View Full Version : Being a beginner

Please visit our sponsor:

Robert Schuster
08-13-2000, 05:06 PM
I have been involved with Martial Arts for over 10 years and currently hold a 2nd Dan in TaeKwon Do and am a white belt in Aikido. I just get so frustrated because it is so different from anything I ever did before. I sometimes don't know if it is because I put too much pressure on myself to advance and learn quicker, or if it is because I have two daughters and a hectic job which I didn't have earlier when I trained. I know nothing happens fast but I have days when I feel I am just spinning my wheels. Comments?

08-13-2000, 05:52 PM
stick with it, practice hard- I've been goin at it 8 months and I still couldn't tell ya how to do an ikkyo...

you can expect to master aikido in oh, 60 or 70 years... maybe...


08-13-2000, 11:43 PM
to all begginners who havent studied other MA dont expect to become the next bruce lee over nite ( unless bruce lee possesed u heheh)

08-14-2000, 01:43 AM
Hello Robert!

Don't put yourself too much under pressure. It doesn't help. Try to enjoy your training and don't think too much of perfection. Aikido needs lots of time or as my Sensei always says: you need two lifetimes before your Aikido is perfect. There's always something you do not do exactly right. This can be very frustrating but is also the challenge of Aikido.

It also depends on every single person how fast your progress is. I learn very slow and others are much faster. Shure, makes me a little bit jealous, but you only have to be better than you were in your last training, you don't have to be better than someone else. This may be a great difference to Tae kwon do (I tried it for half a year). In Aikido, you don't need to be the winner of others, you should be the winner of yourself.

Hope this helps a little bit,


08-14-2000, 03:01 AM
Hi Robert!

I started Aikido back in '93 and I ran into a problem not all that different from yours. I felt I was going nowhere and I practiced every weekday - sometimes twice a day. It allmost ruined my life. I neglected my studies, I got more and more frustrated not to be a shodan - not to be a Sensei - not to be recommended by my Sensei for my hard work. Finally I quit - not being very happy about myself and feeling quite miserable. I took it up again later for a brief period of time, but ran into the very same problem. Now I have had a three year pause from Aikido and about a month ago I took it up again, and this time I feel so much better about it. I don't really care what color belt I'm wearing or what kyu grade I'm at. I just enjoy training. Sometimes I can't help myself giggeling while doing a Shiohonage where nothing works and if I'm practicing with another beginner they usually look at me very puzzled and sometimes even a bit frightend. I just enjoy exploring the technique and learn a little bit more about myself.

Perhaps what helped me was getting a steady job a wife and a daughter (and turning 30 - that made me think A LOT). These things made me realise how precious time is. I used to feel ashamed if I missed a class but now I am happy taking one class a week and perhaps one extra Iaido-class on a weekday morning. I think I have learned to enjoy what I can get instead of sulking over what I can't get. Sure now and then I can drift away on the 'when I become a black-belt' dream, but it seem less important to me now than ever before.

Ups! this got a little out of hand. Hope it has done any good.


08-14-2000, 09:23 AM
Almost everyone I know has gone throught the same kind of frustration and anxiety when they start aikido. Basically, aikido, because its movements and techniques are so precise, can be one of the most difficult martial arts to learn. I remember one of my sempai telling me the story about how one of O Sensei's oldest and most senior students, Kisaburo Osawa Sensei, shortly before his passing saying something like "I think I am just now starting to understand kokyunage." I would encourage you to talk to some of your dojo's sempai (senior students) about your feelings. My guess is you'll get alot of the same kind of feedback as in this thread - but in person. Don't worry, everybody is a beginner at least once. Be assured that as long as you continue to train diligently, you WILL get better; even if it's hard to tell from time to time.

08-14-2000, 09:42 AM
One way to think about training is to "train for the sake of training"...

A pretty good book on this subject is George Leonard sensei's "Mastery."

-- Jun

08-14-2000, 11:08 AM
akiy wrote:
One way to think about training is to "train for the sake of training"...

A pretty good book on this subject is George Leonard sensei's "Mastery."

-- Jun

As usual, I really have to agree with Jun in this respect. I've been doing aikido for some 4.5 months now, and I have never once found myself frustrated to the point of quitting. I think the secret is to live in hte moment,and just, as jun said, train for the sake of training. Train to get better, but not to become shodan in a week. You will become a yudansha when you become a yudansha. And that little black stripe across your middle doesn't mean anything if you're not a dedicated, good aikidoka that can asist beginners in becoming good aikidoka. So don't worry that you've been doing it for X amount of time and you aren't X rank yet. Just enjoy it for the beautiful and enriching art that it is, for the kindness and compassion of your sempei and kohai, and for the fact that you're learning something. I've never attended a class yet where I didn't learn anything, or didn't teach someone something(equally important in my book)- and that is how I avoid being frustrated.

Hope this helps,
Alex Magidow

08-14-2000, 11:49 AM

I feel for you man. Your experience in TKD is emotionally getting in your way. Someday soon it will make your aikido technique that much better. I've seen this with so many people who start cross training and I've experienced it a bit myself. Most people give up because they don't like the feeling of "being a beginner" again after attaining years and rank. At least, you are getting your frustration out of the way at the beginning of your aikido career. It is all up hill from here.
People can correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure they will), but I think that the one decade in martial art hump that you and I are at is a common place for frustration no matter what one is learning. Just like in my doctorate, I just got to the point where I was proud of what I've learned so far. With that comes the knowledge of how much more is out there.
Hopefully, we will train together someday and when we do, I hope that we are both enthusiastic beginners again.

Chuck Clark
08-14-2000, 12:25 PM
Don't forget that there will always be flat places on the learning curve. I'm not so sure that those flat spots are not where real learning is taking place and the results then show the upward movement on the curve.

By the way, this year marks my 47th year of continuous budo training, so I have some experience to draw from. A couple of my "flat spots" have taken a few years to pass. Don't give up!

Practice for the sake of the practice and forget about getting better. It'll happen, but never the way we want it.

E.J. Nella
08-14-2000, 01:04 PM
The day I gave myself a break and decided to give Aikido as long as it needed to get into my body was the day a great weight was lifted off my shoulders!

I hope the same happens for you!

08-14-2000, 05:04 PM
Axiom wrote:

As usual, I really have to agree with Jun in this respect. I've been doing aikido for some 4.5 months now, and I have never once found myself frustrated to the point of quitting

The only time I ever considered quitting was one Saturday morning when I simply couldn't keep up with the class, having to bow out for water and goto the bathroom (I got queasy) almost every 5 to 10 minutes... I sat in the bathroom trying to hold down breakfast thinking perhaps I should quit so I wouldn't have to endure this shame any longer, because it was too hard, than I remembered something from Kodo:

"A student of mine once told me: Aikido is much harder than I thought!

I don't recall telling anyone it would be easy."

At that point I realized it would be even more shameful to stop training.


Robert Schuster
08-14-2000, 05:16 PM
Thanks to all of you replying! I will definately keep with it, it's just as I said that some days I do a technique with 1 uke then when we switch partners I am dumbfounded! I know I will not master it in a month ,year or decade, I just can't belive that from day to day, I can't even remeber the footwork!I really love the fact that Aikido is so non-competetive and peaceful, but I just have alot of trouble getting the basic things down.I just feel as if the styles and stances that I have practiced for years are a hinderence and interfere more with my training than the folks who walk in w/o any martialarts background. The rank doesn't bother me at all ,I just know in my heart alot of this isn't sinking in yet.Thats where the frustration sets in. I will concentrate my effort and be glad to be training and hopefully I will be 1 with my mind! Thanks guys!

08-14-2000, 05:31 PM
Robert Schuster wrote:
Thanks to all of you replying! I will definately keep with it, it's just as I said that some days I do a technique with 1 uke then when we switch partners I am dumbfounded
Good! If that weren't the case, this aikido thing would get pretty boring pretty fast...

-- Jun

08-15-2000, 09:10 AM
Hello all...
I am new to this forum and new to aikido.
I have been training in aikido for 18 months, but because I work overseas
my actual time spent on the mat is more like 6 months. I'm replying to
Bob's "beginner frustration" thread. I always forget the techniques and I'm constantly relearning them all the time. Lately, I have been referring to a book with the techniques in them to refresh my memory. It sometimes hurts to see my fellow students advance ahead of me but I know it's just
down to the fact that they are spending more time on the mat. I have decided to keep at it...for the rest of my life, and I just hope that the yudansha I train with put up with my comings and goings / and long
learning curve.
Regards, Andy Nemier

E.J. Nella
08-15-2000, 10:38 AM
Nothing in the world
can take the place of

Talent will not;
Nothing is more common
than unsuccessful men with Talent.

Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistance and Determination are Omnipotent.

~Calvin Coolidge

08-15-2000, 12:46 PM
We must never forget what I believe were some of O'Sensei's final words which I read went something like this (but in Japanese I suppose)--"[I am but a baby in the martial arts.]" Despite all his accomplishments, O'Sensei seemed to have always kept his ego at bay; he knew the path to happiness still demanded he keep his energies focused on learning.

08-15-2000, 05:20 PM
O-sensei was also known to say "Kono ojii-san mo mada naratemasu", meaning "This old man is still learning."

To quote Abe Lincoln (though many have said things of this sort, I know his quote exactly):

"No man's great who says he is."

Kanpai and good luck,

The overtalkative kohai

08-15-2000, 09:44 PM
Hi all how do u all do??

rob can I say I feall ur pain in a small way... I used to take another martial art called tang wei no we did not drink tango all day and punched each other. it was a bunch of mixes of martrial arts. it is rare in the us and very efficent but let us just say Aikido was part of the "SyStem" anyhow I trained for 3 years there till I had to move here in california. I was mad. i lost my friends ( still have a hard time making them becuase I am deaf and I mainstreamed and I used to be in the school for the deaf and blind) anyhow I lost tang wei. so I took up the baggpipes for abotu a year It was fun. then after about 2 years I found an Aikido dojo. I was right at home with the falling and tombling but the throws where a different language and my balance is not all that good.. anyhow I am (hopefully) gonne go for my 6 kyu test this december! but my first days was almost a very bad rebirth excspeccily with teh big ego i have ( I am learning to keep taht at bay) and not so good hearing. but dont give up the rewards are more than u can imagin. for each person the reward is diffreant depending what they accoplish. like me my balance is better and I have out of school friends