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10-10-2005, 07:00 AM
I'm sure everyone has a spouse who supports their Aikido training (habit). Just in case there is someone out there who doesn't...
Not to whine, but I'm looking more for encouragement (what do you do?) than advice. I realize that the situation is what it is and not much I can do about it other than live with it.
A couple times during my four years of training, my wife has given me a hard time about not taking a certain other job because it would interfere (most likely end my training) with Aikido. I only take the two afternoon classes a week right now so I can be home in the evening with her and my son.
Thanks for listening.

Mary Eastland
10-10-2005, 07:16 AM
Dear Eric:
Here is some encouragment and support. I hope you find a way to work this out.

When I first started training I quit a nursing program so I could train more. My family thought I was nuts but I knew it was right for me.

10-10-2005, 07:25 AM
Your wife doesn't have to agree with your priorities, but she should respect them, especially if she and your son are always your first priority in life. There's nothing wrong with Aikido being your 2nd or 3rd priority, IMHO :)


10-10-2005, 07:34 AM
IMHO, usually if people know they are a priority and also "win", they are more supportive. Remember that relationships are "win/win" or they are "lose/lose". Keep talking and express you love, appreciation, and commitment to the family.

Dirk Hanss
10-10-2005, 08:13 AM
my wife does not support my aikido either. She just thinks it some kind of fashion and somewhat addictive.
So the agreement is, that I do it twice a week and rarely go on seminars.
Sometimes she comes up with something else, she thinks would be fun for me. In the meantime I refuse any of her "ideas", unless she wants to do it herself. Because whatever i do I want to do seriously and if i had mor time, I would do more aikido.

If I wouldn't have a family, I probably would do more aikido AND windsurfing, cross-country skiing, diving, etc. but as the family has first rank. I use most of my spare time for aikido.

Of course, family is not only duty. It is fun and leisure and we meet friends and do other things together.

And after a while my wife understood, that aikido is important for me and accepts it; but with very limited support.

Kind regards


10-10-2005, 08:32 AM
Family first, work second, aikido third. (Actually the original quote was karate third).

Amir Krause
10-10-2005, 09:58 AM
My wife understands that Aikido is important to me, but she does not support it, just respect it. Sometimes she complains, or jokes I would prefer it over her. Other times she finds she enjoys the private moment my practice times give her.


10-10-2005, 12:03 PM
Thank you all for your responses. Its good to know there are others out there.

10-10-2005, 01:35 PM
ok so not a spouse as Im single ... but unsupportive mother (who babysits!!!)
so I go mornings and help at the Junior class .... I have now got an arrangement with a friend that allows her two disabled sons to go!
so sometimes I can make even classes two ... (which means some days Im training for 5 1/2 hours a day!! .... phew!!!)
My mother and I talk ... and its as I say to her ... some time out from reality is good ... and this is my time out ....
so thats my dory thought!
em x!

Larry John
10-10-2005, 02:25 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with Lynn Seiser. In my opinion, being married means that you have committed to always place your family's interests above your own interests.

It may be that your aikido training is in your family's best interests--or it may not. Only the two of you can decide this, and only if the two of you talk about it openly and honestly, without preconceptions or a desire to win an argument.

Consider this another application of your training. The challenge before you is this: can you find a way to resolve this conflict positively for all involved?

10-10-2005, 05:14 PM
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, track it down, toss it around, and pin it... :D

Seriously, family comes first. If your wife can see you are dedicated to that ideal, then she will not feel threatened by your Aikido training, and will most likely allow you to continue.

Mary Eastland
10-10-2005, 05:29 PM
I disagree with some of these sentiments....for example: your wife allowing you to train. ick!!

I feel like my first responsiblity is to take care of myself so paradoxically I have more to give my family.
I take care of me ...my husband takes care of himself and we take care each other. (Thank God our kids are grown.)

Rupert Atkinson
10-10-2005, 06:44 PM
I started Aikido before I was married - she knew it. Aikido was part of the deal, and so was the motorcycle. That being said, I went out to train almost every night before I was married but now it is down to two or three. Also, I get up early and train outside by myself most mornings.

10-11-2005, 12:10 AM
Ask your wife to train with you. My wife and I started Aikido together, mainly as she wanted to try a martial art and I wanted to get away from Karate.

I think that my wife may be even more addicted to Aikido than me... she's coming up eight months pregnant now and giving me stick because she has had to stop training for a short while...

Seriously though, it can't hurt to get your partner to have a look, they might surprise themselves and discover how much fun it can be ;)

10-11-2005, 03:03 AM
Consider this another application of your training. The challenge before you is this: can you find a way to resolve this conflict positively for all involved?

I agree. Though, our sensei, when explaining the concept of the "third way" usually says (in jest of course) that marriage is the only place where this method doesn't work. :D

10-11-2005, 05:18 AM
My wife doesnt like me doing aikido coz it takes some of my time away from them, yet just like the others she respects it. What I try to do is to encourage her, I teach here shihonage whenever she is in the mood and me as uke. I think she enjoys it - she enjoys pinning me down :). Another way is I get her involve in our activities. Last year I made her do the narration, while me and a partner perform during an exhibition in our of the local schools in our area.

10-11-2005, 07:16 AM
Thanks for all the insights. My comments on some.
Unfortunately, I started Aikido after we were married for awhile, but before we had our son. I'm hoping he will be interested in Aikido when he's old enough (5 or 6).
Believe me, I'd love to have her interested, but she has zero interest. I can't criticize, though, because I have not interest in scrapbooking. She even gave Tai Chi a try, but didn't like it either. She watched a test, so knows a little what its about.
Anyway, she realizes how important it is to me and maybe even that its good for us (I'll ask). It certainly has changed me for the better, I think. The compromise is that I don't go Friday nights anymore and only do the afternoon classes.
To the Sensei who said "it doesn't work with a spouse", HAHAHAHAHAHA. How true.

10-11-2005, 07:24 AM
As an alternative viewpoint, there's always Dave Lowry's article, "Get a New Wife":


Personally, my strategy was to get my own wife hooked on practicing aikido, as well. It's been working great for 2+ years.

Larry John
10-11-2005, 09:18 AM

If she can see the change for the better that you mention, that's the beginning of the third way. Perhaps you can gently help her recognize that aikido's focus on this kind of creative problem solving is what's helping you be a better partner for her and father to your child.

All the best to you and yours,

10-11-2005, 09:39 AM
No matter how much you love someone you have to make decisions for yourself otherwise you'll just end up blaming them for the decision that you made. Everything is a compromise and situations aren't necessarily static. If you prefer to keep training at the moment trust that decision. Maybe in the future you will change your mind - you just have to live with uncertainty and do what is right for this particular moment.

10-11-2005, 09:46 AM
I am in the fortunate position that I can do aikido at lunchtime every day, so I've built that into my schedule. I can be home by 5:30 to spend time with my family. I have a 3-year old, who loves watching mommy do aikido. My husband appreciates that training is important to me, and that I am a much better person to be around when I go to class.
However, if anything in my family situation changed - loss of job, someone needs full-time care etc - aikido would be one of the first things to go. I can always return if things change, I will never "loose" it. That certain other job that your wife would like you to consider - what would that do for your family? Pros/cons? Is there another dojo with other training times? Of course, you don't want to get stuck in a job you hate AND not be able to do aikido. Is your resistance to the job only aikido? You could go over the pros and cons together to make a decision that works for everybody.

Devon Natario
10-11-2005, 09:57 AM
I have been here. I have an ex-wife due to my priorities in life.

I used to train Karate two days a week and Jujitsu three days a week, the Arnis on the Saturday. As you can see this is 6 days a week. My ex ended up leaving me.

Years have passed and I have found a new girlfriend that I have been with two years. We have a son together. When we first met I took her to Aikido with me. We actually trained together and this made it way easier to ease her into my lifestyle. In all honesty if we didn't have a new born baby, I am sure we would still be training together.

I now teach in my home to make it easier. My training sessions do last for a few hours, but they are here at home and I only do them in the mornings before my swing shift at work.

Her and I do not spend much time together because of our alternating work schedules and it's been hard, but she is supportive and understands, especially since she has trained with me.

I personally would not be with someone again that was non-supportive, and if I was, I would really put relationship in front of training. Yes, this kind of means that I am selfish, but I do not put training above my family. I could live without the training, I just do not want to. So I made sure to choose a woman that would support and train with me.

She's actually been talking about me teaching her again soon. So we shall see.

Robert Rumpf
10-11-2005, 10:22 AM
I've found that I'm even more moody and difficult to deal with than usual when I go a long time without training (although other physical exercise can substitute somewhat). That has prompted my spouse to be much more supportive of Aikido over time than she might otherwise be..

You could always demonstrate this degradation to her, if it happens for you as well. Before long, she'll be pushing you to get back to class.. :)


10-11-2005, 02:21 PM
Aikido is in my blood. I get upset when I can't train. Aikido is my form of therapy! You have to not think about any problems in your life while training or you will get hurt. So, this is my only time to truely get away from all the problems or frustration that are plaging me without getting drunk. Luckily my wife if Japanese and knows that I'm not giving this up. I even have hopes of teaching our kids when they get old enough. For guys whose significant other doesn't approve of this activity. Ask that person to give up something that he/she thinks is truely an important activity. Hopefully they see the light in this respect. This is what got my wife's attention.

James Davis
10-11-2005, 04:04 PM

A few years ago,before I started aikido, I didn't have anything really meaningful to apply myself to. I was just kind of drifting along, and wasn't happy a lot of the time. A few years ago, my best friend's sister came back from college and saw the changes that aikido had brought about in me. Katie and I were married in June and now we have a kid on the way! :D Without aikido, I would still be the frustrated and sad person she hugged goodby when she left for college in Ohio. Without aikido, we would probably not have been married. She understands the positive effect that my training has had, and would never ask me to do without it. I too have had to cut my training to two nights a week to fit night school into my schedule. I miss when I used to train more, but two nights a week tides me over okay. Try to illustrate how your training in aikido makes BOTH of your lives better. ;)

Take care. :)

10-17-2005, 02:45 PM
I did karate before I met my wife, and she knows that Martial arts are a part of who I am. We've argued from time to time about how she wishes she had something she'd like doing.. so I tell her to go ahead and join something. She never has. Ultimately it boils down to time not spent with her. Maybee it's a jealousy thing.. I dunno.

I've made it clear that I will continue to do some form of MA until I am not able to physically do them. It is all I do. I am not at a bar, I am not having an affair, I am not a druggie, I am a martial artist ,and all I ask for is 1-2 classes a week, and to have some time to practice.

Now if needed I would stop for my family's sake.. but that's all.

K Stewart
08-08-2006, 12:28 PM
Interesting that 95%+ of the responses to this thread are from men with less-than-supportive spouses. I'm a woman practicing Aikido and have an unsupportive (sometimes very, very, very unsupportive) husband. Ack! Would like any thoughts on dealing with this.

I've been practicing only six months, and God willing I will be practicing until I physically can't. Aikido has pointed out some things I need to address in life and is helping me become a better person...lifelong process. :)

The problem, for hubby, is that our small dojo only is able to have classes Friday and Saturday evenings. Those are my only times to train, and I have only missed a couple classes since I started. Once I commit to something, I commit. (Including to hubby.)

Hubby is at times VERY unhappy about the Fri/Sat nights away from home. However, before I started Aikido, our Fri/Sat nights consisted of watching TV, and hubby complaining about how bored he was, but not interested in going to the health club, to a movie, whatever. So, my starting Aikido has not meant there's been a huge change to our social life, because we really don't go out with other people or do things, anyway. Sigh. I most times also cook him a nice dinner that's waiting in the fridge when he gets home, so he's not eating frozen pizza.

He's very critical of the time I spend away from home, yet if he had a hobby or interest that he was greatly enjoyed, I would *happily* encourage him to pursue it! In fact, several years ago he took a class that met Mon-Thur nights until 10:00, for nearly a year. I was happy for him, and enjoyed all the projects I got done those evenings!

I've encouraged him to find something that he enjoys doing, but honestly I feel he'd rather complain than solve the problem. At this point, I don't feel terribly inclined to cut back my practice because it is so limited as it is, and it's only two nights a week. It's just too bad that it happens to be Fri/Sat.....

Sorry so long. Help????? :eek:

Ron Tisdale
08-08-2006, 12:33 PM
Invite him to practice with you... ?


Mark Uttech
08-08-2006, 12:40 PM
I think the Women's Liberation happened just because of the "unsupportive spouse" problem. I also think that both men and women should continue doing whatever personally benefits them. Marriage itself is about "support," and the support should run both ways. To put it simply, no support, no marriage. You could try to find another dojo that has a more flexible schedule, but I have to wonder if
it actually is the Fri/Sat schedule that is the problem. If worse comes to worse, "Every other" is the natural solution. If you alternate every other friday and every other saturday, you'll be going to class once a week regularly and you do have a lot more negotiating room, freely exchanging fridays and saturdays. A good rule can be, if you give up this friday, you go saturday of this week no matter what. Be strong, and I hope you find a good solution that works for you. In gassho

Ron Tisdale
08-08-2006, 01:51 PM
I like Mark's suggestion with one addition...

If you give up a night of training, it has to be FOR something...not just sitting in front of the TV vegging...


08-08-2006, 02:26 PM
A couple times during my four years of training, my wife has given me a hard time about not taking a certain other job...
I know you didn't ask for suggestions but...

I would suggest being sure that you knew why the "other job" was important to her. Is it higher paying? Better hours? A different city?

Relationships, whether marriage, friends, training partners, or whatever are made strong or weak through the strength or weakness of the communication, in my experience. I would need to know what my wife felt I was keeping from her by not taking the "other job" and I would find a way to give her what she needed through another avenue, if possible.

I moved away from my first aikido teacher to "follow" my wife to a new city because she needed to go back to school and get her Ph.D. I regret some of the consequences of that decision, but am grateful for how many other things I gained in what has become our home. I wouldn't want to move back at this time if it was her idea. I may like the aikido training in the old town better, but I love the school my children are at, I love my current job, and to be honest I HATE packing and moving, just to name a few reasons why I'm glad we're here. :D

In a realtionship, I believe one should try to learn what makes our partners happy and secure, and that one should be clear on what makes oneself feel happy and secure, and find the ways (plural) to make that happen for both.

(Side note: The book Just Your Type (http://www.personalitytype.com/jyt/index.html) is a good one for learning about different people's comfort zones and motivations.)

Jorge Garcia
08-08-2006, 02:57 PM
My wife has always supported me in my Aikido. For the last 11 years, I have trained between two and four days a week and she has never said a word against it. In the last two and a half years , I have been teaching 5 days a week (Saturday all day as well) and she has never said a word against it. She has always said, " I want you to do what makes you happy". In response, we have a special date night and I give her all I can to make up for all she does for me. She hates cooking so on the way home, I always pick up food to go for the family. We have been married 27 years and have a wonderful relationship. She always greets me when I return from Aikido with a big smile and a kiss!

08-08-2006, 05:05 PM
Luckily, my wife has always been supportive. She grumbles occasionally. I was teaching 6 days and she felt it would be nice if I backed it down to 5 and got one of my students to teach the other. We established early on in dating-first date-that this was my thing and that I'd probably do it until I couldn't any more. She has accepted that nicely. I don't drink, smoke, gamble, chase other women, or stay out all night with the boys. I think she probably can accept the trade off. Her ex was not exactly a stellar citizen in some of those regards.

08-08-2006, 05:32 PM
Unforunately, my ex-wife was supportive at the beginning and unsupportive at the end of our relationship. She was happy about me taking a position of instruction. Later she was unsupportive of the times I had to teach class - "You have aikido again....just don't go....etc..." It was hard to make her understand that the reason students came to class is because I was always there! Anyway, after 22 years - we had to call it quits (marriage not aikido)!

Janet Rosen
08-08-2006, 06:10 PM
Hubby is at times VERY unhappy about the Fri/Sat nights away from home. However, before I started Aikido, our Fri/Sat nights consisted of watching TV, and hubby complaining about how bored he was, but not interested in going to the health club, to a movie, whatever.
well, heck, if he can't be bothered to go out with you and do something, why should you let his sloth/lack of interest in life hold YOU back?

Neal Earhart
08-08-2006, 06:40 PM
I got very lucky. I met my wife at Aikido 16+ years ago. Many of our mutual friends that we see socially are from Aikido. She no longer practices due to health issues. But, my wife respects and understands my training and completely endorses it.

However, I do make sure that I spend time with her in the evenings and on weekends.

I usually take 530PM class during the week, which gets me home at about 7PM. Depending on our plans, I'll leave work a bit early and take the 415PM class.

If I'm going to an all-day seminar on a Saturday, I won't train on Sunday. If I'm going to a weekend seminar, I'll typically take Friday or Monday off to spend the day with my wife.

As much as Aikido is a priority in my life (a much higher priority than my job and other interests ;) ), my wife is still the number one priority.

Jorge Garcia
08-09-2006, 07:27 AM
Some people call the unsupportive wives - Aikido widows. It all sounds funny but actually is somewhat of a serious isue because it strikes at the root of modern relationships. I know men who have to negotiate for what days they can practice. One man I know only gets two days a month and literally has to sneak out for any other days, It is something I notice all the time. I know someone else who "wins" his battles but has a lot of pressure because his wife WANTS HIM AT HOME. Aikido is only for an hour or so at most so it strikes me oddly that a husband often can't have a little time to himself. I would like to know more if any women have that problem because for the woman, it seems almost like a jealousy issue- another competition for her affections.

Mark Freeman
08-09-2006, 07:51 AM
My wife has always supported me in my Aikido. For the last 11 years, I have trained between two and four days a week and she has never said a word against it. In the last two and a half years , I have been teaching 5 days a week (Saturday all day as well) and she has never said a word against it. She has always said, " I want you to do what makes you happy". In response, we have a special date night and I give her all I can to make up for all she does for me. She hates cooking so on the way home, I always pick up food to go for the family. We have been married 27 years and have a wonderful relationship. She always greets me when I return from Aikido with a big smile and a kiss!

You are a very lucky man Jorge, and I'm sure you know it :D



K Stewart
08-09-2006, 09:28 AM
Thanks for all the input. I appreciate it.

Should we call this "Dear Aikido Abby"? :p

I would like him to train with me, but he's got bone-on-bone arthritis in one knee and rotator cuff problems. Probably the pain isn't doing anything to improve his outlook on life and he's not happy about how much his activity has been decreased compared with a few years ago :( so I emphathize with that. But still....

We are instituting date nights (tonight's the first) to go do something, even if it's just a drive. So that's progress and hopefully will help him feel less, what, left out?

I will consider going alternate Friday nights, but you're right -- we have to DO something if I take the night off training. Sitting on the couch doesn't count!

I wonder if (at least part of) the issue is that I am changing, in a good way, I believe, but there has been change. I'm more assertive, more willing to voice an opinion -- but not be confrontational -- just overall have a more centered and grounded approach. He sees that, feels that, and is scared by it or something. Ironically, I think he also likes the change in some ways, but it's still threatening (?) for whatever reason.

Yes, mutual support is a huge part of a marriage. Without it there's not much to pin your hat on. I give him the support to do what would make him happy and he doesn't do it. I think being supportive of my practice follows the same path. I will do what I need to to compromise where necessary and still practice, but I feel it needs to be reciprocal, and so far it's been pretty much me expected to change my plans to meet his.

Blend, blend, blend....

I am doing my best to look at this as another way to practice my off-the-mat Aikido. And, Aikido is just not something I will give up so we'll have to find a way to work it in.

BTW, I am very happy for those of you with mutually supportive spouses/SOs. :) I never want to be a spouse who says "You can't do x, y, or z" or grant permission for him to do something. Ick. As long as the activity isn't immoral, illegal, or fattening, I encourage him to do things that make him happy. That's what it's supposed to be about! I just need to work on the "mutually" part of the equation.

Thanks again!

Jorge Garcia
08-09-2006, 09:44 AM
You are a very lucky man Jorge, and I'm sure you know it :D


Mark, I have had a lot of people that have met my wife tell me that. Especially some of my students that love Aikido but are out there negotiating for every single trip to the dojo. I know of Sensei's wives that have nagged them out of teaching. I guess I have seen a lot but it does disturb me that in our time, we are so possesive and withdrawing rather than giivng and sharing. My wife is a better human being than I am and she has taught me the meaning of love and sharing. I always feel like I owe her and yet she never demands anything from me. I actaully feel pretty guilty. I need to save money and take her on a big trip to Europe or something for our 30th. I have already nixed Japan. That would be too self serving!

Robert Rumpf
08-09-2006, 10:29 AM
To state the obvious, picking a significant other that you can live with and who can live with you (over time) is a much more important self-defense issue than most things that are mentioned on Aikiweb or in the dojo..

For me, it was and is a question of realizing trends and my ability to nudge things in one direction or another so that things work out over time.

Good luck,