Thursday, June 13, 2013

Aikido Style: Martial vs Health & Vitality

I enjoyed a few practices a while back at Glenn Leichman's dojo in Seattle where I was warmly welcomed.  His website makes a distinction that would be useful if more dojos were to elucidate for their prospective students.
One of the major features that distinguish one dojo from another is the style that is practiced. Some dojos emphasize the “martial” aspect of aikido, focusing on the self-defense aspect of aikido. Other dojos, such as Aikido Seattle, emphasize the “health and vitality” aspect of aikido, focusing on how doing aikido will increase one’s sense of well-being. While we try and keep our practice grounded in the real-life nature of attacks and self-defense, we also strive to increase our student’s flexibility, both physically and mentally.
When I travel to a city I view the websites and try to discern which dojos offer aikido as a martial art, for as Glenn notes, not all dojos do.   There is certainly a market for either emphases, are there is no judging who wants what out of a practice.  For my part, I like a sparring level of intensity with people who creatively approach the art.  I've practiced all over the world and the two places I found that excel in this are Aruba and Hong Kong.


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