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Tom
02-25-2002, 09:35 AM
I have recently taken up Aikido(literally only done 10 or so hours) and have instantly fallen in love with it. I am doing a beginners course but also want to do additional training. I spoke to my instructor about this and he suggested I go along to the general Aikido classes taken by the Sensei. I followed his advice and went to the class.

The students were all Shodan rank (I think this is the case as they all wore hakama) and I found this very intimdating. I enjoyed the class thoroughly although obviously I found it extremely difficult. My fear is that I am spoiling it for the students I am training with. My ukemi is obviously of a very low standard and I couldn't help feeling I was taking away the enjoyment from my partner (or at least limiting them in their technique as they had the extra concern of having to be careful not to accidentally kill this amature :) ). The Sensei tried to assure me that it is ok for beginners to train with more experienced students, I am still not convinced though.

How do you more experienced Aikiodists feel about training with complete beginners? Does it take away from your enjoyment of the class?

Jim ashby
02-25-2002, 10:05 AM
Hi, it's no problem training with beginners. It gives all ranks several reminders namely ,they were beginners once, they have a duty to look after others and if you can make a technique work on a beginner without hurting them, it has to be a good thing. Remember, who would you rather teach you to drive, a beginner or an experienced driver?
Have fun.

Brian Vickery
02-25-2002, 10:45 AM
Originally posted by Tom

How do you more experienced Aikiodists feel about training with complete beginners? Does it take away from your enjoyment of the class?

Hi Tom!

...I look forward to working with newbies! It gives me the chance to see how my techniques would work on somebody outside the dojo! All uke's end up 'going' with the technique, they just can't help it! But a newby has NO idea what he's 'supposed' to do, so you must totally control him with the technique or he just stands there! You must also use control as to how hard you lock up uke's joints, again he has no idea what's happening, so you have to hold back just enough to keep from injuring him.

So don't sweat it, by being a newby you're actually helping the more advanced student learn! REALLY!!!

Regards,

Tom
02-26-2002, 06:12 AM
Thanks guys, that has convinced me to carry on going to the general class. I feel I can learn so much more when training with a more experienced partner. I'll still have to put up with looking like a complete twat, but I don't mind that so long as I know I'm not spoiling it for the others.

ian
02-26-2002, 06:45 AM
I understand you concerns completely and I know some students leave because they feel that they are 'no good'. Since aikido is almost always with a partner, whatever level you are at you feel you could have done it better.

There is often a turning point, when you can do ukemi and protect yourself, when it just feels more comfortable. Sometimes people comment that aikido trains you to respond to an aikido technique in a certain way (through ukemi), and that is why beginners are so valuable to the class; because they aren't conditioned.

If you love it don't give it up!

Ian

Adam Walsh
03-22-2002, 07:18 AM
Hiya Tom.

It says your club is the London Aikido Club...is this Ryushinkan? I've trained there a few times after work with Kanetsuka Sensei and the people there are great.

I agree with a comment earlier that training with new people is great, I take each Uke as they come. If they're hard to work with then your technique needs to be performed well (one lesson), if your Uke is new to Aikido then you need to go slow which allows you to break down your technique in your own mind (two lessons) and if your Uke is co-operative you can work on Ma-ai (three lessons). Different people allow you to train on different aspects. Of course you're supposed to do all of these at the same time, but it doesn't always work like that. I'm a relative newbie myself, and forgive me for the dodgyness of this quote but my passion is in the path not the destination.

Erik
03-22-2002, 04:26 PM
The students were all Shodan rank (I think this is the case as they all wore hakama) and I found this very intimdating.

Maybe they were sandan's and godan's and who knows what else.

:eek:

Actually, in some places everyone wears a hakama so maybe they were something else again.

:freaky:

My fear is that I am spoiling it for the students I am training with.

Hey, unless it's a black belt or advanced only class then spoil away. I'm kind of headstrong and I even went to those when I started out. My first teacher had no idea what to make of me, probably still doesn't, so she just shrugged her shoulder's and figured I'd go away. Hah! Fooled her!

:p

If they said it's ok to go then it's ok to go.

Edward
03-22-2002, 09:42 PM
Well, I am always surprised by the benevolence of Aikidoka and I very much admire it (if it's authentic).

As a matter of fact, training with beginners sucks.

I am the kind of person who likes training at the highest pace. If at the end of the class, my tongue is not touching the floor, I feel very bad about it and that I didn't train hard enough.

I myself avoid beginners' classes because they are so boring. Maybe they are good once every few month to refresh the basics a little, but doing them regularly couldn't be more boring.

I am very much annoyed by beginners attending the regular classes. They slow the whole class down. Teachers reduce the pace and the technical level to cope with them. We have to cope with them too and this brakes the rythm.

I am not discouraging beginners to attend higher classes, but one should be logical in life. If your Ukemi is not any good and you still feel confused about basic technics, what's the point of attending more advanced classes?

Cheers,
Edward

MaylandL
03-22-2002, 09:46 PM
Hello Tom

Welcome to aikido and I'm glad that you are enjoying training. I agree with all of the posts here, especially with Brian Vickery.

Training with beginners is very beneficial for the more experienced and the beginner. At the dojos that I train at we have mixed classes. Beginners are not segregated.

I personny look forward to training with beginners becasue they are preconditioned to react in a certain way and you must provide clear intent and direction. Not to mention significant control to perform the techniques correctly and safely.

Beginners are most welcome.

Happy training

guest1234
03-22-2002, 10:12 PM
I like training with beginners, as has been said, it makes you focus on the technique's form, and as long as they attack sincerely it gives you a chance to work with an unsuspecting uke. Even if they aren't very sincere, it's still good to work on how to get the technique to work regardless. Anyone can look good with a good uke, it takes much more to be smooth and not hurt a beginner uke.

Even working with advanced partners for the entire class/night isn't exactly what I would call an aerobic challenge... if I'm not tired by the end I can always do extra rolls, I don't judge a class by how sweaty I am at the end of it.

I like the fun of taking ukemi for a beginner, it can be harder (how in the world did they get there from here? and how do I fall from this???), and is a chance to practice teaching via one's ukemi.

In exchange, I would expect two things: that they in turn work as happily with those junior to them later as I do now, and that they work on improving their ukemi.

nikonl
03-23-2002, 11:47 AM
That's a good question you brought up. Show's that you are really learning...
Don't worry, there's always something to learn from anyone. Senseis' learn from students too :)

erikmenzel
03-23-2002, 05:16 PM
Originally posted by Edward
As a matter of fact, training with beginners sucks.

No, it does not. Sometimes training with those that only show up for advanced classes is really bad as they forgot to lose ego and competition.

I am the kind of person who likes training at the highest pace. If at the end of the class, my tongue is not touching the floor, I feel very bad about it and that I didn't train hard enough.

Meaning you now train less than the people that simply show up for all classes and who take every oportunity to learn anything?

BTW, what is this touching the floor with your tongue stuff? We at our dojo just use a mop to clean the mats. :D

I myself avoid beginners' classes because they are so boring. Maybe they are good once every few month to refresh the basics a little, but doing them regularly couldn't be more boring.

Pitty, some beginners might actualy be the partner you needed at that moment to grow in your aikido. :eek:

I am very much annoyed by beginners attending the regular classes. They slow the whole class down. Teachers reduce the pace and the technical level to cope with them. We have to cope with them too and this brakes the rythm.

I am often annoyed by those that only show up for advanced classes and show to be incapable of training with beginners in a decent way. :grr:

I am not discouraging beginners to attend higher classes, but one should be logical in life. If your Ukemi is not any good and you still feel confused about basic technics, what's the point of attending more advanced classes?

Well, first of all it is a good way for beginners to experience more advanced aikido. Second, it gives beginners the oportunity to watch, feel and throw advanced students. Third, beginners give advanced students the oportunity to learn how to handle beginners, how to help confussed beginners, how to help sensei by taking responsability in the class by attending to the beginners allowing sensei to focus his attention on advanced students, etc. :rolleyes:

Just my privat little rant about attitude. :freaky:

nikonl
03-24-2002, 01:14 AM
Edward: looks like your tongue still has a long way to go...hehe :D

Edward
03-24-2002, 04:30 AM
yeah, especially now that it seems I should you use it to sweep the mats as well.

The problem is our mats are covered with canvas so we never sweep them.

By the way, we receive regularly guests from your dojo, I guess.

Cheers,
Edward

Originally posted by nikon
Edward: looks like your tongue still has a long way to go...hehe :D

Andy
03-26-2002, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by Edward
As a matter of fact, training with beginners sucks.

I am the kind of person who likes training at the highest pace. If at the end of the class, my tongue is not touching the floor, I feel very bad about it and that I didn't train hard enough.

I myself avoid beginners' classes because they are so boring. Maybe they are good once every few month to refresh the basics a little, but doing them regularly couldn't be more boring.

I am very much annoyed by beginners attending the regular classes. They slow the whole class down. Teachers reduce the pace and the technical level to cope with them. We have to cope with them too and this brakes the rythm.

I am not discouraging beginners to attend higher classes, but one should be logical in life. If your Ukemi is not any good and you still feel confused about basic technics, what's the point of attending more advanced classes?
One word: arrogant.

Brian Vickery
03-26-2002, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by Edward

I am the kind of person who likes training at the highest pace. If at the end of the class, my tongue is not touching the floor, I feel very bad about it and that I didn't train hard enough.

Edward

Hello Edward,

...As you admire the benevolence of aikidoka, I admire your honesty, BUT...

With all due respect, are you confusing 'effectivity' with 'activity'?!?! Hey, if it's a workout that you are looking for, why don't you simply take an aerobics class? It would more fully meet your requirement of fast paced training!

...the pace of the class has absolutely NOTHING to do with effectiveness my friend! And as many have already stated, there's no better way to learn how to effectively execute a technique than to try it on a beginner.

...this is just my humble opinion though!

Regards,

MaylandL
03-26-2002, 07:47 PM
One thing that all of the senseis that I have trained with say to me about aikido. In perfecting and training techniques and the practice of aikido, its about control and blending and not about speed of training.

I find training with beginners most beneficial becasue I can train on controlling the technique and the uke to allow them to ukemi safely because, initially, they are not conditioned to ukemi in a predetermined manner.

I can still train to execute the technique properly but I have the added difficulty to control uke and ensure he/she is still off posture and unbalanced but still guide them into the proper ukemi. This is excellent training in my opinion.

training at speed and with experienced aikidoka is easier because there's is momentum and knowledge the uke will ukemi properly, but to slow it down and focus on pure control while ensuring your uke is unbalanced, that's more difficult in my opinion.

IMHO, training with beginners is a very necessary part of improving aikido and I look for every opportunity to train with them.

Gopher Boy
03-26-2002, 08:14 PM
Hi all,

This is my first post as I am the stereotypical "newbie". At my dojo we are lucky enough to have a Shihan. While many people will obviously find this desireable, I find it a little intimidating. Therefore, I am only attending the beginners class with similarly ranked (and unranked,) people.

I have been a beginner at many things in my life and a few of them I have even quit because of the attitudes of those people possesed of more skill. Thankfully, I am enjoying Aikido immensely due in no small part to the fact that EVERYONE is friendly and welcoming.

I, like Tom (or at least like Tom was :)) am worried that by training with more advanced people I am limiting their enjoyment and progression in Aikido. I have trouble remembering the techniques and am not familiar with how they should look so I end up taking ukemi in the most bizarre ways. This, I fear SERIOUSLY undermines the training of my partner.

When I read the posts fom higher grades saying that they actually enjoy and benefit from training with beginners I am thrilled. However, there is still the feeling that whereas they might be able to practice a given technique 10 times each with a similarly ranked partner, my lack of understanding drasticaly drops that to about 2 or 3 times as I will need to be corrected and shown repeatedly.

I love my Aikido training but am still worried enough to only attend beginner's classes for the moment.

Edward
03-26-2002, 08:55 PM
As usual, in this forum, I have to take a radical position, which might not completely represent my real point of view, but that I consider to be a counter-balance to all the bulls**t and the hypocrisy that I read every day in the posts...

shihonage
03-26-2002, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by Tom

How do you more experienced Aikiodists feel about training with complete beginners? Does it take away from your enjoyment of the class?

No, unless you're the type of beginner that

* Doesn't realize that the technique is being done slowly on purpose.
* Starts to actively resist every step of the technique, to get "proof that it works".

Andy
03-26-2002, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by Edward
As usual, in this forum, I have to take a radical position, which might not completely represent my real point of view, but that I consider to be a counter-balance to all the bulls**t and the hypocrisy that I read every day in the posts...
You mean you can't make a point unless you're dishonest and without integrity? Sad.

guest1234
03-26-2002, 10:55 PM
Originally posted by Gopher Boy
Hi all,


I, like Tom (or at least like Tom was :)) am worried that by training with more advanced people I am limiting their enjoyment and progression in Aikido. I have trouble remembering the techniques and am not familiar with how they should look so I end up taking ukemi in the most bizarre ways. This, I fear SERIOUSLY undermines the training of my partner.

When I read the posts fom higher grades saying that they actually enjoy and benefit from training with beginners I am thrilled. However, there is still the feeling that whereas they might be able to practice a given technique 10 times each with a similarly ranked partner, my lack of understanding drasticaly drops that to about 2 or 3 times as I will need to be corrected and shown repeatedly.

I love my Aikido training but am still worried enough to only attend beginner's classes for the moment.

Hi and welcome!:D

As for those more advanced students:
a. they should be able to work the mat better than you, and avoid you if they want to, and train with each other if they want to. The fact that they instead are training with beginners just means they mean what we've been saying, that it is fun to do so.

b. There is no need for them to keep stopping you, correcting you, or in any other way delay training. If they don't know how to keep moving while helping you, they are not all that advanced.:confused: They can help you with how they take ukemi, no need to stop or waste time moving only the jaw.

c. There is no magic number of times technique should be done...a few slow, precise run throughs are better than lots of ones tossed off without thinking.:rolleyes:

Edward
03-26-2002, 10:56 PM
Originally posted by Andy

You mean you can't make a point unless you're dishonest and without integrity? Sad.

If you would have said the above to me face to face, you wouldn't have liked the outcome. However, I doubt very much that you would have had the guts to say it if we were face to face.

Very pathetic person indeed.... How old are you by the way?

jk
03-27-2002, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by Edward


If you would have said the above to me face to face, you wouldn't have liked the outcome. However, I doubt very much that you would have had the guts to say it if we were face to face.

Very pathetic person indeed.... How old are you by the way?

Boy, I can smell the testosterone all the way from down here...

There are better ways of playing devil's advocate, Edward. It'll be more helpful if you point out what you consider bullsh*t and hypocrisy in a less confrontational manner. Piss off enough people, and they just might want to pay you a little visit.

I like practicing with beginners. Not because I'm 100% altruistic and only want to "help" them, but also because I want to find out if my aikido is up to snuff with an unfamiliar uke. This related to why I like practicing with big, strong individuals. Tossing around a partner you've worked with for years is great, but your aikido is sharpened in a different manner when you work with unfamiliar beginners.

Regards,

PeterR
03-27-2002, 03:50 AM
Beginners are a relative term: we have first time on the mat, mudansha, and yudansha (after all Shodan means beginning level).

While I admit that working with first time on the mat beginners can be frustrating not to mention not the most exciting thing on the mat - it was done for us and should not be begrudged when asked. If people are not up to my speed I slow down and concentrate on the technical - that goes for experience, age and body type.

We rotate a lot - no one person is stuck with a beginner very long.

We have no advanced classes per se, everyone gets tossed in togeather, did I mention we rotate a lot.

Everyone but one during the class will be paired with a more senior student at least once and there is a time for working on techniques appropriate to the level of the pair.

We do have yudansha seminars and guess what - we work almost exclusively on the basics.

Let's see Edward: first you condem most of what's said here as BS and full of hypocracy and then admit that your posts do not reflect your true opinion. I'm pretty sure that Andy would not have called you on it if all you did was admit to enjoy playing devil's advocate (welcome to the club. However, for someone so quick to dish it out you seem pretty incapable of taking it.

PeterR
03-27-2002, 04:06 AM
OMG have you seen Andy's picture in the profile. 6'2 250 pounds, mule ugly and a murderous glint in his eye. Go on Edwward he's all yours.

Originally posted by Edward


If you would have said the above to me face to face, you wouldn't have liked the outcome. However, I doubt very much that you would have had the guts to say it if we were face to face.

Very pathetic person indeed.... How old are you by the way?

erikmenzel
03-27-2002, 04:07 AM
Edward used his banana to push on the keyboard and suddenly this appeared
As usual, in this forum, I have to take a radical position, which might not completely represent my real point of view, but that I consider to be a counter-balance to all the bulls**t and the hypocrisy that I read every day in the posts...


So you are not honest?

Edward slept on his keyboard which produced:
If you would have said the above to me face to face, you wouldn't have liked the outcome. However, I doubt very much that you would have had the guts to say it if we were face to face.

Very pathetic person indeed.... How old are you by the way?


Boy, does your mentality suck bigtime. evileyes

Anybody know how to PLONK somebody on this forum??:disgust:

Bronson
03-27-2002, 04:14 AM
I personally love working with beginners. I also love working with people at or above my level. I always seem to learn so much about every aspect of aikido while working with newbies. You end up teaching them (in little snipets) history, technique, ukemi, philosophy, etiquette, etc. But, after I've learned new things about techniques from working with the new folks I need time on the mat with someone at or above my level so I can work all those new things into my aikido. So yes working with beginners is great but I think we all need some time on the mat when we're focusing on training ourselves. I can usually get both of this in the same class. Work with the new guy, discover something cool. Next, work with another yudansha and try to apply cool new discovery, file it for later use.

So after all that rambling (it's 5:00 a.m. here) I guess my advice would be to go if your allowed to. If they didn't want new people there they'd make it a yudansha only class.

Just the half sensical ramblings of a sleep deprived mad man.

Bronson

Edward
03-27-2002, 08:23 AM
Originally posted by PeterR

Let's see Edward: first you condem most of what's said here as BS and full of hypocracy and then admit that your posts do not reflect your true opinion. I'm pretty sure that Andy would not have called you on it if all you did was admit to enjoy playing devil's advocate (welcome to the club. However, for someone so quick to dish it out you seem pretty incapable of taking it.

Let's say that I feel being called dishonest and without integrity are very strong and insulting words. If someone calls me that in my face, one of us at least will be severely injured, and I don't care if it's me. I think it's very easy to be less polite when the other guy is several thousand miles away.

Now to clarify my point, I say that beginners should not attend advanced classes if they are not ready yet. I am not talking about mixed classes because as you said we have to practice with every one and we rotate. But beginners in advanced classes can be a danger for themselves and for others, and because the teacher will feel compelled to lower the technical level and then it's not an advanced class anymore.

Cheers,
Edward

Edward
03-27-2002, 08:32 AM
Originally posted by erikknoops


So you are not honest?



Boy, does your mentality suck bigtime. evileyes

Anybody know how to PLONK somebody on this forum??:disgust:

Why do you feel so personally concerned with my post? Is it because you are one of these hypocrits?

erikmenzel
03-27-2002, 09:00 AM
Originally posted by Edward
Why do you feel so personally concerned with my post?
Because you can not control who is reading it. Most people will probably recognize it for the nonsense it is. Unfortunatly some dont know enough to make that distinction and might actually confuse it with something important and worth while. To protect these people and to allow them a good and healthy idea on what is going on, it might be necessary to sometimes react to nonsense.

:(

PeterR
03-27-2002, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by Edward
Now to clarify my point, I say that beginners should not attend advanced classes if they are not ready yet.
Can't disagree with that.

Erik
03-27-2002, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by Edward
As usual, in this forum, I have to take a radical position, which might not completely represent my real point of view, but that I consider to be a counter-balance to all the bulls**t and the hypocrisy that I read every day in the posts...

Hypocrisy? On an Aikido forum? No way! It just can't be.

<this would be a straight face smiley but I can't use a straight-faced icon after typing that>

More seriously, I've gone through the beginner issue twice. In both cases, the advanced students were tremendously frustrated at a lack of training time with advanced students. There is truth to the idea that you need to work with people who can fall and challenge you. Beginners just can't do that in the same way.

In one of the dojos, I was driving an hour, each way, to the dojo and it was not unrare that the entire evening could be spent with 5th or 6th kyus some of which could barely roll or even backfall. Now, I'm happy to work with beginners, I'm helping a dojo right now where all I do is work with kyu ranks, but this dojo met twice a week and when the driving time was added in, well, it sucked! I started going to other dojos as my solution.

Eventually, this became enough of an issue, for several of us, that we altered the classes. The first half you worked with beginners or anyone who bowed to you and the second half you worked with whomever you wanted. It was ok to say no at that point. Eventually, a beginners class was added.

While I think you are making an extreme point, you do have a point. If you don't work with peers, sempai, or at least people that you can bash any which way, your technical skills will diminish.

Edward
03-27-2002, 08:18 PM
I admit of having been extreme in my first post, but maybe because of the frustration :(

Thanks for understanding.

Cheers,
Edward

Lyle Bogin
03-29-2002, 12:47 PM
The is always someone out there to whom you will seem like a beginner. Someone you could learn many great things from. How would you like them to consider you?

Bob Heffner
04-16-2002, 07:48 PM
What if the person in question can not make it to the beginner classes and can only attend at the time of the advanced class? Should they not be allowed to study Aikido? Most towns don't have multiple Dojos.

In all of the other Matrial Arts I've studied you have to spend time teaching, thats part of the training.

I can't imagine every class you get stuck with the beginner, so every now and then you have to give a little back of what you have recieved. Not so bad!

I ask one of the shodan at my Dojo if I could attend the mixed class (the more advanced class). Being a wise man he said "you pay your money, you can attend any class".

If you don't like working with beginners why don't you ask your Sensi not to pair you with any. You know, explain your situation :) and see what he has to say.:mad:

Thats my 3 cents, proably one cent more then I should have said!

Bob :ki:

Greg Jennings
04-16-2002, 09:05 PM
I'm the senior student in a very small, isolated dojo.

It's frustrating not having other senior students to train with and not being able to just visit another dojo/instructor by driving a few extra minutes in another direction.

But...

The dojo is like a large, nuclear family. The older have to care for the younger to raise them correctly. In turn, this teaches the older responsibility and nurturing.

If the older don't learn responsibility and nuturing, their own family, if they try to have one, will be dysfuntional.

Best,

Erik
04-17-2002, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
I'm the senior student in a very small, isolated dojo.

It's frustrating not having other senior students to train with and not being able to just visit another dojo/instructor by driving a few extra minutes in another direction.

In a nutshell, you just summed up most of my first 7-1/2 years on the mat. I have empathy although I certainly had more external options available.

The dojo is like a large, nuclear family. The older have to care for the younger to raise them correctly. In turn, this teaches the older responsibility and nurturing.

If the older don't learn responsibility and nuturing, their own family, if they try to have one, will be dysfuntional.

On the other hand, if the older don't keep up with their profession and skills, it's hard to say how the younger will turn out. I thought Edward was pretty extreme but he did have a point.

It's kind of like a fireman rushing into the building to save someone despite orders to not do so. If the fireman dies he becomes a hero but if he obeys orders and lives he could save hundreds more in the long run. Somewhere, somehow you've got to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. I can't say I've always balanced that right, nor even that my motivation was always pure, but I do think we did ok in the examples I mentioned.

Gopher Boy
05-12-2002, 09:57 PM
I realise that this thread has been gone for a little while but I thought I might post a reply anyway.

As a white belt myself, I was absolutely dumbfounded to find that I benefitted from having a complete beginner (first lesson) pairing off against me.

My teacher told us in that particular lesson that ikkyo is one of the most important exercises in Aikido and to do it properly is very difficult. I must say that my ikkyo, while appearing correct to me has never felt 'right'. I found that by practising with this complete beginner and trying to help him understand the movements, I gained a much better insight into the reasons and timing of the movements. I am sure that when one starts off, little revelations come quite frequently as you 'get' a technique, but this was still an incredible feeling and I bowed very long and low to my partner after training.

I think that recent starters in Aikido may have reservations about training with complete beginners as they want the best guidance possible, but training with this guy, I was forced to analyse my technique. Never a bad thing - especially for a beginner.

Please - everyone thinking of starting Aikido - just get in there - we need more!

Phill.

Greg Jennings
05-12-2002, 10:09 PM
Originally posted by Erik

Somewhere, somehow you've got to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. I can't say I've always balanced that right, nor even that my motivation was always pure, but I do think we did ok in the examples I mentioned.

I agree with you 100%.

It seems to me that it's the people that decide that they're in it completely for themselves that are the trouble makers.

Best Regards,

Edward
05-12-2002, 10:23 PM
Well, I guess it's up to the situation. Obviously we all have different situations in our dojos.

If you go to an advanced class and get paired with a total beginner once or twice, it's not a big deal. But if you spend most of the advanced class trying to teach your partners how to do a more simplified version of what the teacher initially was teaching, just because your partners are in the wrong class, then it gets frustrating.

In our dojo, we have daily training, and separate classes for beginners and advanced. However, we recently started to see half of the students in the advanced classes cannot do propre ukemi yet. I think this not only spoils the fun for the advanced students but also can be potentially dangerous for the beginners (white belts).

Sam
05-13-2002, 05:03 AM
Training with beginners can be frustrating and can be a real learning experience. I am in a situation now where the student turnover is very high because of dojo location etc. I find that 90% of the time I am training with not just somebody who is inexperienced but has literally just started. When you have no choice but to continue training with beginners it makes you realise that you can progress even if you have to take everything slowly because with a beginner a technique has to be just right and you have to really think about each technique.

I think that a big problem is when the beginner only wants to be spoon-fed each technique and it doesn't occur to them that you might want to be tori once in a while.

Interestingly, this never happened while I was in Japan, but does here all the time - must be a cultural thing. I think a lot of westerners think of their time at a dojo as a 'self-defence course'. The solution must be up to all the senior grades to try to encourage beginners to uke 50% of the time so their expectations change and their aikido becomes more well rounded.

Anyway, who can claim beginners are not fun? I never fail to smile at the contortions
people are prepared to endure to spin out of techniques - especially shihonage!


P.S. Hi Peter!

jeda
05-13-2002, 10:21 PM
When does one transition to an advanced student from a beginner?

It seems to me everyone should remain at the beginner level to maintain an open mind and humility. In my opinion, if you are classifing yourself as an advanced student, you've let your ego take over.

Just a thought.
:)

PeterR
05-13-2002, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by Sam
Interestingly, this never happened while I was in Japan, but does here all the time - must be a cultural thing.
P.S. Hi Peter!
Hah! The truth now Sam - you were kept far far away from the real beginners. evileyes :confused: (Sam vs. total Japanese beginner).
Originally posted by Jessica
It seems to me everyone should remain at the beginner level to maintain an open mind and humility.Beginner/Advanced is a relative term and forgive me but we train to improve our skills not remain at beginers level. Shoshin is a learning state which allows us to reach more advanced levels. The idea is to keep an open and expansive mind. I can see how people wrapped up in their ego and lacking humility can have difficulty maintaining Shoshi but I don't see a direct connection.

For definitions sake a beginner is anyone with significantly less expereience than you and yes they can be both maddening and enlightening to work with. Striking a good training balance is far easier in dojos that have been established and don't have a high turn-over rate. That's probably why it was less of a problem for Sam when he visited us (so you coming back soon).

Edward
05-14-2002, 02:21 AM
Of course, we are all beginners, and will always be. Just to clarify my point in the previous posts, I was meaning by beginners students with only a few weeks experience in aikido, who cannot do ukemi safely. Anyone above this level should be ok.

I also agree with Sam about the spoon-feeding which I feel is the fault of the western teachers who, contrarily to their japanese counterparts, usually spoon-feed the information to students.

Originally posted by jdalton51
When does one transition to an advanced student from a beginner?

It seems to me everyone should remain at the beginner level to maintain an open mind and humility. In my opinion, if you are classifing yourself as an advanced student, you've let your ego take over.

Just a thought.
:)

bcole23
05-14-2002, 11:01 AM
I remember one time when I was visiting an out of state dojo, I attended one of the advanced classes. I was the kyu level student (still am) and my partner was shodan. I started my attacks at less than full strength as I was as yet unused to how they wanted to train.

My partner told me to really attack and to put full commitment into trying to "get" them.
After class, this person told me it was one of the most eye opening experiences they'd had in a long while. That person told me they'd learned a lot that night.

The interaction between nage and uke is where Aikido is at. Every new partner is an opportunity to learn. I believe that 'getting this stuff' to work on people that don't know Aikido or what to do is very valuable experience. You have to have control and can't rely on the other person to "know" what to do.

Yes, we need time for both training with our Kohai and our Sempai, but both should be done with equal intent. I've found that every time we get new students, I get better at doing my Aikido with the uninitiated.

suebailey
05-18-2002, 11:21 AM
hey every1
iv'e just joined and have had no experiance in aikido apart from what my mate from london has shown me.

Is there any one who can give me sum idea of were i could find a teacher in sunderland or at least sum were near instead of goin to london for a class?

thanks very much sue.

erikmenzel
05-18-2002, 12:28 PM
Hi sue,

did you look at the site of the British Aikido Board (http://www.bab.org.uk/)

Maybe there is also an aikidogroup at the university (Or am I mistaken and doesnt Sunderland have a university ??)

Maybe a simnple internetsearch using "Sunderland and Aikido" would give more options.

Good luck

suebailey
05-19-2002, 05:50 AM
Hi erikknoops

Thanks 4 the help ill check it out?
how long u been doin Aikido 4 and do u enjoy it.
I here its a defencive art unlike karate and thai boxing which i do.

Thanks again. :)
Luv sue

erikmenzel
05-19-2002, 06:31 AM
Originally posted by suebailey
Thanks 4 the help ill check it out

You're welcome!

how long u been doin Aikido 4 and do u enjoy it.
I here its a defencive art unlike karate and thai boxing which i do.

Yes, it is quite different from karate and thai boxing. Maybe the most obvious is the difference in the way of training. Aikido is trained in a soft cooperative manner.

I have been doing it now for approx. a decade, and yes I like it.

Hope you will find a nice place to train and enjoy it as well.

suebailey
05-20-2002, 01:57 PM
Thanks again and i hope i find a nice place to thanks 4 ur help.
luv sue.

virginia_kyu
05-20-2002, 10:59 PM
I find it amazing that someone could be so selfish as to gain his experience with the generous time of more experienced students then deny it to those beginners who come after him.

I think Edward should be forced to train with only beginners for the next 6 months.

There is no reason a beginner should have to feel bad for training with more experienced students. I am a beginner and I certainly don't feel guilty about it, and when I have years of experience I will be glad to help anyone who needs it.

PeterR
05-20-2002, 11:27 PM
I think Edward was being a little contrary in his post. If I remember correctly he has only recently been playing with the big boys - can't blame him for trying to fill his cup as quickly as possible. I can understand his frustration and expect in time he will give back us much or more than he got out of his seniors. There is also a point where training with beginners has distinct advantages - but you have to be ready for that.

Far more dangerous animal is the 5th Kyu Shihan.

Originally posted by virginia_kyu
I find it amazing that someone could be so selfish as to gain his experience with the generous time of more experienced students then deny it to those beginners who come after him.

I think Edward should be forced to train with only beginners for the next 6 months.

There is no reason a beginner should have to feel bad for training with more experienced students. I am a beginner and I certainly don't feel guilty about it, and when I have years of experience I will be glad to help anyone who needs it.

Kat.C
05-20-2002, 11:36 PM
Well I am frustrated with myself:disgust: so I can see how someone else would be too! I am finding aikido very hard to learn and just had an awful(but still fun) class tonight, I just couldn't get anything right at all and still do not fall very well either, so most of the other students must go quite slowly with me. I also nearly hurt one other student when my arm went to her throat instead of under her chin and lifting it up. I was speaking a couple of classes ago with one of my sempai and he told me he had been hurt a few times and usually by beginners. So it is no wonder some people do not wish to work with them very often.(of course I'm not implying that all beginners are as bad as me) Also, even though higher ranks can learn from beginners, I think that everyone learns best by working with a higher rank.

Edward
05-20-2002, 11:45 PM
Originally posted by virginia_kyu
I find it amazing that someone could be so selfish as to gain his experience with the generous time of more experienced students then deny it to those beginners who come after him.

I think Edward should be forced to train with only beginners for the next 6 months.



Thanks Michael :)

As a matter of fact, I rarely get any opportunity to practice with someone over 7 Kyu (out of 11 kyu in our system).

I am a beginner myself (3 kyu).

Since my first day in aikido, I was an enthusiatic beginner, willing to move along with the flow of the techniques and never minding to take hard ukemi at any opportunity. Obviously my sempai never considered me a burden. In the countrary, I was and still am the favorite Uke for our teachers and yudansha because of my fearlessness of ukemi.

Edward
05-21-2002, 12:00 AM
Originally posted by PeterR
I think Edward was being a little contrary in his post. If I remember correctly he has only recently been playing with the big boys - can't blame him for trying to fill his cup as quickly as possible. I can understand his frustration and expect in time he will give back us much or more than he got out of his seniors. There is also a point where training with beginners has distinct advantages - but you have to be ready for that.

Far more dangerous animal is the 5th Kyu Shihan.



Hi Peter!

Once again the advocate of the devil? ;)

By the way, I'm going to meet Bob in about ... 42 minutes.

Cheers,
Edward

PeterR
05-21-2002, 12:18 AM
Originally posted by Edward
By the way, I'm going to meet Bob in about ... 42 minutes.

Please give him my regards. Make sure you tell him first that I didn't tell you the reasons behind my next statement - but I am still looking. God I love being cryptic.

Cheers

Peter R.

Erik
05-21-2002, 12:21 AM
Just for the heck of it.

Anyone ever hear of the 80/20 rule? It's a sales concept which basically says that 80% of your sales will be produced by 20% of your sales force. Hard core management books often comment that the worst thing managers do is try and get the 80% to produce. It won't happen. The argument is that management should focus it's efforts on the 20% and they'll get better results.

I'm not advocating anything with this. Just thought it might make interesting food for thought.

SeiserL
05-21-2002, 09:06 AM
When I first began (over 7 years ago), the morning class I attend was mostly black and brown belts. Mostly die hard older guys. They tag-team taught me with each taking ther turn. At times I would get double and triple teamed. While I found it frustrating, they never seemed to. Now I get to return the favor. I remind the beginners to thank the people you gave to me of their time and expereince. They too will have the honor of passing it on. My Sensei (Sensei Phong) is very big on this concept.

Until again,

Lynn
Nidan Tenshinkai Aikido
Lucaylucay Kali JKD

suebailey
05-23-2002, 02:53 PM
hi SeiserL
thanks for ur advice i just hope i can find a class 'cos so far i have been unsucssfull but thank u for ur help!

till nxt time.
thanks again sue!:(

gi_grrl
06-10-2002, 12:37 AM
I find that the more aikido I learn, the more grateful I am to my teachers and the more I want to be able to teach others in return. Yes, I do believe that training with beginners is beneficial and that in teaching others, I am also teaching myself. But the circularity is wider that the nage-uke or teacher-student role.

By passing on what my Sensei has taught me, I am showing respect to him & his teachings... this flows back to O'Sensei. By teaching others what I have been taught, I extend the flow into the future.

Hmmm. I'm not usually of the metaphysical bent - but there seems to be some sort of ki analogy here :confused:

On a more practical level: A dojo would not exist for long without a steady influx of beginners. We all know how many drop out along the way, or take time off to start a family etc etc. If we don't train with beginners and help them become more advanced, we might be left to train with our shadows.

Cheers, Fi.

suebailey
06-10-2002, 01:49 AM
Hi every1 its sue

thanks for every1's help and advice iv'e been able to locate a class in sunderland at the leasure centre thenks again.

What sort or clothing do u ware for the class is just the same a thai boxing or totally differant.:ai:

danimal
06-11-2002, 06:56 PM
Hi guys,
I am an admitted newbie, but I have a good friend that is a Shodan and he was the one that suggested I join Aikido.
Admittedly, I had the same concerns when I started as Edward seems to have voiced...why in the world would an advanced level student?
Wasn't there another class that I should be going to?

The answer is no, and I am beginning to understand why. Aikido isn't just a combat technique...it is a philosophy. The circular motions, flowing with your opponents movements...it all make sense. Even the name AIKIDO--in harmony with the other person's ki.
How good are you really going to be if you can only flow with a professional's ki?

And as far as newbies who can't even do a proper ukemi practicing with the other students, all I can say is...DUH! Look, most instructors are not idiots. When I first started outI was the ONLY beginner in my class. My instructor, Kobayashi-sensei led me to a corner of the dojo and had me doing the basics..stretching, ukemi, etc, and he'd check up on me every now and then while he was conducting the regular class (we do not, by the way, have beginner and advanced classes. I think that goes contrary to Aikido philosophy as well. How can you be in harmony with the rest of the world if you are separated from it?) It wasn't until he felt that I was ready that he had me practicing with the other students.

Pardon me for saying so, but you sound like the typical western-minded martial arts practicioner. I KNOW. I took JUDO when I was a kid, and took it for 7 years..believe me, I KNOW what it feels like to be thrown at full force, to be thrown so hard that you get the wind knocked out of you. Martial Arts has to be competetive and rough.

That's not what Aikido is. It is a paradox in that its probably the gentlest technique in practice but the deadliest in real life.
Here in Japan we don't often have to use self-defense skills in real life, and perhaps that is not reality either. But I don't think I'd like to learn Aikido your way.

Sincerely,
Dan Nakagawa

P.S.--in my class there are black belts who have--literally--been doing this for 20-30 years (I kid you not) They have the same philosophy, and have no problem working with new students. Just something to think about.

AtomicGrooves
06-12-2002, 04:42 PM
Right on Erik! I'm definetely gonna keep all you just said in mind when I train with people . I'm glad that I'll be able to get something from everyone I train with in class!
Great thread! I've been wondering about that one myself.

Peace,

suebailey
06-13-2002, 02:22 AM
Hey danimal

Well said I agree with that compleatly u definately have the right frame of mind for the martail arts sceane Ive done thai boxing which is also lots of religion and physcological rather than beating ur opponent which as far as i c it is just an added bonus, (a good 1 though):)

Iv'e only just started Aikido and there is only 2 of us as newbeeies all the ohters r middle aged men who have been doing it for a long time.

Thanx 4 that danimal it is really gud to hear a martial arts person speak like that most people think it all fight fight fight and forget about the religious side of things.

Where do u train?

Cheers sue.:cool:

SeiserL
06-13-2002, 09:35 AM
For us to keep progressing, we all need to keep the beginner's mind. I learn a lot when I share with beginners, yet feel that most of my learning started at Shodan.

Until again,

Lynn

suebailey
06-14-2002, 01:49 AM
Hey it me


I think every one benafits from been trainned
together the more expereianced pass on their knowledege to the beginners and the beginners help the experianced to keep their feet on the ground and remember they were newbeeies once and that thy should never stop trainning hard cos theyv'e come so far in my class we all get trainned together and i find it really benaficial i find the more experianced really eager to train with me so they obviously find it good to.

till later have a nice weekend
luv sue
** :cool:
;)

Jermaine Alley
06-16-2002, 10:41 PM
Let me start off by saying that this is a great forum to recieve and give information about aikido and martial arts..i just registered and am totally impressed with the variation of styles and people that we have out here...

I consider myself to be a newby (shodan in aikido) and am never more reminded of that fact than when I get tossed by a senior black belt, or when i totally fudge up a technique. When it comes to working with newby's, i just remember back to my first class and how everyone was humane and patient with me. I really believe that it is my duty at at times to ensure that a newby receives the same dedication and patience that i recieved, and still take in when I am on the mat.

Just remember to have patience, because the study of this art (techniques, and the understanding of "yourself") does not come over night....
take care..
jermaine

suebailey
06-22-2002, 01:51 AM
Hey Jamie

1st welcome to the site and thanks!
Wat u said was spot on all of us were newbies at one point and we should not forget that.
just like u we were thrown for miles by black belts and twisted, and i think we should pay hte newbies starting now the same respect if we dont then they may lose interest and that would mean the art of Aikido would eventually diminish (die out.

So well said mate and thanks agin.
Pls keep on posting ur thoughts!

Luv sue :cool:

Ali Afium
06-22-2002, 12:05 PM
It's the responsibility of more advanced students to practice with beginners.

There is not much more to say about the matter.

In my experience, practice with people new to aikido has shown what I need to work on. It's also shown me skills that I might need as an instructor. I am indebted to my sempai and I repay those debts by working with new, neglected or less-experienced students.

DaveO
06-22-2002, 01:57 PM
YAY!! Finally, something I can provide an informed answer to!! (hee hee)

I may be a rank beginner at Aikido, but I'm a highly experienced instructor and teacher in other fields. Being the Dojo 'Zip-kyu' (as I call it), I worried for a time that I'm holding the other students back in their development in Aikido - after all, I've only been doing it for a little over a month and a half; my ukemi is miserable, I have all the grace and 'big circular movement' of a Walmart mannequin. They have to spend more time teaching me the concept behind a move than practicing the move itself.:rolleyes:
But then, let's stop for a moment and think about what we are learning Aikido for. Obviously, there are as many reasons for learning Aikido as there are learners, but there are a few regular responses. For instance: "I WANT TO GET BETTER AT AIKIDO"
No doubt. But think for a sec: Does working with a newbie take away your chance to improve? No, it does not, quite the opposite. When training among equally-skilled folk, you have less need to keep thing honest. The 1st kyu that's acting as your uke knows what's coming; she'll roll into it, or breakfall, or whatever without thinking. That's great, but if the idea is to develop Aikido as a self-defence technique, it's unrealistic.
Practicing with a newcomer, however, you have to deal with someone who DOESN'T know how to roll out; doesn't really know what's coming. As nage, you are now faced with having to do the technique perfectly, to avoid hurting uke. You also have to face all the problems that uke brings - foot position wrong, hand coming in from the wrong angle, etc. You may not learn more techniques, you learn more of each technique.
With a newbie like myself as nage, things get real interesting real quick; now you're faced with an entirely new challenge: teaching.
Experience at a skill doesn't give the ability to teach a skill; teaching is a skill in itself. There are NO natural teachers, EVERYONE has to learn first, and this is where you start learning.
I'm going to be hard-nosed about this; after fifteen years of active teaching experience, I can say without a shadow of a doubt; if your student (the newbie nage) is not learning a technique, its NOT due to his lack of experience at Aikido, its due to YOUR lack of experience as a teacher. I know; I've taught people ranging from physics professors to mentally challenged teens; my success rate makes this point for me. (No ego here. Yeah, right! LOL!!)
Remember, when you teach a technique, you have to place yourself in your student's position - what's obvious and crystal-clear to you may (and probably will) be a muddled, confusing mess to your student. You have to draw the fine line between taking things down to his level and condecension or going over his head; no question, it's hard, only experience can teach you that line.
"But Dave," you point out, "I want to learn Aikido, and I can't do that teaching this new dweeb!" Wrong again, sorry. ;) Teaching brings you to the very heart of a skill; you have to be able to analyse a technique and understand each and every one of its concepts in order to teach it to a newcomer; in other words; you have to KNOW that skill 100%. There's no question: it's frustrating. In almost every case I've ever seen, the new instructor was ready to throw up his hands and quit, blaming his student for his own lack. I was the same way, so was my instructor. So was yours, and his/hers. It's part of the learning process.
But doesn't taking all this time teaching a newcomer; and learning to teach, take away from your Aikido? No. You are an advanced student, yes? You are a Shodan, 1st Kyu, whatever; is the development of technique all you should be concerned about?
No! All Senseis were once newcomers; the advanced student of today is the Sensei of tomorrow. You may want to have your own Dojo. I do; and some day, I will. And if you do, you'd better know how to teach, hadn't you? I mean, REALLY know; not just try to imitate those teachers who have gone before.
Well, this (training with a newcomer) is where you start to learn; the grass-roots, if you will. In Aikido, in the Army (my area of expertise), at work, at play, this fact holds true. True, if you spend the time teaching a newcomer how Ikkyo works, you may lose the opportunity to learn Kokyunage-tori-link-lonki-ramma-lamma-ding-dong (I have NO idea what those advanced techniques are called. hee hee!), but you can learn that tomorrow, you have time. Your student needs you.
Now.
Thanks, friends.

Paula Lydon
06-22-2002, 08:36 PM
Sometimes I'll attend a beginner's class as I can always improve on my basics and it gives me a chance to return a favor and be usefull. Usually I attend our 'open' classes; mixed bag of beginners, advanced, guests and stray dogs :p . As we're always getting up and down--to watch Sensei demo--different people land on either side of me and I take what I'm given, training more than the body. Never know what life's going to toss your way outside of the dojo! :ai: :ki:

SeiserL
06-22-2002, 11:25 PM
We tend to train together with the more advanced belts initiating interaction with the beginners. I often find working with them makes me more conscious of the form of my own technique. It is always an appreciated learning experience.

Until again,

Lynn