Thursday, 27 September 2007

The first training

It is generally understood that first things are always memorable. You remember your first day at school, your first kiss and most certainly your first aikido training! There are, obviously, exceptions but if you loved it (or it was a complete shock :)), you will probably remember. This post is about my first training experience. If you too have your story please share it in the comments.

It was back in 1999 in my 2nd year at the (then) University of Veszprem. Each semester, we needed to collect 20 signatures from some sort of sport activities, and I was really bored with the excuse-sports the year before (airgun practice), so wanted to do something 'extreme' along with some friends. At that time a martial art seemed extreme enough, so I picked one at random. Alright, this is not true :). It wasn't random. I already heard about karate and kungfu but nothing about aikido, so it was an obvious choice :).

Having no martial art experience, the first training was...very funny. You had to sit down in the beginning in a line with others, and had to be in total silence for at least a minute. Then there were these jumps and breathing exercises, still in silence.
If you are in an unusual situation you often give a strange smile or play around with your fingers, ears, pen, etc., and since my body movements were controlled, smile remained :) Actually, I was really about to burst into laughing, and so were the other newcomers (roughly 15 of us). There was one time when I even needed to pretend coughing to hide a sudden laugh. I felt exposed in front of all those people and I was so lame. At the end though, I was tired and didn't feel like this anymore*. During that week of my first trainings, I already decided that aikido would be a long-term "exercise" for me.
By the way, the training was about tenchinage (as I learned its name later on).

Please share your experience with me (and other readers) even if you martial art is not aikido. That would make the story-set really interesting.

*this is not true either :D. There are still days when it's hard to control myself in the beginning of the meditation before class. The difference is that now it's now because I'm in an unusual situation but because I want to train so much and my body would jump and do those tenchinage (and many more) techniques. Be warned: the squeaking sound of a swinging punch bag can be very dangerous :D!


Armand said...

Hi ^_^
First of all; I know what you mean when that punching bag is squeaking while everyone is quiet XD.
I started Aikido February 2006 (I think, im very bad at remembering things) knowing very little about the martial art save for the limited information on Wikipedia ^_^. My very first lesson was just watching and after the silence at the beginning, i eventually got mesmerized by the beautiful circular motions and the hakamas floating around the place. There were only 3 other people that time including Zolley (who did not have a hakama then =D) and me, sitting on the big punching bag a safe distance away.
I was very happy to see that Aikido was non-violent and the moves seemed completely harmonious, although the arm twisting looked really painful o_O. (hehe now sometimes im still scared to do a 'stab' with the wooden knives and someone will shout "KILL ME!!")
The following week I was allowed to take part \(^_^)/. There were a few more people and i was worried my presence might slow everyone down but my sensei was very patient when teaching me how to roll (I took long to learn and i still cant do ushiro ukemi very well >_<).
At first i was really frightened because the moves seemed so fast when demonstrated and I could never memorize where my feet, arms and waist were supposed to be before sensei said "hajime" and i was like -> (@_@?).
But everyone was very good at helping eachother and beginners like me were able to learn quickly (im doing 4th kyu on january i think...i used to do karate and after 2 years i was still white belt ¬_¬) However I need to improve at showing other beginners (i have confidence issues) and aikido has really helped me do that and build my confidence.

Im hoping to do Aikido for much longer!

Zolley said...

I've found a link to other people's first experiences at I think the posts are quite interesting.