Re: Fear in Aikido
I started martial arts as a kid because I wanted to be a ninja turtle. My adult return to martial arts was not because of fear. It was because I was looking to do something cool and get into shape. Though that I found competition and judo/bjj. I found I loved competition and now I am where I am today.
I'm sure a lot of martial artists get into martial arts because of fear. Some also never test themselves and let the fear build into something very uhealthy. I had a conversation a few weeks back with a kid who started at my bjj club. After about a week of training we were talking and he said he wished bjj was more realistic in a street self defense arena. I asked him what he ment and he talked about how sport oriented it was and how he wished we talked more about dealing with groin stirkes, eye gouges, leg pinches, and pavement. It was at that moment that I realized he was actually afraid of getting attacked on the streets. I asked the guys I trained with if they were worried about self defense. I found that most of the guys in gym didn't even concider self defense as a reason to train. Some where there for fun, some for money they win in the ring, some for the coolness factor, and some because they loved the sport and wanted to make something of themselves. I asked if they thought they could defend themselves on the street, and they said either that they felt they could handle a single guy no problem, or they wouldn't want to fight on the street because there might be a gun or weapon. This is a stark difference from a few clubs I've visited in my area that train in non-sport martial arts. These guys seem to focus all of their energy on self defense. They talk about how dangerious the streets are, they talk about getting home alive. They talk about how stuff they do is too deadly for the ring. Very few are honest enough to admit they would not do well in a ring. They want to belive they are deadly no matter what the encounter. This is arrogance and fear. This is the trap we all need to be watchful of. It is fine to concider self defense an important issue and to train for it. But we need to always keep honesty in our training. Honesty is the most important thing we have. Otherwise we are just dancing and telling ourselves we are bad dudes.
Because of my sport training I know my physical limits. I know exactly what I can and can't do. I know the limits of my cardio, strength, speed, technique. I can look at a guy and determine if he will give me trouble or not in a matter of a few seconds with fairly good accuracy (looks can be deceiving now and then). I also have the honesty to say what I am and am not prepared for. How many people train death strikes but really do not have it any them to take a life. Regardless of if the technique works, what is the point of training something you would not have the heart to use? Why carry a gun you never shoot? I know exactly what it takes to do what I do, and I know I am prepared to do it because I do it on a dialy basis already.
I didn't want to write self defense vs sport but I aways seem to end up talking about it. So I'll shut up now and leave you with this. No matter how you train, or what you focus on, make sure you are prepared to do what you train to do for real, and make sure you know what it takes to do it, and be honest with yourself.