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aikido hibiki traditional japanese martial art art of peace way of harmony nonviolence philosophy martial art se portland oregon or foster powell

How often to go to class?

Part of this issue is what the individual student is seeking. Another aspect that is delicate for most is, how much commitment to make from the start e.g., change in weekly routine and adjusting to unexpected daily events, how quickly or cautiously to immerse oneself in an unfamiliar process. Needless to say, getting off on the right foot influences how the whole thing moves forward. 

Value Yourself

In the shorter term, particularly for more beginner students, folks tend to benefit from more support and guidance from the instructor and also from the existing peer group. There's always some adjustment needed when "merging into" any dojo culture. Regarding how frequently one should practice, it's useful to gauge at the beginning explicitly how much commitment you want to put into it e.g., attend 3 times a week for 6 months? prioritize attending despite the life events that will crop up? How much do you expect to retain (remember) if you attend practice X times per week?


Commitment can become clearer as one practices. You may see other students who have been there longer than you, and make up your mind you want to do something just as well as them. And in the case of aikido, some folks experience a sensation that is captivating or fascinating, and commit to knowing more about that experience or even just to feel it again. 

In the long term, each student undergoes their own process. This process is slowed down or lurches forward according to each individual - their inner workings as well as their interaction with their environment. The role of the teacher is to observe and create the space, or the circumstances, for students to undergo their own processes. Creating the space includes nurturing an environment in which everyone supports and respects each other and it becomes possible for people to have the opportunity to feel what they feel, work on what they are drawn to, etc. in the context of what is being presented by the teacher for the class as a whole to work on together. 

Regarding the seeking of results or progress, humans are not machines or robots. We are not only complex beings, more in flux and more interconnected than we usually acknowledge, we are also the cumulative conditioning the we have gone through in life until any given moment, e.g., through our family, society, media, personal values and biases. While it might fit to apply the expectations of some kind of result within X number of sessions or weeks to some activities, a life practice like aikido may confound such a perspective. You may find your ego rejecting, in any of myriad forms, feedback or guidance. You may find that what you do and how you live life 'off the mat' affects your aikido and vice versa. One should be careful to keep in mind progress as a matter of course while being cautious of attachment to any fixed idea that manifestly interferes with progress or enjoyment. 

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