The word Aikido means: The Way of Harmony and Spirit. It does not mean learning to fight.
It is a self defence art only and is not a competitive sport. It is trained only for your own protection, thus giving you a life of confidence; it can also be a spiritual path, plus it will keep you fit in mind and body.
We train with each other, helping our partner to understand how to develop a body that moves with natural movement and not to go against the laws of nature.
You will need to train in a very simple way, not fighting your partner, because we can only have one thought in our mind. If you become the attacker with the wrong intentions in your mind you will never reach a great understanding in the art.
When you are asked to hold your partners, just hold with full good intentions. When you are asked to strike, just do this; do not add aggressive thoughts thus changing the correct flow of Aikido.
Do not make your partner struggle once the movement starts, just go with the movement thus helping them to achieve the technique they are trying to perform. In doing this we can all advance very quickly.
We must learn how to take a fall. This is called Ukemi. It means to receive the technique from your partner, allowing you to feel what it should be like when it’s your turn to carry out the same technique on your partner so you can repeat the same movement with ease.
Training in the Dojo is not the same as in the street. Why? Because the real attacker will not be able to take the correct steps to save themselves and they will feel the devastating power that comes from the real thing. If you were to not learn ukemi you could not train because your body would be injured many times over.
An onlooker watching may think that the person receiving the throw is jumping, or it is not real. Those who train in the art will soon know that nothing is fake.
Always have clean clothes and a clean body when training, and keep your nails (hand and feet) short. This saves cuts to the other student’s body.
If you need to ask Sensei (Teacher) questions, leave them until the class is over. The whole point of training is to watch and train; your first thoughts are the correct ones. To study in this way you will learn much more quickly. If you ask questions all the time you will never work on your own thoughts and feelings and in a real situation you will be too slow because you have become used to someone else making your decisions.
A student who trains for three to five years at least twice a week can achieve 1st Dan black belt.
It is a very slow martial art to learn, the reason being that you that must become perfect in your mind and body, as you will soon learn in the weeks and months to come. The more you know, the more you will understand how clumsy we all are in flowing movements, especially with speed in the techniques.
These are my main points for you to consider. The art is not for everyone and it is not a better art than any other. It will either suit you or not, it is as simple as that.
You can do Aikido from any age until any age, but you must do it to your best ability and not someone else’s.
We all have too much strength in our body and our mind. We are too powerful. This has been inherited from birth and our life’s aim should be to suppress this until it has vanished. If you do not, you will not reach the level of enlightenment that you should be searching for.
Remember it is an art for life! Your life and no-one else’s, so always train with this in mind.
If you need to fight in life find another art.
Sensei Tony Sargeant. 6th Dan Japan