My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.
First, after having a hiatus of approx. a year and a half of not posting, I would like to say 'hello' to everyone here at Aikiweb.
Dave, your question, though a bit older, will serve as a good reintroduction post for me, as it is one of the main reasons I took the rather lengthy break that I did from Aikido.
- The first point that things started to click was after the first six months.
Keep in mind I had to watch, as I could not speak the local language of Hungarian to gain clarification.
This however, pushed me into really searching and 'trying' things to see what worked.
- Second point where things became evident as to what worked, and why things either did or did not work, was when I received the rank of 3rd Kyu.
[I, somewhat regrettably, left right before being able to test for 2nd Kyu.]
At 3rd Kyu we were tasked with going to other martial arts and 'watching' to see the differences.
For me I wanted to 'feel' the difference, so I took up Thai Boxing/Grappling while still training in Aikido.
As I am sure I posted I was able to pull off Kotegaishi, in a very unorthodox position on the ground, which surprised some of the folks there - but mind you they were not necessarily formidable opponents on the ground, as this was primarily a Thai Boxing class.
[side note: I did get the daylights half knocked out of me by a guy who weighed about 25kilos heavier than me - was not pretty.]
The above is not meant to suggest that what I did would always work, but it does go to further that point that many who have mixed arts with Aikido realized - the first time with a given technique against a trained opponent you may have a chance... after they know whats up your chances go down, and its best that you have a full rounded program. [I would say BJJ, Aikido, and Judo are really parts of one body, and while some seem close to whole unto themselves, are not quite whole, and each party could benefit from knowing skills of the other.]
When going back to Aikido training I was quite disappointed with the fact that I clearly saw what was happening... which was with no true resistance as with BJJ, you end up having 'many masters' and 'many methods' of implementing a technique... most of which are inaffective due to the very nature of missing why the techniques work to begin with. [ie., my kotegaeshi came from a position that you would never see in Aikido, on the ground, yet it was a clear knowledge of why the technique worked, that allowed me to execute the technique.]
In this time period I had been approached by several lower kyu ranks to train them, which I obligingly did so on the side, and of which they all were able to take their exam and passed with no issues.
[These same folks, who stayed, have since moved on nicely in rank.]
This, along with the current air of training, led me to just stop Aikido altogether.
I only picked it up again at the beginning of this year as to get some exercise again.
[Having dropped Thai Boxing, was not keen on being thrown in with people a good deal higher in weight than myself. Things operate a bit differently in this country, not necessarily the most safe methods are taken.]
I now have the advantage that things have become more stream-lined in my dojo - yet Im under no illusion that things are different in regards to Aikido vs. another art, etc.
Aikido is what it is. Without any other training one should never labour under the delusion that their skills will work in a practical manner, unless against an untrained person... or for bullying purposes.
This may turn some on edge, but I will say the same about Tae Kwondo, etc.
[In Thai Boxing, while standing there for conditioning as someone kicks their right leg against your weak leg, it hurts worse than you can dream of... yet in motion legs were very easy to catch, and had it been on the mat at the time, they would have been thrown down easy enough.]
Aikido is a beautiful art, very aesthetic once the individual realizes that is what it is supposed to be and then blends.
For the person who wishes to compete, even if just to improve their own reflexes, etc., will find that Aikido is a very nice supplement, that should not be overlooked, with their BJJ training, etc.
So, at what level does it click?
Well, given the nature of how Aikido is taught, it can take about six months to feel comfortable.
Then if you look at it as something it is not, it can take a life time of thought... though I will say that the one thing Aikido provided for me over the years, as well as others here I know, is deep introspection into ones own life and dealings with life.
Aikido is as deep as you want it to be, and has many facets to it - which can be fully enjoyed when not feeling the need to make it into something it is not, or more accurately just allowing the experience to be what it is at the time.
Again, good to be back...