Of kyu exams and aikido living situations
We will be doing tests this week. Friday night April 16th for adults and Saturday the 17th for children. We have not done exams in awhile. We will try to get back on track and have regular exams every couple of months for all age groups. Some times it may come across is that I am anti-exam. That is not the case. One things exams do is that they encourage the learning of the structure of the art, ie the forms and the names that are called out in Japanese. And often times the candidate is encouraged to work with some one more advanced to help them prepare for their exam. So some important bonding can go on. Also it is good to see a group that has come in together “go up the ladder together” so to speak. The reason we have not tested lately is that a date must be found and the schools involved must co-ordinate a date. I am involved in an aikido study group(justice league meetings) which take time and involve a whole different way of looking at the art than exams do. And there are some things happening in the music realm that require a lot of time. But hopefully in the future the exams will be organized on a more regular basis.
One thing that does happen is that the exam format does encourage a more mental approach to learning the forms. Often times the pressure of an exam will movtivate someone to learn a body of information but very mentally. Even hours spent in preparation with a senior student where details are being passed on will cause the “Oh, I learned such and such “. Syndrome. All real knowledge is experiential. Einstein himself said as much. He said everything else was just information. And the knowledge must be experiential and through the body. The techniques were originally developed to get people to access that field of information through the body. And that knowledge was meant to be innate. Innate knowledge is of the moment, experiential, not of the past. While exams can be good for getting through a body of technique, exams have an agenda and often times people carry the mind knowledge of the movements, which is something learned in the past, with them into present and future. So be aware that everything you have learned for an exam must also be stripped away so that you can go back into the moment with your learning. So please prepare and take kyu and dan exams. But also please keep a perspective on what they are. A good exam includes good technique, but also that the candidate has hit a whole new level of themselves in the process. That happens occasionally……
The situation for the potential living situation in Boulder Creek is still in the developmental stage. I have been approached by a couple of people. But they were not clear whether the place was Boulder Creek or more local in San Jose. Yes indeed it is in the mountains among the redwoods. Certain other things need to be done. Such as testing the ph of the soil. The area in question has a little slant to it, which would have to be addressed. If any of you have any expertise or advice on this, please let me know.
Again, the most immediate thing would be finding 2 people who would like to rent rooms. Then the farming area could be addressed. It has been suggested that portions of the growing area could be rented, with crops going to those people who are involved in that way. Also, that some people might be interested in purchasing some of the property. So if any of you have any suggestions, I am all ears. Also, if someone wants to take a leadership role, please let me know. Things like agriculture I am not familiar with. But I am willing to learn. For more information on this, please check the previous blog.
The Iwama situation for Osensei has been coming up for me lately. I visited the Ibaragi dojo in fall of 1973. I spent about 5 days there. Linda Holiday sensei had visited prior to my visit. At that time Saito sensei was still working on the railroad and so I only saw him the first day for training. He taught a private class for me upon my arrival. And I went to see him before I left. He told me “Mata Iwama e irrashai”. A couple of years later when I was back in this area, Saito sensei was visiting. I took Master Choy to see him. So it was a meeting of t’ai chi and Aikido. Very friendly by the way. I returned in summer of 2006 when with Nadeau sensei’s group we visited for an afternoon. I am including a picture taken in front of the Aiki Shrine during that visit. One of my favorite photos of a very memorable day. We had to leave early that Wednesday afternoon because we had dinner scheduled with the Doshu that night. This is recounted in one of my earliest blogs in June 2006. So it is in the archives.