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The Journey Should Not End

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked”
– Victor Frankl

We often talk about or hear people talk about such things as “I can’t wait until I get my new job/house/partner” or even in the Dojo “my black belt”. Reaching a certain goal is seen as a reason for living and attaining that goal is seen as the end, “my life is complete”.

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Aikido a spiritual way?

We often hear of Aikido and other martial arts being discussed in terms of a “Spiritual Discipline” or “Way” but what does this mean?

If we explore some of the concepts that are inherent in many of the traditional Japanese arts and the outlook on nature and life that is prevalent in Japan, we can discover in what way Aikido is a spiritual as well as a physical practice.

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The Gift Of Aikido

Do we ever stop and think how lucky we are to be able to train in Aikido and the set of circumstances that we have that allow us to do this?

I think of this on a regular basis.  Due to illness and my own personal circumstances it can be difficult for me to get to Keiko as much as I would like but this has left me feeling very privileged to be able to get on the tatami as often as I do.Click Here To Read Full Blog

BUDO – What’s The Big Deal?

I recently had an opportunity to spend some time away on a course with my good friends Les Baker Sensei and Carl Hughes Sensei.

We had lots to discuss but the conversation often returned to:  What is the essence, meaning and purpose of Aikido and its objectives as a “Budo”?  The answer to this would depend on who was asked the question.  But what many may agree on is that in this age of quick fixes and instant gratification and the sanitisation of the martial arts through the development of “a martial arts industry”, the soul of what “Budo” really is could be lost and replaced by a purely sports or aerobics class type of mentality.Click Here To Read Full Blog

Living On The Edge

I trudged toward the 100ft turntable ladder, my fire gear already heavy from a combination of sweat and water from our struggle with the still burning building to my left.  I glanced towards the driver.  He returned a quick thumbs up as conversation was at a premium over the groaning and whirling of the numerous fire appliances that covered the street.

Their  flashing blue lights gave a surreal show against the yellow street lights.  I climbed up the side of the TL stopping only to squeeze the excess water from my fire gloves before replacing them to start my assent up the metal staircase.  From the base of the ladder, its imposing and hulking power gave a deep sense of security.  Right foot left hand, just as I had been taught all those years ago at the training centre, my weight distributed equally.  Through a combination of exhaustion and trepidation, my progress was slow.  I had never liked heights, I still don’t but as a firefighter it’s an occupational requirement to at least respect them.Click Here To Read Full Blog

The “Now” of Aikido – How to live a life

Recently I’ve been thinking about life and death.  Not in a morbid way but through illness and some recent events I have realised how unpredictable and transient life is.

So can living “moment to moment” help us live a longer more content life?

What do I mean by moment to moment living?  Well here’s a couple of quotes I like:Click Here To Read Full Blog

Link Yourself To The Universe

“Link yourself to the Universe”.  Morihei Ueshiba would often use this phrase, especially when he talked about the universal Ki.  We can see this when we look at the third ken suburi. This awareness and reconnection with nature and the universe brings important benefits to us as individuals that also extend to society as a whole.

This view is also shared by some modern Zen masters. Buddhism’s non-dualistic view means we are not separated from things but inter-connected with everything.Click Here To Read Full Blog

Sit still, please don’t fidget

Over the next few months I hope to discuss some thoughts that come from training, on aikido and its underlying philosophies, just generally on life and its challenges and on how trying to have a Buddhist and compassionate approach to life can be a challenge.

To start, I would like to give a great thanks to Sensei Les Baker and also to my good friend Sensei Carl Hughes and to all the students at Merseyside Aikido Fellowship (MAF) for putting up with me and being willing to train with a person like me who can’t always be a great uke.
So “Domo Arigato Gozaimashita”Click Here To Read Full Blog

And we’re off

Although this Merseyside Aikido Fellowship (MAF) website is not yet fully completed, as you can see we have now launched it and we will add to its features as we go! So please be patient as it will always be a “work in progress”.
Thank you for taking the time to visit and I hope that MAF members and anyone else that is interested in Aikido will enjoy it and begin to use it as an aid to practice or simply as a point of information.
We have introduced this blog page, to share our thoughts and advice about trending topics and anyone who is interested in contributing to this section can do so by submitting it to the site admin via either Joey Collins or myself. Likewise we will be very happy to hear your comments and criticisms of the site both good and bad.

Carl Hughes