Aikido looks cool. That was my first impression of it. And it’s a defensive martial art so it’s peaceful. Two cool birds with one, cool stone. So I learned to roll around and started learning the aiki repertoire which was all well and good except that the techniques didn’t always work for me. And I noticed they didn’t work for a lot of people. And I wonder why and there’s no doubt in my mind that others wonder the same thing, or at least they should. Where does that leave us?
In karatedo, the goal is to quell the violence by annihilating the attacker through speed, power, strategy and spirit. So, one can try to move faster, hit harder and smarter and shatter the attacker’s will with kiai. But what should aikidoka, studying the way of peace, do in order to improve? In theory, the defender blends with the attacker and guides them into a lock, throw or pin. If we speed up, faster than the attacker, how is that blending? If we use more strength in our technique, how is that effortless? How does a conquering spirit lend itself to harmony?
I think it’s necessary, more than learning countless techniques, to first examine how aikido is supposed to work. And after we understand it’s underlying principles, test our theory through kata and finally randori. What’s the point in memorizing a gazillion techniques and doing them a gazillion times, if they’re not really working?
I think that we have a great opportunity here to delve deeper into the mat, so to speak, and improve our art and ourselves. I’d love for aikidoka, or anyone for that matter, to offer any thoughts they may have. Of course, there’s always the possibility that everyone already understands all things aikido, and I just suck.