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Old 05-20-2004, 09:03 PM   #1
Rhaevin80
Location: IL
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Thinking of taking aikido!

Hello Everyone,
About a week ago my brother in law and me were talking about learning swordfighting. I did a search on google and kendo popped up. I just kept researching it when somehow it brought me to an aikido website. I started reading on aikido, and now I want to take it. I've never been in a MA before. The whole idea of aikido seems perfect for me, since I'm not a violent man. However I do have a few questions that you guys prolly get all the time. So here goes.
I am a christian, and was wondering if in Aikido you get a lot of religous teaching? I just didn't want to get into anything that goes against my beliefs. Just from reading these forums I hear a lot about the spiritual side of it. Can someone let me know the different kinds of Aikido please? I hear some are rougher then others, and I really don't want in one of those. I want to do aikido for the art of it, being I haven't been in a fight since Jr. High, and I'm 24 years old now. I don't get myself into situations where I would be fighting. And, also I was just curious how well can aikido be done against multiple attackers? Again the last question was just out of curiosity of the MA. Thanks for your help guys. These forums seem to be loaded with a lot of nice people. Catch you all later.
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Old 05-20-2004, 09:36 PM   #2
Amassus
 
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Do symbol Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

First and foremost, welcome.

I would suggest taking a look around this website. It has a lot of information that would answer some of your questions. Also do a search in threads discussed in the past. I'm sure all your questions have been asked before by other posters.

As far as the spiritual side of aikido is concerned. In my opinion, you can take as much or as little of that side on board as you like. Aikido is a very personal thing and sure, some people find spiritual comfort in the art, others don't.
Two members at my club are christians and are still able to practice the art without it clashing with their beliefs.

I hope you find aikido to your liking.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 05-21-2004, 12:43 AM   #3
Largo
Dojo: Aikikai Dobunkan/ Icho Ryu Aikijujutsu
Location: Indiana
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Brian- I'd advise checking out the dojos around you. Aikido (and other martial arts as well) vary from teacher to teacher. Sometimes it's hard to recognize two schools as teaching the same arts.
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:44 AM   #4
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

I'd like to second my namesake. Consider individual dojo. A good rule, that I often mention and use, is that you should focus on finding a sensei you respect.

My other, probably more illustrious (sorry, Paul!) namesake also has some good writings on tolerance and customs, if you read his writing. It's pretty well-published. ^_-

While dojo matters once again, I feel safe in seconding the opinion that the general aikido consensus is something like this: "Aikido is not a religion. If you have a religion, it can help you get better at it."
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:10 AM   #5
batemanb
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

If you use the search function here and at aikidojournal.com to search on the word christian, you will bring up a large number of threads on this subject. There's some interesting reading there, plan your time well ;-)

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:49 AM   #6
Infamousapa
Dojo: Aikido Institute of America
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Hey BRIAN,I am a Cristian as well an not just by name but ive accepted Jesus into my heart.I was skeptical about aikido as well because it does originate from shinto religion and zen meditation.But i gave it a try,And have learned to accept it as hobby,workout,and a place to relieve aggression..And somehow it has made me a better Christian..But i do not get into the meditation part of it ...I just consider it my martial art..and thats all....

j
'
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:38 AM   #7
Rhaevin80
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Cool, thanks everyone for the info, I really appreciate it! Another question or two for you if you don't mind. I hear that aikido is based on sword fighting techniques, is this true? Also is it possible to apply my christian beliefs into aikido? I mean meditation as praying and reflecting on Christ's teachings. Jesus taught love and compassion, it just seems like the foundation is the same to me. Thanks again for all your help guys! You have all been great!
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Old 05-21-2004, 07:53 AM   #8
drDalek
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Brian Meuser wrote:
Cool, thanks everyone for the info, I really appreciate it! Another question or two for you if you don't mind. I hear that aikido is based on sword fighting techniques, is this true? Also is it possible to apply my christian beliefs into aikido? I mean meditation as praying and reflecting on Christ's teachings. Jesus taught love and compassion, it just seems like the foundation is the same to me. Thanks again for all your help guys! You have all been great!
You can pretty much do what you want, its your decision and your Aikido after all. No-one can dictate to you what you are meant to think or feel during any of the exercises.

It helps sometimes to visualise certain Japan-o-centric visual metaphors for certain things, but certainly nothing that could conflict with your religion. If you sit in seiza and pray instead of just breathing, thats your choice.

Lots of people are put off by the bowing to inanimate objects like pictures and to their instructor and fellow students, there is however no religious meaning to this, its just a sign of respect, like a military salute.

Oh, about the sword thing, yes, thats true, the footwork, distance, timing and certain techniques definately reflect the sword-origins of Aikido but the actual sword-fighting aspect of Aikido is pretty watered down compared to a real kendo/kenjutsu school that specialises in that kind of thing. Aikido can still be complimentary to any extra sword arts you might want to try though, the footwork would probably translate pretty well.

Last edited by drDalek : 05-21-2004 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 05-21-2004, 08:31 AM   #9
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Brian Meuser wrote:
Cool, thanks everyone for the info, I really appreciate it! Another question or two for you if you don't mind. I hear that aikido is based on sword fighting techniques, is this true?
Sure it is... many many tecniques originates from a situation where someone tries to block your arm/wrist before you can unsheath your sword
And many many others can be done in exactly the same way against unarmed or sword/knife/tanto/jo/bo wielding ukes.... only ma-hai (distance) and timing changes a bit.
Shomen/yokomen-uchi are clearly inspired to a sword chop done bare-handed.
And so on.

Quote:
Also is it possible to apply my christian beliefs into aikido? I mean meditation as praying and reflecting on Christ's teachings. Jesus taught love and compassion, it just seems like the foundation is the same to me.
As agnostic, I truly cannot see any link between religion and Aikido, or any MA.
Like any other moment of your life, you are free (and must?) apply your religious belief... i seriusly doubt practicing a MA could conflict with your religion, or viceversa.... but since I'm a-religious, I'll elave this to your judgement.
Be kind and educate with other guys at the dojo, helping newbies ecc can be surely seen as the application of your christian beliefs, but many can argue that this is simply a general rule of being polite with other people... no need to invoke Jesus for doing that.
It's APPLYING martial arts that raises the subject, IMHO.... aikido as every martial arts can lead to devastating effects if applied in real situations, outiside the practice environment of the dojo.

On the "rougher" subject... I disagree wholeheartedly and would choose a rougher style/sensei at the start (and indeed, I choosed one)... but hey, de gustibus non est disputandum

Bye and have a nice stay int he Aikido community.

--
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Old 05-21-2004, 08:36 AM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

IMHO, you can read and watch all you want, and it is helpful, but Aikido is not a spectator sport. The best way to know for you is to sign up, show up, and experience it yourself. Shop around because schools and teachers vary. IMHO, Aikido has a spiritual, not religious philosophical base that blend well with anyone's personal practice.

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 05-21-2004, 09:40 AM   #11
dan guthrie
Dojo: Aikido of SLO
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

If you're lucky enough to have two great dojos, stick with the one with better heating and air conditioning. You'll thank me in August and November.
If your dojo offers bokken training and will let you in immediately, wait until you've got forward and backward rolls mastered. I wish I'd waited about 4 months more before starting. My partners were patient but I realize now I wasted their time.
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:26 PM   #12
Rhaevin80
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Just curious but why would you choose a rougher style of aikido Dario?
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:50 PM   #13
GrazZ
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Canada
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
IMHO, you can read and watch all you want, and it is helpful, but Aikido is not a spectator sport. The best way to know for you is to sign up, show up, and experience it yourself.
exactly, dont think just do, trust me you'll be happy you did once u get into it
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Old 05-21-2004, 10:03 PM   #14
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Brian Meuser wrote:
And, also I was just curious how well can aikido be done against multiple attackers?
Most schools practice defending against multiple attackers (usually called 'randori'). Some do so right away with beginning students, others save it for advanced levels. When I've seen high-level demonstrations of randori it has been very impressive. When I've tried it myself...wow, that's hard. It's great training for keeping cool in a crisis. Even if you never plan to be in a fight, everyone gets into crises sooner or later.

My school requires randori against four attackers as part of the black belt test. I am really looking forward to seeing how one of my seniors, a little fifty-something guy who's not particularly strong or fast, handles this for his upcoming test. It's very much an intellectual challenge as well as a physical one.

I'm hoping that if I train hard, by the time he's ready for the test I might be good enough at falls and rolls to be one of the attackers, at least for practice sessions.

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-22-2004, 12:11 PM   #15
gasman
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

there is no difference between praying and meditating. i know many christians who have practiced zen and said that it assists them in prayer. my zen teacher was from catholic poland and told me that he frequently prayed/meditated together with christian munks. our zen group's accountant is a devout christian and even took a half year reclusion in a greek nunnery after a year of zen practice.

that aside, the spiritual aspects of aikido are more practical than anything else and have no conflict with cristianity, islam, buddhism or other faiths in terms of doctrine.

good luck to you finding a nice dojo
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Old 05-22-2004, 01:02 PM   #16
Rhaevin80
Location: IL
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Thanks for your help guys and gals! You have given me a lot to think on. I found a dojo 30 minutes away from where I live. It is the only Aikido dojo around. I emailed the instructor and he told me a little about his dojo. He says the Aikido he teaches is "active but not abusive". He told me I should sit in and observe a class. I think I'm going to give it a shot! Thanks again for your help I really appreciate it!
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Old 05-22-2004, 07:30 PM   #17
SeiserL
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Sigurd Rage wrote:
there is no difference between praying and meditating.
I once heard it explained that prayer is when you are talking to God and meditation is when you silently sit and just listen.

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 05-22-2004, 10:08 PM   #18
gasman
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

According to Islam, when praying, there should be nothing between you and God. To me, that is the same as clearing my head of all disturbances, or calming the mind if you will. Muslims are often amazed to learn that Buddhist meditation is not worship of the Buddha himself, but a spiritual practice much like their own. There is no direct concept of God in zen, but trying to attune oneself to the wholeness is pretty much the same in my book.

The only real difference in worship lies in the doctrines.

Although there certainly is a difference in how monks pray and how layman christians pray. I also think it may differ between different branches of christianity. In any case, I think the purpouse is the same, and the desired effect is the same.
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Old 05-22-2004, 10:55 PM   #19
gasman
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Some of you might find these links interesting:

Christian Contemplation - by Father Kevin Hunt OCSO

Other articles by Father Kevin Hunt
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Old 05-23-2004, 05:25 PM   #20
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Brian Meuser wrote:
Just curious but why would you choose a rougher style of aikido Dario?
Nice question

Actually I didn't choose a rougher style (my dojo is Aikikai, which I think is considered "neutral" for this aspect among the styles), I choosed a rougher sensei.

I think because I was attracted by the martial aspect of the art; and being a person "obsessed" by efficiency and effectiveness in many aspect of my life, I applied probably the same criteria in choosing my sensei... his aikido looked somewhat "more right" to me.
It was just pure instict... I choosed the most physical and direct of the senseis I watched.
He's pretty similar to sensei Tissier, just to make a name you can easily recognize and compare to.
Concepts like "ki" or "flowing" leave me completely indifferent right now (maybe one day I'll change my view... who knows where the training path may lead?).

I would like to be able to elaborate further the concept, but the fact that I'm still new to the art, and my lack in english don't allow me to, sorry... I'm still probably guided by instinct and personal taste and can't find the right words to tell why , will try to answer again when I'll be more mature in my aikido training

Bye!

--
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Old 05-24-2004, 12:56 AM   #21
Bronson
 
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Re: Thinking of taking aikido!

Quote:
Dario Rosati wrote:
Concepts like "ki" or "flowing" leave me completely indifferent right now...
One of the guys in our dojo went to watch a friend of his in an aikido demonstration of another style. Afterward his friend asked what he thought. Our guy said it was pretty cool but to be honest he didn't see much blending. The other guy responded "what's blending?".

Different strokes...

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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