I had started Aikido by chance, after my children had started taking class several years ago. My prior experience with martial arts was limited, few years of Shorinji Kempo when I had lived in Osaka.
Aikido had started as exercise and stress reliever when I had recently changed career, it had been a very stressful period. The class consisted of various levels of students, background. I found the group to be welcoming and a good group. I can’t recall any class not getting at least a good light hearted laugh and good activity.
合– joining , combining
道-way, path, road
As I studied more, the art was organized in very methodical ways, almost like an organization chart, at least it was the way it was presented and taught. Then you learn to give yourself so that your partner may learn and in turn you learn from them. Slight adjustment resulted in big change and effectiveness; more you studied, more you were able to perceive the movement and intent of your practice partner. You learn to “read” them. This is also applied in business in some sense dealing with clients, business partners. You are reading their tone, body language, what is said, what is not said. You learn to deal with different personalities, engage them differently. Some you learn to walk away from.
When too much energy is needed, something is off balance. Aikido teaches you to feel, to blend, execute with strong foundation. Once the pieces are in place correctly, the technique becomes effortless and very effective. It is delightful to get those “Aha” moments for yourself and for your practicing partner. Different partners and engagement teaches you different aspect, which forces to self-evaluate, apply technique differently, or to change your technique. In everyday life, I approach the same way, some success, some not, but you learn to look at it calmly, objectively.
In a public setting, you do become more aware, better situational awareness. Feeling out the others’ energy, intent. Some problems may need to be addressed, some just find alternative without getting into confrontation. Better to let small things go, get what you need to get done.
The process is of course time consuming and as said by others before, more you learn , more you realize how much you don’t know.
I am grateful to have this opportunity of discovery, practice with others and to apply this in my life journey.