“Wheat, Tares and Chaff,” by Nev Sagiba

“One a day a tough biker from one of the mean clubs with a reputation, very humbly approached me thinking I was going to ban him on sight.”

I don’t set out to laboriously screen candidate students who apply to train. The Universe does it for me.

If they find the dojo, (” ..the first test Grasshopper,”) it shows they mean to train. Many never show up and most I never know about.

After that, the training sorts them out. For obdurate bad attitudes I have a few “old sensei tricks,” to help discourage and test along the way. My dojo is not a financial venture so there are no qualms.

One a day a tough biker from one of the mean clubs with a reputation, very humbly approached me thinking I was going to ban him on sight as happened at another dojo. To all means and purposes he showed a respectful attitude. Particularly when he, during the interview confessed that he belonged to the biker club and had in fact been sent by his sergeant at arms, because,“Aikido is the best because Steven Seagal does it..”

In class we danced. Mainly randori for about three weeks. And I rambled about O’Sensei’s philosophy whilst catching our breath in between bouts. It was soft cardio with lots of flowing. Day in, day out. Non stop. That was the programme for that season of training.

Then the dear fellow approached me again and said,”I don’t mean any disrespect sir, but I’m sore all over.”

I told him that was normal and would go away after a few weeks. He bravely persisted and whilst with us a model student with impeccable manners towards everyone.

A week later he meekly and respectfully approached me again, “Sir.. ahh, sensei, I can’t keep this up. This business of multiple attack, I don’t get it. When we (bikers) fight, we gang up and outnumber them with chains and knives and guns and f@*& the other gang up. This business is weird to me. And my body can’t take it any more. I hope you won’t hold it against me sir, but I’ve decided to leave.”

“Not at all,” I replied. “You gave it your best shots. Were you to persist, the training will change you over time. But keep in mind that one day you may be walking alone when a rival gang sees the opportunity.”

“Never gunna happen..” he growled wistfully. He shook my hand respectfully and I never saw him again. Well, almost never, for each time I was in town and he saw me coming he would duck into the nearest lane or shop and bolt.

No idea why. I certainly retained my goodwill. Perhaps there are other codes. And perhaps some of my ramblings about Morihei Ueshiba’s codes of conduct may have rubbed off along with the sore muscles. Who knows?

“.. a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty..”

Nev Sagiba


  1. Congratulations, Nev Sensei, I often read your articles and comments, and although I do not always agree with some of your points of view, I have great respect for you without knowing you personally, but I think enough through your words. I often mention you and I make a comment in the group of practitioners that I am in charge of.

    I leave you with a respectful greeting
    (sorry by my english)
    Gustavo Romano – 3th Dan
    Federación Aikikai Argentina
    Aikikai Foundation

  2. I like Nev Sagiba’s articles, and hope to read more.


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