during my first session with them, my teacher (sensei) in aikido class commented that i seem to be a natural for the art, and after knowing that i take belly dance classes in between my aikido nights too, said that she believes my belly dance is helping my aikido.
i took up aikido mainly because it's an elective in my MA Conflict and Reconciliation Studies course, and i thought it would be interesting to study the art of peace principles from a physical orientation. but dreading the thought of doing (what i thought was) unfeminine martial arts, i also enrolled my self in belly dance classes every other night, to sort of cushion whatever expected "unpleasantness" i thought id feel from my aikido classes-- sort of like taking a teaspoon of sugar for every teaspoon of bitter medicine. so tuesday and thursday evenings, at 7-8pm, i do my belly dance; wednesday and friday evenings at the same time, i do my aikido.
i started my belly dance class first so i was in a good mood when i started my aikido the next night. and i was in for a surprise!
aikido is such a graceful martial art, you feel like dancing rather than fighting. you actually do glides and pirouettes with graceful hand movements! it was only later when i started reading up on it that i learned that the core principle of aikido is to neutralize destructive energies, to "defeat" your opponent by rendering him/her incapable of harming you yet not harm him/her and maintain both your integrity in the process. no wonder it is called "The Way of Peace"!
then, my belly dance classes do intuitively feel like they're complementing my aikido, because in belly dance, i not only get a really intensive fat burning and muscle-toning workout, i get it in such a way that i celebrate my womanhood and have fun! it is only today when i started reading up on belly dance that i learned that it is the oldest dance tradition in the world and a way of joyful empowerment for women as well as to higher spirituality! it was not at all created to entertain men (although it is a byproduct) but as both a sacred and erotic way to connect to the core of women's femininity and the Goddess forces!
i marvel now at the coincidence of my being led to take on these two seemingly different art forms in my life now-- me who hasn't been very sporty and physically active, me who has always been the cerebral, intellectual, philosophical type... yet finding joy and exultation in these two arts now.
i marvel in quiet amazement at the paths ive taken, which have led me to this path, as i know deep inside now that the more i learn about these arts, the more i will grow as a person and as a woman, in both my character, personality and spirituality.
it's funny, too, how i started reading a book last night, Women, Sex and Addiction, and how the author, in her introductory chapter explaining her thesis and where she's coming from, mentioned belly dance as part of womanly initiations and practice in reclaiming women's rightful connections with their own sexuality and empowerment!
everything seems to be coming to a head, falling into place, even though they are coming from altogether different directions... ooohlalaaaa.... : )
magic is afoot again.