by Eli Bacher-Chong, age 13
I remember I first heard about Aikido when Brooklyn Aikikai gave a demonstration at my elementary school. Aikido was explained to us as "taking the energy of the attacker and using it against themselves."
After practicing it for about four years, I have learned much about it and maybe even life. I have learned that you can be physically powerful not by fighting or conquering your energy or the energy of others, but working in harmony with it and using it to your advantage. In a manner of speaking, if you cannot divert a stream to your crops, plant your crops by the stream.
I have also learned that there are times that you must push back when life pushes you around. Though I am still coming to terms with this truth, I believe that it was inspired by Aikido, and that it will greatly improve my life.
I was reminded of this lesson when I moved from the kids' class and entered the adult class in 2010. If the techniques became difficult or rough, I had to figure it out as well as I could, or toughen up and learn to face it.
Before I learned Aikido, I was fearful of the world and sometimes didn't like it because I could not control it; Aikido has taught me how to plow right through life and to work in harmony with it instead of needing to conquer it.