I have practiced Aikido for nearly three years now and I have always had a hard time explaining to others what I practice without completely humiliating myself.
Today we had a slow day in class and my teacher asked me to show him how you practice Aikido.
I responded that a classroom setting is neither ideal nor appropriate to perform Aikido, however, the rest of the class built off of that topic and poked fun at it. They would draw "chi balls" on the board and ask if the creators of Dragon Ball Z invented Aikido. However, I still refused to show them because I felt that it was not appropriate for the setting and situation and that my demonstrating it to them under their demand was simply a way for me to feel better about myself--to prove to myself that Aikido is not just a philosophy based upon Utopian ideals, but an actual martial art.
In the end, the teacher never took control of the situation and it seemed like nothing was to be gained from the rest of the time in class, so I decided to show them an Aikido technique. Shihonage.
Now, since I'm a 6'4 person who cannot bend using his legs because of surgery and I was to perform Shihonage on my willing 5'7 teacher, I'm sure you can figure out what happens next: he rolls out and I'm completely embarrassed.
After that I tried to explain that it was simply my poor performance that resulted in that and not the art itself. In the end, most of the time in RELIGION class in this CATHOLIC HIGH school was spent insulting an art of peace and degrading my dignity.
Regardless if I perform or not, I get the same treatment whenever people ask about Aikido. Is it a "real" martial art or just a philosophy with theories on combat. And after each one I keep feeling that I must "prove" the art to them--that if I had the skill and power to prove it I might retain some of my dignity in admitting to practice this wonderful art.
At my age, when all we think about are the scientific results and how badly you can hurt someone, practicing Aikido is very difficult on a social level. I almost would prefer to take another martial art just so that I can retain some dignity and get a little respect for my hard work. Ego trip I know, but when your a 6'4 eighteen year-old, admitting to practice in a completely "self-defense" martial art is social suicide.
What are your thoughts on this? Have any of you felt this way--this doubt and humiliation when you attempt to explain or demonstrate the art that you spend years practicing?