View Full Version : Aikido: What it is, and what it is not?

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Eric LeCarde
08-29-2005, 03:33 PM
Hello, I had hoped to hear from some of the Aikido community members about what makes Aikido unique from other martial arts. I have had the desire to get involved with a martial art for a few years, and now that I have the luxery of some time and money I intend to go for it.

I haven't ever had any serious training (I did kenpo for a little while as a kid, but I have forgotten everything about it), if anyone was curious about my background.

I currently practice T'ai Chi meditation and meditative movement on a daily basis. If anyone has any input as to T'ai Chi philosophy may interact with Aikido philosophy, that would also be interesting.

Thanks for the responses, I appreciate them =)

Mark Uttech
08-29-2005, 03:46 PM
Eric, what Aikido is and is not, is a lifelong project. It will change as you will change. The zen master Taisen Deshimaru says that it is best to be "mushotoku" - no goal or desire for gain. So then there is no real objective. We go to the dojo, we bow in, and we train. In gassho.

08-29-2005, 03:51 PM
Go along to a few dojos, watch a class, perhaps participate...decide if it is the art for you.
Have a chat with the instructor, that will also give you some idea if you like what you see.

I would suggest 'shopping around' if possible. As with everything, each instructor gives their own flavour to their classes.

My thoughts for you :)

08-29-2005, 05:08 PM
Aikido is different things to different people. What do you want it to be?

08-29-2005, 06:08 PM
Aikido is different things to different people. What do you want it to be?

...and then, what does it become?

08-30-2005, 07:29 PM
It becomes, in a certain sense, what you want it to be. or what you think it will become. :confused: did i get that right?
Or does it become not what you want it to become, but stay the same? :confused: I think I better stop now before I die of confusion.
Good luck Eric!
:ai: :ki: :do:

08-30-2005, 08:32 PM
i beleive you can take your own religion into aikido, and it blends with what ever you may believe

08-31-2005, 06:39 AM
I find that we typically are more willing to give up our balance for safety than in other martial arts. I think that training to actively choose to do less damage from a place where you can do much more separates us from the norm a bit. We also have the idea of learning to take it before getting any good at all at dishing it out. We teach techniques that cannot possibly work on anyone until you make some progress in understanding the depth of the principles at work (maybe not consciously). We generally have an over all cooperative model. I'd say that not one of these things are exclusive to aikido, but it would be difficult to find another art that had all of them.


08-31-2005, 03:16 PM
i beleive you can take your own religion into aikido, and it blends with what ever you may believe

Aikido is ABOUT blending so it stands a reason that aikido blends with everything.
:ai: :ki: :do:

Brandon Shatley
09-09-2005, 07:05 AM
I'm about to start Aikido (tonight actually), so my preconceived notions may be totally wrong, but from what I have seen, read, and heard, the thing that really sets Aikido apart from other arts is that it may actually be good for your body. I did TKD for 7 years and the only lasting effect now is daily back pain and a hip that rides out of its joint when I walk. Ask around in almost any other martial arts community and you'll find similar stories. Where other arts use things like makiwara practice, competitive sparring, forceful joint locks, and an unhealthy degree of flexibility, Aikido seems to stress things like good posture, proper flexibility, and gentle, smooth motions. That's what has really lured me in.

09-09-2005, 09:53 AM
I strongly suggest that you find some help to and get your body tuned up. To be fair, many aikido people get lower back pain (structural/posture problems) and damaged knees (from accidents). - Rob

Brandon Shatley
09-09-2005, 11:08 AM
^ Then maybe it's not as gentle as I thought. I'll just have to see how it goes. I do know that the only thing that has ever helped my back at all was a BJJ class I tried out. For like 2 days after that, I was pain free. Unfortunately, my lower body doesn't appreciate joint locks, so that's what got me started looking at Aikido. Do you know what it is that causes their lower back problems though? Are there any certain techniques to watch out for?

09-09-2005, 12:50 PM
It depends on the school. I've seen a number of teachers who hyper-arch their hips back - usually to help brace their back leg. There is no good reason to make yourself extra tight anywhere - especially for the artificial - or should I say superficial power it might offer at the time. Conversely, there is never a good reason to loosen your knees up either. Take it upon yourself to get all of your body warmed up to the point that blood is circulating well - before class starts. Also, take it upon yourself to stretch out and cool down after class. Basically take responsbility for your own body.


Brandon Shatley
09-09-2005, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the advice, I'll do that. I'm not sure what you mean by the leaning back, but I did watch a class and I've also studied some Iaido for a while, and everything the Aikido instructor was doing looked very precise. That is actually another thing that drew me in. I knew Aikido was about flowing movements and all that, but from what I've seen of this class there is also alot of emphasis on exact footwork and other such details that I never would have considered. The instructor really seems competent and I'm hoping he would know about potential problems like the leaning. And I'll definately make sure that I'm not doing anything that puts alot of strain on my back.