View Full Version : Best training in Japan?

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08-11-2000, 09:00 AM
I think perhaps this poll may be 'rigged', as one would put it. Many of the people here are not from Japan, and do not train there, and everyone wants to think their training is the 'best'. A poll like this taken in Japan would most certainly turn out different.


08-11-2000, 09:20 AM
I refrained from voting in the poll as I have never trained anywhere but the UK and would have though the majority of people who did vote may have at least experienced both sides of the coin before casting their choice!

08-11-2000, 09:51 AM
It's also meant to measure what people's beliefs are in the kind of training that is in Japan.

No one said that the polls are scientific. If you have a better method, than please feel free to pursue it.

-- Jun

George S. Ledyard
08-11-2000, 09:52 AM
Although I trained at Hombi dojo in Tokyo during a brief visit, I based my no vote on that plus my experience with Aikido people who had trained for extensive periods.

I would say that there was a time, a sort of Golden Age of Aikido training in Japan during which the training was really cooking. But if you look at it now, although there are still wonderful teachers most of the old legendary teachers are passing away. Some of the most dynamic and talented teachers have moved overseas.

When I look at the training I recieved from Saotome Sensei or at the quality of students being turned out by Chiba Sensei and Imaizumi I know that it would be difficult if not impossible to duplicate that in Japan.

And then that first generation of American teacher is now here and they are some of the most talented and creative teachers of Aikido you could find. Mary Heiny , Tom Read ,Clint George , Linda Holiday, and Jack Wada Senseis are all products of Shingu having trained under Hikitsuchi Sensei and his deshi. You couldn't find a better experience in Japan than training under teachers here of that calibre. Other teachers who come immediately to mind are Bruce Bookman Sensei and Wiliam Gleason Sensei. You don't need to go to Japan to have training of the highest quality and it you would have to look around to duplicate the kind of training you could get from teachers like these. I am sure that there are more teachers I could mention but these are all folks with whom I have personal experience.

Aside from the cultural experience and the possibility of doing other training that would be difficult to find in the US, Japan has nothing on us.

08-11-2000, 02:49 PM
akiy wrote:

No one said that the polls are scientific. If you have a better method, than please feel free to pursue it.

-- Jun

I apologize, Jun-san. It was simply an observation and I meant no offense by it.

Please excuse me,


08-12-2000, 02:23 PM
akiy wrote:
No one said that the polls are scientific. If you have a better method, than please feel free to pursue it.

-- Jun

Are we a bit grumpy this fine day?

I actually didn't vote on this one as I've never been to Japan but I'd have to take the side that things are just fine here in the US.

Kristina Morris
08-12-2000, 11:25 PM
Keep in mind that these polls can be looked at from different angles/viewpoints. They are, after all, just polls that reflect the opinions of the people responding. For this latest poll to be more 'factual' or statistically correct, Jun would have to limit the poll to those Aikidoka who have trained in Japan as well as another country. The question is open to everyone on this forum whether or not we have trained in Japan.
Consider them _opinion_ polls, and very interesting ones at that!


08-13-2000, 02:21 PM
I didn't vote myself.. For two main reasons really. One, perhaps the most important, is that I've never trained in Japan - hence my opinion would be based upon conjecture, and guesswork, which isn't something I like to do (too often at least ;))..
Secondly is that having just participated in the Leeds International Aikido Summer School (hosted by the British Aikido Association) the quality of teaching was astounding. So, for the teaching to be better in Japan it would have to be pretty damn good.. Perhaps it is, I have no way to say for sure..
Just a random thought that's struck me as I'm writing - perhaps Japan is a better place for those who have the opportunity to train fulltime?


08-17-2000, 08:21 AM
Similarly to George, I too have only trained in Japan briefly and base my answer on the experiences of others who have trained in Japan extensively. What I mean by that is for longer than two years.

I think the key to "best training" lies within the trainee. If you're dedicated enough to travel to a foreign country, be treated as a gai-jin, learn the language and deal with all the other rubbish in order to train with people you regard as luminaries of budo... you're going to be training at your pretty darned best and make every moment of training count.

The people with that kind of dedication take with them the "best training" experience that they discovered in Japan when they go home. Occasionally I glimpse it and it's most inspiring.

If you're travelling to Japan as an aiki-tourist with the perception that training's going to be any different from what you've had at home, I think you're going to be sorely disappointed. The location should't make that much difference.

I once met someone (with 20+ years experience and practice in several countries) who trained a few times over a period of months with Chiba Sensei and took very little out of it. As talented as I'm sure Chiba is, he seemed pretty shallow to this person. A pretty sad story all around if you ask me.

The best training for me - particularly at a foreign dojo - is where I come out stimulated with more ideas, and made more connections with people. Thinking about what you do, and getting that feeling that you've really made contact with someone at a deep level, just makes me buzz when I come back home.

Liam - Uni of West Australia Aikido

ps: I think Jun's polls are great but not because of any factual accuracy they convey. For at least a fraction of an instant it challenges me to think about something aikido-related. Then it's that time between pressing the answer button and waiting for the response that I enjoy the most, as it lets me wonder about whether (any!) other people also feel the same way that I do. One person is enough! :)

Dan Hover
08-27-2000, 02:55 PM
My instructor trained at Hombu for 15+ years. not during the golden age, I 'm guessing that was 1955-70, but from 70-86. Right about the time of the great Tohei upheaval. Training in Japan is not the same as it is here. I've been to Saotome, Kanai, and Yamada seminars and all admit that the future of Aikido is not in Japan but overseas. That the Japanese are now more involved with Video games and being Westernized "teens" than want to be involved in the pursuit of Budo. But Ledyard Sensei is correct look at the products of the overseas Shihan here in the States, Donavan Waite, William Gleason( who spent about 10 years under Yamaguchi Sensei at Hombu) Koichi Barrish, Larry E. Bieri...and the list goes on and on