Monday 2nd May 2011
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1. May beginners course starts tomorrow night
The May beginners’ course commences tomorrow night, Tuesday 3rd at our Nathan dojo. If you want to learn the subtle art of Aikido you are welcome to come into the dojo to watch or join in. To join, either pay online or pay at the door when you arrive. Please arrive by 6.30pm. It takes a few minutes to complete the application / membership process. You don’t need a uniform or equipment to start. Just wear comfortable clothing.
Our congratulations to the four students who graduated the April beginners course last Thursday night with their 7th kyu certificates. Well done Jasmin, Natalie, Oliver and Vasilje. We look forward to training with you on the main mat.
2. Golden week in Japan
The period from the end of April through to May 5th is called “Golden Week” in Japan. There are many Japanese national holidays during this period and most offices close for between 7 to 10 days, depending on the calendar.
Golden week is a time when people take holidays and travel locally and abroad. It is no surprise that airports and tourist attractions in Japan become very crowded over this period.
The first national holiday during Golden Week is April 29. This day is now called Showa Day (showa-no-hi). It honors the birthday of the Showa Emperor Hirohito, the reigning Emperor from 1926 to 1989. The purpose of the holiday is to encourage public reflection on the turbulent 63 years of Hirohito’s reign.
The second holiday is Constitution Memorial Day (kenpou-kinen-bi) on May 3. It is the anniversary of the new Japanese constitution which was put into effect on May 3, 1947.
The following day, May 4, is called Greenery Day (midori-no-hi) during which is a day for showing appreciation for nature. In practice however, it is seen as just another day that expands the Japanese Golden Week holiday period.
The last national holiday during Golden Week is Children’s Day (kodomono-hi) on May 5th. This holiday was originally called Boys Day or Festival (tango no Sekku). Families with boys would celebrate by flying carp streamers (koi nobori) and May dolls (gogatsu ningyo).
Now all children celebrate this holiday with their parents and enjoy special foods such as rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves and mochi wrapped in oak leaves. Oak and bamboo symbolize longevity and strength.
Girls Day (Hinamatsuri) is celebrated on March 3 and is not a national holiday, although there are many that feel it should be.
3. Learning is only the second step
Excerpt 1 “In the case of the martial arts, teaching an art is much more difficult than learning for one important reason. In most cases, the student seldom realises that learning can only take place when the correct conditions are present.
Past masters prepared their students physically, mentally and spiritually to properly accept and understand their teachings. Today, when students receive their first degree black belt, they often assume this is the first stage of mastery.
Earning a first degree black belt, however, only means that a student has taken the first critical step towards learning how to learn.
Students need to be prepared to learn before the actual process of learning can take place. Once a student understands the proper state of mind and an appropriate manner of behaviour, he then begins to progress at his own rate according to ability and effort.
Learning is only the second step in training. The first step requires a student to harmonise himself and try to understand the proper conditions that will allow his training to overcome obstacles – be they mental or physical – and to finally bear fruit. If a student is not given the opportunity to understand this, frustration inevitably sets in. The teacher may lose a student and the student may lose everything the martial arts have to offer.”
Excerpt 2 ”Students new to the martial arts typically make the mistake of deciding beforehand how they’re going to learn their chosen art. Trapped by his / her own preconceived notions of what is right and wrong, the student begins his / her training by wondering “How long will it take me to get good enough to earn a black belt?” Questions like this indicate that the student has already imposed limits on learning an art that he knows nothing about. The only thing he does know for certain is that a black belt is exactly what he needs.”
Read a review of KODO Ancient Ways by Ze’ev Erlich (Israel Aikido Association) at the Aikido Journal http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=34
This book is in our library
4. Aikido & The Happiness Institute
The Happiness Institute is a Sydney based Australian organisation. With the aim of teaching as many people as possible to be happier, The Happiness Institute offers a range of services based on extensive research, particularly from the growing field of positive psychology. Positive psychology is one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of health and well-being and is based on the premise that it is not enough just to manage stress and depression.
Every Monday morning, The Happiness Institute delivers a free eNewsletter packed full of happiness tips and stories, updates on positive psychology and strategies for living a great life.
Here’s last Monday’s mail out on the subject of Aikido. To read the full article go to:
5. Thought for the week
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” Morihei Ueshiba