View Full Version : Are you the best you can be?

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08-19-2003, 09:20 AM
Do you ever wonder if your aikido would be better today if you had taken another route?

I started training in ki aikido but then changed to aikikai and yoshinkan, mainly as a result of geography. I sometime wonder what would have happened if I had continued with ki aikido, or started and stayed with Yoshinkan. Would I be significantly better at aikido than I am today? (asuming the same hours training).

I often feel very inadequate given the hours I have put in on the mat.

So, do others feel they are the best that they can be, given the hours invested?


Anders Bjonback
08-19-2003, 01:19 PM
I would surely be better at some aspects of aikido if I had done tai chi for years before starting--I would definetly be less forceful and more receptive. But the reality is that I trained in Judo when I was a little kid, and Jui Jitsu in high school, although I really sucked in both. I think that experience in martial arts throughout my life has both pros and cons for my current aikido. One one hand, I have pleanty of experience in working with my body in relationship to other people, but on the other hand, much of the time I feel like my aikido isn't just purely aikido. That might be okay if I was somewhat decent at those other martial arts, but in reality, I was just plain bad at them.

Ikeda Sensei talks about finding your own aikido, but I sometimes wonder if I'm finding the aikido I want. And it seems like I'm focusing too much on power and not enough on my own stability, both mentally and physically.

How would I be different given a different past in other arts, or having no experience whatsoever in other arts? I sometimes ask myself that question, but it's really unimportant. What I need to do is just train and accept my past and current situation.

In terms of hours invested in aikido, I don't think I could be much better than I am now, given the same amount of training.

But I do feel like I could have done more, like doing bokken strikes in between classes and asking to be thrown fifty times after class more often. And I could have gone to the three classes I missed a week because of religious obligations and Japanese tutoring.

But whatever the case, I've only done aikido for a year and I've got to train as much as I possibly can. Despite however much I've improved, or not improved, I still feel like my aikido is not good enough at all.

I hope this post is somewhat intelligible.

Lyle Bogin
08-19-2003, 01:40 PM
"So, do others feel they are the best that they can be, given the hours invested?"

happily, yes.

08-19-2003, 09:15 PM
sometimes i regret for not discovering aikido before my body has damaged due to training in other arts, but i think it's just a process before i found the right art for myself. Now i am more eager to understand what aikido is all about.

Whatever your style, rank and level of progress is, keep in your mind you already do your best and that each time you attend class you will receive a new knowledge, whatever it is.

08-19-2003, 10:55 PM
I have not been training long (in comparison to say, those shodans present) but I most certainly feel I have done well, in comparison to my hours put into training. I think you have to learn to just accept the level you are at. You never get worse, even if you think this might be the case. One of the shodans at my club said this to me,

"You sometimes think you do worse at one training or another, but most often you will find that your knowlegde of a technique has just grown so you are now more critical on yourself. Your skill level has not lessened."

The only person you really fight against in the Aikido dojo is yourself.

My humble words of wisdom.


08-20-2003, 03:44 AM
I think it is the case that the longer you train the more you realise how much more training you have to do. However, just the length of time training has meant that I've had chance to train with many different instructors. Also it is possible to see some general trends in the way techniques have changed (for example it seems that nikkyo, sankyo and yonkyo at many dojos are always taught from an initial ikkyo, whereas I remember many years ago it was far more direct and less fiddley).

Just the breadth of experience gives you more opportunity to critically evaluate new styles/techniques. Yes, it would be good to have developed the techniques you do now just by short periods of time with just the right instructors. However you wouldn't know how it compared with other instructors.

There are people who have trained for much less time than me and who are far better than me (in my mind at least), but I know why they are better, and I would have less danger of developing habits I now consider bad.

In addition, sometimes we are just not ready to learn the next stage, and we have to go through the initial stages to prepare ourself.


08-20-2003, 03:57 AM
I started training in ki aikido and stayed with it through sheer stubborness.

I often feel very inadequate given the hours I have put in on the mat.