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

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4 Uber + 2 Grab equals…

22 08 2017

…a very interesting first night in Jakarta, to say it in the most positive possible way… Typical of course of my usual positivity!

That was Sunday night…

After a great seafood dinner in a bit of remote place in Jakarta north I had to get a bike to go back to my hotel, in Jakarta west. 

Amazing seafood


Like in Vietnam I like the motorbike taxis more than the cars, because of the crazy traffic and jams in this overpopulated city! In fact the only Indonesian word I know is “macet”, meaning traffic jam.

On the roads of Saigon


So I sent my request for Uber bike referring to the location given by the Internet signal…

Uber


The first 2 Uber after apparently riding around my position with the time for arrival changing from 2 minutes to 15 than 3 and randomly increasing again cancelled.

I take this as a partly personal mistake since then I realized my position was about 50 meters wrong. So I corrected it and try again..

One of the first 2 Uber driver accepted again but then after 20 minutes he canceled again.. And the same happened with the 4th attempt..

Then I gave up on Uber…

Grab


….and tried my favorite application for my Vietnamese time… but here more expensive than Uber, still… it was time to change!

I must admit that the drivers seemed to get to my location easier than Uber ones, maybe even too easily: the first driver was a little too eager to pick me up, and start drinking.. Maybe he had a hot girlfriend waiting for me at home, or a hot meal or both..

But after not even a minute when I ask him if he was sure of the direction (I know nothing but I can read maps and I know the cardinal points) he showed me his application with the destination and clearly it was not my hotel…
He had picked up the wrong person!!! Bad luck the first 3 digits of the license plate were the same as for my real ride…
…that luckily arrived a few seconds after the wrong one brought me back…
You might think the adventure was over, right? That was my thought.. and of course I was wrong..
I realized that even if all drivers have a special holder for the mobile phone to put on the front of the motorbike, they are not so good at following the GPS! He stopped 4 times to ask indications to other riders until we got to an area I thought to recognize, I took out my phone with my own Google maps and told him where to go…
After about 1.5 hour (instead of 20 minutes max that I took on the way to the restaurant) I was back to the hotel..
FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Today I noticed my Uber rating is going fast downhill! That is not good: I’ve been rating almost all drivers with a 5, even when they got lost or I had to support with my own maps… And I wonder why hey have been rating me low.. Occasionally I hit my helmet on theirs with the sudden breaks and accelerations (I always think, hypothetically, a Kaya driver turning and punching me in the face) and most of the time I need help to latch/unlatch the helmet straps.. But these are not so negative points I think.. Once I even gave one driver the laugh of the day putting on the helmet from the wrong side (no, I had not the back of the helmet in front of my face, but the latch was not under my chin but over my forehead… I have no idea how I managed..). Today I tip the driver (almost the same amount of the ride,still cheap for us.. but… not common I think) and he gave me a 5 (my rate was higher than before)… I must carry some change for my rating!!!

My Uber rating Sunday


My Uber rating today before tipping the driver (after it was 4.42)





Trust hurts…

15 08 2017

Finally, after ages before too late, tonight I am going to the concert of Megadeth!!

Lost in a dream
Nothing is what it seems
Searching my head
For the words that you said
Tears filled my eyes
As we said our last goodbyes
This sad scene replays
Of you walking away
My body aches from mistakes
Betrayed by lust
We lied to each other so much
That in nothing we trust
Time and again
She repeats let’s be friends
I smile and say yes
Another truth bends,
I must confess
I try to let go, but I know
We’ll never end ’til we’re dust
We lied to each other again
But I wish I could trust
My body aches of mistakes
Betrayed by lust
We lied to each other so much
That in nothing we trust
God help me please, on my knees
Betrayed by lust
We lied to each other so much
That in nothing we trust
How could this be happening to me
I’m lying when I say, “Trust me”
I can’t believe this is true
Trust hurts
Why does trust equal suffering
Absolutely nothing we trust

…I do trust thought it’s gonna be a great concert!





What does matter at the end?

21 07 2017

I tried so hard and got so far

But in the end it doesn’t even matter

I had to fall to lose it all

But in the end it doesn’t even matter….


#linkinpark #rip





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…





Amsterdam Valentine

14 02 2017

Love to the city – love to the friends – love to the sky – love to this light…

Love yourself (more or less literally up to you)





Conversation with a ghost of the past life

8 02 2017

I have written this story on a small sheet of paper sitting in my usual spot in my usual bar, alone as usually, but completely relaxed, enjoying the noise around me and feeling in complete peace with myself. It is good sometimes to be a ghost lost in a crowd..

– In the previous life we were a couple
M – Were we?
– Yes
M – And how was it?
– It was good, great even from time to time. We had 2 kids, 2 girls
M – 2 can be tough
– You know that, right. But 2 can also be awesome
M – Was it awesome for us?
– It was for you.. when you left me
M – Did I?
– Yes, and it had been the right thing to do
M – Was it?
– I loved you and the girls with all myself.. but it was not enough
M – What was missing then?
– Loving myself as well, accepting myself, stop thinking I should have been better
M – Could you?
– I tried and failed, and drunk myself away from my failures, or at least I thought I could get away
M – Was it worth?
– I gave you a chance for a better life when I was over, when I was done… so yes, my failures gave you freedom
M – Did I really want that freedom? From you? Have you ever asked this to yourself?
– I was taking you down with me, taking the girls away from happiness because of my egoism
M – Have you not being selfish killing yourself?
– Have you been happy afterwards?
M – …
– …
M – I missed you in the past life, the girls missed you
– But then they found again happiness, you found happiness.. they forgot me, you forgot me
M – Have you found peace now?
– I see the past, my errors, the present, I see you.. I am content
M – But not happy
– Happiness is overrated
M – Fuck off
– I loved you. I still do. I will always do.. in my way
M – Fuck off
– Are you happy now?
M – Yes, I am
– Then stop talking and let me enjoy your smile.. so I am happy too

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