AIKiDO / 1980-death

Why Aikido? / 3:26min video >

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A Conversation: Debra Crampton / Ruth Peyser / 7:20min video >

In 1980, after hearing about aikido, I rode my bike across town to West 18th Street to check it out. The dojo was in a crumbling old building with a car repair shop on street level. I inhaled the fumes as I climbed the stairs to the second floor. There was a class in progress. I sat on the bench and watched. There were about 20 or 30 people on the mat throwing each other around. The movement was mysterious and beautiful. I thought that I probably couldn’t do it as there was a lot of flipping over and flying across the mat; but I decided to try it anyway. I took a class the next day, was sore as hell afterwards but I was hooked. It was fun. That was the year that I was working on my first animated film, Another Great Day. We worked from early morning to late at night, but I always took the time out of the day to do an aikido class.

All these years later that routine hasn’t changed. I still ride across town each day to train. What has changed is my understanding of aikido, which has contributed to the way I observe myself and interact with others.

These series of videos seek to express aikido on its many levels: the beauty of the movement, the underlying principles, and how it relates to all areas of life. The multiple perspectives are from instructors and students from New York Aikikai with various levels of experience, ages and cultural backgrounds. My intention is not to explore the physical aspects of the practice, but for the subjects to share the meaning aikido has had for them in their lives.

WHY AIKIDO / 3:26min VIDEO  >