I Just Met The Guy From the Internet
October 6, 2020
Jeremy Burt, the older son of Paul and Sherri (welcome sights at the front desk of ASNJ and on the mat), had some surgery this week and I would like to send him our prayers for a speedy recovery. He is a great kid and an even better aikido student. We hope to see him rolling around again on the mat soon.
We have all had those weeks. My intimate introduction to a Dental Air Conditioning Unit in Maine was one of those. This was another. Not so much physical pain as it was just painful.
It started Monday when I opened the dojo Amex bill (yes, I have a dojo Amex, I am a cool, hip guy) and there was a charge for almost $1,000 to a bookstore in Jersey City. An hour on the phone with the lady from Amex, our hacked account was closed, the dozen unknown charges reversed, and a new card to arrive in 24 hours. The world was back to normal, or so I thought.
An email from our website host on Wednesday told me since our CC charge was reversed, they took offense to my Amex struggle and took down the dojo website. We no longer existed on the World Wide Web. Without a website, do we actually exist at all (is this the modern-day Descartes dilemma - I can Google it, therefore it is.)
Try to call Wix, our host? You can’t. They frown on human contact. You send them a message and they call you back. I got the call and I explained the story to the gentleman. He could not get our website back online after an hour. It is not like they host websites as a business or something. He offered to email me later as I think he was sensing my desperation of spending my life on hold while he spoke to someone higher up. God? Nah. Maybe the Guy From the Internet?
I received a dozen messages from concerned members letting me know we had no website. Who knew so many people from the dojo visited our site! Later that night, I got an email from Wix saying the issue was another unused website blocking ASNJ from working. This made no sense. Nevertheless, I deleted the other web site. The next morning, ASNJ was still missing its web site. (Keeping up with my obscure philosophical theme) I was experiencing a day of digital Sisuphysian events.
The Guy From the Internet must know how this stuff works, right? I emailed a dojo member who does this for a living (He might he know The Guy from the Internet or how to reach him?). He tried Googling and responded, “That is a good one.” They must teach this in Internet College: Google it and give a warm friendly answer. Desperate, I ended up buying a new domain - aikidoschoolsOFnj.com (I capitalized the new part) and migrated the old site to there. We obscurely existed again. Google did not recognize us yet.
Another issue persisted, if people tried to go to the old domain, aikidoschoolsnj.com, they would get an error message from Wix. No problem. I have Sensei Stickles password. I logged onto Network Solutions (you computer guys are excited now). I will just forward that to the new website. Should be a piece of cake!
I logged in to Network Solutions, who decided that we needed to change the password, because The Guy From the Internet must have told them to. They sent an email to the email address on file to change the password. The problem? This was Sensei Stickles email address and we know, sadly, that he passed five years ago. I emailed and they told me I needed to take ownership of the domain. To do this I needed to send utility bills and taxes. No problem, I love collecting utility bills and taxes digitally! Here you go, Mr. Guy From the Internet. Bills. That was easy. Too easy?
Yep, that WAS too easy. A little history, back in Elizabeth, the dojo’s name was Union County Aikikai (spell check hates this word). Later, it changed to Aikido Schools of NJ. Guess what Network Solutions had – Union County. Guess what the bills say – ASNJ. I called Andy Small; Dojo Attorney Extraordinaire. I mean, he just made partner at his law firm! He went online and with the help of the State of New Jersey, got all the documents showing the name change. No wonder they made him partner. Does he know The Guy from the Internet?
I sent the documents to Network Solutions and they agreed I am the guy (not from the Internet) from ASNJ. But one last step, they had to confirm the old owner did not object. Huh? So, they emailed Sensei Stickles and gave him 24 hours to respond. I told them, if he responded, he could keep it. Thankfully, no response.
Fast forward, here I am, a usual Saturday at the dojo, watching over things, doing paperwork, paying bills, updating our SEO and drinking tea (The life of a sensei. Glamorous.). I redirected the old address to the new one. It worked. All Googling ends up at ASNJ, The Guy from the Internet is happy. I put the boulder away (still obscure references). We exist again to every kid with a phone. And now it is just a story for a letter. What a week! I celebrated by watching the teen class. Gosh, they are good.
Now, onto the non-saga topic of the week (I promise, I tried to keep this letter short), we discussed Wu Wei Wu and moving from your center. I asked if anyone had an either Aikido or TCC experience where they have done something that worked perfectly but did without any thought or effort? Everyone in class did and told their story. That is the moment when you moved from your center. In my forty years of teaching [Ed note (wife): he’s really old.], I have gotten tons of questions like “How do I move my hand” or “Where does my foot go?” but never have I been asked “Where do I move my center?” So, I asked people to forget what to do with their arms and legs and just move their center and see what happens, to practice their forms like that, without judgment, and see where things end up. If you relax and let go, your arms and legs usually do what they need to do. You do not need to think about every little movement. If a millipede had to think about every time it moved a foot, it would get nowhere. (there is a whole other story about our old pet, a foot-long giant African millipede but this letter is already too long).
When it happens it is effortless, that is called Wu Wei in Chinese or Nothing Doing. In TCC, we go a step further, we do Wu Wei Wu – Nothing Doing Nothing. Your throw is effortless, your movement is effortless. You are doing less and getting more – Yin Yang. Now we are taking our center and using it as it is – the center. When you move starting from there, the rest follows. If you try to focus on your hand, it is the tail wagging the dog (Never saw the movie, only read the book). But when you move around your center, it is like a tire spinning perfectly on its axis. Everything effortlessly revolves around it. You step on the pedal and the car goes.
Or at least that is what the Guy From the Internet told me it was.