Here Be Dragons

Long ago, when describing the known and unknown world, cartographers would sometimes say, “Here Be Dragons.”

It was a warning, not just to sailors and kings, but to dreamers and thinkers too: “This is Christendom, the world as it is. And over there, next to that crease in the corner? That’s something else. Best to stay away.”

We face the unknown every time we step outside. And like those explorers long ago, we learn—sometimes gradually, sometimes not—the one irrefutable fact of our existence: Change is inevitable, and no matter how distant the unknown world seems, it will, sooner or later, find us.

For us, unfortunately, the dragons are already here.

The question, I think, is how we deal with this reality. Do we try, futilely, to ignore it? Or are there other paths?

Aikido forces us to consider these questions. At its best, every Aikido technique is a test. It is our chance to confront the unknown, writ small.

And what do we do? We get back up, brush ourselves off, and help our partner do the same. It is training for life, and how to live. And ultimately, it is training for the one inevitability we all eventually face.

Certain events in my life have cast this reality into sharp focus. I can see the dragons, coiled just over the horizon, waiting…

So what am I doing about it? How am I dealing with my reality?

I’m training, of course.

18 thoughts on “Here Be Dragons

  1. For years I had the mentality that I was simply training in martial arts because it was something that I enjoyed doing, I have been quoted saying that “If I could go my whole life without having to apply my knowledge to anything more than a dojo setting, that would be perfectly fine”.

    In all honesty, it wasn’t until I started taking Aikido that I really started to grasp the concept of preparing my martial arts for something that I WILL have to use. Perhaps this is a contradiction…perhaps not. It took exposure to the “peaceful art” (a loose term) in order for me to prepare for War.

    As I get closer to my…battlefield…I’ve seen this “dragons” rear their heads. On my last ride as an intern I, along with the officer I was with were surrounded by 6 of them, all shouting, all cursing. We got out without incident…but that easily could of been the other way around.

  2. It’s crazy to me that people actually confront police officers, verbally or otherwise. What the heck are they thinking?

    I’m glad you’re ok. How did the situation get defused?

  3. luckily they were all bark and no bite. so once law started to get laid down they backed off

  4. I think Dee is planning a dojo get together, with all the instructors teaching, followed by kids’ and adult testing.

    The party I think will be potluck at the dojo.

  5. It doesn’t appear that I will receive an answer to my question from grassHopper. It’s too bad.

    I have a theory, although I don’t want to be too critical. Let’s just chalk it up to a hasty reaction. It happens sometimes.

    Of course my post could also just be complete nonsense, which is just as likely. 🙂

    Reading critically is important, as is understanding context. Not everything fits a certain template…

  6. I think her comment was more along the lines of a “wondering” statement rather than a “conflicting” statement…if that makes any sense.

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