The End to the Experiment

I am officially closing this blog (or simply letting it die out). 

Two things:

1.) In the first week of September I had invited my master teacher (my immediate supervisor) to my Facebook. Unawares to me I had linked up this blog to my Facebook account. It wasn’t until two hours after I had accepted her invitation that I realized she was going to read this post. I quickly deleted the link on my Facebook – but my precautions were too little too late. In a span of 10 hours from the time she read it at 10pm, I was firedfrom my position as student intern.

Basically, I am now an official member of the dooced club. After getting in touch with my program director and after being told that under normal circumstances that student interns would be expelled from the program if given the boot from a principal…I was given a chance to explain my case to her and another high official at my university. Scared and shamed I went to the meeting, but long story short I was given a second chance; with conditions.

Unfortunately that was only the opener.

2.) Recent developments (~ 1 month ago) have deteriorated my standing in the dojo to the point that I have been “asked” to take a 2 week sabbatical from all dojo functions. My title as child instructor has also been taken away until further notice and my position as the community liaison for the dojo is on “indefinite” hold.

No words could describe the shame, distraught, and helplessness that I felt in the week following the meeting when one of the yudansha brought me the news that day. He acted on behalf of the other black belts and my Sensei.

I won’t get into detail in this so much but post-meeting I did remember acting out of line. My actions were cocky, inconsiderate, and not of a 1st kyu – who’s next belt would be black. I will also say that I unintentionally step on some toes – particularly some of the junior sensei – the lower ranking black belts. Fortunately – or unfortunately there were no transgressions done to both of my Sensei (as stated by him when I met him after the first meeting with the yudansha). I have too much respect for my Sensei to do such things, but I guess I am too much of a brat to do the same with the other ones.

I really don’t know what to say at this point. It’s been a week since I met up with my Sensei and although I felt better after our meeting (he did more than simply address what had transpired), I can’t help but feel that I single-handedly brought down the honor of the dojo.

Which brings me back to this blog.

For over a year I’ve chronicled my adventures in the art through my dojo. I’ve laid down some insightful posts…and some not so much (these were more personal in nature and did not pertain to the dojo). I have gained some friends, lost some, gained some more. I have detailed the art’s highlights to the best of my (in)ability and some of its nuances from the view of a rising rank holder.

That being said, the current revelations have made me realize that this blog is no longer an accurate, positive depiction of myself as an emergingaikidoist and as a psudo-representative of my dojo(s) and the teachings of my multiple sensei. It is with a heavy heart to also say that in a way, I have also let you – my few loyal followers – down. There’s a part of me that feels that I should have seen this coming, but in the interest of keeping what I have gained, I suppose I let my ego blind me.

I do plan on continuing to write in some capacity or another. However, I have decided, that in the interest of those parties affected by my intentional and unintentional actions, to close this blog.

When will I start-up again? Probably sometime soon or  sometime long into the future. Who knows, whenever that maybe I feel that my presence and my voice is no longer welcomed at this point.

When I’m allowed back into my dojo, I don’t know what will happen. My situation has been talked about through most of the members and through some of those outside. I feel a lot of emotions at the moment (even almost two weeks after the revelations): anger, shame, sadness, bitterness, etc.

Whatever happens though, I would like to thank those who have followed me since the beginning. Thank you, you made my first foray into theblogsphere memorable and worthwhile experience. It brings me sadness, with a bit of anger that my experiment has ended this way. If any of you are mad, disappointed, weirded (whatever) out at me; please go for it! I have nothing but honesty left. It’s really up to the Universe at this point. If you wish to continue to follow me, please leave a comment below and enter an email address or a medium where in the event that I bring up a blog, I may contact you.

Some of you might be asking “why did you do what you did?”. Without being too open (in the event those parties who are affected read this). The school thing was a professional miscalculation on my part. As for the dojo situation: there are some past mistakes that no matter how much you do to put them behind you, they just keep on coming back to screw things up.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I wish you well in your respective journeys.

Deep thoughts & Directions: Coming out of the ADD Closet

As noted in an earlier post, I it was recently discovery that I had ADD as a child. With reassurances from some in the blogging community I thought I’d go ahead and put a brief history of my life concerning this new revelation. This isn’t the complete cliff notes, but I hope you enjoy the beginning of the journey nonetheless.

As stated, on a visit to a psychiatrist  last month he had determined that as a child I likely went undiagnosed with ADD, otherwise known as Attention Deficit Disorder. I guess this didn’t come too much of a shock to me since as far as I can remember I was always a little off as a child; quiet yet emotional, physically adapt yet unable to academically “fit in” (I did have my scholarly moments). My academics were erratic as best; there were years where I was stellar in K-12; others I was in the dumps with Cs and Ds! (for those not from the USA, it’s kindergarten through 12th grade – ages 5-17).

One year in middle school however, I discovered a saving grace: sports and exercise. That year was the year I was on the cross-country team. Man was it tough! Running three miles for an 8th grader is no walk in the park. However I assumed that was what got my grades up to a 3.9 GPA (stupid French, I only got a B+).

So that was it. The only time my grades ever breached the 3.5 gpa mark. I use to have a 4.0 gpa the first semester of my graduate program but it was since fallen due to subject course load and subject matter. Goddamn.

So there’s my ADD history in short. Nowadays it’s just known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder). Why the scientific community upped the standard of those with this type of existence is beyond me. Just being ADD already carries a badge (of honor or shame depends; I prefer the first) and just being typecast is already something to consider. Anyway, my academic woes didn’t stop at college, I’m still struggling with in my program and in my classroom placements.

That aside, I would like to share this part of myself because of my martial arts history. I did Shaolin Kung Fu for 4 years from 6th – 9th grades. Unfortunately that didn’t end well (different story). My cross-country experience was only for one season – I did it for 8th grade and entered high school being on the team but dropped out in favor of taking an accelerated literature course for freshman (a decision I’ve regretted ever since!).

My attitude towards the classroom has been a bipolar one; either I’m deafly neutral to them or they’ve been the bane of my existence. The only time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a classroom setting has been when I’ve had a great teacher. By “great” I mean “balls-to-the-wall-I-love-teaching-AND-I-know-my-stuff”. I bet that some of you have had teachers who were quite animated and enthusiastic about themselves and their topic(s).

Anyway I digress. So yes, the way to attract my attention in a class was to have an awesome teacher. Otherwise forget it! I’ve off into my own little world, drumming on the desks, daydreams, swinging the legs, etc. If you wanted to get me you’d need to go kinesthetic; that’s academic speak for “activities that involves movement”. Not surprisingly, my cross-country experience and my current forays into Aikido had yield positive results and growth in multiple facets of my life in terms of energy, self-control, self-confidence, self-dignity, and direction (among others).

I won’t get into details as to how to handle ADD/ADHD. I’m not a licensed professional (yet) and am just one guy among many trying to sort out his own craziness. But what I will say is that my journey is one that is riddled with trial and error (with amusing and tragic results!). There’s nothing particular at the moment that I want to focus on, but I will be including my “condition”, and will be sharing findings that I find of interest.

Till next time ladies and gents!

Deep thoughts & Directions

So this one took some thinking and a couple of months. Well, actually just 2; as part of my journey in Aikido (and martial arts in general) I feel that this revelation is one that will be a major driving force for the coming years if not for my life. I don’t really know why I’m doing this, but I suppose this aspect of myself has been with me since the day I was born. Additionally I’ve been thinking about the future of this blog; what sort of direction I should take?

Should I be writing about Aikido? My training? The connections between Aikido and other martial arts? How my personal life has been affected by my training?…And other goody stuff. 

I wanted to share about a revelation that a psychiatrist made about me a month ago. The news that I went undiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder as a child wasn’t easy to take, but at the same time it was a relief. I’ve suspected this for over a decade due to a lot of things that have happened in the past. Something like this might be too much for some viewers, but I wanted to test the waters out first. Would anybody mind me including this aspect in my martial arts ramblings? For those of you unfamiliar to ADD, here’s a site that gives the juste .

Till next time ladies and gents!

3 year anniversary and Reflection Shinanagians

Phew, after many homework days I can breathe a sign of relief for tonight to write into this blog. I swear I’m not ignoring it, but my “life” so to speak has pushed aside the things that come naturally to me. As the title states, it is my 3 year anniversary in Aikido – about 2 weeks early. Nonetheless I feel that I should mark this  because 3 years ago prior I basically relearned the art.

I use the term relearned loosely since I first trained in collage for two years (read the description in the ‘about me’ section). The Sensei at that time was a middle-aged man. He first trained in Jujitsu, then had moved into Aikido. He had trained under Chiba Sensei, and his student Pablo Vázquez Sensei. Subsequently his Aikido form was quite powerful; rigid, with a dash of Jujitsu influence. Focusing on weapons and technique, he would subsequently – and unfortunately – prove to be one of the many “run of the mill” instructors to me. Well meaning, yet there was no really spark to his teaching, personality, and/or his transmission of the Aikido. Don’t get me wrong, he was a powerful guy standing at 6′, being the broad chested white Caucasian male that he is, and he knew his stuff, but there was something there that was missing – especially compared to what I have now.

Unfortunately I stopped Aikido at the beginning of my senior year in pursuit of making the most out of my last year. Namely to get accepted into a fraternity and focusing on graduating with a job! Unfortunately both didn’t pan out as well as expected and I subsequently spent the next 2 years working in Los Angeles and up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I finally found dragged myself to take some classes at the community college near my house and decided why the hell not to take the Aikido course there. Toke it with a 3rd Dan (who I still meet on occasion), then heard about some badass Shihan who was teaching nearby and thought to myself once again: Why the hell not.

That was August 2008. The rest so far, is history.

In 3 years I’ve worked my way up from 5th kyu to 1st kyu. I will be eligible for my black belt test in December of 2012. Assuming the world won’t end I should be fine. Looking back at my time I have grown so much…yet so little! I have only brushed, not chipped, brushed the surface of Aikido, my martial arts journey, and myself as a human being. God it’s scary just thinking about all of this.

Have I improved as an aikidoist? Oh hell yeah. Have I only began my journey as “being me”? Oh yes. If there was anything concrete that I had gained from my training, it’d be that you are always changing, always reforming, always pliable. The moment I thought I “had it”, I’d run into something that’d challenge my sense of self (in the dojo) and I would allow myself to change. Sure I have gained some rough edges since my training, but I suppose with new ideas you have new problems. It’s all in the journey, the voyage…

With that said, I plan on unveiling some new stuff as time goes by. I have made some personal discoveries over the months and I feel that there will be a time when these discoveries will intertwine with my journey as a martial artist and I would like to share at the very least, tidbits of my findings.

In other news, I’ve updated the “about me” section, the title of this blog, and the header. Hope you guys like the header (I designed it myself – I’m working on my photoshopping skills). As for the title change, I finally settled for The Journey of an Accidental Aikidoist. My first title The Accidental Aikidoist felt dull – and I didn’t like the initials AA. Then I changed it to one thing and now back to its current title. My apologies for those of you who already have it set. But this title is a sure thing.

Till next time ladies and gents!

Anno Sensei & Top 40 List

I’d like to quickly mention somethings before the start of this week.

1.) On July 9th of this month I went to Santa Cruz, California to sit in on Motomichi Anno Sensei’s 80th Birthday. Anno Sensei, 8th Dan Shihan is one of the last remaining first generation aikidoka who studied under O’Sensei. That week he had made his 20th (might be more, I can’t remember off the top of my head) appearance at the Aikido of Santa Cruz Summer Retreat.

Keep in mind, this man is 80 years old (as of May 2011) and who has been training in Aikido since his 20s. Anyway back to the story so since I was busy with school, work, and homework I was only able to come to his birthday party on the night of the 9th. I was genuinely surprised he recognized me! I waved to him just before the presentation started, he smiled and waved back. I guess knowing that I am only one of perhaps tens of thousands of students he has met over the years made the moment better.

Honestly I don’t know why I keep on being drawn to this master. He’s not your John Wayne type. He certainly not a tough-guy type nor is he one to seek or be comfortable in the spotlight. Quite a humble sensei; “friendly”, “nice”, and “down to earth” are common adjectives used to describe him. Standing at 5’3″, he does give off a slight cartoon-ish presence (to me anyway).

So here I am at his dinner and throughout the night it’s a rather mature affair. Wine, cheese, few meat dishes, the whole 9 yards. fortunately for me there was a full stocked bar in the hotel that the party was at and I helped myself with a couple of beers. So comes the ceremony and guest speakers who praised Anno Sensei. It was mentioned that he was awarded the 人間国宝-Ningen Kokuhō (Living National Treasure) by the Japanese government a couple of years back. My own sensei gave his own short speech regarding Anno Sensei (who was one of his teachers in Japan, by the way).

The dinner/ceremony went on for another 2 hours before it ended. Honestly I came only for Anno Sensei. As I’ve mentioned before I can’t explain why I’m drawn to this master, perhaps my youthful and aggressive energy could use some calming influence every once in a while in the form of a martial arts master.

…though I prefer it in a women 😉

2.) I recently found out I was nominated in a Top 40 martial arts list!…in Tae Kwon Do.

Wait what? Did  someone miss the translation somewhere? You can view the list and page here, I’m number 28.

I appreciate the free publicity and all, but seriously Tae Kwon Do? You can’t get any further from Aikido! Hah, in any case I will thank whoever put me on the list, however I will advise said person to do some research. I wonder what the Striking Thoughts has to say about this (he’s number 3 on the list).

Alright that’s it for now, till next time ladies and gents!

Musings 070611: Kids have more balls than most adults!

In lieu of long posts (of which I have 5 in back order) I have decided to break the silence and share a couple of stories which support the title of this post. And seriously, some of these kids put most adults in awe! (myself included).

Story #1: 3 weeks ago I was teaching my normal kids class that Thursday. Towards the end of the class I notice one of the 5-year-old boys has the “I’m-going-to-throw up” face. Now mind you this boy is one of the rambunctious characters and is often caught by me and my fellow child instructors not listening and just being a little punk. He’s gotten better at listening to the adults but at the beginning he was very prone to just being distracted and “listening to his own record”. Anyway at first this was what I thought – but the slightly colored face gave it away that he was rather dehydrated. He’s usually has a rather colorful personality – being a bit of a brat – so him walking up to me in this fashion was out of character for him. I asked him if he wanted to have a seat and drink some water. He shook his head; he wanted to stay on the mat. Okay I thought so I allowed him to stay on. A couple of minutes later I noticed he still hadn’t gone to drink and his face was still rather colored. I asked him again – he said

“No I’m okay”.

At this point the class was about to end in a few minutes so I thought that having him sit down would deprive him of a much-needed closure activity. So I finish the activity and I’m having the kids sit down to bow out. Calmly this child stands up and says the words:

“I don’t feel well.”

Okay, I thought, and told him he could go to his mom and have a drink. My blue belt sempai on the other hand exclaims “You don’t look well, go throw up!” At this point the poor kid’s face was beige all over (he has white skin) and a small hue of green in the mix.

What happens next should be chronicled among the volumes of kindergarten/5-year-old badassery. He calmly walks up to his mother (her face is a mix of motherly worry/concern/and “w.t.f. is happening here?”) and stops as if to wait for his bottle of water. Instead he then turns away from his mom and stops at the trash can that is nearby (which by the way, is almost as tall of he is).

All of sudden he stands up on his toes and a gigantic blob of vomit ushers forth from his mouth and into his trash can. For those of you who have seen your vomit after a night of heavy drinking – imagine that flying out of a 5 year old’s mouth!

The whole waterfall scene happened less than 2 seconds, but what happens next makes him a god among kids. He wipes his mouth with the sleeve of his gi, walks up to his mother (she’s still looking at him with a “what-the-hell-are-you-thinking” gaze), takes a sip of water from his toddler-size water bottle. He then turns and bows towards the shomen of the school, gets on the mat, then sits in seiza with the class that’s waiting to be bowed out. He then looks at me (I’m seated in the instructor position) and gives me the most serious, disciplined, I-am-ready-for-your-orders-sir! look that I have ever seen him use. He says nothing for the rest of the class.

That kid took it like a boss!

...kinda like this kid. Only less of this badass and more like...

... this badass.

FYI: the rest of the students who were politely sitting waiting for him showed and expressed their disgust at the scene, saying “ewww…”. And like a boss, he ignored them (at least from what I could tell).

Story #2: So this is actually from a classmate of mine that reminded me of my student in #1. So his wife and him were watching the fireworks this past 4th and according to him, they were waiting for the show when suddenly his wife lets out a scream! He turns around and a woman nearby lets out another scream. Apparently there was a cockroach that was about 4 inches long walking under them. The two women were screaming “Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!”. My friend was standing around trying to decide what to do when an 8-year-old badass comes out of nowhere and crushes the sucker under his foot.

I asked my friend what he thought and he stated that he didn’t want a cockroach carcass at the bottom of his shoe. However, little Jimmy had no problem with that.

…And that’s it! That’s all the time I have left before I need to go sleep like an old man and wake up in 5.5 hours to “enrich” the minds of 25 7 year-olds…like a boss.

Till next time ladies and gents!

Update 061911: A Bunch of Stuff and the Cereal Killer

It’s 1 am here in California and my feet are still sore after an 8 hour shift at my part-time retail job that I recently started. It’s actually the same one that I had for Christmas, but that’s a story for a different time. Oh well here it goes.

1. Aikido Journal Online has featured another one of my articles! This time about my journey of ukemi ever since I restarted Aikido almost three years ago. Have a look and tell me what you think? I believe I mentioned I am only a 1st Kyu and I’m already talking about a concept/actuality that only the founder truly understands. You can view the article here on their website and the original here in my blog.

2. My Sensei has publicity! It’s awesome that a Sensei like him who has trained for over 40 years is getting this type of recognition and notice. It’s always a great thing that people other than Aikidoists are recognizing him and the message of Aikido that he is trying to spread. Thanks to Bob from Striking Thoughts! The original video and blog are seen here.

3. So back in March of this year I was put onto the Top 50 Martial arts blogs of the internet list by the Guide to Online Schools site. This list at that time included heavy weights and big wigs such as “Striking Thoughts”, “Fist in the Frost”, and “Epic Martial Arts Blog”. I love to say that I’m rubbin’ shoulders with the head honchos of the martial arts blogasphere, but it seems the list has vanished and became this. I was planning on releasing the news of my massive promotion…but I guess not anymore!

4. Last but not least, I found this funny video as done by Youtube celebrity, USC grad, and video-editing guru Freddie Wong!

I’ll admit, the whole reason why I’m featuring this video is the movement in 0:40. Other than that it’s funny humor and CGI.

Here’s the behind the scenes version.

Freddie Wong is actually a duo comprising of Freddie Wong and Brandon Laatsch. Both maintain the channel freddiew and is as of May 2011, the 14th most subscribed channel on youtube. In recent years, their skills and talent have led them to collaborate with various on-and-off youtube celebrities such as Andy Whitfield, Shenae Grimes, Eliza Dushku, and Wong Fu productions.

Till next time ladies and gents!