Aikido can be many things to many different people. For some, it is a budo, a martial way of life. For others, it’s a hobby to pass the time. For yet others, it’s a means of physical fitness. Aikido, when taught by a good teacher, and approached with an open mind by the student, may be all these things.
At a basic level, Aikido can benefit your physical stamina and coordination. At a higher level, since learning requires mental and emotional aspects as well, it may help to improve self-confidence and concentration. Learning concepts such as centering, grounding, posture and appropriate relaxation methods will help you to focus and stay calm in difficult situations.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO LEARN?
What can I expect to learn?
Aikido, as well as other martial arts, teaches both etiquette and manners. The discipline required to learn what can often be physically difficult will help you develop a sense of gratitude, respect for yourself and respect for others who are working alongside you.
At beginning levels, techniques are taught in preset patterns of movement, called waza. As you progress in ability, you will learn to perform these techniques in different situations.
Dojo etiquette is also an important aspect that can translate to an improved ability to cope with difficult situations outside the dojo. This is why martial arts are sometimes called “a way of life.” Properly done, what you learn in Aikido should touch other aspects of your life.
Finally, in learning aikido, expect to sweat, think, be frustrated at times, and learn to laugh at your own mistakes as you progress. For any martial art, you learn by making mistakes and letting go of your preconceptions as part of the process.