Welcome to the Brooklyn Aikikai web log. Our purpose is to provide to our community and beyond an online account of weekly articles, thoughts, and community happenings. The web log is moderated by Ryugan and Kate Savoca. We welcome any submissions in regards to Aikido, Zen, Misogi and Iaido or weapons study. We would also be interested in receiving any thoughts on cultural activities or practices that support a healthy, organic lifestyle with particular emphasis on their relation to the above mentioned arts. Please send only serious submissions – we reserve the right to edit articles for content or length, however, we will work with authors to preserve the integrity of their thoughts. Thanks for visiting and please check back regularly!

-R. Savoca

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Quote For Discussion and Thought From Sensei

From Sensei: "The following is a quote from Taisen Deshimaru, a Zen Master. Please read and discuss."

"Sometimes people ask why I bow in front of the statue of the Buddha in the dojo. I am not bowing to a piece of wood, I am bowing to everyone there with me in the dojo, and to the whole cosmos as well. All these gestures are extremely important because they help us to acquire correct behavior. They develop dignity and respect, they help to create a normal condition in us. Nobody today is normal, everybody is a little bit crazy or unbalanced, people's minds are running all the time. Their perceptions of the world are partial, incomplete. They are eaten alive by their egos. They think they see, but they are mistaken; all they do is project their madness, their world, upon the world. There is no clarity, no wisdom in that! That is why Socrates, like the Buddha, like every wise man ever, began his teaching with "Know thyself, and thou shalt know the universe." That is the spirit of traditional Zen and Bushido; and in studying that spirit, it is very important to observe one's behavior. Behavior influences consciousness. Right behavior means right consciousness. Our attitude here and now influences the entire environment; our words, actions, ways of holding and moving ourselves, they all influence what happens around us and inside us. The actions of every instant, every day, must be right. Our behavior in the dojo will help to condition our everyday life."

-Taisen Deshimaru

Monday, May 4, 2009

Illustration by Hiroki Otsuka

Yarn by Betsy Heistand

Yarn is sold in skeins or balls. Skeins are those cool looking twisty things.
I spin wool into yarn on my spinning wheel. It ends up on a large bobbin. Then I make these large skeins using my niddy noddy (yep. that's what it's called).
I dye the large batch of yarn first so I get consistent colors for more than one skein. The yarn pictured got rewound into 200yd skeins.

Betsy's hand made yarn is available at http://www.betsyply.etsy.com