Why Aikido?

An enquiry into our motives for taking up this strange and nurdy pursuit

Have you ever wondered why you started Aikido? and can you produce a rational explanation?. Somehow and don't ask me why but I suspect you can't. At least I hope you can't because this puts you firmly in the same boat as myself. My Aiki quest started after reading a now famous book called "Zen Combat" in which the author Jay Gluck spent time training with O'Sensei and some of his assistant instructors including a young Steven Seagal.

As soon as I read this account I knew that this is what I had been searching for all along (I had since about the age of 18 been drawn to Japanese culture and read numerous books on the subject).

Before I set out my rather wacky theory I will first dispose of a couple of popular excuses for why people are drawn to Aiki (with apologies to the Koshinkan!):

The Self Defence Myth

Despite media scaremongering I suspect that statistics would show that the likelihood of being the victim of an unprovoked attack is negligible. How therefore can you sanely justify 2 nights training every week for god knows how many years to prepare yourself for what probably won't happen? Its not realistic is it - are we really this paranoid? - I think not! - You all seem quite well adjusted to me!

Fitness Fools?

One of my little indicators of whether a new student will last long in Aikido is whether they claim their motive is..."I need to get fit!" coz if it is, they won't. Yes fitness of a very special sort does come in the Aiki package but if this is your main motive, man you've missed the target by a mile! If all round fitness is your desire do a circuits class - they're bloody great!

Your "Other" Self

I believe that we have been consciously led to Aiki by that part of our consciousness that we are rarely, at least knowingly, in touch with - our intuition or "unconscious". It is suggested that the deepest wisdom is contained therein and that all we need to do is tap into it - we are all Buddha's already we have only to discover this!

How the intuition works, whether it carries memories from past lives, or tunes in to Jung's "collective unconscious" who knows? But I believe we have had the choice made for us - not by some external force but by the wisest part of our own nature. Spooky ain't it!
Give this a bit of thought and see if you can justify your interest in Aiki in terms of self-defence or fitness - I certainly can't, am I some sort of freak?

Tony Hughes - Nidan - Assistant instructor ,Koshinkan Aikido

 

   
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