Since Joe's visit, a trip to Tokyo for the weekend dropping off Joe and picking up my brother, and having my brother around lately have broken down my immune system, and now I'm very sick. So last night I didn't go to aikido, but went to sleep around 8:30. Tomorrow we're going on a two night hiking trip in the Tateyama mountains, so I'm doing everything possible to get back on track as quickly as possible by sleeping, drinking water, taking vitamins, and drinking gallons of tea.
Since these visits, the only aikido or martial arts that's been in my life are the practices I've been to, I've gotten very little sleep, and drank a lot more beer than tea. In my mind I thought I could take a vacation from my body and just do whatever expecting to come back to my body and everything would be fine, but instead I got myself very sick. With health, martial arts, and probably most everything else that is a consistent baseline activity, I find it bad to turn them on and off, and rather, they should be constant and unwavering. Perhaps this is the influence of learning about Bushido in my life:
No an on and off switch, but a constant flow.
I think this realization is a testament to the effect martial arts have had in my life. It is about seven years since I first stepped into a dojo. At times, martial arts have been the absolute focus of everything, and other times they have lingered in the background. Overall, I would say they are one of the most important things in my life, but not THE thing in my life. At this point though, I can comfortably say that they will always be a part of my life, for there is no other "one thing" in my life that has imparted so much wisdom.
Not knowledge, but wisdom.
I believe I have developed a natural desire to always be operating at full potential (health, clarity, ability) which martial arts has greatly been a part of. Also, probably the most important thing, is that I'm learning to quiet things down, respect the small, and enjoy peace. Essentially, yin energy. This started from reading about many various particulars, but has been embedded into some breed of subconcious wisdom from repeated study and physical practice. This perhaps is the most peculiar, because coming from a Western country, I believe the culture points, and perhaps aggravates us, toward more, bigger, and better action. Yang energy. From my experiences lately, I am amazed at their grating antagonistic nature. I feel these forces, and see their effects on my life as well as my peers', and I pray that we can all find our balance.