I've been interested in aikido for a number of years and finally found the time and a dojo/sensei I felt comfortable with about a year ago (I am actually a bit embarrassed that this is my first post about it). What really intrigued me about aikido is that it is a martial art that emphasizes balance between defensive and offensive combat. It is not about meeting force with force. To look at and, to be honest, practice, most other martial arts are mostly offensive combat arts. Understandably so if you know anything of human history, know matter what culture you explore. But aikido, looking at and practicing, is very defensive. However, the martial aspect is very present. Just look at some early Steven Seagal movies. Though the main focus of aikido, at least to me, is to redirect the aggressive energy from an opponent back at that opponent with as little violence as possible, you realize that in properly controlling the energy of the opponent you actually control the opponent physically. And with that control you can really do some damage. Now I have no problem with a straight up fight but I don't really like to and if there is a better way to put someone down without damaging myself, which is more likely meeting force with force, then I'm all for it. And by redirecting their force and putting them down I can choose to hurt them or not. I like the control and the choice. And I'm a bit obsessed with balance so this happens to be a perfect martial art for me. I've done others but this is by far the most comfortable fit for me, though I must say I'm actually glad of my previous martial arts experience. Recent situations and my current school schedule have made it very difficult to go and I SO miss practicing! My only available time to go to the dojo is Monday and I really need to start going again even if it is only one day a week because I really miss it (I did it last fall semester so I'm just being a bit of a slacker this year. I suck.) Anyways, the reason for this post is my sensei, Gary Snyder, posted a short documentary on fb about his dojo/art gallery space. I've told anyone who'll listen about how super cool this space is and the documentary shows the space and how super cool it is, so now you can SEE it. I'd like to also add that if you live in NYC and you are interested in aikido let me know and I'll give you the info on the dojo so you can come and check it out. Watch the documentary below.
See! Very cool! You even get a glimpse of Shuji Maruyama sensei, the founder of Kokikai Aikido, the style of aikido I am learning. He taught Gary sensei. My very first class that I participated in was instructed by Maruyama sensei himself, which I took as a very positive sign that I should stick with this dojo! Maruyama sensei lives in Japan and only travels to the States once or twice a year so my very first class was kinda special to me. I've since been on the mat with sensei a few more times since and let me tell you first hand, he is NO JOKE! Tossed me like a ragdoll. Interestingly it is rather fun and uncannily hysterical to be thrown by him. I assume it's his energy. Even when he's manipulating your body like a puppet there's no aggression or negative energy. He just radiates so much positive energy that when you're picking yourself up off of the mat you find yourself laughing. Trust me, it isn't just me. It happens with everyone I've seen him demonstrate on. Even Gary sensei.
I need to go back.