What is Aikido and What Does Training Mean to Us?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Part 1 - Progress

When it comes to progress, I think we may have to ask how progress relates to Aikido. In a sense consciousness to achieve or to progress is the essence of sports. In the world of sports, one is considered to have achieved his or her goal when that person becomes a champion.

However, Aikido exists outside such a frame of progress. There is no clear attainment point in Aikido no matter how many years one practices. In other martial arts, the results of practice are clear by the number of people one threw in a lesson. Aikido has no such clear results. One must meet the demands of self-learning. It can be hard to continue Aikido unless one has a desire to constantly learn.

The teaching method, too, is an important subject. In the case of sports, there are matches, so there is a clear result. Since one’s progress is apparent, the teaching method has always been studied and evaluated. Meanwhile, in Aikido, the basic teaching method whereby students [observe and copy] the throws and techniques shown by their teacher and then repeat them has not changed from old days too much.

It is important that the teacher tries to make the training meaningful for the students, and it should be done with an intention to help the students develop their ability. No development or the progress will be made only by showing one's strength and preeminence. Progress also depends on how the students would like to practice. One might simply enjoy training as recreation. For those people who would like to train seriously, it will be more interesting and helpful for the development of their abilities if they have the right kind of teaching and opportunities.

In Belgium, I teach classes called “inner school” in response to the solicitation of students’ desire to learn further. I initially limited the classes to only forty students with black belts. I call it a school program, rather than a seminar. It takes place in a training camp form. There also was a request in the Netherlands, so I started the school over there, too.

Even though there are only few of these schools, there are people who wish to attend programs like this with great interest. I believe that more places and more opportunities should be given to such people.


By Seiichi Sugano Shihan, 8th Dan


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