"Commitment is a word which is frequently used in connection with AIKIDO but how can it he interpreted?"
Commitment is shown first when a person comes to find out what AIKIDO is about. It is furthered when an individual comes onto the mat and joins in, then pays his/her mat fees, MAC and Association subscriptions; thus making a financial commitment. Financial and material commitments continue as a beginner buys a GI or BOKKEN. But this is perhaps seeing commitment from a rather western viewpoint. However there are other aspects of commitment that should he taken into consideration.
In becoming financially and materialistically involved with a club or association one is also making a commitment to the people `within that association. This form of commitment obviously refers to the loyalty a student gives to his tutors. It also refers to the care he/she gives to the way he/she practices with fellow students in an attempt to emulate their teachers and progress steadily in the way of AIKIDO.
How deep this commitment becomes is tested as a student advances, because there is created an awareness of other groups who practice differently, and a depth of knowledge based on the reading of background materials, which tend to specify that there is no wholly right way to practise AIKIDO.
Thus a student moves deeper not only into the practice of AIKIDO, but into its underlying philosophy also. As a consequence perhaps the student's commitment to his original teacher/Association deepens but he/she feels a need to explore some of the other Martial Arts.
Within the above text it has already been implied that a student has made a commitment to practise maybe one, two or even three times a week. This in itself is for some a tremendous undertaking when things such as family, travel and its cost, work and many other pressures are considered
All such problems have to be overcome or over?ridden as a student steps onto the mat. Pushing any such problems into the inner recesses of the mind the student may then have to overcome some seemingly insurmountable personal difficulty to do with the theories or technicalities of AIKIDO. Does this demonstrate commitment?
The ultimate commitment is to the philosophy of AIKIDO as a, Martial Art and that is undoubtedly another story.
No doubt to each practitioner of AIKIDO commitment means something different. It is hoped that some of the ideas above are acceptable and/or adaptable. Undeniably the debate about that constitutes commitment will wage for as long as AIKIDO exists and the level of commitment has to be left to the individual to decide.
C Shepherd. Published 1991