I was in the dojo the other day, sitting in seiza waiting for Sensei to start class. I looked around and on the mat with me were the usual regulars. I know them all. We’ve spent hours and hours training together in the dojo. These are the same people I’ll be sharing a pizza and good conversation with after class. These are my friends.
When I first started in Aikido, I read a great deal about Aikido being filled with very nice people. I’ve experienced this first hand.
Many people come to Aikido for many reasons. Some may come for the fitness. Some may come for the self defense aspects. Whatever reason they may have, one of the by-products of a successful life in Aikido is the friendships that are created.
I was at a recent Aikido Summer Camp. While walking around, I observed the many friendly greetings that were exchanged amongst old friends. I’m really new to Aikido compared to the others but I also recognized people I’ve trained with at other dojo. It was nice seeing them and sharing the experience with them.
This is such an interesting part of Aikido that I sat down to analyze why this happens. These are some of the factors that I’ve found.
- There is always close physical contact with others during regular Aikido training.
- There is a shared commonality between the training partners, Aikido. This allows for easy conversation and is ideal for social interactions.
- There is mutual respect for others. Aikido is naturally structured and stresses respect of others. We train with one another and our intent is to train safely, creating no injuries in the process. We are always reminded to care for our training partner.
- Good people are at the core of Aikido.
If you ask me what about Aikido I value the most, my answer is the friendships I’ve made.
This article is dedicated to all my Aikido friends I’ve had the honor of training with.
“The Art of Peace is based on Four Great Virtues: Bravery, Wisdom, Love, and Friendship, symbolized by Fire, Heaven, Earth, and Water”. Morihei Ueshiba, O’Sensei
By Rey N. Robles (Southern Maryland Aikido Center)