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Aikido being a very complex and difficult thing to do, it is no wonder that we face more blocks and slow progress then in most other martial arts. It isn't something you learn over night or in several years. It is something they don't often tell you, you will be learning this art for many years to just get it down. To be good at it, say like being decent at it, is one thing, but to master it is being along the lines of being a Tyger Woods. It ain't stick-fighting, boxing it ain't MAA, or other arts or sports that you learn very quickly and progress quickly. Get that out of your head if you think Aikido is that. Reality is you will be spending many years trying to make progress comparatively.
What are some of things that get in our way of progression, 1) poor instruction. 2) capacity or aptitude for the art 3) attitude 4) impatience 5) complexity and depth of Aikido. All hinder progression. But, like when learning anything else new we or in Aikido's case at it for a long time, we feel we aren't making the progress we should, no matter how hard we try. As I said before, Aikido is a frustrating art, that have people give up on in all sorts of ways.
What we don't realize that Aikido is something we learn that takes time and we have to adjust for that. Aikido is an art of slow progression and progress. Sometimes it is so slow and without noticeable progression we don't realize we are still learning, and by doing so we are progressing, sometimes it seems to be a millim
We had a special training class on Labor Day. I was a class where you might get a technique to work well one day and the next you are struggling with it trying to break to the next level. Your frustration level is high. It is from stepping out of your technical comfort zone to try something new, approaching the technique from a new angle, from ground zero once again. It is a challenge that tests everything about you and in you; a problem that needs to be solved. It is a familiar feeling any time you want to go to the next level. A perma-frustration it seems, you're off your game more than you're on.
After class, we all went to dinner and had the opportunity for good food and good conversation that always brings on good spirits. As the food and drink flowed the higher the spirits rose and more heartfelt the conversation fill our souls. It was one of those rare times when your open to all things good leaving you vulnerable to unleashing those Freudian slips of carnal wishes to be great, to be great martial artists.
And to define that, to cleave the martial from the art is to separate ourselves from the flesh of violence and retreat into the spiritual realm of that higher being that we see ourselves as Aikibeings. Amidst the reason why we turned a fraternal dinner of like minds, high in camaraderie, into the Symposium rather than a drunken belligerent swaggering of ego and testosterone was merely because our sense of who we are and what we want to achieve in Aikido.
I was posting to a fellow member about my search for the right martial art that fit me. As I wrote out my thoughts, I found myself using an experience, as an example of a point; I had when searching for the right martial art for me. The example was about the time I went to a Karate dojo.
I walk into the dojo looking at Karate as a way for my geeky self to learn to kick sum butt. The Karate sensei during our introductory conversation had asked the common question of why you want to take Karate. Well I give me the standard sophomoric naive answer he must have heard hundreds of times of, "I wanted to learn to fight, of course." He told me in short that Karate, referring to all martial arts, will not make a Bruce Lee or invincible.
He then continued to stress the best he could saying that I couldn't make as a real fighter anyway, no matter what I wanted or how I seen myself. My views of how I perceived myself and Karate where unrealistic, pure fantasy. I didn't have the "right stuff." It wasn't a challenge statement, but a fact.
He continued his analysis of me by summing it up with, "You don't have the what it takes to make a good fighter." And adding that I would end up losing (more tournaments fights) then winning no matter what contact martial art I took. He was being deadly honest. He said, if I stayed in is class I would be unhappy and would move on to something that fit me better. He than stress that there is a big difference between how we perceive oursel
Aikido is a wonderful art. I think it is often misunderstood. We seem to be a contradiction and as a result misunderstood. We run around throwing people in the air, pinning them to the ground, and talk peace and love.
I had a conversation once with a friend after class, who visited the class, and heard the Sensei instruct to the class, while in the mist of pinning a student, "We pin with love, this is a loving stretch." All the while, the student was wincing in pain.
It was hard for my friend to make sense of that. He felt that this was odd, a contradiction. He felt that if you pinned someone you should say things that matched you behavior, like lines from "Fight Club" or something. I disagreed. I told him it was all about attitude, not having a violent attitude.
The correct attitude is the result of more positive thoughts, like pinning with love. Your mental attitude isn't overtly aggressive or mean when doing a technique. It is just the opposite. That doesn't mean to lighten up on the intensity of your skill. It means being in control of your attitude. I told him an aggressive attitude does work to a point, but beyond that you are red-lining. I preached that an uncontrolled or unrefined attitude interferes with being in control of the situation. Therefore, you want to stay calm, relaxed, focused, and not waste your energy when doing Aikido. That way you stay concentrated and intense not allowing distractions to take play. If you do, you might regret it as you