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A Conrad
07-19-2010, 10:43 PM
I am interested in learning aikido but I don't live near any dojos and even if I did my job would not allow me to train frequently. I have been looking for home learning courses without any luck, all the ones that I have found don't seem to be from credible sources. Are there any credible home learning courses available?

Gorgeous George
07-19-2010, 11:10 PM
I wouldn't have thought so: you need at least one other person to practice aikido.
Perhaps Tai Chi could be an alternative?
But I think that anybody would recommend training in anything of this, or aikido's, sort under the guidance of a qualified teacher...

Shannon Frye
07-19-2010, 11:16 PM
It's great that you are interested in the art, but there's really no (I can see) of going it alone. The pictures in technical books can be very misleading, even to someone who has trained a while. Youtube is great for reference and reminders, but even in videos where is SO MUCH that can be overlooked, or hidden from the untrained eye. It's a 'gotta feel it" kinda art for me.
Best wishes.

07-19-2010, 11:43 PM
Hi Andy - I agree with Graham and Shannon I'm afraid - I think you need a teacher.

Aikido is done with a partner so you can learn to use the power and energy of the attack so it's not something you can study on your own really.

I'm sorry our answers don't help you very much. If you are serious about it you can go to the nearest dojo and explain your situation to the teacher there. Maybe you can even ask if there's any way you can be an irregular member. Then ask what exercises you can do for the periods when you can't make it to class.

For example if someone shows you how you can swing a jo - a wooden stick - or a bokken - a wooden sword - on your own whenever you have time. That would give you some feeling for basic aikido movement.

Another solution is to look for a different martial art closer to where you live.

Finally one more solution is to think about what Graham said - doing some basic tai chi. I know people who do tai chi who practice it on their own wherever they are - on the road or wherever. But in the end you really need a teacher for that too.

Good luck.

Janet Rosen
07-20-2010, 12:39 AM
Finally one more solution is to think about what Graham said - doing some basic tai chi.

You may not need a partner to do tai chi, but you certainly need an instructor to give you feedback on posture, weighting, transitions, breathing, energy...um....just about everything. Same with weapons work, whether aikido or koryu or whathaveyou: if an instructor isn't giving you feedback regularly, even an intermediate student will have a slow "error creep" and end up doing things quite differently than taught.

Mark Uttech
07-20-2010, 03:56 AM
Onegaishimasu. It is a human fallibility to always look for some shortcut. I remember reading about folks who would think nothing of driving 3 hours one way for a chance to train weekly; that's ambition and enthusiasm!

In gassho,


07-20-2010, 03:57 AM
Please don't try it, Andy. Aikido is about manipulating the mass, energy and joints of another person. You cannot learn this without a training partner, and you cannot learn this properly without a competent instructor. Anything you might pick up on your own would be coincidental and out of context. Wait until you have the opportunity to do it right.

David Maidment
07-20-2010, 11:53 AM
About a year ago I came on here and asked the same kind of question about teaching myself Iaido. Everyone told me not to bother (they were right, of course), but one thing I did do is continue to read the self-teach books and watch as much as I could on YouTube and elsewhere. I couldn't begin my training until I joined a dojo, but I had an impressive head-start that is even now proving to be beneficial to me. Just make sure you focus on whatever style of Aikido you plan to eventually learn, or you could be reading up on things that turn out to be incorrect.

07-20-2010, 12:13 PM
This is my opinion, sue me if you disagree.

Aikido can not be practiced through videos from the internet or from training manuals. Though these mediums can enhance our training, they can not be the source of Aikido knowledge for any practitioner.

The reason it is hard to find instruction videos from "credible" sources is because credible sources of Aikido knowledge teach in dojo, not in work-out videos.

The only way to practice Aikido honestly is by apprenticing yourself to a credible teacher. Aikido is a Budo. It's about people. Without the personal, mutually benefit relationship between teacher and student you can not practice Aikido. You might be able to learn random waza or techniques on youtube, but don't confuse that with being an honest practitioner of any martial art. Seek out the most credible teachers in your area. If there are none; move.

07-20-2010, 12:19 PM
Sure you can learn at home...I practice at home everyday. :) However at some point you'll need regular contact with qualified teachers and experienced students in order to progress beyond your bad habits and ignorance. :) (Don't take that personally we all develop bad habits and are ignorant at some level which is why we need instruction. )

Why not put an ad in your local paper to see if you can find someone who shares your interest? Heck perhaps you guys can start something ALA "Field of Dreams. :)

William Hazen

07-20-2010, 12:34 PM
I would venture to say that skills can "possibly" be practiced. Jo and bokken practice, foot placement, balance exercises - these can be practiced alone. Studying and progress require someone else to be present. Learning requires a teacher.

07-20-2010, 01:02 PM
I agree with Shawn. You may be able to practice some aspects of aikido, with varying degrees of success...but you can only practice what you've learned, and you can't learn on your own.

07-20-2010, 01:34 PM
Grappling arts like aikido need to be practiced with a partner. A home course isn't going to cut it in this case. If you're going to try and learn a martial art that way, you're better off with something like karate or taekwondo that allows for a lot more individual training. Of course, even in that case a home course will only get you so far.

Michael Varin
07-21-2010, 03:56 AM
Hello Andy,

I'll be somewhat of a dissenting voice.

Obviously you should find the best teacher you can, and to properly learn the partner practices you will need at least one training partner.

Having said that, it is possible to train bokken and jo and footwork by yourself. If you are very diligent you will build a strong foundation for future aikido training.

You need to buy a quality bokken and jo and buy or build some sturdy targets strike for tanren uchi.

Here are links to videos of one of my teacher's old friends:

I picked these because Lewis has very clean technique and I think he has attempted to make his videos very clear.

Here is a link to my friend's website:

Most of his weapons videos are partner practices, but there are some suburi and ideas for tanren uchi as well.

You will have to pay very close, painstakingly close, attention to hand and foot position, the angle of the strike, and the overall posture.

If you ask specific questions here I will always try to answer them for you.

I doubt you will master aikido this way, but the art is undeniably based on weapons, and the foundation of weapons training is suburi and tanren uchi, so you can build a solid base with this type of training. At least enough to hold you over until you can find a dojo.

Larry Feldman
07-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Find the most qualified 'local' teacher you can.

Larry Feldman
07-21-2010, 10:14 AM
That may not necessarily include someone teaching Aikido.

Larry Feldman
07-21-2010, 10:18 AM
Andy - Why don't you tell us where you live?

Double check with the dojo finder, but in the past I have had members suggest dojo's that are not listed on the dojo finder.

Benjamin Green
07-21-2010, 10:27 AM
While the principles remain fairly constant the angles and so on for stances alter dependent on who's trying to thump you and how. You need someone who's a threat to you to measure the effects of what you're doing.

If someone never fires a tight sequence of blows at you it's very easy to end up thinking that what you're doing is the real McCoy even if it's not. And if it's not, then there are going to be some fairly well ingrained habits to get rid of.

Dennis Hooker
07-21-2010, 10:46 AM
You can do quite a bit by yourself. See some of the comments by Dan Harden on training alone. In fact some of the centering stuff is best done alone. Also Aiki Ken and Jo can be done alone, foot work and quite a few moves (see Tomiki aikido) can be done and they were developed for times when partner training was not appropriate.

A Conrad
07-21-2010, 11:45 AM
I live in Stevensville, MI (southwest corner of the state) and the only place I have found in the area is a taekwondo school that seems to be geared toward younger kids.

As for going it alone I can find a friend or brother that would be willing to train with me so I could practice grappling.

Gorgeous George
07-21-2010, 05:41 PM
See some of the comments by Dan Harden on training alone.

Where can these be found?

Russell Davis
07-24-2010, 03:32 PM
Hi, Like most of the other posts I agree with what they have already said. In addition may I suggest that if you truly want to learn Aikido and nothing else; (JKD/Kali )
1. Find a willing partner if possible
2. Learn the Ettiquette required (kneeling. bowing etc)
3. Lean the terminology for No2
4. Learn to count to ten ot twenty in japanese
5. Buy a cheap Gi
6. Save your pennies and travel to a Seminar even if its out of state.
7. If you are going to try and learn locks and throws without proper instruction, be very very gentle with your partner, it is very very easy to HURT someone, if not given proper instruction.
8. Go back to No6.

07-25-2010, 07:52 AM
I think it was Stanley Pranin that said this anecdote. Some traditional Japanese sensei was blowing off that you can't learn Aikido from a video. When Stanley asked permission to video tape the sensei's seminar, he answered "No way! Then people will steal my technique!"....

Karate kid learned karate from a video... uh at least tried to.

Seriously though, how are you planning to harmonise when you don't have outside forces to harmonise with? Don't dampen that spirit though, do whatever solo exercises you can and learn from whatever videos youtube brings your way. Just don't call it Aikido yet and don't go to a dojo later with that full glass with you.

Garth Jones
07-25-2010, 09:13 AM
Have you ever practiced aikido, even one class? If not, it would be a good idea to visit a dojo and take a class or two. Also, this would give you a chance to meet a teacher or teachers and get some one on one advice about how you can begin your training. That would probably be much more valuable than asking questions here.

You're not that far from Chicago. Others will have different recommendations, but I would suggest paying a visit to the Chicago Aikikai, Kevin Choate Sensei's dojo. Go for a weekend, take a couple of classes, and make sure aikido is right for you. If it is, perhaps you could get over there a couple of times a month. That's not much, but if you really want to learn, it's worth the effort.

07-25-2010, 10:48 AM
This an obituary of a former sensei of mine who along with a few others taught themselves Aikido from Sensei Tohei's books in the 1960's.

Bold print is mine.

From AikiWeb

"Charles Cycyk Sensei Passes Away
Posted 4/07/2001 9:55am [from Richard Dustman]
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2001. Charles Cycyk passed away. Cycyk Sensei was a student of Aikido for over three decades. He was a master, a teacher, a friend and a student. I had the honor of sharing a last session with him practicing breathing techniques on Tuesday evening. He was probably unique in that when he started Aikido, he self-taught himself from books for the first three years until then formally invited to Chicago and given recognition for his accomplishments. He was one of a select few who truly lived the way of harmony and truly taught for the joy of it. Editor's note: He was the instructor of Youngstown Aikikai in Struthers,

Ohio. My condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones."


Erik Calderon
07-26-2010, 03:20 PM
I think Home learning sounds like a great idea! Maybe I'll develop a program for that.

Although you do need partners to practice, with technology these days, a home course needs to be developed for Aikido!

Erik Calderon

Janet Rosen
07-26-2010, 03:45 PM
I think Home learning sounds like a great idea! Maybe I'll develop a program for that.

For a small fee or a good meal, I'll make home visits & take ukemi :D

08-25-2010, 01:51 PM
If You have martial arts background, You can make first step, But its better to find good teacher (it is very difficult:) ).

Larry Feldman
08-26-2010, 09:34 AM
I put your hometown in the dojo finder and did a search within 50 miles. It came up with 3 dojos.

Find out from those dojos who has a saturday class, and if you get once a week instruction, you can practice with your brother or a friend at home. It would be best for them to ride to the dojo and take classes with you.

If you came to practice with me on that basis, I would send you home with specific homework that you could build upon.

The biggest issue raised, which I agree with, is getting off track with your training, not knowing it, and simply building bad habits instead of learning something.

I personally drove 3 1/2 hours each way to train once a month for about 8 years, but it was after I had a black belt, and could incorporate the new lessons on my own. Even with that experience, it was easy to get off track into my own bad habits.

08-26-2010, 04:21 PM
Here's a dojo that looks like it's about 36.7 miles away from you: