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All the Trees

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 01:05
All the Trees

All the trees
Know the wind intimately
Constantly they wind-dance
With each other

So, I keenly watch, observe
Looking for ancient wisdom
But, all I see are trees
Bending in the wind

Categories: Aikido

Aikido gratitude list

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 17:25
1. I am Grateful to have a dojo at my house.
2. I am Grateful to have a really good teacher.

3. I am Grateful to be able to teach and train.
4. I am Grateful for class tomorrow.

5. I am Grateful to watch negative thoughts come and go without me having to entertain them.
6. I am Grateful for our students.

7. I am Grateful that students call when they are not coming to class so we don't have to heat the dojo when no one shows up for class.
8. I am Grateful that people show up a lot and that when they don't -- Ron and I can talk about our feelings and let them go.

9. I am Grateful for every student that stayed and for everyone that left.
10. I am Grateful that I believe that more people will get interested in Aikido again and that this dojo will be here when they do.

11. I am Grateful for students who pay dues.
12 I am Grateful for the willingness to write a gratitude list rather complain about what is lacking.

13. I am Grateful for the feeling of hope that this writing has started.
14. I am Grateful for that feeling when I get my hakama on just right.

15. I am Grateful for my commitment to my training...
16. I am Grateful for what training that long has afforded me.

17. I am Grateful for all that I will learn in my next 30 plus years.
18. I am Grateful that I am married to a man who loves Aikido as much as I do.

19. I am Grateful that I train in the style that I do so I don't have knee or hip problems.
20. I am grateful that I can roll and fall and love being an uke still.

Wow that really helped.
What are you Grateful for?
Categories: Aikido

Dead Meditation

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 00:08
Dead Meditation

In dead meditation
I approach, slowly, hesitantly, nothing…
But, also realizing that I
Left nothing behind me
Till I understand that nothing
Is not a place, and idea, beyond me
Nothing is all around me
Inside me
A part of me
Or, actually, I am part of it
So, with no-place to go
I arrive

Categories: Aikido

No One

Sat, 01/06/2018 - 23:45
No One

The bell talks to itself
The dojo is empty
Not even a shadow
Dwells in the mirror

Categories: Aikido

All Roads

Sun, 12/31/2017 - 00:18
All Roads

All roads lead me home
The paths are all one-way
There is no turning back

Though I am sometimes slowed
By fear and suffering
I continue

Categories: Aikido


Sat, 12/02/2017 - 23:25

Nen applies to so many things
An acknowledgement, an appreciation
Of the importance of small things
A mindfulness of daily life
Small things, like the position
Of his weight as he prepared
Prepared his attack
As I minutely adjusted
My alignment in response

Categories: Aikido

As I Am

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 00:03
As I Am

Shouldering the moon
I return to my bare house
Sitting, I close my eyes
And empty myself
Into my empty room
I sense the ghosts and shadows
Of my life -- insubstantial
As I am

Categories: Aikido


Sun, 11/19/2017 - 03:12

My great ball of doubt
Is firmly rooted in my great faith
And great tenacity of purpose

Categories: Aikido

Fearful Rocks

Sun, 11/12/2017 - 01:54
Fearful Rocks

Fearful rocks brace themselves
Against the crashing waves
Others, fearless, reach out
Embracing the charging seas,
Knowing that their destinies
Are intertwined

Categories: Aikido

Without End

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 00:24
Without End

In each stroke of the bell
With each clap
We hear the past and the future
Each class continuing without end
We sit and bow before the tokonoma
Our: Sensei, onegai shimasu!
Echoing through time

Categories: Aikido


Tue, 10/31/2017 - 19:40
There is much to be said about ukemi, but I have observed from close that there is difference between understanding ukemi and talking about ukemi.

As a beginning one should always be aware the gift of ukemi that uke is giving you is priceless, so treat it as a precious gift, be grateful for being offered this gift and show this gratitude by training open, honest and respectful. And offer ukemi to your training partners.

Following that, one should realise that ukemi is more than 50% of your aikido, more than 50% of your techniques and more than 50% of all that you do. This is too often not clear to those that are training. This not from malice or ill will but from not being exposed to good ukemi.
It is very tempting to see how much of a technique you can resist or frustrate. Yet in the end all you were building was your own dojo superpowers and you weren't helping your partner, even though you thought you were. But worst than that, you weren't helping yourself and cheating your partner out of an opportunity to learn.

One often hear people claim Aikido is about love, about harmony. That aikido is life. Yet as uke they train without harmony. They haven't learned the difference between uke being alive and uke being dead. As uke they don't give, but expect to overtaken, to be conquered. Why is it harmony if nage gets his way?

I have been fortunate. All my teachers have told me to do ukemi. Not as an obligatory part of training, not as a necessary evil to be undergone to get to the good part, but as a main buildingblock of my development. If you don't understand the technique, then take ukemi for that technique again and again and again. Ah, you wanna become beter at Aikido, then take one year of only ukemi and learn, feel and learn. Give, give, give until you know why giving is receiving.

So I give. I don't correct my partners when they don't offer to change roles after 4 techniques. I happily offer ukemi.

And now for something completely different, lets talk about ukemi. Ukemi isn't about doing high falls. Ukemi isn't being unbalanced, ukemi isn't about having things done to you to which you have to react. That is what my teachers called being dead. If uke is dead, then the exercise won't be aikido. Ukemi is about being alive. It is about living and being alert, about being outward, about being connected and about being natural. There is nothing natural about being hit, whether it be by a hand or by an on storming bus. Alive is moving with what happens.

Being alive is a difficult concept. Knowing you have to be alive is different from being alive. That is why we train and why ukemi is a major part of our training.

I have made a list of what being alive is in my opinion (and this is still a work in progress) but I also found that a lot of people genuinely don't understand what I am rambling about.
  • Be aware of what is happening and what you are doing. Somethings you don't want to do or actively avoid. You should not be bent over so avoid or correct that. Nage shouldn't be behind you so avoid or correct that.
  • Rolling is good. Rolling is being alive, but don't confuse it with slamming or bouncing. Absorb whatever is happening into a dissipation of energy by escaping with a roll or tumble.
  • Be humble and let go of expectations. You can only go with the flow if you are with the flow. It is not possible to outthink the flow, it is not possible to predict the flow. Oh, and surprise, the flow can be anything from doing a technique to cleaning the dojo to relating to others.
  • Stay with the contact. Only rolling, tumbling to safety and away from your partner as the flow directs is where uke can release the contact.
  • Rolling away is escaping. It is not something to survive a technique, but it is something to escape a hazardous situation. Away, away, away. Flow toward safety at top speed.
  • Ukemi is for learning Aikido. Ukemi is for learning to throw the other. The goal of proper ukemi is to learn and do proper Aikido, so you will never be thrown when not offering the gift of ukemi to the other.
  • Connect the hands, connect everything, but move the feet.
  • Follow through to discover the points of escape, reversal. Follow through to discover where there are openings, not to exploit them (unless this is what you are specifically training with your partner) but to discover them and use them to learn. But be honest in this. The flaws you discover in your partner's technique are more than likely to be your own flaws.
  • Shield yourself from harm, but don't disturb the flow. Blocking equals stopping. Stopping means being a dead uke.
  • Don't assume. Assumption is like trying to predict the flow. Be honest and accept what is happening. Accept your partners. Accept life. Be grateful.

Be humble and listen how the universe sings.

Erik doesn't matter
Categories: Aikido

Serenity prayer aikido

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:12
Serenity prayer aikido-- what can I change? what can I accept?

And yes, Wisdom to know, now please.

Let uke grab and hold. Notice how it feels. Breathe, seek wisdom by staying with the feelings and moving with the energy provided.

The answers come in the situation, courage to change what we can, ourselves. Serenity to accept we can change ourselves, Wisdom to know which is which.

In life it can be trickier because bad motives cower behind good intentions. Careful attention must be paid to the now so the responsibility that comes from acceptance of what we can change does not allude or overwhelm us.

True technique and true love are rooted in this prayer and this practice.
Categories: Aikido


Sat, 10/28/2017 - 23:40

I greedily accepted adrenaline
As it rushed into my system
Prepping me for battle
Now, I pause, asking myself
If I truly want it or need it?

Categories: Aikido

Sea Without a Shore

Sun, 10/22/2017 - 22:31
Sea Without a Shore

I close my eyes
And enter a sea without a shore
What need, then, do I have for a compass?
Can I ever sail in the wrong direction?

Categories: Aikido

The Full Moon

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 00:57
The Full Moon

The full moon
Rising in a clear night sky
So simple, so beautiful

The full moon
Rising in a clear night sky
So simple, so beautiful

Categories: Aikido