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Ta Kung
08-07-2001, 07:39 AM
Hi all,

What do you people think a good and proper "beginners introduction to Aikido" class should be like? It is rather important that it gives the right impression for those who have never before seen Aikido...

Of course you'll need to show the (hopefully) soon-to-be students how some techniques looks "in action" and so forth, and naturally answer questions and explaining what Aikido is all about. But what techniques do you feel is proper/good to show? Any other tips? How do you give the soon-to-be students that "wow, I'd sure like to give this a try" feeling?

Any comments are welcome! I'd also like some anecdotes from the days of yore, when you guys first saw an Aikido class...

Best wishes,
Patrik Eng

Jay
08-07-2001, 09:58 AM
As a recent beginner(3 months), this is one of the few things that I feel qualifed to comment on. As far as their first introduction to Aikido goes it would be helpful to demonstrate and have them practice basic attacks so that they dont feel lost. Then you could perhaps move to simple backfalls. The techinques I was the most comfortable performing were: the tenkan exercise, shomenuchi ikkyo, and munetsuki kotegaeshi. With these three excercizes there isn't that much of a chance of injury, and no forward rolls are involved, you can save those for another night.
Now if you want to show them a neat technique to get them hooked my favourites are all the koshi variations. I can't do them but they look really cool.

Jay

Ta Kung
08-07-2001, 10:19 AM
Hi Jay! Thanks for your answer! I'm sorry if I was unclear, english not beeing my strongest language, but I actually didn't mean what the students should do on their first class. I was refering to the "demonstration" (sorry for the lack of a better word) wich is open for everyone to LOOK at BEFORE they decide to try a class. (not shouting the words here, just emphisizing them...)

Perhaps most of the clubs outside Sweden don't do it this way. But here, we have sort of an "exhibition" where the interested people living nearby, or in, our town could come and look at the strange people practising Aikido. ;) If they like it, they are welcome to attend the first class, wich is held a day or two after the introduction.


Regards,
Patrik Eng (english teacher... not!)

michaelkvance
08-07-2001, 02:00 PM
We just did our annual Nisei Week demonstration this past Sunday, and some weeks before that our Obon and Lotus Festival demonstrations. The latter were done on stages and the Nisei was an open house in our dojo in Little Tokyo. First we do an iaido demonstration--individual technique, paired technique, and then seated technique. Then we do various aikido techniques involving a senior uke and nage... variations on ikkyo, shomenuchi, etc. Then we'll do some tanto defense and finally randoori. All during this Sensei is narrating various technique and elaborating on some of the technical theory and philosophy of aikido. If the audience is lucky, Sensei will demonstrate subtle technique with our senior instructor, Ken Watanabe. Sensei will ask if there are any questions, and that will usually be it.

I think the iaido usually gives them that "wow" effect. Bright blades, yelling, forceful stomping. Aikido I think is just a bit hard to communicate through a visual demonstration, although a good irimi nage always impresses me :). Sensei's "hold Ken to the floor with one hand" bit is usually pretty amusing to the crowd.

L. Camejo
08-16-2001, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Ta Kung
Hi all,

What do you people think a good and proper "beginners introduction to Aikido" class should be like? It is rather important that it gives the right impression for those who have never before seen Aikido...

Of course you'll need to show the (hopefully) soon-to-be students how some techniques looks "in action" and so forth, and naturally answer questions and explaining what Aikido is all about. But what techniques do you feel is proper/good to show? Any other tips? How do you give the soon-to-be students that "wow, I'd sure like to give this a try" feeling?

Any comments are welcome! I'd also like some anecdotes from the days of yore, when you guys first saw an Aikido class...

Best wishes,
Patrik Eng

Hi,

I think that most beginners will be impressed by any techniques that involve high breakfalls, such as mune tsuki kotegaeshi, or others like variations of sumi otoshi or uki otoshi (I do Shodokan/Tomiki style, so the names may be different to you). But basically, anything that sends your partner flying high gets the wow from the crowd.

Also, if you can include one finger pins to show the power of the technique this can also help.

Aikido empty handed against Bokken and Jo attacks also tend to get people interested, as newcomers tend to have this attraction to weapons, especially the sword.

It's generally good to get smaller individuals doing techniques angainst larger ones to show that physical strength is not necessary to be effective. A good example of this is katate dori nikkyo, (the technique made popular by Steven Seagal's niece in undersiege II, on the train):D .

Hanza handachi suwari waza can also help, as most people don't even consider that you can effectively defend yourself while sitting down, especially against someone standing up.

I hope this is of help.:do:

Paja
08-17-2001, 02:52 AM
Hi All,

I think, if the purpose of demonstration is to attract new people to the club, you can show ordinary training (of course in shorter form). High breakfalls and attractive techniques can be present, but even if people are often impressed, they can be also frightened a little (especially with the high breakfalls).

Regards
Pavel Dobrus

L. Camejo
08-17-2001, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Paja
Hi All,

I think, if the purpose of demonstration is to attract new people to the club, you can show ordinary training (of course in shorter form). High breakfalls and attractive techniques can be present, but even if people are often impressed, they can be also frightened a little (especially with the high breakfalls).

Regards
Pavel Dobrus

:circle: I think that Paja is very correct in saying that high breakfalls can scare off potential beginners.

I have often been asked the question "Do I have to do that too?" by potential beginners after demos. But I also explain to them that the classes are taught in a graded process where these high breakfalls will not be expected of them for some time, and that they will not be forced to do something if they are not ready. These explanations can be part of the narration during these points of high breakfalls. I also emphasise the fact that though people appear to be falling hard, they always get off the ground uninjured and smiling.

I agree that you can have a demo using a shortened form of normal training, I also include these in my demos. But I think there must be a natural progression of basic training, where the viewer can link basic exercises to techniques and principles later on down in the demo.

Regards to you all.

L.C. :ai:

Chocolateuke
08-17-2001, 11:39 AM
my dojo had a demo about 8 mounths ago. we had our dojo, and 2 visiting dojos one was aikiai and the other was yoshinkai. each did like a 10 min demo of the varius stuff and yoshinkai sensi talked about the pricible of using your center insted of your arms and legs alone. it was very good. we have been having more studenst come and go children have been coming a lot more though. so from that demo i would say do what you think would help all understand aikido a little. also you could invite another dojo to show some diff variations of aikido.. and remember have fun!

Paja
08-20-2001, 12:56 AM
Hi L.C.,

I think you're perfectly right. There's nothing to add to your response.

Different question for you and the others.
We have accepted new beginners every time so far. But it seems it's not the perfect way, because we don't have a lot of instructors in our club (quite new club, main instructor 1.dan and the second "high" grade (me) is 3rd kyu). We also don't have the possibility to organize special "beginner classes" (they train with us instead, and with me as their instructor), because we share our Dojo with Judo club (they are Dojo owners) and that's why we are limited a little. So if the beginners come one week and the next goup will come in next 3 weeks and and so on and so on..., it is realy difficult to manage them all.
So we decided to accept new members every 6 months. So finally question.

What is your way in accepting new students?

Regards,
Paja

P.S. My english is not very good, but I hope, you understood, what I wrote.

Simone
08-20-2001, 03:54 AM
Hi there!

The question came just in time for me, because I have my first beginners class to teach tomorrow. I also think that too spectacular demonstrations scare away potential beginners. I'll try to balance between easy looking things (oh yes, I can do it) and more spectacular things (wow, I'd like to be able to do that, too). Let's see if it works.......

Hi Paja, in our clubs, we have different ways to deal with beginners. At the university we have a beginners class every half a year. There's no possibility to join otherwise. At the "normal" dojo, they have one or two special beginners courses per year, but if someone shows up between them he can join the normal practice. It's just a little harder than in a special beginners class. In a beginners class you can introduce techniques slower and in a more apropriate way than in a normal class, I think. We do not have problems with accepting only a small number of people, so look what method is useful for you.

Hope it was useful,

Simone

Paja
08-21-2001, 07:37 AM
Hi Simone,

thanks for your reply.
First I wish you lucky start with your beginners ;) .

About accepting new beginners, We decided to try "your university" way, it means beginner class every half a year. It would be easier for me to deal with beginners in one group, than as they come in small groups.

Regards,
Paja

L. Camejo
08-21-2001, 08:46 AM
Hi all.

I also agree with the half year idea. I think it's something I may apply in my dojo at some point. Thanks for the concept.

Right now we tend to take beginners as they come. The good thing is, we have a small class, so it's not too hard to have sessions that include a lot of basics, followed by some more advanced techniques and randori. But that could become a problem as the class grows.

Another good thing is that the highest kyu grade is 5th Kyu (we begin at 8th Kyu in Shodokan), which means we're all beginners anyway :)

I also believe that refreshing the basics continuously over time goes a long way in creating a skilled Aikidoka. So it's not too bad to humble advanced grades into doing raw basics every so often ;)

Regards
L.C.:ai::ki:

Erik
08-21-2001, 02:16 PM
Originally posted by Paja
High breakfalls and attractive techniques can be present, but even if people are often impressed, they can be also frightened a little (especially with the high breakfalls).


I'm a strange sort but if not for some breakfalls I'd never have signed up. I was very unimpressed with the first class I watched but was talked into coming back for some nidan tests. People flew into the air, I was impressed and here I am.