View Full Version : New teacher & style

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02-22-2002, 01:46 AM
I've had my first aikido practice yesterday for almost a year. Been working... Anyway, a lot of changes has been happing. Basicly the whole club has fallen a part. The good news is that there is a new teacher now and he's pretty nice. The unfortunent part is that he teaches a very odd (to me) aikido style. Nothing like Aikikai, which was what I had practiced earlier. The lessons went well and all but I just don't feel comfortable with the style. Too many odd moves and wierd philosophies. What do you think, is it still worth going to the practice? There is another club which practices Aikikai, but this is my old club and I kinda feel like I belong there. What do you think?

02-22-2002, 02:39 AM
well, my opinion only, just go with the flow. Seen how u like the new style. Who knows what benfits u r going to have if you dun give it a try :)

anyway, what do you mean by odd moves?



02-22-2002, 03:05 AM
When somebody asks on this forum how to choose a dojo, they are always encouraged to go check out at least a couple of dojo's before they choose. I think you should do the same and go check out the other dojo. You should give the new teacher a chance as well. Find out what dojo suits you best.

I know it's difficult but if you can leave out your old knowledge and look upon both dojo's with an open mind, then you will probably know were you would like to practice.

Just out of couriosity: what style does this new teache practice ? I have come across a few different teachers all under the Aikikai, but with very different style and focus. My guess is that you will quickly adapt to the new techniques if you just try to enjoy practicing.

Good luck

02-22-2002, 03:57 AM
Hi Tomi,

I practice A´kido since 4 years ago, and I knwon 3 regular teachers and others temporary.
In fact, My first teacher - Serge Cruz - is a school teacher. In february 2001, It was transfered to a school located in "Nouvelle CalÚdonie" in a small island :p very far from France. For the beginners, he was faboulous. He explained us very well (as a "teacher" :D). In addition, Serge trained every week in the N. Tamura Sensei's dojo and so he learned us what he had been learned with Tamura.
When Serge was left, The club had any teacher. Before his departure, Serge asked to his own first teacher to train. Bob Van laere is Sandan in Aikido and 6eme Dan in Judo and Jujitsu. But Bob is aged and following a Judo hurt, he has a hip prosthesis and so his mobility is very reduced. I like Bob very much for his personnality, his wisdom and his great heart. But his A´kido style is very different of the Serge's one. His A´kido technics are mixed with Judo and Jujutsu technics. The preparation at the course beginning was more a sport warm-up (no breath exercise, few ukemi training, any weapon training, and so on). So, I wasn't comfortable with his A´kido style that I found too "hard" with strenght use. It was an interesting experience for me to see another A´kido style and I thank Bob for his teaching, but this style doesn't meet with me.
Hopefully, several teachers (of dojos around mine) came sometimes in our dojo. Their style was closer at the Serge's style, and so, of the Tamura sensei's style.
Today, Bob, because of his health problems, stops to teach. At the season beginning, we had any official teacher. For keeping the dojo open, the more regular practioneer continued to train in the dojo, and it was ours recently shodan who teached.
Today, a sandan is coming in our dojo and we ask him to perform the training. His style is very interesting, very fluid, soft. But for the beginner, it is hard to understand the technics because he has never teached before, and so he has some difficulties to explain the technics to the beginners.

As you can see, I had several teachers with different styles. All these experiences was very interesting and need to adapt our practice to this different styles. A´kido is also the adaption capability with a situation.
But I think that the important is that you are happy in your practice. If you are not comfortable with your new teacher and his style, maybe you could think to go in another dojo with a style which meet better with you.



02-22-2002, 04:14 AM
what do you mean by odd moves?
All sort of small thing. Atemi is always done with a fist, with the middle finger slightly upward from the others. Which makes no logic to me, 'cause when you hit someone in the face, you chance a great risk at actually hurting yourself. I've always done my atemi either by open hand or with the knuckles of both the middle finger and forefinger. Then there are odd places to put your arm, like in one technique I had to straighten my arm horizontally when I was grabed by the shoulder. He told me that it was to balance me, but I've done it a million times before without the arm straight and I felt no difference in my balance. It just confused me more from the technique I was going to perform.

Then there was sankyo which really bothered me 'cause when taking the sankyo hold, I was to place my hand (holding the sankyo) on chest and bend slight forward. The technique worked great and it was actually easier than the last one I had learned, but this also placed uke's elbow an inch from my jaw. Very disturbing thought to get your jaw crushed when doing sankyo. There we also others, but I'm not gonna list them all. You got the picture, yes?

what style does this new teache practice?
I actually didn't catch it. We didn't even discuss it. I didn't want to bring it up in our first practice together. But when we all were discussing the rebuilding of the club there were several mentionings of something called Mita Organization. Ring a bell?

they are always encouraged to go check out at least a couple of dojo's before they choose.
There are three actually in my home town. :) One is our, one is the one that teaches Aikikai and one is... Well, not sure what they practice 'cause I never got to know them. I think I rule them out since they don't seem to like me, or anybody from our club that is. I'ce heard that this relates back several years before I even started practicing Aikido.

look upon both dojo's with an open mind
That's actually a very good advice. Of course I'll be then paying annual fee for both dojo, but I guess I'll manage ;)

Greg Jennings
02-22-2002, 06:30 AM
Originally posted by Datamike
what do you mean by odd moves?
Atemi is always done with a fist, with the middle finger slightly upward from the others.

With the middle knuckle extended is actually the traditional way to do it. Straight out of Daito Ryu. It's intended for quick shots to vulnerable areas like the eye, temple, ear, ribs, etc. It's not for a power-punch to the jaw.

Then there are odd places to put your arm, like in one technique I had to straighten my arm horizontally when I was grabed by the shoulder. [snip]
Then there was sankyo which really bothered me 'cause when taking the sankyo hold, I was to place my hand (holding the sankyo) on check and bend slight forward. The technique worked great and it was actually easier than the last one I had learned, .....

Sounds like the instructor is Iwama influenced if not mainstream Iwama. Give it a chance. It may seem strange to you right now, but it's very well-known and has a reputation for being very solid.


Bruce Baker
03-16-2002, 08:14 AM
Clarity. Knuckles are used to activate rub or strike pressure points, which we do not instruct in Aikido, as the third pressure point on a meridian, lungs/heart/ kidneys etc.., for knockout.

Many of the old style hand configurations used in particular techniques allow for the application of knockouts or even worse bodily damage, just by activating pressure points. Normally, we feel the pain of two pressure points in techniques, which is perfectly safe.

In case you are not familiar with this, there are many good references to help you with this . You can start with accupressure, acccupoint studies, then move on to other physical applications found in many martial art studies .

As far as weird Aikido? Well, if it is effective, then it is not weird ... just another way to get there from here, isn't it?

I have trained in a number of grappling, and other MA than Aikido ... sometimes it makes me switch when I slip in a hand grab or redirection to something a little more aggressive than the gentle redirection of Aikido, looking weird. It is a tough habit to break.

If I was you, I would get what ever I could about your teachers studies, and do some research. There are so many books on the market that are close to studies of most teachers, it might be the key to rethinking and relearning some different stratigy you are overlooking.

Classic Budo training doesn't always reveal its secrets without study. It took pressure point study, for me, to see that Aikido was so much more than the physical movements that work so beautifully.

03-16-2002, 09:33 PM
FYI: I have seen Chiba Shihan from the Western Region, USAF, use both (the middle-knuckle strike and the sankyo on the chest) of these variations in his technique. He's both a Hombu uchideshi under Osensei and an Aikikai pillar.

This middle knuckle strike is also quite common to differnent type of Karate. I think closer investigation would lead you to discover that it is in fact not an inherantly weak strike. Of course you have to know how to make this type of fist, just as you would have to know how to make any type of fist, in order not to have your hand injured. So aside from asking your sensei where and when this type of atemi should be thrown, you might also want to ask her/him exactly how one goes about making that fist so that it is not open to self-inflicted damage.

Just a thought,

03-17-2002, 02:14 AM
First, the atemi issue: I think what you are questioning about the strike is not if it is weak, but dangerous (to nage). The strike that you are used to using is designed to transmit a great deal of force safely along well aligned realtively large bones in nage's fist and arm, lessening the chance of breaking something. In medicine we laughingly refer to a fracture of the 5th metacarpal (bone in hand leading to the little finger) as a 'Boxer's Fracture' knowing full well a real boxer would make contact instead with the kuckles of the index and middle fingers to protect their hand, and a 5th MC fracture is an indication of a drunk hitting a wall or locker. :rolleyes:

The other side of the coin is, the smaller the contact size of the object, if mass and acceleration remain the same, the more concentrated the force transmitted---hence why we try to spread ourselves out in a breakfall rather than land say elbow or ankle first. So hitting with one knukle forward of the others, while putting that knuckle at risk, both allows for pinpointing a particular spot (nerve, weak bone, etc) on uke's body, and delivering a good sized blow to it.

I'm certainly no expert in atemi :D :D so I'm guessing, but I think you'd use different blows for different reasons, and probably use the second type with a quicker/shorter distance, lighter amount of force than the first.

As for supporting your old dojo: you need to be where you are comfortable. Even well known, well established forms of Aikido, if they are not for you, they are not for you. I think body size, personality, and personal philosophy all play a role in what a teacher teaches, and what a student needs. Not every one meshes. Check out other places and go where you feel most comfortable and can learn. In the long run, attending classes where you, as a more senior student, canot accept what the teaher teaches will only cause more rather than less problems for the dojo, esp. among the junior students.

Attend several classes in you old dojo to be sure it was just not a phase the sensei was going through (even they have bad days, or try new things out for a while), but check out all of the other places, even the one you didn't think you'd like. After all, if your old dojo can change, perhaps it did, too. And yes, if you change dojos then for that year you will have paid two joining fees, but after that just one. That, plus a few mat fees while you are checking out the places, are worth it to find a place you like.