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Anonymous
03-20-2007, 11:15 AM
I study Aikido with an instructor who teaches within a Dojo that
belongs to someone else. He's a very strict instructor, he works on
proper rolls, proper body movement and stance, practicality and
stamina and the techniques are usually just the subset of
these. Since many people can't keep up with these demanding classes,
our group was reduced to three core students who show up every time,
and only 1 or two more who sometimes join.
The Dojo chief instructor told us that since our group is small, he
wants to shut it down and merge it with a group that he's teaching,
a group I've been attending on the side for several months. The
chief instructor is a good person and an excellent Aikidoka,
however, his style of teaching is the exact opposite of my
instructor's style, and even his style of aikido is different. His
top students have a good technique within the Aikido vocabulary, but everything below that (stance, body control, stamina etc) is poorly developed in his classes.

I considered this as an opportunity to leave Aikido for a while and
try new arts, since I know that the chief instructor's style of
teaching is not what I currently need, however, if I leave I'll lose
everything I worked for in these last two years.

What a mess :dead:

I'm kind of writing this down to get this off my chest, as I know no
one can tell me "Leave" or "Stay" better than I decide by myself,
but any perspective, advice, or sharing of past experience would be
more than welcomed.

me32dc
03-20-2007, 11:28 AM
How do you know you will hate it till you try it?

Give them some time, make an informed decision then, rather than an uninformed one.

Annonymous
03-20-2007, 11:50 AM
How do you know you will hate it till you try it?

Give them some time, make an informed decision then, rather than an uninformed one.

I never used the word "Hate" :) but I did mention that I've been attending that group for several months now as an addition to my own primary group. So I have tried it.

Shipley
03-20-2007, 11:56 AM
Have you approached the dojo-cho and told him how much you value the small group classes? He/she may not know how much that group is getting from the classes.

Cheers,

Paul

me32dc
03-20-2007, 12:14 PM
I never used the word "Hate" :) but I did mention that I've been attending that group for several months now as an addition to my own primary group. So I have tried it.

That will teach me to read your post too quickly.

Michael McCaslin
03-20-2007, 12:33 PM
I've experienced this myself. I've had a few teachers who couldn't attract enough students to keep the lights on because their training was too severe, and all of them wound up moving on.

I've also been in dojos that were stuffed chock full of people who don't really have much interest in training-- they're just there to socialize and go through the motions. I've left some dojos because of this.

Looking back now, I realize this is just a fact of life. Unless you happen to live somewhere with a population dense enough to provide enough people who want to train the way you do, you're going to have to decide between not training and training in a suboptimal way.

My answer to the dilemma has been to keep consistently showing up at the place which has the best training available, even if that training falls short. Identify people there who share your interests, and get together outside the dojo for homework. Some of the most important work is done solo, anyway. I do think it's important to stay plugged in to some kind of organized group so that you don't lose motivation and interest and drift off into something else or worse find yourself spending lots of time doing nothing.

FWIW,

Michael

James Young
03-20-2007, 12:38 PM
I've observed similar things in the past. Sometimes, a transfusion of students who practice at a "higher intensity" (for lack of a better term) and are committed to continuing practicing in that manner can raise the bar in the practice of the larger group that currently doesn't. It may not be exactly the same but it may reach a level that is acceptable to you. Of course it depends on a number of factors such as them recognizing your level of practice as better and them feeling not wanting to be outdone so they change themsleves. This change sometimes takes a little time. If it doesn't work perhaps you can always try practicing with your core group before or after the class as well in the manner you wish to practice. Anyway, I would suggest you try it out and see what happens since it may change now that it's not just you alone going over to the other class. If it doesn't meet your expectations you can always leave at anytime.

Annonymous
04-01-2007, 08:28 AM
Have you approached the dojo-cho and told him how much you value the small group classes?

yep, we all told him that this teaching style is what works best for us and we really don't want to see the group closed. He made the sound financial choice in merging two small groups, but I'm a little disappointed finance is what he bases his decisions on.

Even if we do get together and practice outside of the dojo, it's still hard to commit to training when there's no dominant, knowledgeable individual to push us and correct us.

However, I decided to follow everyone's advice here and continue attending the new classes. The main instructor let me lead the warmup on our first merged class and when we practice with him he shows no mercy and throws us around. So classes have been fun and hard, but I still feel a huge hole in my training, and it has only been a week :(

crbateman
04-04-2007, 05:47 AM
He made the sound financial choice in merging two small groups, but I'm a little disappointed finance is what he bases his decisions on.Unfortunately, until you own (and are financially responsible for) your own dojo, it will be difficult for you to understand this particular point of view. Everybody would like to have a dojo that pays for itself, but in today's world, this does not happen as much as we would like. Financial risk is a fact of life (call it reality if you want), and people (most people, anyway) will concern themselves deeply about it. Try not to hold this against your teacher too much. A teacher once told me: "You can't pay your light bill with your ideals..."

SeiserL
04-04-2007, 06:35 AM
Finances is how to keep the doors open. Reality.

IMHO, training in a less than ideal (what I want it to be) situation, is better than not training at all.

ChrisHein
04-04-2007, 09:45 AM
I think your Idea is a good one. If you are not happy with the training, stop and study something differn't for awhile. You are not loseing anything. You will be rusty with Aikido when you come back to it, but it won't last long, and if you're training in something else active, you won't lose your conditioning. You've made a good choice.

Don't force yourself to go to something thats not fun, and what you want. Life is a big beautiful place, see what else it has to offer.

Good luck to you.

Nick P.
04-04-2007, 11:12 AM
IMHO, training in a less than ideal (what I want it to be) situation, is better than not training at all.

Agreed.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
04-04-2007, 11:25 AM
I beg you to forgive your instructor. Life is not always easy. He had a choice between lowering his standards in order to attract new students, or shut the group. Do not forget that lowering one's standards is dangerous. Outside of the dojo, the student is a reflection of his or her instructor, and when the reflection is poor, the instructor's reputation is damaged. Your instructor decided to go with his pride and reputation intact, and it may not be a bad choice. Let me quote the late Kensho Furuya Sensei: "I believe the conflict between true teaching and paying the dojo's rent will never be resolved". Someone else, I do not remember who, also said: "Everytime a door closes in front of you, another one opens somewhere else".
I understand what you feel, because I went through the same experience two years ago when my shotokan school closed. After a period of depression, during wich I tried another shotokan school, wich I quickly quit because I did not like the way they trained, I decided to try something new, and I ended up in an a´kido school that I love.
I also still keep in touch with my shotokan instructor through the internet, in spite of the fact that he relocated with his family in Miami. He will always be my first Sensei.
You do need a mourning period, but I promise you that you will find somethin else.
Cheer up, and have faith in both life and yourself.

senshincenter
04-04-2007, 12:42 PM
Nothing wrong with trying something new - knowledge is always accumulative.

However, the perfect dojo is always going to be the one you make yourself - and even then its perfect only in waves. Nevertheless, in my opinion, one shouldn't need other folks to make their training experience all they need it or want it to be. We shouldn't need to have someone on us to get us to progress, improve, demonstrate detail, etc. That task should first and foremost be our own. That said, it really doesn't matter what your teacher is lax on or what your fellow members are lax on. You don't be lax. Train at the level you want to train at and soon, in time, folks will step up to your level and/or you will come to meet those folks in your larger group that are thinking and feeling just like you do. Some of my most beneficial and long lasting relationships in the art have come from exactly this practice. In a way, until you get your own dojo, you almost always have to do this. You seemed to have had it good, benefiting from the small group you had, but the ease at which you surrounded yourself with highly disciplined folks perhaps may have made it harder for you to find a discipline that is self-reliant. I know it did for me when I first trained at a dojo that was "intense" to then train at one that was "not intense." From the perspective, this move may be the very next step you need to take in your training. Like all blessings, you may realize later that this is exactly what you needed and wanted.

my opinion,
dmv

aikidoc
04-04-2007, 08:01 PM
There are many paths to the end result. You can make a path fit your needs by training yourself for what you miss outside the class.

Un-reggie
04-05-2007, 12:55 PM
Can you arrange to train after class with the dojo cho and the other "high-intensity" students in an informal practice?