Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Memory strays back a decade.

I started teaching in Hyderabad in the year 2001. At that time I was affiliated to my instructors organization. My instructor is a wonderful teacher and even more wonderful a human being. He had given me a cd called Tribute to Steven Seagal some time in the year 2003. I usually try to catch the smallest details and phrases when watching training cd's because I believe that even a simple sentence spoken by a master if rightly understood or applied can have a massive impact on your training and mindset. 

Most people do not know that the famous Hollywood action star Sensei Steven Seagal is a high ranking Aikido teacher. The last I heard was that he is a 7th Dan Aikido master he may have gone up the ranks in the years gone by but am not aware of it and do not mean to disrespect him. Sensei Steven Seagal was also among the first few foreigners allowed to teach a  Japanese martial art in Japan itself. 

The cd is made by some of his students and friends. There is one line spoken by one of his students which has always struck me and when I was watching the cd again yesterday night my memory strayed back to the first time I saw the cd. Since he was a foreigner teaching a Japanese art in Japan itself it is said that he had quite a few challengers over the years. In reply to that one of his students in the video says (not the exact words) - It does not matter how many people challenged Sensei what matters is if the challengers could even stand up to Sensei's students.

This line has always struck me. The first time I saw the video I had sort of made up my mind to maintain such high levels of training that no body can ever say that my students are not up to the mark. For having students of such caliber it also implies that I have to push myself personally to train harder and keep improving. 

Yesterday while I was watching this video and heard the line again I sort of had an instant introspection of the training I have been imparting for years now. The students training at Jukaado truly live up to the warrior spirit of Bushi and am happy that today any of my students can stand up to any requirement of training, skill or ability required way above their current belt level. As such am not a big fan of giving belts but if I do give a belt then am sure the students are worthy of wearing it.  

Often I put the students through grueling training sessions which over the years has had such a great impact on all of them. Even our 5 day training camps are so intense that at times am myself amazed how the students pull through them with a smile on the face and a body full of aches. The intense training imparted at  Jukaado has resulted in all students training regularly to become very fit with extremely high endurance levels and a body hard and conditioned like a rock. Students are easily able to train for 24 hours non stop now that is the level of their fitness and endurance. We have come pretty far but we still have a long way to go with regards to our training.

I feel I have lived up to my decision made 10 years back to maintain very high training levels. Many do run away from my training even today. Some even spread the word like - Go to train there only if you are fed up of living any more. Have actually been asked about this by a person who was inquiring about joining our class. He was told the above line by someone who may have run away from our training but curiosity brought him to class to inquire. Over the years have stopped bothering about the huge number of people that have run away but am content with the great warriors that continue to come back to class every alternate day with a smile knowing very well that they may have aches and pains after the training session. 


  1. Respect you for being tough and making people tougher and stronger.