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, 19 March 2010

Chapter 54: Do people really understand the way Martial Arts touch us?

A slightly strange blog title I'll admit, and not necessarily about Aikido but here goes....

Have you ever had anyone ask you what your hobbies are and you tell them that you do Aikido, Jodo, Karate etc only to be met either with a sarcastic comment or strange look, as if to say why would you want to do that? And they also give you a strange look if on a Friday night no one understands (apart from your club mates) why you would rather go hit the mats rather than the pub. I have, many a time but I think this is perhaps due to the fact that I don't exactly fit the stereotype of that everyone who does martial arts is hard-faced and ruthless.

So why do people have these conceptions? I always try and explain what Aikido is, what martial arts truly signify and how people can develop from studying them. But people still think that you're a nutter. Well, okay I don't suppose it helps that my arms are usually (but not always) black and blue and my shoulders and arms are covered in Gi and mat burns.

I think part of the problem is that people want to be good immediately and get their black belts within a year or two. But what they don't realise is that it takes many years to become good and to become good enough for a Dan grade you need to literally have experienced blood, toil, tears and sweat for it to be worthwhile? I've had many a work colleague say to me that they would like to try a martial art but wouldn't be able to take orders from a Sensi or higher grade. Again, this is a case of people getting the complete wrong end of the stick. All learning on (and sometimes off the mat) is entirely voluntary, you and you alone want to learn, to better yourself. I don't know of anywhere else in life this happens. But when it does happen, you can develop a very deep and beautiful bond between you, your fellow students and your Sempai. And its very satisfying. Much more so than sitting with a bottle of wine and chocolate bar on the sofa on a Friday night. Yes, give me training over that any day.


Chris said...

I just chanced upon your blog, but I agree with you whole heartedly, I cant tell you about how often I get funny looks, not only that, but the only term anyone in the US has for martial arts at all is 'karate. " are you still doing your karate stuff " " oh you just got done with your karate crap didnt you " I dont get it!

I want to tell them all the reasons and the intricacy and the differences, but usually its to no avail, its like talking to a wall, or myself. But in the end I guess we dont Need to justify it to anyone, its what we get out of it personally and how we grow from it. And then when we find someone thats more open, you can Show them the aiki spirit we love.

From one aikidoka to another, I hope your path is long and wonderous

Anonymous said...

I encounter this all the time, especially in the dating scene. Please excuse my example, but so far it seems not too many girls (my generation, the twenty and thirty somethings) have a very limited - and perplexed - view of martial arts.

Many people seem to have had some martial art experience, but perhaps a couple years at the most and usually in their childhoods. It seems that having martial arts as a hobby as an adult gives a martial artist (an aikidoka for myself) the lesser version of a scarlet letter!

It's all bad, it's just an odd observation that I've notice. In any case, we do what we love.

Good luck in your endeavors my friend.