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A blog written from the point of view of a martial arts beginner, which I am. You can find the full blog at http://yghmartialarts.blogspot.com. Here on AikiWeb, I'll post only those entries which are relevant to aikido.
No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength.
- Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
I had to restrain a really, truly violent student for the first time two weeks ago.
For the sake of those involved, I won't go into details. It's enough for now to say that when I arrived to respond to a frantic distress call, the situation was already well beyond any solution but physical intervention. A very large, very angry adolescent needed to be stopped now, and I was going to have to be the one to do it.
Procedures were forgotten. Training was forgotten.
I should have known better, of course; besides my regular training in aikido, I had been through training specifically for situations like this through the school system. But I charged in mindlessly, shoving a desk out of my way, with no plan except to be bigger and stronger than the student.
The trouble is, I almost wasn't.
I like to think that regular martial arts training and exercise makes me a little stronger than the average musician/teaching aide, but hell hath no fury like the pent-up rage of a large tweenager. It took everything I had to stop his charge without hurting him, and a little more I didn't know I had until then to avoid hurting myself. Had he been any bigger, or had I been any smaller, I likely would have failed to stop further violence.
What did I do wrong? Well, nothing. And everything.
The hold I tried on him was indeed one prescribed by
Every few weeks, I decide to look into what martial arts options I have to choose from besides aikido.
This has been going on since just a couple months after I started training: I'll have a particularly fun taekwondo class or a bad day at the dojo and decide I need to see if there's something out there that won't hurt my joints so much, or frustrate me with mystifying connection exercises, or make me wear a skirt. Then it's time to fire up Google.
The list of links that results from my search I have pretty well memorized.
There are some that make me turn away immediately: two branches of a cheap Midwest-wide taekwondo chain that promises a black belt in three years; a "dojo" where the uniforms are red, white, and blue and the martial art taught, as far as I can tell, is called "martial arts"; and a mixed martial arts gym whose website is awash with pictures of large, angry-looking shirtless men who seem ready to jump out of my computer screen at any moment and beat me into submission.
It's easy enough to cross these off the list right away. There are plenty of more attractive options, though.
The dojang where my taekwondo instructor learned his art isn't too far. Rates are relatively affordable, though still twice as much as the dojo's, and the founding master is from the Korean old school that does not approve of cross-training and pushes an entirely false nationalistic history of the art.
Just across the street from the dojo is a place where traditional