Kiku Matsu Dojo is proud to announce our Kangeiko seminar at the end of January 2024 featuring instruction by Andrew Sato Sensei and Toshko Getov Sensei. See below for details, click on the page to be directed to the AikidoWorldAlliance events page where you can download the flyer.
When asked by someone who is your teacher, we most automatically answer so and so is my “fit in area of study”. For me Toyoda sensei, then Yamada sensei. I was once told “everyone needs a teacher” for many years I took that to understand my Aikido path. As of late my perspective has changed. For anyone who is open to receive, learn and grow, life lessons from teachers of all forms abounds….
It is not just about learning a particular skill. When one thinks it is to learn a new skill or improve in an endeavor that is narrow thinking. We must all keep learning so we grow and do not stagnate in life. That is where the thought of a teacher can really be different.
Most of us remember our first teachers were our parents, teaching right from wrong, how to be safe outside, habits of hygiene and to maybe how to save some money. Then came our academic teachers proving us skills in math, science, history, athletics, etc. Along with academic schooling came religion of some sorts, then on the job training at your place of employment. So many teachers to learn so many skills from. Also, let us not forget the piano, dance, or soccer lessons from those teachers.
All of them gave us so much of their time and effort so we could master the many skills we now have as adults. Does that mean we are done learning? I have come to understand life is vast and never ending like the powerful river flowing from somewhere vague and going somewhere vague, but never ending. So should be our view of a teacher too. If one is open to learning or improving, everyone and many incidents can provide deep teaching moments to grow from. Even then that moment of learning may not reveal itself to someone until much later. It may be years before you realize the life lesson and then understand who the teacher was.
So yes, we all have a main teacher we identify with but sometimes the most valuable real-life lessons come from ordinary interactions by someone you do not label as a “teacher”. Do not let those opportunities pass any more than missing a formal class hour.
Andrew M. Sato August 2023 Chief Instructor ~ AWA www.aikidoworldalliance.com
In martial arts, specifically for us, Aikido. “It is a misunderstanding to feel the best way to express oneself is just to do whatever you want. This is not an expression of your Aikido or life. If one has too many possibilities to express his/her Aikido one will behave superficially. We follow forms, the strong people will express themselves strongly and kind people will express themselves kindly. The differences between each of you becomes easy to see because we train in the same form. As we repeat it over and over again, we can understand each other’s ways eventually. This is the advantage to the rules and rituals in the dojo. It can help us understand each other and accept the plus/minus of our character.
Our form starts with intention, as we train that behavior becomes a habit. As training prolongs it becomes a practice turning into second nature. “You become who you are in training”. If we make best efforts accomplishment is the reward. Becoming better than someone else only leads to a sense of inadequacy, jealousy or if we feel we are not better. We must become better than we were the day before, that is what is important. In everything we do, just try your best.
From Doshu – each Aikido devotee, after a long time period of practice, shall consider how they can offer their power and knowledge cultivated by Aikido practice to the betterment of our society.”
Andrew M. Sato May 2023 Chief Instructor ~ AWA www.aikidoworldalliance.com
How many times have we heard or been told that and yet when a situation or words are thrust upon us, we do take it personally. When this happens, we internalize the actions of another person’s aggression to the point of feeling offended, upset or angered by it. This is allowing something or someone outside of ourselves to control and/or affect how we feel or react. Becoming angered, flustered, or off centered creates that opening an opponent seeks so they can attack and/or defeat us. One of the main goals of long-term training is the development of a strong unmovable center. It helps us meet all things; positive and negative with a calm, equal mind, not easily rattled. Having a good center enhances your ability to act mindfully and not mindlessly react to an attack or disturbance. We cannot stop the world or others from aggressive attacks, physical or verbal, how we confront them and handle them is what matters. Our training is no different, yet different than the athlete who wishes to develop physical stamina for a race. The result of training our mind and spirit along with the body develops not only our physical stamina but mental esteem and compassion. Training develops strong self-esteem providing mental fortification needed against attacks and gives us confidence to face life’s obstacles. We can believe in our self-worth and abilities when attacked, even if at the end the defense is overrun from the attack. So back to “don’t take it personally”. If we fail or are defeated in something, do we fall apart? Just as training helps us build our confidence to defend, so too it creates our ability to have come back with compassion, the flip side of esteem I feel. When defeated or lost to grief we must come back from it and this is where compassion comes into play, it helps us understand, deal, and repair from situations that handed us defeat.
Aikido is the art of compassion. We are human beings, like our attacker, and by design we humans are fallible. We should understand and realize that every person is suffering and because of this, we give them compassion instead of destroying them. The goal of Aikido is to develop mindfulness in action. Being mindful gives us compassion, we can then understand an attack is not personal but a way another suffering person incites us to create an opening to attack. O’Sensei said, “In our techniques we enter completely, blend totally and firmly control an attack. A calm mind of inner strength is stable; confusion and uncertainty arise when this is disturbed. As we train to harmonize, we diminish those external influences and that is how we can learn to “not take things so personally”.
Andrew M Sato March 2023 Chief Instructor ~ AWA www.aikidoworldalliance.com
Kiku Matsu Dojo is hosting AWA Kangeiko, winter training, from Thursday January 26, 2023 through Sunday January 29, 2023. Therefore, regular classes are canceled on Friday January 27, 2023 through Sunday January 29, 2023. Our regular class schedule will resume on Monday January 30, 2023.
Students need to clean the dojo every day; some will say it is good for discipline, others say it is bad for your business! It is difficult for some people to understand this point and many a new student does not understand or appreciate how this relates to one’s discipline and development. They may ask, what does that have to do with martial arts? In many ways it has nothing to do with our martial art, but everything to do with one’s personal growth. The “unseen” benefit we gain from our training.
Cleaning should become an integral part of our daily practice here not only in the dojo but in all aspects of one’s life. Cleaning is a “responsibility” to take care of everything we use. It is our respect for everything we come in contact with. About caring for everything and everyone around us. The process of cleaning itself has no merit or reward but it teaches purity of spirit, an intangible spirituality that helps form the basis of our training. Within the “cleaning” process we not only gain purity, but we also gain insight, deeper awareness, and attention to detail. Looking for dust and dirt to clean also transfers to our seeing the opening from the attack, our ability to assess the spaces we enter and most of all keeping our minds clear.
The process of cleaning is not just about making the natural space presentable and pure, it is about constantly letting go of the sometimes mindless, negative, and wasteful thoughts that cloud our minds keeping us from seeing/understanding and experiencing the pure natural beauty of our lives. The habit of cleaning allows us not to get stuck, so we can move on and to be here now.
At the end of each year the tradition of “O soji” or big cleaning is done in most every Japanese home and dojo. Symbolically it is to clean out our minds of illusions we build up and begin fresh and clean in the New Year. It is the New Year, 2023, let us start clean and aspire to what the year of the Rabbit symbolizes; elegance, beauty, and mercy as we share anew our friendships both on and off the mats.
Andrew M. Sato January 2023 Chief Instructor ~ AWA www.aikidoworldalliance.com
With the start of the new year, the following schedule changes are happening. The Instructor class is moving from Sunday 12:00pm to Wednesday at 7:00pm. That means all students are welcome to attend the Sunday 12:00pm class. Attendance at the 7:00pm class on Wednesday is now restricted. On Tuesday the afternoon class will now start at 12:15pm. Also, there are some instructor changes on Saturday but the class times remain the same. You can see the updated schedule here.
To start off the New Year, please come to our Kagami Biraki (“opening the mirror”) celebration on Sunday January 8, 2023 at 12:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there.