Michael Fooks wrote:
This is one of my biggest beefs with Aikido. And I think it's a fantastic art. But it's not an art that is always honest with people. Sure it teaches effective self defence for the streets in that there are people out there that have used it for just that. But if someone comes in saying that's what they're looking for - there's a bunch of caveats that person should be given in my opinion. But generally they're not.
Not sure what people in other dojo are told or not told as the case may be.
I will tell you the moment I set foot in Saotome Sensei's dojo in Wash DC/Takoma Park MD, it was very clear. In fact there is a great big sign that outlines the rules, etiquette, and the expectations that one can expect of aikido.
In addition, here is an excerpt from the ASU handbook that is given pretty much the very first day.
"Aikido training is to challenge yourself, not the other. You will develop confidence by facing your fears, and negative fighting spirit will become creative fighting spirit. The stress and pressure of serious Aikido training brings this spirit to the surface, exposing it so that it can be examined and refined in a controlled atmosphere of respect and mutual study. Discovering your physical limitations will cause you to reflect on the deepest meanings of harmony and conflict, and to strive for a level of consciousness above the selfish ego, closer to a universal consciousness. "
So to me it was clear...at least from the dojo's perspective.
What was not so clear was my own projections, persceptions, and expectations of aikido. Like many, I tried to make the practice into something that it was not.
Funny how we can be told things, shown things, etc....but we filter out things and only hear or see what we want to!
Not sure if this is true of every dojo, and person...but I think it happens more oft than not!