Wow. Major problem. I almost finished, and my post disappeared. It would have been amazing ;-), but you’ll have to make do with what I remember. It said it was saving, but if it did I can’t find it. So here goes.
First of all, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.
It has been an eventful year. We started off with a big dojo and going deeper and deeper into the red. We are ending up with a smaller dojo but almost breaking even. If we had a couple more full memberships, we’d be actually breaking even. So tell your friends. Drag them along. Three free lessons! If they don’t try it, they won’t know if they like it.
Thanks to everybody that helped with the new dojo and transporting the excess mats to the barn. Now that we have all the legalities sorted out, I can actually surplus the mats and free up the barn. For a while, I thought I was going to have to build a new dojo in the barn.
With the smaller space, we could not fit in a seminar, so we rented the Sanddrift Aikikai space. We had a good spring seminar. In the fall, we didn’t have a full seminar, but had a cookout/cross training at the farm. That was fun too, and it is important not to only practice in one environment.
So another year has come to an end. In the new year, we should think about the last year, how things went, and what we want to work on in the next. The syllabus was developed to ensure that each student was taught all aspects of aikido. The early kyu ranks are pretty easy tests. The middle kyu ranks have a lot of techniques. The high kyu ranks are about putting it all together. So by shodan a student should pretty much know all the techniques from all the attacks in aikido.
After shodan, students need to work on applying techniques, how to make them work in any situation, on any attacker. After that, they need to work on transcending the techniques. Techniques are necessary for teaching and learning. They make sense out of chaos. But what was Musashi’s book 5? The Book of the Void.
While the syllabus covers pretty much everything, each of us has things we need to work on, things that are particularly challenging. Some of us are strong, but because of injury or old age, we lose strength, and need to work on technique for when we lose strength, or when it isn’t enough. Some of us don’t extend enough. Some of us need to pay more attention to foot position. Some of us need to work on staying centered, physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of us have things we can improve that are outside of the syllabus.
But most of all, we need to practice. I tell students that their first priority should be family, then work, than aikido. Because if your family is not happy they will put all sorts of obstacles in the way of your practice. If you don’t have a job, you probably can’t come to class – you won’t have transportation to get there. We do get students that just pick it up naturally, and do well, then they disappear. Sometimes they repeat this, but usually when they find that the people who were not doing so well but kept practicing are now better than them, and they don’t like that. So do come to class, and do so regularly.