Training: Week of 1 April

Hello, fellow Aikidoka!

Our training focus for the week will be applications to the first wrist technique. We’ve already covered a couple, and we will continue to add to our tool box. We will also do some review of some of the earlier techniques you’ve learned. As always, it’s important to practice what you can outside the “dojo” because we only meet twice each week. Footwork, strikes, and even some ukemi can be done on your own, but actual techniques and applications require a partner. That, in itself, is a really good reason to “recruit” a friend to join you in class.

Thought for the week…

“The journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step”

I’ve been reminiscing this month. I vividly remember signing my contract to join Beckham’s Academy of Self Defense on 1 March 1996 (yes, I just looked at it to be sure). I recall preparing to get on the mat the first time and Mr. Beckham spoke these words to me and the message was significant to me, even though it technically wasn’t original with him. It was so pertinent hearing those words as I began my journey in Nihon Goshin Aikido.

The months leading up to that day were as nearly as important as that moment, though they were spread over time. I was working in two professional jobs, as a pastor and a network engineer. I was burning the candle at both ends and doing nothing for me. I had long been interested in martial arts, so I began looking at different schools in my area. I visited many schools in my locale, including several karate and tae kwon do schools. They just didn’t “click” with me. That changed when I visited a small dojo on Wilton Street in Greenville, South Carolina. I appreciated that Mr. Beckham took the time to discuss what was happening in class and interested in me well beyond just monthly fees. I trained hard while there, particularly remembering July evenings when he would enter and turn off the air conditioner. Beyond just the art, though, what I remember most are the friendships I’ve gained. Now, 23 years and one month later, I wear a black belt. It doesn’t usually take 18 years to earn sho-dan, but sometimes life takes unexpected turns.

Many of you are new students. I’m proud of you for taking that first step and joining me on the mat. We all join for different reasons… self-defense, confidence, physical fitness, a hobby, or even community. My reason, way back in 1996, was to participate in a hobby. I found that I picked up the rest as great collateral benefits. Training in the martial arts, and I think aikido in particular, has benefits in our lives well beyond the dojo or the potential “street” situation we may find ourselves in. You will learn techniques that may keep you safe one day. You will gain strength and flexibility. You will build confidence in yourself and how you handle situations. You will be part of a small (but growing) community of aikidoka here in Grafenwöhr as well as the larger aikido community. The skills we learn in the dojo travel with us and if you attend other aikido schools in your travels/PCS cycles, you will likely find most to be very inviting. Plan now for your future. Yes, it might change, just like mine did, but remember that the journey is quite long. In fact, it doesn’t end until our journey on earth is complete.

I look forward to seeing you on the mat this week!

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