Member interview with Carly

name Carly
year of birth 1981
grew up in United States
aikido since 2023
rank mukyu (meanwhile 6th kyu)

foto-interview-cb1What do you find beautiful or inspiring about aikido?

What I find inspiring and beautiful about aikido is that it is a practice that is lifelong and inclusive. It is accessible to almost everyone. You simply begin where you are, regardless of (in)experience, and there is always room for development and growth no matter how advanced you are. People of very different levels can train together and find a middle ground that respects each other’s abilities.

What is your favorite technique and why?

I don’t really have a favorite yet. I’m often surprised how differently I can experience a technique, or training more generally, based on what I bring to the tatami that day. My experience of any technique on any given day depends in large part on me. That’s both empowering and challenging.

foto-interview-cb2How do you apply aikido in daily life?

Haha. Same answer as above: My experience on any given day depends in large part on me. That’s both empowering and challenging. But also, aikido is helping me learn how to recognize the difference between my fears and my limits, and how to face the former while respecting the latter.

What do you do in your daily life?

Lots of things. For work, I’m an editor, so I appreciate the opportunity to do something physical that gets me on my feet and out of my head. I regularly do other forms of exercise to crosstrain and improve overall fitness. I’m also studying the language and culture of my adopted country. And when I have spare time, which isn’t often lately, I like to volunteer because it feels great to give back to a community that has become my home and given me so much.

What makes you laugh?

Lots of things, though mostly American and British humor because of my current language limitations. Anything whimsical, silly, weird, self-deprecating, satirical, or irreverent. Almost anything that takes life seriously without taking itself seriously.

What is your favorite quote?

Being an editor, I love how words can beautifully express human experiences and ideas, but I also recognize how words fall short of capturing reality’s potency. I have a long list of collected quotes and poems that I regularly add to and revisit for inspiration, consolation, etc, but I couldn’t pick a favorite. Two that might capture my feelings about aikido would be:

“I didn’t know if I could do it, or if I would be quite the same… when I resurfaced. I just knew that I was ready to find out.” Shane Benzie, “The Lost Art of Running”

“Oh snail,
climb Mt. Fuji,
but slowly, slowly.”
Kobayashi Issa

What else should we know about you?

I may very well be the least likely person to train in aikido and am often the most awkward person on the tatami on any given day, yet I love the beauty and challenge and comradery of the practice. If I can do it, literally anyone can.