Training Goals

George Ledyard, Cheif Instructor at Aikido Eastside, an Aikikai dojo, wrote this interesting article about training goals and deciding where one fits Aikido into one’s daily life.

I’m not sure how I feel about this article. One the one hand, I agree. You need to define your goals in your training, to determine where you want to go and how you want Aikido to fit into your life. Also, as Sensei Ledyard states, you need to be honest about how Aikido fits into your life, and not delude yourself into thinking your training one way when, in fact, you’re training another way. I have seen students that train diligently, yet refuse to acknowledge how important Aikido is to them, and I have seen students who train infrequently, yet claim to be passionate about the art. Both are ultimately unsuccessful mentalities. So in this aspect, I agree with the article.

What I have issue with is that the article gives me the impression that you must choose, and choose now, how Aikido is going to fit into your life. That you should choose a goal and strive towards it. I don’t know about that. Our lives shift day to day, month to month, year to year. When I began training, I could dedicate nearly every evening to my studies. Now, I dedicate three nights a week. (Granted Aikido is rarely far from my thoughts.) Other people may find that they couldn’t train very hard or very often, and then suddenly switch jobs, or have a new opportunity to dedicate themselves to their training.

In my opinion, I would agree that ensuring that your perception of your training matches your actions. For example, I don’t strive to be a “master.” It takes a level of dedication and training that I can’t do without sacrificing too much of my family life. But I can strive to be a strong dojo leader, and a strong member of the overall Kokikai community. The day I realized that I wasn’t going to be a “martial artist” was the day that I finally saw my training for what it was, and made peace with it. I would also say that you can’t identify your perception now, and then never re-examine it. At least every 6 months or so, you should look at your training and your training goals, and make sure they’re in harmony.

This article had some very interesting ideas. Take a look; I’d like to know what you think as well.

4 thoughts on “Training Goals

  1. This is an interesting article that evokes new thoughts when one thinks about the path one is taking. I’m not sure it is necessary to pick a path but it seems helpful to understand that one is on a path and the level of training and devotion should be considered in light of what one might want in the future.

    To date, attending class when I can and learning from my instructor (and peers) at the dojo has been good enough for me. Even if I had wanted more training, what I get from our dojo has been sufficient; especially with the seminars that we have been able to attend. It is interesting to ponder that training beyond our dojo would be required to improve beyond a point. As I transition from 3rd Kyu to 2nd Kyu this need will probably become more apparent, and even more so at higher ranks. I also suspect that working with persons from beyond our dojo would also allow us verify that we are correct in our training and that it is “good” Aikido.

  2. I too found the article to be very interesting.

    It made me examine myself and how I deal with the issues that occur when your perceptions are challenged (not just in Aikido, but in life in general).
    I am of the opinion that we don’t always need to choose our path consciously, but we do need to recognize the path we have put ourselves on through the choices we make (how often can we train, how vigorously do we train when we can and so on).

    As I am just beginning my path in Aikido, my goal is currently somewhat vague (to enjoy class at least twice a week and to continue to improve my technique) and I have not yet defined my path (although I have a general idea of where it is for now).

    I have set some long term goals for myself which I feel are realistic and am attempting to keep them in mind as I continue my training, which should lead me to discover what the path is that I am trying to end up on.

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