How will you spend Black Friday?  Hopefully, conducting yourself with etiquette and decorum.

When we start to take ownership of our lives, we see what Eleanor Roosevelt was saying when she said, "Life is what you make it"  Our lives unfold due to our actions, our efforts and, most importantly, our choices.  After a certain age we are the architects of our own destiny - nobody else is responsible for us. 

Thus, in Aikido training we are learning "how" to do Aikido not only physically, but mentally and emotionally regardless of the type of confrontation.  This training begins with taking ownership of one's actions.  Training gives us options and having options allows us to choose "how" we deal with confrontation.  The path of Aikido dictates that we use our intellect and choose compassion and harmony over aggression and brutality regardless of the situation.  Our belief is that harmony and compassion are the antidotes to the aggression and hostility that seems to plague man today.  We understand that the person attacking us is really attacking themselves and is thus unaware of themselves and because of that we choose not to destroy them.  They are in need of kindness, compassion and forgiveness just as we are when we get worked up and end up making a mistake.  Sometimes we need a gentle reminder to stay the course or as Furuya Sensei used to say, "Always act as if your teacher is watching."  This aphorism is the platform that reminds us to look deeper into the situation and act accordingly.

Our lives are made up of the decisions that we make.  We chose the path of Aikido and so we must act like Aikidoist and this includes when we think nobody is watching.  Sartre's quip that, "Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself" can be thought of as the mantra of Aikido training.  It is our choice to choose to be better and thus our lives are nothing more than what we make it.