Lunch Discussions

Comparing Seminar Notes – Ania Small

Aikido in the Time of the Pandemic and Beyond – Cyd Curtis Bates

participants – majority had been training> 10 years but almost all had experienced a time where for personal reasons they had not been training in a martial art and then returned.  Even the person in our group that had been training less than a year had been in an art before and away from training several years,  So in general there wasn’t an anxiety about what to do or if the art would survive it was more focused on how to be during this time. 

Questions we discussed: What principal or quality have you noticed in your training since the pandemic began?
patience was one of the biggest themes in the responses.  In addition probably some discussion on other methods more internal like meditation

What about outside of the dojo? The person newest to aikido <1 year  told us about being attacked in the ER and just getting out of their way! 
but also patience and importance of community connection and empathy.

What was your biggest surprise?
Willingness of people (students and instructors) to try different things to stay engaged. Instructors talked about the whole new set of skills to add if teaching in 2 dimensions. Common theme the importance of community and the desire to support each other in tough times

What does “beyond” ( Aikido in Time of Pandemic and Beyond) mean to you?
Predominant feeling was optimism and doing our best now so that we can launch each other into the next phase of training in the best way possible.

Aikido as a spiritual practice – Tim Magill

The future of Aikido – Meredith Abel

In the lunch session on the future of Aikido, the following questions were discussed:
1) How do you fit into the future of Aikido?
2) How will the future of Aikido be different from its past?
3) How do we create the “forging experiences” that are necessary to develop the next generation of Aikidoka?
4) What intentional steps might we take individually and as a group to ensure a bright future for Aikido?

  • Some ideas that were brought up were:
  • We need to create new content that isn’t how-to videos, instead we need to share infographics and posts that demonstrate diversity in Aikido and what it has to offer.
  • We need to highlight and promote women, people of color, gender nonconforming, & trans people whenever we can—not as separate efforts, but a unified effort across dojos. One participant noted that ASU should walk the walk by having younger people, women, and unconventional people teaching instead of old white men (and a few old white women).—Maybe  hybrid where younger/up and coming teachers lead half of the classes, and experienced, higher-ranked teachers lead the other half.
  • Some dojos are creating purpose-built programs for immigrants and/or Boys & Girls club settings.  They might not operate like a traditional dojo but the message of Aikido can be brought to these audiences and have a big impact.  Others have started a program at a local high school.  These approaches involve thinking broadly.
  • Have young people/intermediate level students lead warm ups.  Trust them and have confidence in them to lead.  Be willing to hand over the reins of teaching earlier.
  • Market to people who are actively seeking self-improvement, who want a better choice for their pursuits/purchases.  More people (especially younger) are eager to vote with their dollar, choosing companies that are “fair trade” or aren’t tested on animals.  Aikido could piggyback off of that trend.
  • Camp could include a session on teaching—not just pedagogy but also how to build people up.
  • There is currently a working group that is focusing on teaching methodology, led by Wendy Sensei.
  • Camp could have online aspects every year that increase participation and includes people who can’t travel to Florida.  They can be included in social events, too.

Diversity and inclusion in Aikido – Daniel Correa