The Value of Aikido Training in an Overly-Technological World
by Ryan Goettsche Sensei
Marketing of technological advances in popular society is growing exponentially; and it has not only driven our society to be dependent on it but has made us love it and look for the next thing we “need.” From iPods and iPhones to Wii entertainment systems and big screen plasma televisions, it’s everywhere. Instant messengers and BlackBerry cell phones have enabled us to be contacted at all times. With all of these technologies, we’ve become a society of “NOW!” Everything has to happen in the immediate moment and if it doesn’t we get frustrated.
Businesses have embraced this as a way of getting more out of their employees and children have expounded upon it to get dirt on their classmate enemies via the Internet at astonishing rates. It seems that there is more of a focus on “What can we do to make more money?” vs. “Should we do it?” in the executives that approve the development of the technology.
In this now society, the values of discipline and values are being lost. There is a huge disconnect from social interaction occurring, which is disturbing. One-on-one contact is no longer required, which is taking away the ability for people to interact on a personable level. This disconnect is resulting in the inability for individuals to socialize with live humans on a personable level which is what life is all about. We are here to experience the interaction of life with everyone around us…to participate with all that we encounter and learn from those experiences.
Aikido allows people to experience the interaction of one another. Aikido is a martial art but it maintains the natural design of human interaction. There will be a time when Aikido is portrayed in a video game and someone becomes very advanced at the game and feels the need to join a dojo and sees the disconnect. You can’t play a game or just read the writings of those who have trained and walk into a dojo and assume you know what it’s all about. There is so much more to training in the art than what could be portrayed through technology. That’s what makes Aikido so invaluable, the ability to come back to the basics of life. Aikido makes every practitioner look in the mirror and let them decide if they want to make themselves a better human or not. If they don’t, they quit and if they do, they listen and learn the principles and apply them to their lives every day.
There is no winning or losing in Aikido, there is no competition to be better than the student next to you in line. There is only bettering yourself from where you were the day before. Technology can’t provide that. Technology is allowing society to have shortcuts to make life simpler and that is just a facade which allows us to become lazy. I went to see the movie “Wall-E” with my children and it had a huge message. The population became…and was encouraged to become lethargic. They consumed the resources of their world and when they had destroyed their world, they followed their leader in a spaceship to continue their existence not knowing what he knew and they waited for something to come along to provide them the ability to consume at the same rate. Technology is providing us instant gratification and fulfillment with no real effort required. The only thing that can truly give us fulfillment is the fact that we do our best and to be the best that we can be. That is, be the best friend we can be. That is, be the best parent we can be or be the best student we can be. That desire is translated in our support of the place we train by being there when we can and training diligently.
We come to Aikido class before it starts to help clean it and purify ourselves. We don’t get off of work ten minutes before class starts and just go home because class will have started before we get there. We strive to support the school and each other and through that we strive to support the social interaction which is what this life is all about. There is no excuse for our “NOW” society and Aikido training proves it. If one really wants to improve themselves, they train, if they don’t, then they quit and subscribe to the powers that allow them to grab that instant gratification.