Saotome Sensei, And Getting Stuck On The Mountain

We’ve all heard training in a martial art compared to the metaphor of climbing a mountain.  The metaphor provides an inspiring and instructive image, but Saotome Sensei has some cautionary words about dangerous potential mental pitfalls it poses for teachers. The Mountain Metaphor The metaphor of “climbing a mountain” is one used in many martial arts.  It […]

Saotome Sensei’s Dōgi Principle

Consider whether you have ever had the following experience.  After working up a good sweat in an energetic class, you take off you uniform, change into your street clothes, and put your belt, hakama, and gi into your uniform bag.  As you prepare to leave, you reach down to pick up your equipment bag, and whoof, […]

Objects In Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear

One of the great benefits of martial training is discovering a new internal strength, a redefining of who you are based on confidence and complete inner certainty of your ability to face challenges.  As you approach black belt, you have been tested many times,  you increasingly know in your heart that you are a bright […]

The Secret Wisdom of Soap Bubbles

Back in the early nineties I spent a little time with a zazen study group, practicing and learning the art of Zen meditation.  I learned a lot, but one of the most valuable lessons I received was about how to let go of the things my subconscious would throw up in order to hang on […]

Aikido Lessons for the Karate Student

After training for long enough, most Karate practitioners will eventually reach a plateau. Some plateaus can be overcome simply continuing to train regularly; however, other plateaus may be overcome more efficiently by exploring another art. Aikido is an excellent pathway for returning Karate students to a period of growth in their training. Aikido and Karate […]

The Parable of Poison

The Parable of Poison is an old Taoist lesson that speaks to the heart of Aikido. Two brothers are farmers that have cultivated the land their whole lives.  One brother grows his crops to feed others and help his community.  The other brother grows plants in the pursuit of profit and riches, and secretly nurtures […]

Aikido Training When You’ve Passed Your Prime

Aikido is a martial Way. While we’ve all heard that means it should affect all aspects of our lives and is much more than a series of techniques for defeating opponents, I think it should mean more than that. I think that it should mean it’s something that you train in meaningfully until you draw […]