Aikido by Nicola

Ever since I saw the film “Karate Kid” when I was eight year’s old, I became fascinated with martial arts. The idea that you can use your strength of mind and physical ability to defend yourself in real-life situations is incredibly appealing to me.

Saying this, I never pursued my interest properly until I was at university, when I partook in a trial Tae Kwon Do session. I had a great time, being active and being around like-minded people but there was something missing for me. I couldn’t get my head around why we had to repeat small arm or leg movements, which at the time seemed random and unnecessary.

Some time passed and when I made the decision to go to Japan, I decided to restart my pursuit in martial arts. I concluded learning a martial art in Asia would be the perfect place. Even though Japan has a variety of martial arts on offer, there is something about Aikido, which I can relate to.

I like the fact it’s a defensive art, not an offensive one. It’s main focus is to redirect the force of an attack and to neutralise it. Wikipedia describes it’s focus as `grappling and softness`. I perceive fighting whilst using softness as two polar opposites but there we go. That is the beauty of this martial art. 


I finally attended a doujo last week to observe a typical beginner’s lesson. It was highly interesting. I was informed about the correct etiquette to use whilst entering and leaving the room and for the duration of the observation. When I entered (about ten minutes before the lesson started) the room was a hive of activity, with members practising their throws and grapples and chatting.

But about five minutes later, every member sat in neat rows at the back of the room, waiting for the master to enter. He was given the utmost respect by the members. Shortly after, the warm up began in silence and continued that way for the duration.

Somehow, the master didn’t need to express anything. He had the attention of every single member, who understood the process and respected the silence. That is the first time I have ever seen anything like that. Very different from a boxercise warm up!

By the end of the observation, I felt privileged to be a part of something so traditional;
it`s exactly what I love about Japan. I will just have to get used to the bowing and sitting
with my feet stuck to my behind…




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