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#249276 - 04/27/06 09:04 AM Questions about Aikido
Azreal Offline

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 7
Hello, I have decided to begin studying a martial art. I live in Rochester, NY, while it isn't a huge city it is big enough to give me many options as to which art to study.

I am a 35 year old adult with no formal training except some boxing years ago. I used to be fairly competent in street fights (due to a serious drug addiction that I battled for nearly 2 decades I unfortunately had a lot of practice in street fights and survival. Thankfully that is in my past). I was in good "outward" shape most my life (of course I was killing myself so it was a deceptive appearance) but when I got "clean" six years ago I got lazy and fat. I joined a gym over a year ago and dropped 40+ pounds and quit smoking (those people who claim quitting cigs is harder than quiting heroin are full of it, take it from someone who quit both. The smokes are easy). I'm by no means in great shape but I'm getting there.

I want to study martial arts for a number of reasons; self-defence, confidence, discipline, I guess all the sterotypical reasons but they are true.

I've been doing research on various styles by buying books and purusing the internet (I know you can't learn a martial art from a book but I felt I could learn ABOUT them). I don't know much about aikido though but for various reasons (price, location and the fact that there is someone at the dojo that teaches iaido which I have long wanted to learn) I am leaning towards aikido right now.

Can someone tell me some of the benifits of aikido as compared to karate, kickboxing and escrima (the three others I am considering). Is there much weapons training in aikido (not that I plan on carrying weapons around, quite the contrary but I am not interested in studying solely for self-defence reasons). I'm of the belief that aikido involves a lot of throws, is that true? I'm only 5'7", would my height be a hinderence in aikido (it was with boxing which is one reason I wasn't very good at it. I had such a short reach my sparring partners could stay away easily).

I would appreciate any information or links to places where I could learn about aikido in some depth. I do not want to go lightly into this as I want to make a definate years long commitment to this decision. I apologize if my questions are ignorant but on this subject I AM ignorant.

#249277 - 04/27/06 09:51 AM Re: Questions about Aikido [Re: Azreal]
Chanters Offline

Registered: 06/16/04
Posts: 559
Loc: Manchester, UK
Wow, I have much admiration for you for battling through all what you have encountered, that takes guts and strong will power.

I'm not going to say which art is best and which is worst, it depends on a number of factors. Those being; the practitioner, the teacher and your initial goal. There is no such thing as a good or bad, or effective or ineffective martial art, they all have their benefits!

Size and strength plays little to no part in aikido. It's a non agressive martial art in which you can't use it to attack people or harm them. Aikido will help increase your awareness of surroundings, improve reflexes, concentration and agility. Aikido is also a non-competitive art (unless you wish to learn tomiki aikido) mainly consisting of throws locks, pins and focuses on blending with the attackers momentum and re-directing it. I think compared to the other arts you are looking at aikido has a low impact on the body, we've had many karateka join our club because their joints could no longer take the battering they were enduring.

Depending on what club you join, most of them incorporate weapons work into their curriculum. We use a bokken (wooden sword) a jo (4ft wooden staff) and a tanto (wooden knife) the latter being used to practice against knife attacks. Most if not all movements in aikido derived from the use of the sword thus the reason why we practice with a bokken. At our dojo about 80% is open hand technique and 20% weapons work.

I would suggest attending an aikido dojo for a few weeks so you get a feel of what you can expect to learn. If you think the art is not for you, try the others you mentioned you're interested in.

Good luck and I hope you find aikido as fulfilling as I do!

#249278 - 04/27/06 12:32 PM Re: Questions about Aikido [Re: Chanters]
Azreal Offline

Registered: 04/26/06
Posts: 7
Thank you, both for the complement and the information. I'm going to be going to an aikido dojo this weekend and talk with one of the instructors. (it is called Aikido Kokikai of Rochester). Thanks again.


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