Brian Kagen pick:”The Dojo and the Way” by Jeff Broderick

“The moment I step into the dojo, I change. In fact, the change begins even before I set foot inside. As I walk to the dojo, perhaps limping a little bit due to some new, random pain in my foot, or ankle, or knee, hunched over slightly, looking at the ground a few paces in front and lost in thought, my mind graduallly starts to clear; my sightline raises up until I’m looking forward. My spine straightens; I begin walking with purpose, ignoring the nagging pains in my stride. I start breathing from deep in my belly.

I open the door to the dojo, careful to do it without making much noise. I remove my shoes, place them carefully on the rack, and step in. Feet together, I bow to the kamiza. I walk silently to the change room. I remove my street clothes, fold them, and place them in a neat pile – something I wouldn’t even bother to do in my own home. I put on my training clothes, careful to tie all the knots properly, smoothing the pleats in front, adjusting the ties so that everything is worn properly. All this time, my mind is getting clearer, my breathing is getting deeper, my field of vision becoming broader.

I re-enter the dojo, and bow to Sensei. I greet all the others in the dojo with courtesy and a smile. I am always paying close attention to what others are doing – not only for obvious reasons of safety, but alert for the possibility that I might be missing something due to the language barrier, or just from being lost in my own thoughts. I try to be considerate of everyone.”

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  1. What a nice and well written article, it made me think about my own attitudes, postures, etc

  2. bruce baker says:

    What a delusional … self-centered … welcome to Disney-land attitude of imagination and self-hypnosis this is ..

    It’s not that we don’t all do it, and that we don’t want an escape of our pains, our daily lives, and the attempt to be better human beings, but I can NOT stress enough … you have to integrate what you practice into yourself and your daily life until there is no magic doorway, no illusion of this dream, no difference between the world outside the dojo and the practice inside the dojo.

    If this is the transition to that process … fine … I like it. But if this is you illusionary goal of what Aikido is … you will be disappointed when you faint from pain when you body reminds your brain who is in control of the life that forces that allow that brain to think and to have thoughts.

    It is a symbiotic agreement of mind and body, and you MUST learn to integrate the reality into the illusions you have built up in your mind.

    I agree, this article exposes the transition stages to learning how to integrate the reality into one’s life … but this comment, this blog is the early stages of a hard-headed SOB just beginning to realize there is more to Aikido than the physical exercise, the martial arts practice … but remember … it is the early stages of realization how to integrate the lessons into one’s everyday life.

    I do give credit for having an epiphany … but I take points away for writing it in such as way as to delude people into thinking … this fantasy is a goal of any kind. It is just a piece of the larger puzzle, a short piece of road of the longer journey.

  3. I’m told that in his old age O Sensei came to the dojo with difficulty, but was different on the mat. Possibly the challenge I see is to take the dojo into the world. Why should your posture, for instance, be any different on the street than on the mat? I can’t count the number of times I’ve perceived and avoided things that looked like potential trouble. Is that because I’m a coward? Or is it just a question of choosing problems for myself, rather than daring them to happen as I pass by? Once upon a time Bob Nadeau said something to the effect of ‘you can train anywhere; walking down the street’. Personally I think it’s an excellent idea and part of how aikido actually works in applied situations.

  4. Personally, I enjoyed this article very much. I also concur with Mr. Warren’s comments. Basically what this is alluding to is personal commitment and responsibility.

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