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….

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Chapter 13: The dreaded date for grading had arrived...

Its hard to believe that this time last year I was panicking about my first grading to White belt and now I was to grade for Orange... eek!
The only thing that I was looking forward to was having some circulation in my hands and feet as my last grading was in October and it was freezing!
So I turned up nice and early, purly to quell the butterflies zooming around at supersonic speed in my stomach to find the three grading examiners had decided on wearing Hakkanmas for the evening. Now don't get me wrong I like Hakkanmas, but the fact is a scary black belt becomes a really really scary black belt once they put on a Hakkanma.
Anyway, to cut to the chase so to speak, I did it! I graded to Orange, Yipee! I was aching all over, dripping like tap with sweat and covered in brusies, but I don't care, I did it!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Chapter 12: The role of the Uke...a mixture of compliance and resistance- a bit like being slightly stubborn but flexible

The thing you find when you progress in a martial art is the difficulty in learning how to be a good Uke. You can't be too resistant but you can't be too compliant- you get nowhere. This is always difficult (at least it was for me when I became a yellow belt)- How do you Uke for a lower grade without being too hard or too soft? The answer I guess is to find a balance, think of being as one with Tori (or vice versa) while maintaining the centre.
It is Uke's role to help Tori demonstrate the breaking of balance (but obviously not making it too easy for Tori)- ie: you learn to flex and 'fly'. Once you learn that the mat becomes your lifelong friend...foam is quite tasty once you get used to it, trust me.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Chapter 11: Gradings...A test of skill and sanity, Help!

I have to admit, I don't like gradings much. I'm not sure why but in the run up to gradings everything goes to pot- techniques, breakfalls, you name it. However, once I have done a grading I usually feel a lot better. Hopefully , the next grading for me will be to orange belt. Its strange how a year ago I was fussing about my very first Aikido grading to white and now I'm seriously thinking of grading to orange (or not, if I can think of a way of running far far away.
Before you ask, nope the forward ukemi still isn't quite right but I can do Kote breakfalls! Yes! Yes! Yes! (Yeah okay, I'm a little too excited about being able to do that and yeah, I can't roll but I can somersault, so I'm a bit weird in that way. Oh well, who said life was simple?)
So on with the nest grading. (Gulp) I know, I know, there is nothing to be afraid of, and the weather is quite warm now so my circulation should be okay ( At least I won't be struggling with Waki with no circulation, no fun at all, trust me). Somehow I never know how I manage to do gradings-my nerves are in tatters the day before. But if I didn't get up there and bite the bullet, I never would.
The advice I would give to a beginner is just relax and enjoy it (says she) but there is nothing to be afraid of (just a few people watching that's all) Trust me- I'm an Aikiddocca!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Chapter 10: I've just, myself and I as an Aikidocca are all as one...spooky

You begin to realise that you may have become slightly obsessed with a martial art when you begin to no longer feel pain, or flinch when people sneak up on you and make you jump (which frequently happens in my workplace).
I used to think that maybe the Aikidocca inside of me would only come alive in the dojo and then lay dormant til the next session. How wrong I was.
I started to realise that my training was beginning to 'kick in' as it were when I longer flinched at sudden loud noises. Aikido training also comes in handy when you are on the train and a completely and utter stranger (who may be drunk) sits down opposite or worst, next to you and catters on. This frequently seems to happen to me... I must have the sort of face that's kinda honest and friendly (or else look like a complete mug) that makes people approach me. Now as a woman, this is quite frankly scary.. I mean, there are hundreds of other seats, why pick me? Anyway.. back to the scary stranger. The important thing I learnt from Aikido is not to panic or engage conversation - just ignore them...and hope they go away.
Oh yeah, teenage kids living around me seem to think that its great fun to walk around in large gangs and try and be scary by shouting in people's faces. Well, since I've started Aikido this no longer works.. I just stand my ground and glare and they back off. Quite interesting really.
You also find with starting a martial art that people (especially work colleagues) give you some stick or respect, depending on who they are. For example, I usually get 'You don't look like you do a martial art' and 'I would never picture you doing that kinda thing'. (What I usually do is grin real wide... and just ignore them, especially when they start saying 'Better not get on the wrong side of you' etc. and all the rest of it)But yes.. the stick does get a little irritating, but the fact is is that people are fascinated when they meet a martial artist, it has a air of mystery to it. So I'm now a woman of many mysteries at work, great- beats being the youngest anyway.