"To be alive beneath cherry blossoms"

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.
-Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)

The warmer weather has finally arrived in Chicago. I admit that there were times over the past months where I was convinced that we were in for a never-ending winter, and my attitude and physical condition weren’t always the best. But as with many things I’ve learned over the years, with patience and perseverance comes change. Based on the energy I saw at the tests over the weekend, it seems like many of you are being reawakened as well.

To me, the best thing about the return of the warmer weather is that it is a time of renewal and opening. It is the perfect time to look at your training and renew your commitment. Use this change of seasons as a time to challenge yourself. If you come to class two times a week, can you add a third day? Do you avoid Friday night conditioning class? Can you do 30 minutes of daily suburi practice? 

Also challenge yourself to be more present when you are on the mat. Can you learn from a senior student by grabbing one of them immediately to train with? Can you train without stopping?  Can you find one different thing in the dojo to clean and care for? 

Make a commitment to do one thing more than you are doing right now. And then do it.

Not because I am telling you to, but because motivating yourself to do one more thing will have profound results. Of course, by training more, you will get better. You will start to understand the techniques more. You’ll develop physically and be able to train harder. But the benefit is more than that because Aikido is more than that. By challenging yourself to do more, you will suddenly realize that you can do more. You may leave the dojo exhausted, frustrated, exhilarated, or confused, but you will also leave more focused, more accomplished and more connected than you were when you walked in. Through training, you will find a brighter, more open version of yourself.

7 May 2018