One of the most common responses I've gotten when inviting students to attend major seminars like Summer Camp or Winter Camp isn't what you would think.
Most people assume it would be about the travel, or the lodging expense and time away from family and work.
The reality is that most of my students relish the opportunity to step on the mat with new partners and experience the larger world of Aikido.
No, the biggest concern is: "I think it's too soon for me, I don't think I'm ready for that yet"
This, to me, is reminiscent of the Judo days when new competitors were shy about going to their first tournaments because they didn't "feel ready".
Every one of my teachers had good answers when this was brought up, but over the years I've noticed that no matter how good the answer objectively - it had to resonate on a very real emotional level for the student.
This is one of the reasons our dojo does so much with community days and other events. It creates a soft transition into the wider world of Aikido without the big commitment of going to a major seminar.
At some point though, a leap needs to be made by the student. Some may never make it - and it's important to understand that that's okay too.
However, as we prepare for this weekend's Winter Camp in Ft Lauderdale, FL, it is a reminder of the incredible benefits, growth, and community that are experienced at these major events.
So do yourself a favor, plan ahead, and make the commitment to attend a major seminar at the next opportunity - you'll be glad you did.
Have a great weekend!
See you on the mat.