The last few posts my buddy John has made over on his blog show that he's gotten a lot wiser over the last year or so. He's teaching aikido one night a week at the YMCA and his classs (as well as his understanding of aikido) seems to be flourishing. The post he just made today got me thinking about goals.
In the martial arts, and in life in general, goals can mean and lead to a lot of different things. The reasons that drive us are as varied as the people that have them. I've had several different reasons for why i've been going to aikido over the (5+ off and on) years i've gone to class. I can't say one has really been greater than another or even if any of them would actually lead to an "achievement" of any tangible sort, but i kept going. In the times when class wasn't an option i'd noodle over some point or another or practice my footwork using our walking kata.
Eventually i came to terms with the fact that, for me, it's like playing with clay. You can mold something out of it but if you take a closer look at what you've made there will always be something that you can add on or shape differently. If you're dedicated enough or strict enough or if you love the thing enough to see what it becomes next your piece of clay will never run out of things to explore. Even when you place it aside and go about daily life the things you've done with that clay will carry with you. Spending that much time with a thing, i think, causes you to in a way become the thing or at the very least the experience of what you've done is a part of who you are.
Touchy-feely mumbo jumbo aside, and having lost all pretense of making a point i'll conclude with something of an idea.
I don't care about the next belt. I doubt i'll ever be "one of the greats" or even one of the mentionables. All i want for now is to become a potter that doesnt become so concerned with forming my best bowl that i forget how to translate potting to someone else.
Ok, i'm done with the psuedo wise man bit. Back to the ramble.