Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Around the Corner

For most traditional Aikido Dojos, one would run a new year's all night practice. Part of a misogi experience and part of a joyful celebration that the year has past and we're still in good health. Sadly, our dojo will not even conduct our normal Friday night practice because I think everyone wants to have a little bit of rest.

So, do take the rest because it relates to a story I've once read in Dave Lowry's book. I've lost my copy sometime back and can only hope that I can paraphrase summarise it without misleading anyone. Anyway back to the story. There was once this old man who never got sick. He was strong and healthy and a lot of people wondered what was his secret. An enterprising young man asked to be his student and stayed with the old man for a season. He did whatever the old man did and at the end of it he thought he had learned everything and so he left.

A year or two has past and he chanced upon the man again. This time however, the old man did everything that he did not do when the student was living with him. He now takes hot baths, and eats meat instead of ice cold baths and eating fish. He also stays indoors when he used to take long walks at night. So bewildered, the student asked the old man why? They old man said, that when the student lived with him in the Summer he took cold baths and eats fish to ensure his body is cool and not overheat. He also exercises at night because of the same reason. In the winter he prefers hot baths and meat so they warm him up. In effect, the old man lived by the season.

God has created seasons and seasonal bounties. Fruits, flowers and game all abide by the seasons. It is man with their supermarkets, tin food and refrigerators that can go against nature and have things out of season. With heaters and air cond, automobiles... living within the constraint of nature is a thing of the past.

Yet, our bodies remain the same. Thus naturally they crave to abide by nature's rule. Doing things in moderation, doing things in season would keep us healthy and strong. So we shall rest this holidays, but come back healthier and stronger and with more energy to practice next year.

Also, go ahead and party and celebrate. But remember that Osensei dislikes one from drinking too much. He believes that one who has studied budo should always be in control of himself. Remember, a martial artists must be ready to protect himself and his loved ones and innocents from harm. You cannot do that when drunk. Even a famous Aikido chief instructor injured himself when he fell because he was drunk. What more for us very junior Aikidokas.

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