Dojo: Aikido Institute of Oakland
Location: Alameda, California
Join Date: Jul 2005
Re: HOW does aikido change us?
"What is the mechanism by which personal change/growth occurs in aikido practitioners? I would like to start this thread from the assumption that, that aikido does in some way change us as people, and to ask how this transformation occurs? Is it for example the result of simple physical exercise, increased social support or of other spiritual factors."
Even if one watches an aikido class and decides not to follow the way, one is changed. They will now seek out an art other than aikido. Poor, pathetic souls. :-)
When one practices aikido on a regular basis for any length of time, aikido does change the practitioner. Growth depends upon the aikidoka. The question is whether that is the goal or the unexpected result :-)
Some come to aikido seeking a martial art...solely focused on self defense. They may find this, and thus are changed and therefore "grow". Through physical training and technique, if they train hard enough and often enough, they eventually learn self defense.
Some come to aikido seeking the spiritual aspect. And they are changed and therefore grow. They continue to train, whether it be to seek another martial art, because aikido did not meet their needs, or in aikido because aikido does.
Through my various training in aikido I have found that it has changed me mentally, physical, emotionally, and spiritually. All at different times in my training, all at different levels or efforts of training, all at different points in my training.
At times, my technique seemed to improve dramatically, and that changed bits of my life, increased my confidence. Other times, I trained hard, and felt the physical improvement in my body and thus extended myself, and grew. Certain days, I saw the spiritual side of aikido (more often off the mat) and worked on that in my life and therefore grew.
I believe that every student comes to aikido in his or her own time....whether it be surviving the "physical" of the training, finding the "mental" of the training, or finally figuring out the "spirit" of the training. Of course, we all suffer the "emotional" of the training whether we wish it or not. (Injuries, body resistance, finding the time, committing to training, walking away from training, etc.)
Some of us come for a short time and benefit greatly, only to leave our aikido training. If we are lucky, we return to dedication to our art, with the hope that we will benefit further...
Just my humble perspective,
BTW, learning to ride horseback takes a great deal of training and skill. One of the skills developed is balance. Another other is learning to react the entire body to movement. Also, one learns that just because the horse might outweigh you by a thousand pounds plus, that does not mean that the horse is in control of the situation. Ergo, one learns balance, control, confidence, etc....
Aikido Definition "Martial art adapted to the project of giving practitioners the EXPERIENCE (i.e., sans theories, words, or concepts) of reconciliation."
I really like that :-) Works for me on so many levels :-)