View Full Version : Poll: How important is actively applying the "principles" of aikido "off the mat" in your everyday life?

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10-16-2005, 01:50 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of October 16, 2005:

How important is actively applying the "principles" of aikido "off the mat" in your everyday life?

I don't do aikido
Critically important
Very important
Somewhat important
Not very important
Not at all important

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=294).

10-17-2005, 10:51 AM
Critically important. I'm a skilled Ju Jitsu man. Grrr, nasty tough mean - and all it got me was a nose that points to the right. ouch.

Applying what I've learned at aikido has changed my life - kept me in a job, kept me out of trouble. I went back to aikido in my middle age with what it turned out was a bad attitude. My kind Sempai 'gently corrected' my bad attitude and now I feel better. I have learned to SHOW respect. I show respect to my boss, my coworkers and the janitoral staff. The result - no more fighting, and some contentment.


10-17-2005, 12:56 PM
Do you mean we don't have to?

In other words, the application of Aiki in everything everyday is the training and is very important to me.

John Matsushima
10-18-2005, 12:07 AM
Very interesting poll. May I ask Ms. Seiser, what are some examples of how you apply principles of Aiki to everyday life? I mean principles from Aikido specifically, and not just Budo. I myself think that it is critically important, and apply principles of Aikido to my daily life and I am just curious as to some ways that other people do it.

Patrick Crane
10-18-2005, 12:34 AM
Perhaps the intent of this poll was to inquire more along the lines of people's attitudes, relationships, etc.
Just for a second, let me get ultra-practical.
A large part of my job involves loading and unloading carts full of hospital linen from the trailer of an 18-wheeler, either at a hospital or at the plant where we wash the stuff.
These carts are a good six inches taller than me, wider than me and, on average, a good hundred pounds heavier than me (300-400 lbs.) despite my "football player" type build.

I've been wrestling with these things going on five years now and only been studying aikido since July, but already have noticed how much easier it is for me to man-handle them using just a couple basic aikido concepts, and how much less joint and muscle soreness I experience.
I've even had compliments from some of the housekeeping staff at some of the hospitals regarding how gracefully I seem to fling those grizzly bears around.

..........now If I could just learn to roll right and do nikyo, I'd have it made, lol.

10-18-2005, 08:51 AM
May I ask Ms. Seiser, what are some examples of how you apply principles of Aiki to everyday life? I mean principles from Aikido specifically, and not just Budo.
IMHO, Aikido is Budo, so I don't understand the distinction. But staying relaxed and centered during a conflict and utilizing resistance are examples.

10-19-2005, 08:49 AM
I was not asked, but will humbly offer that recognizing that conflict is internal and needs to be resolved there is another.

I can't do Ikyo because I have a knot in my gut. I hate the aggressive guy at work - because I have a knot (of fear) in my gut.

The solution is inside me, not asking uke to attack differently, or trying to get 'aggressive guy' fired or kicking him in the face, which, though appealling, would not solve the problem and land me in jail.


10-20-2005, 03:44 AM
I voted critically important. Appyling 'em on the mat trains you to apply 'em off the mat and vice versa. e.g.,

principles of center line - opening doors I use those principles
principles of aiki in general - boss gets mad, i dont answer instead i take his words and try to go around it, then boom i open up with lots of sentiments. end result boss crying saying sorry

I'll try to remember some more...

10-20-2005, 11:18 AM
Who ever voted Not at all important Or Not very important.
Why do you say that? How long have you trained? And if so what keeps you going? Fitness? Social interaction?

Just wondering.

10-20-2005, 01:28 PM
Two scientific conferences in a row I was invited "to attend the conference" and only found out when I arrived "Oh, and please give a talk, too." I received several compliments on my ability to give improvised scientific talks on very short notice.

I told this story to the head of the dojo I visited during the second conference, and he said, "Well, of course. If you can stand calmly while my big student here tries to slug you, giving a talk should be no problem." I think he's right; I was surprised how calm I was about the whole thing. I didn't even give in to the temptation to practice sankyo on the conference organizers....

This is certainly not what I had in mind when I took up aikido, but it's been useful.

Mary Kaye

Paula Lydon
10-20-2005, 04:05 PM
~~I, too, came from many years of jujitsu. After a decade+ of jujitsu and a decade of Aikido, there is a great difference since switching to Aikido in my overall perception of myself, others, events and my relationship to these things. I am much more relaxed in life generally because I feel more centered and calm. I used to percieve more attacks on myself--verbal, attitude, emotional--and was usually primed to 'defend' myself. Very tiring after a while.
~~I felt dangerous and superior. I am not...and only dangerous to my peace of mind when I have dark thoughts. I can confidently, efficiently and without getting caught in personal drama(mostly), deal with matters that arise without aformentioned knot of fear in my gut: fear of losing an argument, my stance, my view, my sense of importance. I feel much more able to flow with events now and look for mutually beneficial resolution. Even as I say this that dark spot inside me is screaming that I'm a fluff-bunny weinie :D I prefer to train with a lot of intent, control and energy. This seems to
~~Is it Aikido or just age and maturity? Probably never know for certain and it doesn't matter to me. Nor does the question of whether or not Aikido works in a fight/violent encounter. If I'm ever attacked I'll just do whatever the moment presents, will hopefully nullify the situation but if not will hopefully make it through and go on with my life. This question I also no longer dwell on nor care about. This, I believe, is the result of keeping the philosophical/spiritual practices and principles of Aikido active throughout my daily life~~

Paula Lydon
10-20-2005, 04:51 PM
...sorry, got interrupted there in mid-thought :). Was saying that I prefer to train with a lot of intent, control and energy. This seems to expose my shadow areas to the most light and scrutiny and it is this process that had the most positive effect upon me~~

10-21-2005, 12:00 AM
Learning to apply the principles (aiki) is the do.

No off-mat aikido, no aikido.

To steal a quote, "It's about getting better out there, not looking good in here."

Anders Bjonback
10-21-2005, 02:28 AM
Aikido has certainly effected my life in certain ways, but so has my Buddhist practice, and doing Japanese tea ceremony, and generally maturing as a person as I've been in college. It's hard to know which things have produced which changes in me... but really, whatever you do has an effect on your mind. When I train in martial arts, that has a certain effect on my demeanor, and that shows up in my life--I took a break from aikido, and as I've been getting back into it, I've found that I'm more sure of my movements and less clumsy. On a mental level, maybe I'm less afraid of confrontation, but training in debate probably has had an obvious influence with that as well.
I do not think Aikido itself is essential to my life, though. Buddhism is my path, and the Buddha's teachings are what mainly give me my "tools" for everyday life--not committing the "ten non-virtues," practicing compassion, being intelligent and skillful, etc. There are certain principles in Aikido that are shared with my Buddhist practice, such as the idea of non-harming, and those are important in my life, but I don't need aikido to practice them. There are certain things like being assertive without being aggressive, and the whole warrior thing, and coming out of a situation where someone's trying to hurt me where no one gets hurt, but really, I haven't been attacked yet, and most situations like that can be avoided. I also do not think of things in terms of "blending" with the situation, although I do try to enter into a direct relationship with things.
I remember a story about a Tibetan Buddhist teacher I know... some guy punched him when his students were there, and his students got angry at the guy... and then the teacher walked up to the guy and hugged him. The guy started sobbing, and later on took some classes at the teacher's center. This teacher has never practiced aikido, and he acted in a spontaneous, intelligent and compassionate way, and really helped that person and diffused the situation. Fully nurturing one's capacity to help others through wisdom and compassion are what is important to me, and aikido can certainly be one way of doing this, but it is not the only way, and it is not the primary way for me.

10-21-2005, 08:51 AM

I hope and I think OSensei would be proud of his students.

Because 'being' gentle seems to be our goal, sometimes I wonder why we train a specific response to specific attacks.

Might it not be better to teach balance and then see how people respond? or should i be studying Tai Chi Chuan with such ideas?


10-21-2005, 09:31 PM
I don't get it...

Most (77%) of those who answered this poll said that "actively applying..." was very, or critically important to them.

Why then do most aikido dojos practice in a way that almost completely ignores this aspect, and expect some kind of magical crossover to happen, from the dojo to Real Life tm?

Then again, 9 out of 10 cats prefered whiskers; as opposed to having them chopped off by Mark in a bad mood, but it didn't do them any good :)

If you would like to know more about applied aikido then I highly recommend:


PS - No cats really or otherwise were hurt in the production of this e-mail (I kill them too quickly for pain) :)

Janet Rosen
10-21-2005, 11:28 PM
Because 'being' gentle seems to be our goal, sometimes I wonder why we train a specific response to specific attacks.
well, there is an important role for that kind of kata style training, in that it sets up muscle and movement patterns, akin to how we internalize how to drive a car....but some of us train in dojos that explicitly integrate other forms/modalities in addition to what you describe. If you aren't getting an integrated approach AND you feel it is something missing from your practice, you may not need to cross train in tai chi, but visit some other aikido dojo if you live in an area that has a variety..

Peter Goldsbury
10-22-2005, 12:51 AM
Gosh. You all seem to make it so easy. I notice that Jun put "principles" in quotation marks, which seems to me to suggest that the meaning is not altogether clear or generally accepted.

I did not vote and never have voted in such polls. This is a personal opinion, but I find polls about aikido training and principles rather odd, given that we each have, or should have, a living model in the dojo, in the person of one's teacher. I wonder if anyone has asked their instructor how he/she relates training in the dojo to the world outside. Actually, many of my own teachers were not particularly outstanding models of ethical behavior outside the dojo.

I once asked this question of a Japanese teacher of mine (9th dan: I think I can say he was my Master at the time). He had often cautioned me that there should be no difference between training in the dojo and training outside the dojo. He answered, not in 'ethical' terms, which seems to be general with many of the responses here, but in terms of a readiness to act, and if necessary to die, 'in the instant', with no interference from the self or ego.