Monday, November 28, 2011

Dojo Storm

A fellow steps into a message board thread and asks, "Suppose a guy and some of his friends walk into your dojo and occupy it, preventing your group's practice. What would you do?" Given the venue, the implied question is "How will you reclaim your dojo with your peaceful practice of Aikido?"

A few people responded predictably, playing into this fellow's hands. Responses were challenged by his friends, asserting that those responses were inadequate, in violation of Aikido principles, or faulty in some other way. The respondents regrouped and reconsidered, and their refinements were similarly and summarily dismissed.

It wasn't clear that anyone in the situation--to include the questioner--was aware of what was occurring... but when it is presented like this, perhaps you believe that you can see it? Go ahead: try to explain it in your own words to me here. Expose what I expect is your ignorance and subject yourself to my staff. We are all waiting...



Pay attention! This is not a trivial matter at all; rather, it is at the core of each and every one of our Sword Mountain practices. Do you make a distinction between hoodlums raiding your dojo, a live blade tracing across your throat, a training partner grabbing your wrist, or a Zen master asking for your understanding? Do you know the one thing that simultaneously puts a traffic jam in motion, answers the unending stream of a toddler's Why?'s, survives the blade cutting you in two, and watches a single cherry blossom fall in the middle of a blizzard? If so, tell me. Answer now from your own center!

When our practice is dead on the vine, we go through the motions, losing sight of the true dojo, the true zendo, our true selves, and our ultimate opponent. But this is precisely your opportunity to resurrect. Take one clean step from the mud and tar in the direction of your choice. Leave no trace. Let no wind move you...

... not even this one.

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