Tag Archives: Summer Festival

Ringing in the Changes

Continuing the stooooory from last time about my lost wedding ring and my attempt to make lemonade out of the proverbial lemon. Trouble is, I like lemons. But I digress. So what happened?

Some time ago I was introduced to the idea that we should never attach too much feeling to the objects we own; they wear out, are misplaced, or kids/cats break them. So the moment we acquire something, we should be prepared to say goodbye to it. (*) I believe this to be a very wise, even liberating outlook. So an emotionally mature, practical person should be able to accept the loss of a wedding ring and move on with his life.

I’m not there yet.

I’d actually lost the ring once before, on a friend’s lawn during a party. I’d returned a couple of days later with a rented metal detector and found it nestled deep in the grass. I now own a metal detector, so on Monday I charged it up and headed back to the Power Center. But before I fired it up and exposed my nerdiness to the few people on earth who aren’t already aware of it, I tried one more quick visual search.

I began with the lamppost where I’d secured my bike. Nothing there, so I walked toward the tree where I’d put my backpack and buki bag during the class. I’d already combed that area the day before, so I wasn’t too hopeful. But dead ahead was a small circular patch of bare dirt, with my ring right in its center. Considering all the people who’d been on that lawn during and after the Aikido class, having it still be there was pretty remarkable.



This marks the third time in the past year where I’ve lost something at an athletic event and then recovered it – my cell phone at Run Woodstock, my favorite winter running hat at the Martian races, and now the ring. Karma? Divine intervention? Dumb luck? I have no idea, but I’ll take it and be grateful just the same.

So what now? In my previous post I’d said that whether I found my ring or not, I’d resolved to make some changes that I’d been thinking about but hadn’t acted on yet (gotta have the time, you see). So I used this event to kick-start those changes – to make the time.

You couldn't sell me - I'm priceless!

You couldn’t sell me – I’m priceless!

There’s nothing earth-shattering here. I am not selling my cats, loading my worldly goods into a 20-year-old F-150 and driving to the Yukon with a retired lady prizefighter to prospect for meteorites – although I might attract more readers if I were. Instead, I’m moving forward with some improvements and new activities. I will keep you posted as I get them going, but here are the first two:

Blog Change: New Name, Same Great Taste

Sometime this week, the name of this blog is changing from Fitness at 50(+) to something else (watch this space). I will continue to post about my adventures in running, cycling, and Aikido, but under a new name. I am past my “year of being 50” (2012) and completed the activities I created this blog to brag about inform a curious world about. So I’m now hoping to appeal to a more general audience. Fitness, after all, is a lifetime thing, and can be (and should be) worked toward at any age.

What do my readers need to do? Send no money now! (**) The “fitnessat50.net” domain will remain active, and links to it will continue to work just fine, as will the “jeff @ fitnessat50 . net” email address (spaces added to prevent auto-harvesting). So I hope you’ll keep on reading!

But wait, I hear my astute readers saying…what about the other sacred subject you write about – chocolate? Have you given it up?

You Deserve This Bar of Chocolate 2

Add check item: Because I got out of bed this morning.

I hope you know me better than that. In fact, I plan to write even more often about that particular subject. It will just be in a different place.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Blog

I am creating a new blog dedicated to my adventures and experiences with coffee and chocolate – product reviews, tours, and stuff I learn – that I hope to finish designing and roll out in the next couple of weeks. And to help celebrate the new blog I will be giving away some neat stuff, so please stay tuned! Unless you don’t care for chocolate, in which case you’re either a) not reading this anymore, or b) from another planet, in which case I hope your intelligence gathering is for the ultimate benefit of mankind.


(*) I don’t remember where I first heard the idea of letting go of things. It may have been Dr. Wayne Dyer on a PBS pledge drive. It sounds very Zen to me, anyway.

(**) Unless you’d like to send me money, of course. I’d hate to discourage you from something like that.

A Farewell and an Invitation

Some sad news and some happy news out of my Rec & Ed Aikido club.

First, the sad news. After over ten years teaching the Rec & Ed club, our instructor is leaving Ann Arbor to teach elementary school in Vermont. I was fortunate to spend seven of those years as his student, and I can say truthfully that I enjoyed every one of his classes I attended. He made studying Aikido fun, and we will miss him.

One of last week's Rec & Ed classes.

One of last week’s Rec & Ed classes.

But there is happy news as well, as he will open our school’s first dojo in Vermont, giving more people an opportunity to train and grow in Aikido. And with one of our senior students taking over as Rec & Ed instructor, the tradition of excellent Aikido at our club will continue. As our school’s founder Kushida-sensei was fond of saying, every end is also a beginning.

So our instructor taught his final Rec & Ed class last night, and afterward the students of appropriate age took him to a nearby pub to celebrate. After many good stories and a couple of beers, our guest of honor gave us some advice from the heart – really honest and profound stuff. For several reasons, I won’t go into detail on it, but I will say that he advised us again – all of us senior students brown belt or higher – never to get complacent about our training. “Once you start thinking you’re good at Aikido,” he told us, “you’re guaranteed to get worse.”

I'm guessing there's some room for improvement in my form...

I’m guessing there’s some room for improvement in my form.

Getting the ego out of the way was a subject he often spoke about in class and provided an excellent example of, both on the mat and off. And, naturally, I had to open my mouth and provide myself an opportunity to learn a lesson. I asked Sensei a question that had been nagging at me a while.

“Hypothetically speaking,” I said, not wanting to finger anyone, “suppose after a class a junior student came up to me and pointed out a mistake in my technique. What is the proper way to respond?” A junior correcting a senior student is not forbidden, but it is generally considered bad form and not to be encouraged.

“Just say, ‘thank you’,” Sensei said.

I had said exactly that at the time, so I felt pretty pleased with myself. Then the most senior student in our club, a black belt, put down his drink and pointed at me. “You did that to me once,” he said.

When the laughter finally subsided, Sensei’s the loudest of all, he looked at me with a big smile on his face. “So, Jeff-san,” he said, “how does that foot taste?”


A rare treat - throwing my instructor.

A rare treat – I throw my instructor.

P.S. If you’d like to meet my soon-to-depart instructor, watch Aikido in action, and learn a little about it, come to our demo at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival on Sunday, June 16. From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. our club will be on the lawn at the Power Center putting on a demonstration of Aikido and inviting people to join us for a free beginning class. Hope a few of you can come!