View Full Version : Dojo Training Syllabus

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03-23-2008, 05:46 AM
Hello everyone,

This is a thread on the essence of following a proper training syllabus. We are all aware of the Hombu Dojo Training syllabus and we are also aware that some prominent Dojos around the world also have their own training syllabus.

My main thrust is this: (1) Does a Dojo need to develop their own training syllabus aside from the already existing Hombu Dojo training syllabus, or is it enough that we follow the trditional Hombu Dojo syllabus? (2) Since Hombu Dojo does not have weapons training anymore, do we need to stop weapons training also because it is not anymore "required" by Hombu Dojo? and (3) Is it really important for a Dojo to have its own identity in terms of the requirements for training, training syllabus, and autonomy in administrative matters concerning fees, membership, and the like?

This thread aims to get the views of fellow Aikido enthusiasts, in the spirit of friendship, harmony and friendly dicussion. Your thoughts, my fellow Aikido enthusiasts, are very welcome.

Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.


03-23-2008, 06:48 AM
Our association (TAA) has a training / testing sylabus that has weapons and other practices in addition to the basic Hombu taijutsu requirements. The Hombu requirements represent the minimum guidelines.

O'Sensei taught weapons in Iwama and we follow Saito Sensei's organization of the bukiwaza. Most of these can be seen in his books and videos.

John Matsushima
03-23-2008, 11:36 AM
Well, here's what I think. The Aikikai hombu dojo is comprised of only 11 different techniques. In my opinion, it isn't enough. I would prefer a training syllabus to include all of the basic throwing and pinning techniques. I know that there are "thousands" of techniques, but shouldn't a shodan know how at least to do a koshi nage, or sumi otoshi? As far as weapons, that's a hard question. There are many arguments as to whether or not weapon practice is necessary for Aikido. Also, there are so many katas out there, which ones are really necessary.? For me, a basic syllabus would include at least the suburi.

I don't think that a dojo should create its own syllabus just to help foster its own identity. On the other hand, it think it would bring more cohesion to the Aikido community if every dojo had a syllabus comprised of all the basic techniques in addition to its own. Every shodan in Aikido, no matter what the organization or dojo, should be able to demonstrate in some form a syllabus of all basic techniques.

03-24-2008, 12:03 PM
.... Every shodan in Aikido, no matter what the organization or dojo, should be able to demonstrate in some form a syllabus of all basic techniques.

The problem with this is trying to get everyone to agree. What you might think is a basic technique, somebody else might consider it to be advance. Remember also that not all styles do the same techniques. Some styles don't do koshinage or chokes as well as stuff against kicks.

03-24-2008, 04:27 PM
i agree with all the posts here...or parts of all the posts...

i also look at hombu's requirements as a minimum of what each rank should at least be comfortable with.

i think its a cool idea that each shodan should be able to show a certain syllabus of all basic techniques. but, like mike said, its a matter of getting everyone on the same page. and its not just that some styles don't do this technique or that, its more like not all groups have the same names for the same techniques. what we call tenchinage might be called kokyu nage in another dojo. or what we call juji nage might be called ude garami nage and so on...

then there's the question of buki waza, which not all dojos may teach.

Randy Sexton
03-24-2008, 05:51 PM
In regard to the question of training with or without weapons; I would simply point out that our founder was well trained in weapons and continued to train with weapons until the very end of his life. Therefore, IMHO I would conclude that one can learn Aikido without weapons training but perhaps much can be learned through the weapons training. I am in ASU and train with the Jo and Bokken and thoroughly enjoy it and feel it teaches me movement principles that I apply to unarmed Aikido techniques. IMHO a warrior not trained in weapons is at a disadvantage when faced with an armed opponent. I also feel that I better know how to utilize any weapon at my disposal when the life of my loved ones is threatened. Personally, I want as much training as I can possibly get both armed and unarmed.

Lyle Bogin
03-25-2008, 06:25 PM
When you guys are talking about "no weapons", does that mean there are also no defensive techniques against tanto/jo/bokken?

There are many of these in the Shin Budo Kai curriculum, along with throws with jo. No koshinage (did 'em once in 8 years), I had to look up sumi otoshi and I'd say I've done them but they're not on any exams.

I'd say the SBK specialty is Zenpo nage. Imaizumi Sensei divides techniques into categories: the ones we practice a lot, the sometimes techniques, the almost never seen wholly crap that's old school techniques, and (my fave) the ask your senpai then come to me for corrections techniques (since they will never be taught in a group setting).

It's a structure that I think has some wisdom built in.

05-17-2008, 10:56 AM
I agree with the observation of Mr. Sexton regarding the benefits of training in weapons. Personally, bokken training and jo training really helps me with the understanding of unarmed techniques and helps me improve my balance and posture (which to me are very important aspects of Aikido training that are seldom emphasized by some teachers).

Thank you all for sharing your views. Hope to hear more from you.

05-20-2008, 11:19 AM
i rather see a shodan do 11 techniques very well than do 50 techniques half A $$. I don't always think more is better.

The only weapons I really care for is tanto. I am glad we do a lot of weapons because I think it gives a different perspective on the open hand technique. And it forces me to do it :)

Also when you start going to seminars, if you know weapons you are sometimes a lot farther ahead than others.

I know when we have our weapons seminar people come from other organizations (that don't do weapons) and you can really tell the difference in everything (form, open hand technique).

05-21-2008, 01:14 AM
Wow that shocked me. I didn't know Hombu Dojo quit teaching weapons. I want to see what my Sensei will have to say about it.