039) Those Long and Winding Roads: Week of June 7, 2009
I am sitting in a hotel room in Tokyo far away from my family, friends and dojo. I have travelled a very long way for a special training camp with Ushiro Sensei this upcoming weekend. I left the US on Wednesday and will return on Monday. I have some time to reflect back on the long and winding roads in my Budo training.
I think back to the days before I opened my private practice and I was heading up a diagnostic program at a neuropsychiatric institute. I would take vacation days so that I could attend kanshugyo (cold training) for five consecutive nights at the Hombu Dojo of Shin-Budo Kai in NYC. The looks on the faces of people are still clearly emblazoned in my mind, when I would explain to them why I was working 1/2 days and talking with a voice that was raspy from almost an hour of chanting.
I think back to driving 1 hour each way three nights a week attending class in NYC, while running a satellite dojo in Connecticut three days a week, while spending EVERY weekend for one year preparing for my Shodan test. I am very thankful that my wife and I met at Aikido. I do not know many spouses who would support such time and effort towards such a goal.
I cannot even quantify the number of times I have done certain techniques or went through my routine of ki-based exercises, or katas performed. Yet, despite the numbers, I am always in the mindset of how much more I have to learn from what I am doing.
We spend a remarkable amount of time in pursuit of goals and gains that are alien to most of our friends and family. We do have a vision of where we want to be. We do have a sense of where we have come from. We do have a sense of where we are now.
I can honestly say, that this long and winding road in Aikido has made me a better person. I have no illusions or goals of becoming some invincible warrior. I do have a goal that seeks to use my path in budo as real shugyo. It is my path to betterment. It is not the easiest path to travel, that is for sure. Honestly, the longer that I am on this path, the more I realize that this is my path.
We all must find our own paths in life. I hope that my friends, family and students can understand the path that I am on. I hope that as a teacher, I can inspire others to find their own well-worn paths to betterment. I hope that as a friend, my path enables me to be more understanding and giving, creating a truly safer world around us (the goal of budo). I hope that my family enjoys the direct benefits of my becoming a better husband, father and grandfather, uncle…..
Marc Abrams Sensei