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Old 01-16-2014, 12:28 PM   #1
Dalaran1991
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How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I've been training for over 2 years and am currently a 1st kyu. Train about 11-13h/week for a year and a half, recently had to cut back to 10-11h because I'm doing salsa.

When I talk with people about doing martial arts, they all seem to admire it for the fact that it teaches you discipline, and how it will help me learn dance and basically anything else in life, because discipline is very useful.

Well, I do admit that I love training so much that I never miss any class (except when schoolwork takes precedent) and I do crawl out of bed at 8am on saturdays to train. Even when I'm sick. The thing is, I don't think it's because of discipline, but rather passion. Discipline means sticking to your plan/routine even though you DON"T like it. In my case I love training than anything else in the world. Probably also because my dojo mates are great. But I'm not doing it out of sheer discipline. I do it because I love it. Even though sometimes my whole arms are blue from yonkyo The pain is rejuvenating.

I'm feeling like I'm missing out on things. Every bit of self-help advice out there tell you to train your discipline to get your life together, and so often you hear "do some martial art to train discipline". But I don't feel like I'm getting that part of Aikido.

What do you think? Is there a way I can alter my training to make it more disciplined?
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:04 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I wouldn't worry about it.
The discipline part has to do with sticking it out when you are on a plateau, feel like you are training and training and not making progress (which is a wall most of us hit after a few years and every few years thereafter but you might escape that - NONE of this is 100% universal!)....it has to do with regardless of the joy one finds in training, finding that button being pushed or that sore spot (metaphorically) being poked, whether by a training partner or sensei or whatever, and having the discipline to work through whatever it is in yourself that makes that thing be a button or sore spot....

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:32 PM   #3
lbb
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

If your training is doing what you want, why do you care if it's "disciplined" or not? Nobody's going to give you a gold star in any event.
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:37 PM   #4
Michael Hackett
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Maybe you already know all you will ever need to know about self-discipline and you shouldn't expect to learn much more from aikido training. If you miss aikido class to attend to school work, that suggests that you've prioritized your life and are acting with discipline. You'd rather be on the mat than in class, but you go to school because you are self-disciplined.

You could really demonstrate discipline by NOT attending class when you're ill. You may love being on the mat, but none of us enjoys getting sick from a training mate.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 01-16-2014, 03:44 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
You could really demonstrate discipline by NOT attending class when you're ill. You may love being on the mat, but none of us enjoys getting sick from a training mate.
The RN approves this form of self-discipline esp. in flu season!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-16-2014, 05:31 PM   #6
Michael Hackett
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

On a tangent, I just love September with all the little vectors returning from summer vacation and bringing eleventy-seven new strains of flu and colds with them. It takes me until mid-October before I'm immune again. Man, I pity their school teachers!

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:26 AM   #7
lbb
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I'm seriously considering asking Sensei if we can post a BIG sign recommending that all members wash hands and wrists before and after training, and REALLY putting it in the face of parents (maybe as part of an introductory packet). The kids traipse in and out of the dojo in their gis without pausing for anything, much less a hand wash.
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Old 01-17-2014, 09:53 AM   #8
Michael Hackett
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Mary, we already provide washing and hand sanitizers. I had one really bad experience where the little dumpling had pink eye and couldn't go to school. Nevertheless, Mommy brought him to class without saying a word about his condition. I ended up off the mat for ten days myself with the only case of pink eye I've ever had. She explained that he was bored sitting at home.

That was exceptional and most of our parents are great. We still end up with colds and flu at the start of each school year though. The kids just get exposed to too many micro-varmints and unknowingly bring them to class with them.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:02 AM   #9
Michael Douglas
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

You already have more than enough discipline, obviously ;
Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
... Train about 11-13h/week for a year and a half, recently had to cut back to 10-11h because I'm doing salsa.
despite your protestations.
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
lbb
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
That was exceptional and most of our parents are great. We still end up with colds and flu at the start of each school year though. The kids just get exposed to too many micro-varmints and unknowingly bring them to class with them.
Sure...on the other hand, are they washing hands both before and after class? Sure, we can say that kids are little germ factories, but we need to teach and enforce basic hygiene (hand-washing, not touching hands to face, covering coughs and sneezes, and not training when you're a walking petri dish). If we don't bother to do that, I don't think we can say that it was inevitable. Truth is, if you don't take those precautions, you're not trying to avoid getting sick.
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:13 PM   #11
Dalaran1991
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
You already have more than enough discipline, obviously ;

despite your protestations.
Hmm I see what you and other people talk about (though it's so funny how this thread turns to sanitation). Seems like what I thought was discipline is different that what it is. I always imagine discipline means hardship, the old school stuff like rising at 5am during winter and mastering kata that you actually hate.

The reason I think I'm missing out on discipline is because of how I conduct my lifestyle. I've always been a good student, top 10% of my class at a top-tier college. I accomplished things while being extremely lazy, only working at the last minutes. And still get decent (not great) results.

My mentors and I all know that I could do much more if I'm more disciplined and organized. That's what got me into Aikido in the first place, the search for discipline. But I've not improved my working habit as I would like.
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:26 AM   #12
Alic
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I don't know too much about discipline, since I myself am lacking quite significantly in that regard. But then again, that's why I train, to improve myself, so I suppose the only people who thinks they have enough discipline, must be the ones who lack it the most. Since you are aware of the existence of the problem, that automatically puts you ahead of the crowd, as you are addressing it at all times, which helps tremendously.

From what I've been taught by my own sensei, discipline isn't really anything other than that, having the knowledge that you are fallible and undisciplined, and then making a conscious effort to address it at any and every opportunity. Recognizing that you are taking the easy way out or avoiding difficulty is the first step. After that, it's just pushing yourself to do it, regardless of whether you like it or hate it (the kata training you had in mind).

Thing is, like most things in life, discipline isn't binary, but on a sliding scale. You are not either undisciplined or disciplined, but rather just getting more and more able to control yourself. The mind drives the body. In that case, the more experience you have in life, and the more difficulties you've overcome, the better you will be at telling yourself to keep going no matter what. There's a big difference between being able to make every training session that you are physically able to, and continue to perform a demonstration after having your arm broken. Training in Japan is so important because of that. Many Japanese Aikidokas demonstrates their determination and discipline, sometimes almost to extremes, so by observing them train, you can get an idea of how they view discipline, and what it means to attain it.

My sensei summarized it in one sweet japanese saying: do, not do not.
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Old 01-19-2014, 06:21 AM   #13
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Aikido can't teach you anything. You can become disciplined through training. I think after rereading your first post... balance might be the issue that aikido training could hold for you.

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:33 AM   #14
Michael Douglas
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
I've always been a good student, top 10% of my class at a top-tier college. I accomplished things while being extremely lazy, only working at the last minutes. And still get decent (not great) results..
Same boat.

Relax about it. Don't make things harder than they are right now.

One day you'll want to do stuff that is really challenging and productive, and you'll manage.
Creating fictional hardships from this odd feeling would just be silly.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:12 PM   #15
lbb
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
Hmm I see what you and other people talk about (though it's so funny how this thread turns to sanitation). Seems like what I thought was discipline is different that what it is. I always imagine discipline means hardship, the old school stuff like rising at 5am during winter and mastering kata that you actually hate.
That's more of a romanticized bad-martial-arts-movie notion of discipline, I think.

Quote:
Long Trinh wrote: View Post
The reason I think I'm missing out on discipline is because of how I conduct my lifestyle. I've always been a good student, top 10% of my class at a top-tier college. I accomplished things while being extremely lazy, only working at the last minutes. And still get decent (not great) results.
This sounds like bright kid syndrome. You cruise your way through an academic program that just isn't that challenging to you. Then, one day -- and clearly it hasn't happened to you yet -- you run into something that you can't just get by with a trivial effort. You run into something where you have to work. It happens to everyone, no matter what their natural gifts (for me, it was organic chemistry). For any field you can name, you never get to mastery without that work. At that point, you either eat a good big slice of humble pie and accept that you are just like everyone else, and that in order to amount to anything you're going to have to struggle and fail a bunch...or (and I've seen this with a lot of bright kids/prodigies) you stop trying to do whatever it is that challenges you. This isn't always a bad thing: if you decide, with a clear head, that you don't want the mastery after all, then it only makes sense to stop spending effort on it. On the other hand, you can fall into the habit of making excuses for why you're basically a dilettante, and just go from one pursuit to another -- each new one is It, The Answer, and you get all caught up in your enthusiasm for a while...until you get to the point where you have to work.

I don't know what the answer is. I do know that "discipline" isn't some hokey crap out of a martial arts movie. Nor does internally-imposed discipline exist unless you're motivated. You can't just manufacture it because you think you should be a "disciplined" martial artist. It will come, or it won't. Ultimately I think it is a matter of humility and recognizing your limitations.
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:03 PM   #16
Sojourner
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

How do you know if you have developed discipline in Aikido training? Study it well to the point where you are genuninely good at it. Then be the victim of a road rage incident and respond by doing nothing at all, including if the other driver is raining blows down upon the roof of your car and threatening you. Then you will know if you have become disciplined through your Aikido training.
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Old 01-19-2014, 07:07 PM   #17
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I don't think Aikido teaches discipline because for most people, in the long run, the only ones who stick around are the ones that have already have it. Rather then, Aikido requires discipline and those that can't deal with it will just move on.

It is the same for those who claim Aikido can make you into a better person. Again, the undesirables usually quit pretty quickly - they want the skill but are never prepared to do the required work - it must be part of the nature of being 'undesirable'. I have never seen anyone change through Aikido. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen anyone change, ... except maybe a couple of young teens when 'growing up' (teachers tend to notice such). I have come across people who have regretted their last few - or even 50 years, but I wouldn't say they have changed. They are who they are and 99% of the time, and for most of us, that is they way it will always be. Thus, of course, it is quite wise to learn who you are and to plan accordingly :-)

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Old 01-20-2014, 08:15 AM   #18
phitruong
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
Thus, of course, it is quite wise to learn who you are and to plan accordingly :-)
i am a sneaky, crazy ninja bugger. thus, i plan to out sneak on meself. the other day, i scared the crap out of me jumping out of the closet while my back turned and yelling "HELLO! MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE TO DIE!" you should see the crazy ninja bugger. he jumped so high his head went through the ceiling.

oh ya! OP, on discipline. ask us the same question 10 years from now, if you are still practicing aikido.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #19
Dan Richards
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Ben White wrote: View Post
How do you know if you have developed discipline in Aikido training? Study it well to the point where you are genuinely good at it. Then be the victim of a road rage incident and respond by doing nothing at all, including if the other driver is raining blows down upon the roof of your car and threatening you. Then you will know if you have become disciplined through your Aikido training.
Here's a brilliant example of this. I saw this road rage video last year, and was struck with the awesomeness of the power of peaceful non-resistance. For all the "real world" fight videos I've seen online, this one especially demonstrates the power of remaining centered and calm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rym5unx0ZCo

The word "discipline" comes from the word disciple. The word "pupil" comes from the same origin.

Aikido doesn't teach discipline. Aikido is discipline. Aikido is a practice. So is knitting, cooking, writing, etc.. Cooking is not a "thing," it's a practice. There's the craft aspect as well as the art aspect to various disciplines.

So, whether the practice is martial arts, building model airplanes, or flying real airplanes, the discipline is merely a focal point for our conscious attention. Could be coin collecting, wine tasting, or showing dogs.

Aikido is not unique at all. I wouldn't even consider it special. It's just another discipline. One that many people enjoy.

GI Gurdjieff said something along the lines of, "The problem with most people is that they don't know how to do even one thing well." Could be anything. Making coffee, arranging flowers, betting on horses.... The idea is that once we go deep enough to do even one thing well, we can then transfer that depth to other disciplines/practices.

And it would certainly seem that if we're going to aim our arrow of attention at a particular discipline, that we should also love the engagement of it. We also seem to gravitate to activities that naturally allow us to excel.

Quote:
Dalarian: Is there a way I can alter my training to make it more disciplined?
I might suggest that it's as simple as altering, not your training, but your idea of the word "discipline." And from there, realize that you've already been doing it.

Just train.

Sort of like the old story of the sensei who shows up to a dojo and informs the students he's going to let them in on the secret of their martial art. After he arrives he starts them training and then excuses himself from the dojo and goes to have some tea. An hour later he returns, looks on at the training session, and nods. He excuses himself again.

The sensei repeats this over several hours. Finally during one of his returns, the students ask him about the secret he was going to teach them. He smiled and said, "I've just shown you. The secret is in your training. Just as you have been doing."

90% of life is as simple as just showing up.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 01-20-2014 at 10:16 AM.

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:29 AM   #20
Krystal Locke
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

How can loving someone teach you discipline if you love someone?
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:45 AM   #21
Dan Richards
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
How can loving someone teach you discipline if you love someone?
Loving someone doesn't teach us discipline. Love, in and of itself, is the discipline. Love is a practice.

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Old 01-20-2014, 06:15 PM   #22
Krystal Locke
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Loving someone doesn't teach us discipline. Love, in and of itself, is the discipline. Love is a practice.
My point. Same with loving something. I'm of the impression that love actually is motivated discipline in providing for the good of the loved. Love the art, love the dojo, do the art, support the dojo, be there for the dojo.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:30 PM   #23
RHKarst
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

My question is . . . is your training causing you to change some of your old habits? if something is coming at you do you still try and block it? Or, have you disciplined yourself to learn to step off the line and out of the way? If you are not changing your old habits, your discipline is still growing, whether you are at class or not. :-)
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:54 AM   #24
Michael Douglas
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

I guess we could quote this multiple times on every page ;
Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
... it is quite wise to learn who you are and to plan accordingly :-)
I totally agree.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:33 AM   #25
ramenboy
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Re: How can Aikido teach you discipline if you love it?

did anyone say that you had to 'not enjoy' something in order to learn from it?

having the discipline to get your stuff in order, was your gi and get to the dojo on time prob means you're doing pretty good in other aspects of your life. so don't sweat it.

practice hard
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