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I've been teaching Aikido for about 20 years now, and I've made it an important point to stay in shape. Teaching means that I don't get to train a full hour or two like my students do and get a really good work out, burn calories, gain strength...all that good stuff that comes with training....maybe that's why so many aikido instructors are overweight!
So I've put together my own training program with running, pushups, sit ups, pull ups and my favorite Rock Climbing! Sometimes I get super lucky and only one or two students show up for class; then I get to train! I love those days.
I put together a vlog detailing one of my workouts. Check it out and please subscribe to my youtube channel:
So, you think you need natural ability or talent to get good at Aikido.....think again! Geoff Colvin wrote a book called, "Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else."
It's a great read and very inspiring, well, to a certain degree...don't think it's easy to become great. There are two main ingredients to becoming great and two things that are going to help you get there.
Watch my vlog to learn more about what you need to become a world class Aikidoka!
In Japan I learned about Ai-Uchi or mutual destruction; that means that your initial movement needs to be moving in a way that you are actually going straight into an attack, irimi. I've been studying this for that past several weeks and created a vlog about it. Please watch, share, like, comment and subscribe to my channel!
While in Japan, I learned a lot about the philosophy of Aikido. I learned some of the meanings behind the techniques, for example, Ikkyo. Ikkyo translate into first principle, but what does that mean?
The first principle, or foundation, to learning aikido is physical. That means that you need to exercise, you need to watch what you eat and drink, you need to take care of your body. As we age, we grow in strength, as long as we're sticking to a good routine and good habits!
I've been doing martial arts since I was 5 years old, on and off until I was 20, when I really dived in head first and started training every day. I've been to countless schools and studied under many different styles and instructors. Watch my YouTube vlog on the three things you need to know in order to find the right school / instructor:
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
This particular passage of the bible has always resonated with me, especially in my training of Aikido; and this is what makes Aikido so special.
When we attack each other, we attack so that our partner can become better. It's a selfless thing to do.
I'm not attacking you to prove I'm better. I'm not attacking you to "win" the fight. I'm not attacking you to show off.
And please make a special note to this one:
I'm not attacking you to make you look good, either.
I'm giving you a sincere attack, and really trying to hit you, so that you can learn and become better. If I've hit you, you've failed, and guess what, you get to try again. I'll do the exact same attack and give you another chance to learn the technique. If you don't get it after four tries, then it's my turn. And I really what to improve. I want my Aikido to really work, so please attack me, don't be afraid, I won't hurt you, I want to learn how to use your energy to defend myself and at the same time protect you from injury.
I remember once, an Aikido instructor, instructed me to "Take Ukemi" or I would get hurt. After 20 years of Aikido, I've realized, that although he said he was teaching Aikido, it was really a form of Jujutsu, where if you don't submit, you will get injured.
Did you know that O'Sensei said somewhere along the lines that you need to treat your attacker like a baby, and not hurt him...
Being honest is one of the hardest things to do, it seems. It's so simple, just tell the truth, but how many times do we find ourselves not telling the truth? Do we even know what the truth is? This can get pretty deep....
Your friend doesn't look very good with her new hair cut, but instead of telling her the truth, you tell her it looks good...and you justify it with, it's all a matter of perspective.
Your boss asks you if you called that client, you haven't, but you tell him you have, you excuse yourself and call him right away. You justify it with, I'm about to do it....
Your daughter asks you to buy her a pair of jeans, and you tell her you don't have any money (but you do, you just don't want to spend your last $100.00 on her pair of jeans....)
In a wonderful book that I like to read every once in a while is says: "He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity." Proverbs 2:7
I've been thinking about that pretty hard, and really paying attention to when I am honest and catching myself when I am not.
On the mat, it's much easier to catch myself, because honesty is much easier to see. Am I honestly putting effort, strength, power into my attack? Am I aiming at my target? Am I just throwing myself, afraid that I may get injured? What's driving me?
I think honesty must come from the attacker, uke, in order for the nage to truly progress and learn Aikido. Doesn't that sound like common sense
OK, so I was trying to work out why a technique didn't work very well with me when someone was attacking. And, I just couldn't figure it out, so naturally, I blamed my attacker. He's not attacking me correctly, so it's not working.
Can you believe that! I actually started blaming my attacker, on why I couldn't get the technique.
Well, isn't that just a natural why to react to situations. I mean, think about it, don't we do that all the time. How hard would it be if we were always blaming ourselves. Don't you think it'd be a bit depressing?
It's not my fault I'm poor. It's not my fault I can't find a job. It's not my fault I'm getting a divorce. It's not my fault I split the coffee all over me and burned myself.....and on and on it goes. Isn't that why we get married, so that we can blame our partner for everything!
I've seen how instructors manipulate their students into making them look like they've actually "got" the technique. It's so disappointing, and at times, physically painful.
If iron sharpens iron, then it's all of us together that need to work on this. We accept where we are, and are held accountable for it.
So, I was demonstrating a technique the other day, and my uke, in front of the whole class, made sure that everyone knew that I got the technique wrong.....what in the world did I do.......I thanked him and said out loud, "well, that surely didn't work, I need to try it a different way."