Thursday, 16 October 2014

uphill

hey you, it's been a while.

unfortunately, this time it isn't because things have been going swimmingly. instead, the last few months have been a very trying time for various reasons. of particular significance has been the lost of two key foundations in my life.

my primary aikido sensei had retired from the dojo, which was then accompanied by some national level politicking, ultimately leading to my departure from the dojo. a few weeks later, i received a phone call one evening that my systema instructor had died.

boom.

it has been a tough time for everyone involved, including myself. certainly not the way i had hoped it would turn out, but i sort of became the de facto instructor of the systema school, although regular attendance has been expectedly limited. feeling torn between keeping the school going as well as my pursuing my own development, i have been in limbo.........

****

i stared writing the former half of this post a week or so ago, but then had a bit of interlude after some interruptions, and a few things have moved around since then.

to some degree, the things that i raised remain, but yet, others have shifted somewhat. i'm not quite ready to announce some of these changes yet, as like the spring weather now, things seem to be quite in a state of flux, and conditions vary so much from day to day.

hopefully my next post would be a little more upbeat, and perhaps not so long in between. ciao for now.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Sparring insight

Self-pity and pride. What a weird duo. Who would've though that these two were the most prominent states of mind I would get into when I'm getting beat up. Huh.

Friday, 9 May 2014

the mechanism behind 'learn and forget'

i write this before i forget. but time and time again, i remember the saying to "learn and forget! learn and forget!" certainly at least in the context of my aikido/martial arts training. having come up with some basic assumptions in the past about it being about developing motor memory and reflex movements etc., my recent foray into the study and experience of 'focusing', my understanding has somewhat deepened/grown/expanded.

i can see/feel/sense now that this "learning and forgetting" in the context of budo, is beyond just developing the automatic reflexes of a particular set of muscles, but a much more intricate process/web of interconnections of what we typically now describe as the 'mind' and 'body'. if we are processes with physical manifestations, instead of mere physical objects/containers that process, it makes sense for the learning to be 'absorbed' into this larger web of process, and later (earlier?) emerge as appropriate.

this is a really exciting discovery for me, in much more ways than one. this feels like the missing link to my giant puzzle set that potentially glues everything together. my words here may not be sufficient to describe or explain what i'm speaking about, but i hope it captures at least a small datum of my 'finding'. i hope this is the key for me to trust and enter into this larger process that is the part/whole of 'me'.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

frenemy

i am my most powerful ally.

i am my worst enemy.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

slow learner

it has occurred to me that whilst i am an impatient person in some ways, i can be somewhat patient when it comes to my martial and spiritual development. more interestingly, both aspects appear to have similar patterns of growth--the most apparent being the sudden spikes of 'insight' with long plateaus in between.
when observed closely, these spikes do not appear to occur quite that suddenly. initially, mini-spikes appear along the plateau, that come so infrequently and faintly that they appear to simply flight of fancies, akin to the reflections off the gossamer silk of a spider's web.

however, these spurts slowly appear a little more frequently, and a little more solidly--but still, they arrive on their own volition, dismissing my invitations and pleas. however, after some months or even years, they become regular guests, and you wonder if they have ever been truly absent before.

illustrating with my physical development; when i first saw people like Martin Wheeler do incredulous acrobatic feats, i wonder about the sheer impossibility of their movements. nonetheless, being the stubborn person that i am, i continued doing little exercises over a numbers of months--and sometimes literally years--before seemingly out of the blue, i can finally do some things that i thought were impossible. these movements remain work in progress and continue to require a lot more polishing, but i am slowly getting there. but gee whiz, it literally takes years to develop some of these things... but it can happen!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

easter camp 2014

just returned from the annual Easter Gasshuku in Canberra a few days ago. feeling sore, but less so than expected. as i haven't been training with the AKI folks for a while, i tend to get super exhausted whenever i train with them, but surprisingly, i've kept up this year. and best of all, no injuries--woo hoo!

helped out as uke for a few of the big gradings, up to yondan. also got to train directly with a few of the bigwigs, up to godan and rokudan. always great to train with these really senior guys to have a bit of a reality check. and unlike a lot of other schools where grades tend to be overinflated, these guys are actually good--so it's really worthwhile. ;)

after several years now, i'm glad to report that i feel like i'm starting to fit in now with this group--socially as well as ability-wise. because they've always appeared to be a very tight-knit group, i've always felt like an outsider, and kept to myself during the gasshuku. this year, i took a bit of a chance and chatted with a few of them more, and it felt good. similarly, when i attend the seminars, i always feel a little out of depth watching and feeling what some of them can do, and this year, i felt like i was finally matching up somewhat.

most surprising of all is how receptive they seem to be when they ask about the systema that i'm doing. previously it was more kinda ignored or brushed off, i think there is some more respect or acknowledgement of that now--not that it really matters, but it's interesting nonetheless.

flipside is being a little more chatty, i'm more up-to-date with the goss and politics, which i generally prefer to stay clear of... anyhow, a very skilled yondan is moving down to Melbourne soon--yeah!--which means i might get a chance to train with him a bit more. that'll be really cool.

Friday, 11 April 2014

intuition or delusion?

a couple of weekends ago, I had a PT (private training) session with Jim from RAW. Jim is a great guy, with a lot of skills and experience in fighting and martial arts. He teaches reality-based self-defense (RBSD) amongst a host of other killer stuff. I've known him for a while, and have great respect and fondness for him, but have not attended his classes regularly due to my commitment to aikido and systema. Nonetheless, I bought a few PTs from him last year for charity, and have been spreading them out over a few months.

so the last PT I had with him was to be a bit of an 'assessment', as I thought it would be a good idea to have someone whom I respect, and yet who comes from a completely different paradigm, have a look at what I can--or can't--do in regard to martial application. long story short, the session turned out quite different to what I had in mind, and whilst I didn't quite get what I was hoping to, it raised some other equally as important thoughts and issues.

without going into too much detail, Jim obviously has his differences of opinion in regard to the applicability of my martial knowledge, and I appreciate his POV--and to some extent, I agree that if I were to actually get into a nasty situation, I may very well get clobbered to death with the little that I know. Nonetheless, after deep reflection, I still feel that aikido and systema--at least at this phase of my journey--is still the best vehicle for me. I can feel the palpable joy and 'rightness' when I attend my aikido and systema training, regardless of its application. well to be fair, I better clarify that this inner conflict is probably in relation to systema as I have stopped considered aikido (at least as they way I train it) to be martially applicable for a while now.

is this my intuition speaking? or is it simply self-delusion? i can see both points of views, yet i do not feel compelled to alter my course--or at least not to this other path as such. it has however, highlighted something else that i have been striving for now for some time in both arts. no, self-defense and fighting have never been the goal. it is something else, and after last week's focusing session, it has become crystal clear. too bad the path there isn't quite as simple to figure out.