This past weekend, a group of friends drove seven hours to Boston, did aikido for about three and a half hours, then drove seven hours back to Philadelphia. Crazy? Yes, but we had lots of fun.
Why did we do this? Because we wanted to visit a couple of ex-Philadelphia aikidoists who moved to Boston and started their own dojo, and hey, why not?
We woke up way early to drive up, found our way to the dojo with several minutes to spare. Ron, being the most senior member, was respectfully asked to teach for the first couple of hours, and then we had a “friendship practice,” in which all the black belts demonstrated a technique and taught for a portion of the time.
There was a cookout at the home of one of the Bostonians afterwards, and I enjoyed everyone’s company that evening. The next day, we had brunch and then visited Allandale Farm before heading back to Philly.
Ron is someone I look up to. At the get-together, he remarked that when he retires, he wants to be able to practice every day. He wants to do aikido “until death.” That is the sign of a true master right there.
I don’t know if I have that kind of resolve. But what I do know is that I am thankful that I am in the company of good friends, in a strong community that extends beyond the walls of the dojo. I’m really glad we made this trip.