Are you only an acquaintance or a friend?

August 2003

Volume 5 Issue 8

Aibudo Kanji

Followed by an explanation of our brotherhood in the arts.

    Trust & Brotherhood Among Friends, number three of the five rules never to be broken. To know the true meaning of this rule is a rarity in the busy lifestyles many of us find ourselves forced to maintain these days. I can honestly say I have found the true meaning. It has come through the training in the Aibudo system.

    To any Kyu grade student of Aibudo  I can say this, enjoy the process of learning and advancing while the opportunity is before you. Not only will you acquire physical and mental skills far surpassing the normal individual, but also, you will no doubt find relationships and life experiences not available anywhere else. I speak from experience.

    Becoming an instructor in the Aibudo system is without doubt one the proudest moments of my life. However, along with the joys of moving into instructorship, comes the sad realization that my days of packing my gear and heading off to the dojo in Cambridge City are over. A realization that has only recently set in. My training in the Aibudo system has given me more than knowledge of how to kick and punch, it changed me as a person, thereby changing the way I live my life. I am a better man for having known Shihan Wissler and Sifu Chad.

    I know in my heart that no matter where I go, or where each ends up, no matter our mistakes, our failures, our shortcomings, all the way up through our triumphs, our overcoming obstacles, and our successes, we will always remain true to the third rule. "Never to be broken," means exactly what it says.

Mixing To Maintain "Oneness"

There is a statement that  describes the system title of "Aibudo".  That statement is:

"The Martial Arts In Harmony Together And With The Individual".  This statement can be condensed into one word and that is "Oneness".  As a system grows, there is something that must be included in this "Oneness" and that is "Member Mixing".  You probably haven't heard that before, but it's necessary in maintaining a system, as system, and not just a number of classes, schools, etc. with a common system name.  Without "member mixing", effectual basics, which are the life blood of a system, can become modified or forgotten, even within the hombudojo itself.  Classes, as a whole, must visit with each other as well as the individual instructors and/or leaders, from time to time.  It is particularly important for the instructors and seniors within the system, to meet and work with each other in order to keep their skills as sharp as possible.  There is only one way to test those skills and that is, one-on-one with your peers.  Even for Shihan, there is only one way to test himself and the system.  That is by working with all individuals within the system.  If there is one instance where a system technique or philosophy doesn't work well with whatever or whoever, it has to become known and "fixed".  Every individual, whether it be on the street or in the dojo, is different and requires a set of "tools" that must work.  Tools that are outdated or ineffectual are worthless and either must be modified or discarded to maintain "Oneness".

Trust & Brotherhood

Among Friends

Written and Contributed by

Sensei Jim Curtsinger

There is a saying that goes, "A true friend is someone who knows the real you…and are friends with you anyway." In my case, I suppose that holds true. Admittedly, I am not the easiest person to be friends with. I am also very selective when it comes to whom I consider a friend. In modern society, the word "friend" seems to flow rather loosely. 

    How many times have you heard someone supposedly wronged say, "I thought he or she was my friend?" It happens everyday. Maybe you have personally experienced this sort of thing, I know I have.  In my estimation, we need a new word. Maybe "acquaintance" would better serve our purpose.

    In the Martial Arts, friendships evolve over the years through a shared determination to achieve something few ever do. To become a martial artist, living the martial "way" each day of life is the intended outcome for those individuals who seriously take on the challenges of becoming more than just a student.

    In my situation, as I think back on the years of training under the guidance of Shihan Wissler, I could not have imagined the friendships I would eventually develop with both Shihan, and Sifu Chad. I look to Shihan as the head of our Aibudo family, which of course, he is, so it is natural for me to think of him in a Fatherly manner, and Chad is as close as any brother could be. In fact, we have been asked on more than one occasion if we were indeed brothers.

Our answer is usually along the lines of, "No, but yes."

Picture of Shihan