The new business craze now is this thing call ‘BYOD’, as in ‘Bring Your Own Device’. Its like the company no longer gives you a mobile phone, computer to work, but you are expected to bring your own device, your mobile phone and computer, as in Laptop to work.
What has this got to do with Aikido?
Maybe I got off at the wrong footing? The point is in Aikido, you too can ‘BYOD’.
It is the spirit of BYOD I’m advocating. Go ahead, Bring Your Own ‘Device’. And what device are we talking about?
Your loved ones, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, son, husbands, wives. People you stay with, people who love you, care about you, influence you, whom you influence, poeple who mattered to you, your Dad, your Mum, have you brought anyone to your dojo to watch you do Aikido?
When I was in my initial phase of Aikido, I had this weird thinking, that Aikido is a ‘secret’ art that I practise. That if people knows that I practice the ‘deadly’ art of Aikido, they might want to ‘try’ me out. It is like a concealed weapon I have. Nonsense, isn’t it?
I grew up, and got used to having Aikido in my life, and I am open to share this with anyone, because of the good Aikido does for me. Not in an evangelistic manner, but as a manner of fact.
My wife and kids knows (obviously, duh!) that I am an Aikidoka. My kids think it is cool, my wife, ambivalent. But it is something her husband do, so she will support it by default. She has been to my dojo, so has my kids, Harry sensei knows my family, and this inclusion is a very natural thing for me. In fact, it completes me a little bit more as a person.
My wife knows nuts about Aikido, it was never her interest. My 2 boys loved it because it is a ‘macho’ thing to do, and after all, the kids will do as the monkey do, and their Head Monkey, your truly, is an Aikidoka, so naturally they will be inclined to pick it up.
Include your family if you hadn’t. Include people in your life who loves you, look after you. It really doesn’t matter if they are interested in Aikido or even remotely knows anything about martial arts. Bring them to the place you train, they might sit, they might leave, but include them, let them know who your sensei is, and who are the people you are training with, because these outer circles of your life, the fringe activity you do, is also part of you just as these people are a part of you. Slowly, slowly, you will come to realise that there are no fringe activity in your life.
Bring you mum, or bring the person who washes your Gi for you, show them that the Gi they washed is being put to good use in the dojo.
Bring them because they will give you an extra insight to your practice. Because these folks love you, they will act as a ‘external auditor’ and tell you things from their perspectives that you normally won’t see as an Aikidoka. They will share with you their thoughts about Aikido, with you. And you’ll be surprised by the insights they can offer.
I’ll tell you more about what my wife shared with one evening when she witnessed a class I attended.