“Dojo is family. Dojo is life. Dojo is tribe. Dojo is
community. Dojo is clan. Dojo is humanity.”
The dojo is a place where you go to reclaim yourself and fortify moral integrity. The body-mind connection and the practicing of tranquility in the midst of intense activity and challenge is the primordial original state which gives rise to patterns of life giving harmony and consciousness.
Such a fully dynamic meditation is Aikido.
I really appreciate students who give notice that they cannot attend on any given day. It helps to forward plan class effectively and thereby their growth into aiki. The casual attendance portrayed in some dojos is not worth the dignity of a comment. That’s not Aikido, but merely a form of social entertainment when there’s nothing interesting on TV. Not good enough. Certainly not Budo.
Conversely, the dojo junkie who sacrifices real life much like the gym junkie seeking an escape from meeting real life, is not worth much either.
Aikido exists to augment, enhance and improve the fundamental quality of life. When you add value, add harmony and add love to any challenge, things change.
It ceases to be a fight and becomes a dance of universal energy in motion. If you can’t take this gain into life, you are training for nothing. Hopefully you can at least train to resolve your own unresolved violent tendencies.
A couple of years ago I had a family emergency requiring me to be mostly absent from the dojo for several months. The seniors took over and served as if there had been no gap. A battlefield commission if you will. That’s REAL! That’s INTEGRITY PLUS! It means a lot.
They held the fort. These are the qualities that would emerge in more serious circumstances; and these are the qualities that have seen us through as a species over millions of years. And that’s why we still exist.
Compare this with some past events where a few grubby, petty pilfering attempts at a takeover of the dojo by corporate idiots who thought they could capitalize using an artificially big-noted junior without any budo foundations whatsoever; and other such other such machinations. Of course the underhanded greed collapsed and failed. Everyone lost. The self-serving make themselves extinct.
The dojo did not lose. I simply found one person again, as with my original debut in passing on Aikido to the world. And began again, only better.
That one person attracted others of even higher caliber. Everyone gained, everyone won, themselves!
As the fates would have it, this year, many of the students are having in-the-world challenges precluding them from training as much as they would like.
Today, I’m holding the fort.
We watch each others’ backs, we band of brothers…
The dojo evokes so many areas of possibility where your true courage, no matter how quiet it may appear, can be made to shine forth from you centre of centres.
A dojo is much, much more than a dull place where you go to repeat dull rote “techniques” blindly and without question, then go home feeling good about yourself and mentally masturbating over some noble-samurai myth fantasies of your supposed ability.
A true warrior is not such a narcissist, but a PROTECTOR OF LIFE ACTIVE IN THE WORLD!
A dojo is a place of moral integrity, of service to others, of care, of nurture and of protection in facing challenges converting them into genuine harmony. So when the world throws up its, “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..” or opportunities to serve the greater good, whether in your career or any other way, you will be better prepared to face them, and shine forth, winning by converting the attrition into harmony so that the whole world wins.
Otherwise please do not consider that you are practicing anything at all resembling Budo of any kind; and certainly not Aikido.
If you run a dojo merely as, “a business” in the hope of profiteering from prostituting the art for a buck, then shame on you. That is not Budo. Get a job. There’s better money to be made selling real estate.
A dojo is an oasis of the spirit.
Treat it as such and watch the real and powerful human dramas that it will evoke to test your integrity, your inner fortitude, your character, your fidelity and your personal power to harmonize in and all around you all the time, notwithstanding the attrition of challenges and storms.
To empower you under fire!
THIS is how you learn to navigate the Cosmos. Not by roting basics blindly in exchange for a buck.
Dojo is family. Dojo is life. Dojo is tribe. Dojo is community. Dojo is clan. Dojo is humanity.
The living waters of harmonized ki that then spring forth, by the invisible radiance innate in the fabric of existence Itself shining outwardly, nourish the spirit of the world, all life and humanity!