“Moments to Strike: How Does Your Style Say It?,” by Matthew Apsokardu

“Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

All martial arts are like paths up the mountain. They begin in different places and wind upward in their own unique way. Yet, as you get closer and closer to the top, there are more points of intersection. Eventually, all styles converge as one at the very peak.”

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  1. I have been to the summit of Pike’s Peak twice. The first time, I went with my dad when he had meetings at the Broadmoore hotel. We took the cog-wheel tram to the top. I saw a snow patch along the way, then another, and more and more as we ascended the mountain. Growing up in Miami, the white sploches on the face of Pike’s Peak mystified and excited me; I had never seen snow. It was more than sixty degrees in Colorado Springs, but when we arrived at the peak, it was a blinding blizzard. The snow on the ground was icy, but I didn’t really know the difference then. Without being able to see our hands in front of our faces, we couldn’t see the land at all, much less from the perspective of Katharine Lee Bates when she wrote, “America the Beautiful.”

    Years later, during the summer after my junior year of high school, I can remove the complete excitement of first seeing snow and elaborate from a more “down-to-earth” perspective. I attended what the Air Force Academy called its “Summer Science Seminar,” in which 400 about-to-be high school seniors stayed in the USAFA barracks and went to several classes each day. Toward the end, people who wanted to could take a minivan ride up Pike’s Peak. I felt a bit selfish calling shotgun (front seat), but only the driver and I could (had to) see the perilous road ahead. This time we got to the summit on a clear day. Then I knew exactly what inspired that great American song. There was a feeling I hadn’t had before as I walked through the tourist trap site and had the best doughnut of my life. I felt peace up there, and I think everyone else did too, whether they had hiked, driven, or taken the cog-wheel. I am not certain how much of my own feelings I was projecting, but there was certainly a feeling of harmony among campers, adults, and even the employees, if not even love. We were all in the same place, no matter how we had gone up a face of the mountain. I think we felt comaraderie at our mutual humanity and destination. Or maybe those doughnuts were just that damn good.

  2. …fun stuff. it’s also in Musashi. might be the same mountain, but have a feeling that when you get there the clouds will be pretty thick and you might have a hard time seeing if there’s anybody else at that elevation.

  3. Sorry.

    Will not buy the shallow notion that there is but one mountain, even as I decry the silly notion that our earth is the only one with intelligent (?) life.

    The whole purpose for a personal search is simply that, a personal odyssey, without any need to reference the attempts by any other, or to be defined by such comparisons.

    As long as personal achievement is based on dubiously necessary comparisons to others, the genius of that individual dies, for arbitrary and whimsical limits have been prematurely placed

    I look at the Founder for confirmation that his was a journey unique to his inner muse, and deserves to be credited with unconditional ownership of his Aikido.

    It is up to me to take his example to heart, and continue my individual quest for very own “aikido”, or for whatever I decide to call it.

    You do as you will.

    Best wishes.

  4. takahashi san,

    Maybe more people than you realize believe there is life on other planets. Unless we ever meet these extra terrestrials of, say, 300 human intelligence quotients, we are the most intelligent species in existence. And I even just watched the movie, “Signs,” an hour ago. I find it sad that you accidentally allude to one of the most famous epics in the history of literature, “The Odyssey,” then continue with, “without any need to reference the attempts by any other…” After reading that, even if you had something important to say, there is no way I could take it seriously.

  5. Mr. Gardner.

    Suffice to know that my words were not meant for such as yourself. I gladly will do without your dubious approval.

    I still wish you the best in your own search for Aiki.

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