It's a little weird.. but without a lot of training, I find myself missing the Zone.
In a hot bath, last night, seeking that Space, I found myself deep in my debt list.
There are so many, who have stepped in and brought me forward.
You know, I get it about me.
I'm a butterfly train wreck, I'm a collection of talents and interests, brought together in a deeply physically, and even mentally limited, package of boundless curiosity and ambition.
The great divide, within me, is that ingrained Texas awshucks/self-deprecation and the steep ambition of the powerfully dominant personality which allowed me to take my own path in martial arts and other endeavours. I really am the egomaniac with the inferiority complex.
My task is, to balance this with a realistic understanding of my environment.
The last decade of my life has been a nonstop cascade of leaps & bounds in terms of personal, social, intellectual, physical and emotional development.
Over ten years ago, in June 1998, I passed my black belt test for shodan, first degree black belt, in aikido.
It had been about ten years, since I started the effort. I was deeply ambivalent about the group I was training with, would rather have been doing another style, and lost a judge's vote to the opinion that I was doing that, rather than my original style. My partner was from that style, not my own, as my own choice had not been able to attend the testing event.
The fact that I adapted, should have meant something.
The dissenting teacher ended up leaving the style anyway..
I was very close to one of them, and terribly fond of the other (dissenting one notwithstanding).
The dissenter really helped me form my opinions, and for that, I'm grateful. I bear no ill will. I don't care. I'm on to the things that really matter to me now.
That's the vital thing. I'm on to things of vital importance, for me, for my interests, for my passions. I want to know how bodies work, in all things, in all situations. I want to keep and learn some old traditions, because they improve me as a human being, because they challenge me, and make me happy. I am never happier, than when I am wielding weapons of great grace, precision, & lethality.
A teacher new to me, quite a good one in SMR jodo, actually apologized for telling me to "back the motherfucker up". Well, we are still getting acquainted. He doesn't know that I have chased Charolais bulls with nothing but a bullwhip and a good dog, shot , killed & eaten rattlesnakes (got a nice belt to show for it) killed rats with a hard boot, and rabbits & chickens to eat.
Most people never have these experiences, and waltz into budo with no frame of reference.
I grew up in a culture of responsible gun ownership, felt comfortable in the military framework, and find classical Japanese martial arts a rational way to relate my relatively Paleolithic personal life to the rest of the world, in a strategic manner.
There is a kind of laugh, when you get exactly what you want. Involuntary, delighted, like when sleight of hand really surprises you.
That's what I go looking for, in budo.
I need to test myself, I need good, no, great friends to test myself with, in a safe, sane & supportive environment where we won't hurt ourselves or each other. I need it, I need to be here. Early & often. I need to test and be tested.
My teachers got me here.
If it works, why not rely on it, to work for me.
Because the people who care about me, made it work for me.
The are all still here, holding me up, getting me there.
I never stopped feeling any of your hands, holding me up here. I am still listening, I am still studying, and I am still unapologetically doing the work I am here to do.
My "house sensei" CG, Joe, Jim, Stephen, Brendan (you especially!) Andy W, Frank Gordon, Mr Matl, Kregg, David H, Kawakami S, Kurt VQ, William B, Dan A, Dennis H, Jonathan W, folks at Austin WT, Greg and Guy, and some rei to those now gone: Bill Sosa & George Simcox.
My bodywork teachers include Tom Lang, Carol Shifflett, David Lauterstein, John Conway, Christoph Sommer, Pierpaola Volpones, Dorit Schatz, Peter Schwind, Alain Croibier, Tessy Brungart, Jane Harrington, Cosper Scafidi &...
At the end of the weekend, I will be an Advanced Rolfer. Whatever that means.
What it means to me, is that I have a lot to pay forward.