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There was a question on the forums about what people expected from Aikido and the following is my post. I thought I'd put it here as well.
I started Aikido because my husband had already started training in it. He had been researching for a while to find a martial art and then a dojo that fit with his philosophy and we both feel lucky to have found the dojo that we're in.
My expectations were mainly to learn to defend myself with the option of not hurting my attacker, as well as getting some excersize in a manner that wasn't as boring or abitrary as going to a gym, and hopefully picking up a little grace in the process.
I had no idea that it would be so much more than any of those things.
In the slightly more than 7 months I've been training in Aikido, I have been extremely pleased with the physical and mental challenges that I've been exposed to. I have learned a great deal about how to deal with frustration (something that I've never had an easy time with); how to deal with ambiguity and contridictions; how to be focused and relaxed at the same time; and that perserverance reaps rewards. And then there are the physical benefits of toning, endurance and coordination.
My expectations have changed in that now I don't really view Aikido as a means to an end, but truly as the trip itself. Training in Aikido forces me to attempt things that I am not initially comfortabl
Today was my first class wearing a hakama. If you'd told me last week I'd be wearing one today I would have laughed pretty hard. I had no idea that I was even supposed to until class last Thursday...
At the water cooler after that class, one of the newest additions to our dojo asked me about our belt rankings. I explained the belt colors and he asked when people wore hakamas. I told him that I knew the yudansha wore them, but that I'd seen other people wearing them too and maybe they'd transferred from dojos where everyone had worn them and Sensei let them because of that, but he should ask Sensei because I'm just a 5th kyu and don't know.
Fifteen minutes later in the dressing room, my sempai, Sandra, said "You should try out one of my hakamas at next practice." and explained to me that in most dojos women wore them because, from the Japanese perspective, gi pants are basically underwear. Women wear hakamas for modesty's sake.
The concept of wearing one at this stage is pretty daunting to me. I have a hard enough time moving around without an extra 12 yards of heavy fabric flowing around my feet. Plus, what if someone makes the assumption (as I did to others) that because I'm wearing one I actually know what I'm doing!!
After grudgingly saying "maybe" to trying one out, I still felt relieved that I could probably find an excuse before next practice to put it off for a while. Besides, she didn't say that we necessarily lived by that modesty rule in O