Aikido is interesting
Aikido is learned through techniques, yet it is not about techniques. Through the practice of techniques, principles are learned. These principles, integrated in firs t the body then the mind of the Aikidoka, offer unlimited options to deal with aggression and violence in any form and whenever it occurs whether that be the practice hall, the street, the work place, the home, or from within the self. One doesn’t need to use words to convey and integrate these principles. Aikido teaches us most clearly through the actual physical practice.
Aikido is the teacher
Aikido teaches through practice. This primary responsibility of the leader of the practice is to maintain a respectful and caring spir it of practice in order that the participants may safely “play” with the techniques of Aikido and thus integrate it s principles.
Aikido is caring
Aikido teaches ways of taking care of yourself and others without causing harm. It is an art with the ethic of extending the attitude of protection to include the attacker. In the real world this permits the defusing of anger and violence and allows for the ultimately peaceful resolution of conflict.
Aikido is realistic
It is undeniably true that nature and man sometimes provide situations of overpowering force which are futile to confront directly. It is, for instance, best to get out of the way of a freight train or tornado until that energy is either past or spent. The physical practice of Aikido teaches alternatives to
the direct confrontation of overpowering force. Practices are laboratories for refining understanding.
Instructors demonstrate techniques, choose the focus and guide the flow of practice. Since their most important role is to foster an attitude and atmosphere for safe optimal growth, it’s imperative to follow their directives at all times.
We use this term (or practitioners) rather than students as it is inherent in our art that we are learning from each other at all times.
What to expect and how to approach being new to our practice
We have found that at the juncture of new learning one sometimes feels awkward or confused. Welcome this as a sign of potential growth. OBSERVE AND DO – HINT: the members with the black hakama have been around longest and welcome the opportunity to teach and learn with new folks.
An Aikido Practice
We attempt to calm and clear our minds by sitting in silence at the opening and near the close of practice. Bowing to the front and to the teacher is followed by guided group warm-up exercises. The teacher will next demonstrate that which the immediate focus of practice is. We practice in pairs. Techniques, focus, and partners change throughout the practice at the teacher’s discretion. Stretches frequently precede the sitting close and bowing out.