As I mentioned in my previous post: Taking up a Martial Art. Aikido I really did some research on what martial art I should pick up before choosing aikido. I had in mind to check several dojos before deciding. I visited in person the Musubi dojo and in the genkan I was advised by a blond lady aikidoka that I was supposed to bring long sleeved T-Shirt and long trousers before I had a kimono.
First of all, you need to learn how to fall. And don’t forget to take slippers with you. We take our shoes off in the genkan.
A few days later, I participated at the first training.We lined up and greeted all at once before the beginning of the training: Onegaishimasu. This was not something I knew from previous Karate trainings, but I found it really helpful in tuning in to that special atmosphere of the dojo. Then the breathing and stretching exercises followed. I knew most of them, except the special wrist warm ups that are probably specific to martial arts like aikido, where your wrists are really put under pressure because of the several locks and grabs. At a certain point the Sempai requested us to fall. Then the ukemi waza started. I did not know of course that it was called like that. Those who were already familiar with it started, and the rest of us who were beginners were just trying to imitate. There were some slight quick explanations but I did not understand a thing. We were just expected to watch, try and imitate somehow.Then we did some techniques where I was told to grab the wrist as I would grab a stick and the training quickly ended. In the end we thanked everybody: Domo arigatou gozaimashita and went home. I could hardly move. My body was totally aching and I had a huge bloodshot mark on my left arm that I myself made by pushing my knee on my arm when I was trying to roll. Later on I would learn that I had to pay extra attention to anything I did with my left side because I was much clumsier. Whatever I learned on the right had to be learned with double effort on the left. Might it be because, as I later read in The Secret Teachings of Aikido, that is the male part of each person? Could be…
All in all after that first training it just clicked and I became an aikido junkie. I am not saying I did not have second thoughts whether it was good for me or not. I did read blogs saying that after aikido trainings you get huge pain and that pain killers are called aiki candy among aikidokas. Despite of that, watching YouTube videos about techniques, reading and training made me really attracted to this martial art. Even though it would later come to my moving to another city and interrupting the practice for several month, I did not give it up and continued at another dojo.