View Full Version : Aikido and "Relationships"???

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09-01-2005, 11:41 AM
I wanted to get some input from everyone, since I'm sure we all have or will have had this situation. I have someone I'm "seeing" right now, I was married, and I've had girlfriends in the past. None of them ever studied Aikido and very few had any experience with any Martial Art (except movies and me). Many things can effect the way we "look at the world". Law enforcement gave me a cynical outlook for a time, Aikido gives me another. Friends and family often comment on the way I view things and react to different things (knowing what's around me, using my periphrial vision, looking around at everything…. Things that are natural to me). Not only these things, but everything.

I never really thought about it much, but I was wondering how Aikido affects your personal relationships. This includes with wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, dating etc. Does anyone have a significant other that trains with him or her? If so does this have a positive or negative affect? Has anyone met someone during training and used that as a foundation for a solid relationship? Most people simply accept it as part of me, but I have found myself starting to explain something (usually in detail) and found the other person looking at me with utter confusion on their face. Most times I stop and give a simple explanation even if it explains nothing. I had a person who was very close to me one time tell me "You just do what you do. I know you know what you know, it makes me feel safer, but please don't try to explain how it works".

Not asking for relationship advice here, or if anyone's girl/boyfriend can whup them ;) . I just wanted some input and other perspectives while I ponder this. Sorry if this has already been discussed and I missed it. Thanks for reading

09-01-2005, 12:46 PM
My wife and I train at the same dojo. She joined shortly after I did (we were already married, so in some ways you could say she joined because I did) and while I'm only slightly her senior in the dojo, I have quite a few more years of combatives training than she does (this is her first) including earlier training in aikido as a teenager.

So, some things I pick up faster than she does and sometimes when I try to explain them to her -- she can get cranky ;)

But, some things she gets better than me, what with having that beginner's mind and not having the body confussed with conflicting info -- and when she tries to explain them to me, I of course, never get cranky in return (if you believe that, then I also have this bridge for sale . . . see?). Yes, yes, I know, egos are horrible and we should all be perfect ki-blendingly harmonious humanitarians.

But the cool thing is . . . I always have a training partner around . . and it's helped to give is another common interest that greatly enriches our life together.

So, all in all, I consider myself a pretty lucky man . . .

As for trying to explain things a certain way . . . I find that when I talk too much about anything . . . people tend to have glassy eyes and, frankly, I begin to bore myself . . . .


09-01-2005, 12:56 PM
I'm very happy to hear it Budd. My ex used to ask me to show her things, then complin that it hurt (although I always tried to be really carefull) or complain when she couldn't make it hurt me right away. I of course always kept calm (can I trade some Arizona ocean property for a bridge discount?). I know the glazed look, but I rarely bore myself :D

Thanks for the reply and Best wishes

09-01-2005, 01:29 PM
I am married to a guy who does not do aikido/MA. In the beginning, I would come home and excitedly say "Grab my wrist!!!" which he'd very obligingly do until one day he found himself face first in the refrigerator... That was the end of that.
He watches class every once in a while. He has a general idea of what it is, and seems to enjoy watching it. Our three-year old likes it, too. I sometimes do kokyu ho at home with her and she loves that.
I talk about class if something has stirred me and I can relate it to "real life", but the main influence is that aikido generally makes me a better person to be around. There's a marked difference on days where I am able to go to class (I practice at noon) and when I can't go for long periods (a week). It affects me and hence my surroundings. When I practice, I am happy, patient, content etc., and the longer I go without, the more grumpy and irritable I get. It's probably just the need for physical exercise, but it really does affect me.
I am quite happy with the way things are, and am not really sure how I would feel working with my husband on the mat - but then I like to keep things separate to a certain extent - I actually like having something of "my own". I do not know that I make him feel any safer..! He has abilities other than mine that I can't explain or understand, but that make me feel safe (amazing reflexes and an all-seeing eye). I guess that's just part of the exchange in a partnership.
I only speak in general terms about aikido to non-practitioners - usually people just ask to be polite, anyway. Those who know me well know that I practice and love it, and that's enough for them.
And of course it's a real pleasure to be able to finish any friendly exchange with "Well, I can still kick your a**!"

09-01-2005, 01:39 PM
My experience co-training with a spouse came way back in my TKD days, but it was a tense enough experience that I remember it vividly. I was an instructor (one of many) at a large dojang (dojo) when my wife decided to undertake the study. She had no martial experience, but had issues with the non-equal situation with me that existed in the class, as domestically, we did function as equals. She would disagree openly with me in class, and was offended that I tried to be impartial in my dealings with her, just as I did with all the others in my charge. Despite my suggestions that she voice her objections privately, the behavior continued, and she soon decided to quit (thank God!). She had always been very competitive with me on many levels, so I guess I should have expected her to be unable to differentiate in this unusual situation.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but you should probably expect your partner to be pretty much the same person in the dojo as she is outside, unless you both have considerable self-control. If there is a balance of rank, ability and dedication between the two of you, I suppose you will have less of the kinds of problems I had.

I never had to deal with the injury factor, but I'm fairly certain that an injury to her inside the dojo would have cost me dearly outside, even if I had nothing to do with it.

09-01-2005, 01:55 PM
For the first two years I was training, my husband was supportive, would occasionally watch, and would tease me by grabbing me and showing that I wasn't as good as I thought. (He is my size but stronger and with a very low center of gravity--quite beyond my ability to deal with, especially when surprised.)

I would have liked him to train, but figured that was his choice, and it *is* an amazing time sink.

About five months ago he quietly decided, mainly for health reasons, that he ought to train too. So we have a big rank difference, but it doesn't seem to matter to him. He is a lot more frustrated with his own body than with me, though occasionally gets frustrated with me if I can't explain something to his satisfaction (unbendable arm has been a sticking point).

We like aikido for very different reasons. He is fascinated by ki training and the small subtle things. I like to make people fly through the air, or fly myself. I appreciate the ki training but it's not what keeps me eager to come to class. I figure we're probably a good balance for each other.

It's probably reduced the strain on our relationship caused by me spending too many hours in the dojo, but replaced it with a strain caused by both of us spending too many hours in the dojo (and the dishes etc. pile up....) Other than that, I don't think it's made much difference. Doing aikido helped me control my moodiness and temper (it gets worse again if I stop training for even a week) which was certainly positive. Haven't seen that with him, but he's a much milder-tempered person to start with.

And nowadays when he grabs me I can occasionally even make the technique work. Sankyo is my best bet. Our friends are surprised to see a friendly handshake or pat on the shoulders suddenly turn into sankyo....

Anyway, I am lucky to be married to someone who doesn't regard being junior as a blow to his ego, but I knew that already before we started training. If that hadn't been the case I think I'd have recommended that we attend different dojo.

Mary Kaye

09-01-2005, 02:25 PM
O would like to add also that the few times I was with someone who studied MA and we worked with eachother it was very uncomfortable for me. Going slow and working on simple technique was easy, but a few things (namely stepping up the speed and power in attack/block) became very uncomfortable. Once the "flowing" begins I tend to slip in to a different state of mind and have been known to block like I really should, many times turning it in to a counter strike (not Aikido). Never enough to cause "injury", but it still didn't feel right. It's not a sexist thing, I have no trouble training with anyone else, but I have trouble slipping in to the mindset I need when training with someone I'm romantically involved with. Causing injury vs. my protective nature if you will.

Aiki LV
09-01-2005, 03:04 PM
My husband and I both practice Aikido. Actually, that is one of the reasons he and I really got to know each other. We found out through casual discussion when we first met at work that both of us studied Aikido. We later found that we had many other things in common as well. Not to gloat, but it's really awesome to be married to a person who does Aiki. No strange looks when you talk about ki related things or aikido experiences. I don't have to explain things to him and have him look at me like I'm crazy. He knows what I mean because he's experienced it. Aikido has been a big part of my life for about.. 13 or so years now and it would be hard to be with someone who did not understand and respect that. Before I met my husband I dated guys who didn't understand why this "hobby" was so important. That gets really hard. As far as my husband and I training together, it's not a problem. We actually try not to work together that much at the dojo . We need to work with all the other people in class, we can work together at home. :)

09-03-2005, 04:43 PM
Connect and blend, don't resist, try not to hurt each other, and practice with an open and joyous heart. Now you are doing Aikido.

09-03-2005, 06:44 PM
Connect and blend, don't resist, try not to hurt each other, and practice with an open and joyous heart. Now you are doing Aikido.

Well said! :)

09-03-2005, 09:07 PM
Connect and blend, don't resist, try not to hurt each other, and practice with an open and joyous heart. Now you are doing Aikido.Hey Lynn-san, this also sounds like sex! :)

09-05-2005, 01:59 AM
Not to gloat, but it's really awesome to be married to a person who does Aiki.

I agree with Mindy. My husband and I started aikido around the same time (we were already married) and fortunately we are one of the couples that really "work" on the mat (I know others who donīt and man, that ainīt pretty ;) ). We are each others favourite uke (I took ukemi in his shodan test and he will be my uke in my test soon) and we never (well.... almost never ;) ) get cranky with each other. Also, we find that we can help each other very well as our understanding and way of looking at techniques and aikido in general is very similar.

With friends I have had different experiences. Some of our really close friends simply have no idea of aikido and they are not very interested in it, either. At times I find that difficult because I feel like I canīt share this big part of my life with them, and it somehow bothers me that they are so not interested.

Other friends are more interested, and lately one of them even started aikido when I gave my first beginnerīs class. I thought she did it only to show that she is interested in what we do, but she actually really enjoys it and will carry on after the course. I found that very cool. :)