Aikido Kobayashi Dojo

Aikido, My Way.

Part 8 My Ebullient Life from Here

The best thing about deciding to become an Aikidoka is that I’ve been able to make a living doing something I love.

When I was young, no one thought that you could make a living at the martial arts, but I didn’t give up my dream and began to make a living as an uchideshi at Hombu Dojo.

My fellow uchideshis would practice so fiercely, sometime someone would faint, but since we were uchideshis we just assumed this was normal, and all of us shared a passion to spread Aikido.

Today’s Aikido is commonplace and anyone of any age can enjoy practice. Compared to the kinds of techniques we used to do, today’s techniques are much gentler.

There are many people who say they want to open a dojo and become an instructor.  If I ask, “What if you open a dojo?” and they say “Sensei, if I become an uchideshi, please provide support money” and I reply, “Support money? You’re training with me, you pay me”. Then they call me coldhearted and give up. I wonder why today’s young people can’t appreciate the chances they have.

There are many people that say they’d like to quit their companies and do what they want, but few do.  Even though there are many things they’d like to do, when faced with whether they can make a living doing it, they reconsider and resign themselves to their lives.

In reality, it’s difficult to give up everything right from the start. If we want to do something new, we suddenly have to tackle so many unpleasant situations.

What we really need is the will to challenge and take action.  I think it is absolutely important to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

O Sensei told me a story once about when the famous boxing slugger Mr. Horiguchi came to visit Hombu Dojo with his entourage.  The people that came with him asked, “What if there is a match between O Sensei and Mr. Horiguchi?” Mr. Horiguchi supposedly laughed, but O Sensei brought two bokken and stood in front of Mr. Horiguchi.  Of course if there were a match with bokken, O Sensei would surely win. The people with Mr. Horiguchi stopped their irresponsible jeering.  The message I learned from O Sensei’s story was that we should be happy with our own chosen way.  The lesson learned was that we should take care of our path and constantly polish ourselves.

Even today I can’t forget O Sensei’s story.  A person had better to do what he or she wants. Maybe even to some costs to the family. My wife, son and uchideshi often ask me, “Don’t you feel any stress?”

“No, I don’t feel much stress.”  Ironically, the people close to you don’t feel stress. I’ve reflected on this many times.

My son has now grown up and also has many uchideshis of his own.  I want to continue to walk my path without giving up my life as an Aikido instructor.

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