Before bowing in our kids class my assistant instructor, Mary, usually spends a few moments in a light hearted and animated conversation with the kids about some aspect of Aikido in daily life. The topics have explored the similarities of a growing plant and Aikido, how an Aikidoist handles a problem, what is ki, what is extension, what does it mean to be a good partner, and what is etiquette. These five minute dialogues always get a laugh from students and parents alike, and me too for that matter.
This past June the tables were turned. We asked each of our higher ranked kids (orange belt with two stripes and above) to get up in front of class and tell us something about Aikido. The range of topics included, Aikido is fun, Aikido helps me when I take tests at school, Aikido is self-defense, and more.
I would like to share with you one presentation I found particularly profound, this from a 13 year old.
“Aikido is not about strength or looking good it’s about strengthening your ki and having the will to do what others will not.”
The next time somebody asks me, “What is Aikido?”, I just may borrow the words of a wise 13 year old I have the pleasure of training with.