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-   -   Is Aikido "Hard"? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15021)

Mary Eastland 08-27-2008 07:23 AM

Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
I was reading on another board where an aikidoka stated that long term commitment to aikido is hard.

I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

Aikido requires patience and humilty and courage. It seems like a wild adventure without ever having to go look for it. People travel to mountain tops to find what I have found in Aikido....

Any thoughts?
Mary

raul rodrigo 08-27-2008 07:30 AM

Re: is aikido hard?
 
If it wasn't hard it wouldn't be worth doing.

gdandscompserv 08-27-2008 09:01 AM

Re: is aikido hard?
 
it's hard to stop.:D

Tony Wagstaffe 08-27-2008 09:23 AM

Re: is aikido hard?
 
Anything worth doing is "hard"
That goes with any real discipline that takes real effort, patience and determination.....
Tony :)

John A Butz 08-27-2008 09:32 AM

Re: is aikido hard?
 
The art itself is not necessarily hard. Committing to the mastery of the art at the highest level you are able to achieve, however, is incredibly hard. Thats why the only true constant in training is that eventually, everyone stops. Either they stop because they pass on after having pursued mastery for their entire lives, or they quit because the sacrifices required are no longer acceptable to them.

Long term commitment to mastery requires sacrifice and devotion. You have to sacrifice time, money, and energy. You need to make choices about how you will spend your weekends and your evenings after work. You need to find the time in your daily life to practice things. You need to be willing to accept and expect criticism, constantly adjust your goals to be just outside of your reach, and understand that you will meet with failure on the road more often then you will meet with success.

I am not trying to make a value judgement, because I can think of many good reasons to stop sacrificing your time/money/energy etc to the pursuit of aikido. I wrestle with some of them myself. I wonder if other areas of my life would have faired better had I devoted even a small portion of my aikido effort to them.

For me, in the end, pursuit of mastery has been a hard road, and it will continue to be a hard road, and the choice to stay on it is a hard choice. It is also, for me, the right choice. I can attribute much of the success I have found in life to my willingness to do what is hard, when merely doing what is easy would have been enough to get by.

Ron Tisdale 08-27-2008 09:44 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Thanks for that post Budd...going through some hard family, work and aikido times now, and that was a needed perspective.

Best,
Ron

John A Butz 08-27-2008 09:49 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Ron, did you just mistake me for Budd? :)

I hope things work out for you my friend, be safe and take care.

Ron Tisdale 08-27-2008 10:18 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
OOPs... :D

Yes, I did!

Best,
Ron

MM 08-27-2008 11:07 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Well, the two of them are nearly identical. It's easy to get them confused. It's like saying which one is Jerry Lewis and which one is Lou Costello. Or which one is Larry or Curly. ;) (Gee, I can't wait to get up there to train with them again.)

bkedelen 08-27-2008 11:14 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
I'd say it is more ... "moist".

lbb 08-27-2008 11:20 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 214621)
I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

I'm not sure how widely that connotation is shared...but even assuming it's universal, does that have to be a bad thing? Put another way, if someone were to describe their experience in training aikido, and they used some adjectives that have negative connotations, would you wonder why they were training?

In Autumn Lightning, Dave Lowry wrote the following passage. It describes a kind of "hard" that I encounter over and over and over again in the martial arts. I don't expect it to ever go away. If it did, I don't know that I'd continue training.

"There were moments in my training, too many to count, when Sensei's bokken came slashing at me and I thought with the merest periphery of my consciousness about the parry and counter. The center of my attention was taken with my own limitations, and I wondered how much more I could take. From the moment I had stepped into the dojo, I began a struggle with boundaries, imposed by my mind, that threatened and bullied at every step to overwhelm meI fought a dozen duels with myself for every cut I made with the katana. Sometimes I won, sometimes not. The nights when I won over myself and pushed back the limitations a bit, I would jump down under the stone bridge in the park on my way home, full of confidence and contentment, rubbing my sore muscles briskly, reveling in the whole specialness of being a part of the classical martial arts. But there were other nights, many others, when I crept down under the bridge, tucked my arms around my legs, and stained the knees of my jeans with tears."

Ron Tisdale 08-27-2008 11:24 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Thanks for that Mary M. Great quote.

Best,
Ron

Mark Uttech 08-27-2008 11:28 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Onegaishimasu. I always wished that "Autumn Lightning" would be made into a movie. I even tried my hand at writing a screenplay for it!

In gassho,

Mark

SeiserL 08-27-2008 11:46 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
IMHO,
hard, soft, internal
enjoyable, frustrating
empowering, humbling
that's the discipline.

Diane Stevenson 08-27-2008 12:33 PM

Re: is aikido hard?
 
Quote:

John Butz wrote: (Post 214633)
Long term commitment to mastery requires sacrifice and devotion. You have to sacrifice time, money, and energy. You need to make choices about how you will spend your weekends and your evenings after work. You need to find the time in your daily life to practice things. You need to be willing to accept and expect criticism, constantly adjust your goals to be just outside of your reach, and understand that you will meet with failure on the road more often then you will meet with success.

I totally agree. And because there are no competitions, and less emphasis on rank, the choice to continue training is internally driven. More so than in other MA's, I think. Furthermore, because of the nature of Aikido (balance-blending-centering as opposed to muscle) even though there are seasons in life when training is too costly, it's never too late to return.

Aikido hard? Well, yeah.

So is learning a new language, or earning a Bachelors degree.

Lyle Bogin 08-27-2008 08:01 PM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Aikido is hard. The belts make it a bit easier. But with no competition, it's complicated.

lbb 08-28-2008 06:50 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Quote:

Mark Uttech wrote: (Post 214655)
Onegaishimasu. I always wished that "Autumn Lightning" would be made into a movie. I even tried my hand at writing a screenplay for it!

Wow, that would be wicked difficult. I'm not sure which would be harder, the historical parts (so much background there!) or the internal processes like in the passage I quoted. I'd love to see it, though. AL is one of my all-time fave books.

BTW, do you remember the passage that follows that one -- the one about why he didn't quit? That's another one worth hanging onto.

Peter Goldsbury 08-28-2008 07:49 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 214621)
I was reading on another board where an aikidoka stated that long term commitment to aikido is hard.

I would describe it as interesting...maybe challenging...but hard?
For me that provides a slightly negative connatation.

Aikido requires patience and humilty and courage. It seems like a wild adventure without ever having to go look for it. People travel to mountain tops to find what I have found in Aikido....

Any thoughts?
Mary

Well, you asked for thoughts.

First, here is a very personal anecdote, which happened over 30 years ago.

In the early 70s I trained in the New England Aikikai. The dojo was the old dojo in Central Square, Cambridge. Kanai Sensei always taught the evening classes and there was a regular group of students. One night we were doing 2-kyou. I was training in the usual, glorious, way that young 1st kyu students do when they think they have mastered the entire art--and there is only a short step to shodan.

Then Kanai Sensei appeared before me and took uke. I wanted to do the best 2-kyou of which I was capable, but try as I might, I could not put 2-kyou on him. With other students, he would wait patiently and gently sink into seiza, allowing a modest arm lock, but in this occasion he really tore a strip off me and asked severely why I "could do nothing". When he saw the tears welling up, I think he relented and accepted the waza with a short, "That's better".

A few weeks later, when I was due to return to England, the dojo held a special training for me, at the end of which I had to take uke from everyone in the dojo--and they chose the waza. At the end of successive shiho-nages and koshi-nages, it was finally Kanai Sensei's turn and, with a smile and a 'wicked' gleam in his eye, he did 2-kyou.

A few thoughts
As you say, aikido requires patience, humility and courage, but why should this not also be hard--and also not have a negative connotation? What is so wrong with negative connotations?

After almost 30 years of training in Japan, I have broken with the teacher I have had for these 30 years. Have you ever had to break with your own teacher after such a long time, especially a teacher who has been very close and exacting in the demands he makes of his students? It was a major wrench and left me very much sadder, but perhaps a little wiser. I would think that most people would think of this experience as, well, hard.

Best wishes,

PAG

Lan Powers 08-28-2008 10:14 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Wow! I will just put my little flippant remark I had all ready, right back in my pocket then....

Thank you Prof. Goldsbury, quite a humbling perspective.
Lan

Marc Abrams 08-28-2008 11:13 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
My focus is on making my Aikido soft. Soft like the tip on a cat-of-nine-tails (type of whip)!

Marc Abrams

George S. Ledyard 08-28-2008 11:14 AM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 214717)
After almost 30 years of training in Japan, I have broken with the teacher I have had for these 30 years. Have you ever had to break with your own teacher after such a long time, especially a teacher who has been very close and exacting in the demands he makes of his students? It was a major wrench and left me very much sadder, but perhaps a little wiser. I would think that most people would think of this experience as, well, hard.

Best wishes,

PAG

It was never the training that was the hardest... From the first moment I got on the mat I loved it, I've always loved it, still love it. Sure there have been moments of exhaustion and frustration, certainly injuries, but always, after a bit of rest, or some recovery time, I have wanted to get right back in and start playing again.

The hard parts have been managing relationships while doing this art seriously. A couple of marriages, four kids, and the same teacher all these years later and I can say that this was always the hardest part of the commitment.

Breaking with a teacher would be a tremendously painful experience, much like getting divorced. But as has been discussed on another thread, not breaking with your teacher can also be a very difficult experience. Decisions get made when the difficulties of one choice outweighs the difficulty of the other I think.

Trish Greene 08-28-2008 12:40 PM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 214652)
I'
In Autumn Lightning, Dave Lowry wrote the following passage. It describes a kind of "hard" that I encounter over and over and over again in the martial arts. I don't expect it to ever go away. If it did, I don't know that I'd continue training.

"There were moments in my training, too many to count, when Sensei's bokken came slashing at me and I thought with the merest periphery of my consciousness about the parry and counter. The center of my attention was taken with my own limitations, and I wondered how much more I could take. From the moment I had stepped into the dojo, I began a struggle with boundaries, imposed by my mind, that threatened and bullied at every step to overwhelm meI fought a dozen duels with myself for every cut I made with the katana. Sometimes I won, sometimes not. The nights when I won over myself and pushed back the limitations a bit, I would jump down under the stone bridge in the park on my way home, full of confidence and contentment, rubbing my sore muscles briskly, reveling in the whole specialness of being a part of the classical martial arts. But there were other nights, many others, when I crept down under the bridge, tucked my arms around my legs, and stained the knees of my jeans with tears."

After reading the passage posted here, I checked the book out of the local library. I am starting a long road trip on Friday for the holiday and I am planning on doing a lot of reading! Thank you Mary!

Lan Powers 08-28-2008 01:44 PM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
I love that book as well.........

Will Prusner 08-28-2008 03:11 PM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Not as hard as learning Japanese. I learned to count from 1 to 99 yesterday. Was more tired (mentally) afterwards, than i am after aikido class...usually.

W.

Mary Eastland 08-28-2008 03:32 PM

Re: Is Aikido "Hard"?
 
Aikido is part of the glue that keeps my life together...I do have the blessing of be married to my instuctor...who is an open-minded man.
I watched his process as he left his teacher...It seemed both painful and joyful.
Thank you for sharing your experiences....
Mary


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