Week 1 day 3 – Process vs Program

Week 1 day 3
Originally uploaded by markdeso

I was thinking about this as I left the gym today. There is a difference between a process and program. I define them for me as:

Process: a series of things that you can do internally and externally to accomplish tasks and goals, get to the next plateau and churn the creative juices. Most important, it is something you can look back on and reuse for different situations.

Program: something with a start and an end date with definable and finite goals.

I choose to follow my process. Lately it’s been “The process of getting to 1st Kyu.” Sensei often talks about the ingredients of a process and how you take these ingredients, stir them up, cook them and let them sit with each other and pretty soon you have something different; you have stew. So right now, I’m gathering up the ingredients of my process. So far, they are tenacity, perseverance, patience and sincerity towards my upcoming test.

Sensei is a big proponent of asking the question “What did you get out of this process, and how can you use this to better your life?” This is paraphrased and an amalgamation of my few years of training with him. This is the message I feel I am asked by him. I’m looking forward to seeing what the answer is.

So today, I went back to the gym again, did my 30 minute circuit, and am now gonna try and shower, dress and leave within 5 minutes.

Onegai shimasu!

Road to 1st Kyu – Week 1 Day 2


Originally uploaded by markdeso

I started the book “A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba” by O’ Sensei’s son and the second doshu of the art, Kisshomaru Ueshiba . I only got through the preface and the first couple of pages. What was overwhelming for me was how much love and admiration Kisshomaru Ueshiba had for his father. I am looking forward to gaining important perspective of the founder of Aikido but for now, I am deeply touched by how much his son loved him.

Tuesday nights are taught by Charlie. Charlie is a 4th Dan Aikidoka and has a very solid and elegant style. I really enjoy his classes as they are a little more fast paced and we go over several different techniques. One of the attacks on my test is kata dori (shoulder grab) menuchi (strike). The attack comes off to the side and uke grabs the shoulder and raises his other hand at the face. We did several techniques from this attack: Ikkyo omote and ura, Irime Nage, and Sankyo.

I’m grateful to our dojo and our teachers for the help in preparation for our testing. It’s always a good thing to see the dojo come together in support of the testing candidates in preparation of their next rank. I look forward to the coming couple months for the training and benefit of preparation for 1st kyu.

Road to 1st Kyu – Week 1 Day 1 – one more thing


Originally uploaded by markdeso

A coworker of mine is an exceptional classical guitar player. I asked him one day how he goes about learning new things. He tells me that before he starts to practice the piece he usually listens to a couple of pieces of the composers work, and tries to learn something about the author himself.

As Aikido is an art centered around O’ Sensei, I think this time of preparation gives me a good opportunity to learn more about him. To this, I’m grabbing the book “A Life in Aikido” by Kisshomaru Ueshiba off the shelf. I bought the book a while ago but never started and will start reading today.

Road to 1st Kyu – Week 1 Day 1


Originally uploaded by markdeso

A few months ago I wrote a series of blogs to get me back into the gym and be consistant. That seemed to work well for me. Subsequently, stopping that process has allowed other things in my life to come before my time in the gym, so I’m starting up again.

This time however, I am preparing for my 1st Kyu test at the Aikido dojo I attend. I am inspired by some of my friends on the net and the chronicling of their experiences with their challenges, whether it’s learning a new technique or preparing for a test.

In preparation of my last test at 2nd kyu, I took a different view. Rather than “I have to prepare for my test and be good enough” I took the perspective of my test as a gift back to my school. The people that I train with from a few days off the mat through Yondan to Sensei have all had a part in my preparation and my ability. My test is a gift back to all of them to show them my appreciation for what has been learned on the mat.

So my posts for the coming weeks will be more frequent. They may or may not be more vocal. But I use this as a motivational tool and a way to keep me focused.

Onegai shimasu!