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!

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Update: 16 hour days

Student teaching!

As part of my master’s program I am to being a student-teacher to a classroom I would spend the next 4 weeks getting wet in the world of teaching young minds. In this case, 2nd grades at a school where I would have to make a 45 minute commute each way. I appreciate the “me” time but it’s only killing my wallet each trip. That and the fact I don’t have an active income is not helping the situation.

I don’t know what I’m more angry/impatient about: Not having an income or the wait until the possibility of having an income.

I guess it’s all part of the “plan”, getting through my program with the hope that with a Master’s in Education and (hopefully) 2 credentials in tow I will have a greater chance of finding and keeping a position that will have me become a responsible and contributing adult to this society.

So long story short: a 45 minute one way commute (4 days a week for the next 4 weeks) to a 2nd grade classroom with a teacher whose position is akin to a Jedi master training a padawan (me) who academically destined to take on the minds of the young children in this nation. As for the first week I feel like a fish out of the water; today for example there was a full 15 minutes that I sat there and I couldn’t come up with a way to teach the kids especially after the lesson was done. My master teacher (their official designation) gave me the “What are you doing?” look and I felt bad that 1 year of teacher training didn’t prepare me for 15 minutes of not doing anything after the main lesson had been completed.

But she (my master teacher) I feel is a good fit. I believe she was awarded teacher of the year award a couple of times in the past in the district that she works in. It’s the first week so we’ll see.

As for my absence in posts? The homework load just shot up 4 fold (along side my current student teaching 4 days a week) so tonight is one of the few nights I get to write (along with my much, much reduced attendance in Aikido). Before my world got invaded by a cargo hold of homework whoop ass I actually was attending to this blog more often than my homework! I’m know I’m a bad example of  a teacher but I suppose that writing has always been a medium in which I could express myself honestly and freely. This is in great contrast to my past academic and personal life.

Well it’s back to the grind again. The textbooks await…=/

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!

The Ultimate Virtual Training!

Otherwise known as Fruit Ninja Kinect for Xbox 360. As stated in the article, expect this at the end of this summer!

 

You have no freaking idea how awesome this is! I wonder if I can bring my bokken or staff to practice “slicing up fruits”! I can also totally see Wing Chun people (or any art specializing hand movements) in practicing with this.

It’s also available in co-op mode. Basically you can ninja your way through fruits with a partner.

Now I want an Xbox!

May the Fourth be with You!

So today turns out is Star Wars Day! Like most of my generation that was born in the 1980s and early 90s we were reaping off of the benefits that Generation X had with the movies only later to suffer enjoy the presence of episodes 1-3. That was not the main attraction however; it was the presence of the books (X-wing series for me), action figures, and models that dotted the 90s. I remember when I was in junior high one of my goals was to complete one X-wing series in one sitting. At that time it was a 400 page endeavor with no pictures, not an easy task.

I would like to share something a local legend here in the Aikido community. According to said legend, one of George Lucas’s many influences on his creation of the “Force” and in the Jedi came from a library book that he borrowed that was written by George Burr Leonard (1923-2010) who is a famous Aikido student of Robert Nadeau Sensei, 7th Dan. In the book George Leonard had written many of Nadeau Sensei’s early teachings of body/mind harmony and energy work that was taught to him by the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei.

So yes, whenever you pick up a light saber and pretend you’re a powerful Jedi knight protecting the galaxy from the Empire and evil-doers (trying to impress your Princess Leia, saving your ass from the Jabba-the-Hutt of your life, etc.), take a moment and embody the fact that you are practicing a bit of Aikido. Now if you’ll excuse me, this young padawan will go back to getting owned by the training droid…

Till next time ladies and gents, and may the force be with you!