Other than the delicious food and beautiful nature, Matsusaka is also a city where you can experience hands-on activities related to Japanese culture, and one of such activities is Aikido. Come challenge yourself to learn some basic self-defense skills and the importance of having a positive mindset! There’s no need to worry even if you don’t understand Japanese, as the instructor is able to communicate in English!
When one thinks about power in martial arts, raw physical strength often comes to mind. However, in Aikido, strength comes from the mind as well, and it has a huge influence on the overall strength of a person. All in all, Aikido is about achieving a state where the mind and body are one; it is not just about the strength of the physical state, but also the mental state. This time, I had the opportunity to take a quick introduction to Aikido from Hashimoto-sensei.
The power of mind
One of the basic lessons that Aikido teaches is how the mind can influence the physical state of a person. The body gets weaker as you age, but the mind doesn’t. The right mindset will give you an edge not just in a fight, but in your daily life as well. During the Aikido experience, Hashimoto-sensei demonstrated on how a positive mind can give one strength.
The right posture
In Aikido, you’d also learn about sitting and standing in the right posture to prevent getting knocked down easily.
Focusing on the ‘Ki’
Emphasized regularly in Aikido, ‘Ki’ is a complicated concept that is hard to grasp, and even harder to master practically. From my understanding, ‘Ki’ is a state of mind when one is fully relaxed and is focused on a single point. It is a state where the mind is immovable, and unified with the body, hence making the person even ‘stronger’, both in mind and body. The ‘Unbendable Arm’ demonstrates the influence that the mind has on the body.
Moves in Aikido
Next, Hashimoto-sensei demonstrated and taught us a few moves. Aikido is a martial art largely for self-defense by redirecting your attacker's ‘Ki’ and turning it against them.
It was an interesting experience where I got to learn the general idea of what Aikido is about. It may be difficult to understand what is going on from the photos alone, and I think that it’s one of those things that makes more sense once you’ve experienced it yourself. Aikido focuses on self-defense and strengthening of the mind, and the skills learned are beneficial in daily life as well. With a focused and positive mind, we can overcome obstacles in work and challenges in life, and become a more confident person.
Lesson fee: 20,000JPY (including rental cost of Aikido attire, “Gi” – 3,000JPY)
Gi purchase (optional): 10,000JPY (with name embroidering)
Venue fee: 3,000JPY
Experience time: 2~3 hours