Xinru Li: Aikido in Kyoto Budo Center

Choosing Aikido, a Japanese martial art, as my CIP is one of the smartest decisions I made this semester. I have been practiced Aikido for 2 years in Brandeis and now I have a different experience in Kyoto Budo Center. I feel so lucky to practice Aikido in a traditional Dojo with people who are really into it.

At first, I was worried about whether doing Aikido will help me to get involved into a Japanese circle or improve my Japanese. After talking to students who was in KCJS last semester, I realized that I wanted to do something interesting so I could enjoy myself and learn more. So, I started to do Aikido two or three times per week. When I went to the dojo for the first time, I was shocked that there were so many old people and I hardly understood their Japanese because of their strong accents. Luckily, Aikido does not need too much spoken language. Basically, one learns a technique by watching sensei’s demonstration and practicing with different partners. This means you have to adjust your techniques according to the partner’s stature or strength. There is not competition or match in Aikido. All you need to do is to learn from your partner. Even though I have trouble understanding their Japanese at first, most of them are so experienced that they can show me how to improve my techniques.

Compared Aikido Club in Brandeis and Aikido dojo in Budo Center, etiquette is more strict in the Budo Center. I don’t even remember how many times I say arigatogozaimasu(thank you very much) and onegaishimasu(please teach me) in each practice day. Also, thanks to Aikido here, I can sit in seiza for a longer time. To some extent, etiquette connects us and makes us closer in here. When I follow the rules in Aikido dojo, I become a member of the group. Then I talk to the members there and make friends with them. During this process, I improve my listening and understanding of Japanese culture.

It is April now. I can see cherry blossom near Budo Center every time I go there. Even though there is less than one month left to enjoy cherry blossom and practice Aikido, I will remember this wonderful experience and keep doing Aikido in the future.


今まで武道センータにおいて合気道を一ヶ月ぐらい稽古しました。一周は3回で、月曜日と木曜日は6:3時から8:30まで、土曜日は10時から12まで練習します。 この選択は間違いないと思います。 合気道は日本の武道の一つです。他人を打ち負かすより自分の身体や精神を鍛えることの方を大切にします。 でも、これは一人の武道ではなく、相手を通して、習うことが必要です。 京都の合気道は合気道がとても好きな人など、経験がある人など色々な人がいます。 一緒に稽古したら、元気になって、体がリラックスします。 最初は武道をするのであまり日本語を使わないかも、と心配しました。 しかし、年上のおじいさんと話す時、よくはっきり理解出来ないです。 これも日本語を勉強する経験だと思います。 それに、稽古の相手とすぐ友達になって、学生以外の日本人の生活が理解できるようになります。 ところで、アメリカの合気道部と比べて、いろいろな勉強するべきことがあります。 稽古の時、礼儀や相手の変わり方やアメリカに帰ったら友達に教えたいです。 合気道はKCJSのCIPだけじゃなくて一生のCIPにしたいです。