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James Jones 06-02-2005 09:30 PM

Too many expectations?
 
Hi. I have not started to train in Aikido yet. This has been due to financial reasons, but my situation is improving as I have found a better job so I hope to begin in the near future.(the new job I mentioned in my introductory post did not pan out, unfortunately, but I was lucky to find something else).
What this post is about though, is whether or not the enthusiasm I've had about Aikido, is founded. I have had all of this excitement about training and all of the positive things I have hoped to come with it. But that excitement is starting to wane as I begin to doubt whether or not it was justified. Basically, I have all of these expectations about Aikido and how it will help me that I am starting to question. I have been aware basically from the time I was first interested in Aikido, of the strengths and weaknesses of its techniques. So that is not what I am talking about. It is my personal development expectations of Aikido, that I am starting to somewhat doubt are realistic. Here are some examples in no particular order:

-I would like to learn how to be tougher, both physically, but mainly mentally.For instance, I have a hard time tolerating boredom. So I guess that means...
- I want more patience too.
-I would like to be better able to concentrate and focus
-I would like to learn how to better cope with anxiety/stress.
-I want to learn strategies for not letting things people say/do bother me as much.
-While I certainly do not want to learn how to manipulate people, I would like to learn effective ways of negotiating and communicating with others that bring about mutually good results.
-I would like to learn strategies for not letting bad things life throws my way, bother me as much.
-I would like to learn how to better find the path of least resistance. I know that sounds strange. But I mean it in the sense of finding the harmonious way, not necessarily the "lazy" one.

That's probably not a complete list. But are the things I have listed unrealistic? I know much of what I get from training depends on me, the individual.Are these appropriate things to expect from a martial art? I know Aikido is different though, so I'm not sure. I would just like some input on this.

Thanks


Jones

bkedelen 06-02-2005 09:54 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Aikido will not give you anything. You will get to earn everything you get, clawing your way forward one inch at a time, just like all the rest of us.

James Jones 06-02-2005 10:07 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Quote:

Benjamin Edelen wrote:
Aikido will not give you anything. You will get to earn everything you get, clawing your way forward one inch at a time, just like all the rest of us.

I'm not entirely sure I understand what you are saying.
I don't want to put words in your mouth, so please correct me if I am wrong:
Are you saying basically that I can obtain these things by practicing Aikido it just depends on how hard I will work at it and that it will take a long time?

To be clear, I never expected to be given or handed anything without having to work for it. To the contrary, I think the things I want can only be obtained through hard work and that they can't just be given.



Jones

Bronson 06-02-2005 10:26 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Hi James,

I can only relate my experience, so here goes.

I had to let go of my expectations and pre-conceptions. I had to learn to enjoy training for training's sake. When the life lessons appear, and they do, I try to recognize them and go back to training for training's sake. The less I look for training to change me and my life the more I notice how much of an impact it has. I don't even think it's aikido training specifically. I think the same things could be found in dedicated training in most anything. I know musicians who talk about things they've learned about themselves/life through music training. I think the trick is to find something that you enjoy enough to have a long-term, goal-less practice and to be open to the lessons when they appear.

Bronson

bkedelen 06-02-2005 11:03 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
My last post conveys more grumpiness than information. Allow me to clarify:
My intent was to convey that you cannot expect Aikido training to benefit you in most of the ways you would expect, and that its real benefits are both subtle and hard won. A constant and concrete benefit of Aikido is membership in an organization of discipline and conscience. This benefit is not to be taken lightly, because such organizations are an extreme rarity. While it is possible that if you train in Aikido, some or all of the areas you indicated above will see improvement, it is more likely that if you target each area on your list and challenging yourself daily to improve, you will see much more success because of your less oblique approach. Aikido WILL eventually allow you to exchange hardship for benefit at a one to one (or worse) ratio, but you cannot hope to know what those benefits will be. Such benefits seem to bubble to the surface in the form of small to medium sized epiphany.

RebeccaM 06-02-2005 11:15 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
In my case the benefits kinda snuck in in such a subtle manner I didn't even realize what had happened until I read some things I'd written years ago.

Studying aikido is like any other worthwhile endeavour. What you get out of it is directly proportional to what you put in. You've set some lofty goals, but none are unrealistic. However, you will not meet any of those goals overnight. You may not even meet them by this time next year. Just keep at it and remember to have fun. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.

People start aikido for a variety of reasons, but they stay for the same reason: they love it. You have to love it. Your goals can be acheived through other means. Also keep in mind what Bronson said. It may be better for you to write out this list of goals you have going and hide it away. THen come back to it in a few years and see how you're doing. I have this quote on my wall: "The thing we tell of can never be found by seeking, yet only seekers find it." You want to be a better person, and if you stick with it you will be, if only because sweating and bleeding and crying always makes you a better person, but that's more a side effect than anything else.

Nick Simpson 06-03-2005 04:57 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
You get out what you put in.

giriasis 06-03-2005 07:46 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
My expectations really changed after I started practicing aikido. I read up on it for about 6 months before I started aikido. I read all the books on ki and the more metaphysical side of aikido. You see, at that time, I was that kind of person. I only experienced things by reading about them. A consequence of so much of my life being focused on my educations. I was very "intellectual" about aikido before I started it.

But when I began training my perception of what aikido was about changed. It became very physcial and not the spiritual and emotional side of it that I expected or even sought. All the spiritual sounding passages in books became very pratical. Ki, to me, was very physical -- physics and physiology. I was faced with literal physical challenges such as learning to roll, to breakfall, and learning to deal with my weight and eventually being motivated to lose that weight so I could train, physcially train much more intensely.

Now, after 6 years of aikido, I'm beginning to face mental and emotional challenges that have a tendency to well up and confront me while I'm on the mat. Personal issues that I have never dealt with before.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is don't rely on your current expectations too much. They are great to get you interested in aikido and to get you started. But, if they change or what you start to get out of aikido is different don't be disappointed, but rather embarce it. Just think of it as traversing that part of the path that you need to follow.

rob_liberti 06-03-2005 07:56 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Having a "path" is invaluable. Subvert society's rules and join aikido. Learn to connect energeticly to people and build community across economic boundries. I love that doctors, plumbers, stone masons, college students, and VPs of companies all work together in in one place. My partner a few years back for a demonstration in Japan was a VP of Kawasaki (who was also a motor-cross champion). I don't think I would have had to opportunity to meet him outside of aikido...

Learning to make judgments outside of the ego-self is a difficult one. I'm just starting to understand that I need to figure out how to approach this. But, I'd say that aikido does provide a path, you just have to want to continue to follow it.

Rob

SeiserL 06-03-2005 08:05 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
IMHO, Aikido cannot meet your expectations. Its how you personally train in Aikido that can meet, exceed, or fall short of your expectations. The choice is yours. Aikido is only a tool.

James Jones 06-03-2005 11:22 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Thank you all for your replies. While it was not the big resounding "Definitely yes, all of the things you mentioned will absolutely, without a doubt come to you." that I was hoping for, the explanations I was given still seem to me, encouraging. As a matter of fact, if the replies were like the quote above, it would probably just make me even more skeptical. The posts while indivudally different, seemed to echo a more or less uniform message that I'm not going to attempt to summarize or reiterate. I think I understand. If I try to put it in words, I may just confuse myself more. :)

I am still interested if anyone else has anything to say about this, or wants to relate their own experience.

Thanks

Jones

giriasis 06-03-2005 02:07 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
James, I don't think things will "just come to you", you do have to make an effort that they will come to you. I think that was Lynn's point. (Lynn, please correct me if I'm wrong)

However, I think aikido is a better tool for such things, than working out at the gym. I'm sure there are folks out there who can create and fullfill those same expectations who do something like gardening, weight training, etc. But even if aikido is more prone to it (perhaps because of its philosophy) you, yourself, still have the responsibility for making that happen. My self-discovery was just that. Before Aikido, I was that just thinking about profound ideas did nothing for me (before aikido I studied Wicca, Zen, Islam, Taoism, New Age, and other self-improvement movements [Deepak Chopra]), but with aikido I have actual practiced it. Applying my thoughts to my actions is what has made the biggest difference fulfilling expectations, albeit expectations that changed after I started aikido.

The best way to keep yourself from getting dissillusioned is being open to the possibility that your understanding of aikido will change, like me, and as a result your expectations will, too. Yes, you can fulfill that list of yours, but in the end it is up to you to make it happen.

Janet Rosen 06-03-2005 05:12 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Oh, jeez. just get on the mat and don't worry; you are not signing away your life and you will either like it or you won't, either take to it or not. And if in a wk or a month or a yr or a decade, you decide "nope, not for me" that's ok too.

JiuJitsuka 06-03-2005 06:31 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Quote:

Oh, jeez. just get on the mat and don't worry; you are not signing away your life and you will either like it or you won't, either take to it or not. And if in a wk or a month or a yr or a decade, you decide "nope, not for me" that's ok too.
AMEN, Janet. :D James we have a little motto that says alot in our dojo. "JUST DO IT". Look how well it did for Nike :rolleyes: :D . Anyhow get in there and go and most important have fun with it. Good Luck.

Brian

James Jones 06-03-2005 07:08 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
While I do have some respect for the "just do it" mentality for its practical approach, I like to ask questions and think about things before I make a decision.Honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But I probably do it a little too much. ;)

I do sense a little annoyance that I came on here and asked some questions that some of you may not consider really worth asking. I don't know, to me they seemed valid enough. "Just do it" definitely has its place, and I can imagine it does in Aikido. I just thought Aikido and Aikidoka had more of a balance to that also.

I might expect more of a "shut up and go practice" sentiment, if I would post something like this on say, a Brazilian Ju Jitsu,boxing,or wrestling board. Which is certainly understandable and I would deserve it, as those disciplines-while I regard them quite highly-don't really have a marked philosophical element to them. Hell, it is for that element that I sought out Aikido. No offense, but if I was only looking to be a better fighter, I would look into a different martial art. Some of you are starting to make me feel like I made a Ki post on Bullshido or something.


Jones

giriasis 06-03-2005 08:02 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Quote:

While I do have some respect for the "just do it" mentality for its practical approach, I like to ask questions and think about things before I make a decision.Honestly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But I probably do it a little too much.
Well, James, this is why I'm saying what I'm saying. I think you are thinking about it too much. I didn't believe it until I started practicing aikido, and I think most people here who are saying "just do it" mean. They are not annoyed. They are trying to make a point. My biggest discovery about the difference between "studying it" and "practicing it" is that I didn't understand aikido as well as I did from just studying it. Yes, you can find these answers, but the best way to do it is to find a dojo you like that you feel will meet your needs the best and join. It might be intimindating to start -- it took me about 6 months to walk into a dojo -- but once you start it's not as bad as you will think. You will discover answers to your questions, then discover some more new questions find new answers, AND sometimes you will not find all the answers. Or the answers don't come right away as your too busy figuring out your left from your right foot.

And if people didn't think talking about aikido, asking questions about aikido isn't worthwhile they wouldn't be posting on these bulletin boards. Whether we admit or not, we all like to talk about aikido.

Most people are not going to give you the answers, because they know you will have to find them for yourself and that is where the training and self-discovery comes in. It wouldn't be self-discovery if you didn't find it our for youself.

So please don't take people's comments as discouraging you from training but rather as encouraging you to join our little aikido club. You can keep asking questions, but realize until you step in the dojo there will be people who will just tell you to "just train". I know before I started aikido, I didn't believe that either, but now I do. I over-think things, over-analyze things, too. But taking that big step and walking into a dojo for the first time has paid off and is well worth it.

SteveTrinkle 06-03-2005 09:14 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Some time ago, I asked a few of the senior students in our group why they do aikido. These Japanese guys are all 6 dan and training for 30 years or so. They told me they train beause it makes the beer taste better.

Janet Rosen 06-03-2005 10:01 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
James, it is a physical art, it has to be DONE. This is not a verbalization of annoyance, it's bluntly expressing the reality of it. Discussing what one can get out of it is meaningless out of context. Everybody gets something else out of the art and you won't know how YOU will feel, what needs will be satisfied, what buttons will be pushed, until your body is on the mat.

James Jones 06-03-2005 10:49 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Anne Marie,
Thank you for your encouraging post and for being polite.

Steve,
That's interesting. I don't drink so I guess I won't know. But then again, I don't do Aikido either. I just think about it a lot. But I don't think about drinking.
Maybe if I think about drinking, then in my mind alcohol will taste better since I think about Aikido a lot. Then I will think beer might taste good, so then I'll drink some beer.
Then I'll drink and drink until I lose enough of my brain cells and lose my ability to think about Aikido and then I'll actually do it. Problem solved! ;)


Janet,

"James, it is a physical art, it has to be DONE. This is not a verbalization of annoyance, it's bluntly expressing the reality of it."

You don't think I realize this? Where did I ever express a belief that Aikido was not physical?

" Discussing what one can get out of it is meaningless out of context."

So now I guess my original questions are meaningless as well as this whole thread.
Janet, I have a question for you. At first it sounds like I'm being a jerk, but keep reading, because I'm not.:

Have you thought about attending college?
I'm not asking if you attended college, I'm asking if you thought about it. For example, did you ask yourself, why you should go? Did you think about what you would major in, and why? Did you consider what the benefits of higher education would be?

I'm inclined to believe that most would think these questions are valid and are far from "meaningless". And yeah, I am aware that many people go to college just because their parents tell them that they should.

I played football in highschool. I thought about that before I did it. In retrospect, I wish I would have thought about it more because I absolutely hated it. Some things about it were good, but most of it, I just didn't like. But I did think about it. I just thought wrong. Twice(I played two seasons). Of course, aforementioned parental influence did have an effect on my decision(not wanting to disappoint...etc).



Jones

Bronson 06-04-2005 01:59 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
I don't think anyone is saying DON'T think about aikido. I think they are saying that you've thought about it, gotten some input, now it's time to try it...next step.

You can read about, talk about, and learn about riding a bike but you'll never really know what it's like until you get on one and go.

Get pedaling! :D

Bronson

Ben Eaton 06-04-2005 08:33 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
I agree with Bronson. I've been doing Aikido for a short time, my 8th lesson was today, but before I began I was thinking about it a lot, would it be right for me, would it be what I expected, or better or worse?

The thing that clinched it for me was when I went to my sensei's house (the man who was going to be my sensei) and he sat me down, explained about the art, and above all, demonstrated some of the physical aspects. After all, that was what I would be doing in the classes. After that I had no doubt that I would be attending the dojo, and after the first lesson sensei asked me if I felt I wanted to continue to learn it.
The answer was a resounding "Yes", which I could only be sure of after first trying the art for myself.

Going to your college analogy, don't colleges have open days where you can go and have a look for yourself?

bkedelen 06-04-2005 10:38 AM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
James, one reason everyone so sincerely wants you to get into the dojo is because each and every one of us is quietly kicking ourselves for our own procrastination at the beginning. There will NEVER be enough time to explore the rabbit hole, and everyone wishes that they had started earlier and trained harder in the past.

aikigirl10 06-04-2005 12:07 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
I think that as long as u are focused in your aikido training that , you can find all of these things through aikido. I've gained very much physical and mental strength through aikido. It all depends on the person and how motivated you are to work toward your goals.
hope this helps ... -Paige

p00kiethebear 06-04-2005 01:24 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Be prepared.

Once you start to figure it out. You realize it's absolutely nothing like what you expected.

Usually for the best.

Janet Rosen 06-04-2005 04:09 PM

Re: Too many expectations?
 
Quote:

James Jones wrote:
Have you thought about attending college?
I'm not asking if you attended college, I'm asking if you thought about it. For example, did you ask yourself, why you should go? Did you think about what you would major in, and why? Did you consider what the benefits of higher education would be?

Yep. It was a four year full time committment to professional training, cost thousands of dollars, and meant that most other parts of my life were on hold. I could have decided to change majors or to drop out, but it was an upfront decision to do this thing for this long for this goal. At the same time....
I've been happy over the decades to try everything from volunteering with raptors to hatmaking to tutoring schoolkids to fencing in order to see if the actual practice would be something I might want to pursue. For me, approaching aikido is closer to this than to my nursing degree.
There was no way to foresee 9 yrs ago that I'd stay with it despite being a slow and stupid learner, despite knee injury, surgery and rehab, and now, despite a regression that is causing me to get in my own way.


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