Aikido symbolises the way of adapting the spirit. I joined Aikido Yoshinkan at the Sunshine Coast Dojo in 2015 because I was intrigued by watching my brother train. Not only because it looked fun to flip people around by a 12-year-old but because I was curious of the art behind this martial art. I knew I wasn’t going to become the Karate Kid because that’s not what Aikido is about. At the Sunshine Coast Dojo we have become a close community and I have made new friends, this shows how the spirit doesn’t just have to be when we’re training as students but that it’s all around us as human beings.
Dread, Trials and Cake
How would you describe your relationship with The Annual Demonstration? For me this has been forever changing throughout the years. For my first couple of years doing Aikido I had extremely feared the demonstration, and the only thought I had was to survive. Survive and move on; that’s what I wanted. Then the next year it changed to being approved. It was that time of year that I had to show why I was worthy of my rank and a place in the dojo. A trial more so than a celebration. But now demonstrations mean so much more to me.
The short time frame to reach such high standards is no longer a dread but a blessing. It forces me to get to a place I otherwise wouldn’t strive for, and to sum up everything I’ve learnt and work for during the past year. A chance for others and myself to see the rewards of training class after class.
But after doing a few demonstrations I have acquired a confidence I’m so grateful for, because this has allowed me to try and tackle more each year and seek to do something new each demonstration. Whether it’s incorporating new weapons, being uke more often than previously or even throwing my sister around with music blearing in the background, all are thrilling new experiences only possible through the Annual Demonstration.
Even though demonstrations give so much to me personally, they give something even greater to the dojo. They have the ability to unite everyone by giving us one parallel goal; to establish the growth of the dojo. This brings the students of Aikido even closer than before, as it forces us to rely on one another, give to one another and push one another. Whether this means trusting your Shite, giving yourself as uke or practising with each other to ensure perfection.
So how would I describe my relationship with The Annual Demonstration? To me The Annual Demonstrations is like baking a cake. Sure, you may dread the preparation and cooking, and stress when you forget an ingredient; but in the end it always tastes great and leaves you hungry for more.
The Spirit Award to me is a big deal. While we train hard to have great technique and flow with our Shite/Uke, I believe this is not possible without Spirit. Spirit encompasses everything we train for!
From the time we step on the mats till the time we leave the mats, till the time we come back to the mats to learn more about this art. Spirit is as much about showing great technique on the mats with respect to your Uke or Shite as it is about respecting and honouring all in our lives, and who have helped us get to where we are, whatever stage in life we’re at individually. Without Spirit there simply would be no technique. Train hard with plenty of Spirit!!
November last year was the first time I stepped into the dojo. I had no idea what to expect nor what I would gain from this experience. I have now learned that the culture that exists here is a supportive, friendly and respected one. I must admit the chanting warm-up frightened me at first, though as time passed it became routine. In late June in a group of students I took part in the Dojo’s fourth annual demonstration. There were a number of well-prepared groups and solo demonstrations. Watching the final product of a month of dedicated training become a success was a very proud moment for Sensei and the Dojo. One of the events I participated in was Kyogi Embu. There were several pairs and two awards for this event. The award for best technique and for the best spirit were awarded, Darren and I won the best spirit award this year. Although there were mistakes in our demonstration we were able to save the technique without the audience knowing, or at least that’s what I believe. Personally, I did not believe we were in the running for an award as it was my first demonstration, so I was very happy and surprised when our names were called. Overall it was a great experience!