Recently I had to make a tough Aikido choice that has been described by a few friends as “following my heart”, while for me it has actually been the opposite, more a brain decision, for which I thought it over and at the end it was not something easy. I actually had to leave aside my heart. Something not easy for me, as people that know me can tell..
Because of a change of date by the Russian Aikido Federation, the already planned seminar with Irie sensei moved from December to the last weekend of November, crashing with a traditional event in my calendar: Endo sensei seminar in Vienna.
The Austrian Aikido events, Endo sensei and Shimizu sensei in particular for me, have managed to bring me extremely close to a fantastic couple, Margit & Robert, making every trip to seminars over there a special occasion, “feeling at home” not only for the great Aikido practice, but for all the rest around it. We shared also other passions, like Iaido (a wonderful summer, on the way to Endo sensei seminar in Zilina, I stopped a few days at M&R’s place where we enjoyed the good weather, Iaido practice, a swimming into the lake competition for Robert, good food and relaxing time)
In the past I took several decisions “following my heart” and I can say now I screwed up quite a few of those. It was not a mistake going to China (even if my Aikido practice went down a lot, but never to zero and I met many new good Aiki-friends there as well, establishing new connections,and not only Aikido ones actually). On the other hand, it has been a mistake to come back to Europe (even if my Aikido practice increased again to a much better level, and I am very happy about that! And also here I have met quite a few of special people).
After thinking a bit about which seminar I should go to, I realized that the most reasonable choice at this moment of my (Aikido) life was going to Irie sensei. One fact is that this year I have met Endo sensei in Finland, Stockholm and Slovakia while Irie sensei has only 2 European seminars so far (Ireland and Russia). The other and more relevant is that I am trying to follow Irie sensei with all the difficulties involved in this idea, because of the reason above (and that is why I went to Indonesia last year and I will go back there next year, and probably Vietnam as well!).
Commitment is a difficult word: even if I did not manage to succeed in personal relationships, I know my motivations are actually stronger for Aikido. This probably sounds a little sad for my not Aiki-friends, but that is how tings are. And commitment requires compromises and sacrifices, not always easy to make (yeah, in both kinds of relationships).
I have chosen a not easy road (when compared to remaining on the direction taken in 2004 thanks to meeting Endo sensei). The goal must be now in focusing on this choice and do my best to learn Irie sensei Aikido: my Aikido has changed and improved a lot thanks to Endo sensei but what I was looking for back then and now has changed, since I have changed. I want to keep all good I learnt and work in reshaping it in Irie sensei‘s form. All Aikido roads are parallel for me. I do not see it as breaking badly from one teacher to another, but an evolution that is taking me on another branch where to start developing in parallel.
Of course this does not mean forgetting Endo sensei, his students, his seminars. I will attend them again and hopefully meeting sensei again soon. And have a great time on and off the mats with the fantastic bunch of people following that road.
At the same time I will get to know better people in Irie sensei group, and from what I have already seen (in Japan, Indonesia or Europe), I like a lot this new bunch as well.
It will be then Moscow again:
At the end it’s all about love, love for Aikido, this love, the only one I have felt in the past 20 years!