1. Self Defence Training – When most people seek out training in a Martial Art it is often with the idea of learning some practical self-defence training. Aikido is an excellent system to study both for self-defence and for the defence of third parties. Where Aikido can have an advantage is that it teaches you skills and techniques that utilise an turn an attackers own strength against them, enabling you to overcome a physically stronger opponent. Thus Aikido can be useful for self-defence not only by young fit people, but by people of all ages and fitness levels.
2. Physical training – Modern Aikido is set up in such a way that you train at the physical capacity you feel comfortable with. As the lessons progress and techniques are learnt you will notice that your body will move into physical condition relevant to the training. Many people experience weight loss and increased physical capacity when training Aikido relevant to the effort put into it. You will notice the experienced Aikidoka break falling on the mat often at speeds similar to what you expect from watching gymnastics, you have to crawl before you can walk, yet if you are prepared to give it a go, you too can use Aikido to condition your body to break fall in the same way with the same cardio component.
3. Safer Training than most Martial Arts – In Aikido training we don’t have a strong emphasis on striking, although we do have striking patterns that are taught as a part of the training techniques. Our techniques are trained to flow, we do not practice roundhouse kicking or palm or fist striking as is the case in Muay Thai or Karate. As a result we don’t have injuries on the mat from having made connection on the mat with our partner with a foot or hand strike. Yes accidents can happen in any martial art, but it is worth noting that Aikido has a specific training pattern that removes some of these potential causes of injury on the mat and that we consider your safety paramount to the way your techniques are trained.
4, Aikido helps you Deal with Stress – As you begin your journey into Aikido you will be exposed to some of the philosophical teachings of O’Sensei Morihei Ueshiba and other figures in Aikido and you will be taught why Aikido is called “The Art of Peace”. Aikido is much more than just a set of techniques, grading’s and physical training. If you have an open mind and are willing, Aikido will make you question your own life and your responses to many of the problems that you may be facing. O’Sensei believed that he was called to create Aikido to bring about universal world peace and resolution of conflict. Whilst this may seem a lofty goal, it can begin with you and change your life forever if you are willing to try.
5, Meet New People. – One thing commented on by visitors to Aikido dojo’s can be the diversity of the group and the welcoming friendly atmosphere that exists there. People of all ages and backgrounds train Aikido and it is done so in an environment without competition, stress and pressure. It is not uncommon for an Aikido Sensei to call the group to a training break and for the kettle to be put on and the biscuits passed around! Local weekend seminars and interstate seminars are often quite popular and there can be a strong sense of community within the group as new members are invited to take part in the various social parts of belonging to the dojo.
6, Be Challenged to Learn Something New. – As stated above, you can start Aikido at any age and at any fitness level. There is never a time that training in Aikido has passed you by. If you have had a desire to learn a martial art there is no need to feel that it is all too late for you! Learning a new skill is a great way to challenge yourself and to learn and experience new things in your life.
7, Learn and Experience Humility. – Along with other Japanese Martial Arts, Aikido has a strong focus on humility. As you train in Aikido, you will develop both empathy for others and humility. One of the teachings of Aikido that you learn is to “put yourself in your partners place” which can be a different yet effective way of training. 8, Grow in Confidence – Everyone is a novice until they are prepared to give something new a go. It is quite normal to attend a training session in Aikido or another martial art and come away with concern that this is all going over your head and you just can not get it together. Yet as the weeks go by, you find that you can do things, you can remember what you are being taught and then you have a night where it all just clicks together. Overcome in one area and you can overcome in another, achievement can be quite addictive when you discover what you are actually capable of!