04-10-2002, 10:55 PM
Um I was wondering of there are any recommended dojos in the Bay area that I could go to train at maybe. Im might be going up at the end of the mounth ( the last weekend.) my parents are going for some work related issues and i asked if I could go to some dojos if i am allowed by the dojos. does anyone know any good dojos then that you have been to or heard from?? And Etiquette wise i am not so up to date casue I have never really ventured outside of my home dojo other than seminars. so is there any formal way to ask if I can train in a dojo?? anyways this a a maybe not sure if I can go so... but your thoughts are appreaceated!
04-14-2002, 12:15 AM
The only dojo in which I've trained in the Bay Area was Traditional Aikido of Sonoma (Tatoian Sensei), for a seminar, and had a great time. Goto Sensei was one of the instructors at the seminar, and he was fantastic; his dojo is somewhere up there, and the students from his dojo were the hosts for the last Saito Sensei seminar I attended and were great as well. But the best 'tour' guides would be ones from that area...
As for attending another dojo, here's what I was taught, but it varies a lot. First, ask permission from your sensei; let's assume he says 'yes, good, fine, have fun'. He may be of the really old school that would then have him write you a letter that you'd take to the 'gaining' sensei... I doubt he will do this, but he might know someone up there he'd recommend you try, and might even call or email him for you.
Next, if he doesn't call/email a sensei for you, but is fine with you going, then you should call/write/email the sensei or dojo point of contact and ask permission to train. Be polite. Explain where and for how long, under whom, etc you have trained in Aikido. This is not only polite, but lets them let you know if there is a change in location, class times, etc.
Once you are there: arrive early. Be polite. Ask about (and pay) mat fees (usually $10 or under). Be polite. Sign waiver (oh, take a parent to do that also--if they won't be going with you, perhaps the dojo can email/fax you a waiver you can get signed in advance). Be polite. Try to introduce yourself to the sensei before class starts. Be polite. Forget 'what we do back home' and do what is shown in this dojo. Be polite. At the end of class, thank the sensei and any other students who've helped you. Be polite. If you had a good time, you might ask for a dojo flyer to take back so if any friends back home are traveling you can encourage them to try there. Be polite.
Not a MA etiquette thing, but more of an Emily Post thing for me, I follow up a visit with a thank you note or email to the sensei, like you would for someone allowing you to spend a weekend at their vacation house, or invited you to a nice dinner party. You mom would approve.
Most of all, have fun.;)