About The Following Blog

The following blog has been written purely for those wanting a first hand knowledge of what it is like to step into the dojo for the first time as a complete beginner as a Martial Artist. Through practising a Martial Art, you will gain many things such as self-confidence, self-respect and life-long and good friends. I hope this helps you to see into an amazing world of which you have never seen before and that I have had the privilege of belonging to and knowing.
Although I have not put my name or any name to this blog, it does deserve a dedication- a dedication to those who help people to train, who teach, reassure and most important of all- those who never give up, no matter how many times they hit the ground or a mental brick wall, with themselves or others. But above all- those who are ready to begin their own journey, it begins with one step….

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Chapter 5: Combat With Weapons... Eeek!

Up until now, I haven't really mentioned anything about weapons...sort of the orgins of the techniques involved in Aikido, so to speak. There are three main weapons used in Aikido, Tanto (knife), Jo (staff) and Bockun (sword).
The first weapon I really used was the Jo. I love the Jo Kata,it is quite relaxing in some ways (except the time I got klonked on the knuckle..THAT ONE HURT!). The best part of weapons is allowing you experience the orgins of techniques as well as self-defence in knife work. Weapons also teach you spacial awareness and distance in techniques (Brillant if you can trip over your own shadow like me)
But I should say that just because you use weapons in the dojo, it does NOT mean that you can use them against other people. They are purly a training tool and should be used as such with the up most respect and only used in the Dojo.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Chapter 4: That was the easy part…. Now comes the big Ukemis!

Okay, Aikido is pretty amazing, but it does get really tough. After my first grading came my nemesis: the forward ukemi. Anyone who already practises Aikido will know how horrible these are for beginners- its not a proper roll! At least- not in the sense of the word ‘roll’. You imagine that you’re a wheel, and you take off, rolling along an extended arm, down the spine and onto the opposite hip- easy! Not!
I did not get rolls. I kept going over on my side. Unfortunately, I needed them for my next belt, so in the run-up to my next grading, I was basically a rag-doll, throwing myself at anything (and being thrown) into these things.
Then came the ‘night’. The night I was to grade. I was scared no scratch that, petrified. I wanted to run away but I couldn’t- I had come to far to let one little ukemi get the better of me.
It was also a cold night, my circulation cut out waiting to go up onto the tatanmi- I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands or anything (part from fear of course). However, despite having no circulation, a stomach of butterflies and a feeling of wanting to run far far away, I did my roll well, sort of anyway. But I did get my belt! I was now an official coloured belt-break out the champagne!

Chapter 3: The first grading…the be all or end all of my sanity

I did have doubts about my suitability for this art, particularly in the run –up to my first grading. I mean, all my techniques went to complete pot; all the terminology and principles of Aikido just disappeared. You know, I felt a bit like David being fed to the lions, that it was an impossible feat, me actually doing my first grading! In front of the whole club! But I got up there (heaven knows how- I was shaking like a leaf) and I did it! I actually graded! I was a bit sorry to go home really.
One of the most amazing things about Aikido is the way it can take one scrawny person and change them into something that’s well, interesting, like they can take on the whole world, at least that’s how I felt after my first grading to white belt-a bit like walking on air out of the dojo.