Why I said Yes to Aikido

I was recently asked by Weiner Sensei why I said Yes to Aikido.

For complete transparency, at time of writing I am only a few short weeks into my journey and simply learning the foundational skills that will build in the years to come. I met Sensei one weekend afternoon in 2022, we didn’t know one another and had engaged in a general conversation. During our conversation, we ranged from topics from everyday life, sports, bodybuilding, boxing and martial arts. It was here that Sensei enlightened me about Aikido. As our conversation progressed, I was intrigued to say the least. Sensei provided me with his business card that has the Dojo website on it and I remember myself looking at the site as soon as I got home.  Sadly, that is all I had done at the time.

Several months later as I was looking to locate an item in my home office I came across the card again. Again, I went to the website and found myself clicking around and reading all of the biographies of the senior members. The difference, this time, I reached out to inquire more and promptly engaged in conversation. I had plans to attend and watch a class next week.  Unfortunately, due to a family emergency I was not able to attend.  Sensei had reached out to me during this time to see if I was still interested. It was then that I informed Sensei I had some personal matters to attend and that they were causing a bit of a delay, but that there is most certainly an interest.  A couple of weeks later I received an invitation to participate as a spectator at the Dojo New Year celebration which took place on January 7th 2023.  Upon receiving the invitation I signed up immediately so I could attend. I admit, I did not know what to expect when I arrived but I assure anyone reading this, that I went in with an open mind. I spent the morning and part of the afternoon with all the members. I recall in my mind watching all members perform 1,000 sword cuts.  As I watched I asked myself, would that be me a year from now joining them?  My mind said “Yes”. I then was fortunate to see first hand one of the classes, I think back to that day how I was mesmerized to see the techniques up close in real life and thinking how does someone get that good. The next “Yes” moment was when I got to see Natasha-san and Raul-san (I don’t recall if others tested that day too) testing for their next rank. I was drawn in, watching their falls, holds and movements.  After the event, I was invited to stay for the Dojo’s celebratory lunch. It was then that I was able to mingle with everyone, converse about what they enjoy about Aikido and how it has helped them grow as an individual.  The enlightening part of those conversations is that everyone had their own unique reason to join and what they are getting from their experience and journey.  The additional bonus is that everyone was welcoming, respectful and open to share what they enjoy most not only about Aikido but how they are a family.  As the festivities were wrapping up that day and everyone was cleaning up, I continued asking questions (I was helping with the clean up to get as much time as possible) eager to learn more and what an individual can expect. In my mind I was already a “Yes” but the additional conversations were the icing on the cake. 

Prior to leaving, Weiner Sensei and I spoke a few additional minutes where he inquired if I felt I met the criteria to become a member. I most certainly felt that way and asked, where do I sign up?  My first class was January 8th 2023, the very next day.  There are many additional reasons why I said “Yes” to Aikido.  As humans our day to day can become overwhelming. The dojo provides you a mental break to focus on techniques and self improvement. I said “Yes” to the challenge of starting something as a beginner knowing I will have the support of the seniors and the Dojo family to help me succeed in my learning.

I said “Yes” in expecting to work hard at learning Aikido, which is no different than any aspect of life. You get out what you put in.  I said “Yes” with an expectation to grow personally through each challenge that will present itself as I grow in skills. I said “Yes” to failing at times, becoming agitated that I am not understanding things so quickly, I said “Yes” to success knowing each challenge will bring a reward. I said “Yes” to committing to being better tomorrow than I was today.  I said “Yes” to one day being the voice in a new member’s ear that I too was in that same position when I first began like many have said to me.

I said “Yes” to the Gi.
Kraig Corgan
Kraig Corgan
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