View Full Version : why did you start Aikido?

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Jessie Brown
03-07-2004, 10:20 PM
I'm curious as to the real reasons why people started Aikido. I wonder whether these reasons have something to do with whether and why we continue practicing, i.e. as opposed to those who don't continue.

Are people who start for certain reasons more likely to stay? Or is the mere exposure to Aikido the most important factor, regardless of initial intentions? Did you research Aikido beforehand? Were the philosophical principles or physical principles more influential in your choice?

Let's be honest about this.

As much as we might like to deny it, I'm sure that not everyone started for deep philosophical reasons! ;) After all, Aikido is understood after a long time on the mat, not before.

03-08-2004, 12:59 AM

I liked the way it looked in books. There's a little throwaway British martial arts almanac I bought for $10. They somehow managed to capture the beauty of aikido in the pictures. Got me interested into researching more abt Aikido.

Then I read "Going for a Walk in the world" online and thought this stuff was right up my alley.

Finally I tried it. I found it strange and pleasurable.

The end ;-)

(actually, I also wanted to try something a little less ruff 'n' tumble than the Submission wrestling I was doing 3x week)

Andy Scaley
03-08-2004, 02:18 AM
I started training with my brother many years ago as he got mugged on a train one evening by a group of guys, we looked for something different than just kicking and punch with the only intention to harm others. So we found this think called aikido, from the first lesson we both loved it and slowly started to realise there is more to martial arts than just trying to inflick pain.

The reason I practice now is for the teaching, I love passing on the knowledge that has been passed on to me and trying to make a difference in someone elses life.

My brother stop a few years ago now though as he went off to uni for train to become a doctor. Strange how he was the one who got mugged but I still train???

03-08-2004, 04:10 AM
I also started not only for the look of it, but also because I too was Mugged in NYC. I am a non-aggressive type naturally, so aikido was perfect and in only 7 months have really learned alot about myself through it.

But I happened to see Randori performed and was astounded. I was mugged by 4 people, all unarmed, so there it is.

Richard Chapman
03-08-2004, 05:07 AM
I wanted to chose a MA that didn't focus on the kicking side of things, as my hamstrings etc are so tight after many years of playing football/soccer. I also liked the way that Aikido flows and seems so elegent, and none aggressive.

Victor Ioncu
03-08-2004, 07:44 AM
When I was a kid (back in the 70ies), I saw on TV a documentary about Aikido and O-Sensei. It was a "defense only" martial art, they said, and I liked it. It was whitout competition, they said, and I liked it more. Then I have said to myself: "I have to practice Aikido".

And two years ago, when finally an aikido dojo was opened in my town, I started to practice aikido.

03-08-2004, 09:16 AM

I was a soccer player for many years too. It took me about 5 years to get things to really loosen up. I never knew how much I was twisting and tightening myself up from all of that. Interestingly enough, all this aikido has made me a better soccer player. I have much better posture and more vision.

03-08-2004, 11:46 AM
well actually i wanted to train in something that could help me defend myself in the streets, so i thought boxing was the best , but then i saw ABOVE THE LAW and i was blown away and i said to myself [ i wanna be like that] so i started but after two weeks i realised that it was more than self defense it was a way of life and i love it,,....right now i am actually thinking of going to japan for 3 month to get a couple of kyu levels and learn japaneese........SENSEI STEVEN SEAGAL IS THE BEST

03-08-2004, 01:20 PM
I stumbled on it quite by accident. I had taken shotokan in the military and was checking out a local YMCA to see if they had a karate class. When I visited I saw aikido and since I'm not a flexible person it appealed to me immediately.

Joanne Arnest
03-08-2004, 01:20 PM
I started aikido without knowing much about it at all, except that the focus was on self defense. I had wanted to do a martial art for several years, but not a competitive one. However transportation was always a problem.

Last semester, when I started college there were martial arts beginner classes, and between the karate and the aikido, the aikido appealed more. With a 5 minute walk to the gym, getting there isn't a problem. I was hooked in a few weeks. I love the philosophy, I love doing physical activity without competition, and I love the way I feel in general at the end of class.

Anders Bjonback
03-08-2004, 02:22 PM
I ran into aikido in an encyclopedia about the same time I became Buddhist in high school. They translated it as something like "the way of spiritual harmony," and I liked that. All that I read about it (I think I also ran into these forums) seemed to confirm that it was the martial art for me, and it wouldn't conflict with my newfound beliefs as a Buddhist. Then my mom told me about Brazilian Jui Jitsu and I thought, "It's gotta be exactly like aikido! Or, at least it will be like studying what aikido came from." So I did Jui Jitsu for three years until I came to Naropa University (aikido being one of the core reasons for me to come here).

The main reasons I started aikido were that I thought it would be a "non-violent" martial art, or at least not bent on total destruction of the other person. I've stuck with it because it's fun. It's not like it influences my daily life or my interactions with people, but I feel like it's a really rewarding practice, and I feel like there's something missing from my life when I'm not doing it.

03-08-2004, 03:57 PM
When I was a kid I had practiced Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do & a Free style Karate, but I hadn't trained in anything since I was about 17yo. I my late twenties I started to put on some weight, so I decided to go back to Karate, but found that most of the Dojos in my area were either of the McDojo variety or were overly competition focused which didn't appeal. Then I remembered an article I read when I was younger about Osensei in a local MA Magazine & thought it was pretty cool stuff, So I started to look for Aikido in my area, but found that the closest Dojo was a 45min train ride away & I wasn't able to make it down in time for the class started due to work.

One year later A friend came in with a list of activities at the Local Youth Club & Aikido was offered, so I rang the instructor & told him I would be there the Next training night. I walked into the Dojo & introduced myself & found the Sensei to be a slightly eccentric English man but very good at Aikido. I was hooked from then on. He is responsible for a little mantra that I use regularly in my daily life "JUST DO IT".

I keep practicing manly because it is always challenging, and that we have a very charismatic Sensei & great group of students & I was fortunate enough to join the dojo in it's formative years and have been able to help it grow, so I have a sense of being at Home when I train.

Lan Powers
03-08-2004, 05:52 PM
The teacher of the sixth grade summer-rec program that had a basic karate course was in awe of the art of aikido. Mid seventies, kung-fu fever going on, and this young man (who I really respected) was praising THIS art. I looked for it ever since.

Took a long time to avail itself to me out here in the boonies.


03-08-2004, 06:04 PM
I was chasin' a guy! He was a karate instructor at the dojo, and I didn't want to take karate, but knew he'd notice me if I was doing aikido. He did. That was over 20-years ago, and we are still friends (actually, I had known him since I was 9, but we had a 9 year age gap, so I had to wait to catch up with him a bit).

Karen Wolek
03-08-2004, 07:25 PM
I don't know why.

All of a sudden, in the summer of 2002, I had thins "thing" where I wanted to take up a martial art. I don't really understand it and it really threw a lot of people for a loop, LOL! It was so "not me".

But it turns out, it is SO ME. I love it! I started going to class twice a week, then 3, then 4, then 5.....now I go 5 or 6 times a week. The more, the better.

After I had this "epiphany", I did a lot of research online about the different MA. Aikido was the one that really appealed to me, even though I'd never even SEEN it. My kids had done TKD and karate, so I was at least familiar with them. Aikido, no clue. I joined the Aikido-l list and everyone was so helpful. A couple months later, I got up the nerve and visited what is now "my dojo". My second home. :)

03-08-2004, 07:29 PM
Karen, admit it. It was a Calling.

03-08-2004, 08:54 PM
The "how":

I'd been taking karate for several months and an aikido teacher joined the dojo and gave us a brief sample lesson. It was interesting enough that I tried out a class. That was interesting enough that I decided to go once a week; by the second week, I was hooked and signed up for the 2 classes/week.

The "why":

My Sensei is a wonderful teacher and his aikido is beautiful, so that's the part of the "why" that I know. The other part is hard to explain. All I know is that doing aikido taps into the same part of me that's always loved skipping down the driveway and swinging on the swingset and ballroom dancing. It's an amazing feeling to pour your entire self into one flowing movement with all your energy focused on it: euphoria.

03-08-2004, 09:55 PM
Oh wow, let's see

The first martial arti did was battojutsu (more formal kenjutsu). And I took that up because I wanted a martial art, but wanted something different. I hated looking at the commercialism of karate, kung fu and judo, so i wanted this to be more traditional (which it was)

I noticed that before sword clas, there was aikido class, it looked like "pansie" stuff to me. Just faked.

I never told sensei this but one day during sword, he threw me nearly 10 feet as he took my sword away, and he said something about "that's a bit more aikido style"

from there i was hooked. I saw it as this amazing art that could toss people around like rag dolls without hurting them! (i was never a big fan of hurting people)

Then as i read more into O sensei's life, i started looking at his dream of "creating heaven on earth" through aikido. world peace hase always been something i've believed in. But now world peace with a martial art! Amazing! And it all made sense to me. So now, my purpose for doing it, is to teach it, and pass it on to more people. Always with the hope that i can make the world a little bit closer to o senseis dream. So I guess now, i do aikido because... I just believe in it, more than anything.

Nafis Zahir
03-08-2004, 10:02 PM
I had studied Kung Fu for 7 years. I was going to start taking Tai Chi to help build my internal power, but one of my instructors said I should take Aikido because it would make me a more well rounded martial artist and also it was more practical for self defense on the street. I went to a dojo and watched a class and thought to myself, "This will be easy! No kicks, no punches, and I already know how to take a fall since I did a little judo!" Of course I started studying and found I was very much mistaken. I loved the art itself, as well as the challenge and now I can't get enough. I'm going for my NiDan this year and I still feel as though I don't know anything.

Clayton Drescher
03-08-2004, 10:51 PM
My roomate and I decided to take hapkido for a PE credit at university. The aikido club met in the same room at night, so I decided to join in about halfway through the semester. The non-competitive spirit helped alot, I don't do well under pressure;). Also, aikido is much smoother and prettier than hapkido, in my opinion. I decided to continue martial arts at all after starting hapkido, never having studied an MA before, because of how much I learned about how my body moves and what is possible and what is not. Its just fascinating

William Westdyke
03-08-2004, 11:03 PM
I have a semi-similar story to Lan. I had a friend at a place I worked who was a brown belt in Kenpo Karate. He said a friend of his who was a "blue belt" in aikido worked his teacher over pretty good one day. I started seeing aikido at the martial art that makes someone untouchable in a fight.

I continued with aikido for the first couple years because there was tons of martial artists that where VERY high ranked in other martial arts practicing at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels at my aikido dojo. In all honesty, they could, as I would say then, "kick my ass" with there other skills, yet they studied Aikido.

Now, after 6 years, I study because an uke occasionally hits me. I still get my bell run about once a week and love knowing I still have much to learn to get to the level of O' Sensei and the other great teachers. (Laughs) I still have a lot to learn to get to the level of my instructors.


Jessie Brown
03-08-2004, 11:16 PM
I didn't start until spring of my first year of college. I decided to try a martial art because --don't laugh-- I've always been into Bruce Lee and karate movies.

Being excessively organized and anal, I researched every single martial art offered at my university, around 15 of them. I read some excerpts of O'Sensei that really struck a chord. With my philosophical bent, Aikido's prinicples sounded the most moral and harmonious :ai: :ki:. That and I felt that such a study cannot be taken lightly... but is a life's path :do:.

I went to my first class and felt that joy that others have described. I agree with Jo Adell. To a certain extent, it is a calling...or at least an affinity. I also like the way Wendy Rowe put it, It's an amazing feeling to pour your entire self into one flowing movement with all your energy focused on it: euphoria. You can always spot the ones who will stay. They're the ones who get thrown to the ground, across the room, and come up with a giddy smirk of their faces-- eager for the next time.

James Giles
03-09-2004, 01:54 AM
I'm curious as to the real reasons why people started Aikido.

Were the philosophical principles or physical principles more influential in your choice?
I heard about an Aikido club through my university web page. I visited the class one night, and I was instantly hooked.

I think it was more the physical principles that influenced my choice to join the class; the whole centrifugal force thing really blew my mind.

I have only been training in Aikido for about six months but lately I notice that a lot of the negative qualities of my personality are rearing themselves and I am dealing with them maturely for the first time in my life.

It is like a kind of exorcism is going on or something. I suppose I can't prove that my practice of Aikido is causing this, but the timing of this change in my attitude seems to coincide with my practice.

Aikido brings joy in my life, and that is why I continue with it.

03-09-2004, 08:21 AM
Why thank you Jessie! 'Cept for me, it wasn't so much a Calling as an act of desperation.

I had been supressing a couple of years worth of "negative emotional reactions" and it was all starting to come out. I was starting arguments with everyone i came in contact with, i was afraid to leave the house for fear of starting something i couldn't get out of, i was afraid i was gonna really hurt somebody, verbally.

Someone who loves me suggested i needed a physical release and he said, why not try aikido, and the little bell in my head rang.

thant was in Dec.2003, i'm training 3 times a week, i am more centered that i have been in years, i'm learning how to interact with people much more skillfully, and yeah, what Wendy said.

Anything that makes me go "Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!" has just Got to be Good!

Josh Bisker
03-09-2004, 10:16 AM
Hi Joanne!!!! In my first semester of college i too discovered an aikido club on campus. At the time, the only mental association i made with the word Aikido was that it would teach me something about Japanese swordsmanship, and at the time that was all i was interested in so I signed right up. After our first few classes I had already begun to figure out that it was SO so much more than that, and now i'm hooked in.

Karen Wolek
03-09-2004, 01:04 PM
Karen, admit it. It was a Calling.
Yikes, Jo! If my sensei heard me say it was a "calling", he'd probably laugh his ass off.

But you know, I can't explain how I got here and I feel incomplete without it....so, huh. ;)

03-09-2004, 02:28 PM
I read the story "Helm", by Steven Gould. Aikido plays a major role in the main character's life. I then poked around in the library looking for Aikido books and found "Aikido in America" by John Stone. It turned out that Sensei Stone had a dojo two blocks from my house and that they had a beginner's class starting soon.

At that point I decided that fate was sending me a very loud message. I joined and am still enjoying practice after about two years.

Watching Kung Fu reruns 15 years ago probably contributed to my interest in a less aggressive martial art.


Lan Powers
03-09-2004, 09:39 PM
Ah, To be young...

I err, humph, mummble,mummble, watched those shows when they were on prime time.

(scuffing toes in the sand)

Ground-breaking stuff for the day.


Robert Jackson
03-09-2004, 10:33 PM
Long story short.... I was in Tae kwon do from 4 - 14 (which point the dojo closed). I always enjoyed Seagal Sensei's movie and wanted to learn Aikido because of him... There was no Dojo around me at the time so I didn't go and really didn't like Tae kwon do to much. So during college Ta Ch'u opened up and after my undergrad degree I had finally had time to join up.

03-09-2004, 11:24 PM
I started goju-ryu in high school, and then in college moved on to Shotokan karate and Muay thai. After college I came to work in Japan and found Aikido. I liked it because it was fast, aggressive and efficient.

03-09-2004, 11:32 PM
I started goju-ryu in high school, and then in college moved on to Shotokan karate and Muay thai. After college I came to work in Japan and found Aikido. I liked it because it was fast, aggressive and efficient.

First serious Budo I did was Japanese boxing, followed by a bit of TKD, Okinawan Karate. Liked the joint techniques, did not like the training look of any Aikido dojos I saw. Moved back to Japan found Aikido. I liked it because it was fast, aggressive and efficient.

03-11-2004, 10:04 PM
Peter- glad to see I'm not the only one :) Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the same art as everyone else in here.

Ian Williams
03-11-2004, 11:21 PM
I got married cause she was fast, aggressive and efficient.


But seriously, the first time I ever saw Aikido being practiced, my thoughts were "WOW, that's an agressive art".

03-11-2004, 11:41 PM
I got married cause she was fast, aggressive and efficient.

Just curious - did you ever tell the lady that?
But seriously, the first time I ever saw Aikido being practiced, my thoughts were "WOW, that's an agressive art".
I heard that what brought Ueshiba M. to the attention of Budo circles was his demonstration of power and dynamism when performing his techniques as opposed to the relatively static displays of jujutsu waza generally done, including that of Takeda S.. This change in approach actually had quite a profound effect on the community. Many of the attributes that people come to associate with his Aikido appeared long after.

OK I'm hooked but even so I'm still blown away by some of the practitioners I meet. I never was an easy sell.

03-12-2004, 01:48 AM
I had studied karate when I was a teenager in the late sixties/early seveties. (man I just dated myself....that is lonely and expensive!!) Then was out of MA for a while as other interests took over. When I decided I missed MA, I was also a bit older(and supposedly wiser...but we know better!!!) I did some research on different MA. I thought if I want to hurt somebody.....hit em with my car!! When I found Westbrook&Ratti book Aikido and the Dynamic Shpere...I was hooked. And luckily there was a small aikido club on Cape Cod.

Eighteen years later I still go to each class as if it were my first class....FUN FUN FUN!!

03-12-2004, 09:44 AM
Last year I was looking for a place to train Kung Fu, to me the best of all.

In the YMCA (hear at Brazil called ACM), where I was associated, I found karate, capoeira, judo and aikido. I really hate capoeira and once I trained judo, when I was a kid.

The karate and aikido training were at the same time, so I go to see both. Aikido was in the first floor and had already began. They were training yonkyo and I though that was magic! I just didn't see time passing and the next week there I was...

I have to say that many times I though about changing the martial art I train. But, I don't know why, this sounds impossible to me!

03-28-2004, 08:15 PM
"King and Castle". A british drama series about a couple of debt collectors featuring Nigel Planer as the mild mannered enforcer - using Aikido (I believe Planer is an Aikidoka in real live). I'd always been interested in taking a martial art and here was one on the box where they guy wasn't jumping 4 foot in the air and kicking spinning round and kicking someone in the head. It looked like something I could actually do.

Michael Hackett
03-28-2004, 09:40 PM
I first saw aikido in the Sheriff's Academy. Our Defensive Tactics Instructor, Mike Visser Sensei, was heavily involved in judo and aikido as well as a few other martial arts. We learned aikido techniques without knowing at the time their origin. They just worked magically and were easy to do. Our baton training turned out to be based on escrima and kendo and we weren't told that either. I imagine if we had been told we were learning martial arts we would still be waiting to graduate all these many years later.

I was unable to study during my entire career as the nearest dojo was at least two and a half hours away. Finally when I retired, I visited several places and found my home and Sensei. While I regret not having been able to train all these years, I remain thankful that I can now. I honestly never had any interest in any of the other martial arts - I admire them and the practitioners, but aikido has been the only one to grab me, with no pun intended.

03-28-2004, 11:28 PM
Back in the late 70s I saw an old Japanese man demonstrate aikido on the Dick Cavett show. I remember thinking that had to be the coolest martial art I had ever seen (my other exposure being kung fu theater on TV). However, being the hyperactive young punk that I was at the time, I was quickly distracted and forgot about it. Years past and while in the military I took up Taekwondo (not take my dough, it was free on base). When I got out of the military in 86, I stopped training.

It wasn't until I saw Above the Law that I remembered the Dick Cavett show. No longer easily distracted, I set about finding an aikido dojo. Started at Manadnock Aikikai in NH and eventually ending up at Jiyushinkai.

:circle: :freaky:

03-28-2004, 11:36 PM
took up JKD and karate but i wanted something else, something that i could defend myself without doing major damage to another person. IMHO with or without MA background it is quite easy to hurt someone. with AIKIDO i have the choice, my reaction can be soft and kind, OR hard and damaging.

im only going to 1st kyu and i still have a lot to learn - so i practice...practice and practice..... the more i practice the more i understand. i dont just dont try to do a technique, i try to understand the technique and keep on improving it until iam contended. last week i did shihonages on most attacks, next week ill try sankyo, then gotegaeshi...etc., etc...

03-29-2004, 01:28 AM
I had studied some karate and kung fu when I was much younger....many many moons ago. Then life got in the way and I got away from the martial arts for a while. Then...I wanted to get back into MA. So I did some reading....and looked at what was available on Cape Cod....not a lot. There was a national brand name self defense dojo near my home....one of those..."first week free" kind of places. So I went....the instructor was spouting...you must always be ready for an attack. And if you are attacked you must be able to kill your attacker. He showed some techniques...actually one technique in response to somebody attacking with a stick/bottle/knife attack in what I now know as yokomen.

I asked...what if it is a 16 year old kid who is a little drunk? Do I really want my trained reaction to be a raction that will kill that 16 year old? Must each reaction to any attack be one that results in death?

Really..I asked that. He looked at me and said, in my dojo...Yes

I said bye now. I hope none of you are never attacked by one of your kids....you might have to kill them...then walked out the door.

So did 3 other of his students!!!!

BUt I digress.....hen I found the book...Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere by Westbrook and Ratti. I thought it a great book. I thought, this is what I am looking for. And after a bit of searching...I found a small Aikido dojo. Tha was in 1986.....been hooked ever since....

03-29-2004, 07:10 AM
I was studying kung fu and during our mid-class break would watch the Kokikai aikido class in the next room. They sure looked as though they were having fun.

I particularly remember watching an orange-belt woman student throw people (forward rolls) as they came at her. I was thinking, wow, what strength and leverage. Then two people came at her at once. She was clearly croggled. Her sensei said gently, "You can do this, just try" and she threw them both, completely confouding my theory of how she'd been doing it--you can't lever on both sides at once.

I also liked the fact that she looked somewhat baffled but still managed to succeed. I don't remember thinking "I could do that" but it was encouraging none the less.

Kung fu ended up being too hard on my knees and I didn't do any MA for a couple of years. When I was 39 I said to myself, hey, I still want to do MA and it's not going to get any easier as I get older. There turned out to be a Ki Society dojo quite close to my house and they were having beginner's lessons, so that was my New Years' resolution.

The frightening thing about aikido is that I get hurt and now instead of "This hurts, do I *have* to do it?" it's "Hey, I'm fine, you can't ask me to skip class for something little like this!" I really never imagined myself behaving that way.

Mary Kaye

John Boswell
03-29-2004, 09:19 AM
In 5th grade, I took up tae kwan do at the local YMCA and studied a couple months then dropped it. In school, I got picked on and just got sick of it. Shortly after starting TKD, I got picked on again... in front of my whole class and no teacher in sight. Well, one snap kick and I dropped the guy like a rock. It got real quiet and everyone just stared. Thankfully, teacher showed up and we all went about our day. That was the end of that. The guy I kicked later became friends with me and life went on peacefully.

I didn't like hurting the guy and I hated that that was all I knew. I've always been fascinated by martial arts and wanted to study something more useful. Locks and pins were sounding appealing, but is that Judo? I dunno.

Then... I saw a sign on the street that said: "AIKIDO". Thanks to Jun and the internet, I quickly found out all I wanted to know about it and went in. The rest... is history!

PS: I'm hooked. Not as consistent with getting into CLASS like I should, but I'll be here for a while, that's for sure. ;)

03-29-2004, 11:32 AM
I think Im the third "Above The Law"intro-initial interest post here. but that footage sure was powerful and compelling to watch. I stumbled into a ymca soon after and started, and am somehow still doing it!

Jeff Tibbetts
03-29-2004, 03:37 PM
I was trying to learn Japanese at one point to help my brother in law learn it. He was dating a quarter Japanese girl and she knew the language so he was trying to learn it to get closer to her. I was bored, so I made a deal with him to each buy one book. I would get one on Japanese history and language and he would get one of those "conversational" books and then we would trade them. Anyway, I read that book, went out and immediately bought more, and continued in this manner for some time. I am now thouroughly "hooked" on Japanese history and culture, and one day I decided to try and find a martial art to broaden my new education. I looked over all the books at my bookstore and ended up getting "Dynamic Sphere" that day. I sebsequently looked for a dojo and was shocked to find one in town so I went down and watched class several times. I tried to get all my friends into it, too, so I went several times to watch and -it sounds horribly naive now- explain it to them. I had read several books at that time so I thought I knew what they were doing. Needless to say I got on the mat one day and I've really been on it ever since, mentally.

It's funny to see how many of us describe our first experiences as being "hooked." Maybe that is one of the things that keeps us there while so many other people drop off. I think that for me, it filled a hole in me right away and I can't think of that ever changing.

03-29-2004, 04:54 PM
I started martial arts as a small boy, in Judo. I had wanted to do Jujitsu, but the local school was very striking based and it didn't appeal to me.

I did Judo for a while until I was about 12 or 13, but didn't like the competitive side, as I was quite quiet as a child. I liked things to be pleasent and not confrontational. I stopped Judo and then shortly after looked at karate, but I didn't like it. We just stood there and kicked and punched thin air. I wanted to get hold of someone. Went back to Judo for a bit, then I moved.

Over the years I trained in a number of martial arts, karate, tae kwon doe, a few styles of kung fu, a few styles of Jujutsu, some kenjutsu, etc.

I never gave Aikido a thought, and having just moved, I was about to go the nearest judo dojo, when I saw an Aikido dojo was opening in town, so I thought I would give it a go. I've never been one for going and watching, so I turned up with my gi, and a track suit too, as I knew very little about Aikido.

I have a memory from my childhood, where a friend (playing) tried to charge me to the ground, bent over running at me head down. I put one hand on top of one shoulder and the other hand under the other shoulder and flipped him on his back as I turned and walked away! It was effortless and his feet left the ground! He was winded, but I felt great! :D

In my first Aikido lesson I didn't feel that again, but months later I did. I think it was the first time I did tenchinage in rensoku. I was hooked!!! That was over 10 years ago and I still love it. I practice every day, whether it is in the dojo, at home, at work, even in the snow when on skiing holidays.

:) There's nothing to match it. It is the first martial art I settled in, as I never stuck to one before, just trained whatever. I still go and train in other arts, but from the perspective of my Aikido, and more specifically Yoshinkan.

:) I love it!

03-29-2004, 09:19 PM
When I was stationed in Japan while in the Marines I rented a video titled, " BUDO " which showed all the different types of Japanese MA. One section in it was on Aikido showiing O'Sensei doing amazing things to guys twice his size. I wanted to see if these moves were real or just for show. The idea of using someones own power against them really appealed to me.

A few years later I finally got my chance to experience Aikido first hand and I was hooked from the start. The way the moves are so smooth, simple, complicated, effective, and fun! That was some 14 years ago and I still love it as much as when I first started. My wife, daughters( 7 & 11 ), and a neice all train now.

Now alot of the enjoyment comes from sharing Aikido with others. I love the look on someone's face when they get a move down. Also I feel so calm and relaxed after class especially if I've had a bad day at work!

Jeanne Shepard
03-29-2004, 10:00 PM
I did Tae Kwon Do in community college, but it was too hard on my knees.

Besides, I was always getting really worked up, and wanted to go out after class and kick someone!

That wasn't how I wanted to feel.

A friend recommended Aikido for "grounding."

I guess I needed it.


Luis Orozco
03-30-2004, 01:32 AM
When I was a small kid (and sometimes still) I'd devour all MA movies that would come my way, which ended up in me taking shotokan karate for a while when I was around 10.

It'd all ended up when in one of my first sparring competitions I hit a guy in the nose and made him bleed. I remember feeling pretty bad about it even though my teacher asked me to continue. Not much later, she moved to another dojo in the other side of the city from where Ilived (Mexico, D.F.) and I couldn't follow her anymore. That stopped my MA training for quite a while.

I had always been a Star Wars fan and (as cheesy as it sounds) ;) I had heard that some of the influences in the concepts of the Force and the Jedi where zen and aikido. I read more about the art and liked what I "understood" :D (redirecting the energy of others sounded very nice, as I was very skinny and also that there would be no more bloody noses!), so started to search for somewhere to train.

I found a place near my home when I was entering college, and stuck to it for a year. I really liked it and a year after I moved away I retook the art. Have stuck with it since, and it has even helped to broaden my horizons and check out things I'd never think about before (capoeira, buddhism, taoism, etc.).

Mark Balogh
03-30-2004, 09:01 AM
I wanted to do a martial art for years (from when I was a kid) but I only thought that Judo and Karate where taught and I didn't like the look of them. When I reached 18 things were coming together at college and I wanted a hobby so I read loads of martial arts books. When I saw the pictures of Aikido and read the description, I just thought "YES! YES! YES!". That was it!!!! :D

03-30-2004, 10:27 AM
there would be no more bloody noses!
Really? :freaky: I've been cut, bruised, beaten, had a concussion, broken and lost teeth, ended up in casulty/ER more than once... Oh, and had a fair few bloody noses!!! :D

Luis Orozco
03-31-2004, 01:25 AM
Really? :freaky: I've been cut, bruised, beaten, had a concussion, broken and lost teeth, ended up in casulty/ER more than once... Oh, and had a fair few bloody noses!!! :D
Well, no bloody noses yet :p but nobody said that it would still hurt a lot! :freaky:

First time my first teacher applied kotegaeshi on me (ending in submission) I didn't even know how I ended up like that and almost panicked :D . And well, on the odd time I've had to clean some blood stains from my fellow uke. :) All in a day's training.

But no ER yet.

03-31-2004, 02:39 AM
I had been doing karate for a couple of years whilst at university, thanks mainly to a school friend who introduced it to me, plus watching Kung Fu (the first time around!).

Then I saw a flyer advertising an introductory meeting at the university to discuss setting up a university aikido club. I'd never heard of aikido before, but it sounded intersting. The instructor was 1st kyu, and ran a small club in the local town.

The meeting was in a small room, squeezed between the coffee bar and the tv room, where the weekly crowd had gathered to watch Hart to Hart - a series that had something of a cult following, and we just talked and asked questions for about an hour. There were around 15 people there, including one student from the town club.

4 of us went along to the first class. We were all new, the dojo was the table tennis room in the sports hall. We borrowed mats from the Judo club.

That night I walked home about 2 inches off the ground. I quit karate that week because I knew I was home.

That was 22 years ago. The university club is still going, under the same instructor.

Richard Chapman
04-05-2004, 06:12 AM
I gave up playing Soccer/Football after 15 years, as the team side of things were starting to annoy me. I'm one of those people who has to be doing something. As my eldest boy (5 years) was interested in doing Karate, I went along with him and started the class, so that he wouldn't feel intimidated by the others there.

Karate wasn't for me, but it was for my kid. If I was to do a Martial Art, it had to be something that didn't involve alot of kicking, as over time the muscles in my legs have become quite tight due to the football etc. I'd seen Aikido on TV and felt that this was so different from the usual high kicking styles that I read up on it, and found it intriguing to say the least. Once I got started, and everyone at the dojo was friendly to me as a newcomer, I was glad I made this choice.

04-05-2004, 10:24 AM
I was taking time off from school to get my life straight, and do some wilderness courses. I had been thinking a lot about the martial arts for a couple of years, but had no idea which one I wanted to get into. I'de done Karate before, and wasn't exactly interested. I was also considering kung fu or tai chi. As my time off was nearing its end, I became more serious about the idea of getting into the martial arts. I picked up an aikido book (John Stevens' book, "the essence of aikido"). I was so intrigued that I signed up for an introductory twelve session course. I have been doing it ever since.

04-05-2004, 10:43 AM
All of the stories above would make mine sounds like a lamer... however true it is... yes i admit it.. it was the... HAKAMA! hihihi.. I was browsing for a martial art to take during college. I'm somewhat inclined to martial art stuff since i was a kid. Maybe it's the silat movies my grans loved to watch or the fact that after watching Shogun i watched it again 3 times (not being a movie buff at all) because of the sheer amazement over the samurai characters. (not to mention Shogun is a mini series .. hahaha).

So i was checking out this martial art class, clueless of what it was, saw these men with black hakamas throwing ppl around. (maybe in my mind it was... cool outfit, just like the samurai, and i might even wear one one day.) My mind was set & didn't even bother to check out the Karate or Kempo class.

Although now i think i might make a better karateka but i love doing aikido very much & striving to learn it little by little.

Ian Rogers
04-08-2004, 03:47 AM
Dear All

Here's my two penn'th.

1) Two years ago the Tai Chi class I attended had closed down due to lack of students.

2) The nearest alternative (geographically) was an Aikido dojo 5 minutes walk from home.

3) I happened to be well into all things Japanese at the time.

I had no idea what was involved, but I visited the dojo, had a couple of free trial lessons and liked it a lot.

Then I got into a bit of a fret about whether I should do it or not - last minute nerves I suppose, before commiting myself to at least a year of Aikidokahood! (We have to sign up for at least a year at our dojo.)

So, I consulted the I Ching and it gave me the usual excellent advice ... and here I am still at it and loving every minute I'm on the mat!

Best wishes


04-08-2004, 09:15 AM
My dojo's web page had a section where instructors answered this question. Among the various praises of aikido as a peaceful and gentle art, there was one that said (paraphrase):

'In karate the instructor will say "And then you drive his nose back into his skull." But we can never actually practice this. In aikido we can practice with full force and commitment and really throw the other person across the room, and they'll get up and come back for more.'

Regrettably I never got to train with this sensei (he's now teaching at his own school) but when I get cocky with my sempai I will sometimes find them unexpectedly standing on my head or contorting me into a bow-knot, and they always explain that this is a trick they learned from him!

I appreciate the gentleness, but I also really like the fact that from day 1 we get in there and actually throw someone. Being able to throw someone much larger and stronger is a real trip. I also have fond memories of a big male sempai saying to me in disgust "You've turned into a stump, you aren't moving, how do you do that?" It was a revelation--bigger people pushing you around because they're bigger is *not* an unavoidable law of nature.

Mary Kaye

04-26-2004, 09:19 PM
For myself it is the nature of the training.

I have tried Karate and Tae Kwon Do. I hated the standing in front of the mirror and doing Kata all lesson long.

So, i moved to Japan and was working monday thru saturday. I figured I should be doing some kind of MA so I went to the City Gymnasium. I asked what there was on Saturdays evenings or Sundays. All they had was Aikido and Kendo. So I started both.

So, i guess I started Aikido because it fit my schedule.

Robert Sims

04-27-2004, 10:08 AM
Wow, what great thread! Now I have to read allll the messages and then see about posting one of my own.

(I will say, if it's any reassurance, you're not the only one who thought "the hakama" was a cool enough reason to at least look into it... :D )


04-27-2004, 10:17 AM
All I know is that doing aikido taps into the same part of me that's always loved skipping down the driveway and swinging on the swingset and ballroom dancing. It's an amazing feeling to pour your entire self into one flowing movement with all your energy focused on it: euphoria.

Wow. What a *beautiful* description. I actually think I'm going to cry! You've summed up exactly what it's like when everything just WORKS. (Also, I love skipping, swinging, and dancing, too.)



Natasha Bradley
04-27-2004, 10:44 AM
I started because I found I had some time to spend on myself in the evenings and I wanted to do just that. Actually, I wanted to take up watercolours, but my husband kept pestering me to try Aikido. It appealed to my vanity, because its supposed to keep you supple (martial arts was not my cup of tea, until now...my parents don't recognise me any more). It was really good for reclaiming my body after it had belonged to babies for so long (about 3 or 4 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding).


05-27-2004, 01:28 PM
I discovered Aikido after I started to study the art of the Samurai. A customer where I work told me that alot of the Samurai arts where in Aikido. So, naturally, i looked up Aikido whereever and whenever I could. At that point, I started to fall in love with the Philosophies and teachings of
O-Sensei. I understood everything he was trying to say. Then I had an opertunity to sit in on a class at Yellow Springs Aikido (www.ysaohio.com) and I was hooked. I sighned up that week.

Berney Fulcher
05-27-2004, 03:37 PM
I was interested in Aikido because I wanted to expand from the TKD I had been doing, and Aikido seemed to offer a good balance.

I started after visiting a Dojo to help demonstrate fencing techniques to the weapons class. After actually stepping foot inside the door, I figured it was a sign, and that I should actually make the decision to take class. I enrolled the next week and I am loving it :D

05-30-2004, 10:56 PM
For me, I wanted something to do outside of the work place. My workmate was practicing aikido. He said I could come along if I like. I had done some Kung Fu in the past so wasn't new to martial arts and thought it would be cool.
I was impressed by the humble nature of my workmate as well, while we spoke about aikido he never mentioned much about where he was at in the art, he simply said "I practice aikido".
Imagine my surprise when I turn up for my first session and my workmate puts on his hakama and black belt! If aikido can produce such a humble, calm person as my workmate, then it was a martial art for me.
Self defence is merely a side product for me in this art, it is the philosophy that really pulls me in and keeps me there.
:ai: :ki: :do:

Duval Culpepper
05-30-2004, 11:38 PM
Steven Seagal movies and exercise.

Also, how logical all the moves and techniques are. Aikido seems so natural, as if human beings were all born with it inside of us. Hard to explain, but Aikido seems like a law of nature that O Sensei brought to us. Like Prometheus and fire.

If that makes sense.

dan guthrie
05-31-2004, 02:30 PM
Back in 1979 a friend of mine told me about Aikido. He used sankyo on a drunk to retrieve his sweater. It impressed me there was a way to stop a conflict without violence. I sort of forgot about it until about a year ago, even though I used to live in San Rafael, Calif. (arrrgh another missed opportunity). After my divorce I thought I'd give it a try.
I didn't know there was an Aikido-shaped hole in my life.

06-03-2004, 11:21 AM
While I was in college, a group of friends decided to try it when they started a club at my school. A few of us had done Karate before, and knew that wasn't what we wanted and Aikido sounded interesting.

I stopped for a while after college, and started back up again after another friend of mine told me about a new dojo in the area. This time, I mostly started back up because I was getting a little larger than I wanted around the middle :) , and knew that Aikido really was a good work-out.

Only after I really got into practicing and learning did I find that I also really enjoyed the internal side of Aikido as well as the physical. That's what keeps me going now. :ki: