Showing posts from November, 2011

The Happiest Person in the Room

On one unforgettable occasion, Maruyama Sensei was visiting Rutgers dojo. In our new location we had to walk the gauntlet of the weight training room to get to the practice space. Thirty-odd young men were lifting huge metal plates on various machines and sweating profusely. Three or four of us trouped through in our gi, feeling rather small in the presence of all that unadulterated muscle. I muttered something about how Sensei was still the strongest man in the room. Sensei immediately said, "Don't say I'm the strongest, say I'm the happiest man in the room!"

That point comes back to me often. Sensei often says that having money, a girlfriend, a job, will make us happy of course, but the practice of aikido will help us become more happy even without money, without a girl (or boy) friend, without a job.

Recently, because some trees fell in a storm, our house had no power for eight days. When it was turned on again we found that the hot water, the heating system,…

Dark Matter

In an earlier post, I wondered, "Is ki real?" Is ki an actual thing, or is it just a concept?

I teach aikido to college students. So I hesitate to write about science as if I know anything, because I know I will be challenged! But I offer this:

Only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum is visible to the human eye. We are all familiar with ultraviolet and infrared rays or waves and the ways in which they can be used: gamma rays, X-rays, infrared heat lamps, microwaves, and radio. Infrared light was only discovered by humans in 1800 and ultraviolet in 1901. But animals such as bees and snakes have sensed these parts of the spectrum for eons. How might a snake's ability to find prey or a bee's ability to find nectar have been described or understood before we had instruments to perceive these wavelengths?

Dark matter is a discovery that has only recently become known to non-scientists. Only 50 years ago, in popular culture at least, dark matter was the stuff of …