Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is Aikido Graduate School?

Aikido was sort of a graduate school for martial artists.. the study of the sublime moves.

Aikido was not so much training up new martial artists, but a migration for many martial artists from kendo and judo to aikido.

Indeed, when I was starting the dojo was heavy with judo and kendo men.  The kendo men had been studying kendo for say fifteen years and were nidan in kendo...  and the judo men were tough fighters.  And they were happy to wear yellow and blue belts after even two years of aikido.

What was new was taking scraggly kids who were terrible at anything spoirting and training then to be martial artists, lucky for me they needed my $10 a month.

It took me nine years in the 1970s to get my shodan.  never bothered me to wait, as long as I got to practice.  I got to practice, 4 times a week for 4 hour shots, the times a week for 2 hour shots.  And the instructors were exceptional.

I must say there were long stretches where I hated practice, but then I'd go try to break off the platreau by studying judo (remedial aikido) to make some progress.  My koshi nage was terrible (I tried too hard).  I practiced kendo for a while too, because the jo and ken work can get boring in an aikido dojo, since it is all forms.  I like trying to get someone who is trying to get me.  So occasionally I had to cut back my weekly aikido schedule to work in some kendo or judo time.

Aikido comes from kendo, and it was very helpful to have so many kendoka as aikidoka. And the judoka set the tone for falls, hard falls mostly.  A brief and shining moment, that decade.  Hard to find that kind of training anymore.  I am over 60, because I trained with that intensity, I still train with that intensity.

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