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John Furgerson III
02-25-2009, 12:32 PM
Many moons ago I practiced Aikido with ASU. I loved it but then life got in the way and I stopped for a while. Now I live in Mexico City and have started attending an Aikido dojo but not ASU.

While in ASU for example,we were taught to smack our hand on the mat when thrown. This was supposed to help cushion the fall. When I do that at the new dojo, the instructor tells the whole class there's no need to smack the hands.

I'm assuming he was directing that at me. Anyone else experienced something like this? I also like doing free form after class but it's hard to find anyone who wants to stay after and do that.

Janet Rosen
02-25-2009, 03:09 PM
If your body has been trained to fall in a specific manner, than slapping might be helpful. Many of us train in ways to fall that generally don't require slapping, although I know that there are times when the specific circumstances of a throw lead me to slap.

patf
02-25-2009, 03:32 PM
I train at 2 dojos, one AAA and one Aikikai. While I don't think the slapping is particularly affiliation related, I think it may be more instructor related. In my case one instructor likes loud ki-ai's on attacks and slaps on falls. The energy level in the (crowded) dojo is palpable and to me it adds to the enjoyment of the training.
The other dojo instructor on the other hand, is very conscious of damage to the body and conserving energy as much as possible during techniques (particularly as uke and considering working out for long periods such as at seminars). One aspect being that if you get into the habit of slapping on every fall, then when you do at onetime or another fall on a hard surface, you will probably end up with a very sore hand.
Using the energy of the fall to return to a standing position is (in this interpretation) better than expelling the energy into the mat.

For me, I split the difference and use what appeals to me. So I ki-ai on the strike, and no slap on the fall.
Though occasionally on a high-energy fall where I cannot roll out easily I still slap, though the slap is not just the palm but the entire forearm.

I could be wrong on this last point, but I get the feeling that some people instinctively slap on rollout to mask foot slapping noises.

dave9nine
02-25-2009, 03:57 PM
a huevo!

i was taught to always follow what the instructor provides as example, especially across different dojos/styles.

i would add, though, that sometimes while taking ukemi, i have found myself caught falling in a direction that i didnt expect at first, and thus i am falling to the mat on that side quicker than expected; in such situations i have found that slapping the mat has helped neutralize the fall in that direction and avoid danger and even provide momentum to roll off to the other side.

with this in mind, id say follow your sensei's instruction, but always have ukemi tricks like that in your arsenal for unexpected situations.

my dos pesos!

-dave

dps
02-26-2009, 03:29 AM
At one time I trained in a dojo where the sensei would one time tell us to slap the mat and then other times to make our ukemi so gentle we would not disturb the dust on the floor.

It is good to know both ways.

David

Amir Krause
02-26-2009, 05:31 AM
I'm assuming he was directing that at me. Anyone else experienced something like this?

Training in a different Aikido (Korindo - long discussion), yet similar. I have seen lots of difference in most nuances of doing things from our dojo to others of other Aikido styles\arts. I have often seen Sensei exlaining everything from Ukemi to basic techniques to
Yundasha students from other Aikido styles who came to practice with us.

When I visited Japan shortly and trained to learn some more, I found out how different each of the teachers in our system is. Each has his own variation with consistent interpretations for the same practice moves. I learnt from all, and took the idea of having multiple smart solutions and variations with me.

Here, these days, I sometimes visit the dojo of a friend, who is my Kohai yet had the time to teach, so he has his own group. One of the fun things for us is once he asks me to demonstrate a certain technique at a given situation, and does it himself. Each of us does some things differently, he asks his students to note the differences and when they ask, who is correct, we often tell them the Rabbi answer - "BOTH" (each of us can also explain why he prefers his variation and what would make him do something mor ein line with the other's variation).
If such things happen to two student of the same teacher, who learnt toghether over a dozen years, one can expect significant differnces between styles.

Amir

Bob Blackburn
02-26-2009, 06:37 AM
I have never had one stressed over the other. I add it unconsciously if the throw is hard.

mathewjgano
02-26-2009, 02:29 PM
Many moons ago I practiced Aikido with ASU. I loved it but then life got in the way and I stopped for a while. Now I live in Mexico City and have started attending an Aikido dojo but not ASU.

While in ASU for example,we were taught to smack our hand on the mat when thrown. This was supposed to help cushion the fall. When I do that at the new dojo, the instructor tells the whole class there's no need to smack the hands.

I'm assuming he was directing that at me. Anyone else experienced something like this? I also like doing free form after class but it's hard to find anyone who wants to stay after and do that.

Yes, one time when I was briefly training at an ASU school my rolls were corrected in the same way. I tend to finish my rolls by turning back toward the person who threw me, but they wanted me to focus on finishing in the same direction I was thrown.
Also, when I practiced rolls in a parking lot by my job, I found the slaps still useful, but had to really focus on using them as part of my stopping process.

James Edwards
02-26-2009, 02:42 PM
We do different breakfalls in our school compared to most aikikai schools. When I visited a dojo during a holiday, their training method confused me (seemed a bit fast but often not as physically demanding) and the way they do things are different as well. But as a visitor I tried to follow what everyone else did and often I would get told off for doing things differently.

Then when I went back to my original dojo, I got punched a few times before getting told off for doing things differently...

What I think is that when you have a "home" dojo, I think you should preserve the knowledge you gain from it. But when you are visiting, you should always be open to other people's teachings. On the other hand, with moving dojos completely, I think it may depend on where your heart lies. The new dojo's method may be different but it may not be necessarily wrong. I think it's up to you on what you want your aikido to be. Take the good and throw away the bad. But when you are training in a new dojo, do what everyone else does.

Sorry about the rambling. Just some thoughts.

aikidoc
02-26-2009, 05:54 PM
When in Rome.

jss
02-27-2009, 02:06 AM
On the other hand, with moving dojos completely, I think it may depend on where your heart lies. The new dojo's method may be different but it may not be necessarily wrong. I think it's up to you on what you want your aikido to be. Take the good and throw away the bad. But when you are training in a new dojo, do what everyone else does.
I may be misreading what you are saying, but it seems to me one cannot make his aikido what one wants it to be and at the same time do as what everyone else is doing in the new dojo.
In my experience, the teacher in the new dojo wants you to confirm to his aikido and there is little room for discussion about the concepts behind the technical differences. You're just expected to completely change your aikido without any recognition of the value of what you learned in your old dojo. I mean, I can understand why a teacher wants you to learn the aikido he teaches, but what I can't (under)stand is the disrespect for what I learned from my old teacher(s). A cynical explanation would be that they feel threatened by the existence of other ideas and styles in aikido, because they are not confident enough in their own...

James Edwards
02-27-2009, 03:23 AM
I may be misreading what you are saying, but it seems to me one cannot make his aikido what one wants it to be and at the same time do as what everyone else is doing in the new dojo.


I think you can. Not quite sure how to show what I meant but I think my point was that the teachings of the first (and all) teachers should be kept at the back of the head but in the dojo, the person should train as everyone else trains. When that person has the opportunity to express his own aikido (i.e. becoming an instructor), he can then show the product of his training as a whole.

There's someone in my dojo who has another teacher. His style is different but also very effective. Yet when he comes to class, he does what everyone else does since essentially it's still training.

there are many paths leading to mount Fuji, but there is only one summit?

jss
02-27-2009, 04:00 AM
I think you can. Not quite sure how to show what I meant but I think my point was that the teachings of the first (and all) teachers should be kept at the back of the head but in the dojo, the person should train as everyone else trains. When that person has the opportunity to express his own aikido (i.e. becoming an instructor), he can then show the product of his training as a whole.

There's someone in my dojo who has another teacher. His style is different but also very effective. Yet when he comes to class, he does what everyone else does since essentially it's still training.
1) Still, you can't do it *at the same time*. You can study a different style to broaden and deepen your aikido, but at that moment you cannot express your own aikido.
2) When I keep the teachings of my old teachers in the back of my head, I have a hard time to train exactly what the present teacher is showing and an even harder time not to explore the differences between the different teachings during training.
3) You seem to suggest it is quite easy to switch styles. In my experience that is not the case. Changing from one to another one takes a lot of time and dedication (and a teacher who can guide you in this process). Maintaining two styles within one's aikido seems to me impossible. Your other training experiences will still show. You can put the emphasis on different aspects of your aikido, but for plenty of teachers that will not be stylisitically pure enough.
there are many paths leading to mount Fuji, but there is only one summit?
Some aikidokas are quite clearly climbing up a different mountain than I am. And even if we are climbing the same mountain, if you're going up the northern slope and I'm going up the southern slope, we'll have very little to discuss untill we both have reached the summit...

Amir Krause
03-01-2009, 07:11 AM
In my experience, the teacher in the new dojo wants you to confirm to his aikido and there is little room for discussion about the concepts behind the technical differences. You're just expected to completely change your aikido without any recognition of the value of what you learned in your old dojo. I mean, I can understand why a teacher wants you to learn the aikido he teaches, but what I can't (under)stand is the disrespect for what I learned from my old teacher(s). A cynical explanation would be that they feel threatened by the existence of other ideas and styles in aikido, because they are not confident enough in their own...

Coming from a style that is different to most. And having experianced this in many seminars and visits (external students coming to us and the other way around).

I must say most teachers would ask you to perform the way they teach in their class for a very simple reason - they can not teach you the other way, your actions disrupt the group and might be dangerous. It is not necceserily a matter of disrespect for other options. In some other cases, they may have examined the variation you do and found it incompatible with their style\way.

When you enter the class of a teacher, you are practicly asking him to teach you his way. It is not the same as going to a gim, or playing with some friends, where you may free practice.

If you practice another way, often, the teacher can not comment on it. He can only see you are doing something else, which is not the way he teaches. So why did you come to learn with him?

Doing something which is foriegn to the way practiced, is dangerous. Having done it in the past, you should expect strange and wrong behavior of Uke. This may become a safety hazard, and I for one, would not have liked being the responsible teacher.

In some other occasions, my teacher (and me as Semapi in the group), have asked student to perform Ukemi ONLY in our way, and not in some way which was common to them. Because he had found the latter to be inadequate for the direction and power of throws commonly practiced in our dojo.

So, it is not just a matter of ego.

Amir

Lyle Laizure
03-04-2009, 07:23 PM
Goo ni itte wa goo ni shitagae. Follow the rules of the village you are in. (When in rome.)

patf
03-04-2009, 10:35 PM
Goo ni itte wa goo ni shitagae. Follow the rules of the village you are in. (When in rome.)

Agree to a point, depending on the level of the person concerned, however if everyone cloned the style of their instructor, every aikidoka would be the same and Aikido would become very mundane.

I wonder how greats like Shioda developed their own unique style, was it a refinement/adjustment of a single instructors style or was it a natural incorporation/growth based on a broader exposure.

I believe experiencing different styles from different instructors is a wonderful way to grow.

Note: I'm not talking about safety issues here, I'm referring to an Aikidoka adapting his Aikido based on experience from different teachers, while still maintaining a "regular" dojo.

aikidoc
03-04-2009, 10:54 PM
I too agree that one can grow by experiencing different styles.

However, respect your instructor and follow their agenda. They may be trying to teach you something in their own way. Uke's and other students are expecting you to attempt to do things like shown as best possible. To do otherwise can put them at risk of injury. Running your own agenda is disrespectful.

Lyle Laizure
03-05-2009, 11:21 AM
Assuming risk of injury is mute students have an obligation to practice what the instructor demonstrates/requests. This has nothing to do with cloning. YOu start with what the instructor gives you and then you create your own style. But if it is not your class to teach then you are obliged to follow their instruction.

On the extreme side, if a student wants to do things his/her way and not make a genuine effort to follow the instructors lead then the student should find another place to train.

patf
03-05-2009, 11:55 AM
A little bit off topic but perhaps related...

I was at a class once where a visiting instructor was teaching. On a particular technique I was paired with a Yudansha. The Yudansha instructed me that the teachers application of the technique was not effective and proceeded to show me the "more-effective" way to apply the technique. It was an interesting situation for me, in this case I followed what the Yudansha showed me.

Sy Labthavikul
03-05-2009, 12:52 PM
A little bit off topic but perhaps related...

I was at a class once where a visiting instructor was teaching. On a particular technique I was paired with a Yudansha. The Yudansha instructed me that the teachers application of the technique was not effective and proceeded to show me the "more-effective" way to apply the technique. It was an interesting situation for me, in this case I followed what the Yudansha showed me.

I think that yudansha robbed you of a valuable training experience: deciding for yourself what does and doesn't work. I've only been to maybe 5 or so seminars, but at every seminar, with at least multiple partners, this sort of thing would happen: my partner would either flat out say what we were practicing wasn't the most effective way and try to teach me their more effective method, or they would silently boycott the instructor and do their own thing and not even attempt what the instructor was teaching.

At a recent friendship seminar, one of the instructors even addressed this phenomena, and implored us to "do as the Romans do" as others put it, at least for the duration of the seminar. Sure, we may think our way is better, but trying it out won't hurt: it just adds to your arsenal, he said, and might just show you something that can improve your own technique, whether its a new way to do a movement or showing you a way that won't work. He further explained that once we were off the mat, we could decide for ourselves what worked and what didn't, but while we were training there, we should put our best effort forward to understanding what the instructor was demonstrating.

Whenever someone pulls that "my way is better" thing on me, I always go along with what they are doing first, to appease their ego, but then later I'll say something like "I want to try it so-and-so's way now, and see how they compare. Do you mind?" And usually, they don't since we've already done it their way. I've found most of the time, their way isn't necessarily better, its just different: principles are the same, and the difference is in some stylistic thing, or he uses one kuzushi method as opposed to an another, and ultimately I learn two ways of doing things instead of just one.

Lyle Laizure
03-06-2009, 08:53 AM
A little bit off topic but perhaps related...

I was at a class once where a visiting instructor was teaching. On a particular technique I was paired with a Yudansha. The Yudansha instructed me that the teachers application of the technique was not effective and proceeded to show me the "more-effective" way to apply the technique. It was an interesting situation for me, in this case I followed what the Yudansha showed me.

I have witnessed this several times. It is amazing how much yudansha know....lol

Min Kang
03-11-2009, 05:56 AM
While in ASU for example,we were taught to smack our hand on the mat when thrown. This was supposed to help cushion the fall. When I do that at the new dojo, the instructor tells the whole class there's no need to smack the hands.

I'm assuming he was directing that at me. Anyone else experienced something like this? I also like doing free form after class but it's hard to find anyone who wants to stay after and do that.

Hi John, I was taught initially that slapping (hand and forearm) serves to arrest your motion by dispersing the momentum of your fall or roll. This was consistent throughout various martial arts I've dabbled in over the years. Generally speaking, I do it automatically on breakfalls and sometimes on fast rolls so I can come up under control. Just as I turn back or forward depending on the direction I want to face.

I think that as long as the ukemi is not injurious, it can't hurt to know more than one way - you could always practice the "old" style after class. I find it hard to open my eyes and mind to new ways of doing old tricks - but generally find the effort worthwhile.

Good luck in Mexico City!

heathererandolph
03-11-2009, 07:50 AM
Interesting! As an instructor it is easier when my students all take a fall the same way. I think there are probably a multiple of ways to actually take a fall. When doing technique it is good for the students to know how their uke will be falling. I think the instructor is just getting to know you as a student and how he can help you improve your skills. I'm sure it is disconcerting to be told not to do something that was the standard where you were.

Probably you just have to give it time and there's probably even a mourning process that goes on when realizing that you are leaving what you did before. The upside is that you will adjust eventually and probably even enjoy some new perspective in the long run.

David Anta
06-04-2009, 06:56 PM
In my humble opinion, it is ALL Aikido. I can also say first hand that switching from the variations available to us is quite challenging, but it can be done; it just comes down to the level of committment we are willing to make. Ego is something I suggest we leave at the door of every place we enter. This way we are much more open to the purpose of learning, which is at least one of the reasons why we show up to class in the first place, isn't it? When the teachers and the students have the ability to do that the possibilities are pretty much endless. That, by itself, can be the most difficult technique for some of us to learn. On the physical level you add more techniques and with practice they become part of what you ultimately are in relation to Aikido itself. D.