View Full Version : What brought you to Aikido?

Please visit our sponsor:

09-10-2000, 04:43 PM
Or, I suppose, it could also be "what made you stay in Aikido?"

I'd like to see how others got started down this path.


09-10-2000, 05:18 PM

I'm relatively new to aikido, I have been training regularly for about a year now. When I started uni here in Glasgow, I fancied trying a martial art, but I had only really heard of karate, so I went to that a few times, but found it did not really appeal to me.

A friend of mine had heard of something called aikido, and thought he would like to try that, but did not want to go along by himself. I had planned to watch TV that night, but I thought I would go along with him so that he could try it. Brian gave up after three sessions, and I'm training every other day, even after a year. I still have not forgiven him - I've missed so much TV this year. :)

How did you start?


09-10-2000, 05:34 PM
me? The dojo was on the way to my karate dojo. Having wanted to take up some form of kendo (by this I mean The Way of the Sword, not just the art of kendo), and being unsuccessful, when I heard somewhere that Aikido did stuff like that, I decided to take a chance. So one night after karate, we stopped by there, where a man whom I would later call Shihan was teaching jo waza. one of the yudansha came over and spoke to us, and I decided to make the next class, which was saturday at 10 in the morning. I grabbed a white belt and a clean gi, and went in. There I found two sempai, and a white belt that stopped trainly shortly after than I. After a warmup session that had me gasping for breath, I stumbled through basic ukemi, than worked on an odd wrist technique (which would later be renamed ikkyo) with a sankyo style submission (just imagine you're shaking my hand, they kept saying). I knew then I was going to come back.

What made me stay in it? I don't know... I figure when I can answer that, I won't need to train anymore...



09-11-2000, 04:03 AM
Hi Nick!

Saw a video tape from a japanese Aikido demonstration. I was completely captivated by it. This little japanese guy walking around talking into a headset (in japanese - I didn't understand a word) while he was throwing opponents left and right apparently with less effort than I use to pick my nose. A couple of years later I moved to a town with an Aikido-dojo and gave it a shot. Then I was pretty much hooked.

09-11-2000, 07:20 AM
I notice from your profile that you train with Suenaka Sensei. I have read the book Complete Aikido by Roy Suenaka and Christopher Watson - I find his biography fascinating.

He has been affiliated both with Aikikai and Ki Aikido over the years. Which style would you say his aikido most resembles? I understand he has his own name for it, but I guess it must have similarities and differences to Aikikai, which is what I train in. It is easy to form an opinion (often wrong) by reading a book, but as you have trained with him, you will have first hand experience.

As for why I keep training, I don't know. I guess I'm looking for a solution to a puzzle that has no solution. I also like the discipline. If you keep training regularly, even on Friday nights, it gives structure to the week and makes you less of a slob. It hasn't helped me with women yet though... :)

P.S. Do you know what the difference between sokomen and san kwa ko is? Is there even any difference? Sensei asked me to find out.

09-11-2000, 08:05 AM
I had been toying with the idea of starting some form of exercise for quite a while, but nothing really appealed to me! I am basically a couch potato type with very little get up and go for exercise which is why I felt I needed something that would stimulate my brain as much as my muscles!!

I had seen the Seagal films plenty of times and knew he did Aikido but had no idea there was so much variety in this (what I percieved to be) little known MA!! I thought to myself, I should really look into that and see if it suitable for a big tubbo'lard like me!! Well, after many weeks of thinking about it I finally got round to looking it up on the net and completely swamped myself with information from Aikidofaq and Aikiweb!! A quick dojo search within my are came up with more dojos than I thought it would and in my lazy way I selected a dojo to enquire to by the fact that they had a.) a web site (albeit a small one!) and b.) they had an e-mail address for enquiries!!

2 or 3 e-mails later and I found myself visiting the dojo on a Friday night, thinking to myself, 'oh, I'll just pop along to see what they do and see if I like it' with absolutely no real intentions of getting on the mat and ended up chatting with the Senior Coach before she persuaded me to come on the mat and have a try at the kihon Dhosa (Yoshinkan Fundamental Movements!!) !!

After a little while my legs began to burn from the unaccustomed exercise and we stopped for a small breather. And then onto some basic ikkyo as my first taste of a technique!!

This was a little over 5 months ago and I am now going twice a week for 2- 2.5 hours and enjoying every minute of it! I have attended 3 inhouse weekend seminars and one 'away' seminar with our club and fullyt intend to do more!!

It is rapidly becoming a major part of my life which I am beginning to feel I won't be able to give up even if I wanted to!! I had a 2 week holiday over the summer, as well as a couple of weekends away which meant I couldn't attend classes for almost 7 weeks and my wife said I became quite depressed about it, which for a self confessed anti exerciser is saying something!!

And all this started just before my 30th Birthday (which is in December!), so it goes to show, it is never too late to start!!

Thanks for listening to my ramble, and apologies as it went on a lot longer than I wanted it to!!

09-11-2000, 05:41 PM
HenryB wrote:
I notice from your profile that you train with Suenaka Sensei. I have read the book Complete Aikido by Roy Suenaka and Christopher Watson - I find his biography fascinating.

He has been affiliated both with Aikikai and Ki Aikido over the years. Which style would you say his aikido most resembles? I understand he has his own name for it, but I guess it must have similarities and differences to Aikikai, which is what I train in. It is easy to form an opinion (often wrong) by reading a book, but as you have trained with him, you will have first hand experience.

Firstly, I guess I should change my profile to clear up misconceptions- I live in Atlanta, Suenaka-sensei lives in Charleston- even if I did have a car, that's a hike :). However, I do train at an affiliated Wadokai dojo.

As for your other question, I'm not entirely sure, as my only experience in Aikikai and Ki Society come from said book, and whatever else I've read. From that said (non) experience, I'd say it's kind of in the middle- pretty hard to explain. The best I can say is that you can tell that he trained with both O'sensei and Tohei-sensei, as they both have their marks on his 'style' of Aikido.

Hope that starts to begin to clear it up :).



09-15-2000, 01:57 PM
anyone else care to share how they came to the art?

09-15-2000, 03:06 PM
Used to race whitewater canoes until I blew out my shoulder, then took up climbing and ski mountaineering until I injured my knee. Needing exersize to keep from going nuts I started looking around for something that wouldn't hurt my old injuries too much. My then girlfriend was interested in taking an aikido class at the university, so we both did it. I kind of figured at the time that it was something I'd take a class in and that would be that. It's been seven or eight years now and it still feels as new and interesting as it did that first year.


09-15-2000, 03:17 PM
When I was in grade school, (long, long time ago) I studied Tae Kwon Do but dropped out when I became a teenager - stupid choices in youth. Now that I am old, I realized that I could not ignore the warrior in me, even if I am a peaceful one. I did not miss Tae Kwon Do, but I needed to find something different. I researched looking for something that was not as combatant (nothing wrong with it, just not for me) as Tae Kwon Do - and I always wanted to study bokken and jo. I found that Aikido had everything I wanted in an art and found a dojo 5 minutes from my home. While watching a class, I knew that this will become a large part of my life. It is now 5 months later, and not only have I improved physically, but spiritually as well.

09-15-2000, 04:15 PM
When I first took aikido I had no idea what it was. A friend of mine looked into a book of martial arts and thought aikido was cool. He convinved me to go to some classes with him. After a half a dozen he dropped out. But I am still going a year later. Just like what happened to henry i guess! Its kind of funny how things like that happen.


Jon C Strauss
09-15-2000, 05:22 PM
Heh heh heh,

With a red face he says, "The movie 'Above the Law' what else?"

I had toyed with several martial arts (and continue to do so), but when I saw the opening scene of that movie I said to myself "Now that's how I want to beat people up!"

Fortunately, I joined a (Ki Society) dojo with two very kind & influential sensei who were able to teach me a graet deal about the art and about myself. I am now a teacher in that same dojo, and I feel that in turn, I have had a positive impact on the lives of many students. Say what you will about Stevie Sensei, but he's done a lot of good for the art and its students--directly & indirectly.

Hey, I guess that makes me one of few remaining students of Aikido who owe their beginings in the art to S.S. 90% of the others are now taking Tae Bo....

I continue to learn, grow & smile!


09-17-2000, 12:54 AM
g'day from australia here,

Well my dad once told me about some martial art he had heard about called aikido......so I rang a place and left a message on the machine....several times. About a month or so later I got a reply....so eventually I went along to a class which just happened to be an independant sensai who had converted his living room into a dojo, the classes were very small, about 4 people but one of the students happened to be an ex karate, 120kg (about 240lb) male. My sensai was a quite old (to me anyways), incredibly scrawny man.......when he gave a demonstration and I saw the absolute ease he threw this guy around, I was amazed......this I had to learn! Anyways I practiced for about 3 weeks...then I got the flu, then I had exams, then I went away on holidays.....I did never get back to that dojo, and about 6 months later I decided I wanted to go again....I rang him up again but he was going through a very messy divorce and couldn't teach anymore classes. Which was a shame because he was an exceptional man....now that I look back, he had incredible extension, more than anyone else I've trained against, including my current sensai.
So after a while I found a new dojo...where I have been happily training for about 7 weeks and loving every minute of it....if I miss a class and I'm not sore...it doesn't feel right! hehe although I am studying iwama style aikido, whereas I would like to study a version that has more emphasis on ki extension and spirituality....I have began reading a book about ki extension....fascinating! I think Iwama will provide a nice base for later studies.....but at the moment it's the closest dojo to me.
sorry about my long ramblings...but that's my story!


09-17-2000, 01:37 PM
Well, being the strong dislike-er of most traditional physical activities promoted and used for the ever infamous class of Phys Ed, I wanted to find a way to get my required high school gym credits without actually attending the gym class. Luckily, I managed to find out about this program that allows you to take a specific class through a local university at the local YMCA. My options consisted of Scuba Diving, Intro to Dance, and Aikido. Now, since I am a master of the dance floor, I can "bust a funky one" at will, which ruled Intro to Dance out (no, I don't have an ego problem. Seriously.). Scuba Diving was a little pricy, and didn't really appeal to me, because I've never been a very good swimmer. Which left me with aikido.

I knew next to nothing about it, having only heard about Karate, Judo, Kung-Fu, and Tae-Kwan Do. I was a little hesitant at first, because I don't think I could bring myself to punch/kick/seriously hurt anyone except for my brothers and a select few from my circle of friends, since that's "always in good fun." So, not knowing what to expect, I grabbed some loose clothing, shelled out the 12.50 for the class, and tried it out.

After some brief introductions, class started, and I got to stumble around trying to mimick the movements of everyone else while we began with "the walks" and "the hand blades." Then, another black belt led the class while Steve, the sensei, spent about 30 to 45 minutes explaining to me the importance of ki, center, and staying triangulated. Half of what he said went way over my head, and when he instructed me in the first three moves, I don't think I did a single thing right. Then, two brown belts got to display the moves from a kata they were working on. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my entire life, and not a single, actual strike was used. I found out that the university cut off their programs at the Y, so I couldn't get my gym credits, but I stuck with it anyways. I've now been studying aikido for about four months, I'm a second white belt (which kyu is that?), and twice a week for two and a half hours I get to have a great time.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to be able to remember the Japanese name for anything ( I identify the moves with "the fourth one from the second kata" and similar statements ), so alot of what I read in these forums confuses me, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. Slowly, but surely.


09-17-2000, 03:13 PM
Jon C Stauss wrote:
With a red face he says, "The movie 'Above the Law' what else?" ... when I saw the opening scene of that movie I said to myself "Now that's how I want to beat people up!"

hahaha!! :D that's so true. I said the same thing to myself. And as a friend o mine said "I watched at that movies and wanted to start aikido because it looked 'easy'" :).
On the other hand, when you start training you get involved with the the real (not hollywood) aikido, and begin keeping SS Style, and your "I'm gonna stick you to the walls" thoughts. You finish class and you feel fresh, peacefull. And in some cases, if you don't have time to think about it, you can forget why you started aikido. You just remember how good you felt after each class and how have you improved technically and spiritually.


09-17-2000, 03:16 PM
Sorry, when i said "begin keeping SS Style, and your "I'm gonna stick you to the walls" thoughts" I missed the word 'aside'.
It should be:
begin keeping SS Style aside, and your "I'm gonna stick you to the walls" thoughts..aside.

09-18-2000, 06:41 AM
I've just begun my aikido lessons. The major reason for me were my mates. They have trained for about a year.

I think I've found something great. After each training session I begin to wait for the next one. But I'm quite confused because of "kyu"s and "dan"s and all those other japanese words.

Can't wait to train with those cool jo- and bokken-thingies... : )

Jon C Strauss
09-18-2000, 10:06 AM
Nacho, that is too funny! lmao....

I don't remember thinking it looked easy, but I thought I'd be kicking some serious butt in a couple of months. My friend and I bought a book (one of Saotome Sensei's I think) and we started practicing iriminage and shikkyo--don't ask, we just thought it looked cool.
Then I started practicing for real and discovered that there was a helluva lot to learn & experience. I can't count the number of times I went to class with low energy and left too wired to sleep. And it really has made me a more peaceful person.
It's one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.


09-27-2000, 06:58 AM

Thanks for the reply. I'm sorry I did not write back for so long, but I have just moved to Austria.

Have you tried any other Aikido styles? I've only done a year of Aikikai, but I fancy trying some Yoshinkan at some point (for no better reson than that I found the book Angry White Pyjamas so good).

Take care,


Greg Jennings
09-29-2000, 09:29 PM
Nick wrote:
anyone else care to share how they came to the art?

Ok, ok, it was the skirts, man, it was the skirts. I saw an article in Black Belt mag back in 1979 and saw the skirts and it just stuck in my mind. I had to have one of those cool culottes. ;) ;)

Seriously, I saw that article in BBM back then and the circles and the ukemi just stuck in my mind.

The first chance I got to study Aikido as in 1995. I jumped at the chance and have been at it ever since.

10-03-2000, 12:18 AM
Seriously Though. A while ago I became interested in Japanese animation, my favorite being Ranma 1/2 a martial arts comedy series. One of the Charactors is a Kendoka and I was intriqued by his use of a Bokken (even though he is a villian that gets beaten on constantly).

Sometime around fall of 1999 I came accross a Bokken at a garage sale for the low price of $5, I bought it and started looking around the Daytona Bch area trying to find someone to teach me how to use it.

It ain't easy to find Kendo teachers in this neck of the woods but after much searching I heard a rumor that a local university had or was trying to start a kendo club. I searched for that club from one end of the campus to another and couldn't find hide nor hair. However I had learned where the Aikido club met and figuring that they might know something I decided to give them a try.

They senior student turned out to be the fellow trying to start the Kendo club but he was having trouble getting it going he gave me his number at the school and I went in to talk to him about Kendo. The Kendo club never got off the ground but he did mention that Aikido worked with swords and that maybe I should give it a try. I wasn't all that interested but the Aikido club was hosting a seminar given by S. Yap Sensei and I decided to stop by for the weapons part. After a 2 hour workout with Bokken and Jo I was intrigued and had to stay for the Taijutsu. Fortunately I am a former gymnast so I survived the 4 hours or so of intense training that followed, even if my Ukemi was pretty ugly. By the end of the week end I was hooked and when an invitation was made to me to join the university club I jumped on it and I have been happily training ten months now.

Sorry to write a book but I hope I have entertained you.


David Harrandell
10-03-2000, 09:22 AM
Greetings from 'sunny' England,
My Aikido foundations was from my childhood. I was a very quiet child so my parents said "Right, lats get the lad into a Martial Art, that should liven him up a bit!" And they set me on the path of Aiki as it was the only martial art in the area.
That was 13yrs ago and I'm still at it! I don't know why, I just know It's great fun!

10-03-2000, 07:29 PM
liked the segal films. wanted exercise. so i combined both.

12-28-2000, 11:01 PM
Nick wrote:
Or, I suppose, it could also be "what made you stay in Aikido?"

I'd like to see how others got started down this path.


I read http://www.aikidofaq.com over.
And over.
And over.
And over.

01-02-2001, 11:27 PM
I took Shotokan Karate as a very young child for about 2 years (6-8 years old) and gave it up because I was even younger and more ignorant than I am now. As I progressed in life, the idea of taking a martial art kept popping back up for many reasons (i.e. I got in a fight.... and lost.... terribly, I wanted more exercise, I thought it looked cool, a cute girl I knew was training in one so if I did I would have a conversation starter ;^), etc.).

Eventually, I stopped being lazy and asked my friends who took martial arts what they recommended for someone of my build (kinda scrawny) and disposition (not the tearing out eyeball type). I got quite a few responses. I walked into a jiu-jitsu dojo only to hear a sensei explaining to 6-year-olds that "there are 3 types of fighting. Contact, bone-breaking, and lethal." I ran out, clutching my turning stomach.

I communicated my distaste to a more knowledgeable friend of mine who has studied ninjitsu for 5 years, in addition to wing chun and, you guessed it, aikido, for a short while. He recommended aikido, giving me one piece of advice: "Don't ask to see if something would really work."

I visited one of the aikido dojo in my area and was instantly transfixed by the grace of the movements involved coupled with their effectiveness. I came back a week later and began my training.

As far as staying in aikido goes, I can pinpoint my reason to one moment in time. I had been training for only a few weeks but had managed to pick up how to fall fairly quickly, which, in my opinion, saved my life.

Imagine yourself surrounded by drunken college football linesmen who have a taste for blood, running into each other to the music of some crappy pop band (let's call them blank 182). You came for one of the opening bands, which had just departed, and the crowd has gone from "friendly jostling" to "every man for himself." What's the best solution? Run!

It wasn't long before a 400 lb., 6'9" man decided I would be fun to pick up over his head and throw. While sailing through the air, I somehow managed to twist my body into a breakfall position (the only one I have done somewhere near correct that to this day), only to land on the ground with a loud smack.

Instead of a broken neck, I had a hand that stung. I got up in time to see 5 bouncers dragging this intoxicated wreck away because of our little tossing incident.

I had no idea how I lived, but I sure as heck wasn't stopping after I was able to throw a huge man out to his car with almost no effort!

Love * Peace * Unity

01-03-2001, 04:42 AM
Years ago I saw a Martial Arts Gala on the television (from Paris?) where a very old guy used aikido and an umbrella to trow a couple of young guys around. The magic was that it seemed he didn't do anything but move. Years later (1 and a half year ago) I wanted a new challenge. I played waterpolo all my life when I suddenly remembered the old guy. Using the internet I found a great dojo near my home, called them and a week later I was on the tatami for the first time. I even stopped my waterpolo career to have more time for Aikido.

Have a great Aikido year,

01-24-2001, 01:33 AM
Two words. 'Steven' and 'Seagal'.

I admit, I never would have learned of "Aikido" if it weren't for him.

Later, when I was 25, as I was searching for a MA to join, I stumbled upon a dojo boasting "8 martial arts combined as one". That would be "Chung Moo Do". I joined for a couple of months, just long enough to hear the "join our black belt program" sales pitch, and that's when I split. I never returned. I'm GLAD I did that.

The one good thing to come from that was the re-introduction to Aikido.(not that they have a true idea of the art by any stretch), BUT, THERE WAS THAT "WORD" AGAIN..... "Aikido".

A few years later, I started to search for an MA again, and I found a small handful of dojos in Tampa. The closest to my house is at the University of South Florida, and they have EXCELLENT instructors-- Joe Oglesby, Evelyne Williams, and Guy Hagen. http://ctr.usf.edu/aikido/

All are students of John Messores Sensei(ASU). http://www.theaikidodojo.com/

My girlfriend and I joined up in late 1998, she dropped out because of her fear of "vertigo" returning,(due to the constant ukemi) and I dropped out because my work schedule didn't allow it any more. Almost a YEAR went by, I thought about it all the time. Then, MY DETERMINATION TO CONTINUE MY TRAINING ultimately led to my leaving my job for a more flexible work schedule so that I could CONTINUE for the rest of my life. It wasn't until last October that I rejoined the dojo, and now I practice three nights per week. I'm up for testing for my 6th kyu and I'm very excited about it, as I feel I did a pretty good randori last night against three shomenuchi attackers. (ok, it was sloppy and I ran backwards and between attackers a couple of times, but they were sincere uke and I managed a good irimi on a couple of them and kote gaeshi on another) Obviously, I have a long ways to go, but I will finish the journey, or die trying.

Christopher Martin

01-24-2001, 10:09 PM
I used to take Tang Wei ( one of thoes really rare arts) my sensi was a black belt in Aikido and other things. I moved :( and went on my eternal quest for another martail arts. found my sensi at a convention and talked forever.... my friend started.... I started.... i have not needed any more explination then the pretty girls and great throwing.... still like the throwing the girls are at water polo... I need to see above the law.

and as for your second question I want to try yosizenki (SP) because of Angery white Pagamas great book!!


01-25-2001, 10:46 AM
I used to do Tae Kwon Do for a couple of years, but when I went to University the Sensei there put me right off. I have never really liked punching and kicking, but I thought all martial arts were like that (except for Judo, which I thought was only a sport). Hey I was 16 when I started and didn't know any better. So part of the problem was that I thought that TaeKwonDo was all or nothing, there was no gradual change in defense, it was either run away or pound them to a pulp. The sensei at University was not very good, he was obviously in it for the money and when he told us that the way to deal with an overwhelming force was to "run away and then find them one by one and beat them up afterwards" I left and never looked back.

A couple of years after I left University I was talking to some friends who I kenw back then and they were both talking about this 'Aikido' they did, they even had these big broom handles they fought with. It sounded interesting, but I never really gave it a thought. Then when I moved down to Bristol I decided to take up a martial art again, partially to get me out of the house and partially to improve my fitness. As I had a brand new sport centre a 5 minute walk away I could hardly not take a look. And there it was an advert for the Aikido class in amongst the other 7 Martial arts the centre did.

I started there a year ago this week and I have been almost every week. Now I help out with the kids lesson and the University lesson as well.

Give it another year or two and I might even be able to blend properly...

01-25-2001, 12:28 PM
What brought me?
Well about 9 years ago, I used to work with a guy who had just tested for black in Karate, and told me of a couple incidents where he actually had to implement it in real life situations. I thought I should be able to do the same thing if I needed to. However he was about 6' and 240. At the time I was about 6-1 and 155. I knew that wasn't going to be for me. I asked him what MA's might be more suited to my body type. He said try Aikido, it's not strength, but momentum. So I looked into it, but being 16 or 17 at the time I wanted to train 7 days a week. The only dojo in town did not offer it but just 3 days a week. I did not join then. In college I experimented with Kung-Fu. Not for me, too much crouching with bad knees. I got involved with other activities, and sort of put off getting into an art. 2-1/2 years ago one of my best friends (known as Magma round here)joined the very same dojo I had gone to all those years ago. I was already involved with other things at the time, and kept putting off joining, against his suggestions that I should. Finally after seeing him test a two times (3rd and 2nd Kyu) I finally said, "Ok enough screwing around." I dropped other hobbies to make room for Aikido, joined up and have been training for the past 5 months. My only regret: I wish I would have done that 9 years ago.