Does Aikido make you smarter?
I'm always hearing Aikido being described with words like "cerebral" and "intellectual" and most people immediately see how philosophy, physics and (sorry, but) theology are integral to Aikido. But how did it get that way?
I practiced Japanese, Okinawan, Chinese and Korean martial arts for twenty years and found it hadn't really prepared me for my recent conversion to Aikido.
Some meditation on this caused me to realize a major difference between what I'm used to and this style is the constantly changing perspective- First, I'm looking at uke from this direction, now this one, now this one. Keeping track of your mental process through all that, as all aikidokas know, takes some getting used to.
Now, the notion I'm advancing is this: Aquiring a new skill like that causes development of different parts of the brain and before long, you wind up thinking about physics, philosophy and theology. You know- "O-Sensei stuff".
I find it striking how intellectual the discussions are on this forum. What's more, even though there are so many different views on subjects, they're generally well presented and intelligently defended.
Personally, when I'm asked why I changed to Aikido, I tend to say things like, "I felt it's where my MA evolution was taking me." So there's a continual reference to mental and spiritual development and progressive idealism (nonviolence, etc.) that leads me to ask this question: Does Aikido make you smarter?