Why I like Aikido
I was having dinner with my wife after a particularly stressful non aikido day. When I suddenly thought that I felt like doing irimi nage on someone.
It occurred to me that this is the release that I get after every aikido class. I'm able to channel my pent-up aggressions in a safe manner. Giving and taking. Getting slammed to the mat is a tremendous stress reliever too.
Then, I remembered back to my college days when I played Ice hockey. I loved it. The hitting and checking was very similar to aikido in that you could slam someone or be slammed without getting hurt ( usually). Also, the feeling of skating so fast that the wind rushed at your face was exhilarating.
There was the same aggressive release of tension that I get from aikido.
I can remember how totally spent, and empty, and carefree I would feel after a practice game ( league games had other emotional effects that spoiled the fun).
And, it was an addiction like aikido, too. I would play at any hour of the day just to get ice time. 4 or 5 AM , no problem.
I needed that release.
Also, hockey is not like other sports football , basketball, or baseball. They don't offer the same emotional release. Football, for example, always felt like the object was to hurt your opponent; hit them as hard as you possibly can so they won't get back up. And, basketball, of course frowns on any hitting at all.
Anyway , long story short, I quit playing hockey when I turned 22, and for a long time afterward I felt awful. I just couldn't find anything to replace the release that I needed. Finally, 20 years later I discovered aikido, and it is exactly the same.
You know, there is so much talk on this web site about whether aikido is an effective martial art. Well, I think this misses the point entirely.
Let's be honest, the vast majority of aikidoka will never have to use their martial skills in a real encounter. Osensei said, that aikido is a martial art for a modern world. A world with guns; and a world with lawsuits, and road rage, and insurance companies, and time clocks, and ... well you get the idea.
Plain and simply aikido is a release. We need it and we crave it. Aikido empties us so that we can let the Aiki spirit into our vessels.
Peace be with you.