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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > "Off-The-Mat"

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Old 08-21-2005, 08:15 AM   #1
Krista DeCoste
Location: Nova Scotia
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 22
Canada
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Re: "Off-The-Mat" Forum

Hi.
I have only been practicing Aikido for 11 months, but it has impacted how I behave "off-the-mat" and I assume it will continue to do so. The one example that jumps to mind is the first real lesson I had a hard time learning on the mat was holding onto someone's wrist and not letting go at the first movement. This sounds easy but for me it was a challenge. My Sensei picked up on this quickly and really put it in my mind thatI want that wrist! I soon noticed that "off the mat" in my professional and personal life I became more willing to pursue things, not avoid a situation that might be difficult. I attribute this change to Aikido, and not being afraid to hold on and deal with where it takes me.

Krista
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Old 08-21-2005, 12:13 PM   #2
NixNa
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

Thats really nice to hear how positively aikido has affected ur life. Tis may be off topic haha, but well...I remember when i first started in the martial arts (at around 15), it kind of brought the bad along as well. I got a little too "jumpy" at times with that new "martial instinct", I dunno if anyone felt the same was as i did but it was like i wld tend to block or deflect whenever someone's hand got too close to me. Oh boy was that annoying. Im pretty sure it must have been really frustrating for friends and family around me then ... heh.. But hell, that was some 8 yrs ago.

Aikido has mellowed my approach to combat in a great way. In fact it got to a point when i began to be overly defensive during spars and i kept getting overwhelmed by attacks. Nothing could have been worse when you were retreating and trying to wait for that right moment, when kicks and punches were coming at you all these while. Bad bad.. it took me some time to get over that mindset and back into attacking mode. Just wondering if anyone u have the same experience too?
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Old 08-22-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
markwalsh
Dojo: Airenjuku Brighton
Location: On the road - UK
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Posts: 515
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

If aikido doesn't start to seep into your normal life it's not much use IMO.

Of course if you're a bouncer or a prison warden, then things are different, and the if I use aikido "for real" one time and it saves my life, then I guess that's of some use

Nixon - I can relate to your story, for me fluctuating between too aggressive and too passive is an issue at the moment.
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Old 11-10-2005, 10:37 AM   #4
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
Location: Washington
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

one of the biggest impacts aikido has had on my life is that i don't judge anyone by how they appear. This has came around due to the many beatings i have received on the mat from people who are many times lighter, smaller and older than myself.

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-10-2005, 10:53 AM   #5
ian
 
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Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

I think searching for passiveness is as bad as being aggressive. I think aikido is about our intimate connection with uke, as well as the rest of the world. Should aikido make us more likely to turn away or confront conflict? I think it comes down to your character and situation - you are doing it right if you have a spontaneous response that is right for you, in that situation. I think aikido can help us open up and develop that intimicy without shielding ourselves with either fear or anger (nor moral conjecture), and to see what is an appropriate response. I certainly believe that most (sane) humans are naturally compassionate and intuitively intelligent.

...if I hadn't done aikido I don't think my brain or my thoughts would be the same at all!

Last edited by ian : 11-10-2005 at 10:56 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-18-2005, 04:31 AM   #6
RobertFortune
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Earth
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

Top-of-the-morning to you Ian! <g>

Howisit? Yesterday while outside in the wind I found that answer just blowing around in the wind. Seeing as it didn't appear to belong to anyone else I took it inside with me and now have it in my sole possession.

You see it's all about achieving a balance and seeking to maintain that balance no matter the circumstance(s) that we may find ourselves in at any given moment. It's certainly easy(ier) to maintain one's (inner) balance when all is well in one's personal world. It's when we hit those rough waters in our lives that it becomes a bit more difficult to maintain that same (inner\mental\emotional) balance. That is what the lifelong aikido training is all about. Learning as best as one is able to learn how to maintain one's inner balance both when all is well in one's world and when all around one the world appears to have gone totally insane and everything appears completely unbalanced, unfair, unjust, doneright cruel, miserable, hopeless and just plain stupid.

The physical side of aikido training is in fact essentially intended to try to teach one how to instinctively react to a physical threat in such a way as to allow one to deal both appropriately and justly so as to not leave one (anyone - attacker or defender) in a serious state of (inner mental\emotional) or physical inbalance (dead or permanently disabled).

As many as there may be of fellas who might verbally boast that they are so bad (tough) that if anyone messes with them they could and would kill that person(s) there is no doubt quite a difference between verbal boasting and actually doing such a thing.

What would *you* feel if you ended up killing someone believing yourself totally justified at the moment you killed them only to learn afterwards that there were in fact facts which you were unaware of, and had you been aware of those facts you would never have even considered killing them? How would you feel about that after learning about those previously unknown to you facts? Would you, if given the choice, want that additional burden in your life experiences of knowing that you (perhaps) wrongly killed someone?

I actually met a man who had in fact been convicted of a homicide who was sent to prison and then released on parole after serving a good number of years in prison. I did not know this about him when and where I met him. It was in a bar. I was drunk and so was he. We had words. Sometime later in that same evening out back behind that same bar he almost strangled me to death. Trust me it was that close. I felt that last breath and knew it was the last I would have and had it not been for a keen bartender who picked up on the situation and made it his business to follow the two of us out behind the bar and then pull this fellow off of me I would not be alive today. It was only after he pulled this guy off of me that the bartender told me to watch out for that guy because that guy had only recently been conditionally released from prison having been convicted of and done time in prison for murder. Do you know I saw that same guy who almost killed me the night before the very next morning and do you know he actually apologized to me. That's a fact. A real-life lesson there. We don't all have to make the same mistakes. We *can* learn from the mistakes made by others as easy as we can learn by the knowledge others have obtained that we would like to have ourselves. Peace, Justice & Love.

Aloha,

-Robert

"You are a child of the universe. Like the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here". - M. E. "Desiderata"
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Old 11-21-2005, 03:05 PM   #7
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
Location: Washington
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

Quote:
Robert Fortune wrote:
Yesterday while outside in the wind I found that answer just blowing around in the wind.
funnily enough i was caught in some strong winds today and something hit me, or rather it would have. i was walking to work and a paper plate which had contained something with a lot or sauce was flying around in the wind and headed directly for me. instinctivly i did a fivekan (i.e. half a tenkan.....okay so that bit should be in the humour section under aiki-puns, but whatever) and deflected the paper plate, thus keeping my pretty appearance. that's when it struck me, while im sure aikido has had a major effect on the lives of every aikidoka it is often those small effects which, while often going overlooked make aikidoka who they are (the crazy paper plate dodging tenkan-in-public-doing types).

How many of you have been on a train platform aimlessly wandering while waiting for a train, you reach one side of the platform and what do you to tia-sabaki if you are anything like me. to me this is the most profound influence aikido could have on me, it is a part of me down to my core, it is with me every step i take, it is a silent partner in my head telling me to relax when i get too angry. My aikido is me.

Man that last bit sounded way deeper than i expected it to, nevermind!!!!

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-21-2005, 04:16 PM   #8
RobertFortune
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Earth
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Thumbs down Re: I Want That Wrist!

[quote=Steve Mullen]funnily enough i was caught in some strong winds today and something hit me, or rather it would have. i was walking to work and a paper plate which had contained something with a lot or sauce was flying around in the wind and headed directly for me. instinctivly i did a fivekan (i.e. half a tenkan.....okay so that bit should be in the humour section under aiki-puns, but whatever) and deflected the paper plate, thus keeping my pretty appearance. that's when it struck me, while im sure aikido has had a major effect on the lives of every aikidoka it is often those small effects which, while often going overlooked make aikidoka who they are (the crazy paper plate dodging tenkan-in-public-doing types).

Aloha Steve,

Have you a digital camera? I was thinking perhaps you could re-create the above action, have a buddy capture it in a photo and add that photo to your collection of pics here on AikiWeb. I leave the quote for *that* picture for you to compose. A "self-portrait" if you will.

I'm somewhat curious about something Steve. Is it your experience since beginning the study of Aikido that there are a significant number of women studying Aikido in the dojo(s) where you('ve) train(ed)? Are their numbers growing or pretty much the same as when you started practicing Aikido? I would think of all the martial arts, Aikido would be the one more women would be drawn towards given its emphasis on non-agressiveness. Peace, Justice & Love.

Aloha,

-Robert
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Old 11-22-2005, 04:22 AM   #9
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
Location: Washington
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England
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

hi robert, i think i have been lucky that all the dojo i train at have had at least a handfull of women, i say lucky as training with women can be a real eye opener, some of them are daitny and flow to take you down, some of them can really beat your a** into the matt. however, there does seem to be a few more recently, im not sure if this is a sign of things to come or just one of those things. i like the idea of the re-enactment, i could get it put onto a t-shirt

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-22-2005, 05:55 AM   #10
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

When I started (in the same dojo as Steve) we had 3 regular female aikidoka, two of which were the top students. This was a great environment to start training in and I was able to learn a great deal from training with them. Now the dojo has changed alot and people have come and go and it is mainly male dominated, certainly in respects to the senior students. But we still have a couple of women training who are excellent and quite a few new women who are just starting out and seem to be really enjoying things.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 11-22-2005, 09:26 AM   #11
cck
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

Quote:
Robert Fortune wrote:
I would think of all the martial arts, Aikido would be the one more women would be drawn towards given its emphasis on non-agressiveness.
See, I would think women are attracted to and stay with Aikido because it allows them to be agressive in a "safe" way - dealing with agression in and outside themselves. Try things out without actually hurting anyone.
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Old 11-22-2005, 11:49 AM   #12
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
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Re: I Want That Wrist!

I suspect that women who don't wish to deal with aggression seldom consider any martial art--it's possible they would appreciate aikido, but they are unlikely even to try it. They end up in yoga or gymnastics or tai chi instead.

Mary Heiny sensei said at a seminar that when she went to Japan and discovered she was no longer the smallest person in the dojo--in fact, she was about average size in a group of mostly men--she spent two years delightedly thrashing little Japanese guys before getting over the thrill. I think I've encountered that attitude in successful female students more often than "Isn't it great this is a non-violent art?"

I occasionally have the pleasure of training with a female Tasmanian Devil (a small woman, but incredibly fast and energetic, and highly skilled). Seeing her attack has definitely inspired me to develop the commitment and intensity of my own attacks. She has a way of coming up out of ukemi that makes you feel in your bones she'll be at your throat next second--it's lovely to behold.

Mary Kaye
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Old 11-22-2005, 01:49 PM   #13
RobertFortune
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Thumbs down Re: I Want That Wrist!

Quote:
Camilla Kieliger wrote:
See, I would think women are attracted to and stay with Aikido because it allows them to be agressive in a "safe" way - dealing with agression in and outside themselves. Try things out without actually hurting anyone.
Aloha folks!
(Steve (our resident pie plate destroyer- We just gotta see *that* pic Steve!), Camilla, Mary, etc...),

Very insightful replies. I enjoyed them all. I find it most pleasant that there are actually women, young and old(er), who frequent this this site.

Given that women outnumber men on this little planet it stands to reason that they should be represented *at least* equally everywhere which is more often than not, not the case at all.

Of course martial arts having the common knowledge definition of physical combat between two opposing sides isn't likely to catch many womens' interest.

From what I've read on the subject of female Aikido students (I consider all who study Aikido ,students of the art) women do seem to have a very good reputation as to being quite good at learning, understanding and practicing the basics, and just like men, the more advanced areas of the art of Aikido and some even going on to teach it to others.

*I* personally believe that aikido is ideal for many women. There is the intelligent philosophy in aikido that "muscling up" is not required and is in fact a detriment to the art in that those added muscles get in one's way and tend to slow one down. There's a real tradeoff there. One of power *or* speed and a careful balancing of the two qualities is required.

The regular practice of aikido keeps one's body toned up and in very good physical condition without adding excess bulk (something no doubt important to women) .And that of course would also work in a woman's favor should a she find herself in a threatening situation she would likely appear to be the last person to worry about when it turns out she should in fact be the first person to be concerned with as far as an agressive attacker would be concerned. The element of suprise! SLAM! (Huh?* * * *&%*!( Hey Buddy! You alright? Ahh! Where am I?)....(Oh! I hope they have that skirt that's on sale in my size. What a lovely day. I think I'll stop and buy myself some flowers.)

As far as agressiveness I believe there are different types of agressiveness. There is of course the uncalled for unprovoked unjustified type of agression which we are all most familiar with.

But then there's also the justified form of agression. That would be when the ability to defend one's self becomes a useful skill to have in one's skillset
and one must use some level of agression appropriate to deal with a given situation in order to defend one's right to peacefully exist.

There is no doubt quite a difference between the two in real life experience. Of course in training one no doubt needs to train for worse-case scenarios. Interesting subject, agression.
Peace, Justice & Love.

Aloha,

-Robert
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