Simple Yet Complicated

Everyone’s journey in Aikido is different.  Our paths may be similar but will never the same.  However, one thing I have found in common with others is that Aikido is simple yet complicated, all at the same time.  There are some aspects of the principles of Aikido that can easily be employed from day one yet there are others that need honing over many months and years.

It is the variety of Aikido that has kept me interested throughout the past decade and will keep me going for decades to come.  I always find I am learning a new way of doing something; making the complicated less so.  And, despite the complexities of Aikido I never get stressed, I always leave the mat feeling better and I always want to go back for more.

Apply the principles and practice becomes softer, more fluid, less complicated and as a result you blend better with other Aikidoka.  Keep these in mind when you leave the mat and you will blend more with everything and everyone around you.  That way, even those who are not Aikidoka will also benefit from your practice.

Paul Bassinder

Changing Tides

The more I practise Aikido the more I notice how fluidity of mind and body becomes more important.  While principles remain, their application changes depending on uke’s intent, strength, body shape, etc.  This is well understood while training, however I also notice how application changes as I get more experienced and concepts of principles develop, and/or in some cases merge.

Sometimes I find myself asking, “but that’s how I did it last week!”   That may be so and it may be so again next week — however, Aikido, way of harmony, is about blending and connecting to what is happening at that moment, not how it was or will be.   This is difficult as Aikido cannot be “mechanical” by nature, or if it is, its application is limited.

For me, it is this “changing tide” and rethinking that keeps me coming back to train each week.

Andrew Viccars

Peaceful Solutions

I first came across Aikido when I was about 15, after studying a variety of styles of Karate and kick boxing, and achieving my 1st dan in Karate, I decided I wanted to study something completely different.

Although I enjoyed Karate and kick boxing, I wanted something that was more of a “martial art” than a sport, and something that was, as odd as it sounds, peaceful in nature.  After some looking around, my interest was sparked by Steven Seagal films, and that got me interested in Aikido.

Through some books on Aikido, I found some local clubs and around 1993 I started Aikido at Northampton Aikikai.  Later, when Kettering Aikikai opened a club at Kettering Leisure Village, I started training with Bob Sherrington, and have been training there ever since!

Often I am asked why I still do aikido.  The answer is probably not a simple one!  Generally I believe in peaceful solutions to anything and Aikido illustrates that even when attacked, there are alternatives to punching and kicking, and there is no real need to harm your attacker (a principle that I believe is important in an increasingly violent world).  Also the development of mind, body and spirit is a huge part of Aikido.  This is difficult to explain, but a relaxed body and mind is an important aim.

Aikido also breeds a calmer approach to life in general, helps to see things in different ways and relate to people and situations as required.  The effect of Aikido is as individual as the practice and will vary from person to person — it’s important to try it and see what you think.

Andrew Viccars