“Aikido and Life,” by Mike Smith

Pranin Sensei has been gracious enough to invite me into his home in Las Vegas and allow me to practice the Iwama style of aikido with him and his other students. I’ve been practicing aikido with him for over a year now and it’s been a life changing experience. I’ve studied other forms of martial arts in the past, but, aikido has opened up some new ways of looking at not only self defense, but life for me.

I’ve spent the greater part of my life fighting against “what is” instead of accepting and blending with it. It’s an approach that has made my life harder than it needed to be and far less fulfilling. Too much of life is wasted focusing on the minutia of life, deliberating over details that are often superficial, self-created and speculative and hardly ever turn out the way we fear. Our fear of results that we don’t desire, paralyze us not only in the dojo but in our lives. Aikido his given me a different perspective, a perspective that allows me to not only look at the bigger picture, but to act with harmony not opposition.

The techniques I’ve been practicing for the last year have taught me, so far, that fighting with tension and resistance gets you nowhere fast. Oddly enough the same idea seems to apply to my life. I used to greet all of my day to day problems with the maturity of a five year old. Tantrums would ensue, I’d look to others for help, I’d search for sympathy and top everything off with a headache that my approach created. For the last year however, a year that should have been one of my worst, given the problems that have accumulated, problems that a good portion of the country are going through now, I’ve managed to have one of the most “centered” and “balanced” years of my life. I attribute this to the art of aikido. Without it….well, who knows. I look forward to practicing for a long time and appreciate Pranin Sensei’s wisdom, patience and generosity.


  1. bruce baker says:

    And yet .. in Aikido … there are double and triple feints, tension and resistance that is promoted to fool our opponent, and indeed … master practitioners that use a type of magic that defines them as master practitioners.

    Show me .. the martial integrity that leads to the origins of warrior techniques that injure and kill an opponent and I will show you a practitioner that has properly prepared themselves physically and mentally to promote safe practice.

    Respect your teacher and their efforts to give you some knowledge they have gain over years of experiences and years of studies, but don’t fall into the trap of worshipping them, as so many students fall into this trap.

    Each person reveals their true heart and mind over time and distance …. give it some time … give it some time.

    My other thought is don’t become trapped by thinking any one martial practice can teach you everything … aikido is just a piece of the puzzle.

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