nowhere to hide.

Some drugs are good. Some are neutral. And some are just bad.

Reminders In Aikido Practice:
  1. Aikido decides life and death in a single strike, so students must carefully follow the instructor's teaching and not compete to see who is the strongest.
  2. Aikido is the way that teaches how one can deal with several enemies. Students must train themselves to be alert not just to the front but to all sides and the back.
  3. Training should always be conducted in a pleasant and joyful atmosphere.
  4. The instructor teaches only one small aspect of the art. Its versatile applications must be discovered by each student through incessant practice and training.
  5. In daily practice first begin by moving your body and then progress to more intensive practice. Never force anything unnaturally or unreasonably. If this rule is followed, then even elderly people will not hurt themselves and they can train in a joyful and pleasant atmosphere.
  6. The purpose of aikido is to train mind and body and to produce sincere, earnest people. Since all the techniques are to be transmitted person-to-person, do not randomly reveal them to others, for this might lead to their being used by hoodlums.
The teacher who started Aikido of Fresno, Patrick Cassidy, once said in a seminar, "We sometimes think that aikido is meant to produce nice people. But it's not. Aikido is meant to produce true people." I've found that to be an unusual idea, even within myself, that "niceness" is not the highest human virtue, but it rings true, if you can separate "nice" from "courteous" or "respectful". The highest human virtue is just being ourselves, whatever that is.

Ever wonder where the phrase "one iota" comes from? No, I hadn't either, but I saw it on TV. It comes from the big theological argument resolved at the Council of Nicea in 352 CE: whether there was a time before Christ existed as the Son of God, and our modern phrase comes from the phrasing of the nature of Christ.

The phrase, "one iota" stems from this document. Some of the Fathers wished to say "homoiousion," meaning "of similar substance," instead of "homoousion," meaning "same substance." The difference in the two words is one letter, the Greek iota--the letter i.
Right. Why exactly does it matter whether Christ always existed or whether he came into being at some specific point in time? Well, you can read this excerpt of a 1957 article about it, which has a good summary, but there's a chain of reasoning that follows if Christ is not "of the same substance" as God. Since Christ is the Word of God incarnate (you may not have known that, and the reality is I either remember or learn this stuff as I go along), for there to have been a time "when the Son was not", that would mean that the Word of God was sort of an afterthought of God's, and "the Father cannot be described by the Son, for the Word does not know the Father perfectly and accurately"; which is to say that Christ's importance goes from eternal Son of God and Redeemer of the World down to Provocative Anti-Roman Revolutionary and General Nice Guy, and in that framework Christianity collapses.

I have a remarkable fascination with a religion that I haven't followed in quite some time. I'm pretty sure I know a lot more about it than the overwhelming majority of its believers.

Last night I went to the company Christmas dinner, and had a pretty good time. Interesting to see people loosen up, and wild sides and morale problems both come out. Most startlingly I watched myself being shy about talking to a girl, noticing my thought process as it happened and thinking about silly it was--another reminder to move away from the demure behavior I've been exhibiting these past months.

In two weeks I'll be back in the Pioneer Valley. The hills might have some suggestions for me.