Aikido of Nebraska Dojo Update 5/10/2010 #LNK

The Gambatte Dojo at Aikido of Nebraska has been going through many changes over the last few months.  The student population is continuing to grow both in numbers, and in their on-going self-development.  Many new students have passed their preliminary tests and are progressing through the ranks.

Aikido of Nebraska recently had an Open-House, and had 41 participants over the 2-day event.

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Several of these participants went on to become students, but all enjoyed good sushi, good training, and an eventful afternoon.

We invite all those interested to partake of our next Open-House in the Fall of 2010.  Can’t wait that long? OK then , please come into Aikido of Nebraska at your earliest convenience, and see what it is all about.

Todd Roberts

Aikido of Nebraska to host Martial Arts Open House March 20-21st

Aikido of Nebraska will be hosting an Open House on Mar 20-21st, Sat-Sun afternoon. The Open House will go from 12:00pm-3:00pm each day, and is open to all the public.  Attendees will be able to see a traditional Martial Arts Dojo, and view the students in regular practice.   Refreshments will be provided. 

Many people are intimidated by the thought of participating in a Martial Arts class.  The Open House is designed to help those  people see that training in the Martial Arts is an enjoyable and beneficial endeavor.  The student at Aikido of Nebraska is allowed to progress at their own pace and safety is at the forefront.  The Open House also allows people to see the rich culture of the Martial arts in an educational venue.  Attendees are encouraged to ask questions and find out everything they always wanted to know about the Martial Arts, and Aikido.

So come join us at the Aikido of Nebraska Open House, for a few hours of fun and education.  Details below;

Aikido of Nebraska, 4209 S. 33rd St.  Lincoln, NE.  68506

402-261-6655

info@aikidonebraska.org

Saturday, Mar 20 12:00pm-3:00pm

Sunday, Mar 21 12:00pm-3:00pm

In the Martial Arts and Self Defense World, There Is No Luck, Only Preparedness #LNK

When I was watching the Superbowl last week, the announcer interviewed the head coach of one of the NFL teams on how, and why, he was so calm.  He said “No matter how calm I look on the outside, I am calmer on the inside.  When you are prepared, there is nothing to get riled up about . . .”. 

I couldn’t have said it better.

This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings that I say to the students at Aikido of Nebraska.  It goes like this;

There is no such thing as Luck.

Luck is when Preparedness meets Opportunity.

And Opportunity is there all the time.

At Aikido of Nebraska, this is what we strive for; Preparedness.  Preparedness not only in self-defense situations, but preparedness for all of life’s challenges.  In order to be prepared, you must be willing to educate yourself on a variety of subjects, even if they do not apply to your current situation in life.  Second, you must develop the attribute of Adaptability; the ability to change quickly to changes in your environment. In Aikido, one does not always know the way the attacker will attack; he/she must adapt and change on a dime, and must be prepared for several contingencies, regardless of which one is presented.  At Aikido of Nebraska, ongoing education and adaptability are life-skills which are learned through the practice of self-defense.

There may be a time in your life when you are required to speak a little French, change a fan-belt, give first-aid to a child, swim across a river, or help a friend through a tough time.  Are you prepared to do this?  If you are, people will tell you “how lucky you are”, that you are able to do these things.  Then you can smile to yourself, and remember;

There is no Luck, only Preparedness.

The Key to Self Defense? Cry in the Dojo, Laugh in the Real World #LNK

I recently attended an Aikido seminar, where the Shihan (Master Instructor) who was teaching relayed a maxim that he was taught, which goes “Cry in the Dojo, Laugh in the Real World”.  That statement struck me as it applies to Martial Arts training.  I often tell the students at Aikido of Nebraska that if they really care about their training partner, they must try to “kill” them.  Really.  No Aikido student wants to train only to find out that his/her techniques don’t really work because they never got real attacks when they were in the dojo.  Thus, in the dojo, the student must focus on delivering accurate and true attacks to his/her partner, so that they may respond appropriately.  The student is not truly doing technique if they never got attacked “for real”.

In the modern world, with ever-increasing demands placed on us from work, kids, commuting, spouse, etc. it is a true gift to come into the dojo and do nothing but work on yourself.  It is a true maxim that what you put into your training is what you will get out.  The real trick is to make training more and more difficult for yourself.  You need to get more precise with your footwork, connect better with your partner, shift your balance more precisely, control your emotions better, and have your partner deliver increasingly difficult attacks.  In this fashion,  as you are able to handle the increasingly difficult training, an attack on the street will seem easy by comparison.  And guess what? Your real-life stresses will seem easy by comparison as well.

Now, this strategy requires some common-sense as well.  You need to increase your difficulty along with your ability to do the technique.  A beginning student cannot expect to take a real attack from day-one, and expecting too much of your performance will only get you frazzled and burned-out.  However, over time, “Cry in the Dojo, Laugh in the Real World”  is an excellent strategy to become more successful in and outside of the dojo.

Gambatte!

Todd Roberts

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

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

Need some Stress Relief? Need Better Balance in Life? Try Mokuso (Silence) #LNK

In the Martial Arts Training Hall, there is often a period of silence before starting class.  If there isn’t, and the students are still talking, the instructor may say “Mokuso!” which in Japanese means “To Silence”, or “Contemplate!”  However, a better way to think of this, as in Dave Lowrey’s book In the Dojo, where he defines “Mokuso” as a transitional period.  Many think of the Dojo (training hall) as a place of refuge from the stresses of the modern world.  In reality, the Dojo is a place where one learns to better confront and deal with the stresses of the modern world.

In the dojo, the student learns more about the world by learning more about his/her self, and so, the Dojo becomes a world-in-miniature, to the world outside.  Mokuso allows the student to put the cares, stresses, aggravations of the outside world aside for a moment, in order to prepare himself to train.  When his training is finished for the evening, he or she again returns to Mokuso so that he/she can transition back to life outside the dojo.

So what is the trick to “Mokuso”?  You must quiet yourself, and let the constant stream of concerns, fears, thoughts, and wishes not get your attention.  Easier said than done, right?  It is not really meditataion, however.  You are only allowing yourself a moment to prepare for the next phase.  This transitional period can be used to reflect on how to use the coming moments most effectively.  Have you always made the most of whatever you have spent your time on?  Try Mokuso, so you can quiet yourself and focus on how to get the most out of your time.

Gambatte!

Todd Roberts

Aikido of Nebraska Dojo Update 10/15/09 #LNK

Hello Everyone,

The Dojo at Aikido of Nebraska is progressing along nicely.  New students are starting all the time, and the mat is getting that “lived in” look finally!  We have expanded our website even further, with a student section, and an online store.  Students can now look up their profiles online, sign up for classes and lessons, take care of membership dues all online!  All of this is designed to do one thing; make it easy to get in and train, without any other distractions!

We are continuing to provide Self Defense for Women Workshops on Monday nights at LifePointe  Wellness Center, and the students there are learning the awareness and street tactics of self defense in the real world.

So, If you have been on the edge, thinking about coming in to Aikido of Nebraska,  but haven’t done it yet, do so now.  There are no high-pressure tactics; we want happy students.  Come down and see a class, and talk with the other students to see what the “new buzz” is about.

Gambatte!

Todd Roberts