Beginning the study of a Martial Art is a daunting challenge for many of us. The images that are popularized in the media are usually far from the reality of study. The “Karate Kid” is a fiction – in both the best and worse sense of that word.
It is imperative, we believe, that a beginner observe and consider what is the focus of study at a martial arts school you are thinking of entering. Who are the teachers; who are the students; what are the underlying values of the art?
A famous saying in the Martial Arts is, “you will become what you practice.” Take care that what YOU practice is what you want to be.
People interested in Aikido are usually drawn to the fact that it is non-aggressive. It is also known to have a different philosophy and approach to self-defense than other Martial Arts. It is probably more honest to consider Aikido as a “civilian study” of self-defense. It is also a powerful form of “self-development” – because without a strong sense of “self” there is really nothing to defend.
Prospective students can take heart that at an Aikido dojo a beginner is never viewed as “new meat” for the more experienced students to spar with or withhold “secret techniques” from. We have no competitions, no sparring for a win, no having to withhold something that might give us an advantage in a tournament. Aikidoka (Aikido students) share all we know at the time and seek to learn even more together.
Aikidoka cherish one another and practice, what can be quite challenging techniques, with one another in a sense of mutual trust and support. Aikido is a self-study done cooperatively with another person. We are always partners in Aikido – never competitors.
New students are sometimes a bit overwhelmed because there are so many new things to learn; new ways to use our body, new ways to view aggression (our own and others’), new words and concepts to remember. And it’s absolutely exciting to do all of that in a supportive and caring environment! All important accomplishments in life take time and effort to achieve – and Aikido is not any different.
When you first come – wear clothing that will protect your sensitive skin from the falling surface- and come with an open mind and spirit to enable your sensitive self to succeed. There is no “perfect” in Aikido, simply being a little better each day. There is no “mastery” in Aikido; simply sincere studying. No “winning” in Aikido; simply helping yourself and your partner to accomplish difficult lessons together.
Many people believe that Martial Arts are about defeating and disabling an adversary. That is not Aikido. We strive to diffuse and redirect aggression and render an aggressor’s attacks ineffective. And we do that by practice- practice – and more practice. It is relatively easy to learn to hurt – or even kill – an adversary. It is more difficult to see that adversary as another human being that is making a horrible mistake and deserves all the care we can muster to protect them, and us, from a horrible error. It is harder than hurting – but we believe the effort can create a better world.
Please come and see what we do and who we are and see if we are a fit for who you want to be.