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Old 02-06-2007, 02:20 PM   #1
Dojo: Leeds Aikikai
Location: Leeds UK
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 10
United Kingdom
why did you start aikido?

hi all

just come back from dojo having had a great session. anyway i was wondering why people started aikido, and as your experience of the martial art has developed has your motivation changed?

i started because for some reason i have wanted to take up a martial art for ages and what i thought i knew about aikido - ie. nutralize attack with minimum damage to attacker - sort of fits in with my own mind set. of course i wanted and still want to get to black belt standard. having spoken to the black belt holders in my dojo it seems to take a really long time to get there. which makes me question my motivation. which leads me to my question.

cheers and happy aikido-ing

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Old 02-06-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
mrfeldmeyer's Avatar
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 42
Re: why did you start aikido?

Prior to Aikido training, I had done boxing and Tae Kwon Do. When I was young, I got into a few too many fights, and they always ended with people being hurt. I realized that I no longer desired to be violent, this was around 15 or so. Around that time I happened across a friend begin and end a fight immediately with a waki gatame, and no one walked away hurt (anymore than pride) and I asked him what exactly that was he had just done. He explained a little bit about Aikido and how it works. So after I moved to a place where there were a couple of dojos I looked into it and found a dojo I liked. I hadn't really been in a fight in quite a few years (and don't plan to ever again), but still found the idea of Aikido intrigueing, so I began training. The rest is history.
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Old 02-06-2007, 03:33 PM   #3
mickeygelum's Avatar
Dojo: Warren Budokan, Ohio USA
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 502
Re: why did you start aikido?

This might help you...

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Old 02-07-2007, 12:22 AM   #4
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
Location: Cortland, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 980
Re: why did you start aikido?

I first came across mention of Aikido years before I started training, in an article in Scientific American about how it and Judo use circular motion. (Yes, when I was a kid, I had a subscription to Scientific American; this is how nerdy I am.) When I started doing karate in 1985, I read books and magazines about martial arts; O Senei's feats piqued my interest. So when I learned of an Aikido class at a local college in 1986, I signed up, although I continued in karate. I dropped out of that dojo after two years, but kept doing the wrist stretches when I worked out on my own. And I kept buying books on Aikido; every once in a while I'd think about going back.

When my Mom and started doing Tai Chi, the instructor mentioned the school he owned in Ithaca, NY, I looke up its web site and found it had an Aikido class. After my mom died and the school that had hosted the Tai Chi class closed, I went to the Ithaca school to continue in Tai Chi and Kali. (And I had continued doing Karate all these years.) I spent about six monts thinking of joining the Aikido class. When I eventually told my Kali instructor, he thought taking Aikido was the best idea I'd ever had: "You'll be a better martial artist!" So I jumped back into Aikido in March of 2004. The rest is history.
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Old 02-07-2007, 03:59 AM   #5
Dojo: Exeter Ki Aikido
Location: Devon
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 39
United Kingdom
Re: why did you start aikido?

I spent four years doing judo and then the club I attended while away a university closed. I tried going to the gym and swimming and while I liked both neither really did it for me. I kinda stagnated for a couple of years and then complained to a friend that I felt i had been missing something since the judo club shut. He suggested I join him at aikido, I did an I'm still there about a year and half down the track. He's stopped coming and the club had to shut for a while after my first sensei left but it reopened and I still go.
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Old 02-07-2007, 04:25 AM   #6
Peter Goldsbury
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,243
Re: why did you start aikido?

Quite by accident.

A friend had earlier told me about this 'Japanese martial art based on love' and I was not interested. Later, I met a Japanese student and he invited me to go on the mat and check. I was hooked, but it could have been judo, karate, or a dozen other martial arts.

So I have never invested aikido with the kind of practical and spiritual skills that you won't find in other Japanese arts worthy of the name.

You don't mention where you train in Leeds, but if you know Ken Marsden, give him my kind regards and best wishes. We tested for
shodan together. I think it was in 1978.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-07-2007 at 04:30 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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Old 02-07-2007, 06:41 AM   #7
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Re: why did you start aikido?

Aikido always fascinated me. It was the natural evolution of my martial arts (Budo) journey.

Besides, I don't golf (something about windmills and clown faces).

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-07-2007, 08:09 AM   #8
Roman Kremianski
Dojo: Toronto Aikikai
Location: Toronto, Canada
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 404
Re: why did you start aikido?

I'll quote Eric:

I wanted to wear a skirt.
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Old 02-07-2007, 08:54 AM   #9
Guilty Spark
Guilty Spark's Avatar
Location: Flordia
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 300
Re: why did you start aikido?

Saw an add for it in the newspaper. Remembered Steven Seagal 'did aikido' in his movies, thought it looked pretty cool so I joined.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 02-07-2007, 09:19 AM   #10
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,502
Re: why did you start aikido?

Because it was there... so, why not?
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:05 AM   #11
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido / Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 12
Re: why did you start aikido?

I started because I thought breakfalls looked awesome and, through a couple rough patches, kept going because as my understanding deepens, the bigger a mystery Aikido becomes. It's a kind of art that takes decades to master for most (even those who have mastered it are constantly deepening their understanding), and even if you don't think you're prepared for that, once you start you may realize just how puzzling Aikido is. That's what keeps me going; it simply is never boring - you've never quite figured it out - and it's always there for you.
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:10 AM   #12
L. Camejo
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: why did you start aikido?

Knew that Seagal did it. Did not want to do Karate/TKD/Judo and on my first visit was quite impressed with the Astronomical side of it, i.e. people being placed in orbit.

Been an avid Astronaut since.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 02-07-2007, 11:54 AM   #13
gstevens's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Of San Leandro
Location: Alameda
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 47
Re: why did you start aikido?

I was cruising around the world in a 39 foot sail boat. Spotted an article that was written by some dude about a train he was riding in Tokyo. The article started me thinking about his premise, that human conflicts can be resolved without the use of force. The article made a huge impact on me. The premise was strange, very strange to me.....

So about two months later I ran into a situation where there was a really interesting conflict, two equally strong opponents were engaged in a conflict over a limited resource. It was not life threatening, simply annoying to one side of the conflict. I listened to the conflict rage for about 40 minutes. I saw the same patterns of all human conflicts I had seen before, however this time I remembered this dude, and his strange article, about a train in Tokyo.

With nothing to loose, I entered the conflict, and used the principles that were stated in the Train article. It was amazing the conflict ended in less than a minute. It takes me longer to tell the story than the end of the conflict actually took. I was amazed, this was a non physical conflict solved by blending and redirecting energy, the results were amazing and like nothing I had ever seen before. So I said to my spouse, "If we ever live tied to land again, I think I would like to try this Aikido thing".

We continued sailing and had another conflict, this one physical, with some unruly locals. It was like I was above myself watching the conflict, detached, and yet in the middle of it. I realized that I came within 1/2 a second of easily killing someone, one simple easy move of my hand, 1/2 inch or so in one direction, and his head would have hit the pavement with enough force to easily cause life long damage or kill him. I realized that it would have served no purpose, and that I had some issues that I needed to work on, which I had been working on for a long time, but was getting nowhere with.

So when we eventually and unexpectedly came back to live in the Bay Area, my wife recommended to my in laws that a month of Aikido would be a good birthday present. Tried one dojo, didn't like it, gave up on the concept. (It didn't match in any way I could see the essence of that article, that one success that I had felt first hand.)

About 2 months later a ten year + friend of mine came to visit. I told him that I had tried this Aikdo thing, and how disappointing the whole experience was after my wonderful application of what I thought it was earlier. He listened intently, as this friend often does. He filled in a couple of details about the article that I had remembered incorrectly as I told him about the article, including the name of the author; Terry Dobson. My friend told me of his aikido practice which he had been doing for over 10 years. He restated what it was that I was looking for in an Aikdio practice and assured me that it was available, and that I should try a few more dojos.

I was mentally blown away, I had seen some limited conflict resolution by my friend in the years that I had known him. His way of solving conflicts, one even with me, seemed to me to be calm, sure, amazing and almost always win win win.. Was this part of his personality from the beginning, or had Aikido shaped this in him? I had to see if I could get some of this amazingly wonderful conflict resolution, not just in my conflict with others, but the root of it, where my inner conflicts exist, from which all my outer conflict seem to spring. Could this real Aikdo be obtained, could I by training learn to change me?

So I called or emailed every dojo in the area. I visited 5 additional dojos, and found one that is an amazing fit for me. I have trained for a few days over 3 years. I train a lot. I can't tell you the difference it has made in the way that I move through life both physically and mentally. Sometimes I solve conflicts so well that I am amazed at myself, other times I am amazed at my incompetence in solving the conflict of what a I and my wife each want for dinner.


Last edited by gstevens : 02-07-2007 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:04 PM   #14
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: why did you start aikido?

other times I am amazed at my incompetence in solving the conflict of what a I and my wife each want for dinner.
Hey, dinners are hard! That's why when the GF and I can't decide, we have a standing agreement on french bread, cheese, and wine!

Ron (of course she's french...so go figure... )

Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 02-07-2007, 02:44 PM   #15
Budd's Avatar
Dojo: Taikyoku Budo & Kiko - NY, PA, MD
Location: Greater Philadelphia Area
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 998
Re: why did you start aikido?

My dad had me involved in judo and wrestling as a kid. When I moved out to Oakland, California to live again with my mother and finish high school, three things happened:

1) I saw my first Steven Seagal movie
2) The new high school did not have a wrestling team
3) I started training at East Bay Aikido (Guy, say "Hi" to Gambell Sensei and Rick for me, I still make it out there once a year or so)

I trained for about a year and a half of aikido, then graduated high school and moved back to Pennsylvania to attend Allegheny College (I know there's at least one other AC grad on this site). Allegheny had gotten rid of its wrestling team the year before, but there were enough carryovers and the local freestyle/greco club was very strong that I was able to stay somewhat active in club wrestling. I then began training fairly regularly in an Americanized karate school (the instructor taught stuff from Shotokan, Vee-jitsu and Tang Soo Do), which then led to some (humorous) attempts at kickboxing.

After college, the areas I traversed didn't offer what I was looking for (which at the time, I couldn't identify, other than "something else") from a martial arts perspective. In my short-lived career as a Counselor to Youth with Behavioral Problems in a residential setting, I found that my recent forays into pugilism had imparted me with the entirely "wrong" set of reflexes (big time penalties for striking a minor), such that I had to "turn off" those responses and really focus on grappling (which as I'm sure many here know, when you have to "think" about what you're doing, severely compromises your effectiveness).

I realized a few other things:

1) I needed to get back into training.
2) Ideally, I needed to train something that could apply in a number of situations.
3) I needed to get a job that paid more money, wasn't as stressful and had a career path!

A couple of years later, having made some headway on (3), I figured that I'd delayed long enough numbers (1) and (2). The Itten Dojo, an independent dojo in Enola, PA was very close to my home and they offered aikido as a training option. Fortunately for me, it's been a very good fit and I attribute many of my current successes off the mat to the work and lessons I've learned on the mat.

Funny thing though, when I started back up with training, I was like a starving man that tried to over-eat once food becomes available. I joined a gym to train with a former Pro Wrestler, I started boxing workouts and then I began playing judo on weekends. After a bit, I realized that I was merely becoming "competent", at best, in a number of things, but I wasn't really getting "good" at any of them. I've pared back a bit, realizing that my aikido practice contains a lot of what I was looking for elsewhere.

So, these days, I make time to train whenever I can . . . (oh yeah, my wife trains as well, so that's also a HUGE bonus!)

Life is good.

Last edited by Budd : 02-07-2007 at 02:49 PM.

Taikyoku Mind & Body
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Old 02-07-2007, 06:53 PM   #16
Location: Miami, FL
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 453
Re: why did you start aikido?

Hadn't heard the word "Aikido" 'til I was 20. WIth moderate curiosity, I found Aikiweb and read "Memoir of the Master" and "The Founder's Teachings." I thought, 'is this for real?' I found a club at FSU...wow training was awkward at first! I had played plenty of basketball and golf but never tried a martial art. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I loved this strange old man's philosophy. I love training and teaching beginners. I will return to the mat when I discover the right meds...I wish I could today; these side effects of fatigue and dizziness are so frustrating!

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Old 02-08-2007, 02:00 AM   #17
Mike Hamer
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Dojo: Shinki Rengo, Mt. Pleasant MI
Location: Alma, MI
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 244
Re: why did you start aikido?

Friend from school told me about some "Samurai School" that he was in when he lived in Florida. This guy was a complete joke though, always telling people bullcrap that wasnt true so I just said "Cool man...good for you" The next day he brought a book called "Aikido and the Harmony of Nature" I found this site, did a quick dojo search, and the rest is history my friends.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:33 PM   #18
Tinyboy344's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 114
Re: why did you start aikido?

Started out with Tae Kwon Do when I was little, hated it. Then I wanted to train in judo, my dad is Ni Dan in Judo, he didn't want me to do it (said it was dangerous for me) and suggested Aikido -.- Tried it and got hooked for more than a year then I took a 6-year break cuz of school and stuff. Just got back into it recently.
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Old 02-09-2007, 04:29 AM   #19
Nafis Zahir
Nafis Zahir's Avatar
Dojo: Bucks County Aikido
Location: Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
Re: why did you start aikido?

I wanted to train in a second martial art and I thought Aikido would be easy since there were no kata's, kicking or punching.

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Old 02-09-2007, 05:31 AM   #20
Guilty Spark
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Location: Flordia
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 300
Re: why did you start aikido?

I wanted to train in a second martial art and I thought Aikido would be easy since there were no kata's, kicking or punching.
See I've heard this mentioned before there's no punching or kicking. (Even though I've seen clips of Osensei and Gozo Shioda punching kicking and striking..)

Here's the thing, in order for someone to learn how to defend them self against a kick or a punch you need someone to punch or kick you properly in the first place, right?
If someone gives you a half assed strike then what are the chances you'll actually be able to defend yourself when it happens for real? Slim to none is my bet..

A video comes to mind which I'll use as an example. A girl (on you tube, yes yes I know) is apparently setting herself up to demonstrate defending herself against a kick. A guy standing in front of her, on command, gives her a kick and she just gets launched off screen.
I figure she's trained against someone kicking her at a dojo but never really trained against someone kicking her 'for real'.

I feel knowing how to punch kick and strike is a VERY important part of knowing and learning aikido, as an uke you owe it to your partner.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:58 AM   #21
Dennis Hooker
Dojo: Shindai Dojo, Orlando Fl.
Location: Orlando Florida
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 456
Re: why did you start aikido?

I started it out of curiosity after reading about it. I was in a phase of my life where I needed to re-socialize myself, the government programs weren't doing a very good job for some of us. The people I met and their skill level gave me a great deal of peace. I was already a pretty good fighter I needed to be a better person, father and husband. Latter when I got very ill with Myasthenia Gravis my teachers did what my doctors couldn't.

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido

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Old 02-15-2007, 12:51 AM   #22
p00kiethebear's Avatar
Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 374
Re: why did you start aikido?

Why did you start Aikido?
Because it looked fake and I was a young punk who wanted to show those aikifruits what real fighting was.

Let's just say my Sensei put me in my place the first class and I became one of the aikifruits.

Now I'm a young punk who knows Aikido

I wouldn't have it any other way.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:05 AM   #23
Princess Rose
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern CO
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 70
Re: why did you start aikido?

When I was eleven I saw this cheesy movie with this karate girl who was like kicking ass so naturally I wanted to do that. My parents, however, said no. So then this friend of theirs said she had an awesome non-violent martial art that teaches like peace and all so they agreed. I was hooked.
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Old 02-15-2007, 04:23 AM   #24
Location: Bangkok
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 803
Re: why did you start aikido?

When I was still a teenager, I read a book about Judo, the way of gentleness, and was very amazed at the principles of non-resistance and using the opponents force against him. I joined a Judo dojo and stayed there for over 7 years. It didn't take me long to realize it was all BS, there's nothing gentle about Judo, and I have never seen anyone apply the principles I read about in that book. I realized that Judo had drifted from what its founder wanted it to be. I had to stop Judo because of my bad knees that I acquired during those 7 years, and a few years later, I saw an aikido dojo in the city where I live. I knew vaguely about it and that it used the same principles as Judo. Some research over the net, and I knew this was for me. Basically it had everything that attracted me to Judo and none of the drawbacks.
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:34 AM   #25
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: why did you start aikido?

We had just been to eat some Chinese food. My family got in the car when my son announced he had entered a contest at the cash register. I said,"What contest?" He said," The one for a free karate lesson." I said to him that everyone wins those but he didn't believe me. Sure enough, a week later,a letter arrived saying he had won. I took him to the karate dojo and it was full of 30 other "winners". After the lesson, I asked him how he liked it. He said that he hated it and hitting the air and yelling "Kiai!" was weird and embarrassing. He seemed discouraged and was quite downcast when we saw another place in the business park where some men were training quietly. I think that was what struck me. They seemed intent at what they were doing. We stopped and watched and the teacher came and talked to us. I told my son that he should try this art. He did and immediately fell in love with it. That was July of 1995. Neither of us had ever seen a martial arts movie. Even today, I have only seen one martial arts movie at a theater. I didn't know who Bruce Lee was or Jackie Chan was. We just did Aikido because it was fun and interesting and it was something a father and son could do together.Two days ago, my son and I went to train again and I realized that is what I have always liked about aikido. That I can be with my son, and that we can laugh and talk about things on the way home.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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