PDA

View Full Version : HOW does aikido change us?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


markwalsh
09-08-2005, 09:23 AM
What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners?

:grr: :ki: :)

I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors.

Thoughts?

rob_liberti
09-08-2005, 09:39 AM
My opinion is that you need to develop sensitivity to yourself and your partner first. If you do this, and are thrown consistently by someone who can do it without ego, you can change. If you become more perceptive but there is even a hint of ego in the teacher's technique, then I think you'll need to look elsewhere for help. You also need to to be brutally honest with yourself, and continue to see the depths of your own ego for what it is, acknowledge it, and let it go - slowly but surely. What do you think?

Rob (sorry about my very on-the-mat answer)

Hanna B
09-08-2005, 09:39 AM
This the kind of topic that always make me take the bait.

IMO aikido doesn't change us. We can use aikido as an instrument for personal development, if we like, but there is no reason to believe that aikido should change or develop the practitioner any more than would, say, horse riding.

markwalsh
09-08-2005, 09:51 AM
On the mat, is cool -I train 6 days a week presently and dislike purely "armchair aikido". On is the foundation for off.

Hanna - To rephrase then, how can we use aikido (or say, rock-climbing) as an instrument for growth?

Camille Lore
09-08-2005, 09:57 AM
I'd say for me, it makes me look at how I handle conflicts that aren't physical. Through Aikido, it became apparent to me that striking back in an argument is not the way I'd like to conduct myself. So, I search on how to apply Aiki principles in the rest of my life, to move with energy rather than resist it.....I think it has made me more calm and focused. Also, since I do jujutsu and kempo, with all three arts, I feel more confident because I know that I can defend myself. I stand up straighter even. I think aikido makes me more centered. But how... it's kind of a mystery I guess! :freaky:

Peter Goldsbury
09-08-2005, 10:01 AM
What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners?

:grr: :ki: :)

I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors.

Thoughts?

Hello Mark,

Given the bald terms in which you pose the question, I would agree with Hanna. Aikido is simply training and you get out of it what you put into it. Such training might change people for better or for worse. It is impossible to generalize.

I happen to believe that aikido training has changed me as a person, in many ways. I also believe that it has changed others whom I have trained with and have taught. But I would not like to generalize on this basis.

Best regards,

markwalsh
09-08-2005, 10:31 AM
Hi Peter,

I also think that aikido has changed me over the years, and almost every other aikidoka I've spoken to has said the same thing - a good basis for generalization to me. Fair enough, short of a twin-study it's hard to prove scientifically, but there would seem to be at least some truth in the matter.

To tackle the debate from a different angle, what feature does aikido have that would lead one to believe it will change the practitioner more than many other activities? or to suggest it could make a more effective vehicle than other things? I would suggest:

1. It is a good exercise and many studies how that exercise is a significant factor for mental health.
2. It involves social and touch elements.
3. From a physiological point of view, it brings up Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian themes -eg power and vulnerability, father figures, archetypes, etc.
4. The reciprocal, non competitive nature of the uke-nage relationship - CRUCIAL.
5. It deliberately trains posture, movement and breath.
6. The emphasis on manner and etiquette.
7. It exposes practitioners to related healthy philosophies and practices such as Buddhism, meditation, etc.
8. It contains an intensity, and an existential, life and death element.
9. In order to do it you have to be relaxed.
Additions?

Re horse riding, I think this activity also contains many beneficial elements. I have some experience in outdoor education, which has developed into a kind of “Western Budo” where by children are developed through psychologically intense (eg climbing), or team work activities. So sure, aikido isn’t the only way.

Genuine question: How fair would it be to say that the purpose of Budo is some kind of personal change?

Mark

markwalsh
09-08-2005, 10:40 AM
I just found this quote from Don Modesto on another thread that I think is absolutely brilliant and of relevant here:

Aikido Definition "Martial art adapted to the project of giving practitioners the EXPERIENCE (i.e., sans theories, words, or concepts) of reconciliation."

I have heard aikido described as "embodied" meaning much the same thing.

rob_liberti
09-08-2005, 12:53 PM
I think this goes back to the whole Do and Jitsu thing. I believe that aikido was intended to be a transformative practice. But people don't have to use any tool for the initially intended purpose. -Rob

Mark Uttech
09-08-2005, 03:00 PM
Aikido changes us as we get involved in physical and visual poetry, as we envision the physical and visual poetry of Nature. Sometimes we even become more true.

Larry John
09-08-2005, 07:51 PM
To simplify things a bit, let's assume that all the changes any individual experiences go one way or the other, even though we know this is probably not true.

That said, I believe the basic change mechanism in all of the activities that have been cited is continual repetition of behaviors (physical, mental, spiritual, etc.).

For folks who have changed for the better, the behaviors have been those that society might consider positive or valuable. For those who have changed for the worse, the behaviors have been those that society might consider negative or troublesome.

This repetition of behaviors is reinforced (possibly rewarded, but at least tolerated) by the reactions of formal and informal leaders in the community of interest (i.e., the dojo).

Zato Ichi
09-08-2005, 08:09 PM
How does aikido change us? Well, here are a few ways it has changed me:


Grew third arm out of my back.
Skin is now a healthy shade of green.
Developed abnormally high tolerance for Japanese TV.
Can use ki to create a dazzling light show from my eyes (great party trick!)
Have developed the long sought after ability to appear to be awake and interested while asleep.

dyffcult
09-09-2005, 12:38 AM
“What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners? I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors.”

Even if one watches an aikido class and decides not to follow the way, one is changed. They will now seek out an art other than aikido. Poor, pathetic souls. :-)

When one practices aikido on a regular basis for any length of time, aikido does change the practitioner. Growth depends upon the aikidoka. The question is whether that is the goal or the unexpected result :-)

Some come to aikido seeking a martial art...solely focused on self defense. They may find this, and thus are changed and therefore “grow”. Through physical training and technique, if they train hard enough and often enough, they eventually learn self defense.

Some come to aikido seeking the spiritual aspect. And they are changed and therefore grow. They continue to train, whether it be to seek another martial art, because aikido did not meet their needs, or in aikido because aikido does.

Through my various training in aikido I have found that it has changed me mentally, physical, emotionally, and spiritually. All at different times in my training, all at different levels or efforts of training, all at different points in my training.

At times, my technique seemed to improve dramatically, and that changed bits of my life, increased my confidence. Other times, I trained hard, and felt the physical improvement in my body and thus extended myself, and grew. Certain days, I saw the spiritual side of aikido (more often off the mat) and worked on that in my life and therefore grew.

I believe that every student comes to aikido in his or her own time....whether it be surviving the "physical" of the training, finding the "mental" of the training, or finally figuring out the "spirit" of the training. Of course, we all suffer the "emotional" of the training whether we wish it or not. (Injuries, body resistance, finding the time, committing to training, walking away from training, etc.)

Some of us come for a short time and benefit greatly, only to leave our aikido training. If we are lucky, we return to dedication to our art, with the hope that we will benefit further...

Just my humble perspective,

Brenda

BTW, learning to ride horseback takes a great deal of training and skill. One of the skills developed is balance. Another other is learning to react the entire body to movement. Also, one learns that just because the horse might outweigh you by a thousand pounds plus, that does not mean that the horse is in control of the situation. Ergo, one learns balance, control, confidence, etc....


Aikido Definition "Martial art adapted to the project of giving practitioners the EXPERIENCE (i.e., sans theories, words, or concepts) of reconciliation."

I really like that :-) Works for me on so many levels :-)

xuzen
09-09-2005, 01:44 AM
How does aikido change us? Well, here are a few ways it has changed me:


Grew third arm out of my back.
Skin is now a healthy shade of green.
Developed abnormally high tolerance for Japanese TV.
Can use ki to create a dazzling light show from my eyes (great party trick!)
Have developed the long sought after ability to appear to be awake and interested while asleep.


Ah Ha, Hori-san,

So it was you who stole my secret potion no. 9, could you kindly return it to the rightful owner. And please contact the Centre of Mutagenic Studies for we are short of case study subjects. Thank you.

Boon.

Paul Kerr
09-09-2005, 01:44 AM
I would argue that there is nothing inherently or intrinsically 'transformational' about aikido practice. Any of the above mentioned beneficial changes could be in many other ways. Any change comes from a person projecting their individual needs / goals onto practice. The person creates change, not the art.

shnobryu
09-09-2005, 03:58 AM
Aikido Changes you definitely..
The first thing that came to mind with how i believe aikido study has changed me is in my spirit of cooperation. I have been studying aikido for about eight years and the first thing that i picked up on was that spirit of cooperation. I studied a few other martial arts and none of them involed totally putting yourself in your defenders hands and trusting that you won't get irimi naged into the next week.
The trust in your fellow human slowly increases from that point throughout your studies. As a beginner i totally didnt understand that because i was more interested in being a super martial artist etc. I was still in that competition mode and wasnt excepting the principles of loving kindness etc.
I get too long winded so i am going to let that reply sit and stew for a bit..take care..
j

Olaf
09-09-2005, 07:31 AM
I also believe that Aikido can change a person, and that on the other hand this can also by true for pursuits other than Aikido. Just as many changes that we see, looking back at our own development, might actually be because of getting older and more mature.

That being said, I have yet to come across another pursuit that actually teaches and practices bringing agression and violence to peaceful resolution. Provided, of course, that Aikido is actually practised that way physically, mentally, emotionally and spritually.

Olaf

markwalsh
09-09-2005, 09:22 AM
Some great posts there folks, cheers. If I may sum up:

Aikido Doesn't change you - a few of this opinion, let's not argue abut it here please. :)

Aikido does change you, but only if you want it to and purposely develop this aspect.

Aikido changes you for the better.

Aikido changes you for better or for worse, depending on what your working on within it.

..................................................................

Is aikido unique in its transformative abilities (sounds like a superhero)? No, but aikido practice does have some features that encourage (positive) change - trust aspects, embodied, cooperative, etc. :cool:

.................................................................

Larry, thank you for introducing a behavourist element, this has given me much to think about as my psychology background is a little different.
I guess we can all ask: what kind of behavours are being rewarded and punished in aikido, and in our dojos in particular?

Paul Kerr
09-09-2005, 11:52 AM
Everything we come into contact with 'changes' us in some way. I just drank a cup of coffee so my metabolism has changed. I had a good day at work, feel good about it, so my state has changed since this morning. I'm a few hours older than when I last posted, so I have changed.

My point is that there's nothing intrinsic within aikido that necessarily leads to any kind of personal development (which I'm assuming is the 'change' under discussion here). It may be a framework to explore that if you have a mindset oriented that way and explicitly seek that in your training. All good!

But, imho, there's nothing in the corpus of aikido training that can cause that unless you create it from your own model of the world.

eg. What is there, specifically, that's transformational and leads to personal growth in, say, repeatedly practising shihonage or ikkyo? What elements lie within those particular movements that "cause" a transformation?

SeiserL
09-09-2005, 12:49 PM
IMHO, Aikido doesn't change us. It only gives us a tool and opportunity to choose to change ourselves.

Paul Kerr
09-09-2005, 01:11 PM
IMHO, Aikido doesn't change us. It only gives us a tool and opportunity to choose to change ourselves.

Why didn't I just say it like that? :) :)

markwalsh
09-09-2005, 01:21 PM
Dear Paul, dear Lynn,

Good points well stated, and largely I agree with you. However, I would still say that the list I gave earlier leads us towards some kind of change even if we have to make the decision to drink it up ourselves. We've all met people who haven't ;)

I guess the next question would be how do we use the "tool" of aikido to change ourselves most effectively - re Paul's suggestion, I too think blind repetition of shiho nage might not be the best way.

Regards,

Mark

PS - like the avatar Paul - but you know it's Ernie that's the real evil one :eek:

cck
09-09-2005, 05:01 PM
1. It is a good exercise and many studies how that exercise is a significant factor for mental health.
I agree - but also that any exercise would accomplish this
2. It involves social and touch elements.
I agree - but so do other sports, family and friends
3. From a physiological point of view, it brings up Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian themes -eg power and vulnerability, father figures, archetypes, etc.
I agree - but so do other sports, work, family and friends
4. The reciprocal, non competitive nature of the uke-nage relationship - CRUCIAL.
I agree - but all other relationships can bring this out as something to work on; I've known competitive aikidoka
5. It deliberately trains posture, movement and breath.
I agree - but so do other sports, an ergonomically-minded employer, etc
6. The emphasis on manner and etiquette.
I agree - but so do other sports, family and friends, work
7. It exposes practitioners to related healthy philosophies and practices such as Buddhism, meditation, etc.
Not really in my dojo - but Uni did
8. It contains an intensity, and an existential, life and death element.
So does life - especially when parenting
9. In order to do it you have to be relaxed.
True - but same goes for life in general.

I'm just saying that a lot of things can get you in the same direction as aikido. You've got to want it and see it. Beginners go fast, especially if they can't be open to the possibility of fallibility. Age changes you more certainly than aikido, I think.

That said, to me, aikido gives things a physical manifestation. I never thought of myself as an impatient person until one of my instructors said it as I was going through a technique - and it just made a lot of sense. Someone else said I was holding back (in a literal sense), and that really struck a chord, too.

If I were a very shy person who did not like physical contact, obviously I would not choose aikido, and were I forced to participate it would not change me. It's the chicken and the egg. I choose aikido and it does not frighten or intimidate me. If I wanted to be challenged in that way, I'd look for something else. I like aikido because it just really fits.

I've met some aikidoka who are truly miserable people, and especially one sensei who was a downright donkey-synonym (they were all in the same dojo, mind you). It was a very unhappy place. I kept going there until I couldn't stand it anymore because it was so hard to accept that I had absolutely lost all respect for my sensei - it had to be me that was somehow wrong. But then I learned the same lesson at work. Now I am older and just won't find myself in that same situation again. Time and experience helped me process the lesson, not aikido.

There is no magic bullet. If the knocks and other experiences you get generally don't alert you, I don't know that anything will. Aikido allows you to experiment with things in an unusual setting, and that can be helpful. But so can any number of things. You have to see them, or at least be aware that improvements may be possible.

Joezer M.
09-09-2005, 09:57 PM
This the kind of topic that always make me take the bait.

IMO aikido doesn't change us. We can use aikido as an instrument for personal development, if we like, but there is no reason to believe that aikido should change or develop the practitioner any more than would, say, horse riding.

Got this from Reader's Digest:
Sport doesn't improve character. It reveals one's character.

Could it be the same for Aikido?

Regards,
Joezer

Larry John
09-09-2005, 11:38 PM
Mark,

Thanks! Glad I could offer some little value.

Without appearing to trivialize things, I expect that each person will answer your question "what kind of behavours (sic) are being rewarded and punished in aikido, and in our dojos in particular?" differently.

Interestingly, it seems a useful part of the process of evaluating a dojo to see if one wishes to begin--or continue--to train there.

By the way, I'd suggest changing "rewarded" to read "encouraged" and "punished" to read "discouraged." Not to be PC, but to more accurately reflect what I think is the operating philosophy of most aikido dojos.

What's really interesting is when different members of the same dojo come up with different answers.

SeiserL
09-10-2005, 11:54 AM
IMHO, we can use the tools and opportunity to change our mental map of the world and how to relate to it.

markwalsh
09-10-2005, 01:20 PM
Glad this thread has sparked some thought, thanks for sharing your views everyone :)

Camilla - To clarify, I wasn't suggesting that aikido was unique, only that it has a long list of features that make it highly likely that it will be of some benefit.

I found the chicken egg part very stimulating - I feel some people come to aikido because it already "fits" them a you say, but many come because they need what it offers. Gotta think about this some more...

Starting the thread I was most interested with moving on from,does to how? Which of these factors are most important in personal change in aikido. What is the mechanism?

Jozer - Nice quote. I'd say that aikido explores and develops character.

Larry - I used the terms form classical behaviorist psych, but they are off you're right. On the other hand, when Sensei punches you in the face because you take ukemi "wrong"...

Lynn - You're "mental map" comment is a nice tease, go on...

I feel that aikido breaks changes the way we view the world as we realize on a physical level that many of our assumptions are wrong (eg, soft=weak) - Terry Dobson was the first to write about this I think. I also find aikido a good attitude to the overly competitive society we live in, though like Camilla I've met plenty of people who haven't seen that side.

theflyingheadbuttsuplex
09-10-2005, 01:38 PM
What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners?

:grr: :ki: :)

I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors.

Thoughts?

I've only been at aikido for a year, and haven't noticed much spirital change, but the biggest change for me is ukemi skills and reflexes. I nearly fell out of a truck while holding hay hooks, but ukemi had me accustomed to the mechanics of falling, and landed in the truck bed with relatively no harm. You can picture this incedent looking as humorous as you like, I dont mind! ;)

Ketsan
09-11-2005, 10:30 AM
People don't always change in positive ways either.

Dirk Hanss
09-11-2005, 10:35 AM
People don't always change in positive ways either.

Hi Alex,
as you posted this directly after Mark's post about ukemi, do you really think aikido training would worsen someones ability to fall safely?

Dirk

Paul Kerr
09-11-2005, 12:03 PM
OK, just playing devil's advocate here a bit...

It could well do. Try falling on hard concrete from, say, a high kotegaeshi or koshinage and slapping out to break the fall. Not good.

markwalsh
09-11-2005, 04:26 PM
Several people have mentioned aikido changing people for the worse. While I think that the nature of aikido usually nudges people in the right direction, I too have seen negative change happen. (its possible to get bogged down in a relativist swamp re what is "positive" or "negative", perhaps healthy and unhealthy is a better model.

The most common kind of unhealthy pattern one see is ego INFLATION :yuck: For instructors in particular this seems to be a problem. One very senior UK Sensei warned me, "Don't believe your own advertising."

I routinely see the same thing happening with colleagues who work with children. There are several definite phrases that outdoor sports instructors go through in about a year. These could be labeled:

Open (learning) :)
Innocent Hero (semi capable, loves kids) :cool:
Ego freak (thinks fully capable, loves being loved) :D
Cynic (capable but closed, loves kids) :straightf
Open again (loves kids, learning again) :)

Not everyone makes it through the whole process of course, and it is just that - a process, not purely negative change.

Perhaps aikido is particularly prone to ego issues as there is no winning and hence no loosing. The dojo oasis has few reality checks.

The ego problem is essentially a symptom of a wider issue, that of aikidoka wrestling with power issues. I've observed that in general aikido balances people's personalities, but that sometime the process can go badly wrong. For example, sometimes the experience of vulnerability in aikido can make people more compassionate, but can lead to an unhealthy desire never to be dominated. Similarly some start to get a kick out of the feeling of power over their dojo mates, and need to be reminded of th O'Sensei quote, "Aikido is not for correcting others, it is for correcting oneself."

....................

Incidentally, before any of my friends post - I have a big fat ego and I know it :D

Mark Uttech
09-11-2005, 06:58 PM
Aikido changes us if we study nature. It is that simple. Talks about ukemi and loving kindness aside, nature will kill you if you are not careful.

Ketsan
09-11-2005, 08:47 PM
Hi Alex,
as you posted this directly after Mark's post about ukemi, do you really think aikido training would worsen someones ability to fall safely?

Dirk
Since we've just had our backward ukemi changed to the way I to do it in Ju-jitsu....yes :D

Mats Alritzson
09-12-2005, 07:03 AM
I feel a bit nervous when someone is holding a knife or any other sharp object carelessly in front of me. I'm more fit than I were when I started taking Aikido. Other than that? I don't know.

markwalsh
09-12-2005, 09:26 AM
"nature will kill you if you are not careful"

Nature's gonna kill us all in the long run anyway :)

Cheerful jokes aside, I've done enough stupid things on a snowboard :cool: for nature to be pick me up by the scruff of the neck and say, "Take it easy son, I'm in charge here. BTW, like my avalanche kid?"

PS - This is kinda sliding off topic.

cck
09-12-2005, 11:17 AM
Okay, so how:

For someone like me who does not easily believe in things I can't experience (see, hear, touch etc.), aikido works by giving weak spots a physical manifestation. As I mentioned, the drawbacks of impatience is very well demonstrated in the dojo. However, I examine it as an influence on other aspects of my life only because I am willing to make the inference that it is not just a charateristic I display on the mat and that it might benefit me to make sure I'm not ahead of myself and all others off the mat, too. I came to aikido with that mindset, though (hence the chicken and the egg).

If you go looking for something you need in aikido, you might be disappointed (can't see the forest for all the trees), or see only what you're looking for - who knows if you've really diagnosed your need correctly? Some people are so darned insisting on whatever weakness they perceive that they are unwilling to hear advice on anything else. Granted, aikido can be a real boost for an inferiority complex - getting a roll to where you don't hurt yourself is a major acomplishment. And you can definitely grow from there. Yes, maybe confidence is the greatest motivator/catalyst for change?

We don't usually focus much on our bodies (except for its flaws), so aikido can definitely give a sense of physical confidence when you start to be able to coordinate all those flailing limbs and propel other people off in different directions. You affect people in a very real, physical way. That confidence will carry over into other aspects of life. And granted, the insistence on aikido being non-competitive is a great benefit - it is much more roomy. But for this to really have an influence, the dojo has to actually be non-competitive...

In my dojo I don't really see specific behaviours encouraged or discouraged. The fact that someone tells me something about myself (like impatience) is an honest exchange, and I accept the advice because I have complete respect for and trust in the person giving it - which is another aspect of the dojo experience that might be unusual to a lot of people. The way authority is exercised characterizes the dojo, and determines what type of student it attracts. Demonstrated authority always suggests to me that the demonstrator has severe doubts about its validity - so yes, I do have some issues with certain types of authority! For others, that is the most comfortable setting to learn.

I came to aikido thinking I'd want to learn to defend myself (very angry young female). I came back to aikido because I just love it (very happy older female). Aikido is a very real contributor to that happiness. Why? I honestly don't know and I have no real desire to figure it out/name it. I am just glad to accept it.

Kevin Leavitt
09-12-2005, 03:00 PM
I think aikido is a good methodology or a physical model/allegory for personal change. It has worked for me I suppose. It is difficult for me to say because of all my life's experiences...it is hard to point to which ones came from aikido and which ones did not. I am the sum of my life's experiences.

For my wife, who got started with me in MA years ago and practiced aikido for 5 years...in the end it was Yoga that worked for her, not aikido.

One thing we have discussed is the comparision between yoga, aikido, and other comtemplative practices. What I find different about MA/aikido is that most other comtemplative/philsophical practices are more individual in nature. What I think is key and important about aikido is that it requires you to interact in the practice...which is key to acheiving happines and peace.

That is not to over simplify something like yoga that is somewhat individualistic in nature, because in the ashram environment, you still are part of a community and you must interact with other yogini in order to develop and grow.

I just think aikido is more upfront and primal about the whole interdependence thing.

I also think aikido and MA in general helps us learn more about anger, emotions, and control during stress..Again, other arts like yoga can also do these things.

I guess there is nothing really special about aikido...it all boils down to what works for you and what your goals are.

Kevin Leavitt
09-12-2005, 03:01 PM
Oh btw...it was good training with you last month Larrry!

Dirk Hanss
09-13-2005, 03:47 AM
And granted, the insistence on aikido being non-competitive is a great benefit - it is much more roomy. But for this to really have an influence, the dojo has to actually be non-competitive...


My aikido is very competitive. I do not mean Tomiki competition or testing martial effectiveness, which we do occasionally. But while one of my schizophrenic ego always wants to fight power with power (plus some angle tricks), the other one really wants to "feel, where the power goes", as Saotome always says.
Unfortunately it is not a one-way development. While getting alittle bit stronger by training, some techniques work "the old way" and then ego one wins again, until I get a stronger partner, or Pablo, my sensei, intervenes. That's why I am only yonkyu after 18 month ;)

This competition changes me - not only in aikido. In real life I am starting to enhance my sensibility to feel where the power/intent goes and how to act adequately. I am still a beginner. But at least aikido opened my eyes to recongnise that there is a gap. My karate experience - "step aside and punch; break the board if necessary and possible. If it is not you have to train harder" - workedsomehow but was not really satisfying.

The other change is confidence. But this is not a posititive one way, either. It is so easy being non-violent, as long as you do not feel confident in your martial abilities, or if the choice is "leave it or kill'em". While improving my abilities to fight without hurting, I had the wish to do something. Nothing really happened yet, luckily, but I had situations where I felt like Dobson in the tram (don't have the link to this story) and I wished that the would have come the old Japanese man, who could perform this great verbal and psychological tenkan.

Any way there is still a long road to go.

Dirk

Sonja2012
09-13-2005, 04:04 AM
Having just finished reading Leonard´s book called Mastery, I would agree with him (if I understood him correctly, that is :) ) that anything that gets you on the way to mastery - be it aikido, yoga, cooking or building model railways - will help you become a better person in one way or another, simply because being on a do makes you work and look at yourself, enhances self-awareness and requires the will to develop.

markwalsh
09-13-2005, 10:14 AM
I notice that there have been quite a few German (based) posters on this thread. Interestingly this is the European country where "off-mat" aikido has really taken off. Winfried Wagner Sensei is one person who springs to mind, but there are many others.

Sonja2012
09-14-2005, 01:35 AM
I notice that there have been quite a few German (based) posters on this thread. Interestingly this is the European country where "off-mat" aikido has really taken off.

Is that your impression? That´s interesting! Personally I am quite into that, but I actually train in an organisation that is not so heavily philosophical I would say. Most books on the philosophy of aikido still haven´t been translated into German and not everyone can read them, so some people´s access to "food for thought" is limited. But I guess you are right in that there are more and more teachers who focus more on it.

Lee Mulgrew
09-14-2005, 03:41 AM
To use an analogy, it is very hard to move a large boulder. However, with a long pole for leverage said boulder can be set rolling on an unstoppable journey with much less effort! Aikido is the lever by which your own developement (spiritual, physical, whatever!) can be set free. It is merely a tool to enhance what we already have.

Sonja2012
09-14-2005, 04:48 AM
To use an analogy, it is very hard to move a large boulder.


For a second I thought you were talking about the developing interest in aikido philosophy in Germany :D


Nice analogy, Lee.

Lee Mulgrew
09-14-2005, 06:08 AM
OK, just playing devil's advocate here a bit...

It could well do. Try falling on hard concrete from, say, a high kotegaeshi or koshinage and slapping out to break the fall. Not good.

Yeah... but it beats not slapping the ground! (Trust me!) :yuck:

Nick Simpson
09-14-2005, 07:40 AM
Either way hurts, end of ;)

Kevin Leavitt
09-14-2005, 04:49 PM
For the record...

Even though I live in Germany, I have no experience in dealing with aikido in Germany. I am an Amercian Military person. Certainly living in a foriegn country has expanded my perspective on the world, but my aikido is not influenced through my experiences here in the wonderful country of Deutschland! Tschuess!