Recently I asked myself why I practice Aikido. Why is it that I am still doing it. Over the years other sports and passions have come and gone…. but why am I still doing Aikido?
Am I doing it as a defense because I am paranoid about being attacked in the middle of the night by Ninja burglars? That can’t be the reason because I have the usual assortments of throwing knives, chainsaws and RPGs that we all keep under the bed for these events that seem to work much better than my Aikido.
Am I seeking a higher spiritual awareness? Nope I find scientific understandings and unknowns both more probable and more intriguing than anything spiritual.
Personal development? Well sure I have definitely learn’t things about myself through Aikido and no doubt I could and should (and possibly do) use some of what I have learnt in Aikido elsewhere. But no doubt there are other teachings and practices I could seek that would be more effective personal development pathways.
Health and fitness. It’s a definite benefit! I see many older people still able to do incredible things due to a lifetime of practicing Aikido. But it’s a bit like discovering that a glass of red wine a day is good for you. It’s not the reason you drink.
I have come to the realization that the simple reason I do Aikido is that I enjoy it.
The Joy of Aikido
- I enjoy the practice of it – the physical act of being both Uke and Nage. It seems almost bizarre to say it but sharing a well executed technique as Uke is just as much fun (conveniently) as performing a well executed technique as Nage.
- I enjoy the act of working with a training partner to create something unique each and every time we cooperate to practice a technique. (I suspect in a similar way to that in which people enjoy playing music in a band.)
- I enjoy the rhythm, flow and grace of it. They say that soccer is the beautiful game. Well Aikido is the beautiful art!
- I enjoy the continuous and ongoing myriad of small and occasionally larger discoveries. Every few months I seem to find a knew aspect to focus on.
- I appreciate and enjoy the generosity and openness of people willing to entrust me with themselves in practicing Aikido.
- I love that I can get my head all tied in knots during the day and then tie my body in knots in the evening to achieve perspective and clarity. A surfer must leave the water after a great session with a similar feeling that I get from a great training session.
- The great and very enjoyable diversity of personalities who practice Aikido all have a common joy for Aikido that makes it fun to be on the mat together.
Roban for Nidan 2012