To everyone in the Shin Budo Kai community,
As you know, the transition from no dojo to a fully operational dojo was done in record time. In April we found a space (through Mel’s great efforts), signed the lease, and we were open for business in May.
Many thanks to Andrew for his perseverance. He led the effort beginning last year arranging with a broker to find possible spaces and hoofing it around Manhattan.
I, for one, thought the task of reopening was daunting. There were so many things that had to be done. But, for the most part, we did one thing at a time — first things first.
We set on a path and, as the expression goes, the longest journey starts with the first step.
Which brings me to the reason I’m writing this to you.
Over the years, during my training and, I’m sure during your training, we get to the point when we say to ourselves, “Is this all there is?” Or, we might say, “I’ve gotten to this plateau. How do I get to the next level?”
The answer, almost invariably, is the we return to the dojo and practice — one step, one technique at a time. Shugyo.
Sometimes, we don’t feel like going but, invariably, we feel better after class.
Sometimes, we don’t feel as if we are making progress, but invariably, we do.
For many of us, for the past two years, we have not gotten to the dojo. We have gotten out of our routine. Maybe we’ve gone onto other things. Maybe we have decided to stop. Maybe we have just put things into suspended animation.
But, we have started on a new journey. This new journey is, primarily, as a result of Imaizumi sensei’s making it clear that he has retired from teaching. So, now what?
We can take the position that if he has come to the end of his journey of teaching aikido, then either we have no opportunity to learn more. We can also take the position that however far we have come, well, that’s it.
I don’t see it that way. Imaizumi sensei has methodically pointed us into his view of how to learn aikido. Maybe it was also Tohei sensei’s way. Maybe it was alsoO’Sensei’s way. But it was always Imaizumi sensei’s way in the end.
It actually doesn’t matter. Ultimately, it is up to each one of us, individually, to learn what we can. As you probably know, the measure of a student ultimately comes down to how well they pass on knowledge to the next generation.
In my opinion, that is the ultimate goal of every student. That’s something that we have done starting from the time each of us began as a new student and then helped the then newer student(s). We have this opportunity to continue passing along what we have learned from Imaizumi Sensei to those who wish to learn.
If you haven’t been to the new dojo yet, and if it’s a matter of inertia, I ask that you make the effort to come by and practice. You may not feel like it. However, I can almost guarantee that you will feel better having worked out. I can tell you that I have missed working out and getting back onto the mat has been great.
You might also believe that you don’t matter to the overall health of the dojo. I can tell you that everyone has something to contribute and we are all better off with that contribution.
So, please give it a shot. Take the first step. And then, the next. Pretty soon, you’ll be back in the groove and, before you know it, if you miss a class or two, you will be itching to get back onto the mat again.