Why practise Aikido?

We asked our dojo members to write about why they practise Aikido. Here’s what they said.

Aikido is based on traditional martial arts, so if you are interested in these activities, you will like it. Unlike those arts, though, you won’t be injured. It is quite different from other martial arts but at the same time has deep, common roots.
As a physical activity, it can help you get in shape. You can practice at any age, and your progress has no bounds.
The North York Aikido Club has good and attentive teachers, a friendly atmosphere and is conveniently located.

– Andrei Semenikhine

Learning Aikido is a rewarding experience at both physical and mental levels. The exercise of self-defense helps me to get in good shape and keeps the body alert, while at the same time the practice allows me to go from work to something completely different with almost the flip of a switch. After a regular day of activities and rushing from one thing to another, an hour or two of practice feels like starting the day over again. With the added benefit of self defense, the hours of practice present an excellent return on investment.

Moises Rincon

I always wanted to try Aikido and finally decided to do something about it and joined the North York Aikido dojo. And today, seven months later, I’m extremely happy about my decision. Initially, I was very nervous, since I didn’t have any experience in martial arts. However, under the guidance of Sensei and other senior members I have been able to overcome my fears and now I enjoy every practice. One thing that I like about Aikido Hokuryukai is the atmosphere. Everyone is very friendly and eager to help others.

Vadim Katcherovski

As a martial art, the core theme of Aikido is effective defense, not offense. As the student progresses higher, the focus shifts from defense to coordination or harmonization of our inner energy (ki). I like my child to learn Aikido because it provides an excellent blend of self-defense and inner growth.
Hitesh Dani

When I started practicing Aikido, I was looking for an interesting alternative to the boring gym routine and for an appropriate way for a female to learn some self-defense skills. I think I’m getting much more than that. In addition to being a great, well-balanced physical activity, Aikido teaches me to be more self-confident, flexible, calm and relaxed. It is a good way to learn how to stay focused and present in any situation.
Even if I never have to use the self-defense skills I’m getting here physically, Aikido tactics are a great way to resolve any non-physical conflicts in our lives. Besides, it’s always fun and it puts me in good mood – no matter what it was before I entered the dojo!

Natalia Vorsyna

I like Aikido because it gives me self-reliance and helps me to stay calm in different situations. I like the North York Aikido Club because of the good teachers and friendly classmates.

Eduard Pelikh

I like Aikido for so many reasons. Like most other people who start learning martial arts, I started Aikido because I thought it was the best martial art available. It uses the opponent’s energy and redirects it to apprehend or throw.
After doing Aikido for a few years, I now understand true Budo. Now, I practise Aikido to avoid fights. But people might say that no one walks around and picks fights every day. So why learn Aikido? Through Aikido, we learn to avoid confrontation. In real life, I learned that when someone starts an argument, I can avoid argument and confrontation and still win, because I’m at peace.
There is a saying in Aikido: before trying to control the opponent, learn to control yourself.

Young Kim

When I started practicing Aikido, I thought I’d be able to learn what I wanted to in five years or so. But Aikido “grew” at the same rate I did… Every time I reached a new level in my practice, I glimpsed higher levels that I had not been able to see before… It never ends.
And it changes you, physically and mentally. The more you practice, the more your mental serenity, flexibility, toughness and stamina increase, improving the way you handle the confrontational situations and difficult people in your life.

Jim Barnes

I started learning Aikido in 1970 and have continued as possible. My work-related travels gave me opportunity to practice Aikido in many places, including New York, California, Hawaii, Washington and recently, Siberia! In every dojo, I was always welcomed as a guest. It is always interesting to understand and learn each teacher’s particular version of practice. There is always something new to learn.

Edward Edelstein

I have a background in adult education and have practised for several years at Aikido Hokuryukai. I am proud to state that Jim-Sensei and the rest of the instructors at the dojo not only provide excellent instruction but do so in a safe, supportive and non-intimidating environment. Personally, practicing Aikido has increased my self-confidence and helped me learn to relax. I feel great after each class!

Aubrie Appel

I like Aikido because I can use it for everything. I am practicing Aikido in my mind when I am driving long distances, and it helps me drive smoother; I am practicing Aikido in my mind when I am putting my kids to sleep, and they calm down much faster; and – of course – I can also use Aikido for self-defense.
I like the North York Aikido Club because I met my wife – the mother of my two sons – there!
I want my kids to practice Aikido because it is a perfect way toward self-improvement and self-development.

Igor Sitartchouk

I like Aikido because it is a martial art that forces you to understand your opponents, rather than simply trying to dominate them. The instructors are passionate about Aikido and are eager to help students progress. Aikido has also helped me deal with my allergies! Most of the time, I feel much better after practice.

Dave Rossetti

I’ve never been big on sports, so I’ve always felt a little bit clumsy. Since I started practicing Aikido, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin.
I spend my days sitting at a computer screen, usually with my mind going a mile a minute. And I enjoy that. But Aikido is a nice change of pace – it’s still important to pay attention and think, and there’s a huge amount of stuff to learn, but often the best way to learn it is to quiet my mind’s constant chatter and instead just let my body move. (And it’s humbling to realize how difficult that is!)
It’s fascinating how many of our natural instincts are counterproductive – we tense up when we should relax, we rely on our relatively weak arm muscles instead of using the stronger muscles in our legs. I feel like I’m finally reading the owner’s manual for my body.
I like that each of the instructors has a slightly different perspective on Aikido. Some have a western perspective that I find easier to understand; some have strange foreign perspectives that stretch my brain in interesting ways.
The people are friendly, and the very nature of Aikido seems to foster a cooperative atmosphere. I’ve never felt like I was competing against my fellow students. (On the contrary, it seems like politely taking turns attempting to punch one another is a wonderful way to build a friendship!)
It’s interesting and rewarding to practice with people of different skill levels. One minute I’ll be learning from someone many years my senior – but a minute later I’ll be practicing with a beginner, and I’ll know that I need to set the best example I can for him or her. Sometimes, after practicing with a peer, I’ll start to feel like maybe I’m sorta, kinda starting to understand a technique – and then I’ll practice it with a more experienced student who can block me effortlessly.

Adam Spitz