View Full Version : Where did your Aikido training begin?

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11-25-2008, 08:52 AM
Hello to everyone

This is a awesome forum. I wanted to hear from folks on what was the motivating factor(s) to why you chose the Sensi or Dojo you currently train? What is your opinion of the style/affiliation(AAA,KI, etc) you practice? And has the art improved you as a person?

Randy Sexton
11-25-2008, 09:32 AM
After doing TaekwonDo for years I needed something different, something more spiritually oriented, something to help me become what I hoped to become.
My Sensei opened a new Dojo in my town and my wife saw a newspaper article about it and showed the picture and story behind the Dojo. Location was a good reason but the background of my teacher as a retired Secret Service Agent got my interest and his Aikido was so graceful, powerful, and very effective. And yes it has changed me. I have found a path that allows me to grow in ways that I had hoped to. Aikido is a very diverse and deep art that will keep me interested for years to come.


p.s. We are members of the ASU.
(Aikido Schools of Ueshiba)

11-25-2008, 10:42 AM
Okinawa Aikikai.:D

11-25-2008, 11:41 AM
Well I started 2 years ago in this dojo.I originally intended to try out the university Judo club but was ill in the week in which the tryout sessions for different clubs were held..So i was without a hobby for a month or so, and then decided to take a look at the uni aikido club, went to a session and was hooked! It was good fun and everyone was really nice and helpful. I like this style, alhough I havent tried any others...I dont think its too spiritual or fluffy or anything, the ki stuff is taught as a means of making the techinques proficient IMHO and we usually train pretty intensely. its sometimes really difficult and confusing but once you get it right it gives a real sense of achievement:)

I dont know if ive improved as a person, theres a lot to improve :p But if theres something that could improve me then its definitely aikido! :D

Neal Earhart
11-25-2008, 12:33 PM
Started with Jim Walsh Sensei in 1988.

At the time the dojo was called "Aikido of Delaware Valley" located in Edgemont, PA. The dojo was a member of the USAF.

11-25-2008, 01:45 PM
I don't remember... :o I've landed on my head a lot since then... :D

David Maidment
11-25-2008, 07:27 PM
My first encounter with Aikido was when I was somewhere between the age of eight and twelve (memory's not too great on the specifics); my parents just had me and my brother go along to the kids' training sessions along with someone we went to school with. I think the other kid's parents are probably to thank for that.

Our sensei was one of those people who made time for absolutely everyone (until recently I was convinced that I was a favourite/special/etc. student, until I realised that he was just able to make everyone feel that way). However, being a stubborn kid, I quit after a couple of years.

Ten (or maybe fourteen...) years later, I decided to pick it up again and immerse myself in Aikido head-first. Unfortunately my old sensei died a few years back, so I never got the chance to train with him again, which was a shame, but he is the reason why I got back into Aikido and the reason that I began 'serious' training.

Our organisation practices 'traditional Aikido', based on one of Master Ueshiba's earlier students (I *think*... off the top of my head I can't remember his name). I would like to try some other styles, but find what we practice to be very satisfying and to-the-point. Although a bit more of the spiritual aspect wouldn't go amiss.

Mark Stokmans
11-26-2008, 01:51 AM
15 years ago I was roamding the streats trying to settle the unrest in my body. I had been rowing uptill then but had suffered a back and wrist injury. My season was shot and eventhough the injury was better, there was no returning to the squad.

As I walked the streets I happened to peak through a window and saw people in pyjama's dancing together. A poster on the window told me it was Aikido. I went the next training and never left.

I did not check out my sensei or affiliation. The only thing that interested me was that he was a good teacher and I was enjoying my aikido. At that time I followed seminars given by Kanetsuka, Fujita and of Prof Goldsbury. All great aikidoka.

Ten years ago we were lucky enough to get in touch Masatomi Ikeda Sensei (7th dan) who taught in Zwitserland. His aikido was unique from anything I had ever seen up to then and since then as well. More than a style it is an analysis of aikido and a didactic system. Wonderful. Very dynamic. At the time he was teaching he was a personal teacher to the current Doshu. Unfortunately due to health problems Ikeda Sensei stopped teaching some time ago.

James Wyatt
11-27-2008, 03:25 PM
Always wanted to learn but only found a dojo when I moved to London 14 years ago. Looked at several dojos and watched two lessons (2 hours each) prior to committing to the sensei. What I liked was the atmosphere which was friendly and open and the aikido which was powerful. Each technique can take half an hour of practice before changing and we even had one technique practiced for a straight two hours which was interesting as it "morphed". It was only later I discovered the sensei had studied at the hombu dojo for almost seven years under o'sensei amongst others.

There is a quote somewhere which says aikido should be studied in a joyous atmosphere...i think it helps relax the muscles (better flow and kokyu) and therefore more powerful aikido.

If you enjoy the class you will learn more and it will keep your interest. I have been lucky.:)


11-27-2008, 07:59 PM
Hello to everyone

This is a awesome forum. I wanted to hear from folks on what was the motivating factor(s) to why you chose the Sensi or Dojo you currently train? What is your opinion of the style/affiliation(AAA,KI, etc) you practice? And has the art improved you as a person?

That is a long story.

I started doing Karate in February, 1985 at Utica College. I then started reading on the martial arts and read about Aikido and O Sensei's feats. I flunked out of Utica in the spring of '86; that Fall, I continued Shito-Ryu karate at Cornell University (at that time, Utica and Cornell were in the same organization which has since fallen apart), and I started taking classes at Tompkins Cortland Community College. I noted in the phys ed section that there was an Aikido class, and I started training in Seidokan Aikido under Sensei Jim Wallace while continuing karate.

In 1988, I quit Aikido because for a variety of technical reasons as well as bumping heads with a senior. But I continued practicing the wrist stretches on my own. Although I joke about it, (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9208) I believe Aikido got in my blood. I continued to buy books on it. I looked up Sensei Jm after he mover away; he kept recommending Cornell Aikido, although I wanted to stick with my original teacher as much as possible. He was at Colgate for while although I have since lost touch with him.

I did go to a Cornell Aikido demosntration once, and the breakfalls they did seemed too intense for me! So I put that on the back burner...... although it comes into the story again later.

Fast Forward to 2004. By then I had continued in shito-ryu, although the dojo chaged hands and organization. I also saw Shotokan and TKD when I went to University of Maine. And in 1997, I began training in Filipino Kali at East West Martial arts under Guro Kevin Seaman and Guro Andy Astle. I also did Tai Chi there on Friday nights with my mother. One thing they drilled into me, by accident or design was their open-minded attitude to all arts --- that everything has its strengths and weaknesses as long as you know what they are; that it is ok for an art to specialize. In 2003, East West closed its doors and Guro Andy went to Full Life Fitness, owned and operated by the Tai Chi teacher who'd been in Cortland. Wouldn't you know it? They had and Aikido class! So the temptation to rejoin came back.

Now, I must confess to a pesonal foible: I am the opposite of impulsive. I can debate and deliberate on something for a lllllooooooooonnnnnnngggggggggggggg time before I do it if ever do it at all. And I might never have got back into Aikido if it wasn't for the fact that the dojo had the crash mats and which we in the Kali/Serak class needed for our throws. And at first, we had them. The a sign appeared on the pile of tatami: "Please do not use without permission from the Aikido head instructor."

:eek: ! We thought we'd had it, so we stopped using them. But we still had to do our throws! The floor at Full Life had some give, but it was no fun to land on. So people in the class (including me) began to badger Guro Andy into asking the Aikido instructor for permission to use the mats. He kept forgettng .... understandable since he lost his job at that time. But we kept at it.

So it was by now March of 2004 (I think) and I was on vacation in Ottawa and I though, Ok, that's it. I'd planned to check out the Aikido class in the summer after Cornell Karate wrapped, but I start going on Fridays after I get home. (At that time, Aikido was MWF at 6-7:30 and Kali was TF 7:30-9 [theoretically], so they were back-to-back on Fridays.) The sight of me leaving when he arrives might nudge Andy into asking the Aikido teacher for the mats. I was on the phone with Andy and somehow it came up.

"Know what we fell on last night?" Andy asked. "Not that floor. The mats! Turns out the sign wasn't aimed at us. Someone had been scuffing them up, but I assured him it wasn't us.We have permission again."

"Oh, great," said, "so I don't have to take Aikido until--"

"You're going to take Aikido!? That's great. That's wonderful."

"No, that's nuts! With everything else I do, I'll be wiped out at the end of the week."

"No, no, do it, do it! You'll be a better martial artist."

So, the Friday after I got back, I resumed Aikido. All those years of doing wrist stretches left me with flexible wrists which the then ikkyu now shodan who led the practice noted (although I haven't had the heart to tell him in person -- Sorry, Ian!). I have continued plugging away ever since. It is the sweatiest thing I do now, but I love it! The dojo is US Aikido Federation, so affiliated with Yamada Sensei, but Larry Sensei's "style" si all over the map as far as I can tell. And we've been to semianrs with Endo Sensei in Toronto. Blame the JKD universe for getting me potty about seminars before returning to Aikido! What has it done for me as a person and a martial artist? No idea. (Andy keeps saying I am hard to throw, but I don't know if that can be attributed to Aikido.) And I don't care. As long as they keep letting me in, I'll keep coming!

And Cornell Aikido? Turns out Finger Lakes Aikido and Cornell are very tight, so much so some people mistakenly consider them the same dojo. So after havng been scared off by their tobu ukemi years ago, I end up back there for semars and/or when I can't get my fix --- er, regular pracitice at FLA.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

[Dan Inosanto] Does that answer your question? What was your question? [/Dan Inosanto] :)

Nafis Zahir
11-28-2008, 12:20 AM
I started training at my current dojo because I had a chance to witness Chiba Sensei's Aikido and realized that his Aikido was the one for me. Well, I am on the East Coast and Chiba Sensei is on the West Coast. So i searched for a dojo which was under his organization and found my current dojo. I read up on my Instructor and went there for a seminar and a class or two. I hesitated for a whole year because of the long drive, but then I decided it was worth the trip and have been training there for over 2 years now.

Mannix Moya
11-28-2008, 01:11 AM
2001, here in the Philippines. I figured its the martial art that I can practice until I'm 80