View Full Version : Where am I going?

Please visit our sponsor:

11-27-2009, 04:14 PM
I've been practicing aikido for about four years at this point. However, a couple years ago I took a job for a rather significant raise, in exchange for working the night shift. Before I got promoted into a day shift, my old dojo closed.

It took me a while to find another one in the area whose classes I could attend. Now that I have, I feel a bit lost. In the two years I'd spent at the other dojo, I'd felt like I was making good progress, really learning things and getting things down. Now... it feels like everything is different, and while the sensei is very good at aikido... I'm not so sure he's that good at instructing. Or maybe I'm just a bad student for him. :)

Either way, I don't really feel like I'm progressing much, in any aspect. The dojo doesn't even touch on the spiritual or philosophical aspects of aikido, and all the techniques are just different enough that I feel not just like a stranger, but a complete novice again. And on top of all that, it doesn't have the same sense of camradarie that my first dojo had.

I'm having real trouble finding the motivation to keep going. Does anyone have any advice to give for this?


11-27-2009, 04:31 PM
1) Assume that there is likely to be a learning curve, regardless.

2) Assume that your new teacher is teaching the way he thinks is right.

3) Assume that you will not find the same level of commitment to spiritual/philosophical development in every dojo.

4) Assume that you will either get used to it, or you won't.

That said, I hope that you will be patient if you want to try to make a go of it at this dojo. However, it doesn't hurt to keep one eye pointed in another direction. "Feel" in a dojo is very important. If you don't have the right feel after a reasonable time... well, you know...

11-27-2009, 07:05 PM
Is your new dojo in the same style that you used to practice?


11-27-2009, 10:46 PM
You're comparing your new dojo to your old one (or your memories of it, which may not be quite the same thing), and letting your memories of your previous level of proficiency create expectations for how fast and how well you should be learning now. It's understandable, but as you can see, it's also problematic. The only way to realize the value in what you have now is to see it as what it is, not as what it isn't.

Mark Uttech
11-28-2009, 10:49 AM
Onegaishimasu. I am reminded of the story of the man who had two watches; he was never sure what time it was.

In gassho,


Victoria Pitt
11-28-2009, 11:28 AM
You have not stated how long you've been back to training. Have you been at your new Dojo for a month, or two, or more? It takes time for that sense of camradarie to build up. Its hard being the new person at a place- you don't know anyone and no one knows you. It can leave one feeling a bit alienated.

That being said, I think the question really is what do you hope to get out of studying. Are you going for the social aspect or are you going for self improvement (and the answer "both!" is a valid one as well).

Perhaps this is where maybe you learn a different aspect of Aikido. I consider myself very lucky because I train under 4 different instructors. Not all of them teach the same way but I have found that I get something out of ALL of them- just not the same things. Some break things down for me, others explain the practical applications, still others I end up focusing on core movements... their training is not the same. At first it was hard for me but then I learned to notice what the instructor excelled at and started to pay attention to that. I have found that I feel I am getting a much broader base and deeper roots to my Aikido since I am not just learning it from one perspective, one focus. Perhaps this may work for you since this is a different teacher who is teaching differently than you are used to?

Kevin Leavitt
11-28-2009, 07:15 PM
Some of the best lessons from my training were not learned until years after I received them. Lately it seems I can remember back to 10 years ago when something was taught to me that seemed trivial at the time, but now it makes sense!

It is hard I have been there too.

11-28-2009, 07:35 PM
Some of the best lessons from my training were not learned until years after I received them. Lately it seems I can remember back to 10 years ago when something was taught to me that seemed trivial at the time, but now it makes sense!

Reminds me of a saying "the older I get the smarter my parents were."


11-30-2009, 02:27 PM
I have gotten kind of blue and lost comparing my new dojo to my old one as well.

In my experience, the old dojo feels better simply because it's familiar. I don't have to do any of the work at the old dojo anymore because it's a memory. So, even though I struggled mightily at my old dojo and was often a frustrated spaz (just like I am now), in retrospect it feels totally comfortable, and like I did everything 'right,' and that the old dojo was much better.

This may or may not be true in your case. But honestly, any time I feel uncomfortable my ego goes to great lengths to figure out how to stop the discomfort and collapse back into what I already know. My job, I think, is to understand that "The Old Dojo" (Old Teacher, or Method, or Job) is a powerful device that my ego throws at me all the time, and not fall for it.

11-30-2009, 02:34 PM
Oh, and to answer your question, which was about advice...

What I've been doing is assuming that my own stiffness and wanting my old dojo means that I am about to learn something important that I need to pay attention to. This helps me shut it up and keep an open mind.

Good luck!