Beginning Aikido

Here are some thoughts to assist those of you who are starting out in Aikido and are bewildered by the combination of the movements, the stances, the strange names, the holds, and the techniques.


Firstly, RELAX!!! You should relax into the techniques. Donít use force against force Ė rather go with your opponentís force and use it against him. I know this is easier said than done but force yourself to relax even if you mess up the technique. It is better to learn to relax in the beginning than to know the techniques and then realise later then you have to relax which will be a difficult habit to acquire. I come from a background over 25 years of external martial arts and breaking the habit of meeting force with force was, and still is, a difficult habit to break.  As an internal martial art Aikido is about using the opponentís force against him. That is why size does not matter in aikido. The harder the attack the worse it is for the attacker.


Secondly, donít let the various leg movements and positions deter you. Just work at doing them slowly and that is what practice is about. Of course in real life your attacker will not always be in the stance you expect nor will they wait for you to get into the correct stance for their position. The purpose of moving (tai sabaki) in practice is to allow your body to get used to the movement and letting it become ingrained as instinct. You will notice are you progress in Aikido that your body will begin to move as the situation dictates without you even realising it.


Thirdly, persevere and donít be ashamed to ask questions or learn new ways to apply a technique. There are numerous ways of applying each technique (which is what make Aikido so unique) and you will find that you acquire some favourite ones. Ask your seniors (sempai) if you donít understand something or would like to know more about a technique. We donít bite and we have all been where you are!!


I hope you find my musings of assistance. I was at the same place you are when I was a white belt aikidoka and I am still there as a shodan aikidoka. So much more to learn and so little timeÖÖ

Gary Leong - Shodan, Koshinkan Aikido


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