I know several Aikido people will/would laugh at this post, laugh at me and think I am stupid probably.. or whatever, but it is not that I really care what people think of me, otherwise I would not have a blog ;-)
Among the majority of my Aikido close friends I cannot identify many that enjoy also team sports, either watching or practicing. In particular basketball, football (soccer!), rugby or, more on the side, volleyball (since I know a very good friend, Jacqueline Aikimama was a top volleyball player, but it is not really a team sport of contact, except the occasional smash on the face!).
I do not want to generalize to the whole Aikido world of course, but from my personal experience among the people I have met, usually Aikido people do not like team sports for one (or both) of the following reasons:
- They do not like/understand the spirit of competition, they often classify it as the “evil feeling” that you do not want to have when you practice Aikido, therefore wrong in any other appearance.
- They have always been, as children at school, awkward when doing team sports. Never been able to kick a ball straight or shoot at the basket, and since anyway there were several other classmates enjoying that much more, they ended up on the side of the field (or bench) watching other people doing something they never really understood where the enjoyment was.
Just thinking among the closest group of my Aikido friends, active Aikido friends I mean, I can find a few that are extremely good at solitary sports (skiing, snow boarding, skating, skate boarding, tennis, etc.) but.. nobody (except the above mentioned Jacq and my good friend Peter in HK, a very good basketball player with whom I had fun, if only once) with a past in team sports (beside when they were obliged at school).
I started playing basketball when I was 8 years old (1981) and I continuously played in teams until I started Aikido, in 1995, and overlapping that for 1-2 years (the terrible AVHI basket team in Trondheim!). After I quit basketball for a few reasons (the level was so low that I started getting worried to destroy my knees, ankles, joints) I did experienced a few times dreaming about playing again! No, not wet dreams.. but almost!
Even if I never played officially in a team, I also played a lot of volleyball during the years, and more than occasionally football, as goalkeeper: maybe because I always enjoyed falling and throwing myself on the ground I became so dedicated in learning a good ukemi… :-)
Thanks to this team sport past I have met several people that have then become close and best friends.
Also I do not regret or try to forget the competitive feelings and spirit typical in basketball competitions: the maturity is keeping those feelings in the appropriate field. I admit in my youth I failed in doing so, from time to time. But I have never had problems in Aikido: I have never risked to mix the spirit for competition with my martial art practice. Maturity? Common sense? Cannot really say, but for sure, for me, Aikido and team sports can live together!
Furthermore, for how much I enjoy to watch Aikido videos, I like much more to watch live sports on TV! Since my youth, I have always enjoyed almost any sport on television (except golf, sorry..). But then the commercial TV started buying rights for sports event and less and less team sports were available on the free TV channels. So for a long time no live events, or streaming on laptops with not always stable connections.
Now it’s world cup time, and I am really enjoying watching football again (even if Italy was rightly humiliated and sent home). I do not find it boring, and since I am also living in a city where there is no dojo or teacher close to the Aikido I love the most to practice, I have had not many mental troubles to skip practice in order to watch football. This will be met by harsh words, comments and laughs by the Aikido friends!
Of course I would have never planned a trip to Japan or Stockholm during a major sport event like this one, but I have not avoided seminars because of football, if some of you are wondering. Endo sensei, still among my 2-3 favorite teachers, will be in Slovakia this week but I could not go there because of lack of holidays.. not because of football on TV!!
Do not worry, I am still one of the first and biggest Aikido freaks! It is just I live again in a non-perfect (for me) Aikido place.. but among the people with a regular job and not the typical Scandinavian flexi-time freedom I am still one of the most trip active!!
No regrets as well ;-)
One more week of football then I can focus on… something else! Hopefully in enjoying the summer ;-)
..and then Stavanger trip for Marc Bachraty sensei!!!