Thursday, 24 March 2016

look again

it's been several months since my martial arts pilgrimage to North America, and i've had some time to process my then-freshly earned insight. it is interesting to note how how once routine sets back in, the mind follows as well. i recall over the last few months, working with doubts and ambivalence about my journey's direction, and whether what i discovered, was truly what i felt. even now as i type this, i am aware that my felt-sense is not as clear as it was. nonetheless, it certainly feels stronger and firmer, that getting to the top of the budo mountain is not for me. i have neither the interest nor chemistry to get there. i still thoroughly enjoy the training, but it has became evident to me that the goal i thought i had, was not truly my goal.

well, what bloody is my goal then? good question.

i'm not quite sure what the answer is. :)

for better or worse, i seem to have start my search again. yup, CP and i have started doing some gardening, which i find myself enjoying quite a bit--but i don't think i'm quite ready to toss in my boxing gloves for the gardening gloves just yet. work, whilst satisfying, is not my passion. there is not really anything outside that i particularly feel drawn to. perhaps that is a clue for me to search inside?

yet, this form of 'internal' work, is painstakingly slow and imprecise. what seems obvious and clear one moment, can be completely nebulous and ridiculous then next. will the search ever result in a single, complete answer? or is it an ever-evolving process? does it matter? if not, what then?

just live as is? well, that's absurd.

ah, whatever the case maybe, i guess i'll just keep on looking, and be grateful for my experiences thus far.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

systema peer training Jan 2016

a snippet of what we did last weekend. to be honest, we didn't manage to record the good bits, but at least it gives a sample of what we sometimes do. :)


Thursday, 19 November 2015

expand, then unbow...

this post might not make sense to most of you, but it is more of a self-prompt for me at this stage of my aiki/IP training.

in the last couple of months, i've been working to get that feeling of expanding in 6 (or all) directions all the time, including when with a partner. after a rough start, that seems to become a little more automatic now... maybe with a 50-60%  hit-rate. from past history of my progress, it may take another year or so of regular training before it becomes about 70-80% i reckon.

however, whilst i've been focusing on that aspect, i've been forgetting to other important aspect of training, which is the bowing and unbowing bit. the last couple of sessions we've been working on some techniques including those aspects, and i had to consciously remind myself quite a bit to get that happening. i think i'm going to have focus on this aspect very actively until at least March/April next year, to get that happening a bit more naturally. then maybe i can start turning on the rotation part of the work.

this spiral stuff is coming along slowly but surely... ahh, this is both painful and enjoyable... ;)

okok, anyways reminder to self: expand then un/bow....

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

quick update

it's been a while since my last post. thought i might give a quick update on how things are going...

generally, i would say that things are going well in my life. some minor issues here and there, but everything seems to be going in the right direction. it's still work in progress for sure, and i need to keep my eye on the game, otherwise it's easy to fall back to old habits, but so far so good i suppose.

re: my martial arts training--my aiki/IP training is chugging along well under my tutelage with Simon sensei. Although it is clearly aikido flavoured, rather than just 'pure' aiki/IP work, i doubt that i would be able to make as much as progress without his guidance. good shit. i just hope he gets a chance to train with Dan Harden one day, and then pass along the gems! i don't think i have the capacity to absorb as much as Simon can at this stage.

with systema, i seem to be on track with broadening my horizons, whilst reducing my desire to achieve. i'm not sure if that makes a tangible difference in my movements, but it feels like it's going alright. :) happy to have a few people i get to train with fairly regularly--though it'd be nice to get a proper, regular group up and running. i'm still reluctant to start up a formal group/class--i get the sense that i'm waiting... not sure for whom, or what, but waiting for 'something' to happen, and then jump on that. i dunno, but if i was betting man, i'd say i was waiting for the right teacher to appear, but i'm just getting myself ready in the meantime.

oh btw, attended a short seminar with Jamie Robson last night, organised by a local systema club. i didn't what to expect when i got there, but i enjoyed it i must say. i didn't mind the more combatives type stuff, but really appreciated the more fundamental, infant body movement work. i also like the idea of appreciating the growth in doing any tasks or drills, rather than mastering the task or drill as such.

aside from that, we've been busy playing 'house'... we've starting making a piece of furniture from scratch and have ideas for a couple more. we've also been venturing out into doing some container gardening. fun times. :)



Tuesday, 29 September 2015

hunny, i'm home!

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water." This is probably my favourite quote ever. One that keeps giving and giving. :)

I've gone on my pilgrimage and returned. In fact, I've returned for some weeks now, but have been engaging in some R&R, and catching up on life. I left with questions, and came back with different insights, which have left the initial questions null anyway.

So much to say, but nothing much to say really. After meeting these two men who are arguably at the peak of their respective worlds, it gave me an appreciation of my own little place in the world. There is no rush. I may, or may never, be anywhere close to where these men have gotten to, but it matters not. I am where I need to be.

"It is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free." -- Krishnamurti

how all these cliched sayings say so little, yet say so much. it is wonderful how the significance and meaning of all these change depending on the exact context and moment when it is contacted upon.

it is quite freeing to realise that after all these years--after almost 10 years of dedicating, and almost marrying, myself to this path, i was finally reminded that it was never meant to be that way. a vehicle is abandoned after its purpose is met. has my budo completed its journey? no i don't believe so. but when the time comes, i can and will leave it with an open heart. and that my friends, is an incredible thing for me to say. of all people, i would have dismiss this talk as hogwash if i only had read this post a couple of months ago.

personal insight aside, i just want to make a quite comment that Dan Harden certainly deserves the reputation that he has. he's a really bubbly, and extremely knowledgeable budo exponent, whom is just so overwhelming in all different ways. most importantly, his ability to manifest what he says, into an actual, tangible, palpable event seems to stand out the most. oh, not to mention is passion and ability to teach it as well. but more on that another time.

Vlad interesting enough, seems to be one of the happiest, and most contented person i've met. he doesn't seem to take things too seriously--just enough, just right. a wonderful, delicate balance--both in life, and in martial application. one of the more ironic and paradoxical turns that i've noticed as well is how my initial view of aikido as the pacificist, peaceful art, and systema as it's dirty, street version, has now completely swapped roles. aiki-do is now the full-on, intense martial way, whilst systema is a more universal, global force of inner peace. ha! take that for a bit of a paradigm shift.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

off to see the wizards

i'm not sure if i've already spoken about this before, but at any rate, this time tomorrow, i'll be on a flight to North America for arguably the biggest budo pilgrimage in my life. for the first half of my trip, i'll finally come to meet the infamous Dan Harden--the reputed god amongst men in terms of martial prowess. i've heard and read so much about Dan, that i'm not sure if nothing less seeing him split the Red Sea would impress me. that said, perhaps feeling his aiki first-hand would finally put the rest the doubts and wonderings i have about the said phenomenon. we'll see. the time is coming very close now.

after two weeks of slogging it out developing aiki, i'll take a relatively short flight to Toronto, where i'll meet yet another martial giant--Vladimir Vasiliev. i'm not sure my mind, body, or spirit, would be able to absorb so much experience from two very [seemingly] distinct worlds in such a short space of time, but i'm certainly getting moist thinking about it!

one way or the other--for better of for worse, this trip is going to be a game changer for me, i feel. perhaps i'm willing it to be so; to make some sort of decisive determination of where i go from here. even if i return to status quo, then i will do so with a quiet mind--not one wrestling with doubts and questions. well, is that necessarily a bad thing? ahh--there it goes again. let's see what happens over the coming weeks, and what happens. no point presupposing too much at this time. what will be will be.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

training with Simon 22/6/15

second training session since the gasshuku with Bill sensei. we spent almost the first half working on super basics, i.e. pulling silk/6-directions, and testing stability. not easy at all, but important. in fact, it is the very foundation of all aiki/IP type work.

struggled with the exercise of raising the arms without firing the deltoids. not quite sure how that works yet, but we were working that. followed that with some aiki-age, exercises from ryote-dori, with focus on not firing the deltoids... with little success.

then expanding in six-directions whilst held in katatedori. i forgot several key principles, namely shooting my intent far and wide, as well as causing/using the polarity of yin-yang at the contact point. whilst i had some successes, they were pretty hit and miss at this point, with little awareness about what i do, or not do, that makes it work. it reminds me of my earlier days in Systema, where some of my punches were heavy, and some weren't.

practised receiving shomen uchi strike, with an aiki-based shomen uchi response. progressed that into an irimi nage. remembering to not harmonise with uke, but in fact, make uke harmonise with me--or the aiki. finally, had some struggle with the finish, which Simon pointed out the change in how we 'unbow' the arms now. previously 'unbowing' was akin to movement along a sliding track, now, there was a slight arc, and forward projection of the elbow, but that it had to remain pointed up/down.

Addendum: I forgot to mention that intent needs to be sent out via the palms, while simultaneously back from the elbows to produce the sticky feeling on the forearms--its value particularly obvious for the shomen uchi receiving exercise. Very important.