While in Japan, I spent hours upon hours reading every book I could in order to understand what Aikido is. I studied the religions it's based on, I studied the people that wrote the books. I studied the philosophies of the time. Everything I could get my hands on, even fictional books. I enjoyed the novel, Miyamoto Musashi. This novel is a must read for anyone interested in martial arts. Musashi was a true figure and a legend of the sword in Japan. He also wrote, "The Book of Five Rings." And, another book I read about him: Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings.

One important point to make note of, you can always learn something and the deeper you dive into the learning, the deeper the pool of knowledge becomes.

On a spiritual level, Aikido means that we are working on values that add to and build our spirit:


I actually picked up these values from a book I read, "The Book of Virtues," by William Bennett while in Japan studying Aikido and they became a core essence of what I believe to be the important values that we can build while training in Aikido that will transcend into every aspect of our lives.

It's not easy training the spirit, it's such an unknown and hard to understand aspect of our lives. Exhaust yourself physically, never stop learning and that is the gateway to the spirit. And yes, the bible is a great book to read.

Although Aikido literally translates into, "The Way of Spiritual Harmony," it means a lot more than just that. Aikido is a martial art, or a fighting art. The techniques are designed to protect you from an attack. Interestingly what separates Aikido from other martial arts, is that the techniques are also designed to protect your attacker as well. This adds even more meaning to the word Aikido.

As you train, you will develop your own meaning, the harder and deeper you study, the more profound your understanding of the word Aikido will become.

Visit my website for more information: Aikido Houston
Categories: Aikido

Do we use weapons in Aikido?

Mon, 03/18/2019 - 03:09
Of course, I'd like to say that it all depends on the instructor and where they learned Aikido. Throughout my years of training in Aikido in Houston, Boston, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, Arlington and in Tokyo, I've seen many different styles and systems of weapons being taught.

Essentially Aikido comes from three different arts, The Long and Short Sword, The Staff and Unarmed techniques; Kenjutsu, Jojutsu and Daitoryu Aikijuujutsu.

In 1991, after studying Aikido for a year at Shobu Aikido of Boston, I decided to move to Japan to further my studies and understanding of what Aikido is.

I read a lot of books on the idea of using weapons, and, studied and applied those ideas at the dojo in Boston under William Gleason.

When I got to Japan, taking classes at the Aikikai World Headquarters, also known as Hombu Dojo, I did not see nor take any weapons classes. I did hear a rumor that there was a class, but I never saw nor attended it. I was also a student of the Sophia Aikikai Club at Jochi Daigaku (Sophia University), but never experienced weapons training there as well.

I did take an apprenticeship from Kato Hiroshi, which did teach weapons. He taught them as he had learned from Morihei Ueshiba better known as O'Sensei, or Great Teacher. And, in every class, Kato Sensei would spend about 45 - 60 minutes teaching weapons. That's where I got a very strong basic foundation of the weapons and how they apply to everyday Aikido practice.

So, do we use weapons in Aikido? Yes, I do, but other dojos might not. I teach Aikido in West Houston, Katy and in Houston where I occasionally teach the sword and the staff. The important point being that the movements of Aikido be preserved through the movements while using weapons.

It kind of helps everything make sense, and although you'll probably never be attacked by someone wielding a sword, you will understand how the movement makes the technique very effective whether or not someone is holding a weapon.

Theoretically there are no kata's or forms in Aikido, nor in the weapons system that is taught, but, some instructors, in order to help students understand the movements and techniques, have come up with kata's.

Another very important aspect of weapons training in Aikido at our dojo in West Houston, Katy and in Houston, it creates the feeling of urgency. Your partner faces you with a wooden sword, about to strike you, you will feel the importance of blending in and not getting hit. Your movement and technique will have to be precise, or you'll get hit. And, getting hit with a wooden sword is very different than getting hit by a hand.

I enjoy the training with the weapons, and although I would like to incorporate weapons training in every class, sometimes I just run out of time!

Like the unarmed techniques in Aikido, Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo and Gokyo, the sword and staff directly reflect each technique, both Omote and Ura (In front and behind.)

I vaguely remember Kato Sensei teaching a 6th technique, but I didn't understand it at the time and was not able to capture its essence, though I understood what he was saying. Maybe another 20 or 30 years of training will open up my mind to his teachings.

So to conclude this article, and to answer this question again, Yes, there is a weapons system based on the martial art of Aikido that was taught by the founder, Morihei Ueshiba. Not all dojo's teach this same system, and some dojo's have incorporated other systems of weapons training. I strongly believe that learning the aiki-weapons is an important part of understanding and learning the techniques of Aikido.

If you ever find yourself in Katy (West Houston,) or in Houston, stop by for a class!

Erik Calderon's Martial Arts Aikido ShinKiKan
Categories: Aikido

Mono No Aware

Sun, 03/10/2019 - 22:53
Mono No Aware

That sadness of being human
Mono no aware
The reality of life
Reflecting back on all the years
All the lost years
If I could go back to my youth
And explain, caution
Be kind, be gentle, be human
To yourself and others

I told someone once
That I didn't think people
Become fully human
Till they are at least forty
But, I don't suppose some people
Ever become fully human
Regardless of their age
Tears of things past
A weary perspective
That gives me pause
But little comfort

Categories: Aikido

Nothing Else

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 02:02
Nothing Else

Focus on your breath
And nothing else
See where it leads to
For me, it leads to pain
But, beyond
Beyond I see
I see something else

Categories: Aikido