P101 – L5

Posted: December 5, 2012 in IJRS Courses
“Overcoming Barriers to Training” by Joe Cavazos ―
Don‘t let the things you can‘t do prevent you from doing the things you can do.‖ – John Wooden John Wooden was one of the top college basketball coaches of all time. He coached the mighty UCLA Bruins and almost every year that he was coaching his basketball team won the NCAA championship. Most of the basketball players on his college teams went on to play at the game highest level – the NBA.
My high school basketball coach used to tell me, ―Stop making excuses!‖ John Wooden‘s quote is more eloquently expressed, but both men were sending the same message. My high school basketball coach, Roy Garcia, was one of the most influential people, outside of my parents, that helped to shape the person that I am today. Of course, it is my decisions and actions that have and continue to determine my life‘s path and consequences. What does this analogy have to do with aikido? Mainichi no keiko – and all of the excuses that I have heard over my years in aikido as to why my fellow aikidoka and my aikido students cannot make it to training! They have used the excuse of things they can‘t do prevent them from going to train. When I would see my sensei, the late Bill Sosa, at seminars that he was conducting, the first thing he would ask me was how often I was training. When I first began aikido, the instructor used to teach that aikido is a ―way of life.‖ I have heard many students recite this mantra when asked in their first ever kyu test, ―What is aikido to you?‖ Then I never saw them again in the dojo, some of them ever! In 2007 I celebrated 10 years of having opened my own dojo. Any aikido teacher that has been in business for over 10 years will have seen hundreds, if not thousands of potential aikido students walk through their door, stay a while, then leave. Almost every one of those students enjoyed the benefits of aikido but every one of them found a reason to prevent the continued study of the art. It may be that aikido was too hard, their progress was too slow, training was interfering with another area of their lives, they got hurt, the cost was too high, they found that aikido didn‘t work for them in an altercation, etc The martial arts are not for everyone. If it were easy every student who walked through the door would still be in aikido today and would be instant black belt candidates. I don‘t expect aikido to be for everyone. I expect a certain number of beginning students to not last a year. I honestlyCopyright 2009 Jax, aka Jackie Meyer
thank every one of those ex-students that have come and gone. Thanks to them, the serious stu- dents have the opportunity to continue training. Those students helped pay the rent and utilities for the extreme few that have continued to train over the years. They have provided us the oppor- tunity to work with ukes of different heights, weights, body structures, attacks and attitudes. It has helped us to forge our aikido into what it is today. The ones that really bother me are those students that have been aikido for many years, have some rank (nidan or above), then mysteriously leave the art. They found something else in their lives that filled the space that aikido used to fill or they found a reason to stop training. It has led me to a theory: I think that most aikido students are trying to find a reason to quit. They look for excuses not to come to class: it was raining, it was cold, my back hurts (substitute any other part of the body), my hakama was torn, my uniform wasn‘t washed, etc. As an aikido teacher, it is my job to nullify the reason for a student to quit or, rather, create a reason for the student to continue coming to class. Maybe this is the real job of any martial arts instructor, making a reason to come to training. Maybe it isn‘t enough to have impeccable waza or technique, if we don‘t have the students there to hand this down to. Returning to the idea of excuses for not coming to class, learning to train with pain or minor in- juries is part of the martial arts training. If your fingers are hurt, learn how to continue training with the pain. If you shoulder hurts, learn how to roll in that situation. If your back hurts, learn how to move with your stiff back. You just might learn something about yourself when you work through the pain. ―Don‘t allow the things that you can‘t do prevent you from doing the things that you can do.‖ It‘s more than just trying to find an excuse not to come to class, it‘s trying to find a solution to train daily – mainichi no keiko. Part of the training is self improvement and finding out the body‘s limitations – physically and mentally. When you know what your limita- tions are, the next step is to overcome those limitations. You can only find this through daily training. The highest level shihans today trained through pain, trained long hours, overcame all of their limitations to become who they are today. I am pretty sure that many of today‘s ―warriors‖ would have never made it through O‘Sensei‘s ―hell dojo‖ days like our shihans did. Our current aikidokas would have found an excuse to not be there. I would like to thank those shihans alive today that continued training so that they would have something to hand down to us. I will be there – no excuses! Joe Cavazos Houston, Texas A student of Hiroshi Kato Sensei (Suginami Aikikai) jycavazos@yahoo.com www.freewebs.com/acst

1. How does this article apply to the Jedi path?
— As I may or may have not said in previous assignments, The Jedi Path is not only a religion but it is also a lifestyle. Both of those things come with a price, the price of time and dedication, and sometimes, that is not something that people are willing to part with. The students mentioned in the article above…well, some of them suffered from three-day monk symptom. They took one look at the things that the martial art could promise them, it blew their minds, and for a few weeks, that was their life, they were going to be the best at what they set out to do, and suddenly the future looked so much brighter.
But alas, other things caught their attention and thus they drifted away from the martial art and on to what they thought was the next ‘big thing’ that would change their lives forever.
Other students stayed only to find out just how much ‘work’ was involved in the martial art. It was not something they could just walk into and hope that their instructors would make them into the perfect fighting machine. It does not work that way. Loss of time due to practicing and the fact that they were not the best in their class will often deter even the most dedicated of people at some time or other…and the ones that cannot deal with this reality that training takes priority over other things will leave.

The same things goes with being Jedi. Obviously, lessons and training take time and energy to complete…reading the lessons, answering the questions, the meditations, the fitness, the integrative practices…all take time and effort to get the best results. All those things make for a transformation which occurs ‘over time’. But, unfortunately, people often jump into things like this expecting a ‘quick fix’ to their problems and ‘instant enlightenment’ through The Force. But again, this is reality…and that’s not how the world works.

Sometimes meditations will not produce what you originally expected, that’s why you try again. Sometimes answers to some questions do not come to you instantly and you have to actually sit there and think. It will be something of a frustrating process at times because there are other things that you would like to be doing…but if business owners, farmers, grocers, and etc just decided not to do something just because they had better things on their mind to do, where would this world be today?

2. Do you feel you find excuses to avoid training? (This is rarely something we are aware of in the moment, so think back.) Why or why not?

—I know for a fact that there have been times where I have avoided training. There are many instances where I am on the internet doing absolutely nothing, and I fail to open my workbook merely because ‘I don’t feel like it’. Sometimes I make the excuse that,”…if I do not feel like doing something and thus are forcing myself to do it because it needs to be done, I’m not going to gain 100% of the intended result because I am not giving my all.”
Meaning, if I am disinterested in something but make myself do it anyways that, I will just rush over it and not really put in my quality work (whether that be meditating, working out, or answering questions). While some people might argue that something is better than nothing…depending on the day, I might just disagree.

I’m sure there are other excuses as well (as I am often full of them) but I cannot think of them at the moment.

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