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Old 08-22-2004, 09:22 AM   #1
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Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of August 22, 2004:

Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.
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Old 08-22-2004, 09:32 AM   #2
Dancing Heron
Dojo: Aikidoschool Tendo Maastricht
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Why not? I even read on a site that someone in a wheelchair was able to do it. Of course you're not able to do it when your whole body is paralyzed, but I don't think those people really count...
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Old 08-22-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
markwalsh
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Aiki in the broader sense - Yes.
The martial art as generally practiced - No.
The martial art adapted to suit different types - Probably yes.

Is everyone suitable to train/learn might be another way of putting it. Aikido's not broken, its the people that are wrong

Perhaps we should have different aiki practices for people of different abilities/ levels of commitment. To some extent we already don this, e.g. I know of older people, who only practice weapons as they can't take the ukemi any more. Fair enough. Or there is a dojo I know that runs 8 week intro courses to Aikido that are fairly gentle, before students graduate onto their more hardcore regular class, or in most cases leave having had a positive experience, but no real desire to devote large amounts of time and energy to going further.

If we can practice in different ways on the mat (e.g.to suit kids, smaller people, more aggressive people, etc) then Aikido classes should be suitable for almost everyone (not ugly people obviously - joke). Good instructors understand the principles of Aikido which can be applied to various forms of body/mind. Aiki is after all about blneding and adpting.

Just my 2 pence,

Mark
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Old 08-22-2004, 06:51 PM   #4
maikerus
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I believe that there is something for everyone in studying Aikido. Different people will gain different "things" and some of those "things" would probably surprise the rest of us.

Unfortunately, in the last year I've spoken with three people who were unable to begin training because of medical conditions. One had a retina that was in danger of falling off if he hit his head, another had a hip replacement which couldn't/shouldn't be banged on the mat and the third had a pacemaker and medication to thin the blood so that he bruised far to easily and if he hit his head their was the possibility of blood clotting which might lead to a stroke.

I think that these three could have gotten something out of Aikido, but it would have been difficult and frustrating for them and their doctors advised (strongly advised?) against it.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 08-22-2004, 07:13 PM   #5
Suru
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
Mathijs Terwel wrote:
Why not? I even read on a site that someone in a wheelchair was able to do it. Of course you're not able to do it when your whole body is paralyzed, but I don't think those people really count...

My uncle is paralyzed from the neck down. I assure you, he really counts. The poll stated "absolutely everyone," and he is someone.

He cannot train on the mats, but he is a kind, wise man whose philosophy sometimes coincides with Aikido philosophy. One problem is that keiko and Aikido philosophy go hand in hand to some extent. Therefore, one could gain from reading Aikido books, but--without training--could not truly call him/herself an Aikidoka.

Drew
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Old 08-23-2004, 12:38 AM   #6
Marc Kupper
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I happen to like Aikido -- it's fun, provides regular challenges, and I believe it has helped improve me as a person.

However, I don't believe Aikido is it the end-all-be-all of being human. There are many practices, where if you generalize them enough, you could say they are for "everyone." That does not mean that anyone would be "wrong" for simply not being interested in or liking a particular practice, including Aikido.
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Old 08-23-2004, 02:48 AM   #7
Natasha Bradley
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I would love to say that Aikido is suitable for everyone, but at the moment I know of someone who cannot deal with it psychologically.
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Old 08-23-2004, 03:13 AM   #8
ruthmc
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Is everyone suitable to train/learn might be another way of putting it. Aikido's not broken, its the people that are wrong
I agree - some people just don't agree with the philosophy behind the art, and IMHO cannot learn Aikido. They can learn how to twist techniques on their practice partners, how to attack and how to roll, but they never get beyond this.

To me Aikido is more than a set of physical techniques.

But show me any two people who agree on a definition of what Aikido is...

Ruth
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Old 08-23-2004, 08:03 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

IMHO, Aikido is not suitable for "absolutely everyone" to learn.

Martial arts is not suitable for "absolutely everyone".

While Aikido is a tool to overcome physical and psychological limitations, not "absolutely everyone" wants to overcome them. Not "absolutely everyone" wants to even learn Aikido.

If there is something I absolutely believe in is that there are no absolutes.

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 08-23-2004, 10:33 AM   #10
aikidoc
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I got some S*#t for suggesting that someone might be better directed to another art on a previous thread. I agree with Lynn and Ruth's points. In fact I think it was one of Ruth's thread that I was told my assertion was incredulous.
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:11 PM   #11
rcoit
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I agree with Drew Gardner and others. As much as I would like to say it is for everyone - certainly in keeping with O Sensai's desire - reality is brutal; there are some who can not, or will not, participate. My son is a special needs student and will never participate. Participation is required.
But this is not to say that Aikido can't include all people and all things. It, and we, can embrace all things. The philosphy does. It's the training that doesn't.
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Old 08-23-2004, 06:27 PM   #12
JovanIlic
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

[quote=AikiWeb System]AikiWeb Poll for the week of August 22, 2004:

Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?[list][*] I don't do aikido[*] Yes[*] No

Aikido is an art for everyone. O-Sensei said:"One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.",. Also it is not necessary to be physically able to train. The will of a spirit is all that matters and all that is needed; but to use the do in your life and to find out what is "The Art of peace" is only possible with the mature mind which allows itself do be purified through the hard training. That is what separates ones who are suitable from the ones who are not.
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Old 08-23-2004, 06:48 PM   #13
senseimike
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I feel that Aikido is suitable for nearly everyone to learn. I have turned some people away because they were seeking training for the wrong reasons, to cause harm to others, and simply didn't need to be made more dangerous. There has been a focus on students with physical disabilities in this thread, I have trained with some such students. The experiences I've had were with a man with one arm amputated, a blind student, and a woman who was confined to a wheelchair. Each of these folks had success with their art, and the woman even thwarted an attempted purse snatching.

Mike Taylor
Godan
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
www.risingstaraikido.com
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:06 PM   #14
Suru
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
Mike Taylor wrote:
Each of these folks had success with their art, and the woman even thwarted an attempted purse snatching.
What kind of sick-o would rob a person period, let alone a woman in a wheelchair? Aikido has a great utopian vision to eradicate society of such individuals, or rather, to eradicate each individudual of his/her darker nature. Aikido began with one man, O'Sensei. He had a couple handfuls of disciples. Now dojos can be found all throughout the "civilized" world. I believe the number of Aikidoka is increasing exponentially each year, and I truly believe that one day, probably not too long after my generation has passed away, Ueshiba O'Sensei's dream will come to fruition and it will be Aikido philosophy that will fill "the hearts and souls of them--they who will enlighten the world."

Sorry for getting WAY off topic, I just really wanted to get all that off my chest.

Only so much can be learned on the mat. Only so much can be learned from books. The summation of the two results in complete Aikido learning. Countless times during training, I've put my safety in the hands of total strangers. That gave me a raised general trust in people, without naivete or gullability. Also, back when I trained regularly, training always had an invigorating, cleansing (misogi) effect on my body. Especially in the beginning, walking up the stairs to the dojo, I often wanted to turn around, not looking forward to falling down and getting back up ten thousand times. But I knew that--wighout fail--I was going to feel great at the end of class. However, people like my quadriplegic uncle can learn much from studying Aikido philosophy alone. He can incorporate it into his life in his own way. He can find other means of misogi (perhaps one of his attendants giving him a simple shower even.) At any rate, I sincerely believe that Aikido will start showing up in high schools and even middle and lower schools. I think Aikido has the power.

Drew
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Old 08-24-2004, 02:57 AM   #15
ruthmc
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I got some S*#t for suggesting that someone might be better directed to another art on a previous thread. I agree with Lynn and Ruth's points. In fact I think it was one of Ruth's thread that I was told my assertion was incredulous.
It happens John. Words are just words - sentences can be picked apart any which way. We all jump into the melting pot with different experiences / opinions, and some folks have barbs, some are insoluble, some dissolve right away. I just try to let my boundaries soften a bit. If somebody gives you s#*t here, don't let it bother you, just try to figure out what exactly got their goat about your post!

Ruth
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Old 08-24-2004, 03:39 AM   #16
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Tomiki-sensei said that he wanted Aikido to be available to everyone. He made Nariyama-sensei swear that he (Nariyama) would welcome anyone who wanted to learn. This is also why Tomiki named his style "Shodokan Aikido".

If the first student of Ueshiba to get a full teaching license of Aikido thought it was for everybody, who am I to argue???...

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-24-2004, 10:23 AM   #17
Amendes
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
Mathijs Terwel wrote:
Why not? I even read on a site that someone in a wheelchair was able to do it. Of course you're not able to do it when your whole body is paralyzed, but I don't think those people really count...
For Physical:
Shihan had a student before with no arms, he was a tai chi student. He told me he had very good Tai Chi. He also told me he had a Aikido teacher who was blind, but was very good at Aikido.

For mental:
Weve had students that dont last long and they quit, because of thier attitudes. One girl came because her parents made her. Was aikdio for her??

Probably not. The amount of people that are not interested in self improvment is alot more then we think. Not everyone is into that.

It may be suitable to learn for everyone, but its not foreveryone.
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Old 08-25-2004, 11:04 AM   #18
jxa127
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Andrew,

Not everyone who is into self-improvement finds it through martial arts either. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling self-righteous because we've managed to stick with aikido for a number of years, even through injuries and life circumstances that get in the way. It's easy to start to get too proud of ourselves when we see people drop out.

But there are those, as you point out, for whom aikido is not the right path. I agree with you that aikido, "...may be suitable to learn for everyone, but its not for everyone." But I disagree that those who choose not to study aikido are uninterested in self-improvement.

Alternatives include attending one's church, temple, mosque, or otherwise following a religeous discipline, having a regular exercise program, studying yoga, reading a lot, traveling, etc. Any of those activities can lead to self-improvement...or not.

Nor does studying aikido necessarily lead to self improvement. There have been a few times in my short time training (just under five years), where I've caught myself becoming arrogant, or too proud of my accomplishments. Hardly an improvement.

Just some thoughts.

Regards,

Last edited by jxa127 : 08-25-2004 at 11:06 AM. Reason: spelling

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 08-25-2004, 07:22 PM   #19
Lachlan Kadick
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Aikido martial arts is Aikido the philsophy, you cannot divide them, because you can never master Aikido the art without adapting Aikido the philosophy, so therefore anyone can learn it, because they would need to learn the philosophy.

Think big, Live humbly.
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:17 AM   #20
Jessie Brown
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I agree that there are undoubtedly physical obstacles for some, but I think that aikido is still possible for these persons. As many have stated, some people do the physical movements without caring about the spirit; this shows to me that practice and philosophy support one another but are not inextricably intertwined. I think if someone lives his life according to the principles of aikido, strengthened by keiko of any sort (meditation etc.), that is what is important.

The poll struck me more as a psychological or philosophical question. I add my opinion to a couple others to say that aikido is one path, not the only path. I think that any pursuit undertaken with the goal of self-improvement and harmony are no less admirable than aikido. The drive to persevere, improve oneself, and contribute something to others is much more rare. But, just like in aikido, any activity in life can be approached and accomplished with that spirit, like pottery, learning a language, folding one's hakama.

So...I think that the general principles aikido adheres to-- chiefly harmony-- are for everyone, but the manner of achieving those principles varies according to each person's unique interests.

As O'Sensei said, "Though there are many paths at the foot of the mountain, all those who reach the top see the same moon."
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:21 AM   #21
ian
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

I think people have different definitions of what aikido actually is. Fundamentally I would say it is universal principles which we express through techniques. Not everyone can do the techniques, but the expression of aikido's principles can be done by anyone. As Lynn suggests, whether it should be done by everyone is another matter.

(heck - I haven't 'learnt' aikido; maybe it's not suitable for anyone to learn ;o)

Last edited by ian : 08-26-2004 at 08:25 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:23 AM   #22
ian
 
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

P.S. Ueshiba wanted to exclude students of 'dubious character', so maybe it is not suitable for these people to learn. Though I've never turned anyone down, I think there are people I wouldn't teach.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:33 PM   #23
Lucy Smith
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Re: Poll: Is aikido suitable for absolutely everyone to learn?

Quote:
Mike Taylor wrote:
[...] I have turned some people away because they were seeking training for the wrong reasons, to cause harm to others, and simply didn't need to be made more dangerous.[...]
Exactly what I think. There are some people who just don't deserve to practice Aikido. I mean it would be great to have a perfect world in which all of us practiced Aikido, but this is far away for now. Some people will just use it to harm others (I mean not to defend themselves of course). I think this are the only ones who shouldn't practice. About your height, weight, age, gender, length of your toe nails; that doesn't matter.

Lucy.
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