Differences of novice to black belt Aikido practitioners in mindfulness: A longitudinal study

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John Lothes

Abstract

The martial art aikido may be useful in the development of mindfulness (Lothes, Hakan, & Kassab, 2013) and is often philosophically referred to as a meditation in motion, because of the heightened awareness that is ascribed to the training (Dobson & Miller, 1978; Saotome, 1986, 1989). Fuller (1988) argued that martial arts training, especially aikido, has the potential for positive psychological effects such as increased self-control, increased awareness of self and of others and overall increased health and wellbeing. Davidson (2010) argues more longitudinal research needs to be done to examine the changes of mindfulness over time. The current study was a longitudinal assessment of mindfulness in five aikido students of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Aikido Club from their starting through to their obtaining their black belts (a minimum of five years of training). The KIMS/MAAS was administered to these participants at nine intervals over the time course of their advancement in aikido. Results showed a significant increase of self-reported mindfulness from the beginning of training to the achievement of black belt status. Since the length of time from starting to achieve the black belt is approximately five years minimum, this unique longitudinal study affords us the opportunity to see what long-term effects aikido training has on individual’s levels of mindfulness.

 

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Author Biography

John Lothes, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Faculy member in the Department of Psychology at UNCW, Faculty member in the Department of Health and Applied Human Sciences Department at UNCW