View Full Version : The test of time
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12-06-2004, 05:48 AM
I'm relatively new to Aikido and I'm currently in that "totally addicted to aikido" phase right now. I'm hoping it will last for the rest of my life, but I realize that more than likely I will have ups and downs.
I was wondering what some of you thought was the key to staying with Aikido. Is it the relationship with others in your dojo, the spiritual aspect that engages you intellectually, or maybe the confidence that comes from being able to defend yourself? This was probably a poll question at one point but I can't seem to find it.
12-06-2004, 06:09 AM
Years on I'm still addicted!!! :D
The key is to go to the dojo every day you can, even if you are (1)tired, (2)not in the mood, or (3)there is something on the TV (lame)!
(1) It will waken you up!
(2) It will get you in the mood!
(3) Video it!
What I am trying to say is that there will be times when it is easy not to go, but they are the best times to go. A lot of people talk about spirit and this is one aspect of your spirit. Determination and perseverence!
All the best and I hope you keep enjoying your Aikido. It is a hell of a ride and can give you so much. Also, it opens up oppotunities to see the world. Most of my travelling in the past has been with Aikido.
12-06-2004, 07:29 AM
Ive been doing Aikido since 1992, I found that it did go a bit stale after about 6 years, but now I enjoy it as much as I ever did.
I always thought its good to get into a routine, so for example say to yourself Tuesday and Thursday nights are my Aikido nights. If you are a 'drifter' ie turn up every couple of weeks to train you will eventually drift off completley....
If you do need to take a few months off dont think 'I used to do Aikido', think 'I still do Aikido, and am a member of xyz club'.
The day I quit will be when I stop enjoying it, I dont see any point in continuing with something if it becomes a chore.
Just my opinions.
12-06-2004, 08:40 AM
IMHO, the key for my year at anything (aikido for 10 years, martial arts for 35) is to enjoy the journey. Don't take it too serious or too personal. Be direction orients not goal directed. relax, breathe, and enjoy yourself.
12-06-2004, 09:32 AM
Personally, I think that the relationship between yourself and your Sensei and fellow students is probably most important for sticking with it. Developing a routine will help too. Meaning, try to go the the same classes every week, not just hopping around the schedule.
If you ever reach a point when you don't feel like training: Just worry about getting there! Go to the dojo, even if you don't feel like training. Odds are, once you're there you'll feel like it, and if you don't you can watch, learn, and just stick to the routine of going until you feel like it again.
I've definately had ups and downs in my Aikido training. I wanted to quit for a while when I was a kid, but my parents just made me keep going to the dojo. They didn't make me train, they just made me go to the dojo, and I got back into in my own time.
12-06-2004, 01:35 PM
All excellent comments so far.
My little contribution:
I was wondering what some of you thought was the key to staying with Aikido.
Getting over that first hump when aikido training changes from being this super exciting thing that is special and seperate from the rest of your life, to being something that is an integral part of your life.
Kinda like the honeymoon ending.
Think of training as a relationship. In all relationships there is an initial period of passion. You are learning new things daily about the other, and this is very exciting. But, there really is little emotional/personal investment at this point...this is still building. Eventually it settles into a groove. You know each other, are comfortable with each other, and you miss each other when you can't be together. This also happens with training.
The passion doesn't really go away. It simply changes into something that can last long term. Recognizing this change in your training for what it is and accepting that it is natural will help in keeping you training for years.
12-06-2004, 04:26 PM
I think a very important part that keeps me interested is the possibility to find new things in the techniques you think you already mastered. This explorartion that wakes me every day at 6am and makes me drive 10 miles to my dojo.
12-06-2004, 09:02 PM
When you start everything is obviously new and exciting. Every day you get to see a new technique and hear some new revelation. This is exciting and you tell your friends about it and discuss it with your mat-mates and share in mutual discovery. It's the honeymoon phase.
I think the hard part comes when this initial phase has ended and you see the same technique done for the 500th or 1000th time and forget that at some time in the past you didn't even know such a thing existed. It then becomes routine and boring...and its hard to stay with it.
To get through this I, personally, have found three major things to do (not in any particular order):
1. Find the exciting things within the techniques. No matter how much you have done a technique there is always something new to be found. To misquote Shrek..."Techniques are like onions. They have layers" :)
2. Train with beginners and find the wonder and excitement that you have now within them. They can help you remember how cool this stuff is. Beginners are like kids...they keep you young and help you see the world anew every day. To misquote..."Out of the mouths of Beginners..."
3. Talk with your Aikido peers. Discuss what they find interesting within the whole realm of Aikido and what you see that they don't and vice versa. Get excited about it. I find that this is often best done while doing Hiriki no yosei san in a bar after some good training on the mat :)
I really think I stayed with Aikido (over 20 years now) because of the great people I've trained with. Our training and discussions both on and off the mat have often inspired me when I've sunk into that gloom of routine.
12-06-2004, 11:36 PM
i think that in keeping interested in aikido we need to be:
1. observant - some techniques have "layers" yes ;)
2. keep practicing - so you have time to explore the technique, know it inside and out, then also discover something new
3. balanced - your other interests, family life, social life but also be able to realte it all to aikido
i have been practicing since 1994..and although it is not as long as others..everyday on the mats and off it is still just as exciting as ever. it's like everyday to practice is coming to me as a gift.
enjoy it, brad..and good luck!!
being honest with yourself. Some people buy into apparent aikido bullshit which is spouted, but you eventually have to work out if it is true or not yourself. I think many people leave because they start to feel that they have trusted their instructor implicitly and they no longer feel that what they say is true, or they loose faith in the usefulness of aikido.
The martial arts are an individuals path. Although you have to learn the techniques and form, after a time you have to reflect on your experience and see if what is said is true, and try to be the best martial artist YOU can be. Sometimes this may involve leaving for another martial art for a time. Martial arts are what YOU make of it, not what anyone else tells you it is. I believe a good martial artist comes about because of sincere and directed training with a good dose of reflection (e.g. Ueshiba changed the form of nikkyo from the original aiki-jitsu). Of course development requires some trust in your instructor, and a great deal of training to determine whether one thing works better than another, and an understanding of the difference between dojo training and real life (i.e. what is trying to be achieved through training).
PS. I continue training 'cos I feel I owe aikido for saving my life, because I like the people that stay within aikido, because it is now an integral part of my thinking, because it provides an 'anchor' in my life, because I love the way you can never stop learning about body movement, and because it's fun!
P.S. also, don't mistake a 'plateau' for not developing - this is where you are repeatedly training your body to do the more basic movements, so that later you can think beyond them (I think that is why aikido often appears to progress in 'jumps' rather than steadily - the new thing learnt has to be internalised before you can analyse it properly).
12-07-2004, 07:31 AM
Brad, I'd also recommend reading an article by Sensei Dennis Hooker entitled "Polishing the Mirror and Grinding the Stone". You will be able to find it under 'Training' in the Aikido Articles section of this site.
12-07-2004, 11:24 AM
Another thing that I've found is that when I'm feeling like my aikido is going nowhere for a while, I make sure to make it to a seminar (I live in the boonies so that takes a bit of doing sometimes).
For that matter, we have a seminar here with Kawahara shihan this weekend, and I'll bet there are some from your dojo coming. Maybe I'll see you there,
12-07-2004, 06:03 PM
When I started Aikido and joined the ol' dojo things didn't go too well. (It's a long story.) And so I try to keep a careful eye on the new people as they come through the door. It seems to me that those who show up full of enthusiasm with a brand new, not yet unfolded gi and hit every class that they can are the ones that burn out quickly. And so I always council that beginners go and find one of those other people and buy that gi off of them for a six pack or two and take it a little bit easy. I think its heathy to let ones dedication to ones art grow gradually. Take your joy and wonder with a bit of caution and listen to your body. Perhaps you might do well to go a little bit less often than you want to - at first, but be certain to train regularly.
12-08-2004, 08:26 AM
Thanks for all the responses everyone.
Certainly food for thought. I'm happy that I've found something to throw myself into, but looking at the long run it certainly seems to make sense to take it slow and steady and not rush myself. I guess I always myself in competition with the others in my dojo. Always focusing on catching the next closest ranking aikidoka.
This is obviously not the best way to train. Just have to remember it isn't a race since I'm the only one who's really involved in it in the end anyway.
Thank you everyone for your perspectives :)
12-08-2004, 10:05 PM
A book I really like that deals specifically with the issues of long term study is Mastery (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0452267560/qid=1102565008/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-8077363-3713737?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) by George Leonard.
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