Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Aikido

I promised myself and my Buddhist teacher that I would do something physically focused over the next year. I need to get myself out from behind a computer and off of a cushion in order to get my body moving. Part of this will be fulfilled by joining the cheap gym across the street from work but I’m looking at martial arts again as well.

When I was a teenager in high school, I was a member of Seattle Aikikai, an Aikido school near Gasworks Park in Seattle (now it is the Holistic Center on Aurora). Later, I spent a couple of years studying Budokukan, a modern Japanese art. I quit that when my wife became pregnant and I became too out of shape from sitting around my first tech job. That was nearly eleven years ago.

Tonight, R and I visited Aiki Arts, which meets at the YMCA in downtown Berkeley. I had purchased a gi last week and attended the first half of the class while R observed (never having taken any martial arts herself). I’m of two minds about it. The instructor, Nick Walker, clearly knows what he is about and is quite good. The downside is that they meet at the YMCA, which means that you have to join (at about $60 a month) to attend. This isn’t worse than most schools (in fact it is better) but there are only two classes a week. Since the YMCA is in downtown Berkeley, there is absolutely no easy parking.

There is a gym across the street from my new work that I can get a membership in for less than $20 a month. Many of my coworkers go there, sometimes in groups. Given the convenience, I’m going to join it. This means that to attend the Aikido classes, I will have to have memberships in two gyms, one of which would only be for the classes and maybe the pool.

So, I’m considering it. There are other Aikido places closer but I’m unlikely to find a teacher that exceeds Sensei Walker in experience and orientation. There is also the opposite extreme in the Krav Maga place near my work, which is a very hard (as opposed to ‘soft’) style focused entirely on combat applications. I dunno.

Things to consider in the near term.