Balance In Life 101 – Illness is about Balance, Not Viruses #LNK

As the weather gets colder and more harsh, we often start the cold and flu season.  Some of us always seem to catch the virus that is “going around”.  However, we don’t often realize that from a balance perspective, that we cause ourselves to be sick.  As a physician, I often see a “wave” of illness due to viruses that go through the community.  As a Martial Arts Instructor, however, I see a different perspective on illness.  Illness is really a wake-up call, a warning that your life is out of balance.

Human beings must constantly balance everything in their lives.  They must neither eat too little or too much, they must neither sleep too little or too much.  They require stimulation to keep from being bored, but too much will leave them stressed and neurotic.  They must balance work, family, kids, and special events.  They must balance their “mental” life with their physical one.  They must get enough excercise.  You can start to see that life is really a complex juggling act of multiple factors in order to have a healthy mind-body-soul.  Any deviation from that balance will cause disharmony, and invite illness to invade, be it viruses, cancer, or arthritis.

I often hear from a student or a friend that they “caught  a virus” at the holiday party they attended.  They often fail to recall, however, that they ate too much, drank too much, smoked too much, and stayed up all night while at the party.  What do you think might happen if this person eats too much, smokes too much, and gets too little sleep over years, or a lifetime?

How then can I use this information to my advantage? Simple. When you get an illness, use it as a wake-up call this something is wrong in your life; you are out of balance.  Identify that disharmony, and fix it.  It may be something simple (I haven’t slept enough lately), or it may be complex (I worry too much and have anxiety).  You must work on fixing it, or it will only cause you more problems later on.  And once it is fixed, you must work on keeping that balance.  Eat too much? Eat small amounts the next day.  Too sedentary?  Get on the treadmill.  If you can keep that balance, you will be surprised on how infrequently you get sick.  It’s really about balance.

Todd Roberts

Aikido of Nebraska

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You Need To Take More Responsibility Over Your Stress, Your Health, Your Personal Safety, Not Less #LNK

In the quest to better ourselves, Aikido students at Aikido of Nebraska  work diligently on the concept of control.  The student very quickly realizes that the more they can control their own actions, footwork, balance, and responses, the better they will be able to control others (i.e. the attacker).  Learning this aspect of precise control is quite difficult, and require years of training to achieve.  The student comes to learn that, if the technique doesn’t work, it is because he/she failed the technique, not the other way around.  In this regard, the student takes responsibility for themselves, and recognizes they must acquire new levels of control in order to perform the technique correctly.  Like most of the lessons in the Martial Arts, this lesson applies to life as well as training. 

In our current society, we often get caught up in trying to get out of taking responsibility.  Oddly enough, it is this failure to take responsibility that leaves many of us feeling depressed and out of control.  The more we avoid responsibility, the more we feel like “life is out to get us”, or “I can’t ever seem to catch a break”.  Taking on that responsibility allows us to remain in control, because it now becomes our choice.  Yes, more responsibility involves more work, but doesn’t feel better when you beat yourself up instead of letting someone else do it?  Either way you will get beaten up, but at least one is your choice, and therefore under a certain amount of your control.

Therefore, make a goal of taking responsibility for every aspect of your personal life.  Therefore, when something goes wrong, it is not the fault of your accountant, financial advisor, doctor, or mother, it is yours, because you are the final authority over your own life.  But you know what?  Ultimately, it feels better to take back that control.  And, like training, the better you can control those aspects of your own life, you will find that life seems to be more fair, and you will have more influence (and control) on the world around you.

Q:Why Do We Do Aikido? Is it All about Self Defense? A: To Polish the Sword #LNK

When a Japanese sword begins its journey to becoming a sword, it starts out as a lump of steel.  The steel is hammered out flat, folded and hammered out again  countless times.  The steel is then hammered out, flattened, and cut into the basic shape, and clay is added to all but the edge of the steel.  The sword is fired again to temper the steel, giving the sword its’ legendary cutting edge.  The sword is then polished  with stone to give it its brilliance.  As you cam imagine, this process takes a long time, and is performed by experts.  When the sword is finished, it is transformed into an instrument that is simultaneously a deadly weapon and a work of art.  There are no short-cuts to this process;  if one step comes out badly, the sword is scrapped, and the process starts over again.  It is possible to obtain imitations, and they may be deadly, or they may be beautiful, but they are rarely if ever both.  To most people, there is no substitute for the real thing.

At Aikido of Nebraska, when I ask the students why we do Aikido, the running answer is “to polish the sword”.  I believe most students would agree that self-defense is not the primary benefit when learning a Budo (Martial Way) such as Aikido.  Learning self-defense techniques against real attacks must remain a priority when training, or else there is a risk of the art becoming “fake” or just a complicated and ugly dance.  But the real benefit  is that training allows us to forge ourselves, face and push through our physical and mental limitations, become more aware of who we truly are, and reinforce the good habits and courtesy amongst our fellow man.

Make no mistake; there are days when your training becomes very frustrating.  Hitting up against your personal limitations is a sobering experience, and no one like to be reminded of what they “can’t do”.  However, with the right school and the right instructor, training is fun, and when something is fun, you don’t realize how much work you are putting in it.  Also, one learns to not take themselves so seriously, and so learns to deal with training, and life, better.

Are you taking time out of your day to “Polish the Sword”?  If not, come see us at Aikido of Nebraska, we’ll make sure that you are having so much fun during your training, that you don’t even realize that you are becoming a better person.

Gambatte!

Todd Roberts