I’m not sure how I feel about this article. One the one hand, I agree. You need to define your goals in your training, to determine where you want to go and how you want Aikido to fit into your life. Also, as Sensei Ledyard states, you need to be honest about how Aikido fits into your life, and not delude yourself into thinking your training one way when, in fact, you’re training another way. I have seen students that train diligently, yet refuse to acknowledge how important Aikido is to them, and I have seen students who train infrequently, yet claim to be passionate about the art. Both are ultimately unsuccessful mentalities. So in this aspect, I agree with the article.
What I have issue with is that the article gives me the impression that you must choose, and choose now, how Aikido is going to fit into your life. That you should choose a goal and strive towards it. I don’t know about that. Our lives shift day to day, month to month, year to year. When I began training, I could dedicate nearly every evening to my studies. Now, I dedicate three nights a week. (Granted Aikido is rarely far from my thoughts.) Other people may find that they couldn’t train very hard or very often, and then suddenly switch jobs, or have a new opportunity to dedicate themselves to their training.
In my opinion, I would agree that ensuring that your perception of your training matches your actions. For example, I don’t strive to be a “master.” It takes a level of dedication and training that I can’t do without sacrificing too much of my family life. But I can strive to be a strong dojo leader, and a strong member of the overall Kokikai community. The day I realized that I wasn’t going to be a “martial artist” was the day that I finally saw my training for what it was, and made peace with it. I would also say that you can’t identify your perception now, and then never re-examine it. At least every 6 months or so, you should look at your training and your training goals, and make sure they’re in harmony.
This article had some very interesting ideas. Take a look; I’d like to know what you think as well.