Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #32
November 5, 2015
“There's never any final certainty about what you do. Your opinion of your own work fluctuates wildly. Under the right circumstances you can pick up something that you've written and approve of it; you'll think it's good and that nobody could have done exactly the same thing. Under different circumstances, you'll look at exactly the same poem and say, “My Lord, isn't that boring.” The most important thing is to be excited about what you are doing and to be working on something that you think will be the greatest thing that ever was. One of the difficulties in writing poetry is to maintain your sense of excitement and discovery about what you write.” ~ James Dickey
Just a week prior to his death, Sensei Giorgi led a 2 day seminar at Theron Bennett’s dojo in Winder, GA. This was relatively close to me, and I had hoped to attend the seminar. Unfortunately, my wife was scheduled to work that weekend, so I was needed at the house to make sure our kids didn’t set the dog on fire, or something similar. I regret that I wasn’t able to make Sensei Giorgi’s “Last Lecture.”
“Last Lecture?” ~ you ask. Yes “The Last Lecture” ~ indeed. It is safe to say that never was Sensei Giorgi’s understanding of Nihon Goshin Aikido any stronger than it was in Theron Bennett’s workshop. In Sensei Bennett’s own words, “It was the best aikido workshop I’ve ever attended, and I’ve attended a lot of aikido workshops.”
I first came across the idea of “The Last Lecture” while reading a book by the same name this summer. In the book, Randy Pausch details his “lessons learned” on “How to Live the Life of Your Dreams and Be True to Yourself.”
Stricken with cancer, Randy Pausch’s last lecture was delivered to the student body of Carnegie Mellon University ~ where he was a long tenured professor. In the book he opines about many keys to his success. One of them was the notion of accomplishment; namely that he would not be satisfied with successful outcomes, but constantly press the envelope for more understanding. He also shared a belief held by Captain James Tiberious Kirk, Captain of the Starship, “Enterprise” ~ in that he did not believe in the “no win scenario.”
Thinking about the contents of the late Randy Pausch’s book, and now having read and reread the emails from Sensei Giorgi, I see a similarity between the two men. Both men lived life with unexpected ease and daring; a model we might adopt also.
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Unless otherwise stated, the author’s views, musings, and opinions do not necessarily reflect the attitude of leadership within any of the various Nihon Goshin Aikido associations, or unaffiliated Nihon Goshin Aikido dojos.
Sensei Giorgi on the Power of the Search For Understanding in Nihon Goshin Aikido:
I applaud every student’s questioning and analysis of our style of Aikido, even if it does seem like a "dog chasing a car" at times.
Although it may take him some time, if the dog ever does catch the car, eventually he WILL figure out something to do with it, even if it's just sniffing the tires. Or sleeping underneath. Or scratching his back on the bumper...etc.
Truth be told, it took me nearly 20 years (from 1983 until about 2000) before I figured out how classical technique can be seamlessly integrated with the irimi blend [(irimi => tenkan => tenkai) ~ which manifests itself in a 360 degree circle] and why that process is indeed exactly what Shodo Morita intended classical technique to be.
This insight, as well as other epiphanies I have had during the past 30 years of training, was the direct result of my "chasing the car" without knowing what I was going to do with it if and when I actually caught it.
And this process has been my most enlightening and joyful experience, an ever expanding and accelerating journey of wonderful discoveries.
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