My sensei teaches more than Aikido

My sensei teaches more than Aikido

This is the view for me for the past 20-odd years. The irony of my life is that I know my Aikido sensei more than I know my father.

My parents divorced when I was 15. I started Aikido when I was nineteen-ish, and just like that, I’ve spent more than 20 years in Aikido, even longer than I know my wife.

I was never Harry sensei’s ‘favorite’ student. When you trained long enough with him, you know the kind of students he like; and by the virtue of my physique, I’m not his uke by choice. I got to where I am, because I hung around long enough, longer than those ‘better’ students. I got here by attrition, you can say that.

Along the way, I learned quite a few things from my sensei, and without him, I have no Aikido, and no such blog. My mind will not be open, the way he did, gently and patiently. Without his quiet guidance, I won’t be the person I am today.

Loyalty and commitment

It is Harry sensei’s bragging rights. He trained incessantly, 50 years, Mondays to Fridays; these days. Back in those days, he trained 7 days a week, 4 hours. These days who can say they did what he has done, 50 years and counting? He mentioned in his soft voice, he only stopped Aikido twice, once for his mother’s death, for a month, the other time he did, I didn’t catch what he said.

While many people can and like to mention lineage, to soup up their own dojo’s marketing prowess, mentioning that they trained under who and who and which and which Japanese Shihan, Harry sensei simply mentioned that his sensei is the late Teddy Lee sensei, He took the helm from his sensei, and continue to practice Aikido, the way his sensei taught him.

I’ve never heard him trained under anyone else, perhaps with Nakazono sensei, who first brought Aikido to Singapore. More importantly he has never failed to mention his sensei, he has never forgotten his sensei and the teachings. That is his loyalty, and he don’t give a f**k about winning the popularity contest.

He is committed to Aikido, and still comes to class, rain, shine, good health or otherwise. He just mentioned today he had a bout of shingles. Had he not mentioned, we wouldn’t have known, he is still as fit and ki still flows from his fingers. He is committed to teaching and it doesn’t matter if one student turns up or none. Of course he will berate us for being absent, but he knows our commitments and he never asks more from us, but he continuously gives us his commitment, more than we can ever accept.

Family and Sacrifice

The world is fair, there is only 24 hours, Harry sensei is no exception. While he devoted his time to Aikido, his wife has to suffer, his children has to suffer. He will miss their important dates, significant milestones. All for Aikido. He was never there for them in the evening, by the time he got home after training, his kids would have been asleep, the next day, he would have to go to work.

After 50 years, there is no way to reclaim them back. he has to choose, and he sacrificed his family time.

Harry sensei got to become Harry sensei, because he did what he did. His success showed me how not to be a whole person. My family needs me, just as much as I need my Aikido. It is never an easy decision, and I learned to follow my heart.

Sometimes I have to sacrifice Aikido for my family, and Harry sensei would understand where my priorities are.

Regret and Fate

Time has been spent, it cannot be recovered. We spoke briefly, and Harry sensei agreed he was very ‘lucky’, his children and wife stuck by him, although he did mention that his wife is getting even with him these days, after so many years of neglect.

Call it fate or luck his wife didn’t leave him and took his children along. His children are still filial to him. His grandchildren still buys things for him, when they travel overseas. Things could have gone awry for him, his children could have rebelled, as technically speaking, he wasn’t really clocking his time as a dad. As a dad myself, I know had I done what Harry sensei did, my wife would have to pick things up in my absence, and double hat my role.

As a dad myself, I have my moments of regrets, when I missed some of my children’s significant moments. As a sensei, he would have missed more, much, much more.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Asjenwi, Kiryokukai Indonesia

Aikido is good Karma

Let’s not get superstitious here, I’m using ‘karma’ as a generic term. Loosely speaking, Harry sensei did good. While he hadn’t been much of a dad in the evenings, his practice and commitment to Aikido, showed his family and loved ones, that he is truly and purely a good person, doing good stuff with Aikido. His only flaw is; his undying love for Aikido.

 

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Beautiful Bandung

Beautiful Bandung

Dear boys,

I took a short trip to Bandung last week, and there was a couple of firsts for me.

It was my first trip, taking a plane all by myself. yes, you heard it. Your dad’s a big boy now!

It was my first time to Bandung.

It was my first time staying in a Hilton.

It was my first time I had a picture taken with Harry sensei, only. (More on that later)

Why Bandung?

Our Aikido friends, Kiryokukai Indonesia (KI) invited Harry sensei over for a seminar, which my sensei gladly obliged, more about the seminar in my following post.IMG-20180326-WA0001

Why Bandung is also due to the fact that Bandung is relatively near Singapore, a scant 1.5 hours flight, cost is also affordable. As much as I would like to have an adventure for myself, I cannot break the bank as I have you boys to feed.

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I’d gladly take a budget airline, since it was just a short flight, on top of that, I can also keep the cost down. Your mum will have none of that, she insisted on Silkair, as it was operated by Singapore Airlines, I’m travelling alone, and she would want to pay more for my safety.

Well, my argument is that a flight is a flight is a flight. Anything can happen to any aircraft. But your mum insisted, and since she already relented to let me go, I’d just shut up and let her choose the better airline.

I love your mum.

Touchdown, bad luck

The first sign of trouble was the tourist SIM card didn’t work. I had no data, and I panicked. Without data, I am anonymous, it was a scary thought. No one in Bandung speak a decent level of English.

Hoards of Taxi drivers came at me, while I was already flustered not able to get my SIM card to work, not able to get data, and totally lost.

This guy, I don’t know his name obviously,  had a tag ’50’ so I reckoned he is taxi driver number 50. He pestered me, tailed me and I had to get into a cafe, just to break his tail. I got myself a croissant like bread, and sat down for a munch, and just people watch, and also watch ’50’. When I am more settled, I walked out, tapped ’50’ on his shoulder and told him ‘let’s go.’

He took me to my hotel, for 250,000 rupiah, that is S$25. Had I seen the Grab counter, or had I have data, a Grab taxi would have taken me to Hilton in 12,000, S$1.20. Very novice of me.

Hilton Bandung

Well, what can I say about Hilton? N-I-C-E

And it wasn’t too expensive as well. I got a good room on the ninth floor over looking the railway track, watching countless of trains worm their way in and out of the station.

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2 queen beds for a single bloke
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View from the room
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The railroad and trains

The service is expected, impeccable and I chose the Hilton as Harry sensei and my sempais, James, Nasheer and his wife stays there for the trip as well. So it would be easier to get around if I stayed there with them, at one spot.

My other Aikido friends Edna and Tri stayed at Zest hotel, about 2 km down the street, and Radek stayed at Four Point by the Sheraton. but Hilton was ‘5 bintang’, 5 star in ’50’s opinion.

Getting my Data

It was kind of imperative. I need a data, so I asked the concierge about the nearest shop to get a SIM card, he told me a shop down the street, and there is a big shopping mall called Paskal 23, the newest one.

So I trudge out of the hotel to find my precious SIM card.

 Horrible traffic beautifully alive!

The traffic in Bandung is typical, horrible.

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TRAFFIC!!!

But I saw it with my Singapore’s eye. It was terrifying. The motorcycle streams in continuum, the cars, buses and people, all uses the same space. The chaos was so evolved, so packed and yet no one gets hurt. Everyone gives in to everyone, in an unrehearsed river of traffic.

The whole environment is so existentialistic. You either move, or get out of the way. So I followed a lady’s stride and move in bold, purposeful steps, It worked to calm myself and as I observed, there is a method in chaos, people still managed to cross the streets, mini buses still stopped, hawkers still managed to sell food, people managed to eat food. Everything didn’t stop to smell Randy’s fear and solace. There is no time for that.

I found the shop selling SIM card and a 6Gb card costs 55,000 rupiah. Not a bad deal, they didn’t check my passport or identity. The SIM card worked as they check it, I pay and got out. I have data!

First thing I did was to texted home, so that your mum knows I am okay. I already did that when I got into the hotel and used the wifi there to update her on my status, now I can be reached on the go, with the SIM card.

While technology frees us, it also chains us to technology.

Bandung is safe

Despite of all the unfamiliarity, in a foreign land, Bandung is a very safe place. It wasn’t as well lit as Singapore, nor the foot path as well maintained, people still goes on with their business and while I was paranoid about getting mugged at every given corner, what I observed was a level safety for girls to walk the streets, eyes glues to the phone. Kids playing and everyone going about their business. Sure I bumped into a couple of teen gangs, but which country doesn’t have that? Even Singapore have our fair share of Ah Bengs and gangs.

One way I gauge the safety in town was the type of gates shops uses, which is a typical roller shutter gates, which can be easily broken into. In fact, shops in Penang were more fortified with heavy duty reinforced locks that firmly secure the shutters to the ground. When we are in our vehicles, there was no ‘mandate’ to lock the doors. Pedestrians were everywhere.

Oh, most toilets I went to, were clean and smell free.

Linking up

At Aviator Coffee Camp
Ketut sensei and Vincent Sensei to the right

With data, I managed to hook up with James and our Bandung Host, Ketut sensei has decided to pick all of us up for a trip uphill for dinner.

The traffic was typical still, bad, but it got less congested as we head up to Aviator Coffee Camp for the cool weather and great food.

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Food! Glorious food!

The weather for that night was a nice chilly 19 degrees, and we all got together to eat. Vincent sensei joined us later for dinner and we had a good time with the hearty food and of course the fantastic weather. Thankfully, your dad can still take that chill with a tee shirt and shorts, and colder, I would have been frozen.

Saturday was training day, so we took a quick but sumptuous meal for breakfast, complements of James. The Hilton breakfast spread is nothing less than the best. It was a good breakfast worthy of a 5 star lodge.

On Sunday

The flight back to Singapore was 10.10am, so I hadn’t have much time to do much, but I wanted to trudge the streets of Bandung one last time, and also enjoy the cool 19 degrees morning.

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Right outside the hotel gates, I caught a picture of this lady balancing 2 bags of crackers on a pole to sell. It was a good sign to head out and just enjoy Bandung on foot.

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Joggers + Motorbikers

The streets, as I understood on my day 3, is really a shared space between joggers, pedestrians, motorbikers, cars, cyclists, horse drawn carts, tricycles and all sorts of other things.

DSC_0116There is a certain kind of peace in the buzz. Of course there are ‘inconsiderate’ motorists who wouldn’t stop for walkers, but everyone just make do. No one was honking excessively, although there was honking now and then, it is what it is, everyone using a share space, and giving everyone a space. No one was hoarding ‘my right of way’, and insisting that because their cars are bigger, others have to give way. It was quite an amazingly alive spectacle and you can get drawn into watching traffic whole day.

Of course as a tourist, I can afford to sit back and enjoy the methodical melee, I’m sure the local Bandung folks can get quite impatient and irritated with the jams, delays. It was a hard place to be punctual, for sure.

Departing 

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It was a no frills affair, Vincent Sensei wanted to send us off, but i opted for a Grab, so that I can give the rest a bit more space for luggage. Anyway a Grab is just…12,000 rupiah.

The traffic was light for a Sunday 8am, and I tipped the Grab driver and that certainly made his day.

Military Brass

Flying off was a wait and while we waited we witnessed an Indonesian Air force Airbus AS365 Dauphin brought a military big shot to the airport. The drill is the same with all military in the world, the lower ranking officers will lined up and salute the big shot and then they will all walked to where they need to go. And of course, there will always be, a photographer.

The flight was a non event and I got back home safe, back to being a dad.

One thing for sure, Bandung is a place I will sure bring you boys and your mum for a trip. There is still so much more to explore!

Aspire

Dear Ian,

On your PSLE ‘graduation’ you got your certificates and there were some performances as well. Back in my days, there weren’t such fanfare, but I guess over the years, we have learned a couple of things along the way in encouraging our children and developing a healthy self concept in a child. Well, I am not a qualified child psychologist, so I won’t go into that kind of mumbo-jumbo.

Usually with every graduation, there will always be a continuum of recipients, this case long line of Primary Sixers going up the stage, and while the line snake, the claps from parents waned, with ups and downs like the sound of a never ending rain.

One thing that caught my attention was on the big screen, flashed each individual kid’s ‘asiprations’, from what I gather, a lot of kids, still wants to be doctors, lawyers and engineers.

There were also some who wants to be arty, and aspire to become a singer, I guess this is no thanks to those reality TV singing shoes, like the American Idol, and UK’s got Talent. It is nice to see some deviant amongst the mainstream.

And yes, Ian, you wanted to be a film-maker. We’ll see about that.

You protested that it wasn’t your initial choice, but what was flashed there, serves as a testament.

'I aspire to be a Filmmaker'
‘I aspire to be a Filmmaker’

There is nothing wrong aspiring to be that, and certainly nothing wrong either if you fail to become one. Life is fill with success, as just much as it is filled with failures, they are both impostors of the same thing, experiences.

Other Aspirants

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A Doctor
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A Doctor and an Investor 
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Tennis Player and Computer Engineer
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Philanthropist and Teacher
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Engineer and Doctor
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Lawyer and Teacher

Pardon the natural born skeptic in me, who happens to double up as a parent.

We all know there is noting wrong with aspirations, but does the kids knows how to get there? What steps to take? And sometimes, being a Lawyer isn’t as big-shot as one thinks, life as a Lawyer is T-O-U-G-H, sames goes for doctors. Life is never one sided, the good side, you have to roll with the punches, taking the bad as well. Just saying it here, for everyone to see does nothing constructive for the children.

There is a lot of hot air

It is a shallow affair, and our culture as become such. We all want our children to become somebody, and being a nobody is a terrible existentialistic problem. From young, we ask our kids “What do you want to be?” There were the usual policemen, doctors, soldiers, and other roles.

While we grow our kids, we need to understand that the children just needs to be children, that’s all. If you have a dream to take to the sky, we can work on your Aeronautical Aspirations. We can push you to do that, and you are motivated to become one. Film-Making? Not yet. Not even close.

So why did the kids say what they say?

We all need to fit into roles in society, and we start that young. Singapore is small, I have yet to see a kiddo’s aspirations being flashed as “ I aspire to bum around. LOL.” That would have been entirely unacceptable and brings shame to the parents.

Don’t ask me how I will react if you put that up, I guess I would laugh it off, and I guess you would have told me before you do such an ‘audacious’ thing.

But it is perfectly alright to bum around, my policy for you boys is the same. You can be a minnow food hawker and earns a decent living. The only thing that will make me come for your blood is when you cheat, lie and steal, becomes a sociopath, becomes a thug of society. That I cannot condone, it is not so much about throwing away my face, it is more about you being a responsible person, and even if you cannot be a responsible person, you do not turn into an irresponsible one.

Life is not always about doing

While aspirations is a lot about doing, it is also a lot about dreaming. By all means bum around. Your aeronautics dream might be work in progress, while you are at it, it is okay not to be at it. Sometimes not chasing your aspirations could be the best blessing, so that your aspirations can catch up, or other dormant aspirations can surface.

One sided affair

The crux of this is, these are just labels, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and all. Doctors are medical engineers, and Lawyers need to diagnose a case. It is all word play, and being fixated to the singular role and title, will makes us a very narrow-minded, task oriented organism, no different from machines. We’re better than machines, and learn to realise that we are unique because while we aspire to be one, we can actualize to become many.

So learn to cross-aspire. You can become an Aeronautical Film-Maker, and shoot films in the sky, in places airborne. Learn multiple skills and do many things, sticking with one is fine, just don’t lose sight of the bigger life.

Drunk? Never, ever

Drunk? Never, ever

Dear Boys,

It is not a matter of bragging, it is a matter of fact, for the records.

Your dad has never gotten drunk. Ever.

High, yes; Drunk, no.

What a Karate Master said

There was a book I read, by this Karate master, Gichin Funakoshi, he wrote in his book and one subject delved a little about drinking and that mantra stayed with me till today.

“When you drink with 20 friends, you will be drinking with 20 enemies, when they are drunk.”

Something to that effect.

It is not the enemies I am afraid of, it is me, becoming my own enemy, that keeps me sober. Given that I am trained in a specific martial arts discipline, it is important that I remain sober and aware of my senses and surroundings, so that I can remain effective. Being drunk clouds your senses, you can’t think straight, say stupid things, do stupid things and get into trouble you can easily avoid, just by staying sober.

There is also no excuse for me, since there are plenty of excuses for people, getting drunk and doing stupid things.

I want to be lucid, and in full control of my existence.

When I was high.

Being high, is another thing altogether. I know my alcohol limit, and when I reach a sensation of tipsy, I stop. Being high has a nice, light sensation, where you feel very relaxed, slightly happy and kind of like…fluid. Such a state is a wonderful tool for sleeping. I always have a good sense to know when to stop, and not cross that imaginary line. The brain just say stop, and that’s that.

So there has never been any period of my life where I am not ‘me’. Since I have never been drunk, I never knew what it feels like, or feels curious to try.

Solitary drinker

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Perhaps it is how I take my alcohol. I don’t have drinking buddies, and going to bars and pubs to drink is, such an exorbitant waste of money, and time. Besides, it is my stereotype that incidents of fights are highest in those places. Well, you don’t call a ‘bar fight’ in a school right?

Trouble brews in such places, and the best way to get out of a bar fight is not to be there in the first place.

So I usually take my beer at home, probably once a month, a can or so, at dinner with you and mum. That is what ‘drinking’ is to me, a relaxed place, alone. And just a can for flavour.

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There is also a short period of time I was exploring lazing in a hammock, a beer by the beach. It was a nice, chillax idea, but the problem is, you are still consuming liquid, and not long after that you will need to leave your cozy spot to look for a loo!

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As much as I like my Cabernet Sauvignon, I always struggle to finish a full bottle, and it is quite pricey to get just a small one, so I end up stick with a can of beer or two.

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You dad is boring as hell

So while you boys become older and perhaps taking my lifestyle as staid, just remember, alcohol like everything else, is best taken in moderation. Getting drunk and then doing stupid things after that is not the best way to live your life.

There are other ways to get a high, like going for an intense workout, mountain biking,and other activities. Sitting in a dark noisy place, with a bunch of drinking people, waiting for trouble to start, isn’t the best way to live a life.

While I am sure, there will be people who disagree with me, just remember one thing, I am entitled to my opinion, and you, when you are older. Most regrets happens when a person sobers up after a bout of drunkenness, so to take away having regrets, don’t get drunk in the first place.

Letting things play out

Dear boys,

I’ve learned of late that there are much in life that we cannot control. We spend a lot of time in our lives trying to do things, influence people, get people to like us and we try to be the all positive ‘proactive’, constantly taking initiative and trying our darnest to get sh*t done.

 Sometimes you just have to let things happen. As a Recruiter, my job is to match people with the right job. This Client of mine wasn’t going to pay a the Candidate, the salary he wanted, so the deal was lost, or so I thought. Candidate rejected the offer, and the Client wasn’t keen to raise the salary offered.

The Client came back 2 weeks later, and gave the salary as to what the Candidate wanted, and I closed a deal.

The lesson here I learned was not to get so upset over the lost deal. It wasn’t meant to be, it never will be. It is of course so much easier to have it said. When you are in the hot seat, and everyone is expected you to act, and you didn’t or you did the wrong thing, that kind of mounting pressure can be immense. And so it takes a lot of confidence to let things happen.

I learned to let that deal go, have it lost. It turned around and came back. On hindsight, of course I could have done this and that, influence the candidate to take the initial offer, or even persuade the Client to up it, Either way, I would have come across as hard selling, manipulative and burn both ends and lose the trust and the deal eventually.

In Aikido, we are also faced with the same judgement call.

Sometimes, when our partner, poised for attack, can be unnerving. You would like to take initiative and strike first, but sometime first strike would be disadvantageous, and you might be caught in a situation you could have avoided by not doing anything, or allowing your attacker to strike first.

Of late, I allow myself to open and face my partner, and let the attack comes, knowing that I have whatever I have in me to deal with it.

Allowing the attacker to come, you allow the energy to get played out, and fully expends. That is where you can use your energy and control the situation when your opponent is at its weakest.

Dealing with anger

It is easy to tell a pissed off person, ‘Don’t get angry lah!’ Easier said than done! An angry person would tell you!

Sometimes, let the person simmer and get over with the anger, let it all out, and when the anger has dissipated, then the mind is in a more calm and open mood to receive logic and reasoning.

Dealing with matters that way looks quite retrospective, and lacks a lot of drive. You basically sit back and somehow let things happen.

It is not what it is.

Letting things happen, when you can do something, is learned helplessness. When you can do something, do it, but when you have reached a stage where you can no longer do anything; allow yourself to sit back, and have a bit of faith. The world works in a very curveball way you seldom sees beyond your horizon so don’t worry so much when things don’t go your way, after all that you have done. Just do what you can and let things happen.

Allow!

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Photo credit to Steven Lim

My friend Steven, came to this  epiphany a long time back, he allowed life to happen. This is only apparent when things don;t go your way, despite of all that you have done, what else is there to do next? Sit back and allow things to play out. It will.

It’s chess, my dear children…

Chess is a back and forth game, played between 2 players, right now if there is you, the other side is life, we can only make one move at a time, that’s all. After we made our move, it is the other side’s to make the move, and beyond that we can think and visualise our strategy, but not forgetting our opponents can pull a surprise. And when we have planned enough, and we are rich with experience, we can deal with surprises. But we still need to sit back, after we have made our move and let the other side play out, then we come back into the game and make our next move, then let it play out again.

We cannot stop our opponent from moving, life will move on, and to disallow, we are only stopping ourselves, making lives miserable for us. When we do not let things play out, the situation gets pent up.

In Aikido, if you stop an attack, you allow that energy to return to the attacker, and that energy, stored can be reused against you. Once the energy is initiated, let it travel the entire way and just be at the end to meet and change the course in your favour. That is allowing the play to happen, and in doing so, you will be able to turn things to your advantage.

Learn that and you will not have to grief much in life!

The Perspective of a Breakwater

The Perspective of a Breakwater

Dear Boys,

Life is always a about perspective. In any point in time you think life is a meaningless ‘Groundhog Day‘, you need to read this.

I like to go to Marina South Pier during lunch time as it is a nice place to go to, you’re close to the sea, and it is usually not very crowded. Far from the maddening crowd, as I would like to put it.

There is this long strip of concrete that is extended out into the sea. I know it is a kind of breakwater. So I didn’t think much of it, well a breakwater is a breakwater right?

It looks something like this up close.

So it is an innocent strip of concrete that is extended out to sea, as a layperson, I was just thinking how nice it would have been for an angler to go all the way out and fish!

The big picture

It was not until I moved into my company’s new office that I see the entire picture, from the 24th floor. What an epiphany!

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The view of Marina Bay Cruise Centre

That long strip of breakwater was build in relation to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre. You see when the Cruise Ships dock to the left of the Cruise Centre, the breakwater protects the Cruise ships from the waves, so that the ship can dock in calmer waters.

 This is is even more evident when we see it from Google Maps.

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What has all this got to do with life?

The point is, very often in life we are thrown into some mundane things to do, and we don’t know the reason for doing it, remember this picture. We often do not see the big picture like how we do not see the use of this long strip on concrete.

There is always a purpose and the purpose will reveal itself a little down the road. You may not see it now, you will be able to see it later. So don’t take the things you do as meaningless. There is a purpose and meaning in everything.

We are on this Earth to do 2 things:

1- Find out these meaning

2- Give meaning to these task, events and situations.

And even when we are tasked to do something, that has no apparent meaning, we still need to devote our effort and time to it, and do it the best we can. What we do now may not bear fruit immediately, it often does not, but you still need to do it nevertheless.

Aikido is the same thing.

Boys, my journey in Aikido is the same. As Aikidokas, we can be doing the same technique again and again, with no apparent reason, or practical application. One thing in martial arts is the ability to bear faith and be disciplined. Thankfully I have a steadfast sensei who is able to guide me and provide that beacon, Harry sensei constantly points to the big picture, so that we can focus while we roll with the mundane task.

Right now, after so many years of training, I began to see how those little times I spent doing meaningless things comes to make sense.

It is very much like in the movie Karate Kid, the original as well the the later version, there is a ‘wax in, wax out’ moment in the movie that does not make sense, you are made to put down your jacket, and pick it up again, over and over again, with no apparent reason, until the reason appears very much later.

Take a look again

Look at the picture again, and you can see from a distance, the purpose and importance of the breakwater. And when you are there, all you see a long strip on concrete that extends out to sea. You will never get that perspective when we don’t see things from afar.

So be patient at time when you appear to be lost and don’t know what you’re doing. You will still have to do it first, and let the knowing comes to you, later, sometimes much later.

 

Softer and softer

Softer and softer

Dear boys,

The world is getting softer. There is some truth when the older generations before us, told us they had it tougher, and our lives are much better than theirs. They can reminiscent their good old days, and they might be right about it.

Machines and automation

The Industrial Revolution can be blamed for starting the long spiral down. While I am no historian, we started making machines to help us do more, and build greater things. There is nothing wrong with that, being lazy in this instance is a good trait. Don’t forget though, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.industrial-revolution-in-great-britain-1-638

When automation comes along, things when slippery down; quickly, while machines helps us make things easier, and reduces our work, automation comes along, and attempts to make things the easiest, and takes away all of our work.

Without work, what is humans?

What is work?

As a martial artist, work to me means a reasonable amount of sweat, effort and physical strain. There is no way to automate martial arts, you can create a martial arts robot, but that does not make a human who created the robot a martial artist.

Sure a machine, in the near future might be able to beat a human in a karate kumite, but the robot cannot justify its own existence. Humans can. It is because we put work, into work. There is an effort in it, and a satisfaction out of it.

Softer martial arts

Even martial arts is getting softer. It cannot be helped as the general over-riding trend is less physical activity, and for some, martial arts is perhaps the only activity one does, other than walking to the subway or an occasional dash for the bus.

We as human beings no longer exert our physicality. There are escalators, elevators, automatic doors, automatic windows, automatic cars and all sorts of machines that helps takes work out of effort.

This cannot be all that good.

While it is good to have years of peace and peace brings about prosperity, it also brings about a skewed sense of existence and reality. Everyone has soften, life has gotten good, nobody knows how to do the hard stuff anymore, nobody wants to do the hard stuff anymore. And when someone is doing the ‘hard stuff’ it is deemed to be something derogatory, or dirty.

It’s been the same for me, I have never gotten into an actual, dirty, messy fight, never got caught in crazy violence, but I’ve never been deluded that violence has become extinct. Violence, death and hatred can sprung up anytime, I’m always prepared and ready, as much as I can. I too, can get lulled in by how nice peace is and peace is here to stay and violence has died, the world will never see violence again. That cannot be further from the truth.

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People getting fatter and fatter, lives longer and longer

We are indeed heading the way of Wall-E, the 2008 animation film about us humans many hundreds of years from now. All fat, fed by machines, and nothing else to do, and doing nothing much, we live off a massive spaceship that keeps us alive, the machina sentinel who reports to the fat captain, but is actually doing all the work for us. Heck, the central character of the show is a machine! Wall-E!

It is an endearing film, but it is a telling prediction, we cannot escape from. People are getting fatter, and lazier, and there is no-one else to blame except us.

Humans- the Original Swiss Army Knife

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Humans are the original Swiss Army knife, we are build for a great many things. My exposure to Aikido, lead me to running, swimming, hiking and other physical stuffs. Humans were never made for a single, specialist role, and while automation helps us do a great deal of other things, the whole purpose is to free us from the great deal of other things, to do things that actually means a great deal more to us.

Let’s get physical!

So boys, please expand your physicality, when you pick up an activity you love, do it, and do it well. get physical, get moving, don’t get stuck behind a desk for too long, let yourself have one core physical activity. for you dad it is Aikido, from Aikido, your dad expands to other physical stuffs. The learning never stops, humans are learning creatures, and we best learn when we are physically able to, so never allow yourself to become disabled, physically.