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Dom_Shodan
11-18-2007, 02:54 AM
For many Aikidoka, Im sure the thought of going to Japan to train is exciting. I know for myself, since I was 8 years old it has always been a dream of mine. It still is, that is why Im travelling to Japan next year. However, I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now. I was just wondering peoples thoughts on this subject. I know we have come very far in our training through the years, but are there many of us who think less of travelling to the home of aikido to learn because of our progression through the years of training in our own countries?

Thanks for your input!

Dom.

Amir Krause
11-18-2007, 07:54 AM
So many factors can come into play with these things. I'll tell you my own story as an example of various elements:

I only travled to Japan for less then a month, with my brother (both of us train toghether), and a week of it was spent touring.

I belong to a very small system - Korindo Aikido.
Thus during my visit, I recieved personal hands-on experiance with 3 senior teachers (two 8th Dan and a 6th Dan, the latter of which practiced and played with me and my brother as almost equals and both former only had very small classes and gave us personal treatment).

I also have a great local Israeli teacher, of a level comparable to the Japanese teacher I met (he only has 7th dan in Korindo, but has similar levels in Judo and Karate). My teacher knows me better, and knows which buttons to push and how I think (more phisics less spirit and imagination)

As I came back, I felt I made significant progress. But it was based on the very good foundation my teacher layed out. And had much to do with daily multi-hour\lessons high level practice (at home I only had 3 weekly lessons at the time, and had to help with beginners).

Amir

ramenboy
11-18-2007, 08:52 PM
...I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now...

hey dom

sure some may be right about the training outside of japan these days. but how often can you say you've been able to train in each class with a different shihan? there might be a difference between the training and the teacher.

it was an opportunity to train with my instructor in his dojo with his students, outside of waiting each year for summer camp. and i was able to go to classes with shihan i otherwise not have an opportunity to see.

go to japan. visit hombu. visit ise. visit fukuoka. visit yamagata. you won't regret it.

Jamie_Macc
11-19-2007, 08:23 AM
I can't wait untill I go to Japan (another 2 years yet). Even if the training isn't as good as you anticipated at least you can say " I've been to Japan." Its the experiance that counts

Jamie

mathewjgano
11-19-2007, 09:02 AM
To my mind it's all about having a diversity of experiences. There are great aikidoka everywhere...and the same is true of the "not-so-great." That said, you never know until you get somewhere and play around a little. At the very least, I think simply putting yourself in a new environment can do wonders for your training. It has a great way of bringing back a bit of that "beginner's mind," in my brief experience...and really, Japan is a wonderful place to visit. I miss it often.
Where will you be traveling to in Japan? I spent most of my time in Himeji and Tatsuno in Hyogo-ken, just south of Osaka. If you get the chance, I'd certainly recommend viiting them. There's a great Shodokan dojo in Himeji and plenty of sights to see in the area (Himeji Castle is pretty cool and Tatsuno is a "smallish" city with lots of history).
Take care,
Matt

Carl Thompson
11-20-2007, 12:17 AM
A resounding "Yes" from me!

However, I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now.

I'm glad I didn't pay too much heed to such things. I'm back in Japan for my second stint and every minute on the tatami is precious to me.

It's all too easy to make out that training conditions in one's own country are "better than Japan" or "better than in country X". However, this mentality fails to recognise that good sensei from all over the world criss-cross the globe to teach Aikido and good students travel from country to country just to train. I find it especially sad when I hear people who have never trained in Japan say things like "since they have lower standards in Japan, I would be a nidan now, instead of the first kyu I am at present." It's not even worth contradicting people who don't even understand that it is an international art of peace, not a competition between nations.

From my point of view, Japan is a rightly popular nexus. What distinguishes it from other countries is that it is the primary culture from which the art came and is home to some of its Meccas and founding instructors.

Sometimes people give fair warnings about sensei or dojos, but to me it gets dubious once they start talking about whole organisations or styles and I find their motives highly suspect when they are extending their warnings to cover entire nations or ethnic groups. Personally, I love this country and its people and I love training here.

But you're best off seeing for yourself. Good luck and PM me if you end up in the Kanto area!

Kind regards

Carl
:)

batemanb
11-20-2007, 12:44 AM
There's a great Shodokan dojo in Himeji .............

It is indeed a nice dojo, shame about the teacher though...................;)

sorry Peter, couldn't resist :D :p

Japan get's the thumbs up from me too. I started going in 1995, and found my sensei in 1996, I've been back to him every year since, also managed to live over there for a couple of years in between. Japan, like everywhere has good and bad teachers, it will boil down to your own experience with the people you meet and train with. For me, I've been lucky enough to have met and trained with quite a few good people over there. I have enjoyed every trip and always look forward to the next one.

Bryan

PeterR
11-20-2007, 02:52 AM
It is indeed a nice dojo, shame about the teacher though...................;)

sorry Peter, couldn't resist :D :p

:grrr - well they threw me out so its just Omonishi now - still he was the talent.

Still up to some amazing things in the land of my exile - China. Drop me a line and I'll let you know.

The best Aikido I experienced has been in Japan although I've run into top notch dojo elsewhere. However, training in Japan gives you that cultural immersion in the art which you just can't get outside the country. I really think that adds to the overall experience and should at least be tried for a time.

PeterR
11-20-2007, 03:00 AM
Sometimes people give fair warnings about sensei or dojos, but to me it gets dubious once they start talking about whole organisations or styles and I find their motives highly suspect when they are extending their warnings to cover entire nations or ethnic groups.

Ditto.

shadowedge
11-20-2007, 03:32 AM
All this talk about training in Japan is so exciting!

Hi Dom, like you I might be there by around feb - march next year (hopefully permanently, since im going there to work)

In my experience, I've trained in 3 different dojos since I've moved a lot over the last 6 years. I was also able to train with a Japanese Sensei who didnt have his own dojo, but has been living here for 11 years.

With that said, I'm sure going to Japan to train will be a rich experience depending of course where you train and who you train with.

Incidentally, the reason why I posted a thread about training costs was so I could get an idea of how much training would cost there (on average). Anyone care to share? :)

louiev
11-20-2007, 03:49 AM
Incidentally, the reason why I posted a thread about training costs was so I could get an idea of how much training would cost there (on average). Anyone care to share?

Depends on the dojo, I suppose. Some dojos which have keiko twice or thrice a week would probably charge a monthly fee of around 5,000yen. Some dojos which have keiko *every day* would charge around 8,000 yen.

Shany
11-20-2007, 04:37 AM
Don't look at this journey with the eyes of 'training in japan', see it with the eyes of 'opportunities to learn from different perspective',
there are fine western teachers, which have learned from the masters and continue on today to pass their knowledge.

Each has its own set of ideas and ways to pass on Aikido with their own mind-set. If you are going to Japan to study aikido, study it with a subjective experience.

There are Japaneses senseis that are less good than western senseis. because, it's not the nation that makes you good, it's the persistent in life, the life style and devotion to the aikido.

Just fly and enjoy the experience of learning from other people.

Peter Seth
11-20-2007, 06:04 AM
:) Hi All. Aikido is aikido wherever you practice it and where better than the source. It should be viewed as a great opportunity just to travel to another country and experience the people and culture - with the added bonus of a wealth of aikido experience being present. Go for it! You only live once so fill your boots and think positive - you WILL have a great time!
Peter
PS: Carl, Uni class up and running will send photo of grading success all flew through 5th and 4th and their flow and control way above that level. Stay well - best to all in Japan.:)

Carl Thompson
11-20-2007, 11:57 PM
:) Go for it! You only live once so fill your boots and think positive - you WILL have a great time!

I donít think I would be here without this man and the university aikido club he runs. He knows what heís talking about: I AM having a great time! :D

Peter Seth
11-21-2007, 05:52 AM
Thank you carl - i'm embarrassed now, but also very touched and honoured to have been a part of your aikido journey. I'm still learning the basics after all this time but still endevouring to turn them on their heads a bit. Also doing multi art seminars and learning to apply aiki across a wider board. What a wonderful organic and flexible art we practice - can be adapted to almost anything. Best to 'WA'.
Pete:)

Carlos Rivera
11-22-2007, 06:44 PM
Dom,

To quote the Nike people, "just do it." You won't regret it, and you will be the one to determine how good your experience over there will be.
I went last year to Iwama and to tell you the truth, my Aikido got so much better and I had a great time. You get to train with good folks and get different points of view. And you can get by with a phrase book, and having studied key phrases well. The Japanese really appreciate when you make an effort to communicate in their language and show your willingness to appreciate their culture.

Can't wait to go back!!:D

shadowedge
11-22-2007, 07:25 PM
And you can get by with a phrase book, and having studied key phrases well. The Japanese really appreciate when you make an effort to communicate in their language and show your willingness to appreciate their culture.


Really? wow, i know this isnt directed towards me, but its something I needed to hear. Thanks man. :)

And incidentally, I've always feared that I cant train in another dojo (specifically the ones in Japan) while wearing a hakama and a rank that I've earned in a smaller dojo that hasn't had any connection to a Kai.

So I usually, take off my hakama and put on a white belt whenever I train in another dojo. If I were to train in Japan in the near future, will this be an issue?

nagoyajoe
11-22-2007, 07:57 PM
Go, train and enjoy. There is no place like Japan! Be sure to get out of Tokyo and visit some of the other training meccas in Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagono. Go with a very open mind and you will have a great time!

John Matsushima
11-23-2007, 07:26 AM
The biggest difference I've seen is that the instructors in Japan generally have a lot more experience and ability than those in the states. Anyway, I'm having a great time here, and I definitely recommend it.

Mato-san
12-05-2007, 08:35 AM
JUST DO IT!
I can give you blah blah blah.... but just do the nike thing.. I did, do, what ever
just do it

Nikopol
12-05-2007, 07:57 PM
For many Aikidoka, Im sure the thought of going to Japan to train is exciting.
Dom.

First you should be warned that trains in Japan can be unimaginably overcrowded and stressful.

Okay that was my joke answer.

My straight answer is YES it is a good idea to come to Japan to train in Aikido.

In fact, I have lived here for fifteen years, and have seen thousands of foreigners come and go, and can say from experience that it is the best of reasons to come here for an extended period.

Aikidoka can get through Japan emotionally in one piece... I think you would find that non-Aikidoka do not tend to fare as well.

Your next choice then would be where in Japan. Tokyo is not necessarily the best place to be. Research other locations where you will find good teachers. I'm sure some of the other forum members can refer to you to some outstanding Shihan throughout Japan.

lbb
12-16-2007, 07:08 PM
With the disclaimer that I've never trained in Japan, I'd say a reading of "Angry White Pyjamas" is in order. I don't mean that that would be your experience training in Japan, but the book is a good example of how an experience is flavored by one's filters, preconceptions, expectations and baggage. The author also shows how 99% of any experience is rather prosaic, in Japan or anywhere else.

Jory Boling
12-17-2007, 04:31 AM
I am training in Japan and it's a lot of fun. Where I'm from, it was an hour one way to my regular dojo. If I wanted to hit the next closest dojo, it was two hours.

Where I am now, there's about 10 or so different dojo to choose from. Some of the larger US cities don't even have half that number.

So from the standpoint of Baskin Robbins, training in Japan is pretty nice. I also haven't had a problem with visiting other dojo.

pezalinski
12-17-2007, 09:27 AM
GO GO GO! I went to Japan to train for 10 days this past April, and all of the preceding comments seem to reflect my experiences as well. Training in Japan is AWESOME -- it's like sumer camp plus cultural immersion, squared and then cubed. I'd be there today, except for the plane fare and this pesky need to keep a job and earn a living here in the States..... :) but I am saing for my next trip, later this year...

dbotari
12-17-2007, 12:22 PM
I've been to Japan to train an play tourist. I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. I will have the opportunity to travel there again in 2008 with my sensei and a group from the dojo. The only thing that is causing me some hesitation is the new law Japan has enacted requiring all foreingers to be finger printed and photographed upon entry to the country.

While I'm no criminal and have nothing to fear, it still makes me feel uneasy about the whole issue. Let alone the invasion of privacy issue, I am very concerned about the custodial issues such as how long can they/will they retain this info and how secure is it?

Has anyone out there experienced this situation yet? Can you provide some answers?

Thanks,

Dan

Ron Tisdale
12-17-2007, 01:10 PM
I think I remember a thread about this on e-budo, in the news from Japan section. Check it out there...

Best,
Ron

dbotari
12-17-2007, 01:43 PM
Thanks Ron!

Best Wishes,

Dan

darin
12-17-2007, 07:10 PM
The only thing that is causing me some hesitation is the new law Japan has enacted requiring all foreingers to be finger printed and photographed upon entry to the country.

While I'm no criminal and have nothing to fear, it still makes me feel uneasy about the whole issue. Let alone the invasion of privacy issue, I am very concerned about the custodial issues such as how long can they/will they retain this info and how secure is it?

Has anyone out there experienced this situation yet? Can you provide some answers?

Thanks,

Dan

Thats only the half of it. If your living there you will have to get a gaijin card "foreign resident ID card" which you must carry around with you all the time. You pretty much can't do anything without that. Cops will sometimes stop you to check if your carrying one and they can arrest you if your not. An American friend of mine spent almost a month in the local police station jail because he wasn't carrying his card when some dude on a bicycle crashed into him on the footpath and was thrown off.

When I flew to Guam from Tokyo I was given the wrong immigration papers on the plane. They thought I was American. Anyway in customs the American immigration officer was so helpful. "You from Perth? Beautiful place! I love Australia!!!, Don't worry about this document just sign here". It was funny to see the Japanese with the wrong documents sent to the back of the line. lol now that Bush's friend Howard is gone I guess I will be joining those Japanese too...

Hardware
12-18-2007, 10:31 AM
I had the opportunity to live, work and train in Japan for three years. It was the best experience of my life.

I had the great fortune to train under Murase-sensei, who trained directly under Yoshinobu Takeda Shihan. http://www.aikidosydneycity.com/takedashihan.html

I trained 3-4 times per week with Murase-sensei and usually twice a month we travelled to Takeda Shihan's dojo.

I highly recommend going. Take any opportunity there is to train. Cramb as much training and living into whatever time you have there. The memories will stay with you forever!

Peter Brown
12-19-2007, 01:02 PM
Returned back from Hombu Dojo two weeks ago, it was like living a dream. The practice and being at Hombu gave the last 40 years meaning. Watching the more senior Aikidoka arriving for practice at 6.30am, demonstrated that I still have many years practice ahead.
Don't miss the opportunity.