The existential question for people studying Aikido, or the martial arts in general, in today’s society want to be, “why do we do this? Why do we train?”.
If you have not had people ask you this question yet, it’s probably because you haven’t been training for very long, and/or the people around you are not that aware of the time commitment and effort you put into it. If they were, they'd be scratching their heads wondering what the heck you’re doing. I actually had a cousin of mine once say “let me get this straight, you pay money to Drive 45 minutes each way, several times a week, to let people swing sticks at your head, and throw you to the ground?” Yes I do, but that statement is a gross misunderstanding of what our training is.
Let me start out with a ridiculous over-simplification There are two kinds of people in this world, people who are constantly trying to improve themselves and people who are to be constantly trying to improve themselves. Sometimes students say to me that they are frustrated with what they see as slow or lack of progress. I am famous for saying that you are progressing exponentially faster than the woman who is just at home sitting on the couch, or the man opening his next beer at the local tavern. Merely the act of doing something is huge.
Self improvement is perhaps the single best gift that you can give yourself. It is the most obvious manifestation of self love.
In the Aikido world we are constantly confronted with the false narrative that our martial art is somehow not effective. I will address that in another blog down the road but I think everyone knows that is simply not the case. It’s also not all that important. Even if Aikido was not effective in a fight, and let me be clear it absolutely is, it would still be one of the single most effective ways to improve your life.
Aikido checks all the boxes as far as self improvement goes, unlike many other disciplines.