In a response to all of the threads that involve the question of whether or not Aikido works in a fight, or if it is worth practicing, or "why we train", I wanted to share a personal story.
I started my training in aikido nearly 20 years ago. I was an extremely sickly asthmatic kid that was constantly picked at by siblings and classmates. At first all I wanted was to be stronger than every one around me. Man, I trained and studied like an animal. When I wasn't in class, I was outside training myself, if I wasn't doing that, I was reading about Aikido. (Hell, my parents thought I was obsessed!)
Well, needless to say, the picking stopped (as did the asthma!!) I was able to confidently stand up to anyone that was giving me trouble. Basically, Aikido saved my high school experience. (Actually it made me a bit popular, I had most of the football team training during the summers with me at my house)
Then came college. I decided to work some security at the local night clubs. Again, thanks Aikido for being there for me.
Then came the big fight....Earlier this year I noticed that I just wasn't feeling right. I was abnormally tired after weight training and felt like I had a hernia. As it would turn out, it was cancer. Of all of the fights that can come your way during a lifetime, I learned quickly that the real tough ones aren't random ninja attacks on the street.
The hard part was telling friends, family and loved ones. Man life got turbulant! Its funny though, all I could think about through all of it was to put my money where my mouth was. All of this training to build an immovable center, and now I was being tested.
Thoughout the surgeries, the treatments, the waiting for test results I was able to maintain my center. I was able to comfort those who loved me, and those that were going through the same things or worse. There have been times when I asked myself why keep training? I will never ask that question again. O'sensei was brilliant in his design of Aikido. If you keep your head down and your training hard and earnest...it will give back to you many times what you have put into it.
My family, my friends, and myself owe a great deal to Aikido. Even though I have not been able to train for a long while now and my body failed for a time, my mind and my "aiki" were steadfast by my side. I will be back Aikido...I promise you that.
Just wanted to share with my aiki-family.
Train hard everyone,