" At first, the primary reason I joined Aikido was self-defense. As a young, not very large and definitely not very strong female, I wanted a martial art that could teach me how to defend myself effectively. With its serious focus on self-defense, Aikido has helped me become more physically fit, more aware of my surroundings and much more able to defend myself if need be. However, it has done much more than that.
There are two aspects to Aikido, the physical aspect and the mental or spiritual one. Aikido has not just provided me with the ability to defend myself but given me the frame of mind to do so. It has given me the determination and confidence to protect myself and those I care about. It has made me grow in self-confidence while at the same time I have definitely had to laugh at myself and the many mistakes that I make. Most importantly, it has truly humbled me, making me realize that I'll never master Aikido.
Before, I viewed a martial art as merely a class on self-defense, that once learned, could be discontinued. Now I view Aikido as a life long pursuit that affects every sphere of my life, from my family, to my school, to my church. It's not just a martial art. It really is a way of life and a frame of mind. I can't speak for everyone but from my own experience, I can say that once begun, Aikido is something you can never leave behind. It has truly become one of the most important aspects of my life."