"I joined the Aikido School of Self Defense because, in observing just one class, I could see that the school was very different than most of the others. The first thing that jumped out at me was the atmosphere of the school. The walls were bare, there were no tournament trophies nor any signed posters of tournament stylists. To me, it had a much more traditional feel to it and the participants in the class reinforced that feeling. What I saw were students who were honestly trying to make themselves and each other better. There wasn't any competition, just cooperation. No over inflated egos, just a willingness to do what it took to make the school better.
The second thing that impressed me was the martial art itself. It had a flexibility that I hadn't seen in others. It combined the best parts of several styles. It had kicks and strikes, joint locks, leverage throws and ground fighting. In short, it had many different tools in its bag. Not only could it handle different types of attacks, it could handle the same attack in different ways.
Finally, what most struck me was the mental discipline required. Joining the school would be easy, just pay the money, sign a waiver and put on a gi. Learning the proper way of doing techniques, on the other hand, would be the work of a lifetime."