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bobtoabe
03-19-2010, 04:01 PM
Someone recently asked me to answer this question. After I wrote this, it occurred to me that this might be a good exercise to do for anyone training in aikido.

Why do I train…It's an integral part of my life and who I am, it's the highlight of my day (every day). It's my yoga, like my five minutes stretching every morning, like sitting at my piano every evening. My body knows how to do it. It’s almost as if my body is a horse, and my mind and spirit and emotions are sitting on top riding along, leaning this way and that, sitting up straight, crouching down close, flying through the air.

Aikido is one place that my whole self knows, and returns to. When I sit before training, relaxing my mind, opening my breath, expanding myself outwards and inwards, and I feel my body that I now sit inside of, and sometimes I remember sitting in the same spot and space in a skinny little teenage body, surrounded by a room full of bigger, older people, my mind going in a million directions, my breath shallow, my legs hurting,...all excited and restless to move. At that age, I liked to say that to me aikido was “moving Zen”...whatever that is.

Now as I reflect on this question, I realize that over the years there has never been a period of boredom, or a time where I felt like my training was in a slump or declining. It has been a constant progression forward and up. Aikido has always been a better-and-better experience for me, for my body, and mind and spirit and feelings. Certainly it’s given me balance, clarity, and peace, and a greater connection to myself and to others. It has also somehow given me a stronger feeling of empathy and connection to the world, nature, and to all things.

I think back to when I was younger, when I had limitless energy and endurance, spending an entire hour of breakfalls and challenging physicality. Now I seem to spend half of my training sitting and catching my breath. As I continue, I realize that all of us are moving forward and we all together (in our own cities and towns) are continually progressing in our training. I gives me much pleasure to train with someone I haven’t seen in many years, and to see how much we have progressed and how different our feeling is as we train with each other. I look at our older sempai, and admire how relaxed, unassuming, sensitive, and how happy they are. Moreover, I look forward to that place for me when I’m an old man.

I used to like to say that aikido training forces me/us to deal intimately with another person, one-on-one, on many levels, all at the same time: physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, politically, spiritually, etc. But now I don’t really think like that at all. I don’t feel like I’m relating to my partner this way or that way. I try to have no ideas or preconceptions about them, who they are, their intentions, or what is about to happen. When I face my uke (or nage) I try not to preconceive what the attack (or defense) will be, or how it will be, and what we’re going to do. I try to just feel the person as we connect and move, and respond to our balance and center, and if I can apply the specified technique to the situation, I do. Or maybe circumstances lead to another technique or another way of moving and responding. It seems like from time to time I find that I’m concentrating (for a while) on a different specific aspect in my training. Right now it’s this “no-mind” state. It’s a challenge to me to continue to have this state of mind and feeling as I train one-on-one with you all.

I am also continually questioning the integrity of my training and technique, and forever striving to feel my partners’ center and keep my own.

It’s very difficult, and a bit mysterious to put into words what aikido really is for me, and why I train. Maybe in another forty years I’ll have a clearer understanding. I’d be interested in hearing your answer to this question.

Boris Spassky
03-20-2010, 11:29 PM
Short but true answer: I have always been fascinated by Aikido and we started a new Aikido class at the Karate school where I taught so.... I began.

Therapeutic answer: The martial arts and specifically getting back into Aikido last year, has always been important to me. 2009 was the worst year of my life, so much so that I nearly did not make it to 2010. Now that I have, I am throwing myself back into training because without it, I do not have much.

Will be testing for 2nd degree brown soon...argh!

Rolf Granlund
03-21-2010, 04:35 AM
Initially it was to fulfill some childhood dream of being samurai. But having trained for some years it has become, as cliche as it may be, more about improving myself and seeing what I can do when I commit myself.....thinking beyond immediate reward.

To put it another way......to quote Kensho Furuya, "Train because you love it. That is all."

ninjaqutie
03-21-2010, 03:32 PM
It is a challenge for me. Keeps me interested.

Adam Huss
03-21-2010, 04:35 PM
This question is often asked of students testing in the yudansha ranks.

lbb
03-22-2010, 07:31 AM
Because it's there.

PhilMyKi
03-22-2010, 10:54 AM
The answer to this question has changed over the years with answers ranging from ...

I wanted to do what Seagal did in Under Siege (only film I saw of his as a kid)
Something to get me out of the house a couple of times a week
To satisfy my male urges to kill and win :grr:
A way to de-stress from my day at work

Now, I really enjoy what I do which probably ties in with the above reasons! I look back at how I was so awkward in my trackie bottoms and T-shirt to how I am now - awkward with two left feet hidden under my hakama! I want to know how I will be in the weeks, months and years to come.:D

ninjaqutie
03-22-2010, 03:41 PM
As an aside, I'm surprised this hasn't been moved from the introductions category..... :D

jducusin
03-22-2010, 05:44 PM
I love how the movements feel when done well. I love the challenge of training to reduce the number of instances when they're not. So essentially, I'm addicted. :D

ninjaqutie
03-22-2010, 05:54 PM
And it has been moved.... amazing! :D

Ketsan
03-22-2010, 06:36 PM
To succeed in life you need to be the kind of person that succeeds. Aikido teaches that.

RED
03-22-2010, 08:15 PM
I love Aikido :)

ShanRCarter
03-23-2010, 12:57 PM
I started training because I needed a routine in my rudderless life at the time. I found that I didn't need a rudder so much as I needed to face what's in the boat, so to speak. I continue to train because I enjoy it. I've not had a single day of training where it wasn't hard or didn't leave me feeling good at the end. I don't always "get it," but I look forward to the next time. (And the fact that I enjoy working with everyone in the dojo is icing on the cake.)

Amassus
03-24-2010, 02:38 AM
I do it because it is fun.

edshockley
03-25-2010, 03:36 AM
I believe that the genius of Morohei Ueshiba is that he transformed a complex philosopical system into a subtle series of martial movements. Practicing Aikido with an open heart and mind is a meditation that reorganizes my entire life.

Aikiman001
04-13-2010, 10:33 PM
Because it beats watching TV.

Nafis Zahir
04-14-2010, 12:15 AM
1) Self Defense

2) Stay in shape

3) Stress Relief

Gorgeous George
04-14-2010, 10:55 AM
I believe that the genius of Morohei Ueshiba is that he transformed a complex philosopical system into a subtle series of martial movements. Practicing Aikido with an open heart and mind is a meditation that reorganizes my entire life.

Excellent.

*Like*

trademark8806
04-14-2010, 12:17 PM
I do Aikido for many ressons. I strted trying abut a year ago and will right now it is a litte off, I found I am almost addicted to it. Frist time I walked in the dojo, it was with the ceriusty of how to defend your self and to posably work on my spaceal issuses. I relly did not expecet to fall in love with it or to find that even on a bad day I want to go to class. I have posted on my blogs that I do not if it is the people at my dojo or the art its self. I found that conncent more to the aikido peoplethen others, I also feel like it is a safe place. Everyone is held to same sndarders whether you are 5 or 100. While yes some cant do some things no one judges anyone, they just work with them. Yes it seems to me to teach you to almost not think and just go with it. That is to say just flow together to end up at your gole. I am one whom needs to conncet to other people even a litte and I was missing this in my life and for me I fond it in aikido. I also do it for the veary simple ressons that I have no life besides school and this provides me with 3 days a week to intact with some other people and get some exercise that I so desperly need.

bkedelen
04-14-2010, 02:15 PM
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.
- Black Knight

Old saying. Verbiage may not precisely align with Aikido, but the point remains relevant. Aikido is its own purpose.

mah927
04-14-2010, 02:22 PM
I'd go crazy if I did not train... so I train.

Gorgeous George
04-14-2010, 02:24 PM
Battle doesn't need a purpose; the battle is its own purpose. You don't ask why a plague spreads or a field burns. Don't ask why I fight.
- Black Knight

Old saying. Verbiage may not precisely align with Aikido, but the point remains relevant. Aikido is its own purpose.

...yeah, but if you just do stuff, and then say 'Don't ask why', then you can do whatever you want/you act without reason.
There must be a reason why you do aikido, rather than go for a walk, do karate, go go-karting, go for a nice long drive, etc. - we don't do things arbitrarily.

jbblack
04-14-2010, 05:07 PM
Why do I train in Aikido?
I ask that question everytime I step onto the mat.

bkedelen
04-15-2010, 11:13 AM
George, my understanding of human nature is that we do almost everything arbitrarily. The few things we are driven to do are themselves fueled by the arbitrary things that have happened in our past. The only reason any of this is happening that anyone can convincingly point to is the big bang.

Also, I would never encourage someone not to ask. The fun is in the asking, even if there is not absolute answer to be divined. The "don't ask why" is simply part of a quote about an idea which seemed relevant to me.

Gorgeous George
04-15-2010, 05:17 PM
George, my understanding of human nature is that we do almost everything arbitrarily. The few things we are driven to do are themselves fueled by the arbitrary things that have happened in our past. The only reason any of this is happening that anyone can convincingly point to is the big bang.

Also, I would never encourage someone not to ask. The fun is in the asking, even if there is not absolute answer to be divined. The "don't ask why" is simply part of a quote about an idea which seemed relevant to me.

So you disagree with the view that we have choice in what we do, and that is why there is the concept of ethics/morals/reason, and so people are put on trial for rape, child abuse, murder, theft, etc.?

I can understand not asking a plague, for example, why it does what it does: it cannot answer, and nor can it choose what it does - it just is; people, however, can and do choose, hence the question being asked in the first place.

With respect.

Shadowfax
04-15-2010, 09:54 PM
The answer to this ,for me, is so deep and complex that I can't really put it into words. I've tried nothing ever really seems adequate to describe what it is that draws me back to the dojo three times a week. I just know that now that Aikido is in my life I can't imagine life without it. Every aspect of life is somehow tied to it. I could list the many things aikido has done for me but none of them is why I train. I guess I train because I need to.

jimbaker
04-16-2010, 07:09 AM
It's an addiction.

bkedelen
04-16-2010, 02:00 PM
George, good luck finding universally defined or scientifically derived morals or ethics. All sources of morality or ethics known to me are purely arbitrary. What is less arbitrary is the universal applicability of irony. Case in point: almost all morality in this country is at least peripherally derived from Catholicism. In light of this, we should probably look for any irony present regarding why we do Aikido. I am guessing some irony is lurking around the fact that Osensei taught Aikido in part to lend support to the grandiose imperial aspirations of his cult leader.
My apologies to the OP for partially derailing this thread. I will not comment further.

Rayleen Dehmke
04-16-2010, 11:12 PM
I train because I love it! I realize now after only having trained for just 2 1/2 months, that I need to learn how to focus. The training helps with that. I feel calmer too. Doing something that was so foreign to me has really opened my eyes and get to know myself. Best decision I ever made.

Ari Gower
04-19-2010, 02:29 PM
It makes me happy.

Doing a technique correctly is like playing a difficult passage of music correctly- same awesome feeling.

Mikemac
05-12-2010, 06:16 PM
That's a great question....

Much like meditation, I'm not the same person I was when I started out. The reason had grown to a deeper level.

If anyone else was in the same boat as I, I had seen Seagal performing aikido on the Merv Griffin show and it stuck with me. Later I saw his movies and wanted to do those things. A class was available at my college, and I enjoyed it very much. Of course I left the course behind me, as well as my desires to be an aikido master.

Jump to twenty years later. After all my experiences in life, I realized that the reason I have been training again is because the movements are familiar to me. I have had jobs and activities where I've made the same motions, just in a different way. I suppose I would say it teaches me about moving in life. The physicality of it is just a tangible example.

"Flow like water."

bobtoabe
08-10-2010, 09:34 PM
The answer to this ,for me, is so deep and complex that I can't really put it into words. I've tried nothing ever really seems adequate to describe what it is that draws me back to the dojo three times a week. I just know that now that Aikido is in my life I can't imagine life without it. Every aspect of life is somehow tied to it. I could list the many things aikido has done for me but none of them is why I train. I guess I train because I need to.

i like this answer to my thread.
thank you cherie

Shadowfax
08-10-2010, 09:52 PM
My pleasure Bob... you know I still can't come up with a different answer than that.

Phil Van Treese
08-12-2010, 02:59 PM
I teach, workout and go to seminars beacuse aikido is a passion. I like the people I meet and it's fun to compare notes. Keeps you in shape and many other benefits.

mickeygelum
08-13-2010, 02:58 AM
I teach, workout and go to seminars beacuse aikido is a passion. I like the people I meet and it's fun to compare notes. Keeps you in shape and many other benefits.


Hey Phil,

I am going to be in Tampa in October, where is your dojo located and when are you giving instruction?
I am looking forward to training with a direct student of Professor Tomiki!
I have trained with Nariyama Shihan and members of Shodokan's Shihan Division, if you need a letter of introduction...they will gladly supply the same.

Train well,
Train hard,
Train honestly,

Mickey

Phil Van Treese
08-13-2010, 01:51 PM
Mike,
We are located on 1005 BUSCH BLVD and the strip mall we're in is called Chamberlain Square. If you get lost, ask anyone where "Chamberlain High School" is. From Chamberlain High School, Chamberlain Square can be easily seen and it's on the same side of the street. My work number is 813-933-2811, extention 1372 if you wanted to call me. Of course, you are more than welcome to come in and workout with no mat fee. I teach Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm - 8:30pm, and sometimes we go to 9pm. FYI---Chamberlain H.S. is on the corner of Busch Blvd and North Blvd. September 4th - 18th I will be at St. Lucia in the British Virgin Islands giving a seminar but will be back in time to see you in October. Any questions, you can always give me a call. See you soon.

Phil Van Treese
08-13-2010, 01:54 PM
Oh, and as far as giving me a letter of introduction--not needed. Just bring your Gi and we'll put you to work. We might do chokes too.