It's already most of the way through September! As I write this, it is the fall equinox in the northern hemisphere (spring equinox for those of you down south!). The leaves are starting to change color here in Colorado, reminding me that there is always more beneath the surface. Our eyes tell us that leaves are green, but that's only part of the story. The spring has a similar lesson to share, where once there was no appearance of life, life returns quickly and with gusto! Remember the lessons of the changing seasons as you live your life and approach your path. Ask questions about everything around you to gain new awareness. It may just change your entire life!
In this month's newsletter Angelus shares his experience being a student instead of a master and Boom brings us updates from Chicago, along with some information for any of you considering forming an offline chapter of your own.
The Path of Learning
The path of learning is never over for a Jedi. I recently attend an event known as World Warrior Camp held in Shelter Island, New York. From September 5 -7, several martial arts schools came together to share their knowledge while being open to learning other styles. The theme of the year was "In Honor of the Masters". While In the Jedi sphere, especially with my own group, I am seen to be a "master," in the realm of martial arts, I am still but a novice.
I only formally started my martial arts training a few years ago and am barely a third of the way through the system. I can teach basic techniques to incoming students. My training was had been stalled for a time as I had spent some time in the hospital for knee issues and spent several months regaining my strength. Though it had been only a few months since I was cleared by the doctors to continue with my martial arts – and do so slowly – I made a commitment to attend World Warrior Camp.
Being cautious with my health, I attended the seminars that I could. I recognized some techniques from previous years and learned a few new ones. I find it interesting that as I progress through the ranks, I am able to see more of the subtleties in the techniques. While something may have been "repeated" this year, I could see a few things I had missed the previous years. In addition to my role as student, I also was the "uke" for my sensei, Ross Greenberg, during his workshops. He demonstrated techniques on me, some of which I "hate" being done on me. Yet, I didn't complain. I would then go in the crowd and make sure students are performing things correctly.
Going from teacher to student to teacher back to student is not new. The art of learning is a dynamic process. My own Sensei happens to be a former padawan, Rafael Ben Raven. As he would teach me things about martial arts, I would show him things about the Jedi. While I Warrior Camp, I would make sure my "Master" has everything he needed so that he can put all his focus on teaching. While at a Jedi Gathering, the roles are reversed but the mission remains the same. There should never be any ego when one is truly open to learning.
The Chicago Way by Boom Darklighter
A festive Autumnal Equinox and L’Shana Tova to all! Alas, summer is over in Chicago (and everywhere else!), and so Chicago Jedi are beginning to move our events indoors.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a terrific turnout for indoor archery at a range in Plainfield, IL. Master Zen-Ryo (Jeremy Cowan) has always come forward as our informal archery master. Archery is a good skill for Jedi, as it teaches patience, breathing, concentration and focus. Plus it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon!
Just this afternoon we met at Sensei Ross’ (Master Raphael ben Raven) dojo to practice our lightsaber skills. We are practicing shii-cho, a sword form we use as a group when we do stage shows at conventions or library demos.
Lately, we have been seeing some new faces at our MeetUps, folks who may or may not stick around to become full members, so I thought it would be cool to share with everyone the information sheet we send (or hand out) to prospective new members.
This document was put together by the Chicago Jedi Council. As the Consular, I wanted to base it on a new member packet I wrote when I was the Chatelaine (which is kind of like a Consular) of the Barony of Settmour Swamp (central New Jersey) in the Society for Creative Anachronism. We wanted to make this document available to everyone in the Jedi Realist community. If you find yourself with an off-line group of your own, please feel free to use and edit it to your liking.