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Old 02-24-2004, 06:35 PM   #1
paul jooseph
Location: australia
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aikido, what are the benefits?

hi, I'm looking at taking up a martial art for exercise and to generally help me to be a better person IE more focused, more motivated, more committed. i suffer from bad depression and anxiety and I'm overweight. someone suggested i do a martial art as it makes exercise a deeply enjoyable experience. i really like the concepts of aikido being a non aggressive form. will aikido be of any use to me in regards to toning up IE losing the flab and improving my overall well being?
thanks.....Paul
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:59 PM   #2
Ian Williams
Location: Adelaide, Australia
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G'day Paul.

I'm in my mid thirtees, overweight, and have recently (five weeks ago) started training in JuJitsu. In terms of fitness, I think you'll get out of it what you put into it, but I recommend not going too hard to being with.

I was very sore after the first few lessons, having exercised muscle groups that had not been moved for a few too many years and I could have easilly done myself an injury if I tried to train too often. Start off once or twice a week. Don't train till you think your body has sufficiently recovered from the last lesson. (I still need a day or so break between training sessions).

I'm a long long long long way behind the other (younger fitter) members in my class when it comes to the aerobic activities but I do what I can. It's best not to push yourself too much.

Can't really comment on the "depression" aspect other than it gives you a new focus and I constantly find myself going over throwing/locking/restraining techniques in my mind.
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:48 PM   #3
William Westdyke
Dojo: Aikido at the Center
Location: Tucson, Az
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Hello all. My name is William Westdyke and I am just a beginner in Aikido as I have only been at it for 6 years or so. I train under Judith Robinson 5th Dan and but have trained at a few other dojo's in the past. This is my first post so please forgive the introduction.

Paul, welcome to Aikido. First I have to say I agree with Ian in saying you will leave the mat only with what you put into it, physically speaking... At least at first. Depending on your current level of fitness you should find Aikido more than challenging enough, as rolling and learning to move are probably not going to be the most natural of things you have ever done.

What I think you should realize is Aikido will do more for you than simply getting you in shape or sharpening your wits and concentration. For me, the major benefit has been a hugely improved connection between mind and body. I don't mean better hand eye coordination. What I am talking about is the connection between your body, spirit and your mind.

Your existence is a chain that is comprised of links, which include but aren't limited to, your brain, your body and your spirit. When your body, your mind or your spirit are placed under stress, your whole chain is pulled. Not to be cliché' but, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

I make a point of going to the gym as part of my martial training. I am also a full time student. And guess what, I see a shrink (excuse the term) when I feel depressed. Don't neglect to keep any of your parts "in shape." Aikido will be the thing that truly binds them. I believe this is a huge part of what people mean when they say "Aikido for life." You will use Aikido everywhere because you always use your body, mind, and spirit. The Aikido is using them together to get positive results, you couldn't achieve with just one of them.

Sorry about the length of this post all.

Blue Skies,

William

"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:18 PM   #4
paul jooseph
Location: australia
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to ian and william , thanks heaps for your reply, it has helped alot towards my decision.

i think im going to go with aikido and do one session of kickboxercise a week for cardio workout. i love the idea of aikido being more than self defence but something to better myself in all aspects of my life.
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Old 02-24-2004, 11:43 PM   #5
PeterR
 
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Hi Paul;

You got a couple of good answers so I'm just going to do a me too.

For me Aikido is an intensely social activity. We get together, sweat, help each other out, and then go to lunch. Well we do, the class ends at 12 pm and there is a really reasonable buffet just across the court in the sports center.

I move around a lot and rely on Budo for creating a great circle of friends outside family and work - usually in very quick order.

So yeah considering that we are social animals Budo (not just Aikido) is a major plus to well being.

With respect to the depression and anxiety a small bit of advice. Don't try to concern yourself about others opinion (your guess is usually wrong) or your perceived progress. Just show up and let the skill come to you - it will. One of the sempai in the dojo calls one of my newest members - a nerd of the nicest sort. The man was filled with angst trying to mentally understand everything that was being done - he was frustrating himself right out the door. Once it was explained that the mental approach is quite different from High Energy Physics he settled right in (OK there are still a few hic-ups).

Physcially - it really depends on the dojo but even in the most physical beginners rarely work nearly enough. Your cardio-workout idea sounds pretty good.

Have fun.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:19 AM   #6
drDalek
 
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I started Aikido mainly because I was incredibly bored with my day to day drudgery. Get up, go to work, come home, sleep, repeat until dead.

Aikido gives me something to look forward to during the week, I dropped about 3 pants sizes, going from a 42 waist to a 36 doing ONLY Aikido for only about a year. Sure I still wont be able to run a marathon but if you do even the relatively mild exercises of Aikido you will put on more muscle mass (especially your legs and waist) and burn more energy.

I sleep better, my appetite is no longer so damn "trashy" I respect my body and I want to give it good fuel and even my other less socially exceptable body processes have evened out and become more regular.

My self confidence is at an all time high after going through a relatively difficult puberty in a high school that I found very difficult to adapt to and I feel more ready and optimistic about new situations. No matter how rough things get in my "normal" life, it cannot be nearly as rough as how my sensei threw me last night and I sailed through those throws with no problem.
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Old 02-25-2004, 02:28 AM   #7
paul jooseph
Location: australia
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To all who have replied, much thanks i feel really positive about doing this . Ive wanted to do this for ages ever since my family was killed in an accident 3 years ago, my life has not been the same since and i have been searching for something in my life . i just have no idea what. Ive always thought about the martial arts but my anxiety has prevented me going and also thinking i would never be able to do it. I'm going for a sit in at a lesson tomorrow and I'm very nervous but hopefully i will be able to push through this and continue.. once again many thanks....Paul
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Old 02-25-2004, 04:28 AM   #8
shihonage
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Paul, check your E-mail.
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:38 AM   #9
Magma
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Disgust Pet Peeve

Quote:
William Westdyke wrote:
Hello all. My name is William Westdyke and I am just a beginner in Aikido as I have only been at it for 6 years or so.
There is such a thing as leaving your ego with your shoes.

There is also such a thing as *affecting* to leave your ego with your shoes.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:36 PM   #10
William Westdyke
Dojo: Aikido at the Center
Location: Tucson, Az
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Truthfully Tim I do feel like a beginner with the people I'm working with. There are at least 10 people in my dojo with over 10 years experience. Its a bit intimidating working around such wonderfully skilled people. I find the only way I manage to be around them, and not feel like im imposing, is being as humble both outwardly and inwardly as I can.

William

"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 02-25-2004, 01:47 PM   #11
Ted Marr
Location: Providence, RI
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For me, martial arts provide the best form of anti-stress and anti-depression there is. It gives me time where I don't think too much. Seriously, I think half of the time when I'm in a downward spiral, it's because I sit and brood about what's going on in my life... it feeds into itself and just gets a bit overwhelming. Aikido gives me a break from myself. I show up and the only thing I am thinking about for those 1.5-2 hours is the techniques. Just like hitting the reset button on my mood. I don't always come out of it feeling that I'm on top of everything, but I can take a more honest look at things and get a bit of perspective.
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Old 02-25-2004, 06:42 PM   #12
Qatana
 
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Paul

i came to Aikido as part of my healing after i lost my Mom right before 9/11. I've been training a little over a year now, and am happier than i've been in a long time.

You have my best wishes.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 02-25-2004, 07:48 PM   #13
Magma
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William -

That's as may be (feeling like a beginner with people of more experience).

My point is not that one can't continue to feel like a beginner. My point is that a person truly feeling like a beginner would not mar his announcement of this feeling by simultaneously mentioning the number of years he has been training.

Saying you're "just a beginner" and then following up with the number of *years* you've been training is like giving someone a gift and then making sure to tell them how much you paid for it... as if that could earn you both their regard for having given the gift, *and* their indebtedness at knowing what you paid.

You want us to think you a beginner. You also want us to think you experienced. That's an affectation, and, to me, a blatant cry for attention.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 02-25-2004, 08:08 PM   #14
PeterR
 
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Tim I see your point but like you said its a Pet Peeve. I also raised an eyebrow - the same one where a geriatric announces they are 90 years young. .

More in tune with this thread I have a pet peeve of my own.

None of the above posts have really set if off the alarm but I don't like when people talk about Aikido being therapy in and of itself.

Any supportive, group activity which does not particularily dwell on the problems can fulfill the same function. Aikido is a great choice for a number of reasons, and (based on the above posts) it has helped a number of people, but it is not therapy.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:12 AM   #15
indomaresa
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
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aikido's benefit?

hmm... I've found that I can feel what people are thinking, read minds and subtly change their thought process. If I wanted to.

I also realized that I can run for miles without tiring, carry multiple heavy bags with ease and able to move both hand with equal dexterity and co-ordination.

Other small things that cropped up after I study aikido is that things seem to make way for me, bad luck never happen, good things make their way to me and I leave a feeling of peacefullness and smiles in everyone I passed.

Oh, and before I forget. It did have a bad effect on me as well.

I can't eat vegetables, but must instead settle for steaks and all sorts of meat-products, or sweets. I am unable to grow fat, no matter how much I wanted to.

So basically I think the bad from learning aikido totally outweighs the good, and all newbies should make their choices carefully before they took the path of no return.

I mean it.. seriously..

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 02-26-2004, 08:03 AM   #16
aikidocapecod
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Cape Cod
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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I have found that AIkido has helped me to focus on the task at hand, rather than get caught up in the stress the task may involve.

Example....I play a lot of golf. Some days better than others, but that is just due to the limitations of my skill!!! :-) But in the past, when playing in a tournament, standing on the first tee..about to start the backswing....well...let's just say I would have made a cup of 2-day old coffee nervous...

But my years as a student of Aikido have helped me to just relax and stay calm.

That is an example of a mental benefit I have gained from Aikido

When it comes to striking the ball off the tee....Aikido has helped there also. I have been able to stay physically calm and compact during the golf swing. Allowing the club to circle around my center rather than trying to beat the heck out of the ball. I just allow the club to go back, rest and then go forward around my center. Most times I do not swing and miss!!!!! My distance has increased. The control is much better.

Just a couple of examples oh how Aikido can help.
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:23 AM   #17
p00kiethebear
 
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Benefits?

It makes the beer taste better, duh. = P

As far as losing weight goes when I started I was about 220 and now I'm closer to 195, but i put in anywhere from 4 - 10 hours a week so I'm not the universal say on that. The more you work though, the better your chances are of succeeding ^_^

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 02-26-2004, 01:45 PM   #18
shihonage
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Quote:
William Westdyke wrote:
Hello all. My name is William Westdyke and I am just a beginner in Aikido as I have only been at it for 6 years or so.
Hello everyone, I'm a humble beginner.
Quote:
William Westdyke wrote:
Truthfully Tim I do feel like a beginner with the people I'm working with. There are at least 10 people in my dojo with over 10 years experience. Its a bit intimidating working around such wonderfully skilled people. I find the only way I manage to be around them, and not feel like im imposing, is being as humble both outwardly and inwardly as I can.
No, really, I'm humbler than all of you combined.
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:42 PM   #19
Ian Williams
Location: Adelaide, Australia
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Quote:
Aikido is a great choice for a number of reasons, and (based on the above posts) it has helped a number of people, but it is not therapy
I disagree. If the practice is theraputic, then it is indeed a therapy. You don't have to sit down with a shrink and pay $100 an hour to get help with your problems (neccessarily - some people do get benefit out of this).

If depression and the symptons of depression can be aleviated by defeating apathy and getting out getting involved in something -such as Aikido, then it is theraputic.

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 02-26-2004, 03:55 PM   #20
William Westdyke
Dojo: Aikido at the Center
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OK, OK, I GIVE! I'm not really a beginner! AND IM NOT HUMBLE EITHER! LOL. You guys are a tough croud. In the future, I will try to moderate my "hubbleness" to a level which is more in alignment with my truly cocky boastful inner self.

"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 02-26-2004, 04:19 PM   #21
Magma
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So long as you are true to your cockiness, that will be better.

*nods*

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 02-26-2004, 06:44 PM   #22
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Ian Williams wrote:
I disagree. If the practice is theraputic, then it is indeed a therapy. You don't have to sit down with a shrink and pay $100 an hour to get help with your problems ....
You could get the same benefit out of joining a soccer team, or group nature walks. I was referring to calling Aikido a therepy in and of itself. I think it is a serious mistake to list a series of perceived psycological short-comings and say Aikido will deal with it.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-26-2004, 09:56 PM   #23
Tom Wolowiec
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It'll definately help. What do you think shrinks do? They tell you it's not so bad, and you end up going to a social group thingy anyway. Why not save yourself $100, and get some excercise while you're at it? If you're too busy doing something, you have no time to think about being depressed.

It won't help you deal with any actual problems in life, but depression isn't always caused by that. Sometimes your hormones just go crazy and make you feel deperessed. Excercise makes your brain create dopamine, which makes you happy.

I can comment better on anxiety. I used to have a real fear of being around people before I started martial arts. I was scared to go to my first lesson, but everything went fine. I haven't been doing it for long, almost a year, but I've noticed that everything in life has become easier for me. Talking to people I don't know, doing physical activities, focusing, thinking, and my balance has improved a lot.

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 02-29-2004, 12:44 AM   #24
mantis
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Quote:
will aikido be of any use to me in regards to toning up IE losing the flab and improving my overall well being?
hey Paul, as far as toning up, nothing can be as good as a healthy diet and a good cardio workout.

i don't eat well (pizza, burgers etc.) and i don't sweat a lot in class, so for me, it doesn't meet what you want it to do.

what it does for me is gets me focused, and i forget about anything else when I'm on the mat. also, it improved my reactions and gives me a greater sense of confidence if i were to ever get attacked.

only you can judge if it meets your requirements. aikido in general does many different things to a lot of different people. the school you attend can also effect your goals.

maybe try just dieting and cardio workouts for 6 months and see how it works out.
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