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Old 01-15-2006, 11:55 PM   #1
Edwin Neal
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Question aikido practice

I have, as most probably, questioned the reasons for, and seriousness of, my practice of aikido. I read something that got me started to thinking...

"If one isn't passionate about ones practice, one should quit and find something else to be passionate about. There's little or no benefit to be had from training sporadically,... making less than a committed effort to master the art."

My question/thoughts are as follows:
1. If I can get may lazy butt off the couch, then doesn't that indicate at least a little (maybe alot by the size of my butt) passion for practice?
2. Quitting is an easy habit to form, but one hard to quit...
3. Isn't any training better than no training?
4. I'm a guy don't use the commitment word you'll scare me... How much commitment is required?
5. Is "mastery" the goal?

I am interested in what fellow aikidokas answers to these points are...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-16-2006, 06:39 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: aikido practice

my 2 cents:

Some is better then none, but if you wish to get something out of the practice, it is important to do your best and strive for perferction, otherwise you may find you have missed the essence of practice.

Amir
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Old 01-16-2006, 07:25 AM   #3
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: aikido practice

I see two issues in the quote:
Quote:
"If one isn't passionate about ones practice, one should quit and find something else to be passionate about. There's little or no benefit to be had from training sporadically,... making less than a committed effort to master the art."
First, there's the problem of "passion". I occasionally I run in to people who insist that I must be passionate about what I do, who see "passion" where I just see something I'm interested in and kind of like. I used to make pottery, farily seriously, and when I quit this crowd went up in arms, "Oh NO! But that's your passion. Don't you love it?" No amount of explaining could convince them that I was not at all upset about losing my art, that I was making time for other forms which had become much more important to me... but I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as passionate about. 8 years later, some of my colleagues from the craft shows still give me a hard time about it, and I feel that it's a totally unnecessary guilt trip, even if they're trying to be supportive. I think it's more than possible to be serious about practice without being fanatical or passionate.

Sporadic training is more of a real problem, as far as I'm concerned. I know several people who come and go, practice twice a week for a few weeks, then don't show up for months, then come back for a while, and fade out again, show up once, aren't heard from for a year, etc. It's almost impossible to progress and develop in the art, on the way, with a training pattern like that. I think you do need to make a commitment of at least twice a week to stay on track, and 3-4 times a week to progress but you do not need to center your entire life around aikido, non-stop, over the course of decades. If you're going to keep it up long term, there will be times when most of your energy and attention is focused on other areas of your life. The question is whether you should stop practicing durring those times (because your "passion" is elsewhere) or keep showing up until your "passion" returns (particularly if "mastery" is your goal, you won't get there without showing up consistently over the couse of decades). I think you should keep showing up, most of the time, because inconsistent training is just too frustrating, and it becomes too easy to make excuses to not show up.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:43 AM   #4
zenman67
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Re: aikido practice

Practice when you can.But when you practice,make it worth it .and put all your effort in to your practice.
Any time you give towards Aikido will be a benefit to you,and thats whats important
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:46 AM   #5
crbateman
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
1. If I can get may lazy butt off the couch, then doesn't that indicate at least a little (maybe alot by the size of my butt) passion for practice?
Passion and the ability to stand up are not necessarily related.
Quote:
2. Quitting is an easy habit to form, but one hard to quit...
If quitting is easy, then just quit quitting...
Quote:
3. Isn't any training better than no training?
Probably.
Quote:
4. I'm a guy don't use the commitment word you'll scare me... How much commitment is required?
How much can you spare?
Quote:
5. Is "mastery" the goal?
For some, not all.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:28 PM   #6
ian
 
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Re: aikido practice

I think if you are at aikido at all you are there for a reason. Also, we all go through dull patches. However anyone that is not passionate (esp. at the start)is unlikely to last. But is being long term in aikido or even being good in aikido the correct goal for that person; probably not.

I do believe you enjoy something much more and you get better results if you are passionate about it. Therefore I try to be passionate about the house work, but it doesn't seem to work; I just have to do it

There are three classes of activity; things we enjoy doing, things we need to do, things we think we need to do.

Last edited by ian : 01-16-2006 at 12:31 PM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:24 PM   #7
crbateman
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Re: aikido practice

Ian, you left out "Things we have no business doing"... I seem to spend much time on those.
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Old 01-16-2006, 06:48 PM   #8
Edwin Neal
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Re: aikido practice

thanks for everyones thoughts the reason i asked this was becauseof some of my personal experiences...
i have encountered sensei's that gave this whole semi-guilt trip thing, but i have met sensei's who give a different perspective which i think is more in line with the philosophy of aikido as i understand it(far from a master i am) i like to think that osensei made this art for everyone, and so the motives and goals are as varied as the aikidoka... do you have to be an "aiki-monk" or can you do it just for fun??? just doing aikido is considered a form of misogi ... so even "sporadic" training should be considered worthwhile... i do believe when you are on the mat you should be engaged and not just be horsing around... committing what time you have vs. "over" committing and letting other important aspects of your life slide... "mastery" gives me some problems... like a true master would never claim to be one and if aikido is infinitely rich then talk of mastery is not valid as there is no "point of mastery"... again the reason i got on this thread was because of my personal experiences with a few (not the majority) sensei's who kind of had a superior ie holier than thou attitude...
i was interested in other peoples thoughts on these points of philosophy as well as any personal encounters with aikidoka like this you may have had...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-16-2006, 06:52 PM   #9
Edwin Neal
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Re: aikido practice

clark ... umm... your verbal aikido is strong... thank you for pointing out weakness in mine... where do you study in orlando?
my butt is not really THAT big
the Habit of quitting...;-))

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-17-2006, 02:19 AM   #10
MaryKaye
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Re: aikido practice

When I was clinically depressed I found it very hard to be passionate about anything. Advice along the lines of "You have to be passionate or you should quit" is really unhelpful in such situations. If nothing sounds really good, you do things that seem to help a little bit, that feel a little bit good; and if aikido is one of those it's worth sticking to it. (For me aikido is a significant mood improver, but only if I train quite frequently; it doesn't do much if it's once a week.)

Not saying that this is the original poster's situation, but it's a situation some of us will be in from time to time.

My advice would be: set your own goals. If "mastery" however defined is not helpful to you right now, pitch it. Attend to how you feel and behave here and now; is aikido doing good things for you? If so, that is all the reason you need to continue. The people who fret over mastery can pursue it themselves.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:05 AM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: aikido practice

Mostly I don't think about 'mastery'...I think about *this* time on the mat I'm just going to do the very best I can *right now*. That ususally gets me through...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-17-2006, 09:16 AM   #12
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: aikido practice

I go to class no matter what my head is telling me. I always feel better after I get there.
Mary
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:48 AM   #13
UnholyFracas
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
I go to class no matter what my head is telling me. I always feel better after I get there.
Mary
Yes! although in the past my head used to win the argument rather more often! Particularly so in winter... A late night session after a long day at work when it's snowing or you have to chip ice off the car after only an hour and a half...

To answer the original poster: I think passion is sometimes meant as something that always makes you happy which isn't always the case.
In the past Aikido (or rather my ability at it) has made me soooo MAD and still does occasionally. I was all left feet and thumbs. Stepping on peoples toes and just getting really frustrated and angry. I kept going though because, deep in the sub-conscious somewhere, I knew that Aikido was worth the effort. For quite a while I wasn't having much fun at all in Aikido but I, to quote Churchill , kept "bu**ering on" because I knew things would improve and that most of the problems were inside my head (naturally very self critical and impatient etc).

I discovered it was worth the effort. I still step on toes and land on my head and finish a throw by nearly toppling over and sitting on uke but I'm significantly less angry about it!

I think passion can sometimes come from just knowing that something is worth it even if it's occasionally a struggle and doesn't have you singing from the roof tops.

Last edited by UnholyFracas : 01-18-2006 at 05:57 AM.

We see things not as they are but as we are...

Katsumoto can rescue me anytime.
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Old 01-18-2006, 06:59 AM   #14
UnholyFracas
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Louisa Patterson wrote:
I think passion can sometimes come from just knowing that something is worth it even if it's occasionally a struggle and doesn't have you singing from the roof tops.
Although, thinking about it, maybe that's just the definition of commitment rather than passion!
Aikido is definately a "get what you give" activity...

We see things not as they are but as we are...

Katsumoto can rescue me anytime.
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:01 AM   #15
Lan Powers
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Re: aikido practice

<Aikido is definately a "get what you give" activity... >
About as true a statement as I have ever heard.
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:47 PM   #16
Donald Pillow
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Re: aikido practice

Hmmm, I can go to practice but as a 40 something guy who's noticing quite a drop off in my physical capacity lately I wonder sincerely question my ability to pull off ANY martial arts progress anymore.

I just started Judo and it put me out of business for OVER A MONTH! I ain't exagerating either. My shoulders and wrists were severly inflamed. Do I have that kind of pain to look forward to if I pick up Aikido as an art?

I ain't quittin Judo either ... even if it kills me!

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Old 01-18-2006, 10:49 PM   #17
MaryKaye
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Re: aikido practice

I made a comment like that ("forty-something might be too old to learn this stuff") in class once and the cute guy I was training with pointed out gently that he was sixty. I've quit saying things like that, for fear that my older classmates will take the opportunity to prove me wrong....

If you do judo and can already roll and fall, you are unlikely to get a lot of new pain from aikido, except maybe weapons training. (I train four days a week and it takes a bit of extra effort for me to cause myself pain with the open hand arts now, but an hour swinging a sword and my shoulders and back HURT!) Learning ukemi is usually the most painful part, and you should have a nice head start on that.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:06 AM   #18
Qatana
 
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Re: aikido practice

Everytime somebody posts that they are "old" in their forties i feel compelled to mention my teacher Bill who Is 5'4",75 years old and still taking breakfalls and playing randori with the threee biggest guys in the dojo.
I'm a 50 year old third kyu and only just learning to fly...or was that land...

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:22 AM   #19
Mark Freeman
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:

My question/thoughts are as follows:
1. If I can get may lazy butt off the couch, then doesn't that indicate at least a little (maybe alot by the size of my butt) passion for practice?
- I think so
Quote:
2. Quitting is an easy habit to form, but one hard to quit...
- true
Quote:
3. Isn't any training better than no training?
In my opinion, not much, but it depends on what you mean by 'any' I have known quite a few sporadic trainers and they always seem to forget to come in the end.
Quote:
4. I'm a guy don't use the commitment word you'll scare me... How much commitment is required?
to practice the only commitment is what you are prepared to give to yourself. To teach, a much greater level of commitment is required, as it is no longer about you but your students. You just do not have the option of not going if "I don't feel like it tonight"
Quote:
5. Is "mastery" the goal?
That's a really good question and some interesting answers have been given already. I guess each aikidoka has their own interpretation of the meaning of mastery, and one persons master may be another persons 'charlatan'. For me getting 'better' is just a side effect of the practice I love doing.

I am interested in what fellow aikidokas answers to these points are...


My guess is that you really are committed to your aikido and the questions are rhetorical and there to provoke discussion

When I first started practicing and was a gung-ho beginner. I took to boring anyone who would stand still long enough with endless details about my my new found passion. I wanted passionately to get into the Aiki-monk role that you mentioned above. I was on my first seminar with our main Sensei and almost the first thing he said was " Do not live to practice Aikido, practice Aikido to live!" I still remember the effect it had on me and still does.

Cheers,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:52 AM   #20
Edwin Neal
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Re: aikido practice

My guess is that you really are committed to your aikido and the questions are rhetorical and there to provoke discussion

you got it mark... i'm a philosopher at heart and love to talk any topic past death into the absurd...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-26-2006, 04:40 AM   #21
Mark Freeman
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
My guess is that you really are committed to your aikido and the questions are rhetorical and there to provoke discussion

you got it mark... i'm a philosopher at heart and love to talk any topic past death into the absurd...
Hi Edwin,

My girlfriend's last birthday card to me read "To a guy who can talk for hours on any subject -- days even, if he knows anything about it!"

Cheers,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-26-2006, 08:25 PM   #22
Amassus
 
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
However anyone that is not passionate (esp. at the start)is unlikely to last.
I disagree.
I was a skeptic going into Aikido with the frame of mind that "I would keep doing this until life got in the way".
What I didn't expect is that Aikido became a part of my life. It kinda snuck up on me.

I have met some very passionate beginners that disappeared after one month or less on the mat. So I don't think passion right at the start is always the sign of a committed student.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 01-26-2006, 10:56 PM   #23
Michael O'Brien
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Re: aikido practice

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote:
I disagree.
I was a skeptic going into Aikido with the frame of mind that "I would keep doing this until life got in the way".
What I didn't expect is that Aikido became a part of my life. It kinda snuck up on me.

I have met some very passionate beginners that disappeared after one month or less on the mat. So I don't think passion right at the start is always the sign of a committed student.
Very good point. I never really thought about it until I read your post but a lot of beginners come into the dojo for the first time because of a martial arts movie they saw. Then when they realize it will take 3+ years to become even remotely proficent in the really cools movie they saw in the movies that passion quickly fades away.

Mike
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Old 01-31-2006, 02:08 PM   #24
Tomlad
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Re: aikido practice

Hi Edwin,

It depends entirely on what you want to get out of Aikido. I do twice a week as often as I can but due to work etc sometimes miss classes. I don't get hung up on it because I know I want to continue practicing for a long time - so does it really matter if I get my black belt a year later than I would normally? Aikido will always be there for you if you want it, so there is no need to make such a big decision about it or force yourself to commit to something you won't realistically adhere to.

However, if you are only going once in a while then you will probably suffer more from injuries. I find that I become hardened to Aikido and if I'm away for a few weeks I seem to be more aware of every bump and ache I have.

The point is Edwin, do you question your commitment or why you are doing Aikido when you are in the class? If you do then that's different. We can all do that when sat at home in a nice comfy chair but my advice is, that if you like it when you are practicing (or socialising after class!) then stick at it and go whenever you can. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Take each class at a time and let Aikido come to you, because it will.

Thomo.

Last edited by Tomlad : 01-31-2006 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 01-31-2006, 03:19 PM   #25
Edwin Neal
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Re: aikido practice

you are right Heath... but i do not question my practice... i was merely discussing how some argue that only total commitment (whatever that means) to aikido is of any benefit, and sporadic practice gives little or no benefit... keep at it... even not practicing teaches us we should practice more! oohh those aches and pains...

Edwin Neal


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