Monday, October 22, 2007

Changing and evolving

The world changes, evolves, moves on. Each of us who live here upon this planet have some kind of destiny or fate I presume. Why else would we be here if it is not to complete a task or mission while here on earth? The sad thing is many if not most of us do not know what our mission is. We must learn this as we grow older and with age comes wisdom and enlightenment. The purpose becomes evident as time goes by and we learn from the mistakes made in our youthful arrogance and ignorance.

What part does God play in this? As a Christian he is the central figure in my world. He is the great creator of all things in the universe and gives me life and hope. His love is the most powerful force in this universe and it was proven when he became flesh and died on the cross to exonerate me from my sinful ways. Blessed be the name of the Lord! Once I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior it opened up a whole new existence for me and I found the way or the path. The void within me was no longer aching to be filled with carnal or worldly goods but is now overflowing with pure love and truth. Amen!

Now my path is clear. I have accepted my fate and I am pursuing it. As a leader, an Elder, a Christian, a Father, Husband, Brother, Son and Friend. I am many things in this life and have begun to walk the true path. In life we take many roads and one of these roads has lead me to meet a man who has become a friend. I will not name him here as I do not have his permission at this time but needless to say he is a wise man and has become somewhat of a mentor and teacher to me. He is a devote Christian and was an instrumental part of me turning my life around and receiving Christ. Since that time I learned that he was a Sifu (teacher) in Aikido and I have begun training in this martial art under his tutelage. I have wanted to learn a martial art since I was a teenager and have dabbled in it from time to time over the years but never found a school that I felt comfortable in. However I truly believe that now I have found the right art and the right teacher to advance within the world of these ancient martial skills.

The art that I am now studying is called Aikido. This is one of many arts such as Judo, Jujutsu, Karate, Kung Fu, and there are many more. These are some of the more well known arts in America. Aikido was created by a Japanese man who is now referred to as simply O'Sensei or Great Master. His true name is Morihei Ueshiba and he was a very religious man. He was born in 1883 and died in 1969, it is said he trained until his last days and was always in great fighting shape. He began training in his late teens in traditional jujutsu and kenjutsu he joined the military soon after that and was a great soldier known for his toughness and character. He continued his study of martial arts during that time and after he left the military. He studied under many masters where he learned various styles including the kodokan style of judo. He also earned a certificate in yagyuryu jujutsu.

O'Sensei eventually began to mix his considerable martial arts skills with a more spiritual philosophy and developed his own methods then known as aiki-bujutsu as he continued to hone his skills and develop his system it became known as aiki-budo and around 1941 his art had become known as Aikido. Ai (joining or harmonizing) Ki (energy or spirit) Do (the way or path). Needless to say he was revered in Japan as a great master of martial arts and many people came to train under him.

One of his students was Kenji Tomiki. This man also studied under the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. Sifu Tomiki was a great martial artist who founded the style of Aikido known as Shodakan. He wanted to incorporate some competition into the art so that his students could test their skills. It is said that he and O'Sensei
had a disagreement over this and parted ways. He was awarded the first 8th dan in Aikido and also held a 8th dan in Judo. He like O'Sensei was a superior martial artist who was renowned in Japan and around the world. He was born in 1900 and died in 1979. It is the Tomiki or Shodokon style that I now am learning.

What I have learned about Aikido so far is that it is more of a defensive art than an offensive style such as some of the Karate styles I have studied. Where many Karate arts use kicks and punches to decimate your opponent, Aikido uses your opponents energy and aggressiveness against him. Many joint locks and throws are used in Aikido that were derived from O'Sensei's training in jujutsu and judo. The training allows the Nage to flow with the energy brought by the Uke when attacked. If you use these skills properly you can easily subdue your opponent with minimal force in various ways. However depending on the force needed in any particular situation Aikido can be applied with deadly force that can easily break bones and dislocate joints causing very painful injuries or even death. We are taught only to use this kind of force if our lives or the lives of the innocent are threatened. Each situation is different in the world but if attacked, a skilled Aikido practitoner can size up the situation and decide what kind of force is needed. Aikido also teaches one to deal with multiple attackers.

Of course I am just a novice and have many years of training to develop the skills to become proficient, however I am eagerly learning and hope to continue training for many years to come.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October and Fall is finally winding it's way down into the Carolina's. It is still too hot for this time of year but it has cooled substantially from what it was last month. However now that Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize I am sure that the man who invented the Internet will find a way to stop global warming an all will be right with the world. Just think, if he had been elected President in 2000 he would not have been able to win this prize or make his movie that won the Oscar and Emmy. So do you think he would trade all that in for the Oval Office? Who knows but I digress.

Things are going well for me these days. Work is steady and life is chugging right along like an old steam engine train moving down the tracks. Church is really good. I have my last week of Elder training coming up and I will be ordained soon. Then I will find out what committee I will be placed on. The Choir is sounding great and we are preparing for the holiday season. Operation Christmas Child is under way and we brought our boxes home last Sunday.

The biggest news is that Jason (my son) has joined the Navy and is in boot camp. In fact today is the first day of his third week. He has about five more weeks then he will graduate. I am very happy and excited for him. I hope he does well and I am praying hard for him every day! I'll bet he's doing more push ups than I am these days!

Janet and I are doing great and really enjoying our new house. The dogs have adjusted and are lazier than ever! I have increased my workouts and am up to 60 push ups a day, I made 70 one morning but I have to do them first to make that many at one time. I am benching again too. Still working on the diet. That's that hardest part to control. I am at 185 steady now. I have cut way back on the juicing and it is taking it's toll. I need to get back into it again. The move kind of discombobulated my schedule and I never have gotten back on track. Shame on me! I will get back to every other day soon. I have been taking Aikido lessons from a private instructor who is a good friend of mine. I guess we have been doing this for about four month maybe five now. I have another lesson on Thursday. I am really enjoying this martial art more than any I have studied. I hope to stick with this one for many years. It is more a defensive art than offensive but it is very effective.

The Lord has blessed me no doubt. My life is great and I thank him for it. I am having Thanksgiving here this year and inviting the family up for a feast! Janet and I are going to the mountains this weekend to enjoy the scenery and eat at the Daniel Boone Inn. We have scheduled our next vacation for Sedona Arizona next September. I am finally going to get to the Grand Canyon! Yahooo!

I'll check back in later.

Peace be with you!