When I first told my friends that I had taken up aikido again, the major response was more or less, “Wow, cool! You’ll be able to really hurt people.”
I guess it’s okay that people don’t know how aikido differs from martial arts. What worried me was the immediate jump to “the ability to hurt people” being the first thought of benefit.
It worried me because, in my opinion, it indicated to me the presence of violence in the hearts of my friends.
Someone doing something you don’t like? Punch them.
Ahem – thinking like this is exactly why the world needs aikido! The feelings and acts of violence, hate, fear, and suspicion seem to be a problem.
I think we all have it within us to be kinder and accepting to ourselves and the people around us.
The benefits of aikido
What you do gain from aikido is:
- Improved physical fitness.
- Improved sense of awareness.
- Training in a non-judgemental environment, where the people around you are on a similar journey to you.
- A sense of harmony with the people around you – helping you resolve conflicts in a non-violent way.
- Being comfortable with discomfort! (A major benefit for me, which I’d like to talk more about.)
“Aiki is not a technique to fight with or defeat an enemy. It is the way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.”Morihei Ueshiba (O-Sensei)
What you don’t gain from aikido is the skill to harm people or to “win” at fighting. That isn’t (at least in my opinion) what this is about.
- Why the World Needs Aikido, A Millennial’s Perspective – Aikido Journal
- (video) Aikido: an alternative education system for humanity? | Christophe Depaus | TEDxUBIWiltz – YouTube
Cover photo by Hoang P from Flickr