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Old 10-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #20
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
Re: Too Busy Too Far

John Vasos wrote: View Post
Hello, this is John (Yianie). I would like to thank everyone for your comments. I have to admit that after reading the first few comments I felt enough humiliation that I stopped even going to the forum for a few weeks. Then today I read some hope.
Secondly, why learn Aikido? Well, I'm a very athletic 52 years old man. I grew up seeing martial arts on television where either you kill or critically hurt some one. Now add the element that I was bullied for most of my childhood. Yes being bullied as a kid does screw you up as an adult. When I first heard of Aikido and the philosophy, I thought it was perfect. Martial arts with compassion. So, yes, I want to learn. Will I ever be a black belt? Most likely not. But knowing how to take someone down to protect yourself from some who has had a really bad day is priceless.
Here's my $0.02, take it for what it's worth. For your purposes, I think any martial art would work as well as aikido, as long as it's a decent and honest dojo, and as long as you're honest with yourself. A lot of people are attracted to the "philosophy" of aikido, and to images they've seen in the movies or on television, but an aikido class is not a philosophy class, and it's nothing like the movies. It's not Master Po or Mr. Miyagi or Bruce Lee teaching the art of fighting wit'out fighting. An aikido sensei is not going to spend class time talking about compassion, and you aren't going to learn anything in the average aikido class about philosophy, spirituality, gently and compassionately dealing with an attacker so as to do no harm, etc. If that is your goal, you should know that it takes a lot of skill to even have a chance of protecting yourself from a determined attacker without harming him/her (and I suspect luck plays a large role too).

So, in my view, the "philosophy" isn't a reason to choose aikido -- it just won't be a large element of your training. And it won't necessarily infuse the spirits of those you train with, either. Don't come to aikido feeling like it's a bastion of enlightened beings and you want to join the ranks -- you will be disappointed.

Another reason to consider another martial art is that aikido has a pretty steep learning curve for a beginner. Aikido's basic techniques are more complicated than, say, karate's -- which means you spend even longer failing to get it and looking silly. I mention this because you mentioned feeling sufficiently humiliated by a few comments from strangers on an internet forum that you went away in discouragement. If those comments (which were pretty mild, I thought) were that discouraging, you'd probably find the actual practice doubly so. There are other martial arts that are less frustrating for the average beginner, and that would serve your purposes equally well, and that might be more convenient for you.
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