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Old 03-07-2004, 11:20 PM   #1
Jessie Brown
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 31
why did you start Aikido?

I'm curious as to the real reasons why people started Aikido. I wonder whether these reasons have something to do with whether and why we continue practicing, i.e. as opposed to those who don't continue.

Are people who start for certain reasons more likely to stay? Or is the mere exposure to Aikido the most important factor, regardless of initial intentions? Did you research Aikido beforehand? Were the philosophical principles or physical principles more influential in your choice?

Let's be honest about this.

As much as we might like to deny it, I'm sure that not everyone started for deep philosophical reasons! After all, Aikido is understood after a long time on the mat, not before.
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Old 03-08-2004, 01:59 AM   #2
Location: Australia
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 641
Re: why did you start Aikido?


I liked the way it looked in books. There's a little throwaway British martial arts almanac I bought for $10. They somehow managed to capture the beauty of aikido in the pictures. Got me interested into researching more abt Aikido.

Then I read "Going for a Walk in the world" online and thought this stuff was right up my alley.

Finally I tried it. I found it strange and pleasurable.

The end ;-)

(actually, I also wanted to try something a little less ruff 'n' tumble than the Submission wrestling I was doing 3x week)
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:18 AM   #3
Andy Scaley
Dojo: Fleet Aikido Club
Location: Hampshire
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5
I started training with my brother many years ago as he got mugged on a train one evening by a group of guys, we looked for something different than just kicking and punch with the only intention to harm others. So we found this think called aikido, from the first lesson we both loved it and slowly started to realise there is more to martial arts than just trying to inflick pain.

The reason I practice now is for the teaching, I love passing on the knowledge that has been passed on to me and trying to make a difference in someone elses life.

My brother stop a few years ago now though as he went off to uni for train to become a doctor. Strange how he was the one who got mugged but I still train???
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Old 03-08-2004, 05:10 AM   #4
Dojo: USA Martial Arts Center
Location: West Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 88
I also started not only for the look of it, but also because I too was Mugged in NYC. I am a non-aggressive type naturally, so aikido was perfect and in only 7 months have really learned alot about myself through it.

But I happened to see Randori performed and was astounded. I was mugged by 4 people, all unarmed, so there it is.

Sensei Andy Orwig, Ist dan
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:07 AM   #5
Richard Chapman
Dojo: Gatwick Budokai Ryu, Crawley
Location: Crawley, West Sussex
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 8
I wanted to chose a MA that didn't focus on the kicking side of things, as my hamstrings etc are so tight after many years of playing football/soccer. I also liked the way that Aikido flows and seems so elegent, and none aggressive.
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:44 AM   #6
Victor Ioncu
Victor Ioncu's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Traditional Craiova
Location: Craiova
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 10
When I was a kid (back in the 70ies), I saw on TV a documentary about Aikido and O-Sensei. It was a "defense only" martial art, they said, and I liked it. It was whitout competition, they said, and I liked it more. Then I have said to myself: "I have to practice Aikido".

And two years ago, when finally an aikido dojo was opened in my town, I started to practice aikido.

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Old 03-08-2004, 10:16 AM   #7
Dojo: vermont aikido
Location: vermont
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 31

I was a soccer player for many years too. It took me about 5 years to get things to really loosen up. I never knew how much I was twisting and tightening myself up from all of that. Interestingly enough, all this aikido has made me a better soccer player. I have much better posture and more vision.

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Old 03-08-2004, 12:46 PM   #8
Dojo: body masters
Location: EGYPT
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
well actually i wanted to train in something that could help me defend myself in the streets, so i thought boxing was the best , but then i saw ABOVE THE LAW and i was blown away and i said to myself [ i wanna be like that] so i started but after two weeks i realised that it was more than self defense it was a way of life and i love it,,....right now i am actually thinking of going to japan for 3 month to get a couple of kyu levels and learn japaneese........SENSEI STEVEN SEAGAL IS THE BEST

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Old 03-08-2004, 02:20 PM   #9
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
I stumbled on it quite by accident. I had taken shotokan in the military and was checking out a local YMCA to see if they had a karate class. When I visited I saw aikido and since I'm not a flexible person it appealed to me immediately.
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Old 03-08-2004, 02:20 PM   #10
Joanne Arnest
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
I started aikido without knowing much about it at all, except that the focus was on self defense. I had wanted to do a martial art for several years, but not a competitive one. However transportation was always a problem.

Last semester, when I started college there were martial arts beginner classes, and between the karate and the aikido, the aikido appealed more. With a 5 minute walk to the gym, getting there isn't a problem. I was hooked in a few weeks. I love the philosophy, I love doing physical activity without competition, and I love the way I feel in general at the end of class.
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Old 03-08-2004, 03:22 PM   #11
Anders Bjonback
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 129
I ran into aikido in an encyclopedia about the same time I became Buddhist in high school. They translated it as something like "the way of spiritual harmony," and I liked that. All that I read about it (I think I also ran into these forums) seemed to confirm that it was the martial art for me, and it wouldn't conflict with my newfound beliefs as a Buddhist. Then my mom told me about Brazilian Jui Jitsu and I thought, "It's gotta be exactly like aikido! Or, at least it will be like studying what aikido came from." So I did Jui Jitsu for three years until I came to Naropa University (aikido being one of the core reasons for me to come here).

The main reasons I started aikido were that I thought it would be a "non-violent" martial art, or at least not bent on total destruction of the other person. I've stuck with it because it's fun. It's not like it influences my daily life or my interactions with people, but I feel like it's a really rewarding practice, and I feel like there's something missing from my life when I'm not doing it.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 03-08-2004, 04:57 PM   #12
Dojo: Central Coast Aikikai
Location: Gosford
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 65
When I was a kid I had practiced Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do & a Free style Karate, but I hadn't trained in anything since I was about 17yo. I my late twenties I started to put on some weight, so I decided to go back to Karate, but found that most of the Dojos in my area were either of the McDojo variety or were overly competition focused which didn't appeal. Then I remembered an article I read when I was younger about Osensei in a local MA Magazine & thought it was pretty cool stuff, So I started to look for Aikido in my area, but found that the closest Dojo was a 45min train ride away & I wasn't able to make it down in time for the class started due to work.

One year later A friend came in with a list of activities at the Local Youth Club & Aikido was offered, so I rang the instructor & told him I would be there the Next training night. I walked into the Dojo & introduced myself & found the Sensei to be a slightly eccentric English man but very good at Aikido. I was hooked from then on. He is responsible for a little mantra that I use regularly in my daily life "JUST DO IT".

I keep practicing manly because it is always challenging, and that we have a very charismatic Sensei & great group of students & I was fortunate enough to join the dojo in it's formative years and have been able to help it grow, so I have a sense of being at Home when I train.
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Old 03-08-2004, 06:52 PM   #13
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
The teacher of the sixth grade summer-rec program that had a basic karate course was in awe of the art of aikido. Mid seventies, kung-fu fever going on, and this young man (who I really respected) was praising THIS art. I looked for it ever since.

Took a long time to avail itself to me out here in the boonies.


Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-08-2004, 07:04 PM   #14
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
I was chasin' a guy! He was a karate instructor at the dojo, and I didn't want to take karate, but knew he'd notice me if I was doing aikido. He did. That was over 20-years ago, and we are still friends (actually, I had known him since I was 9, but we had a 9 year age gap, so I had to wait to catch up with him a bit).
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:25 PM   #15
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: New York
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 322
I don't know why.

All of a sudden, in the summer of 2002, I had thins "thing" where I wanted to take up a martial art. I don't really understand it and it really threw a lot of people for a loop, LOL! It was so "not me".

But it turns out, it is SO ME. I love it! I started going to class twice a week, then 3, then 4, then 5.....now I go 5 or 6 times a week. The more, the better.

After I had this "epiphany", I did a lot of research online about the different MA. Aikido was the one that really appealed to me, even though I'd never even SEEN it. My kids had done TKD and karate, so I was at least familiar with them. Aikido, no clue. I joined the Aikido-l list and everyone was so helpful. A couple months later, I got up the nerve and visited what is now "my dojo". My second home.

"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 03-08-2004, 08:29 PM   #16
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Karen, admit it. It was a Calling.


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-08-2004, 09:54 PM   #17
Dojo: Aikidog Aikikai
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 199
The "how":

I'd been taking karate for several months and an aikido teacher joined the dojo and gave us a brief sample lesson. It was interesting enough that I tried out a class. That was interesting enough that I decided to go once a week; by the second week, I was hooked and signed up for the 2 classes/week.

The "why":

My Sensei is a wonderful teacher and his aikido is beautiful, so that's the part of the "why" that I know. The other part is hard to explain. All I know is that doing aikido taps into the same part of me that's always loved skipping down the driveway and swinging on the swingset and ballroom dancing. It's an amazing feeling to pour your entire self into one flowing movement with all your energy focused on it: euphoria.
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Old 03-08-2004, 10:55 PM   #18
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
Oh wow, let's see

The first martial arti did was battojutsu (more formal kenjutsu). And I took that up because I wanted a martial art, but wanted something different. I hated looking at the commercialism of karate, kung fu and judo, so i wanted this to be more traditional (which it was)

I noticed that before sword clas, there was aikido class, it looked like "pansie" stuff to me. Just faked.

I never told sensei this but one day during sword, he threw me nearly 10 feet as he took my sword away, and he said something about "that's a bit more aikido style"

from there i was hooked. I saw it as this amazing art that could toss people around like rag dolls without hurting them! (i was never a big fan of hurting people)

Then as i read more into O sensei's life, i started looking at his dream of "creating heaven on earth" through aikido. world peace hase always been something i've believed in. But now world peace with a martial art! Amazing! And it all made sense to me. So now, my purpose for doing it, is to teach it, and pass it on to more people. Always with the hope that i can make the world a little bit closer to o senseis dream. So I guess now, i do aikido because... I just believe in it, more than anything.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-08-2004, 11:02 PM   #19
Nafis Zahir
Nafis Zahir's Avatar
Dojo: Bucks County Aikido
Location: Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
I had studied Kung Fu for 7 years. I was going to start taking Tai Chi to help build my internal power, but one of my instructors said I should take Aikido because it would make me a more well rounded martial artist and also it was more practical for self defense on the street. I went to a dojo and watched a class and thought to myself, "This will be easy! No kicks, no punches, and I already know how to take a fall since I did a little judo!" Of course I started studying and found I was very much mistaken. I loved the art itself, as well as the challenge and now I can't get enough. I'm going for my NiDan this year and I still feel as though I don't know anything.

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Old 03-08-2004, 11:51 PM   #20
Clayton Drescher
Clayton Drescher's Avatar
Dojo: Beach Cities Aikido
Location: Long Beach, CA
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 72
My roomate and I decided to take hapkido for a PE credit at university. The aikido club met in the same room at night, so I decided to join in about halfway through the semester. The non-competitive spirit helped alot, I don't do well under pressure. Also, aikido is much smoother and prettier than hapkido, in my opinion. I decided to continue martial arts at all after starting hapkido, never having studied an MA before, because of how much I learned about how my body moves and what is possible and what is not. Its just fascinating
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:03 AM   #21
William Westdyke
Dojo: Aikido at the Center
Location: Tucson, Az
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 40
I have a semi-similar story to Lan. I had a friend at a place I worked who was a brown belt in Kenpo Karate. He said a friend of his who was a "blue belt" in aikido worked his teacher over pretty good one day. I started seeing aikido at the martial art that makes someone untouchable in a fight.

I continued with aikido for the first couple years because there was tons of martial artists that where VERY high ranked in other martial arts practicing at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels at my aikido dojo. In all honesty, they could, as I would say then, "kick my ass" with there other skills, yet they studied Aikido.

Now, after 6 years, I study because an uke occasionally hits me. I still get my bell run about once a week and love knowing I still have much to learn to get to the level of O' Sensei and the other great teachers. (Laughs) I still have a lot to learn to get to the level of my instructors.


"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 03-09-2004, 12:16 AM   #22
Jessie Brown
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 31
I didn't start until spring of my first year of college. I decided to try a martial art because --don't laugh-- I've always been into Bruce Lee and karate movies.

Being excessively organized and anal, I researched every single martial art offered at my university, around 15 of them. I read some excerpts of O'Sensei that really struck a chord. With my philosophical bent, Aikido's prinicples sounded the most moral and harmonious . That and I felt that such a study cannot be taken lightly... but is a life's path .

I went to my first class and felt that joy that others have described. I agree with Jo Adell. To a certain extent, it is a calling...or at least an affinity. I also like the way Wendy Rowe put it,
It's an amazing feeling to pour your entire self into one flowing movement with all your energy focused on it: euphoria.
You can always spot the ones who will stay. They're the ones who get thrown to the ground, across the room, and come up with a giddy smirk of their faces-- eager for the next time.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:54 AM   #23
James Giles
Dojo: North Florida Aikikai
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 53
Re: why did you start Aikido?

Jessie Brown wrote:
I'm curious as to the real reasons why people started Aikido.

Were the philosophical principles or physical principles more influential in your choice?
I heard about an Aikido club through my university web page. I visited the class one night, and I was instantly hooked.

I think it was more the physical principles that influenced my choice to join the class; the whole centrifugal force thing really blew my mind.

I have only been training in Aikido for about six months but lately I notice that a lot of the negative qualities of my personality are rearing themselves and I am dealing with them maturely for the first time in my life.

It is like a kind of exorcism is going on or something. I suppose I can't prove that my practice of Aikido is causing this, but the timing of this change in my attitude seems to coincide with my practice.

Aikido brings joy in my life, and that is why I continue with it.
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Old 03-09-2004, 09:21 AM   #24
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Why thank you Jessie! 'Cept for me, it wasn't so much a Calling as an act of desperation.

I had been supressing a couple of years worth of "negative emotional reactions" and it was all starting to come out. I was starting arguments with everyone i came in contact with, i was afraid to leave the house for fear of starting something i couldn't get out of, i was afraid i was gonna really hurt somebody, verbally.

Someone who loves me suggested i needed a physical release and he said, why not try aikido, and the little bell in my head rang.

thant was in Dec.2003, i'm training 3 times a week, i am more centered that i have been in years, i'm learning how to interact with people much more skillfully, and yeah, what Wendy said.

Anything that makes me go "Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!" has just Got to be Good!


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 03-09-2004, 11:16 AM   #25
Josh Bisker
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai, and Renshinkan London
Location: Oberlin, OH
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 74
Hi Joanne!!!! In my first semester of college i too discovered an aikido club on campus. At the time, the only mental association i made with the word Aikido was that it would teach me something about Japanese swordsmanship, and at the time that was all i was interested in so I signed right up. After our first few classes I had already begun to figure out that it was SO so much more than that, and now i'm hooked in.
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