“Aikido: The Art of Peace” by Gaia Thurston-Shaine

“In September the sun slid into the dojo through the western windows as we began Aikido class and the red light of sunset was reflected in the mirrors as we ended. We opened all the windows and welcomed the cool breeze against our sweaty skin and flushed faces. In February I struggled to keep my hat and socks on as long as possible in the drafty women’s changing room, then ran to the mat and let the industrial-style heater blow my hair back and warm my toes. Now it is March and a short warm spell allows us to imagine the day when we will be opening the windows again.

Regardless of the season, we start class promptly at 6pm, a row of white practice uniforms and dark blue hakamas kneeling silently in a line. We face the kamiza, an alcove in the wall where a picture of the founder, known as O’Sensei, or “Great Teacher,” hangs next to Japanese calligraphy and above a set of wooden weapons. We bow towards the kamiza then to our own instructor, who studied with those who were students of O’Sensei.”

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  1. Was talking with Aidan’s football doctor the other day. In his youth he was a champion wrestler. He no longer competes, but he’s still a wrestler. “Do”, as I understand it, can translate to something like “Way of life”. For me, of course, “Do” is aikido. At class in Pleasant Hill Park yesterday ran across Linda Villareal (if I remember her last name correctly). 25 years ago we were both studying at Turk St. She made nidan before “graduating” into the world. She came to say hello to our bokken and only at close range recognized me; “Do”.

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