When I meet people for the first time, they often ask me, What do you do? Sometimes I answer, I teach martial arts. Their responses go something like this: " Oh, you must be very aggressive!
" " Oh, you like to fight!
" " How dangerous you must
" " I’m not into all that kicking and punching and hurting people.
" " Oh Yeah? How many boards can you break?
" " WOW, how many people have you killed?
" " Ever used it on the street?
" " What would you do if someone…..?
" " Oh Yeah
, I am a … I do Karate, Judo, MuTai. etc.
I would like people to know that as an Aikido instructor, I don’t kill people, break boards, kick or punch people, or for that matter hurt them unnecessarily. Yes, martial arts can be dangerous, but so can walking across a busy road. A martial art is not only about hurting, maiming, or killing people. In Aikido we help people improve their lives, physically, mentally and spiritually. that is a big claim, I know but true. Ask anyone of my students about how Aikido has changed their lives and you will be impressed, or if you are cynical will dismiss their answer as too good to be true. I believe that you cannot say the wrong thing to the right person, and you cannot say the right thing to the wrong person. Consequently I tell it like it is and let what ever happens be ok. I am always in the right place at the right time with the right person so I don’t worry if someone rejects what I say. That is their loss.
However, I would like to give people a chance to gain the benefits of Aikido and this is the purpose I am writing this article. I help people improve relationships, get better grades at school, do better in their studies of music, art, and sports. Improve their work environment, get promotions, become better communicators and more!
l would like to give you a new definition of what it means to be strong or weak. Aikido teaches that a strong person is a balanced, coordinated and relaxed person. A weak person is unbalanced, uncoordinated, tense and aggressive. In my introductory lesson, I teach people about balance, to be aware of how they are communicating non-verbally and how to relax in the correct way. I show them bad habits, that people have and how these may be corrected. Most people go " Yeah, yeah that makes sense
!" However as soon as I finish showing them how to improve, they go back to their old habits. Why? Because the old habits are comfortable, the person thinks their habits are who they are, and it has been a part of that person’s life for a while. It takes awareness, time, patience and effort to change.
In Aikido, we don’t fight but are not afraid of a fight. I show a technique, The students then practice the technique. If they can’t do it, I show them the steps slowly and lead them one step at a time. I have them practice image training. When they are able to do the technique alone, I then have them practice with a partner. The focus is on win-win not win-lose. This is very different from life in the so-called “REAL WORLD”.
So what else do I do? I show people how to deal with negative emotions, like fear, anger. How to remove the emotional charge connected to traumatic events that have happened in their past. To help them become confident, happy and successful in their lives.
If someone has pain I can give a massage and stop the pain sometimes in as little as 5 minutes or it may take an hour. In the worse cases, it may take a few hours. But always the results are much better than having unnecessary operations or taking medicine that you don’t know will help or not.
So if you are having problems, want to improve your situation, make a change in your life, then I invite you to come and check me out. If I am not the real genuine deal you can put on your coat walk away and tell the world I could not help you. But on the other hand maybe together we can solve the problem you are dealing with. How great would that be? What do you have to lose? 30 minutes or 60 minutes in your life. Hope this gives you an idea of the real meaning behind martial arts and Aikido and maybe martial arts are not for you, but Aikido is. The only loser in life is the person who does nothing! Until next time I wish you peace, happiness and success.
Martin Acton sensei