It’s a slow process and it takes determination,” is how Reinhard describes aikido, a Japanese martial art. “It’s not aggressive – instead you fight in a defensive way. I get a lot of positive emotions like calmness and joy out of my practice.” So what’s the secret behind aikido? Reinhard reveals all in this interview … Pics: Geli Gold
For me, aikido, which was developed by Morihei Ueshiba, is more than just a Japanese martial art. It’s a lifestyle. In comparison to other martial arts, aikido can be seen as ‘defensive’, since it involves redirecting and using your opponent’s force and momentum to stop him and control his attack.
Aikido, a positive force?
Aikido does have a great influence on my life outside of the dojo (= workout room). It helps me to stay relaxed not only during practice sessions, but in my day-to-day life too. Combining it with conscious breathing, I have learned to overcome stressful situations and remain calm in all kinds of conflicts.
Aikido even allows for personal development. Generally, I’m a very ambitious person – I tend to show up with a lot of motivation and ambition. Aikido teaches us that the important thing is not being better than others; it’s all about mutual progress and community. This makes any competitiveness redundant and, as a result, I now tend to search for my own way instead of comparing myself to others.
All in all, it gives me a positive take on life and lots of positive energy. I even feel happier and more content after a training session.
I was looking for a new form of martial arts, since I already had some experience with kickboxing and taekwondo. I did some research on the internet and my current club “Shumeikan Wien Dojo” was the first one to appear in the search engine. I initially planned to try several new disciplines, but once I started aikido I stuck with it. That was back in September 2006. Since then, I’ve tried to train consistently twice a week. Consistency is the only way to make progress and I look forward to meeting my training partners every week.
Each training session is about two hours long. It starts with breathing and stretching, followed by rolling exercises to prepare the body for the following throws and rolls. In aikido, you often practice with your partner, or occasionally with a small group, but never against each other. Closing with breathing exercises, we thank each other for the communal practice at the end.
Thoughts before, during and after a training session?
Before: I’m really looking forward to my workout.
During: Fun, fun, fun.
After: Content and at ease.
What about the clothing?
We wear a special uniform called a ‘keikogi’ while practicing. It’s basically white trousers, a jacket and a belt, called the ‘obi’. After advancing to a certain level, you’re then allowed to wear the ‘hakama’, black culottes.
So you’re a teacher now?
Yes, but there’s no teacher training in aikido. After practicing for a long time, you’ll get the opportunity to teach a session. You have to prepare and set the exercises for the group. I personally love it, as it’s really fulfilling to pass on my knowledge to other people.
What was your most memorable moment?
I can still remember my first day of practice. I really had no idea what aikido was. Later, I learned that it’s a path you need to work on step by step. You can’t force progress. This caught my interest. Aikido demands a lot of diligence and patience.
If you weren’t into sports, what would you be doing instead?
I’ve never thought about that. But I would definitely play the guitar more and focus on music.
In five key words: What are the best things about your training that you want to share with our readers?
Fun, joy, community, positive energy and relaxation
Your favourite motivational quote?
Always look on the bright side of life ☺.
Reinhard’s Dojo: shumeikan.at
Shumeikan Wien Dojo, Salesianergasse 2, 1030 Wien