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12-18-2000, 02:04 PM
I visited this page for the first time today. I wanted to see what the opinions of the people here had to this question.
I want to sign myself and my kids (boys, ages 11 and 12) up for martial arts training. We are moving to the Houston area early next year and I would like to start something that we can do together. Would you recommend Aikido for us? I agree with the philosophy of aikido and the belief structure it has and it falls in line with what I have taught them to this point.
I'd say that the best thing for you to do is to go and visit all of the aikido dojo in the area once you've moved and take your kids along, too. Take a look at what you see including the teacher, the students, the way that the teacher interacts with the students, and the way the students work with each other.
It's hard to "recommend" aikido since my belief is that aikido is not for everyone. Yet, I do encourage people to take a look to see if it may be something that they would like to do. Almost every aikido dojo I've been to and heard about are very open to visitors to come watch a class and to ask questions; if they are not open, frankly, I'd be wary.
You may find that it does or doesn't fall into something you'd like to do -- either way, unless you go and take a look.
12-18-2000, 03:52 PM
Aikido is for everyone. Although some individuals may find that aikido is not what they want, that is a part of the imperfection of both the art and humanity itself. Aikido (or something like it) is needed for personal developement even in a world where everyone lives by its principles.
If you were looking for a voice of caution and wisdom, that has been heard (thanks Jun). If you were seeking agreement with your course of action know that I love the study of aikido (most days) and would have thought greatly of my dad to suggest sharing such an activity and time with me.
No Devil's Advocate from me today,
12-18-2000, 06:45 PM
I already sounds like you have choosen aikido. If you feel your phiolosophies are in accordance with aikido, then I say aikido is your best choice. (I'll be partial, here). I believe aikido is an excellent choice for self-defense because it allows for self-defense against stronger attackers. In addition aikido is not overly competitive and encourages cooperation with an opponent.
As far as teaching children, children are taught at my dojo (5-12 years) and it is taught to their level of understanding. But that does not mean that they can't do aikido. In my dojo, the children are given colored belts so they will have a visual acknowledgement of rank. And inaddition the kids class are not promoted to black belt. They are tested in rank to 6th kyu which is where adults begin. By the time the "kids" reach 6th kyu, they are allowed to join in with the adult class (by this time their around 12-14 years old). I have found them to have very strong basics.
I guess my recommendation is to make sure the children's classes are tailored to children and their understanding.
Also, like others suggested dojo shop.
12-18-2000, 09:04 PM
I want to thank you for your advice and inspiration. I will take you up on it and make sure that I visit several of the dojo's in the area and view some of the classes. I have to admit that at the age of 34 beginning to take a martial art is daunting but I think this will provide an avenue for me and my sons to share for many years to come.
There are plenty of people who take up martial arts past your age. If you're interested, pick up "Aikido and the New Warrior" and read George Leonard's story about how he got his black belt at age 52. He's 76 or 77 now, and still going strong...
12-19-2000, 10:44 AM
I had a student a few years ago demonstrate for shodan at age 61 and then nidan at age 64. He is 70 now and not practicing as his schedule is too busy with giving check rides for the FAA and running another part time business!
It's not what's on your birth certificate, but what's in your heart.
12-28-2000, 03:30 PM
I agree that you are as old as you believe you are... act young and you will be young.. act old and you will be old.
I have read many of the forums here and appreciate the insight and candor of some of the people that visit this site. I have recently downloaded and watched all of the video clips from the aikido FAQ page. Keep in mind I have never attended an Aikido class but from watching the clips the people who were the attackers were being VERY cooperative to the techniques being used on them, especially the multiple people hand randori (I hope I am using this term correctly). I understand that if they didn't "go with the flow" they could be hurt but I didn't see how they would have been "forced" to do the things they did. It reminded me of more of a dance rather than a real attack. I am not saying this to cause a flame so please understand I want my children to learn something useful in any potential real life situation in the future and wanted your opinions. I don't live in England (thank god from the sounds of it they have a fairly violent citizen population there). I have lived in the States my whole life minus a 4 years stint as a US Marine. I was involved in fights as a Marine but that was not what I would consider the norm in the states for a non military member.
They don't 'go with the flow' because they have to or it's the only way nage can perform a technique, the uke in aikido relax because it makes their fall easier, and because they can feel the technique better.
12-28-2000, 05:01 PM
I understand that if they didn't "go with the flow" they could be hurt but I didn't see how they would have been "forced" to do the things they did. It reminded me of more of a dance rather than a real attack. I am not saying this to cause a flame so please understand I want my children to learn something useful in any potential real life situation in the future and wanted your opinions.[/B]
Such things are deceptive, very deceptive.
The clips are fun to watch but and all but please remember it's like anything else you watch...deceptive. A video of someone tightrope walking looks easy too, but it's not. I might suggest you go back to the FAQ site and read the stories there.
I'd also like to suggest that rather than trying to make a decision based on video clips, stories and talking to people, you go get out on the mat and practice for a while. You can always stop if it turns out not to be what you want after all.
12-28-2000, 06:42 PM
I believe aikido is an excellent choice for self-defense because it allows for self-defense against stronger attackers.Anne Marie
Hi Anne Marie,
Without offense in mind, I'm asking you this question...
Have you ever been physically attacked in your life ?
12-28-2000, 09:35 PM
I understand that if they didn't "go with the flow" they could be hurt but I didn't see how they would have been "forced" to do the things they did. It reminded me of more of a dance rather than a real attack. I am not saying this to cause a flame so please understand I want my children to learn something useful in any potential real life situation in the future and wanted your opinions.
I can absolutely guarantee you, that if aikido didn't work, it wouldn't have lasted as long as it has as a martial art. Many of O'Sensei's original students were high-ranking practicioners of other martial arts, who could tell, with great ease, if a technique worked or not.
As someone already pointed out, if you 'cooperate', i.e., be more relaxed, it hurts a heckuvalot less when you are thrown. When I undertook this art, I quickly found that how much I tried to resist the throw was directly relevant to the amount of pain incurred to me. Not being too fond of a sudden, sharp, stabbing sensation in my joints, I learned to relax.
And finally, I am 16 years old, and have two brothers, one a year younger than myself, the other two years older. Both are, well, angry individuals. And I can very much assure you, based upon my experience with them, that aikido works very, very well.
12-31-2000, 02:10 AM
thanks for the information. I am not making judgements I just wanted to get the opinions of some of the people who are actually practicing aikido currently.
Kelly, I agree, we will just have to try it and see if we like it...
Brian, good luck with the brothers.. if you are using it that good I would expect that they will stop attacking you before long.
12-31-2000, 05:28 PM
I have recently downloaded and watched all of the video clips from the aikido FAQ page. Keep in mind I have never attended an Aikido class but from watching the clips the people who were the attackers were being VERY cooperative to the techniques being used on them, especially the multiple people hand randori (I hope I am using this term correctly).
Remember your Gilbert & Sullivan: "Things are seldom what they seem." You are observing what we call "ukemi". It's hard to define concisely, but a good start might be "how not to get hurt". Ultimately, all Aikido comes down to ukemi, because at advanced level the line between attacker ("uke") and defender ("nage") blurs, and at very advanced levels it vanishes. So people with good ukemi attack, move and respond in such a way that it is difficult to hurt them. If nage has done his job, uke is in a very compromising and dangerous position, and it is now his/her job to get out as fast as possible, if possible. "He who fights and rolls away lives to fight another day," as one sensei taught me.
I understand that if they didn't "go with the flow" they could be hurt but I didn't see how they would have been "forced" to do the things they did.
That's not surprising. You probably won't see that for awhile after you start practicing, either. In any single movement, most of the threats are implied, because you can only select one. A good uke understands where the attacks are, even if you, the observer, don't see them because nage doesn't exercise his option in each and every case. (In fact, nage may also not know about some or all of them.) It is the possibility of these attacks which keeps uke wary and moving in a way which looks deceptively passive. As you practice, you will learn to see which attacks nage is aware of, and therefore which attacks uke becomes conscious of, and avoids.
It reminded me of more of a dance rather than a real attack.
Terry Dobson, a famous American aikidoka, wrote a book titled, _It's A Lot Like Dancing_. When the movement happens just right, it feels like effortless dancing. That's one of the thing which many people find attractive. It's certainly one of the main things which keeps me coming back.
I hope that you find what you're looking for in Aikido, because then I'd have another person to share my experience with, but even if not, then I wish you luck in finding something which suits you.
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