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Wshmaster0
03-23-2002, 10:00 AM
Hello,

Please excuse any comments that I make if they sound stupid. I am a TOTAL and COMPLETE newbie at Aikido or any form of martial arts for that matter.

I've always had the interest in martial arts but since it was never really encouraged in my family, I have never been 'able' to do it.

I am currently 19 and I attend FSU in Tallahassee, FL. My main question is, is it too late? I am of medium height (5'4, actually small for a male) and I breakdance on a regular basis to keep my flexibility. However I have always been intimidated by people who entered at an early age and can fly through the air like it was nothing.

My main interest though is in the sword techniques I had a friend who was into martial arts and was training in Aikido. I mentioned to him that I wanted to learn a pure Japanese style so he said this might a good one for me. Is it possible to learn start the sword without prior years training in the martial arts?

Any feedback would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you and have a nice day :)

Greg Jennings
03-23-2002, 10:37 AM
Originally posted by Wshmaster0


I am currently 19 and I attend FSU in Tallahassee, FL. My main question is, is it too late? I am of medium height (5'4, actually small for a male) and I breakdance on a regular basis to keep my flexibility. However I have always been intimidated by people who entered at an early age and can fly through the air like it was nothing.

My main interest though is in the sword techniques I had a friend who was into martial arts and was training in Aikido. I mentioned to him that I wanted to learn a pure Japanese style so he said this might a good one for me. Is it possible to learn start the sword without prior years training in the martial arts?


You're at a great age to start. With your size, flexibility and body control (from break dancing) you'll have an easy time in aikido. Particularly the style of aikido that is most prevalent in your area.

You're in a great location. There are several great dojo within easy driving range of you where you could pick up many different flavors of aikido.

There is a Tri-State aikido gathering at Eight Winds Aikido Society in Gautier, MS (just beyond Mobile) April 27th. You'd be able to see several of them there.

I do think that you'll end up a little disappointed in the sword work of generic aikido. There are a couple of dojo near you, however, that practice Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (MJER) Iaijutsu; an old-school sword style. That, I would think, would give you a solid grounding.

I visit one of those dojo frequently, so if you do take up aikido, we'll probably run into each other eventually.

If you ever have questions feel free to e-mail me.

Best Regards,

Wshmaster0
03-23-2002, 10:54 AM
Hey Greg,

Thanks for the quick and very informative response. However, at this point I'm still very confused as to how I am really suppose to get started. When I mean beginner I mean totally clueless.

Could you tell me a little bit more about Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (MJER) Iaijutsu? Like I mentioned before, the sword mastery is what I am interested in. Should I take aikido as a martial arts form and then MJER in the sword technique?

Sorry if I sound stupid hahah I truly am very new at this but I am willing to learn, so I'm not sure exactly what I should take.

From what I've seen the Chinese sword style is by far the most elegant and powerful however, but like I said again im 19 and most of the men and women that I have seen have started when they were young and learning the philosophy should be something acquired early in life right?

Greg Jennings
03-23-2002, 04:03 PM
Originally posted by Wshmaster0
Hey Greg,

Hi Lloyd,


Thanks for the quick and very informative response. However, at this point I'm still very confused as to how I am really suppose to get started. When I mean beginner I mean totally clueless.

I'm sorry. I'd thought you'd already started aikido at the FSU Aikido club.


Could you tell me a little bit more about Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (MJER) Iaijutsu? Like I mentioned before, the sword mastery is what I am interested in.

I'm really not the person to tell you about it.

Here are three sites:

http://www.shindai.com/

http://www.aikidowestflorida.com/

http://www.nfa.asu.org/

The former is co-run by Dennis Hooker Sensei. He's a fairly high-ranking practitioner of MJER in addition to being a high-ranking aikido-ist.

The second is near you and has affiliate dojo even closer. The instructor there is a senior student of Hooker Sensei (in addition to being a friend and mentor of mine). They are really nice people.

The third is in Tallahassee. I don't know anything about their sword work, however.


Should I take aikido as a martial arts form and then MJER in the sword technique?

That depends on what you.

I practice the Iwama aiki-ken and aiki-jo entirely to aid my aikido. Many of the people in aikido feel the same way.

Are you in it for the art or is self defense a goal of yours, even if secondary.

For me, it's all the same. All about self improvement. I really like aikido, which has a lot to do with my instructor, but iai, jo, or whatever whould serve the same end.


Sorry if I sound stupid hahah I truly am very new at this but I am willing to learn, so I'm not sure exactly what I should take.


1. Make a list of dojo that you'd consider studing at that are within a practical commute. Preferably three or more times per week.

2. Go visit each dojo. Train if you can, observe if you can't. Talk to the instructor and/or the senior students. Get a feel for them. Be yourself, but be polite.

3. Winnow that down to a short list. Go visit them again.

4. Pick a dojo/instructor that you think you can hang with for the long haul.


From what I've seen the Chinese sword style is by far the most elegant and powerful however,

I'm not an expert in either style, much less both. I'm not qualified to answer.


but like I said again im 19 and most of the men and women that I have seen have started when they were young and learning the philosophy should be something acquired early in life right?

I seriously doubt anyone is able to absorb either the spiritual or martial philosophy/strategy/etc. at a very young age.

In short, you're, like, so not too old. Get thee to a dojo before you are old, fat, bald and wishing you'd done it when you were a young whipper-snapper.

Best,

Wshmaster0
03-23-2002, 05:22 PM
Are you in it for the art or is self defense a goal of yours, even if secondary.

I want to be in it for both. My main goal was to try to pick up a true Japanese-style. Another style I had in mind was Shorin Ryu but put an emphasis on the sword.

Greg Jennings
03-23-2002, 05:44 PM
Originally posted by Wshmaster0


I want to be in it for both. My main goal was to try to pick up a true Japanese-style. Another style I had in mind was Shorin Ryu but put an emphasis on the sword.

Good deal. Swordsmanship has about zero applicability to self-defense in the absence of an empty hand art.

Being small, aikido would work very well for you for an empty hand art since it stresses maximum effect with minimum use of strength.

But there are others as well, I'm sure. Just make sure it's an integral part of their training and not something they do "on the side".

Check out the http://www.nfa.asu.org/ group. I'm sure they'd be great for you.

The ASU (Aikido Schools of Ueshiba) is very strong in FL. The head of it, Mitsugi Saotome Sensei lives in Sarasota. He was a live-in student of Aikido's Founder. Later, before immigrating to the U.S., he was a leading instructor at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. He has amazing aikido and runs his organization very well. You won't find a better org.

The other two dojo I referred you to are also ASU. You'd have a good in with them and be able to pick up MJER in addition to the ASU aiki-ken and aiki-jo (which is different from that we practice here).

Feel free to e-mail me anytime.

Best Regards,

Tony Peters
03-24-2002, 01:42 PM
From experieance I can tell you that Iaido and Aikido are not always compatable. I would definatly look at Hooker Sensei's dojos. He is senior enough in both arts to be able to see and head off an compatability issues. Which are most prevelant when you are starting out.