Aikido: Uke, Nage, and Mushin

The following is a bit ugly and unpolished, though hopefully useful in draft form. The short essay is part of an on-going discussion between Ron Ragusa and me on AikiWeb. Most recently, we are considering the roles of uke and nage—are they two sides of the same coin?—and we are questioning whether it is necessary… Continue reading Aikido: Uke, Nage, and Mushin

“My Sensei” & “My Student”

I have learned things from people who would not have me as a student, and I have been claimed as a student by those whom I would never call “my teacher.” I have learned from people who will never know I exist, and I have learned from instructors who have taken special interest in me… Continue reading “My Sensei” & “My Student”

What is Worth Learning?

I said something at the dinner table the other night that made me very unpopular: “In retrospect, nothing I learned in school actually mattered.” This I absent-mindedly said in front of my wife, a college-trained teacher, and my daughter whom she homeschools. When I taught mathematics, and for that matter when I was a student,… Continue reading What is Worth Learning?

The Package

What might this message mean to convey? Excerpt from (Some Organization’s) Guidelines Promotions and Ranking: It is important to understand that rank comes from one’s sensei and not an organization. This is one of the core precepts of the student/sensei relationship. This holds true for everyone in the (organization). It seems innocuous enough. Let me… Continue reading The Package

Fudoshin: Immovable Mind

Everybody begins with a clean slate—zero points. Over time, you will have the opportunity to earn points through tests, quizzes, explaining questions at the board, doing extra-credit work, and so forth. There will be no shortage of points, and anyone who wants to do more work will have the opportunity. When the semester ends, we… Continue reading Fudoshin: Immovable Mind

A Ronin’s Story, Part 5: Teaching

At the end of class, as we sat in seiza, I had a realization. And so I asked: Who was tested here today? In fact, I set out that morning only to assess their readiness, not to “test” anyone, so there was no announcement that this was what had occurred. After the members speculated a… Continue reading A Ronin’s Story, Part 5: Teaching