Thursday, 2 July 2015

My father taught me to ride a bike. He used to run along beside me holding the saddle. One day I realised he wasn't there. I fell off.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Not what you normally expect in the khazi

Dydd Mercher, ugeinfed, Mai 2015   Wednesday 20th. May 2015 

Haven’t done this for a while. Croeso ‘n ol.
Sometimes the most uplifting conversations are heard in the most unlikely of places.
I called into a large supermarket in Pontypridd recently and before shopping, availed myself of the toilet facilities. There was a gentleman of a similar age to myself standing in a corner outside a closed cubicle door. This is the conversation I heard:-
From inside the cubicle: ‘I locked the door Grampy, so no one can come in’.
Grampy: ‘ Right oh then.’
Cubicle: ‘Grampy, will you get the toilet paper for me?’
Grampy: ‘Well I can’t….you’ve locked the door’
Cubicle:  ‘Grampy, can I tell you something?’
Grampy:  ‘Of course.’
Cubicle:  ‘I love you with all my heart’
….Brought a tear to my leg, I can tell you….

I felt compelled to say, ‘That’s made my day, Butt’.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


It has been a while, but I don’t imagine that many of you have been crying in your beer in a state of anxiety, waiting for my latest offering.

Now I didn’t study Latin in school but although the meaning of Peace and Love are plain enough, Harmony on the other hand, is not so easy to understand.
[Sorry, the memory of E.L. Wisty (Peter Cooke) explaining why he became a miner and not a judge, just popped into my head, “I didn’t have the Latin you see….didn’t have the Latin for your judging…so I became a miner instead”.]
I digress (is that Latin?)
So, Harmony, is it merely the absence of conflict, and if so, is this a desirable goal?
Imagine a world where everyone is always in agreement with each other. Can you? Of course not! The only time universal agreement is possible is when it is artificially forced. At best, this leads to superficial congeniality – where people are pleasant on the surface, but harbour distrust beneath it. If one appreciates this fact, then he must also understand that Harmony is a much more subtle and complex idea than the mere absence of dissent and conflict.
Could a more accurate characterization of Harmony be constructive conflict? Conflict is constructive when individuals ask interesting questions that provoke new avenues of discovery, work to understand each others’ point of view and remain open to new ideas. When an atmosphere of respect and trust is created, and everyone feels engaged in the decision making process, and then even strong disagreements cannot destroy harmony.
We may from time to time disagree with one another, but at the end of the day (when it is dark!), if we continue to respect and trust each other, mere disagreements will not disrupt harmony.
It is not possible to like everyone or expect that everyone should like you. We’re not made that way. We must still strive to find a way to live well together, in spite of differences. It is harmony which makes Aikido technique effective. To create the opportunity for change someone must fall, but safely and remaining strong, so that you can carry on practicing. Learning to fall well, making it a positive thing, is as important as how to execute technique.
It is no coincidence that good ukes make good nages. They really do see things from the other person’s point of view. They understand both sides of the ‘argument’.

Harmony is not a gift from God or a happy coincidence. We must work every day, and work hard, to create Harmony.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

More tea, Vicar?

Dydd Mawrth, Pedwerydd Chwefror 2014   Tuesday 4th. February 2014 

I lied, this has nothing to do with beverages from the Indian subcontinent or gentlemen of the cloth.
All Aikido technique ends up with someone on the floor. But that’s not the point. Because there is a measurable physical result we can determine if our understanding and attitude towards others is good. We don’t have to ‘wonder’ in a philosophical sense. There will always be the ‘What if?’ questions, especially from beginners. Most of those ‘what if’s’ are about hypothetical situations where one might be attacked in the street by one or more assailants. It is a waste of time to dwell on these questions.
I would describe Aikido as a Japanese martial art which strives to create situations where attack cannot happen, or, if it is already happening, will cease quickly, without harm to any person.

Whatever you’re state of fitness or expertise, if you are attacked, there are two possibilities; you will do something or you won’t. If you do something, there are two possibilities; what you do will work or it won’t. No one knows what will happen or what they will do. My hope would be to avoid potentially dangerous situations by developing a greater sense of perception; e.g. Don’t go into Pontypridd Rugby Clubhouse and shout out, ‘Up the Blues’, …well, you could shout, ‘UP the Blues!’, but maybe not, ‘The Blues got the cash and Ponty are trash.’ I’m sure you get my drift.
Cofion, fi fach.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sorry, I don't have the time.

Dydd Llun, Trydydd Chwefror 2014   Monday 3rd. Fedruary 2014 

Three weeks. Three weeks since I took the time to do this.
Why? Stock answer: I haven’t had the time.
We all have the same time. We choose what we do with it. For the last twenty-four years I have told people that I’m not usually available on a Tuesday and Friday evening (and quite a lot of weekends) because I have chosen to train on those evenings. I have seen many students begin but discontinue their study very soon after. There is a theory, which seems to have been supported by my observation, that if you do something ten times, same day, same time, each week, it becomes a habit.
So, when a new student joins the class, I can’t help counting the first classes they attend. For me, at least, Tuesdays and Fridays have been a good habit.
When I first studied Aikido, it was usual for the teacher or one of the students to read one of the Ki Sayings of Koichi Tohei Sensei. That practice has generally ceased now. Perhaps because they seem a bit mystical, which I don’t believe Tohei Sensei was. There is bound to be some difficulty understanding something which has been translated from Japanese and written by someone from a different generation and culture and, as far as I’m concerned, having an immensely greater understanding of life. However, you may find these words worth reflecting on.
Just as tops spinning violently and rapidly become steady, the most rapid movement results in calm.
Like the eye of the typhoon, which is always peaceful, inner calm results in great strength of action.   Calm and action are exactly one. Only when we keep one point and unify our mind and body, can we find spare time even when busy.
Keep a calm mind and you will be able to perform to the best of your ability even in an emergency or when facing important tasks.’
Cofion cynnes, fi fach.

Saturday, 11 January 2014


Dydd Sadwrn, unfed ar ddeg, Ionawr 2014   Saturday 11th. January 2014 


I think drummers get a bad press. You know, all those terrible jokes like, ‘What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians?’ Well I would have said ‘groupie’ or ‘roadie’ of course.
A drummer I once played with (stop that sniggering) kept asking me to teach him to play guitar. He was persistent (most of the time), so I gave him an old acoustic with three rusty strings and about four pounds of accumulated grime that resembled small hills on the fret-board. I said that if he cleaned it up and re-strung it, I would give him lessons.

Chwarae teg, fair play, he did an amazing job on it and went in to a shop to buy a new set of strings. The shopkeeper said, ‘Hey, you’re a drummer, aren’t you?’ My butty said, ‘Yes. How did you know?’. The reply……..’This is a chip shop.’