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Amassus 12-18-2003 04:42 PM

Why do we do it?
 
I was talking to one of the my club's shodans (and also a workmate) about aikido this morning. He then brought up this question...

Why do we do aikido?

Do we do it to get fit? Why not go to the gym.

Do we do it for peace of mind and calmness?
Then why not do meditation classes?

Do we do it to become better at defending ourselves? Other martial arts can do the same in a shorter time.

There is no short answer here, that's not what I want.

What the shodan and I decided was that it is most likely a combination of the above and most of all because it is FUN! :)

Thoughts?

Janet Rosen 12-18-2003 04:47 PM

Its fun.

When I cannot do it I have waking dreams of it.

Its how I work on "how to be with other people" therefore its about who/how I am therefore its my spiritual practice.

Its free "flying lessons."

I love advancing on a partner with a long stick in my hand and a gleam in my eye.

I like who I am better when I do it than when I don't do it.

I have never wanted to stop, even after the worst, most frustrating class.

Its fun.

Nick Simpson 12-18-2003 06:51 PM

Yep Dean, I think what you say is spot on, all of the above are factors but the main one is fun. I often wonder why I practice aikido and it always comes down to the fact that I love it, its fun and the people I train with are my best friends. I suppose I started aikido because I was always interested in japanese history, particularly samurai history and apart from iaido, aikido is the most "samurai art". Reading angry white pyjama's was also inspiring, I must have been one of the mad people who was attracted to all the blood, sweat and breakages :p

Thats why I started, but the reason I keep going is: FUN.

Friday nights arent the same unless ive had my ass kicked.

What else is there to do on a saturday? Go shopping? Eurgh, Id rather get beat up.

Monday nights? School night? Early to bed? No sir, its flying time for me.

Plus I have the strangest idea that if I ever stop, all the aches an pains will catch up and overwhelm me...

sanosuke 12-18-2003 07:03 PM

Re: Why do we do it?
 
Quote:

Dean Suter (Amassus) wrote:
Why do we do aikido?

Do we do it to get fit? Why not go to the gym.

Do we do it for peace of mind and calmness?

Then why not do meditation classes?

Do we do it to become better at defending ourselves? Other martial arts can do the same in a shorter time.

my answer is the same with Neo, "because I believe". I believe aikido can bring more benefits and improvements to me compared to other activities, I believe aikido can teach me on becoming a better person, phisically, mentally and in character as well as behavior. Simply said, i believe aikido is the right path for me.....

Jeff Tibbetts 12-18-2003 07:46 PM

Sure it's fun. But let's not kid ourselves, either. There are always going to be times when it's just not fun. I don't mean that in a bad way. What I mean is that it's got to be more than that. There are days when I leave frustrated, when it cuts into time that I could be spending doing somethings arguably more fun, etc. For some of us fun's not it. I think, personally, I do it because I just need it. I need the focus that my practice can give me. I need to evolve, to make myself anew. Sure, it's fun most of the time. But when it's not we don't quit, do we?

Usagi Yojimbo 12-18-2003 09:03 PM

I do Aikido because, yeah, it is fun. I get to train with my friends, in a small class, so I pretty much know most everyone in their. Our instructor is good, works at SEGA so we can talk about a lot of crap, other then just how to break and arm ;-) And I love Feudal Japan, I'm practically obsessed with it. I know, I know, Gaijin. But I want to be a samurai, that's just a passing fancy to spend day dreaming on in my mind though. And there's nothing quite like swinging a bokken around! MUA HA HA!! I tell you, no other sword will get the same recognition as a Katana, even if people don't know what they're really called... *frustrated muttering about "samurai swords"*

Lan Powers 12-18-2003 09:07 PM

Tension release,getting to concentrate or focus with all my attention without freaking other people out about it, getting a handle on my uncooperative body.....

The list can go on, and on, but I like Ms. Rosens "free flying" phrase. :)

Lan

SteveTrinkle 12-18-2003 11:18 PM

From one of our dojo's members:

Why We Train Aikido

or

(Oh My God! What Have I Gotten Myself Into?)

It's a journey not a destination. Practicing aikido is a process that gives us different benefits at different stages. Sometimes these seem to come easily, sometimes with great difficulty. The important thing is to allow yourself to trust the process, and keep going. Think about what you were hoping to find when you started aikido. Most people who are attracted to aikido are seekers, looking for some way of experiencing their lives differently. Most of the time what we find is pretty different than what we expected. Do you like surprises?

This is killing me! Change is usually accompanied by pain and discomfort and chaos. Giving birth to a child, creating a new nation, fighting for civil rights, learning to ride a bicycle. Aikido seeks to change us at a very deep level. It's a change that takes place on the physical level, the emotional level, the intellectual level, and the spiritual level. It seeks to change the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us. If your body starts to hurt, it's probably not very fun, but it means that the process is working. You can see that your body hurts in different places as you progress in your training. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, it's a good sign. It usually means that you are trying hard and may be at a plateau. Aikido is killing you -- it's killing the old you, the you that you wanted to leave behind.

Lose your mind and come to your senses. We try not to think or talk much when we train. The learning comes in the doing. Aikido has a rich tradition of spirituality and philosophy, and the hard training brings us to this most easily when we don't think too much. Ever see The Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off!

Pay attention! We try to be present at all times, and pay attention to our bodies, the people we are training with, the feeling in the dojo, and the sensei. Paying attention doesn't necessarily mean thinking. It means being more and more aware. We try to always stay in contact with our partners; physically and emotionally. Aikido helps us to become more and more sensitive and aware the longer and harder we train.

Have fun. Aikido people are probably a bit nuts anyway. Train hard, sweat, and keep a smile on your face. We're all just beginners here.

SteveTrinkle 12-18-2003 11:22 PM

But when we ask our teachers and senior students from Japan, all they say is, "because it makes the beer taste better."

batemanb 12-19-2003 01:11 AM

Quote:

Stephen Trinkle (SteveTrinkle) wrote:
But when we ask our teachers and senior students from Japan, all they say is, "because it makes the beer taste better."

I'll second that!:D

JJF 12-19-2003 01:21 AM

It's a drug....

and I'm hooked....

Tried to quit a couple of times, but I go into withdrawal very fast, and eventually my wife sends me to the dojo because I'm getting obnoxious :D

Ever concidere the Robert Palmer hit 'Addicted to love' ? and what is Aikido all about ? hmmm ? That's right LOVE.... Bet he must have been doing Aikido ;)

Actually check out the lyrics on this page: http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.n...2568A20007F2D6

Just replace 'kiss' with 'throw' and you'll see my point.....

Sorry - I will stop joking now, and get some work done...

Ted Marr 12-19-2003 07:42 AM

Actually, no joke, I think there is something to that whole "addicted to it" thing.

I mean, it just takes the combination of two well known facts.

1: pain and/or strenuous exercise causes your body to release endorphins

2: endorphins are like morphine or heroin, only more potent per dose.

I know that if I stop for more than about a week, I start getting really short tempered (relatively speaking), and really feel pretty cruddy overall.

(warning, this may sound a bit crass to some people)

Back about two years ago, when I was training 5 days a week, there was about a month when I couldn't train due to winter break. I started getting really edgy and irritable, so much so that I started snapping at people for no reason. Then the first day I was back at martial arts, I came home, and almost immediately my roommates were asking me whether I had just gotten laid, since I had "that satisfied look" on my face.

On a more esoteric note, it becomes part of our self definition. I mean, really, when you ask someone who/what they are, or what they like to do, most people just don't know. After all is said and done, they go to work, then they come home and do the neccessary things to make sure they can keep going in life, watch a bit of TV and call it a day. We have our Aikido. It's kind of like what Douglas Adams said about immortality. It is really unusual that some people want to live forever, especially when they don't know what to do with themselves on a Sunday afternoon right after tea. Ask an Aikidoka though, and they'll tell you that at least that would give them enough time to get a few techniques really down well. Provided their knees last long enough

MaryKaye 12-19-2003 09:09 AM

I'll chime in on the addiction thing, and how cranky I feel when I stop. On the other hand, when I studied kung fu the workouts were hard enough to have that effect too; but it didn't make my heart sing the way aikido does.

The instructors and senior students at my dojo have little "why I do aikido" essays on the dojo web page. Among all the essays that are more or less what you'd expect, there's one that says (paraphrase) "In karate or kung fu, we study how to snap someone's neck or break their arm, but we don't get to actually do it. In aikido we can throw an experienced partner full force and full speed, and they get up and ask for more. This is very satisfying." I admire this answer--it stands out so much from the others, and it does capture part of what I love about aikido. (I love being the one thrown that fast, too, when I can take it.)

The only thing I've found to compare with aikido is body-surfing, but I don't live in Hawaii so aikido is a lot more practical. They have the same sense (when all goes well) of effortless mastery of tremendous amounts of speed and power. They both get you pounded when things don't go quite so well, but the fear itself is part of the appeal. Some of my classmates practice tai chi, but frankly, it does not scare me enough to really get my attention.

I also think well-done aikido is extraordinarily beautiful, both visually and kinesthetically, and would like to be that beautiful someday. Long, long way to go on that one.

Mary Kaye

Ron Tisdale 12-19-2003 01:42 PM

I've been off the mat since october trying to get this stupid knee to heal. For the first month, I thought I was going to kill someone. Some guy at work REALLY got in my face...one of the hardest times not to strangle someone in my life. Worked it out ok, though, and he's still breathing. :)

I've adjusted now...but I still really, really, really want to get back to regular training.

Ron

p00kiethebear 12-19-2003 11:58 PM

I think more than anything, i'm a strong believer in the values taught.

Ever since a bought with cancer, I've wanted to help people, and try to put others / world peace before myself.

So in a sense, I practice aikido, so that i can learn to pass it on to others.

It's a way of resolving conflict. I believe that the only guarentee in life, is conflict, it's everywhere, one of the reasons we have so much fear and strife in the world is because people don't have a great way to respond to it. I feel like if someday i can help to better one person, then maybe i've made the world, just that much better.

Kevin Masters 12-29-2003 12:47 PM

It's fun.

Even when it's difficult it's great.

The flying is fun. One of my sempai calls it "heavier than air flights".

I have an excuse for all of the between meal snacking I do. "eh I'll work it off in class tonight/tomorrow. I used up so many calories in class I have to reset my metabolism" :D

I couldn't go to the gym or whatever because that wouldn't hold my interest long enough to be of any use.

And in a way I also do it because of what Nathan said up there. If I want world peace I should learn to be a bit more relaxed and peaceful myself.

Wil Branca 01-04-2004 11:43 PM

Because I look like a STUD in my gi & the chicks dig it.

Because the dojo is close to my house.

Because the word "Aikido" just SOUNDS cool.

Because it's magic.

Because I already paid for it.

Because willing victims are more desirable than lawsuits.

* Actually, I stopped going about 6 weeks ago, but I'm going back tomorrow.

Anyway, just thought I'd add nothing to the thread...:D

:circle:

Peter Malecek 01-05-2004 04:01 PM

It's what I do (work is something that feeds the family).

It's something that has let me travel the world for the last 15 years knowing that somewhere in the next town there's a dojo where I can train (and sometimes sleep) and people I can communicate with, and this despite the fact that I may only have a tenuous grip on their language.

It makes the beer taste better.

Peter Malecek 01-05-2004 04:08 PM

Wow the second paragraph in my last post sounds pompous (that was not the intent, sometimes I can come off as a real prat, sorry).

Reuben Lee 01-13-2004 05:32 AM

Well , for me ,I do it beacause it's fun and I guess there's just something about it (that I can't explain) ,that makes me wanna do it.

It's like being a Jedi in Star Wars except that Aikido is real .Ha , nike ,just do it !

Reuben Lee 01-13-2004 05:36 AM

Quote:

Nathan gidney (p00kiethebear) wrote:
I think more than anything, i'm a strong believer in the values taught.

Ever since a bought with cancer, I've wanted to help people, and try to put others / world peace before myself.

So in a sense, I practice aikido, so that i can learn to pass it on to others.

It's a way of resolving conflict. I believe that the only guarentee in life, is conflict, it's everywhere, one of the reasons we have so much fear and strife in the world is because people don't have a great way to respond to it. I feel like if someday i can help to better one person, then maybe i've made the world, just that much better.

I'm with you man. Doing it with a great attitude makes me want to do it even more.

SeanToner 01-14-2004 04:28 PM

I do it because I want to understand the difference between knowing, and doing/being.

Most any endeavor can teach you how to meditate, relax and understand our own true nature. But I think Aikido is so versatile because it teaches so many things at once. And it's fun in a hard sort of way.

philipsmith 01-15-2004 02:35 AM

I once asked a friend why he played golf. He said "because I can't do it right yet".

I know exactly what he means; I started Aikido in 1968 and when I get it right I'll give up.

carloguevarra 01-23-2004 08:07 PM

if you're asking me why i do aikido, it's like you're asking me "why do you breath".

indomaresa 01-24-2004 12:44 AM

one day, I was walking on a street whistling, with not a care in the world.

Three people in dark coats, sunglasses and hats suddenly appeared from an alley and grabbed me. They forcibly dragged me to a dark room, screaming all the way.

I am forced to sign some papers under threats.

oh.. wait, sorry - wrong thread.

Because it's....fun


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