Aikido suffering identity problem?
Dear fellow practitioners,
Aikido is many things to many people, evidently as many poster here have their own idea what aikido is to them. It can be a very personal experience. Each practitioner's aikido experience is unique to oneself.
Speak of Tai Chi and most Joe Public will associate it as a health giving exercise, although its history was associated with martial. Talk about Judo and automatically one conjure up images of Olympic sportsmen and women. Judo as a martial art? No, it's image is more of a sport now. Talk about karate and tae kwon do and one sees a tough Bruce Lee figure doing all the high kicks and rapid punches never mind that Bruce's background was in Wing Chun. Talk about Choy Lei Fatt, Hung Gar, Shaolin style and without a doubt Mr. Joe Public will associate it with Self Defence or martial art, period. All the above arts are classified as martial art but they all have a constant image in the eye of Mr. Joe Public.
Now, let's head back to Aikido. Speak Aikido to non-practitioner and what images will one get? Many a times, over leisure talk with friends or business associates, I would inadvertently say aikido when asked what hobby or activities I do on my spare time. Is it like Judo where you throw people around? Yes we do. Is it like Karate with punches and kicks? Yes we do that too. You see, the point I am trying to convey is that Aikido does not have an associative element with the non-practitioner. Talk about Ki to them, and your conversation will end before it start, because many a times the concept is as foreign as Greek to any of us (Except Greek readers in this forum). Right now, when such a conversation comes out during leisure talk, I just say Judo and that's it. At least Mr Joe Public has some vague idea what it is, unlike Aikido.
Again aikido has many school and influnces. Ki Society style emphasizes Ki and esoteric, metaphysical aspect of the art. Yoshinkan and Yoseikan style emphasizes the Martial / technical aspect. Different practitioner says different thing. That is why to a non-practitioner, aikido does not have a constant image.
Dear fellow practitioner, the purpose of this thread is to welcome debate and discussion on what we would like to market aikido to the average Joe Public, if it is at all possible.
NB: I am very sorry if some of the information with regards to the various martial art groups stated above are inaccurate. They were meant for illustrative and comparative uses only.