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Updated: 4 days 17 hours ago

Mind with Mind

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 00:22
Mind with Mind

I try to wash my mind with mind
Forgetting I am more than thought
One more concept, piled on top of
All the other concepts permeating me
Will not set me free

I must gather up Nio energy
Adding that to my arsenal, and
Fill my body with the sword of
Wisdom and the rope of discipline
As a manifestation of Fudo-Myo-o

Only then is freedom possible

Categories: Aikido


Tue, 06/05/2018 - 23:40

It was post-seminar
We were all sitting around the bar
People telling stories:

You should have seen him!
When he walked into the dojo
he had to bow so his head wouldn't
hit the top of the door frame!

Maybe he was just bowing cause
that's what people do when entering
any dojo
, someone pointed out

Hah, you weren't there!
Was the reply
(A very common refrain,
actually, as the night went on)

When he struck with the bokken or jyo,
we would all have to wear face protectors
cause the splinters would fly everywhere!

That created a big laugh

His wooden tanto was so sharp
it actually drew blood!

Nodding heads all around

I remember when he touched me
Another old-timer voiced, I didn't
know what happened, but I ended up
on the other side of the dojo!

Hell, when he just smiled,
we would all fall down!

Damn, those were incredible times!

All the old-timers agreed in unison

But, now, they all said, this is your
time. Looking around the table,
Now, today, is your time. All of us sitting
here tonight, this is our time together.
One day, you will be the old ones,
telling stories, telling tall tales.
But, for now, here's to the past
and a great teacher -- Kampai!

This poem was inspired by an article in Birankai Aikido News,
by Liese Klein Sensei, quoting some words spoken by George Lyons Sensei,
at a memorial seminar, on the anniversary of Chiba Sensei's death, at Brooklyn Aikikai.
Liberties with the original material were certainly taken!
Categories: Aikido

Supreme Practice

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 00:52
Supreme Practice

Daily life is my shugyo
My supreme practice method
Every moment of every day
Everything and everyone
Becomes my dojo, my sensei
My ultimate training hall
Where I grapple and strive
Engaging all in my quest
My practiceless practice
Showing me the way

Categories: Aikido

Wabi-Sabi Time

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 04:27
Wabi-Sabi Time

I thought she was the most beautiful
Creature on the whole planet
She replied that I had wabi-sabi looks, i.e.
Imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete
Seeing the expression on my face
She further said that this was a good thing
That all inessentials had been eliminated
All excesses trimmed and pared away
Leaving behind only the real
Such that it only grows stronger with time
So I took her down off her pedestal
And, hand in hand, walked with her
Through transient, wabi-sabi time
Loving each and every flawed moment
Of our transitory time together

Categories: Aikido


Sat, 05/19/2018 - 23:37

I think big, deep thoughts
That get me nowhere
I think small, personal thoughts
That just results in pain
If I try not to think
I drive my car into people
So, I sit and watch TV
I go to the movies
I try to wash my brain clean
Clean of any thoughts
Like a constant flash flood
Scouring the land of all debris
Thoughts swept away, away
When it works, it doesn't last
Thoughts -- my strength, my weakness
I sit and think
Thinking of thoughts

Categories: Aikido

Zazen Wave

Sat, 04/28/2018 - 19:27
Zazen Wave

From a row of seated figures
Unmoving, except for their breathing -
Even the chanting has been silenced

I sense a zazen wave moving through the room
A cascade of a unity of beings and commitment
Energized by common intent and purpose

Categories: Aikido

Venn Aikido

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 20:10
Venn Aikido

When I practice Aikido
I can't help but think
Of Venn diagrams
(You, too, right?!)
Of nage and uke
Disparate circles - merging
The set of me (nage)
Intersecting with set (uke)
N ∩ U -
The overlapping regions depicting
A set of possible outcomes
I automatically drop down
To Euler diagrams
Eliminating non-relevant options
Allowing me to choose
A fitting technique and outcome -
Ah, if only I were so elegant!

Categories: Aikido

So much to be learned

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 22:12
Today is a special day. 6 years ago it was a rude awakening. No longer was there someone to hold my hand, no longer was their someone to reminded me to be kind. One of my main examples and teachers died. I miss Alan Ruddock for his wit, his kindness and his firm understanding of aikido.

I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from several good teachers, special teachers, direct students of O'Sensei.

They taught me so much. About aikido, about the ideas of aikido, about learning aikido. And those weren't just words, those were concepts that could be tested on the tatami.

But what did we do? And now one of the really weird things enters the playing field. We never trained with uke resisting what was happening. To a lot of people this is a weird Idea, I know. But why is that a thing we never trained?

Now years later I think I have maybe half the answer to that.
We never trained that because it is pointless. Uke doesn't have the choice to resist, it never is ukes job to resist. From the first start of intention uke is locked in what is happening. There is no resistance as resistance is futile. What should you resist? Your own movement? From the beginning uke is locked in what is happening, and (and here we enter the twilight zone of weird aikimagic, as some more down to earth, real, aikido people claim) so is nage. The movement is. It is not deflected or changed, it is accepted. Hence nage is absolutely free in what he is doing as absolute freedom comes from not having a choice. Nage is the observer of the movement.

I know this isn't real aikido, it is just make believe until someone truly attacks and lands on his head. Trust me, I have been there. Landing on your head is not something I would advise, but it is one hell of a wake-up call about what is real and what isn't.

And now no-one is left to tell me this. I should be telling people maybe, but I don't feel the urge to swim up against the stream. Does that make me a bad aikidoka?
Categories: Aikido

Flowing Water

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 00:15
Flowing Water

Clouds return to where they were born
When I catch up, I am surrounded by mist
Till I follow the freely flowing water

Categories: Aikido

The Mountain

Sun, 03/25/2018 - 00:32
The Mountain

The mountain is my way
Yet the mountain stands in my way
Only when this duality disappears
Will I be one with the high clouds

Categories: Aikido


Sat, 03/17/2018 - 23:37

Duration, with no sense of time
I sit, and sit, just sit
Thoughts gone, feelings gone
Even pain gone
Transition back to real time
Is obvious, is now
But, where I have been
How I got back
Is still to me, a mystery

Categories: Aikido

Night Air

Sun, 03/11/2018 - 21:25
Night Air

Night air pours through the open window
I lie in bed waiting for the moon to rise
And shower me in silver illumination
This is our time, when you will come to me

Categories: Aikido


Sun, 03/04/2018 - 00:46

Dust everywhere
It clings to me
It surrounds me
It distracts me
Where can I go
What can I do
To escape all this dust?

Categories: Aikido


Mon, 02/26/2018 - 02:14

Aiki never resists
Yet is always victorious
It speaks about a harmonious joining
Of spirit and energies
Perhaps of directed intent
Of a strong Kiai!
It speaks of internal power
Of integrated, whole body force
Ah, aiki, so elusive…
Perhaps that is its ultimate meaning
Of fitting together all these definitions
Such that adaptation is true aiki
Aiki-do -- The Way of Adaptation?

Categories: Aikido