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Everyone should train in aikido. All this energy wasted on (fill in the blank here with fitness fad of the day) does not make one aware of their surroundings. It does not teach you how it feels to be grabbed and it does not offer you any solutions to conflict.
How does Zumba make you safer and how does golf add to your tool kit in a conflict situation? Okay, golf makes you familiar with a handy weapon…but have you ever thought about using it a self-defense option?
Now I am not saying that golf, yoga or dance training is bad…not at all. What I am saying is the world is not safe and we could all use aikido training.
One young woman trained with us for several months before she went off to travel in Europe for a semester. She was never going to be a lifelong aikidoka but her training helped her. She was on a train in Amsterdam alone at night with just one other person, a strange man. That man approached her; as he leaned into to grab her with a lecherous comment she put her foot in his stomach and pushed…he staggered back and she scooted out of that car into the next where there were other people. Safe.
Could she have done this without aikido training…maybe but would she have given herself permission to follow the little voice in her head?
I know we can't visit every kind of conflict that happens to humans…but we can train in an art that allows us the opportunity to feel what it feels like to grabbed, pushed and be really uncomfortable.
We can support each other in our choice to address the unmentionable…that conflict happens and many of us end up victimized because our heads are in the sand. "If it is not thought about it won't happen." It happens every day and in lots of different ways.
From guys making secret quiet comments when they think no one else will know, to angry drivers who scream at mothers with babies after causing an accident.
People seem angrier these days, short tempered and out of patience. Aikido helps with that too. Not just with the obvious endorphins that we get from any exercise but from the connection and trust that is established when we get to use another person's body and energy.
Aikido offers us the chance to develop compassion, empathy, patience and joy along with strength, spatial awareness and heightened vigilance. It offers a sacred pause to look at our own choices. It allows us the chance to change lifelong habits and question our own motives. We can make changes, big and small, that make us freer and happier.
Yup, everyone should train in aikido at least 3 times a week…see ya on the mat.