My senior year of college, I moved to Japan in order to pursue my passion and learn Aikido from the masters themselves at the Aikikai World Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I trained everyday and pushed my level of Aikido higher than I ever dreamed of. It’s not easy to improve in Aikido, it’s actually not easy to improve your skill in anything you do. We’re just lazy by nature and leaving our comfort zone is never an easy task. Just think about it. If you want to run faster, you have to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, this means, you run so fast you feel like you’re about to pass out, then you’ll get faster.
I do pull ups very often. Pull ups aren’t easy. You’re lifting your entire body weight, and I weigh about 175lbs, that means I’m lifting 175lbs. So, I do 10 pull ups easily, but to get to 15 is a stretch. That last pull up I’m struggling, my body’s shaking and I feel like I can’t make it. I hate that feeling, it’s so uncomfortable! But guess what, after a few sessions like that, I can do 13 pull ups pretty easily, then 14, then 15, then at 16 my body starts shaking.
Guess what, It’s just got easier to do 15 pull ups. I’ve improved, I’m getting better!
Well, Aikido is no different. To improve, you have to push. It doesn’t feel good. It gets you outside of your comfort zone, but in the end you do improve.
If you haven’t seen my vlog or read my blog, “Book Review: Talent is Overrated, What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else,” check it out and it will explain in more detail the mindset and the attitude to get better.
What do you think we should do to improve our level of Aikido, please comment below and add your thoughts and ideas. You never know, I might just incorporate them into my class!
OK, the three things, you can easily do that will improve your Aikido immediately:
#1. Reading. Read every book you can find on Aikido, Martial Arts, Zen, Buddhism, Meditation and make sure you’re reading books from different authors and different perspectives. You don’t want to become a groupie, you want to become better at Aikido! Reading expands your knowledge. Aikido is a belief system, it’s a philosophy, so by developing your knowledge and your mind, you improve your belief system about Aikido. You know, they say, knowledge is power! The more you know about Aikido, the martial arts, zen, meditation, the stronger you become, the better your Aikido gets!
The #2 thing you can do to improve your Aikido is Kushin! What is Kushin….Kushin are squats. Squats make your quads stronger. The stronger your legs are the more powerful your techniques will become. Some people like to compare Aikido to dancing …I like to compare it to ballet. Have you seen the quads on ballet dancers! Have you seen how fast, graceful and powerful their movements are! Aikido is about movement, movement comes from the hips and legs, not the upper body! Practice Kushin everyday!
The #3 thing you can do to improve your Aikido, is show up for class! You get better by practicing, watch my video, “Book Review: Talent is Overrated, What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else” They say 80% of the battle is just showing up. Come to class, even if you don’t feel like it. I understand that to get better, you push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and that’s not easy, it’s also the main reason you’ll find an excuse not to show up for class, but showing up is all you need to do, and let the rest happen naturally. When I was in Japan, my walk to honbu dojo was always nerve racking, because every class took me way out of my comfort zone. Luckily, I was in Japan to do Aikido, and even though I would try to come up with an excuse to skip class, I rarely did. It just became a habit, I was young and naive about being sore and uncomfortable.
Maybe you don’t want to become a master, or a professional Aikidoist, or maybe you do, either way, improving your skill is important. Henry David Thoreau a famous American philosopher from the 1800’s, said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Think about that for a second. You work hard and save up to buy a car. Wow great you should celebrate, not because you bought the car, but because you worked hard to achieve your goal. You became disciplined and hard working. Getting better at Aikido isn’t really about being able to perform the techniques better, it’s really about improving and working on who you are. It’s funny, but I’ve been told this and read about it in several books, but didn’t truly understand it until recently. Aikido has impacted my life, not because I can do the techniques extremely well, but because of who I’ve become in order to master these techniques!
If you want to become better at Aikido, and improve who you are in the process, why not stop by and try a class. Visit my website for more information.
Hello, I’m Erik Calderon and I’ve been doing martial arts ever since my dad stuck me in some classes when I was 5 years old. At 20, I moved to Japan for the sole purpose of studying Aikido. I trained on average 3 to 5 hours per day. I chose Aikido because I like it’s philosophy and I saw it as something I could do for the rest of my life.
What you get by achieving your goals isn’t as important as what you become by achieving your goals– Henry David Thoreau