View Full Version : Changing Schools/ "styles"

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04-16-2007, 05:52 PM
Hello all, It's been a while since my last visit here and have a question that I think some may be able to answer. I currently hold the rank of I-Kyu in Nihon Goshin Aikido(Middletown N.Y. under Sensei Robert MacEwen). I have been on hiatus from training for about 1.5 yrs due to a severe shoulder injury at work and was told that continued training would hurt it further. Well as we all can surmise I didnt listen and attempted to train (bad move on my part) as the shoulder wasn't healing. Now to the question at hand.

Since my hiatus I have moved about an hour away from the dojo and have located one closer to home. Problem is (for me anyway) is that the school is a Traditional (Hombu) Dojo. Previous training had no emphasis on the Japanese names of or usage of weapons and I feel that although I have an understanding of the teqniques I will be like a lost puppy on the mat.

Another issue I see is that Nihon Goshin Aikido is a very "hard" style and I have heard that it is frowned upon in the more traditional circles. I dont want to walk into a school and be known as that guy that hurts people (although I have great "feel" of my uke) at least I think so. And a more traditional and softer style will not reinjure my shoulder.

I plan on speaking with the head instructor about my concerns tomorrow but I wanted to run this by the community here and see if anyone else here had these issues and how they made out. By the way the school I am looking at is here.. Any ideas on it?

Mark Uttech
04-16-2007, 06:19 PM
All you can do is try. That is the truth.

In gassho, Mark

jason jordan
04-16-2007, 06:48 PM
Not all Aikikai schools are soft. I don't know when the last time we trained softly. Check out the school first before you assume they are soft. They just might surprise you.

04-16-2007, 07:10 PM
Been there. Done that. Moving from hard to soft style dojo.
Hopefully, your teacher and seniors will be understanding and work with you through the transition. Which shouldn't be a problem. I think most people are used to working with beginners, even without experience who accidentally get a little rough.

You may also want to address this concern with Sensei. It's possible that he has worked through this issue with others.

Make sure that you are making an effort to be softer and do things thier way.

Check back in later and let us know how it's going.

04-16-2007, 09:20 PM
One often finds that the style is not as important as the instructor. Try all that are convenient to you, and you will emerge knowing what is the best fit for you. Generalizations just don't get it done.

Amir Krause
04-17-2007, 03:12 AM
Go, talk with the Sensei and then give it a try.

Fortunatly to you, too many people have the same notion as you, about "soft meaning weaker technique". My understanding is quite to the contrary: soft should mean (among other things) full body utilization for a more effective technique, soft should also mean higher sensitivity enabling better control of damage (ibe soft and sensitive and you will feel his limitation, then in practice - slow down and in a real situation - use it to break him apart). But, as I worte, I am in the minority.

In any case, no one would be able to tell you how the new place will affect your shoulder, you may find Uke rolls more and it makes it impossible for you or vice versa.


Marc Abrams
04-17-2007, 09:57 AM
I would concur strongly with Clark's comment. Ignore the "style" and experience the instructor and the students. Leave your preconceived notions at home when visiting a dojo and just be open to explore that teacher's perspective and experience how that is translated by the students.

Best of Luck!

Marc Abrams

04-18-2007, 12:54 PM
O.K. all spoke with the asst. instructor and sat in on his class. Was what appeared to me a beginner class of one white belt two blue and a dishevelled(sp) brown. I spoke at length with the instructor and was pleased with his responses. Numerous people I have spoken with cast off Nihon Goshin as a farce and I was ready to hear that once I began speaking with him (it never happened). I will be returning to observe and possibly join in one of the advanced classes before I make my decision and I was also surprised to find that they share the mat times with a Tenshin affiliated school as well.

Im not sure how they manage that but I figure I might as well sit in on their class and speak with that instructor as well. So far though I am more than happy with the responses that I have gotten here and at the school I have visited. Will keep all posted.


04-18-2007, 02:42 PM
I'm not sure I'd regard a change from Nihon Goshin Aikido to Aikikai as a mere change in style. What most of us regard as different styles of aikido all trace their origin back to Morihei Ueshiba.

Nihon Goshin Aikido however doesn't, so I think it would be more accurate to describe that as a similar, but separate, martial art from (what most of us mean by) Aikido - which, confusingly, just happens to have the same name.

Not that necessarily has any bearing on your situation though, just saying it because nobody else has so far. :)

04-18-2007, 03:04 PM
That is actually what I've been trying to get at only I couldnt find the right words. Where the teqniques are similar (some of which are identical) I was curious as to how the transition would be. True the roots of each are very different but the similarity and in some instances identical technique is what had me confused.

The actual hardness I speak of would derive from the Daito Ryu influence that my current training was born from. The blending, redirection of force, breathing and so on would be from the Aikikai roots. Different but the same guess it depends on how its looked at.

04-18-2007, 07:46 PM
Have you seen a class? Is it a bunch of dancing Aikibunnies? Or...Do they sincerely practice hard and apply themselves?

How is the teacher? If he or she is good don't worry about your previous tough training...With your help... they will take care of it. :D

William Hazen

04-19-2007, 10:36 AM
Probably doesn't need to be explicitly said, but the other thing to keep in mind is that it's their house and their rules. Ettiquette demands that you respect both, even if certain things about the practice don't jibe with your experience or seem silly.

Whenever I'm a guest in someone else's dojo, I do my best to exhibit (and inhabit) that I'm a beginner trying to learn to do what they do in their dojo. So, if a white belt corrects me, I smile and say, "Hai!". Even if something seems "dumb", I still do my darndest to do it their way (as long as it doesn't prevent me from keeping myself safe).

In other words, I try to keep my ego or what I think I know out of the equation. If I don't like what they do, I don't have to go back, but putting your best foot forward in terms of ettiquette seems like a good place to start.

Larry Feldman
04-19-2007, 03:01 PM
These two links may help with the generalities, but instructor styles can vary a lot within and organization/style.

What matters most is what is available to you locally. So all the visiting the dojo advice is best, especially if you have some backround and have an idea of what you are looking for.