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jdsikander
06-30-2009, 07:59 AM
Hi Everyone

Am new to Aikiweb. I want to learn aikido but mentally cannot focus and stick to my lessons. all the guys out there who have done Aikido for ages please advise. Your help could safe my life!!!!!

Thanks A Million
Jay

Janet Rosen
06-30-2009, 11:20 AM
Jawaid, can you give us a little more information so our advice can be more specific to help you? I'm wondering, for example: how old are you?
how many weeks or months have you been training?
in that time, how many classes have you attended?
do you have difficulty in other situations with reading or with focusing on a job or task?
in general, it easier for you to learn something by seeing, by listening, or by moving?

odudog
06-30-2009, 12:27 PM
Usually in Aikido training, the nage doesn't get hit. Uke attacks but is in control to make sure that nage isn't hit in case nage messes up. I suggest that you get hit by uke if you mess up! Getting hit is the quickest way to learn what not to do and makes sure that you pay attention.
We have a teenager that for years doesn't really pay attention. I hit him ever so often and just hard enough to make him say ow. I hope I spelled that right. Or, I make him teach the technique to someone really below him. It really helps him focus for the other student will follow what was taught.

dave9nine
06-30-2009, 03:31 PM
no need to "mentally" focus....aikido is done with the body...let your body learn and keep your "mental" out of it....you can then go over the concepts later off the mat....mentally

-d

Janet Rosen
06-30-2009, 05:08 PM
no need to "mentally" focus....aikido is done with the body...let your body learn and keep your "mental" out of it....you can then go over the concepts later off the mat....mentally
-d
Dave, I understand what you are saying, but the reality is that for some of us, this isn't how we are wired to learn. For someone like me, as a newbie my body would just stand there frozen until I could mentally parse out every step AND verbalize it. Other people have difficulty in other ways.
That's why I'm trying to get more info from the OP about his baseline learning style/difficulties.

lbb
06-30-2009, 05:20 PM
What Janet said. David, are you familiar with the four learning styles? Doer, watcher, feeler, thinker?

SeiserL
06-30-2009, 08:37 PM
IMHO, Aikido trains not only the body but also the mind. You don't need to have focus to train, just use the training to also train your focus.

As you mind wanders, gently bring it back to the training.

ninjaqutie
07-01-2009, 10:44 AM
First off, are you even sure you are truly interested in aikido? Because if you aren't, then that could be the root of your problem. If you don't feel like going, go anyway. Once you are there, you will feel a little better. The more you train, the more focus you will probably gain. Speaking as someone who has worked with someone with no focus, it is very frustrating! She is a higher ranker then me and whenever I partner up with her, she asks me "What are we doing again?" and then I have to show her what to do so I can attack her first. Annoying.

If your sensei shows you a technique several times before you all partner up, look at something different each time: watch over all, watch what stance they start in & how they end up, watch how to attack and take proper ukemi, watch for proper technique, etc. If you are constantly focusing on something else, this may help you. That way you aren't just focusing on one thing the whole time & allowing your mind to wander.

You could do this with a partner too. Each time you do or receieve a technique, check something: Balance, extension, technique, ukemi, etc. This will keep you thinking about the topic at hand, but will also allow you to "wander" in your mind about different things.

Good luck. I think all new beginners minds wander. I know mine does (I am a new to aikido as well) and as Lynn mentioned, once I realize it, I bring my focus back to whatever is being done. Realizing you aren't focusing is actually a good first step.

lbb
07-01-2009, 12:43 PM
First off, are you even sure you are truly interested in aikido? Because if you aren't, then that could be the root of your problem. If you don't feel like going, go anyway..

I sense a paradox.

mathewjgano
07-01-2009, 10:55 PM
Hi Everyone

Am new to Aikiweb. I want to learn aikido but mentally cannot focus and stick to my lessons. all the guys out there who have done Aikido for ages please advise. Your help could safe my life!!!!!

Thanks A Million
Jay

Hi Jay,
Like Janet said, it's hard to offer advice without a bit more information, but my general rule of thumb for learning is repetition. The more you do something, generally the more your brain makes connections and the easier it is to do those things. It may seem like a silly piece of advice, but to get better at focusing you have to practice focusing. I practice a couple forms of meditation for that. Simply sitting with good, relaxed posture and focusing on breathing can do wonders for me when I'm having a hard time focusing. Like Lynn said, your mind will wander after some amount of time. That's natural, and when you notice it, simply return your attention to whatever you're focusing on. The more regularly I practice like this, the better focus I seem to have in general. It can be hard work, but it can be done.
Because you said you have problems sticking with your lessons implies to me you mean to say you don't practice consistently. If that's the case, I have the same problem. The best solution I have found is to make it a habit to practice a little each day. Again, the trick is to keep doing it, but the more you do, the easier it will be in general.
The way I learned to remember specific techniques was to pick one or two at a time and practice them by myself. I would say the names to myself and imagine a partner and then go through what I remembered the movements looked like. Sometimes I would get them wrong, but that's what going to the dojo is great at fixing. Sensei or senior students can make pointers and corrections to the form, but the trick is to focus on one or two until you get the basic form down; then you can move on to learning your next technique.
Hope that helped...and with that in mind, I'm off to meditate!
Take care,
Matt

Mark Uttech
07-02-2009, 11:01 PM
Onegaishimasu. One of the secrets, out in plain sight in aikido practice /teaching is that your path of aikido is up to you. It is up to you to take a single thing from every class, adapt it to your every day life, and practice until it becomes a part of you. It will.

In gassho,

Mark

jdsikander
07-03-2009, 11:26 AM
HI Matt

Thanks everyone for your replies, I think I will take up Matts advise and meditate

Thanks
Jay

jdsikander
07-03-2009, 11:38 AM
Hi Janet

I am forty years old. I have been going to Aikido lessons on and of for about an year. It's not just Aikido. I have having problems most of my life. For example; I always wanted to do photoshop. In 2005 I enrolled into my local college for the course. I took 8 lessons then stopped going. The following year I enrolled again I took 5 or 6 lessons then dropped out. The third year I enrolled again, this time only took 2 lessons, stopped going. I PAID 3 TIMES FOR THE SAME COURSE.

Thanks
Jay

Linda Eskin
07-03-2009, 01:17 PM
I am forty years old. I have been going to Aikido lessons on and of for about an year. It's not just Aikido. I have having problems most of my life. ...

Well, there are learning disabilities. Maybe you have one. In any case, whether your way of learning is "officially" a disability or not, the important thing is to figure out what works for you, and do that.

I, for instance, cannot grasp things by just hearing about them. If I were to sit through a lecture or presentation, I would remember virtually none of it. I have to take notes, draw diagrams, make outlines, underline the major points, etc. Taking notes helps me focus. I remember writing the things down - I don't remember hearing them.

There are also a lot of things about learning that (for some reason I cannot comprehend) don't get taught in school. When I switched to being a psych major in college I had to take Principles of Learning and Perception. I learned a few (8-10?) simple concepts I could apply to the way I studied. I had been a poor student, grade wise, before that, and have gotten all As since then. :)

Here are a few ideas that might help with learning Aikido:

- Sometimes learning one thing, and then doing something different right afterward kind of wipes out the memory of the first thing. Like it doesn't really settle into long term memory. When you are done with class, do not hop in the car and turn on the news radio, or call your friends. Instead, pick a couple of points that you still remember from class (I was trying to get irimi straight in my head last Tuesday), and go over and over them. Even just sitting quietly is better than jumping right into another mental activity.

- Review things periodically in your mind (or on paper, or physically). More frequently at first, and then decreasing over time. So maybe at first try to repeat a few new words ("ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo, gokyo") 10 times every so often (say, every time you go to the restroom). Then maybe once or twice a day. And then maybe review them every week. This week I am doing Irimi all over the place. I'll probably screw it up next week in class anyway, but I'm starting to grasp it. (It's pretty amazing that my brain has chosen to cramp up on the simplest possible technique. D'oh!)

It's like memories are slippery eels that have to be kept in a bucket (long term memory), but they keep trying to get out.

Also, try to narrow down exactly what you mean by "I have trouble focusing" and then address that. When you aren't focusing, what are you doing? Thinking about work? Trying to figure out what those Japanese letters on the wall say? Watching what others are doing? Is there something you can do to eliminate a distraction? Does it help to close your eyes and listen? You can't take notes in Aikido classes (alas!), but you might pick one technique and imagine that you are going to be called on to demonstrate it to the class next week - what would you need to notice or say to teach it to someone else?

Don't be too hard on yourself. This stuff is difficult (although why it's so darned difficult is something I haven't figured out). I watch hands, feet, etc. when Sensei is demonstrating something, and when I try it, it's like it evaporates from my brain. I regularly assimilate tons of information, quickly, for client projects, but I can't remember whether the technique I just saw 5 times started with a cross-hand grab or same side.

Just keep practicing... :cool: I dunno... I hope that helps.

Linda

ninjaqutie
07-03-2009, 03:23 PM
I sense a paradox.
Ah, I see I left out part of my thoughts. HAHA. There should be something inbetween there that says something like "Provided you are truly interested in aikido...."

Thanks for point that out. :D

Abasan
07-03-2009, 08:42 PM
Aikido is about learning to dissolve your ego. Your ego/desire to be bored or disinterested in something is something that is controlling you at this point in time. Be it your classes in photoshop or anything else.

Koichi Tohei wrote that to train your ego and become egoless, just practice denial of service (take that IT freaks :P).
What it means is, if you do not want to practice, then practice for the sake of spite to your ego. If you do not want to get up in the morning, wake up fully in bed and get up without giving your mind a chance to charm you into dozing for a few seconds more. If you want to bath in hot water just because it feels good, then take an icy cold bath just to say no thanks.

If you keep doing this, suddenly you will find yourself in control of your ego and then your body. No longer is your ego telling you what to do. Remember that you are the master here not the slave.

Another way to keep your focus in class is to be aware of your sensei totally. Kobuta sensei is fond of telling people he is holding a knife and if he senses that you are not totally there, bang you're dead. So, make believe your sensei is holding a knife and out to get everyone of his students who is not paying attention. Believe that were you to veer your attention slightly for a second that that knife will know be in your face.

fwiw.