Saturday, May 30, 2009

Demo as usual

Well, we've done our demo for the day. Thanks again to Miles and Shane (got the spelling right this time!) for the assistance. Wouldn't have been able to do it without you guys... imagine me trying to ask for volunteers from the crowd. Oooo, ugly thoughts.

When its all said and done, the video I had taken of the demo shows that there's so much more room for improvement. I notice that while on the mat my focus was very much on my opponent. Because of the huge crowd, my personality switched off its awareness in the hopes of keeping embarrassment at bay. Now, maybe that's a neat tool when you have to give speeches in front of people you don't know, but losing awareness means you've made yourself vulnerable. 

Presenting a martial arts demo, one should never put oneself in a vulnerable state. 

Another thing, I notice that I didn't really own the mat. Put it to the fact that this was my first very own demo, but excuses a side, ownership of the mat would have been the best way to establish dominance. While I believe I had achieved a level of presence, it was very limited. And a mark of an accomplished martial artist is that he doesn't need his hakama to create such a presence. 

Whatever the case, it has been a helpful stage for me to go through. Things that I've done that I can learn from and maybe improve mysel and my art.

Domo Arigato.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Aikido hard to learn?

This question is probably one of the more common ones that a beginner would ask. Simply put, there is no real answer. Learning something requires talent and work. In the equation you also require a teacher and a student.

A good teacher with enough knowledge and experience can be rewarding. Even so, the maxim of 'Those who can't do, teach' also holds true. There are many Aikido teachers who cannot 'do' Aikido. The simple reason being Aikido is such a complex art. It cannot be described as science such as Maths where 1+1=2. In Aikido, there are basics which any competent Aikidoka would be able to show; and beyond those more complicated techniques that experience Aikidokas will be able to perform such as Counter techniques, Changing techniques, Variations, Weapons etc. Beyond that, is the essence of Aikido. 

After all, what makes Aikido so different than other grappling arts? Jujitsu and Judo all rely on unbalancing the opponent and utilising the opponent's strength and power. Even striking arts are more devastating when timed against an opponents movement and direction. 1 hit knockouts occur not because your strike is suddenly more powerful, but because you striked at the right place and at the right time. 

To understand this, we have to look at the meaning of Aiki. Simply said, Aiki is the harmonising or blending of power. If we can learn how to achieve this, we will have reached an advance level of Aikido. There are many levels of Aiki to be achieved, but even reaching Aiki-musubi or physical blending is a difficult process without a good teacher.

The other part of the equation is of course the Student. However good a teacher is, how well you learn something depends on how enthusiastic you are about it. If you train in earnest, your 1 hours work might equal anothers 5 days work. The important thing is to never lose sight of your goals and aspirations. 

Learning an art is never an end to itself. The art becomes you and you become the art. Until we realise this, we will forever remain a mediocre student. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aikido Demo at Bukit Jelutong 30th May 2009

This Saturday, Bukit Jelutong Residence Association is hosting a Carnival at the newly completed shop lots off the main trunk road called D'bayu. For residents, you may have noticed this empty building for some time now which overlooks the massive 3-4 football fields opposite the Bukit Jelutong Mosque. 

Our Aikido demo will be conducted at 2.30pm at the main stage and will run for approximately 30minutes. 

For those who have no idea what Aikido is...

Basically its a Japanese martial art, not unlike Jujitsu or Judo. It involves a lot of throwing and locks but encompasses some strikes and weapons training as well. The principle behind Aikido is harmony or balance. Practicioners are taught to blend with opponents attacks/energy and harmonise with it and bring them to a state of unbalance and control them from there on. 

By the by, welcome to the site and its inaugural first posting. Later posts will contain some thoughts & reflections that I have on Aikido and martial arts in general as well as ideas on how we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. 

Domo Arigato.