“Modulate,” by Nev Sagiba

“Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.”

“The things that work can’t be practiced.” Oh, really?

Go to any sports fighting manual and there are pages and pages of banned techniques, the things that work. Practice these. The sport stuff is good for sport.

Budo’s aim is to offer valid protection in the face of serious attrition. To practice Budo safely you will have to tone down or modulate your power, tempo and speed, forget about ego and proving and set about learning and improving. Helping each other.

If you don’t have this attitude you cannot practice Budo. More so Aiki Budo, the Aikido jujutsu that works.

Problem is most young men want to train “hard,” but end up injuring themselves because they foster the illusion of being “the best in the world.” An all or nothing approach is self defeating. Excess of zeal causes injuries and can deplete vital reserves needed for recovery and balance.

Old athletes often stop training and become unhappy because they still want to compete. In their mind they still want to contend. But it not about contest rather improving. To be the best that you can be for today is an attitude well worth fostering. There are other, more valuable things that are learnt on the Way of Budo than playing catchup in fighting, rather maintenance, caring, nurturing and protection of life and core values.

Your own mind is a powerful thing. It can make you or break you and it’s never too late for anything. Small steps towards any worthwhile goal will make changes. Persistence is the key. Every day input what you can and you will see results. Tempus fugit. You can never claim back lost time. Don’t use the past as an excuse to miss out on your future while you have time in credit. Even if tomorrow is your last day you can achieve a lot in 24 hours, even 12.

If you want to make a splash in the world then create! Give to society. Serve. Learn humility. Learn to do a day’s work without whining. Irimi is now! Step forward while you still can. Not tomorrow. Right this minute. That’s how you make change.

Over many years I’ve watched the hard trainers. They are great in a hall with kids, women and geeks. They really push their weight around. In the street, most run and the rest die.

So much for “hard training.” Anyone can train “hard” with smaller and weaker opponents, but in real life they are usually bigger, stronger, more of than one and armed. What then?

Smart training is something else altogether.

You will need all the Aiki strategies you can muster! So it’s not a bad idea to discover what applied aiki really is. That takes work. Input. Frequency of training. And a clear mind.

Smart training relies on absolute, impeccable honesty and respect practicing the dangerous in a safe way as if you will one day need it to save the lives of those you love.

This is how Budo originated. This attitude. This is why the true Budoka you meet are mostly gentle people of good manners. What works can end you in jail and they would rather not go there if they can help it.

The so called “street” or any field of real battle is brutal, ugly, deadly. No compromise can exist.

If you are not training to live then you are training to die. This is Budo, not dance sport. You have to decide which it is you are practicing. And then modulate. Otherwise it will be impossible to continue training.

As with all progressive training methods you can gradually up the ante. It will “up” itself without it often being noticed if your primary focus is safety and respect but you train daily and sincerely. Casual training does not bear the dignity of an acknowledgement. Casual training is not Budo, but hypocrisy, and lying to yourself.

In the matter of Budo you have to make a decision: Are you serious?

If not arrange flowers or make yoghurt. That’s a discipline too.

As a true Budoka it is your duty, imperative to nurture kids, women and geeks so that they are offered an opportunity to match your level or hopefully surpass it. You do not bully the weak. Especially in a dojo.

A hall is not a dojo. Service, nurture, care and respect in the face of attrition denotes the true dojo. If these are lacking its just a hall where thugs meet to add to the bullying and victimizing game the world already knows too well. Budo, especially Aiki Budo is the cure for this already globally entrenched disease. It does not need reinforcing.

Sport is one thing, Budo something else altogether. Budo protects the boundaries of moral integrity and justice in the world, beginning at home!

To understand Budo and the essence inside Aikido you must practice the dangerous stuff safely and with respect for life.

To make the dangerous stuff safe: Modulate!

Nev Sagiba


  1. Francisco de los Cobos says:

    Great material and very well laid out, thanks for taking the time to write about important subjects.

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