I was still in England when I got interested in Zen Buddhism. I was impressed by Zen and Japanese culture written by Daisetz Suzuki Roshi. This was a very influential work in disseminating Buddhist culture to the western reader. It was so different from anything I had read before and gave a more “intellectual” grasp of the practice if such a thing were possible. I had experienced some meditation over the years
An observation of Chiba Sensei’s daily life reveals someone who walked a fine line between health and illness. He pushed hard burning the candle on both ends. His own acupuncturist couldn’t say it clearer when he said: “he is either very good or very bad, with nothing in between.
What is basic training? It is what beginners are expected to learn. In time and as experience is gained the more advanced teaching is shown while the basic way of doing things is reduced if not abandoned entirely. This is very typical in approach to teaching but it does not explain what basics is and how important they are.
“Many of you practice as though you are doing it , the application, the technique, the training. You are not. Too late, too little, wrong place, wrong time, wrong teacher to be doing that kind of training.” Quite a shattering statement to anyone listening.
The sun was intense, the heat overwhelming. It was a very hot day even for Southern California. Some phenomena called the Santa Ana. I would soon enter the dojo and get dressed into uniform for the late afternoon Aikido class. Stretching and bending, doing my best to limber up as I prepared myself. It wasn’t easy. What with jet lag in the body, a nasty bug
Learning to fall in Aikido, ukemi in Japanese, is half the training. Falling is not quite the right way to describe this aspect of training. Receiving would be more appropriate and much closer to the meaning. Receiving emphasises a way to take the throw, the pin and how to go with it, with the outcome that you still fall or get pinned etc. At first it seems awkward