Aikido Part One

February 13, 2009

For years I have wanted to try some kind of martial art. I’m not sure when or why it started but I just had this very strong desire to learn.

I find the grace of the movements beautiful to watch. I love how strong and powerful students of martial arts become. The amount of mental focus and perseverance involved is amazing. It takes a lifetime to become really good; the effort and dedication required is not to be taken lightly.

It’s the ultimate challenge.

I first learned about aikido in high school when one of my friends told me about his experiences with it. When I expressed my intention of one day trying out a martial art, he recommended aikido as the best one for me to do. His reasoning was that anyone, no matter your age or gender or body type, can learn aikido. Because of this, for years I have found aikido to be especially appealing. I am all for any activity that doesn’t discriminate against my height!

My friend Alana started aikido several months ago and has successfully recruited me to join her group (THANK YOU ALANA!). It has taken a month or two for me to finally get involved, but I figured that with Reading Week (aka spring break) just around the corner, now is the perfect time to take some classes.

Thus on Wednesday evening I found myself observing a 2-hour aikido class.

Just from what I saw, I know that I am going to love aikido. The sensei is incredibly nice and welcoming and it was really interesting to see the progression of skill among the students with varying levels of experience.

It’s going to be tough. This is not something which you learn how to do in a day; it is developed over a very long period of time. I am so eager to learn! Classes are four times a week and tonight is my first session of actively taking part. I have a feeling remembering the appropriate etiquette is going to be a big part of the challenge 🙂

At the end of the class on Wednesday, the sensei explained how important it is to come to class with an open mind. He said that if we arrive with our cup empty, they can then be filled up during the session. I think that this message is central to many areas of our lives. Going into any situation, we can’t always assume that we know best or have the most experience or understand what’s going on better than the others around us. We have to arrive with a fresh clean slate ready to be written on, by both ourselves and others. Being willing to listen, ask questions, and consider new perspectives are all going to open the doors for us to learn and progress.

Have you ever tried martial arts (or aikido in particular)? What did you think of it? Share your pearls of wisdom!


  1. I did a form of Taekwondo and Akido years back. Recently Kick Boxing has been the extent of it. The mental and physical challenges of a martial art can take one to a whole different comfort level. I think it is extremely important to find an organization/instructor that works well with you (could be a long journey). That being said…I highly recommend the challenge. Have a nice weekend!

  2. I’ve never tried martial arts, but have always been intrigued by its practice and philosophy – thanks for sharing your experience!!

  3. Wow, girl! Good for you for trying something new like that. Quite a time commitment, too…do you think you’ll go to four classes a week? I’m interested to hear how you like it!

  4. That sounds very cool… are you very tall or very short? I’m very tall and I always find that it’s hard for me to do some sports (like ping pong – I have to bend over and kill my back – not worth it) because of that. Aikido sounds like it’ll be a great body AND mind experience. And I love learning the etiquette of any new thing. I am really interested in Japanese etiquette in general because Bobby is half Japanese and his mom (she’s from Japan) is a wonderful woman.

  5. Yay Sagan! Congrats on discovering Aikido! It sounds like it will be a good fit for you and you have a really good attitude about it. I look forward to hearing more about your experience with it:)

  6. I’ve always been intrigued by martial arts, too, but never had the courage to try it. Good for you! I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!!
    Have a good weekend.

  7. I took a semester of karate while I was in graduate school, and loved it, but my thyroid was acting up at the time, and I had constant dizzy spells. It’s very hard to learn moves when you have three instructors holding you up so you can complete something without falling down.
    After that, I could never fit a class in. (Yoga comes first! Yoga keeps me healthy. Sort of healthy, anyway.) One time I found an aikido class that met at a time and place when I could sometimes get there after work, but I only got to three classes before they moved beginners’ night to the same night as my yoga class….Someday.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  8. Mark- the instructor certainly makes a huge difference. I’m lucky with mine!

    VeggieGirl- there’s so much involved with it! (Also I’m sad because I haven’t been able to view your videos on your site 😦 )

    Zandria- I have an evening class on Mondays but I’m going to go on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday as often as I can!

    Maggie- I’m very short, just 5 ft tall. I’m excited to toss around 6 ft tall men. 😀

    Charlotte- I am following in your footsteps hehe.

    Bag Lady- looks like its going to be great fun! You have a good weekend too.

    Mary Anne- at least you do have yoga! That’s unfortunate you couldn’t keep doing karate and aikido, though.

  9. Aikido is my favorite although i never tried it – I was doing Judo when was in school.There is an overlap to some extent.
    I love aikido for its philosophy – using the adversary’s strength to defeat him, no wonder the sensei asked you to come to the training open minded. Sun Tzu would say “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win ” 😉

  10. Hi Sagan,
    No, I’ve never really tried any of the martial arts, although they have always intrigued me. Looking forward to hearing more about this! Have a great weekend!

  11. Our sensei has instructed us to ‘treat opponents with love’, as strange as that sounds.

    It was worked to diffuse others in numerous situations in my life.

  12. I haven’t tried any martial arts classes…yet. But it’s on my list!

  13. I used to take aikido as a kid and then american freestyle karate! I got up to my purple belt(the next was brown, then black) but quite to go back to dancing! I miss it! Happy valentines day!

  14. Aikido was fun. But then classes got too expensive, and work got too involving 😦 I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Do you like kickboxing?

  15. i never heard of aikido but it sounds right up my alley… i love kickboxing, i feel like it helps get out my stress & agression!

  16. I’m so glad to see you doing this, Sagan! Even with all my martial arts training, I’ve never done any Aikido. (I have done some hapkido, which is the Korean version, but not very much.) It’s a beautiful art form from what I’ve watched, and I look forward to hearing about your progress. One of the things I like the most about my old-school karate/kenpo background, is the mental and spiritual aspects were always stressed. It’s good to see that Aikido places so much emphasis there also!

  17. Alik- I like that quote! And the philosophy of aikido is fantastic:) Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    Lance- martial arts are so different from any other activity, it’s great!

    Westwood- ooh I really like that. Something to think about for sure. I love how it can apply to so much of life.

    Cammy- I encourage you to do so!

    Cassandra- that’s really cool. You must be very graceful! What was American freestyle karate like?

    Dee- Love kickboxing. I used to take a class at the Y and it was my favorite… it’s so empowering.

    Lindsay- oh it does 😀

    Dr. J- it’s great that you’ve tried several different kinds of martial arts; there’s strengths and weaknesses to them all! That’s why I love some diversity in my activities.

  18. […] World Discussions about being healthy in all aspects and enjoying life to the fullest! « Aikido Part One Life Lessons: Aikido Part Two February 16, 2009 After the first session on Friday as an […]

  19. This is the first time I’ve heard of Aikido. I use to do some boxing to stay active. I say great go for it, I sure you do Great!

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  20. Aikido is wonderful!
    I’ve actually taken aikido for about two years in high school. i wish I learned more… but at least I know how to roll and fall correctly.

  21. […] don’t enjoy exercise at all. For the last group, might I suggest belly dancing? Boot camp? Aikido? Perhaps some fun fitness challenges (or a Great Fitness Experiment)? We’ll convince you that […]

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