“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…