Written by Jesse Brown
In 2011, there is a wide range of fitness options available to us: boot camps, spinning classes, yoga, Pilates, personal training sessions. All of them are beneficial, but Aikido offers some things that the others don’t.
First of all, Aikido offers a great workout: the cardio of the treadmill, the flexibility of yoga, full body co-ordination of Olympic weightlifting… it’s all there. In our modern world, our senses are assaulted constantly by television, internet, billboards, mp3 players and various combinations in all manner of portable handheld devices. Even the treadmills at the fitness club have a built-in television. We are plugged in and online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Aikido offers a rare opportunity to unplug from all of that, and experience something from a different time and place. No phones, no music; just the swish of feet, the slap of break falls and bodies rolling across the mats. It’s a great one hour vacation in the middle of the city.
Aikido: A fitness option that never gets boring
Another advantage of Aikido over other fitness options is the feeling of accomplishment one gets from practicing this seemingly simple martial art. Traditional exercises like the bicep curl or the bench press can be technically mastered in the first session, after which you can only add weights or repetitions to challenge yourself. Aikido on the other hand, offers constant challenges on many different levels. Getting the hang of the basic footwork and rolling can take several weeks. Even after years of practice, Aikido continues to offer inspirational lessons and frustrating obstacles that one cannot find on the elliptical or under the dumbbells.
Be part of a connected community
The last thing Aikido offers is community. In comparison to most sports and even other martial arts, Aikido has no competitive elements. Instead, it is based on co-operative, harmonious resolution to conflict by connecting with opposition. This spirit influences the rest of the club, with all of the members working together to improve themselves and each other. This creates a very special environment to train in. When you miss a class, people notice and express concern when you return. You feel like you are part of the club. It’s not just the place you go to work out.
Aikido is a different way to way get a great workout in a unique environment.
About Jesse Brown
Jesse Brown is currently a strength coach and personal fitness trainer in Toronto. Jesse started practicing Aikido during his university studies in Montreal. Upon completing his degree, Jesse moved to Japan to teach English and to continue his Aikido practice where he became a devoted student of Shimamoto Katsuyuki Shihan. While in Japan, he also began practicing Iaido and Kung Fu to further his understanding of Budo and enhance his Aikido. Jesse returned to Canada in 2009, and recently completed his diploma in Strength Conditioning as a way to bridge the gap between traditional martial arts and modern sport science.