I’m speaking with Ed Haponik, 2nd Dan
Weiner Sensei: Ed-san, What led you to Aikido?
Ed-san: I came to aikido through my study of Japanese swordsmanship. I’d studied martial arts throughout my youth, but I really gravitated toward aikido’s spiritual component and its philosophy of seeking harmony instead of domination.
Weiner Sensei: How would you describe class at our dojo?
Ed-san: Fun! Aikido brings people of so many different backgrounds together, and everybody has their own reasons for starting. But at our dojo everyone seems to train with a great attitude and a smile. I would also say our dojo stands apart in terms of its adherence to traditional etiquette, but that doesn’t take away from the joy!
Weiner Sensei: What are your short term goals as a student?
Ed-san: Well, I come from a slightly different style, so I’d like to continue to learn the USAF approach to things and feel more comfortable in teaching any of our kihon waza to anyone in our dojo and representing our dojo anywhere.
Weiner Sensei: What are your long term goals as a student?
Ed-san: That’s a tougher one. After almost 17 years, Aikido is definitely a way of life for me. I want to remember the lessons I’ve learned in the dojo as they apply to my daily life and interactions. Aikido makes me feel more relaxed and happy and able to go with the flow, and I want to cultivate that experience more and more.
Weiner Sensei: What does it take to be a committed student?
Ed-san: I think above all, it takes being honest with yourself about what you want and why you want it. Do you want a black belt or do you want to become a better version of yourself? Earning one, you might develop the other, but it’s hard to stick to the goal if you forget the feeling behind it. Once you come to terms with why you’re practicing aikido, you can put your whole effort into it, and it will sustain you.
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