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Mary Eastland
08-27-2008, 08:23 AM
I was reading on another board where an aikidoka stated that long term commitment to aikido is hard.

I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

Aikido requires patience and humilty and courage. It seems like a wild adventure without ever having to go look for it. People travel to mountain tops to find what I have found in Aikido....

Any thoughts?
Mary

raul rodrigo
08-27-2008, 08:30 AM
If it wasn't hard it wouldn't be worth doing.

gdandscompserv
08-27-2008, 10:01 AM
it's hard to stop.:D

Tony Wagstaffe
08-27-2008, 10:23 AM
Anything worth doing is "hard"
That goes with any real discipline that takes real effort, patience and determination.....
Tony :)

John A Butz
08-27-2008, 10:32 AM
The art itself is not necessarily hard. Committing to the mastery of the art at the highest level you are able to achieve, however, is incredibly hard. Thats why the only true constant in training is that eventually, everyone stops. Either they stop because they pass on after having pursued mastery for their entire lives, or they quit because the sacrifices required are no longer acceptable to them.

Long term commitment to mastery requires sacrifice and devotion. You have to sacrifice time, money, and energy. You need to make choices about how you will spend your weekends and your evenings after work. You need to find the time in your daily life to practice things. You need to be willing to accept and expect criticism, constantly adjust your goals to be just outside of your reach, and understand that you will meet with failure on the road more often then you will meet with success.

I am not trying to make a value judgement, because I can think of many good reasons to stop sacrificing your time/money/energy etc to the pursuit of aikido. I wrestle with some of them myself. I wonder if other areas of my life would have faired better had I devoted even a small portion of my aikido effort to them.

For me, in the end, pursuit of mastery has been a hard road, and it will continue to be a hard road, and the choice to stay on it is a hard choice. It is also, for me, the right choice. I can attribute much of the success I have found in life to my willingness to do what is hard, when merely doing what is easy would have been enough to get by.

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2008, 10:44 AM
Thanks for that post Budd...going through some hard family, work and aikido times now, and that was a needed perspective.

Best,
Ron

John A Butz
08-27-2008, 10:49 AM
Ron, did you just mistake me for Budd? :)

I hope things work out for you my friend, be safe and take care.

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2008, 11:18 AM
OOPs... :D

Yes, I did!

Best,
Ron

MM
08-27-2008, 12:07 PM
Well, the two of them are nearly identical. It's easy to get them confused. It's like saying which one is Jerry Lewis and which one is Lou Costello. Or which one is Larry or Curly. ;) (Gee, I can't wait to get up there to train with them again.)

bkedelen
08-27-2008, 12:14 PM
I'd say it is more ... "moist".

lbb
08-27-2008, 12:20 PM
I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

I'm not sure how widely that connotation is shared...but even assuming it's universal, does that have to be a bad thing? Put another way, if someone were to describe their experience in training aikido, and they used some adjectives that have negative connotations, would you wonder why they were training?

In Autumn Lightning, Dave Lowry wrote the following passage. It describes a kind of "hard" that I encounter over and over and over again in the martial arts. I don't expect it to ever go away. If it did, I don't know that I'd continue training.

"There were moments in my training, too many to count, when Sensei's bokken came slashing at me and I thought with the merest periphery of my consciousness about the parry and counter. The center of my attention was taken with my own limitations, and I wondered how much more I could take. From the moment I had stepped into the dojo, I began a struggle with boundaries, imposed by my mind, that threatened and bullied at every step to overwhelm meI fought a dozen duels with myself for every cut I made with the katana. Sometimes I won, sometimes not. The nights when I won over myself and pushed back the limitations a bit, I would jump down under the stone bridge in the park on my way home, full of confidence and contentment, rubbing my sore muscles briskly, reveling in the whole specialness of being a part of the classical martial arts. But there were other nights, many others, when I crept down under the bridge, tucked my arms around my legs, and stained the knees of my jeans with tears."

Ron Tisdale
08-27-2008, 12:24 PM
Thanks for that Mary M. Great quote.

Best,
Ron

Mark Uttech
08-27-2008, 12:28 PM
Onegaishimasu. I always wished that "Autumn Lightning" would be made into a movie. I even tried my hand at writing a screenplay for it!

In gassho,

Mark

SeiserL
08-27-2008, 12:46 PM
IMHO,
hard, soft, internal
enjoyable, frustrating
empowering, humbling
that's the discipline.

Diane Stevenson
08-27-2008, 01:33 PM
Long term commitment to mastery requires sacrifice and devotion. You have to sacrifice time, money, and energy. You need to make choices about how you will spend your weekends and your evenings after work. You need to find the time in your daily life to practice things. You need to be willing to accept and expect criticism, constantly adjust your goals to be just outside of your reach, and understand that you will meet with failure on the road more often then you will meet with success.

I totally agree. And because there are no competitions, and less emphasis on rank, the choice to continue training is internally driven. More so than in other MA's, I think. Furthermore, because of the nature of Aikido (balance-blending-centering as opposed to muscle) even though there are seasons in life when training is too costly, it's never too late to return.

Aikido hard? Well, yeah.

So is learning a new language, or earning a Bachelors degree.

Lyle Bogin
08-27-2008, 09:01 PM
Aikido is hard. The belts make it a bit easier. But with no competition, it's complicated.

lbb
08-28-2008, 07:50 AM
Onegaishimasu. I always wished that "Autumn Lightning" would be made into a movie. I even tried my hand at writing a screenplay for it!

Wow, that would be wicked difficult. I'm not sure which would be harder, the historical parts (so much background there!) or the internal processes like in the passage I quoted. I'd love to see it, though. AL is one of my all-time fave books.

BTW, do you remember the passage that follows that one -- the one about why he didn't quit? That's another one worth hanging onto.

Peter Goldsbury
08-28-2008, 08:49 AM
I was reading on another board where an aikidoka stated that long term commitment to aikido is hard.

I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

Aikido requires patience and humilty and courage. It seems like a wild adventure without ever having to go look for it. People travel to mountain tops to find what I have found in Aikido....

Any thoughts?
Mary

Well, you asked for thoughts.

First, here is a very personal anecdote, which happened over 30 years ago.

In the early 70s I trained in the New England Aikikai. The dojo was the old dojo in Central Square, Cambridge. Kanai Sensei always taught the evening classes and there was a regular group of students. One night we were doing 2-kyou. I was training in the usual, glorious, way that young 1st kyu students do when they think they have mastered the entire art--and there is only a short step to shodan.

Then Kanai Sensei appeared before me and took uke. I wanted to do the best 2-kyou of which I was capable, but try as I might, I could not put 2-kyou on him. With other students, he would wait patiently and gently sink into seiza, allowing a modest arm lock, but in this occasion he really tore a strip off me and asked severely why I "could do nothing". When he saw the tears welling up, I think he relented and accepted the waza with a short, "That's better".

A few weeks later, when I was due to return to England, the dojo held a special training for me, at the end of which I had to take uke from everyone in the dojo--and they chose the waza. At the end of successive shiho-nages and koshi-nages, it was finally Kanai Sensei's turn and, with a smile and a 'wicked' gleam in his eye, he did 2-kyou.

A few thoughts
As you say, aikido requires patience, humility and courage, but why should this not also be hard--and also not have a negative connotation? What is so wrong with negative connotations?

After almost 30 years of training in Japan, I have broken with the teacher I have had for these 30 years. Have you ever had to break with your own teacher after such a long time, especially a teacher who has been very close and exacting in the demands he makes of his students? It was a major wrench and left me very much sadder, but perhaps a little wiser. I would think that most people would think of this experience as, well, hard.

Best wishes,

PAG

Lan Powers
08-28-2008, 11:14 AM
Wow! I will just put my little flippant remark I had all ready, right back in my pocket then....

Thank you Prof. Goldsbury, quite a humbling perspective.
Lan

Marc Abrams
08-28-2008, 12:13 PM
My focus is on making my Aikido soft. Soft like the tip on a cat-of-nine-tails (type of whip)!

Marc Abrams

George S. Ledyard
08-28-2008, 12:14 PM
After almost 30 years of training in Japan, I have broken with the teacher I have had for these 30 years. Have you ever had to break with your own teacher after such a long time, especially a teacher who has been very close and exacting in the demands he makes of his students? It was a major wrench and left me very much sadder, but perhaps a little wiser. I would think that most people would think of this experience as, well, hard.

Best wishes,

PAG

It was never the training that was the hardest... From the first moment I got on the mat I loved it, I've always loved it, still love it. Sure there have been moments of exhaustion and frustration, certainly injuries, but always, after a bit of rest, or some recovery time, I have wanted to get right back in and start playing again.

The hard parts have been managing relationships while doing this art seriously. A couple of marriages, four kids, and the same teacher all these years later and I can say that this was always the hardest part of the commitment.

Breaking with a teacher would be a tremendously painful experience, much like getting divorced. But as has been discussed on another thread, not breaking with your teacher can also be a very difficult experience. Decisions get made when the difficulties of one choice outweighs the difficulty of the other I think.

Trish Greene
08-28-2008, 01:40 PM
I'
In Autumn Lightning, Dave Lowry wrote the following passage. It describes a kind of "hard" that I encounter over and over and over again in the martial arts. I don't expect it to ever go away. If it did, I don't know that I'd continue training.

"There were moments in my training, too many to count, when Sensei's bokken came slashing at me and I thought with the merest periphery of my consciousness about the parry and counter. The center of my attention was taken with my own limitations, and I wondered how much more I could take. From the moment I had stepped into the dojo, I began a struggle with boundaries, imposed by my mind, that threatened and bullied at every step to overwhelm meI fought a dozen duels with myself for every cut I made with the katana. Sometimes I won, sometimes not. The nights when I won over myself and pushed back the limitations a bit, I would jump down under the stone bridge in the park on my way home, full of confidence and contentment, rubbing my sore muscles briskly, reveling in the whole specialness of being a part of the classical martial arts. But there were other nights, many others, when I crept down under the bridge, tucked my arms around my legs, and stained the knees of my jeans with tears."

After reading the passage posted here, I checked the book out of the local library. I am starting a long road trip on Friday for the holiday and I am planning on doing a lot of reading! Thank you Mary!

Lan Powers
08-28-2008, 02:44 PM
I love that book as well.........

Will Prusner
08-28-2008, 04:11 PM
Not as hard as learning Japanese. I learned to count from 1 to 99 yesterday. Was more tired (mentally) afterwards, than i am after aikido class...usually.

W.

Mary Eastland
08-28-2008, 04:32 PM
Aikido is part of the glue that keeps my life together...I do have the blessing of be married to my instuctor...who is an open-minded man.
I watched his process as he left his teacher...It seemed both painful and joyful.
Thank you for sharing your experiences....
Mary

barry.clemons
08-29-2008, 08:03 AM
I was reading on another board where an aikidoka stated that long term commitment to aikido is hard.

I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

Aikido requires patience and humilty and courage. It seems like a wild adventure without ever having to go look for it. People travel to mountain tops to find what I have found in Aikido....

Any thoughts?
Mary

I think hard is a relative term, much like a glass being half full vs. half empty. For me, there are parts of Aikido that come natural due to a predisposition toward hierarchy and discipline. Then there are the not so easy parts; where your stated humility and patience come in. The parts where you learn basics all over again, like how to stand and how to move.

Peter Goldsbury
08-29-2008, 09:30 AM
Aikido is part of the glue that keeps my life together...I do have the blessing of be married to my instuctor...who is an open-minded man.
I watched his process as he left his teacher...It seemed both painful and joyful.
Thank you for sharing your experiences....
Mary

I note that you watched his process (Don Ragusa's?) of breaking with his teacher, but I wonder about your experiences. After all, it was you who started the thread about negative connotations, not Don.

You have compared aikido with glue that keeps your life together, with an unlooked for adventure, and with something that can barely be compared with that found by people who travel to mountain tops.

And in all this you have found it interesting and challenging--but not hard. I am quite prepared to accept this, but also to wonder whether our different experiences of the same martial art give us any common ground for discussion.

Best wishes,

gdandscompserv
08-29-2008, 09:39 AM
What I have found hard is not being able to attend Iwao Yamaguchi Sensei's class. I really miss aikido in it's native culture. It seems so different here.

Mary Eastland
08-30-2008, 09:52 AM
I note that you watched his process (Don Ragusa's?) of breaking with his teacher, but I wonder about your experiences. After all, it was you who started the thread about negative connotations, not Don.

You have compared aikido with glue that keeps your life together, with an unlooked for adventure, and with something that can barely be compared with that found by people who travel to mountain tops.

And in all this you have found it interesting and challenging--but not hard. I am quite prepared to accept this, but also to wonder whether our different experiences of the same martial art give us any common ground for discussion.

Best wishes,

Thanks for food for thought, Peter.....

I can be quite fey....forgetting the past ......when the moment feels so good.
Ron is my primary teacher and always has been....I could not imagine having to leave him or the pain that would bring up for me.
Leaving Kokikai was not painful for me...staying was.
I was ready to leave years before Ron was but that was not my decision. My decision was to train with Ron whererever he was. That was hard in the thought process but not on the mat (as George said).

Your example reminded me of an incident that happened when I was 1st kyu....Maruyama Sensei hurt me in a Nikkyo and would not stop when I slapped out....he didn't stop when I told him to stop. He finally stopped when I hit him and yelled at him. I realize now that he was giving me a gift....a chance to make a choice about if I would continue to train or quit because of a "percieved good reason". That was hard.....as others experiences have been :D Thank you for the reminder that this is not an easy journey....just because it feels easy at the moment.

Mary

Keith Larman
08-30-2008, 01:36 PM
Finding time for training can be hard with a loving wife and child at home who need time and attention as well. Training isn't hard. But when it comes to learning... I'm reminded of a quote from Nietzsche.

"For me all truths are soaked in blood."

The idea of being willing to completely tear apart what you think you know in order to learn something of a higher order. To do battle with complacency. To fight the urge to say "that's good enough." Those things are all hard.

And it doesn't matter what you're doing as long as it is non-trivial. People who study tea ceremony. People who learn everything there is to learn about postage stamps. People who study Japanese swords (oops, that's me again). People who paint, sculpt, act, sing, dance, etc.

So is Aikido "hard"? Well, I'm not sure that's the right question for me at least. What it does provide is a rich framework of things that I could spend two lifetimes trying to figure out. And since I'm pretty sure I'm only allocated one lifetime, well, Aikido will be able to provide me a lifetime of challenges. A lifetime of chances to battle with what I think I know and what I think I can do...

Mark Uttech
08-30-2008, 03:02 PM
Onegaishimasu. Aikido can be hard if you try to make a living doing and teaching it. Paying rent on a dojo that remains 75% empty after 16 years in the same location is hard enough to drive me nuts! But I continue because the challenge is part of the picture. That said, I have not dared to try making a living with it; my day job and what I like to call "my sheer recklessness" keeps the dojo open.

In gassho,

Mark

Aikibu
08-30-2008, 06:17 PM
"Sitting still everyday is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life." Charlotte Joko Beck...

`"Aikido is really easy...Heck It only takes 20 years to learn and understand some of it's principles... The rest you can do just 30 (years)!" :D Micheal Fowler Sensei

Hard??? Most days it takes everything I have in me to practice when something as simple as a TV show, a Hamburger, or sore muscles beckon and try to coax me away...

Hard??? There are over TEN THOUSAND distractions in a person's modern life.... But only ONE practice. LOL :)

I wonder what would have happened if O'Sensei had a TV growing up? :D

What do you think would he have been a die hard Swallows or Giants fan? Or cultivated Pikachu... or a Ronin on WoWCraft? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha...

William Hazen

Daniel Ranger-Holt
09-01-2008, 01:42 AM
I found Aikido hard, lol, and i did it for about two years. I think it's a very technical martial art, with a heavy emphasis on the body balance etc, intricacies in locks and holds. It just took me too long to Grasp.

For the original poster i would ask what are you looking to join Aikido for? As a hobby? or self defence? or alongside another art. Then your original question becomes a bit easier to answer.

raul rodrigo
09-01-2008, 01:47 AM
For the original poster i would ask what are you looking to join Aikido for? As a hobby? or self defence? or alongside another art. Then your original question becomes a bit easier to answer.

Daniel, I think the original poster has a lot more experience in aikido than you think.

R

Mato-san
09-03-2008, 08:16 AM
IMHO,
hard, soft, internal
enjoyable, frustrating
empowering, humbling
that's the discipline.
More wise words frome Lynn

Lonin
09-26-2008, 02:29 PM
it's fun, take some time to learn the techniques or form.....3rd kyu, resistance training ...1st kyu.....cannot wait for shodan....train train train......Shodan......why does sensei keep insisting this and that....now I am thinking.
train with others, talk, discuss, challenge and then the principles come into play. movement.....all techniques in one move.....that's adjustment for some time.....rooted and moving......it starts all over. relaxing the top......another cycle. Is aikido hard? NO...it's FUN

ilia rudnitskiy
10-06-2008, 01:40 AM
I think for me, having the privilege of Aikido from a young age of 6, has made Aikido a part of my daily life... just like eating, sleeping, going to school... so i'd say the practice of the art itself is a bit "easy" or natural for me.

However, the actual art itself is definitely not what you can call "easy", there are plenty of challenges in understanding and practicing of it... but then again... nothing in life is easy. I've only been practicing for 11 years, but i'll post again in this thread in 10 years or so and say if my views have changed or not.

Harm-ony
11-01-2008, 01:41 PM
hard or not hard.... it's up to us....
make a decision and go for it....
every decision have risks...
flows..... :)

Lyle Bogin
11-03-2008, 06:39 PM
I'd say aikido is hard in terms of accepting, and even defining, what it is and what it isn't.

It's hard just like getting along with people who generally piss you off is hard.