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….

Friday, 11 December 2009

Chapter 52: Mental condtioning: Strength from within...the reason I keep going

During the past three and a half years of practising Aikido, I have learned alot in terms of the technical elements of Aikido, shed blood, sweat and occasionally tears- not all at the same time, and the tears definitely not on the mat. Have I noticed any changes in myself you may ask? Yes, I think I honestly say I have. Nothing I can fully explain- I've experienced the usual physical changes in terms of building muscular definition and developing better fitness.

But the one thing I thought I had fully experienced was mental conditioning. Not quite so as it turns out-I'll explain in a short while. I always say the first six months are the hardest you will do as any Martial artist-the first month especially so. Its not just the discipline and etiquette that you have to become akin with- its also the hard graft of physical and mental training you will endure. You're a complete beginner, and whilst you stand at the end of a good session having worked hard, with lungs heaving for oxygen, sometimes Sensi will call to a bout of Ninandorri or tanto practice. You stand there thinking 'How can I do more? I haven't got anything left to give!' But here's the thing you do- and you go back the next week and the week after that and the week after that...for more!

At the moment for some reason I've been finding training especially tough, I sometimes do as I have a minor bowel condition which makes balancing getting enough calories with training hard. But I have to say- whoa! I've not experienced anything like this before. I don't know whether training seems tougher as there is less of us at the moment and so we get less breaks- I seem to remember I got one two minute break in two hours once. I swear I wouldn't have got through it without sport drinks.

What this got to do with mental conditioning? Well I will be very honest- at the moment sometimes I could happily curl up in a corner of the mat and cry. The only reason I haven't scummed as yet is because most weeks I'm really the only woman on the mat. I feel I have to uphold my 'honour' as a woman not to break down. So I don't. I also suspect the reason why I felt this way recently is because I've come down with a kidney infection, and its taking an absolute age to shift-so I'm feeling a little blue at the moment. So, yes I finding that I really have to dig deep inside to keep going.

However, having said I'm really finding Aikido difficult at the moment. I'm still really really enjoying my training. You may ask- why you crazy woman? Why don't you do flower arranging or something instead of putting yourself through this?

The answer is...I don't know. Aikido has always (and I suspect it always will) fulfilled me in a way I can't explain. I sometimes go to training being mad at something or someone at work and come away feeling at peace with myself within. Nothing else can do that for me. So will I be going next week? Kidney infection or no kidney infection... Oh yes, yes I will.