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Old 04-08-2009, 04:10 AM   #1
Randy Sexton
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The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

In the past few months I have gotten more aware of the presence or absence of joy in people during their Aikido training.
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?
OSensei taught that Aikido should be practiced with an attitude of love for our opponent not with an attitude of crushing him into the ground and teaching him a lesson. He taught us to practice with love and joy in our hearts and to take care of those who act violently our of their fear and anger.
Do we sometimes forget to train with love in our hearts?
I have learned the presence of laughter and smiles in the dojo can be a clear indication of the attitude of the Sensei and his students. Have you noticed how often in the martial arts world we see videos and read articles that have no joy or love in them. We need to rise to a higher level and follow a deeper true path in Aikido.
Yes, Aikido is effective and yes I can hurt someone in defending myself but if that is our focus are we missing the point? I know we need to train with realism and learn to use our skills as a practical martial art but isn't the higher ideals of love and joy the greatest goal of all?
My heart hungers to experience what Osensei found and gave to us in Aikido. My soul is weary of the confrontation and competition and dog eat dog attitude so prevalent in our world.
Let us rise to a higher calling and find in our wonderful art of Aikido the joy and love we seek and let's remember to smile and occasionally laugh. We and our world will be better for it.

Doc Sexton

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:11 AM   #2
Jorge Garcia
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
In the past few months I have gotten more aware of the presence or absence of joy in people during their Aikido training.
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?
OSensei taught that Aikido should be practiced with an attitude of love for our opponent not with an attitude of crushing him into the ground and teaching him a lesson. He taught us to practice with love and joy in our hearts and to take care of those who act violently our of their fear and anger.
Do we sometimes forget to train with love in our hearts?
I have learned the presence of laughter and smiles in the dojo can be a clear indication of the attitude of the Sensei and his students. Have you noticed how often in the martial arts world we see videos and read articles that have no joy or love in them. We need to rise to a higher level and follow a deeper true path in Aikido.
Yes, Aikido is effective and yes I can hurt someone in defending myself but if that is our focus are we missing the point? I know we need to train with realism and learn to use our skills as a practical martial art but isn't the higher ideals of love and joy the greatest goal of all?
My heart hungers to experience what Osensei found and gave to us in Aikido. My soul is weary of the confrontation and competition and dog eat dog attitude so prevalent in our world.
Let us rise to a higher calling and find in our wonderful art of Aikido the joy and love we seek and let's remember to smile and occasionally laugh. We and our world will be better for it.

Doc Sexton
I think about this sometimes. Martial arts are a serious endeavor and a certain amount of seriousness is needed for real focus and concentration. In the old videos of O Sensei in Iwama, you see everyone concentrating and working hard. That looks good to me. Sometimes, people have trouble drawing the line and the laughing and joking disentegrates to a casualness not appropriate for any martial art. In my dojo, I laugh and joke and we do have that atmosphere but if I as the leader over do that, then things go downhill and can even become dangerous. That is especially true in kids classes. If you start playing with the kids, then you regret it later because once they get too loose, it is difficult to bring them back under control. Perhaps it has to do more with underlying feeling that you project that fills the room rather than that which is immediately apparent.
best,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:02 AM   #3
DH
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Quote:
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?
I have a tremendous amount of fun and laughter in my training. I would question the concern for being considered "bad_______" being tied to some sort of serious persona. I have never been able to manage being serious for long in my dojo or others.
I might consider this though.
There are lots of people smiling who have no power nor any clue of how to attain it. There are also lots of people with issues who are nothing more than good fighters. Many people join martial arts to resolve issues they face. Whether it be insecurities, self-doubts, dominance issues, or even just wanting to "be a leader of a group" etc. I am quite sure that most would agree there are some messed up people in the martial art world. So, while there is no requirement for being open and giving-lord knows plenty of capable men are not- where do your choices lie?
How do you arrive at true martial ability, power and joy? Aiki power. And it is rare and deserves the reputation it has earned. The true magic of the power of aiki is being able to receive and manage aggression and not have it affect or change you. One might consider that it imparts a feeling of living free in the world and of deep resolve. For some people I know it has indeed imparted a sense of joy, both in their training and in their lives.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:20 PM   #4
Kevin Karr
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

I say, train hard and be serious on the mat. The time for laughs is afterward when everyone has made it through. Whew, survival! That is a reason to be joyful and I love it!
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:46 PM   #5
Buck
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?

Let us rise to a higher calling and find in our wonderful art of Aikido the joy and love we seek and let's remember to smile and occasionally laugh. We and our world will be better for it.
That is a tough one, I think the Japanese enjoy things differently culturally then us in the USA. I don't mean drinking allot. It goes deeper than that. And how they define joy and how it is experienced differently too from us in the west.

I am not sure about the laughing out loud, in the video's I see of O'Sensei few in comparison have him smiling (mostly when he is older in a way to affirm his skill). And the Ukes are never seen smiling laughing or joking. Or, is this true for the students watching or training.

We are doing a martial art, though we may not injure, maimed or kill our opponent we do have to take it seriously, if we expect it to me more that a recreational activity. But that is up to the individual, I don't think it is the same for O'Sensei as you describe. I am saying this with never being in O'Sensei's presence or in his dojo. But I do remember reading Kisshomaru Ueshiba being serious about Aikido stressing shugyo training.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
That is a tough one, I think the Japanese enjoy things differently culturally then us in the USA. I don't mean drinking allot. It goes deeper than that. And how they define joy and how it is experienced differently too from us in the west.

I am not sure about the laughing out loud, in the video's I see of O'Sensei few in comparison have him smiling (mostly when he is older in a way to affirm his skill). And the Ukes are never seen smiling laughing or joking. Or, is this true for the students watching or training.

We are doing a martial art, though we may not injure, maimed or kill our opponent we do have to take it seriously, if we expect it to me more that a recreational activity. But that is up to the individual, I don't think it is the same for O'Sensei as you describe. I am saying this with never being in O'Sensei's presence or in his dojo. But I do remember reading Kisshomaru Ueshiba being serious about Aikido stressing shugyo training.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but in my experience, Japanese (Aikido) dojo tend to be a lot more relaxed than European ones on many levels.

I get a lot of joy from my training as do the others in my dojo who happen to be Japanese. There was a lot of laughter at practice last night.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:03 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

IMHO, I'm not missing it.
You have to decide to put it there.

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 04-09-2009, 05:38 AM   #8
RonRagusa
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Practicing seriously engenders feelings of joy. Serious and joy are not related in such a way as to be mutually exclusive.

Ron
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:37 AM   #9
lbb
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

"Joy" is a bit too simplistic for me. I train because it's worth it for me to train. On any given day, the reason can be different than the day before or the day after. My reasons are sufficient for me; they don't need to satisfy anyone else.
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Old 04-09-2009, 03:30 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Seriously joyful is me.
When somebody nails me without me feeling it coming, as I land on the mat my reaction is to laugh my head off.
As nage I sometimes banter and tease my partner about the coming attack. I ALWAYS try to invite my attacker with a smile and openness.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:34 PM   #11
bleepbeep
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

I think part of being "joyful" on the mats for me is a combination of many things.
Like discovering something about myself that I did not know before, or learning a new thing, or having a great partner..or maybe having a challenging partner.

So it's probably what you bring into your training that will also translate how much fulfillment and "joy' we get from Aikido.

Attitude has a lot to do with it. I'm just glad to be able to practice it when I can with a body I am still learning how to manage. The discovery and journey is a happy experience enough as it is..

No, I haven't missed it. I hope nobody does.

I just love aikido practice.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:27 AM   #12
batemanb
 
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

I`m currently on vacation in Japan, visiting my sensei. I accompanied him to his class at the Himeji Budokan this week, where once a quarter all the budo insrtuctors have to do aisatsu and a little speech on their art to all of the gathered students from all of the classes.

After a couple of serious speeches from the Karate instructor and the Taikyokuken instructor, Nakao sensei`s speech was all about how he wanted to start a happy laughing Aikido class. His regular students were chuckling along loudly to his speech whilst everyone else stood around looking sombre. After we went to our dojo to train, where the air rang with laughter throughout the session.

I`ve known Nakao sensei for 14 years and trained with him many times during that period, he is one of the happiest people I`ve ever had the pleasure to train with, always laughing and smiling, and enjoying his practice, as do I. Life is too short to take everything seriously, and I think some in the west take their training far too seriously, by which I mean being too solemn over it for fear of being seen to not take it seriously. For me, laughter makes for a light airy practice and I`m happy if that rubs off on my students.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:38 AM   #13
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

I had a couple of the "Joy of Aikido" moments just last night. Two students showed up for class, a ten year old girl, and her five year old brother. I told them we would have to cancel unless another adult was present with us (I'm real firm about this). She ran home and brought back her Grandmother, so we set up the mats. After class they were helping me put away mats, and they always have difficulty with the correct folding of them. But I patiently teach them. Hunter, the 5 year old, walked up to me, grabbed me by my belt (a gift from Iwao Yamaguchi Sensei), and led me to the mat he was trying to fold. He then pointed at the crease in the mat. I once again showed him how to pick up the mat so it would fold correctly. He grinned.
Neither of these kids are with their parents. The Aunt has gaurdianship and says they come from a "very dysfunctional" environment, the details of which I do not know. But they come to my class, and it is my job to make them feel safe and secure in a world gone mad. And I do that through aikido, a gift I received from a very fine man, in Okinawa Japan.

Last edited by gdandscompserv : 04-10-2009 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:48 AM   #14
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Loved your story Ricky..it is all about this.
Mary
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:23 PM   #15
Randy Sexton
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Thanks folks for responding. I loved the feedback!
It seems to me as Lynn Seiser said you have what you put into it. I think it is all in our attitude of receiving the gift of Aikido and sharing with our partners in a spirit of love and joy while realizing we are practicing a serious martial art.
The moments that bring us a sense of enlightenment are those described by Ricky Wood when we share those moments with others such as a five year old who needs a little guidance in following his path to peace and love. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for giving me a warm sense of joy.

Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:56 AM   #16
Buck
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We mssing it?

Ron,

Good for you.
--------------------------------------

I understand there has to be enjoyment from anything you do to keep it up. I don't want to be laughing and full of joy smiling during practice because that is what I O'Sensei as doing.

For me it is not joy as defined here, but as defined by Japanese aesthetics, after all Aikido is a Japanese martial art. Particularly, geido and yugen.

Now "joy" as defined here, I would apply that to a night of receational bowling. It really brings me happiness when I get a strike. Joy as a pleasurable aspect of something I do that brings me happiness wouldn't happen to me during training, or at the peak of being on the giving or receiving end. Maybe after class or before class thinking about class gives me joy. Or being bad asses, like it was mentioned, might give me joy. Isn't that OK?

Singin'
Joy to the world
Let earth receive her King;
All the boys and girls, now
let every heart prepare him room,
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
Throw away the cars and the bars and the wars.

Point of that it's a train wreck. Yet how two songs (one based upon another) done differently, when combined sounds really awful and doesn't make sense. I really don't have it for re-mixing.

Last edited by Buck : 04-11-2009 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:15 AM   #17
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

I guess it all matters for what and why are the reasons you are training. That relates to expectations of yourself and the art. Everyone has a right to train and expect things out of themselves and their training. I think it is when that isn't realized and the training doesn't match the expectations that becomes a problem. Because when you expect it to work one way and you trained another and the result isn't effectiveness you have lots of psychological stuff to dealt with to get back to functionally normally. To get back on that horse and ride once you have been unexpectedly and unprepared to be kicked off because you thought the horse, which you humanized, was your special friend would never do such a thing. Instead of a seeing it for what it is, a horse.

Last edited by Buck : 04-11-2009 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:14 AM   #18
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I guess it all matters for what and why are the reasons you are training. That relates to expectations of yourself and the art. Everyone has a right to train and expect things out of themselves and their training. I think it is when that isn't realized and the training doesn't match the expectations that becomes a problem. Because when you expect it to work one way and you trained another and the result isn't effectiveness you have lots of psychological stuff to dealt with to get back to functionally normally. To get back on that horse and ride once you have been unexpectedly and unprepared to be kicked off because you thought the horse, which you humanized, was your special friend would never do such a thing. Instead of a seeing it for what it is, a horse.
Buck,
You need a hug?
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:47 AM   #19
Grant Buhr
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

I notice that Gozo Shioda is usually laughing/giggling and appears to be having a great time during many of his public demos.

I know that our classes always seem to "flow" better when we are relaxed and enjoying the technique. I'm not saying that classes should be filled with frivolity, but the partnership developed between sh'te/tori and uke (temporary as it may be) seems to require certain elements in order to remain a partnership rather than a competition.
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Old 04-11-2009, 12:52 PM   #20
crbateman
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Of major importance in Aikido training is to relax. People are generally more themselves when they are relaxed. Since everybody behaves differently, it follows that you will see different demeanors on the mat, some more serious than others. I think that of greater concern is the gamut of attitudes from the same person. Somebody who is lighthearted one night and dour the next is possibly bringing more of his outside world to the mat than would be useful. One needs to keep one's head in the game.
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Old 04-11-2009, 08:25 PM   #21
Buck
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Quote:
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Buck,
You need a hug?
Sniff, Sniff, yes, I do.

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Old 04-11-2009, 11:41 PM   #22
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
In the past few months I have gotten more aware of the presence or absence of joy in people during their Aikido training.
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?
OSensei taught that Aikido should be practiced with an attitude of love for our opponent not with an attitude of crushing him into the ground and teaching him a lesson. He taught us to practice with love and joy in our hearts and to take care of those who act violently our of their fear and anger.
Do we sometimes forget to train with love in our hearts?
I have learned the presence of laughter and smiles in the dojo can be a clear indication of the attitude of the Sensei and his students. Have you noticed how often in the martial arts world we see videos and read articles that have no joy or love in them. We need to rise to a higher level and follow a deeper true path in Aikido.
Yes, Aikido is effective and yes I can hurt someone in defending myself but if that is our focus are we missing the point? I know we need to train with realism and learn to use our skills as a practical martial art but isn't the higher ideals of love and joy the greatest goal of all?
My heart hungers to experience what Osensei found and gave to us in Aikido. My soul is weary of the confrontation and competition and dog eat dog attitude so prevalent in our world.
Let us rise to a higher calling and find in our wonderful art of Aikido the joy and love we seek and let's remember to smile and occasionally laugh. We and our world will be better for it.

Doc Sexton
Hey Doc,
Do I look like I'm not having a good time when I'm on the mat?
- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #23
Randy Sexton
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Wink Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

George, you have as much fun doing Aikido as you do when you are dancing! I have seen you smile, laugh, and even giggle when you do Aikido; but underneath you can feel the KI flowing out and the power you have available to use as you wish. Your presence and Zanshin is to be highly respected if not just plain feared!
You truly are inspiring and present joy and conviction all at the same time. I'm sure OSensei would be proud.
Doc Sexton

p.s. You can give me the $20 for the warm fuzzy at summer camp.
Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:48 PM   #24
Dennis Hooker
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Smile Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
In the past few months I have gotten more aware of the presence or absence of joy in people during their Aikido training.
Have we gotten so serious and anxious about being "Bad Asses" that we forget to laugh once in a while? Are we remembering to take time to deeply enjoy our training? Are we remembering to smile at our partners and actually laugh out loud once in a while?
OSensei taught that Aikido should be practiced with an attitude of love for our opponent not with an attitude of crushing him into the ground and teaching him a lesson. He taught us to practice with love and joy in our hearts and to take care of those who act violently our of their fear and anger.
Do we sometimes forget to train with love in our hearts?
I have learned the presence of laughter and smiles in the dojo can be a clear indication of the attitude of the Sensei and his students. Have you noticed how often in the martial arts world we see videos and read articles that have no joy or love in them. We need to rise to a higher level and follow a deeper true path in Aikido.
Yes, Aikido is effective and yes I can hurt someone in defending myself but if that is our focus are we missing the point? I know we need to train with realism and learn to use our skills as a practical martial art but isn't the higher ideals of love and joy the greatest goal of all?
My heart hungers to experience what Osensei found and gave to us in Aikido. My soul is weary of the confrontation and competition and dog eat dog attitude so prevalent in our world.
Let us rise to a higher calling and find in our wonderful art of Aikido the joy and love we seek and let's remember to smile and occasionally laugh. We and our world will be better for it.

Doc Sexton
Hay, I am happy Doc. I hurt and I'm all broken up but I'm happy. Don't worry be happy!! Tell them folks up there to get to enjoying themselves and train with a joyful heart. I hope to see you sometime this summer or fall but I ain't training over a mile high anymore when I live three feet below sea level. If I join another mile high club it ain't gonna be that one!!

Dennis Hooker: (DVD) Zanshin and Ma-ai in Aikido
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:59 PM   #25
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Re: The Joy of Aikido, Are We missing it?

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
George, you have as much fun doing Aikido as you do when you are dancing! I have seen you smile, laugh, and even giggle when you do Aikido; but underneath you can feel the KI flowing out and the power you have available to use as you wish. Your presence and Zanshin is to be highly respected if not just plain feared!

Doc
of course George had fun because look who was his uke? i didn't see you guys stood up and volunteered. i didn't see you guys went bar hopping, dancing with known and unknown women, and generally carousing into the wee hours. ohh wait! I did have fun. nevermind.

Hooker Sensei, mile high club? I am shocked. absolutely shocked! ....*mumble mumble are there any special requirements to join? ...mumble mumble*
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