Kein Risiko, kein Spass

30 10 2017
Kein Risiko, kein Spass

Kein Risiko, kein Spass

By chance I saw the tagging long time ago in Germany and that triggered memories and thoughts.. not all happy ones..

I know I have myself followed this motto more than once, both in relationships and in other parts of my life. But, is it really fun or necessary to take risks in  working life, “love” life, sex life and what about the most important part of my life: Aikido life?

I am actually a relatively boring person. I do not like taking unnecessary risks. When I travel I like to plan the trip in advance: find the hotel or accommodation, usually the dojo for Aikido practice, the road between the 2 and mark on my local maps place of interests (and of course dojo and where I sleep). A boring person, right? I have been told. Maybe it is because I am an engineer..

I started writing this post the weekend before I miss the trip to Norway because of several problems with a Norwegian flight, including the forced disembark of a person, escorted by 4 well armed officials. I travel so often that it is actually surprising I assisted only so recently to something like that. Has it affected me? Not really, except the annoyance in the delays and then the cancellation of my trip (at least Norwegian refunded me of the full fare). But every time I book a fly ticket or every time I board an airplane I have no special feelings that I am doing something risky. Same when I bike to work during a rainy and windy day, on slippery Dutch streets, with several other bikes, tourists lost in their thoughts and stoned car drivers… 😉

Untitled

let it go..

So many risks in the day to day life that if one starts thinking about that maybe one would get too afraid and overwhelmed for even going out in the morning. Is that reasonable adding personal risks, risks of physical or psychological injures, social risks practicing a martial art?

Is fun taking risks during practice?

My aiki-brother wrote about the feeling of being safe during Aikido practice.What he points out comes from many years of practice and especially lots of “study, research” on the mats with Jorma Lyly sensei:

Let’s close in on danger in a nice and comfortable way..

Jorma Lyly, 6.dan Aikikai

taking ukemi for Jorma Lyly sensei

taking ukemi for Jorma Lyly sensei – picture by Sigurd Rage (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sigurdr)

In many ways I agree with aikifreak, of course (considering as well Jorma one of my biggest inspiration and motivation). Very often when practicing with a beginner partner, I suggest to try to keep a longer contact, grab, in particular when a technique ends with a throw or projection. I call that one’s own safety belt, the same kind of feeling I like when taking a break-fall with partners I am still not completely in tune with. Equally I prefer to perform slow techniques and working on the basics most of the time instead of hurry up to the conclusion (throw or pin) with the risk to surprise and provoke unnecessary pain to my partner.

In the old times, Aikido and martial art in general were considered effective only if the execution was painful for the attacker, even better if the pin or torsion was causing some breakage. Times were different: maybe many remember or have read at least once a long interview with Chiba sensei, where he talks about challenges. At the beginning of Aikido history, in older Japan but not only, everything new had to be tested according to the time standards.

I am actually convinced that “testing” Aikido respect to effectiveness is not a bad thing, but there is a place and time for doing that (unless you are with the shoulder against a wall facing people interested in taking away your freedom or life or attacking your loved ones: then there is no discussion about place and time, and if no room for discussion, there must be confidence for action). I love testing and working on techniques during seminars as well, but most of the times depends on the partners and the environment.

In some places it is the natural way on the mats: one example I was talking about recently is the seminar with Ariga sensei the past 2 years in Bratislava. Sensei is presenting an extremely interesting work that requires a good deal of thinking especially about the foot movement, and I love to work with someone on the mats that is also interested in exploring, not only in the outcome of the throw. Bratislava, as many friends I often meet also in Prague and Norway/Sweden in particular, is the kind of place I feel at home in this research. The final result of the throw becomes almost irrelevant, or better, don’t misunderstand me, it becomes like the natural result of the research, even if in my own thoughts it does not have the main importance in the process. So the fact that a technique is working or not is not only shown by the throw itself, but by all the steps that lead to the throw, making the throw just the natural end step. Details after detail building up the whole..

The colors of autumn

Autumn Details

This research is the main purpose and motivation of my traveling, my going to meet several teachers I appreciate or make me curious. Many friends know I was not fully convinced about Ariga sensei fearing another attempted imitation of Endo sensei, probably the best one giving the background, but still.. and I was proven wrong. And I loved his seminar! Next year he will not visit Bratislava anymore: different people that I do not know as well as over there and I think it will be a different seminar. I will join it, hoping to meet someone on the mats also curious about how to naturally get to the throw not putting the throw as the only relevant aspect of the technique.

Removing the throw from the “main titles” of the technique is part of my thinking that also without risk there is a lot of fun. Another motto one hears often in training environments is: no pain no gain. Really? I could paraphrase it here, for several Aikido people, as no throw no gain, but again my research now goes in the opposite direction, both about pain and throw seen in the most demanding way.

Having said this, I love of course throws, and being thrown around!

But I feel sometimes that people does not feel safe when practicing with me. It might be because of my size or because I do like to change the tempo in the techniques sometimes (when I know/feel my partner can enjoy and keep up), slow and dynamic or maybe they think that since I love to be thrown and I take tobi ukemi (jumping ukemi) I am going to throw my partners in the same way and they think it is rough or dangerous. Or maybe they just do not like my face (not properly angelic). A few days ago, after giving a suggestion to a fellow aikidoka, from my same club, he reacted saying that I should not get angry.. and this hit me deeply..

Maybe the reason was that I was not smiling as I usually do, because these days I am being extremely tired. It is probably one of my biggest personal disappointment. My goal is making all my partners feeling safe and comfortable (yeah, still talking about Aikido here!).

Maybe it’s also that I tend to show disappointment on my face: the thing that is difficult to explain is that the disappointment is about myself, for not being able to properly guide my partner, to be able to transmit the feelings I have, or also for maybe expecting too much by my abilities, thinking I am actually able to make my partner feeling something else than fear, or pain, or discomfort.

I have to work on taking every step slower. Let the technique enter completely in my own self, from the eyes, flow properly to every cell, so that it is assimilated and not only superficially touched: when I manage to feel that flow without thinking at that I know the kata has become art. But the only way to get there, at least for me, is through repetition and through researching.

Interiorize the kata makes it effective and allows me to be able to focus on my not “ideally every day partner” comfort: for “ideally every day partner” I mean some of the people I know I could almost practice with closed eyes and we would both have a great time.. not many here in Amsterdam. My growth can only be shown by people enjoying practicing with me, searching me on the mats and not ending up at a new rotation with me and thinking “damn, next time I have to be faster to find someone else!”… as it happens too often..

My path is still so long.. I just have to find more partners to walk along it..

My precious tail....

Safe and comfortable

Advertisements




A child of 45!

6 07 2017

That is what most of people and myself in primis think when getting to know me!

How could I disagree with that??

always all natural

  • all children almost at once like me: we think in the same way, of course!
  • I sleep on the floor: futon on a very rough handmade base
  • my room has no door, I live with 2 cats and 2 house mates
  • I work to maintain my “life hobby”, Aikido.. nah, let’s say it loud and clear: my life, Aikido!
  • my savings are not much more than … monthly balance.. no future planning (except for Aikido seminars), living the moment.. totally incapacity to answer the question: “what you want your life being in .. 5 years? 10 years? after retirement?”.. what life?
  • I have no girlfriend.. as a matter of fact I almost never had one
  • I got no children and already given up on any thought of a traditional family: enjoying every second with my closest friend children
  • I have never owned a car, a motorbike, a scooter, a dog or cat, never lived with a partner, never been married (reinforcement to my being weird concept)
  • I do not do very well with changes
  • fashion? Sorry, what’s that? I cannot dress properly, not like a 45 y/o man or not even as a 30 something y/o normal person.. I am still a jeans and T-shirt person (like the girls I usually like..). Next week I will go to a wedding in Italy and I am still unsure what I will wear, what I want to wear, where I can buy it, if what I have planned to wear will have the effect to be removed from all contact lists of the people attending the wedding, or just the will not open the door. I hope there is a children table!
  • I listen to more or less the same music I have been listening in the past 25 years
  • I fall asleep in front of the TV (PC) and then get up in the night to switch off the lights.. or I do it in the morning when I go to work!
  • I get grumpy fast like a little child not allowed to do what he wants, that very moment, but also I forget my anger equally fast, most of the times
  • I trust people, like a child.. I got burned quite a few times, but I keep trusting people.. maybe I am a stupid child, or just got a shorter memory than most.. or just I do not want to change (see above, not doing well with changes!)

My biggest fear is becoming a child of 50 that talks to himself (and even answers from time to time), unable to be socially acceptable in any ways (I mean, worse than now!) and being content about that or not even realizing it..

Being still a few years of neural degrading for reaching that point, I hope (at least!). I hope Aikido will help to keep some neurons alive!

And just for the final irony, I discovered today is world kissing day… ironic for a guy child, I mean, that has not kissed that much in his life (but enjoying it every time!) and probably has the record speed of being unmatched on Tinder..

..but at least tonight it is time again to fly to an Aikido seminar and especially to many friends I missed a lot lately.. and in particular celebrating 10 years of knowing a crazy fantastic person from Prague..

flying to…everywhere…





The return of a nightmare

22 05 2017

This morning, 4 am, I woke up, suddenly, in pain: the weight of the duvet on my right knee was enough to send jolts of pain through my nervous system.. and after a few hours, when it started swelling and the slightest touch was equivalent to deep pain, dark thoughts of “The Return of the Watermelon Knee” jumped in my mind and during the day the thoughts became unfortunately reality.

right knee swelling


Besides being in the Netherlands with almost no access to the Chinese products that cured me last time (yeah, no cure from what I got, RA is the only companion for life I will ever get), and not even the first round of pain killers that had proven very useful at the worst time of the swelling period, I have a very busy week in front of me preparing 3 even busier weeks when I will travel for work around Great Britain to give hands on training to different hospitals.. standing and talking activities.

I wish I could find a laowai friendly hospital that could prescribe me again the Tibetan herbal tablets I got then in China and used for a really long time. The only solution is scavenging among the bags of medicine I brought back from my short life in China and see what I manage to put together for a fast hopefully good effect.

leftovers of the magic Tibetan cure


I consider myself having a pretty high pain threshold but today I cried actually twice. I had forgotten the full inflammation pain and the return of it has been a quite traumatic awakening. 

In the next days I need to contain this pain and manage to control it. From next week I got pretty important work tasks that will require me standing most of the day when not walking pulling heavy cases. 

I wanted challenges right? Here they are… be careful what you wish for…

The first challenges were biking tobanf from work but especially walk three flights of stairs to get to my room at home. 

Habits are also painful. I always step into my hakama first with the left foot and I always mountvmy bike from the left side, therefore passing over the right leg… that is bending my swollen and inflamed right knee: the sudden sharp pain pain was definitively a good call to pay more attention!

my hakama

After the ice and evening rest I try to follow the other two rule of the recommended R.I.C.E. procedure: Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation. 

knee elevation on the loft ceiling of my room


If I were a bat I’d probably be certainly better tomorrow… since I’m not I’m more curious about my weekend to come in Prague…





The Seventh Day…

31 01 2017

…he rested.. I mean, I rested, finally! Yesterday.. yeah!

During the weekend, feeling quite tired at practice in Belgium with Kuribayashi sensei, and going to bed relatively early Saturday night after the dinner event, I realized that I have been practicing quite a bit this month. Every day since last Tuesday (no practice on that day). At least, a bit for my own self, nothing compared with my aiki-bro Aikifreak. More or less like the Stavanger days, but there I was teaching most of the classes and it is quite a big difference, especially here in Amsterdam, between being instructor or not.

19 training days this month and my condition is far from optimal. The elbow inflammation and the probable knee bursitis are following me from last months in 2016 to now. But it was ages I did not practice that much in a month, and none of these days was a full teaching session.

A couple of weeks ago I had a bike incident, smashing on the frozen tarmac after misjudging the height of a step and try to “jump” with bicycle and all, I had landed on the same knee already in pain and for some strange Aikido reflex I had managed to not smashed the left arm on the ground when I bent the handlebar:

bike handlebar re-work

bike handlebar re-work

An accident due to 80% stupidity, 10% iced road and 10% bad luck..

Funny thing is that after the crash both knee and elbow seems to improve.. Fight fire with fire?

…but the not traditional healing method did not really stick, and nowadays I have started thinking to get back to some more traditional cures, that wouldn’t require to crash again my poor bike..

In the close future I see some more very active weeks coming and I am quite happy. I have planned to attend interesting seminars where I will meet amazing people on the mats and have more chance to test my body and mind. Last Aikido year had been fantastic. I have hopes and I trust this year will be equally great.. but I have to improve my own condition. Learn how to recover faster as well.

Tuesday’s are my days of rest but unfortunately it’s almost sure I work overtime every single one. But I also promised myself to stop on the way home at Bukowski bar, my oasis in Amsterdam. Often alone I sit in my spot, have an occasional chat with the people working there, check my Instagram or social places or write my blog… like yesterday night….





Unfit

13 10 2016

Last week I had to stop practice after the first hour and it was a bit annoying: I have a couple of physical problems that are carrying longer than expected, and a few too many thoughts on my mind, that are also not helping.

During a first hour of several beginner techniques, working especially on ikkyo and with no throws at all, I had to compensate a lot a problem with one knee that is forcing me to avoid as well all suwariwaza work. That is boring, but last year, more or less in the same period I had the same problem, that went away with some rest..

hope... for something better....

hope… for something better….

Read the rest of this entry »





Values & Time, Water & Teflon

19 09 2016

It is the time to say goodbye to shoes I had bought for 14.90 € thinking that if they lasted 3 months it would have been a good investment.

A long road

They lasted about 18 months, they have walked me all around Europe, in Japan, I’m Indonesia and in Vietnam.

I have learnt to give value to everything and everyone independently by the time things and people are around. Because this time can be short.

I have had 3 relevant relationships in my life of which the longest lasted about 3 years “on paper” but in reality maybe less than 3 months and the best most spontaneous and natural part has been the first 3 hours.. I valued most of the time with her and looking back I regret I did not enjoy more. But I have no other regrets. Read the rest of this entry »





2016 Resolutions & Predictions

11 01 2016

Maybe last time.. because they are actually more or less a copy from last year revised ones:

2016(5) Resolutions:

  • learn something new
  • get passionate again about about something positive, constructive (..else than Aikido, reading, taking pictures and travelling – specified since in 2014 apparently I got passionate about.. rejections!)
  • stop doing always the same mistakes, especially with people! 向前走,莫回头! (got close again, but maybe I managed to be a little adult this time!) — one add: stop comparing myself to other people! In life, work, Aikido and especially relationships! Some sort of typical masochism that results only in me feeling like a shit..
  • work for my 3.dan in Aikido (when ever it might be) and work on my Aikido in general! (since I have realized I got not so much else to spend time for)  — related to this one there is an extra goal: help a fellow Aikidoka in Amsterdam to develop, “find”, feel more her center 😉
  • maintain 75 kg rather than reach 72 kg: the path to this target has started already! I had been almost steadily around +/- 75 kg during the summer, but I certainly failed to keep it or push for the 72 kg goal.
  • the most important: care less!!!

2016(5) Prediction:

  • I will travel a lot
  • there will be some changes

Time to eliminate the learning part: I had of course in mind learning to play the guitar (there is a guitar in the room I rent now!) but I failed so many times that I think I am too stupid.. I’ll try again, but not as a resolution..

The most important part for me though is step forward in my life, both Aikido life and “the rest”. Not easy, in neither of them. But I got some motivations. Some thoughts/plans that need a bit more working on and maybe some further changes. I tried some this year, but the reason behind that change was not worth and I was never convinced about what I wanted. That is probably a first step: know what (not who!) I want, more or less..