So here we are - at my 10th Anniversary of starting Aikido tomorrow. My first Aikido lesson was 4th January 2006. How time flies.
What have I learnt from Aikido? How has it changed me? How has it developed me as a person? Over the last 10 years I have lost count of the number of people who exclaim in disbelief 'Martial arts - You!' Proof that you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover and that still quiet waters really do run deep.
So here are 10 things I have learnt from Aikido and martial arts in general:
- The most scariest looking person on the mat is usually the nicest, gentlest person you will ever know and they are likely to become a friend for life.
- Once you get your Gi and pass your first grading you really feel part of the club.
- Your club mates very quickly become your second family, and most of your mobile texts and Facebook posts revolve around Aikido or whichever martial art you practice.
- If you relax things really do hurt alot less! Yes, really!
- You become very fit over time, but only have to have a couple of weeks away from training to feel like you're back at square one when you do return.
- Whenever there is someone new, you look at them and wonder 'Was I that scared too?'
- You develop muscle mass which is not accommodated by most clothing stores.
- You can differentiate between what sort of pain is a 'Its ok, keep going but be careful' pain and that which is 'Ow! Stop Right now!' pain.
- The best Christmas/Birthday presents are usually in the form of first aid such as muscle balms, and ice spray.
- Nothing short of Armageddon stops you from coming to training. Even if you're injured you come to 'watch' and still end up on the mat helping some of the junior grades since they needed help and you weren't doing anything anyway.
So how has Aikido developed me as a person? Let's see:
- I am now more confident at asserting myself around people
- I am physically stronger and fitter than I was- I can nearly touch my toes!
- I am quite good at explaining complex concepts to people - Well, Aikido can get complicated!
- I have good awareness, well not so much about not tripping up over things - more about certain situations and how people will react.
- I can 'scare' people with just one look. That can be quite fun at times.
So there you have it. 10 years on, I'm a 1st Kyu and Assistant Coach. Not bad for someone who wanted to run away before she had even got through the Dojo door!