Aikido Or Squash
Aikido magazines, leaflets and literature of every Aikido organisation, the Masters' writings, and, above all, the talks of the Aikido practitioners use to repeat the following sing-song, like a well tuned and conducted chorus: Aikido is not a sport. It is instead a high level spiritual path, which covers every aspect of the life and aims to improve the quality of the practitioners existence.
The function of Aikido as a path is what mostly interests Aikido people and attracts who joins our discipline for the first time. That is what differentiates Aikido from other activities in various fields, namely sports, philosophy, culture or religion. We all get upset when the outsiders mistake Aikido for a sport; no-one of us would like Aikido teaching to be confused with those of one of the many new born religions that are trendy today.
We are proud to feel within ourselves that the activity we have committed to is really being useful to our person, we reckon that it is helping us. Aikido also distinguishes us from other people unable to save a part of their day-time to take care of themselves, preferring instead to spend their spare time in less beneficial activities.
The above mentioned sing-song has a truthful and well-deserved reason to be. It is a pity though that like in all human things, between words and action everything is in the way.
In fact, if you really want to verify the reality of that sing-song, you will notice that amongst those chorus singers Mario and Pippo have to share their spare time between the activity A and B; every second time Gina is so tired that can just sit on the couch watching telly; Franco, then, just doesn't go to the training, even if he's not busy. The younger ones have the noble excuse to be in trouble with their home-work, though millions of school students have exactly the same problem....
Someone could rightly say, if Aikido is undoubtedly not a sport, it is also true that many Aikido practitioners are just sport-men, and they are different from body-building or basket-ball followers only in relation to the different kind of movements and techniques they engage in. For what it concerns the rest they are definitely the same. Actually, to be honest, there is a small difference: a football team coach will exclude from the team activity those players absent for more than three training sessions.
We could easily object that the first rule of Aikido practice concerns the acceptance of our fellow students, it doesn't matter in which manner they will manifest themselves. The laziness we notice in other people, what in them often annoys us, what we call in them defects, all that is a sort of mirror reflecting our own lacks. Notwithstanding, it is be better to remember that it is a shame to own a Ferrari car and drive it always at 20 miles an hour.