NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #22

January 5, 2015

In This Issue:

  1. New Year’s Resolutions ~ They are better when you can control the outcome as much as possible.
  2. My Nihon Goshin Aikido Christmas Wish List
  3. Updated History Section of the Website
  4. Growing Our Subscriber Base ~ Please Forward to your Friends
  5. Announcements:  Got a rank promotion, opening a new dojo,  seminar, etc.

It’s Friday night, January 2nd.... And I’m contemplating my New Year’s Resolution.  This got me sidetracked, and I found myself writing Inside Nihon Goshin Aikido #22 instead!

1.  New Year’s Resolutions ~ What Makes Them Work or Fail!

So in 2013, I made a great New Year’s Resolution. I remember it vividly.  My resolution was to compete in a natural bodybuilding contest.  It was suggested to me by a friend in the summer of 2012.  I had been lifting weights for several years, and my weight had gone from a fit 185 lbs to 230 lbs.  

By way of background, in my early years of barbell training, I was a believer in the “GOMAD” school of strength training.

GOMAD stands for “Gallon Of Milk Every Day” ~~~ Which spells “GOMED” and not “GOMAD”~ but who am I to point that out to a bunch of guys whose hobbies include going to the Wal-Mart, and then picking up small cars and moving them to new parking spaces and then watching to see how long the car’s owner searched to find their car.....  Anyway, like all those guys,  I lifted heavy on the BIG THREE LIFTS in barbell training (Squat, Bench, and DeadLift) and ate as much as I could stand.  It generally worked.  I got somewhat stronger, but by December 2012, none of my pants fit me, and I was wearing warmups to church.... So a bodybuilding contest seemed like a nice way cut the fat ~ as I had no plans to buy bigger pants.

So, I did all the goal setting steps:  

#1  Write the goal down ~ where you see it every day.

#2  Tell everyone about your goal.

#3  Devise a daily action plan to reach your goal.

#4  Keep everyone informed of your progress.

And it worked.  On contest day, I weighed 182 lbs.  It was a good thing I didn’t write down “Win Contest” as my resolution ~ because it turned out that the diet I devised was so poorly planned that I lost most of the muscle mass in the cutting stage that I gained in the bulking stage ~ but that’s a different topic for another time.... The title of that article would be something like, “Some Times On The Job Training Is A Terrible Decision.”

Back to the point though:  It’s funny about the progress I made through the year.  For about 4 months, I could not tell any difference in my body ~ and my updates were met with blank stares and indifference.  It appeared as if nothing was going on, but I stuck to my plan.

Then one day, everyone could tell a difference, and as the contest got closer and closer, I had people coming up to me in the checkout lines at the grocery store asking me what my calf routine looked like, etc.

I’ve attached some of the progress pictures on the left hand side to document the transition.  Far from an exercise in vanity, the point of the pictures is to demonstrate that the resolution of 2013 went well.

Fast forward to 2014’s Resolution.  My resolution:  “To begin teaching a morning or lunch hour aikido class at the dojo.”  Seemed like a great idea ~ and a selfish one also, as this would work well within my schedule.  

Failure #1:  I did not write it down.  

Failure #2:  I only told my Sensei and a few others.  

Failure #3:  When the class failed to immediately form, I found an opportunity to cross train in Ueshiba’s Aikido style on Monday & Friday mornings and forgot all about my resolution.    


Now as it relates to goal setting, “defining the goal” is in my mind the most important part of the decision.  When I say “Define Your Goal” ~ I mean, make your goal something that you can control.  For example making a goal like, “become a black belt by this time next year” is probably a poor resolution because you can not control your rate of progression.  A better goal or resolution would be, “have 95% attendance at all dojo training sessions this year.”

Now why is the second goal or resolution better than the first?  Well, because the second goal only requires actions in which you are held responsible.  The training may or may not get you to sho-dan, but you will have given yourself the absolute maximum opportunity to improve over that time period ~ and this is what you can control.

Additionally, the BEST New Year’s Eve Resolutions NEVER END!  I the best scenarios, your resolution becomes a part of who you are, and therefore can never be set aside.

One other point about a New Year’s Resolution.... Sometimes they take a degree of thought, and therefore are not quite ready for public proclamation on New Year’s day ~~~~  so take some time to mull it over.  The resolution is not the important thing.... Accomplishing the resolution is.

Along those lines, I’ve refrained from naming my resolution this year.  I plan on competing in another bodybuilding contest ~ and bringing a much better physical package to the stage than my last try, but I’m not counting that as a resolution.  I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, for those so brave and predetermined, what is your New Year’s Resolution?  Care to share?  

What say ye?

2.  My Aikido Christmas Shopping List

Well it turns out that ALL of my Aikido shopping list items went unfilled.  Sigh..  I figure someone out there might want to generously buy me a Christmas present for all the hard work I’ve put into the Nihon Goshin Aikido Clearing House (known world wide ;) as  ~~~~~  Tough Crowd.  As a reminder, we still accept cash offerings in lieu of DVDs and other things. ~ lol

List for those who might be inclined:  

By the way, I recommend that you have them also.  Both of these DVD series are listed in the books and videos section of the NGA Experience Store; with direct links to checkout.  The store can be accessed using the navigation buttons on top of the page.

3.  Updated History Section on the Website.  

I went to tertiary sources and compiled them with what is commonly known of our art to come up with a revised history of our art and its place in the aikido genera of martial arts.  My primary source for research was Stanley Pranin, of Aikido Journal, an aikidiophile and informal historian of aikido history if there ever was one.  While I have only conversed with him informally (and about unrelated subjects to our history), I must say that his archived articles have helped me quite extensively.  I used those articles combined with some comments from early American NGA students who have gone on to Japan to visit, etc. to round out our history.  I think there is significant reason to believe that the details of Master Morita’s teachers are still somewhat foggy.  That said, and I think this statement is the most important thing that I keep coming back to and it defines Mr. Bowe’s initial encounter with Master Morita:  “Mr. Bowe, was immediately impressed with Master Morita’s students’ ability to throw him.”  

In an archived interview with Shihan Hiroshi Isoyama, Shihan Isoyama (who led an Aikido club at Kuma Station when Mr. Bowe was stationed there) discussed the difficulty he had doing techniques on the larger American servicemen.  Read that article describing Shihan Isoyama’s struggles here.  Regardless, Master Morita’s skill set is confirmed in Mr. Bowe’s statement, and really I think this is all that matters in my book.  So check out the history by clicking here.    

4.  Newsletter Subscribers:

More subscribers is the goal ~ so can you help us grow our Newsletter Subscription Base by passing the website along to your training buddies and asking them to subscribe?  

Our hope is to be an inter-dojo clearing house for all things NGA, but we need more subscribers to do that.  Best of all, it’s free, and who doesn’t like the word “free!”  Click Here to Subscribe! (And make sure your forward to all your training buddies, and would be training buddies).

5.  Announcements:  

Do You Have News On Seminars, Dojo Expansions, Relocations, Grand Openings, Promotions, and/or Other Information You Want To Share?  Send us the information on it and we’ll post it here for you.  

Let's meet on the mat together soon!


Jonathan Wilson

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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.

Here’s a what a real gun defense might look like ~~~~  Shazam!

4 March 2013 ~

weight 205 lbs

4 January 2013 ~

weight 225 lbs

18 April 2013 ~

weight 196 lbs

6 June 2013 ~

weight 190 lbs

(This is when people started coming up to me in Wal-Mart)

4 August 2013 ~

weight 182 lbs (5 days before my first contest)

31 October 2014 ~

weight 194 lbs

Over a year later with (nearly identical body fat percentage but 12 lbs heavier than in the 4 August 2013 photo above)

The best New Year’s Resolutions never end.

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