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Between a demonstration our dojo will be doing for some high school teachers, posts made on another journal about an injury, and a reflection of how I was physically when I started Aikido, I can't help but realise that Aikido can be for literally any body. From the person who is interested in the aspect of Ki developement to coordinate body and mind, to the one who is in it for self defence, to the person who starts it just to get back into shape, and every one in between. The multifacets of Aikido can be practiced and used by everyone.
When I started Aikido I was severely out of shape and wanted something to learn from as well as work at so I had an incentive to keep returning for the work out. Over time, as I realized how much more there was to Aikido, I continued to practice for other reasons. The philosophy behind Aikido has helped with my relationships with my family members (in particular my son). Also the centeredness and calmness I get out of Ki breathing and meditating has also been life changing for me.
I look back a mere year and a half ago at how I felt physically then and how I feel now, to me it is a difference of 20 years younger. I felt 10 years older when I first started. Now I feel 10 years younger.
I see people with disabilities and injuries who adjust their training to compensate yet still find copious amounts of things to study and train in in Aikido.
While discussing how the demonstration will unfold we concluded that even though the focus on the demo will be Ki development exersizes, we realise that everyone participating in the demo are individuals and will be looking for and taking in different aspects of the demonstation depending on their personality and what interests him or her.
I see also that as individual as the person is, so too is the dojos in the city. Some have a harder style. Some are more traditional. Some are more layed back. I think it is so important, when choosing a dojo, not to form an opinion on visiting just one dojo.
You may go into a Dojo that is layed back and think (they're not working very hard, or they're having to much fun for a martial art dojo) Don't stop looking there! Go to the next dojo in the city and see if that one is more martial, or more physically demanding.
On the other hand you may go into a Dojo and see them training and falling very hard and you might think (LORDY! I can't do that!). Don't stop there! Look further! The next Dojo may take a less physical approach to the training due to style, or other reasons.
That being said, I think in an effort to help promote Aikido to everyone, (or at least as many people as possible), the head instructors should say to the potential students that if they find their dojo too rough, or not rough enough, or too traditional, or too layed back, or whatever, to tell these people that so and so instructor at such and such dojo may be more suitable for them. This could be the difference between someone decideing to train or not. If they don't know they have options they won't look any further, and O Sensei's desire to spread Aikido to everyone will have been undermind, even if it was done unintentionally.
I am very fortunate to belong to a dojo that fits my personality well yet encourages me to try other senseis in other dojos in other styles of Aikido so that I continue testing my "fit" as my understanding and ability in Aikido changes.