I’ve realized today that what I’m learning in Aikido is far, far beyond anything that I could learn while being in the “normal” world. What I’m learning in my dojo is something – a way of being that is beyond the comprehension of 99% of what society can understand.
Read this somewhere – forgot the source- but I thought I’d share this with a funny personal anecdote.
A Chinese martial artist, a Korean martial artist, and a Japanese martial artist are walking along a beach. All of the sudden, they encounter a tall stone wall that extended perpendicular along the shore. Knowing that they had to get to the other side, each one set out to do so. The Chinese martial artist walked up to the wall and promptly pressed the wall with his finger. After a few moments of doing so, he shrugged and walked off.
The Japanese martial artist then walked up to the wall, squatted down in a horse stance, and began pounding the wall with his fists. After a while, the section of the wall came down. However his hands were reduced to bloody stumps.
The Korean martial artist looked at the wall, took a few large steps back from it. In a screaming kiai he jumped up and with a 180° spin kick his section of the wall. Despite this, the wall remained standing. With that, he shrugged and walked on, like his Chinese counterpart.
As I’m writing this, I remembered that this came from an interview (forgot who) with a Korean martial arts master who had been asked the question that ran something along the lines of “Which style of martial art is better?”. If I remember correctly, part of his answer was explaining how the master pressing his finger on the wall is symbolic of how in Chinese martial arts, there is the ideal of “there is always another way”.
The Japanese martial artist with the bloody stumps represents the culture in general; how they would do anything to achieve something, even at great cost.
As for the Korean martial artist, this master has stated that Korean martial arts are a blend of both Chinese and Japanese arts – hence the spinning high kick.
I found this explanation and story a bit superficial, however I do see – ha ha – how to three cultures developed their respective arts.
As for me, I am starting to think that I am training in a Japanese martial art with a Chinese mentality.
I was finishing up my speech for Toastmasters when my train of thought went back in time.
You see my mother came to the US as a war refugee from Cambodia. Growing up, I would constantly hear her give prayers for a “safe and easy life” (she’s Buddhist). She would also say things such as “pray for a problem free life” or things like “pray for a happy life, a good life”.
It suddenly struck me how hypocritical this was.
There’s no such thing as an “easy” or “safe” life. That is an absolute, BS lie. There is really no such thing. At that moment I realized that I’ve been playing it “safe” all these years and it has cost me more opportunities than I care to admit. During my mini vacation to Monterey I realized that – among other things – that the world does not care what you think about it. You can try to control it as much as you can, it’ll still do what its doing.
Realizing this, I haven’t been following my own advice.
Screw it, you only live twice.
Now my question to myself nowadays is: What would I do in order to follow this piece of advice every month for the rest of my life?