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Old 01-05-2010, 07:34 AM   #23
Linda Eskin
 
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Dojo: Aikido of San Diego, San Diego, California
Location: San Diego County, California
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 326
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Re: My Own thoughts on Aikido

I am also a beginner. There is a lot of truth in "practice, practice, practice," but I've also found a lot of value in reading. Someday I'll put together a list, but basically find any books that sound interesting to you, that get decent reviews on Amazon, and read them. Get a lot of points of view. It helps me learn to learn - what to look for, questions to keep in mind - if that makes sense. I really like Carol Shifflett's book "Aikido Exercises" for a broad overview and starting point for reading. I'd also highly recommend George Ledyard's whole "Principles of Aiki" DVD series. And there's a lot more out there.

I find the old "it's like peeling an onion" thing to be true. There are layers upon layers upon layers. There's physics, psychology, physiology, misdirection, body language... The layers continuously reveal themselves. Maybe others discover everything on their own on the mat. Personally, it helps me if someone says "look, notice this aspect when you're practicing."

(To borrow the math anaology, it can be helpful, even when one is practicing times tables - or learning to add 2+2 - to have some idea where it's all headed. So knowing that someday you could use math to figure out how much water it takes to fill your swimming pool, even if you'll have no idea how to actually do that math for a long while, is fun. Just to have some idea what lies ahead. "Just sit down and do your homework" never set very well with me.)

As for whether it really works in a fight. Are you planning on getting into a fight? My thinking would be that if anything it could help me avoid a fight. I'm unlikely to get into barroom brawls, but there are lots of kinds of "fights" and avoiding them is usually a good idea. I don't practice Aikido to become a fighter. I would question the priorities of a student, or an art, that is focused on getting better at fighting (except sport, of course - get in a ring and knock each other silly for fun, whatever).

Happy training.

Last edited by Linda Eskin : 01-05-2010 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Added the bit about math.

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"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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