Q&A with Billy, San-dan Kokikai Aikido
How long have you been doing Aikido?
Approximately 15 years.
What got you into Aikido?
A friend. I have always been into martial arts but I had no opportunity to learn it. I was therefore very keen to look for one when I started Uni. A friend had been doing Aikido previously in Indonesia (not Kokikai), I ended up in the same intake as them. They asked me to check out UNSW Aikido. The rest is history.
Aikido elevator pitch: in a couple of sentences, how do you explain Aikido to someone with no idea?
Feeling is believing, it is hard to explain in words. How about if you join our first free class instead? Oh… Sometimes, we play with wooden swords and sticks too.
Does Aikido have any benefits for your life outside of the dojo? What are they?
Yes. The breathing exercises and my take on Kokikai unofficial philosophy i.e. to cheat/positioning oneself in advantageous positions all the time, certainly assist me in keeping calm and dealing with life problems.
Have you trained in any other martial arts? How has that impacted your Aikido training?
Yes. Aikido was the first martial art I studied. It taught me the use of proper body mechanics. My other trainings are enhancing this understanding further and they have generally improved my Aikido.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in Martial Arts?
Train hard, stay safe and don’t get injured. It takes patience to a learn martial art such as Aikido. Saying that, martial arts by their nature – regardless whether it’s marketed as soft or ki style - shall make you stronger one way or another. If you are not getting any stronger/fitter in your training, you may need to reassess it.