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Cheryl Matrasko
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Honorable Aikido Behavior

I may have mentioned previously about a visiting Aikidoist that had berated other members of the dojo and placed himself as being best in Aikido. He prides himself as being able to make a living in Europe as an Aikido instructor.

On his visit, I gave him a ride to do some shopping. During a conversation, he asked what I felt about "his Aikido". I shrugged my shoulders and asked him "What do you mean?". He reiterated asking my opinion of his Aikido: if it was good, if it was bad, or excellent. I told him "It's okay ...." and I did allow myself to show him that I felt his Aikido was nothing bad or excellent, but just okay. I thought it was a foolish question to ask in the first place. No mature and self-respecting Aikidoist would ask the question begging to hear words of praise to bolster the ego. It wouldn't even need to be asked. He appeared to be miffed and disappointed at my answer. I kept driving. He asked me further that if he came to America to live (he is European), what would I think if he slept with all the women in the dojo. This was an odd question to ask of me. I thought to myself "What did he want?", "What kind of answer was he expecting to hear?". I looked at him and asked him to explain. He was frustrated with me. He then asked me what would I think if we (the both of us) were to sleep together and he would sleep with all the other women in the dojo--- what would I think of him. I told him straight-faced that first --- we would never sleep together and that " ... I would think you are a jerk". He quickly added "... but what if my Aikido was okay --- the best? What would you think?" I repeated again very straight-faced " I would think you are a jerk." He appeared desperate --- "But my Aikido is good --- it is the best", "Even if I do all those things, you still think the same way ... even when my Aikido is the best?". I took my eyes off the road for a moment and said "yes". I said to him "You are personally what you do in everyday life ...", in regards to Aikido " ... it really doesn't matter if you believe you are "good in Aikido" just because you think you look good ...", " Your personal life and what you do in your profession (Aikido) is what you are ...", "It is the Aiki of Aikido", "you can't separate both to justify one and excuse the other." By this time, he was very much disgusted at our conversation. I think perhaps I didn't make myself clear, he didn't hear what he wanted to hear, or maybe he really didn't get it.

As I look back at this encounter, I believe I was surprised that I had spoken out so aggressively at him. I wasn't aware that I was giving this visiting Aikidoist a lecture, on something he probably should have known already. A mature martial artist would not have been so conceited and so insecure. My friend excused this visitor's attitude and called it "competitiveness", out of wanting to be a good Aikidoist. I disagreed and called it "lacking of a good attitude", attributed to no self-discipline and no desire to correct his character. I added " ... he wants to look good in Aikido, but ... is not a good Aikidoist in the purest sense." "He knows and possesses no humility ... he took the lazy way out ...", " ... it is difficult to face yourself and make yourself humble...", "... and too easy to fix the outward appearance." You know, I really didn't realize it till a month after my conversation, that I was telling my friend what my late instructor, Isao Takahashi used to lecture me about. It is odd, but nice to know that even though he has been dead for over 20 years now --- the things he taught me then ... really live on today.

I am definitely not claiming to be the most knowledgeable of Aikido and I am certainly not good enough to claim to be as proficient enough to ever be as good as Morihei Ueshiba and his original deshi, but I certainly realize that it is not honorable to separate personal and professional traits, out of convenience. Having long conversations with my late instructor Isao Takahashi I remember that he was very adamant about making his students see the Bushido and the aiki of Aikido, and --- taking personal responsibility for those things that you do professionally, or as an Aikidoist --- is a personal matter, as you do it personally and it affects yourself as well as others personally.

We should always strive for the perfection of ourselves in character and in our martial art in totality. These aspects should be in harmony with one another so we can flourish as Aikidoists and be fulfilled individuals.

These pages are created as a meaningful perception on Budo and Bushido, and are always being worked on. These literary works are meant for purposeful discussions, with the intent of stimulating conversation and thought. I am not the foremost authority on these subjects, but am an Aikidoist who is expressing thoughts on Aikido, sharing and documenting experiences. Thank you.


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Michio Hikitsuchi 10th Dan 1978
(C. Matrasko as uke)
1978 C. Matrasko

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