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Kelly Allen's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 08-13-2004 08:36 PM
Kelly Allen
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 45 (Private: 1)
Comments: 34
Views: 141,114

In General Aikido IS for everyone! Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #30 New 02-19-2004 02:13 AM
Between a demonstration our dojo will be doing for some high school teachers, posts made on another journal about an injury, and a reflection of how I was physically when I started Aikido, I can't help but realise that Aikido can be for literally any body. From the person who is interested in the aspect of Ki developement to coordinate body and mind, to the one who is in it for self defence, to the person who starts it just to get back into shape, and every one in between. The multifacets of Aikido can be practiced and used by everyone.

When I started Aikido I was severely out of shape and wanted something to learn from as well as work at so I had an incentive to keep returning for the work out. Over time, as I realized how much more there was to Aikido, I continued to practice for other reasons. The philosophy behind Aikido has helped with my relationships with my family members (in particular my son). Also the centeredness and calmness I get out of Ki breathing and meditating has also been life changing for me.

I look back a mere year and a half ago at how I felt physically then and how I feel now, to me it is a difference of 20 years younger. I felt 10 years older when I first started. Now I feel 10 years younger.

I see people with disabilities and injuries who adjust their training to compensate yet still find copious amounts of things to study and train in in Aikido.

While discussing how the demonstration will unfold we concluded that even though the focus on the demo will be Ki development exersizes, we realise that everyone participating in the demo are individuals and will be looking for and taking in different aspects of the demonstation depending on their personality and what interests him or her.

I see also that as individual as the person is, so too is the dojos in the city. Some have a harder style. Some are more traditional. Some are more layed back. I think it is so important, when choosing a dojo, not to form an opinion on visiting just one dojo.

You may go into a Dojo that is layed back and think (they're not working very hard, or they're having to much fun for a martial art dojo) Don't stop looking there! Go to the next dojo in the city and see if that one is more martial, or more physically demanding.

On the other hand you may go into a Dojo and see them training and falling very hard and you might think (LORDY! I can't do that!). Don't stop there! Look further! The next Dojo may take a less physical approach to the training due to style, or other reasons.

That being said, I think in an effort to help promote Aikido to everyone, (or at least as many people as possible), the head instructors should say to the potential students that if they find their dojo too rough, or not rough enough, or too traditional, or too layed back, or whatever, to tell these people that so and so instructor at such and such dojo may be more suitable for them. This could be the difference between someone decideing to train or not. If they don't know they have options they won't look any further, and O Sensei's desire to spread Aikido to everyone will have been undermind, even if it was done unintentionally.

I am very fortunate to belong to a dojo that fits my personality well yet encourages me to try other senseis in other dojos in other styles of Aikido so that I continue testing my "fit" as my understanding and ability in Aikido changes.
Views: 1611 | Comments: 2

RSS Feed 2 Responses to "Aikido IS for everyone!"
#2 02-21-2004 12:58 AM
Kelly Allen Says:
Thanks Guy I appreciate your comments, and enjoy reading your journal. I can tell from your dialog that you are grasping alot of the concepts and principles of Aikido that alot of beginners this soon into their training don't. The combination of this understanding and the amount of time you put in on the mats will allow you to advance quickly, I think. The other thing that I didn't mention in the post with respect to the right "fit" was that, unbenounced to a lot of beginners, that there are many styles of Aikido. Some styles are harder, like Aikikai, that tend to attract alot of athletic, and younger people. They tend to view the rough and tumble style associated with the break falls as more street effective. The solfter styles, like Shin Shin Toitsu, tend to fit the older out of shape beginners, like me, or attract people from other harder styles of Aikido, or other combative martial arts, who are getting to the age where they want to continue training in something that they know is still street effective but want to take it easier on their bodies by eliminating the breakfall. For those who are reading this in passing, don't think that I am implying that the "solfter" styles of Aikido are full of out of shape mamby pambies. Oh contrare! I am merely making reference to the fact that one can train ones body and mind coordination without being slammed into the mat. Personally I enjoy being thrown into a break fall but I know that it won't be long before my breakfall days are over due to my age. It is also comforting to know that in a "street" situation that any of the "solf style" throws that I train in can have a suttle change in technique to change it to a break fall throw. Anyways, I digress. The point I'm trying to make is that not only will the Aikido clubs of the same styles individual personalities help to make a potential beginners choices diverse, so to will the variety of styles of Aikido themselves. Man that last paragraph was a hard thought to put down in words. I hope it made sense. Kelly
#1 02-20-2004 12:42 PM
gstevens Says:
I found this amazing also, and completely agree with you. I had wanted to practice Aikido for over 5 years but had not been able to do so. (I was sailing around the pacific in a 39 foot boat, very far from any dojo, and only in one place for about a month at a time.) When I came back to living on land I decided that I really wanted to try Aikido. I had read some articles by Dobson, and thought it seemed like something that would work for me. There was a dojo two blocks from where I am living. I went there, but they are fairly traditional in their teaching method, and I didn't feel a good fit. I kind of decided that Aikido was not going to work out like I thought it should. A friend of mine who I have known for years told me one day that he was an Aikidoka. I had never known this. I told him I thought that it sounded great, but that I had gone to a dojo, and it didn't seem to be what I thought it was. "What do you think the odds are that of all the dojos in your area the one that would be right for you is two blocks away from where you are living?"; was all that he had to say. I looked at 4 other dojos, that were within the range that I wanted to drive, and found one that fits me right now to a T. It is wonderful. I train about 6 times a week, and can't get enough of it. The things that I am learning about myself, and about life in general are amazing. The workout is also wonderful. I can't recommend Aikido enough! I agree if you don't find what you are looking for at the first store, look at another one. It is out there in Aikido. Thanks for the well written thoughts, Guy :-)

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