looking back on it, years ago, I wasn't looking for a martial art, I wasn't looking for a way to defend myself. I guess a person got me there, the art and the people kept me there. This will get a little long winded but I'll write it out, since others have done the same. A good friend of mine, Gabe, led me to aikido. All through our early highschool years, Gabe was far from what you would call a "good student" in fact, he was a bit of an alcoholic (yes in highschool), averaged F's across the board for his grades, basically , he had nothing going in his life, he was headed for trouble. Well, he loved martial arts movies and won a free month at a local american karate school. He started that and loved it. He went from being a teenage alcoholic, loser, to making straight a's in school, actually showing up every day, working out, stopped smoking, stopped drinking, everything. It completely changed his life. Not long after he started that, someone started teaching aikido one day per week at this school and he started that also, wanting to soak up all the martial arts he could. Well, he somehow managed to talk me into coming and I just never left. It's hard to explain but everything about the art matched and completed how I felt deep inside myself. I was never a fighter, never a competitor. Not because I didn't like to win, but because I was afraid to lose. Aikido gave me something to compete against myself. The only times I ever felt like I lost was when I came to class and didn't focus and train with a serious mind.
As to why do I still train? well, that's a work in progress. Life led me away from aikido for many years. Parties, friends, parties, drugs, you name it. I put myself through some very rough times and I think the mental toughness and sense of self I gained from aikido are two of the major reasons I didn't meet a bad end or end up struggling, as many others who were with me back then are doing now. It took me years to look back on it, but not long ago it came to me. That aikido had given me so much and I had turned my back on it. I started craving that again. I'm still not 100% back. Now life(see work) calls me more than I like but i'm working on it. HOpefully soon i'll be able to devote enough of myself to it again to enjoy it the way I used to.
well, that's it, I hope you find your reasons for training.