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Dave Plaza
08-27-2010, 03:35 PM
Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people :)

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I’ve partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I’ve always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can’t get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big “aha” moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I’m at square one.

When we train, it’s pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave :)

Larry Feldman
08-27-2010, 04:05 PM
There is no set answer as to when it connects for you. It is tied to frequency of attendance, and how quickly you learn this particular activity. For many people it can take awhile to 'gel'. If you like the practice, just practice, and don't worry about when it all connects, it will. Most of the people who stick with the practice and advance are the tortoise, not the hare.

Personally I try to give beginners more reps and less techniques, and keep them training on a much smaller set of techniques, so they see progress sooner.

You will still get progress with the 'larger variety' of techniques approach, but it will take a little longer to get there. I would think you should see some recognition of movements and comfort in techniques in about 3 months, but that is a general guideline that I have seen with the high variety of techniques approach.

It is much like adding a single sheet of paper to the stack, any one sheet appears to make no difference, but after a year you can see the stack.

ninjaqutie
08-27-2010, 04:10 PM
Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people :)

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

When we train, it's pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave :)

First off, welcome to aikido! Your description is probably the same discription of most beginning aikidoka. Like you, I pick up on things rather quickly and I thought it would be the same in aikido... but I was wrong! :crazy: Aikido is a very detail oriented, intricate, internal art. It isn't quite as easy as some other styles where the techniques don't have so many minute details. You WILL have those "Aha!" moments and something will click, but there is NOT a moment where EVERYTHING will click. Take it easy and enjoy the ride. :) I too am a beginner (been training for a year and a half) and there are some other people who are newer like us on the forum as well (along with some really great experienced people). So, at least know that you aren't alone in the way you feel at the moment.

Best of luck and keep training.

Larry Cuvin
08-27-2010, 05:30 PM
Welcome to Aikiweb Dave. My suggestion to you is after class (or before class) have someone experienced to show you a particular technique that you have a problem or question with. I know it is hard to remember a lot of techniques in one class but if you pick one technique, learn the basic flow/movement because you will surely recognize the movement present on other techniques.
For me, there not just one aha moment where everything clicks. I have a lot of aha moments sometimes on just one technique. Good Luck.

Nick P.
08-27-2010, 05:41 PM
Feldman Sensei,

I visited your dojo, once, way back in '00; I was the Canadian looking for a new dojo to call home during my brief stay in Atlanta. I wanted to thank you for the warm welcome you extended to me during my training with you. Domo.


It is much like adding a single sheet of paper to the stack, any one sheet appears to make no difference, but after a year you can see the stack.

Great analogy, and one I plan to share.

Conrad Gus
08-27-2010, 05:54 PM
It takes about a year.

I always tell beginners not to feel bad if they are confused a lot for the first year. Then one day there will be an experience of things starting to feel natural.

That was what I was told when I was a beginner and it turned out to be true. Just relax and enjoy the process.

raul rodrigo
08-27-2010, 07:31 PM
Been training 14 years.It should happen any day now. :)

Larry Feldman
08-27-2010, 08:35 PM
Nick - Glad you enjoyed the visit.

Dave - At least you are not bored from the monotony of practice!

phitruong
08-27-2010, 09:12 PM
it will make sense once you went pass the sensen no sen state into the no nonsense state. :)

Rob Watson
08-27-2010, 09:51 PM
Been training 14 years.It should happen any day now. :)

I've been at it since 1992 and I'm still looking for 'it' to happen ... some of us are slower than others (well, me anyway).

Rayleen Dehmke
08-27-2010, 11:45 PM
Hi Dave!

I so can relate to how you're feeling, I've been at it about 6 months. Sometimes I feel really stupid and get frustrated, that's when I know I need to 'bring it', get focussed which is easier said than done some days. Other times I have a great practice, and feel confident that I'm moving forwards. Right now I am working on staying calm and relaxed, when I do that the training is good.

Something that my sensei brought up tonight is- learn to love criticism, it makes us better :D

I don't think there is any 'aha' moment, it's a gradual process. Enjoy the journey!

odudog
08-29-2010, 08:14 PM
I would recommend not trying to learn an entire technique for there are too many moving parts. You're too new to the game to do that. Instead, try to learn one particular movement within a technique or techniques. This is much easier and you will be surprised on how much practice is needed just to get one particular movement correct.

Brian Gillaspie
08-29-2010, 08:38 PM
Just keep training and try not to get frustrated which is easier said than done. I've been training for a little over 6 years and most training days feel ok, some days feel good, and some days feel like I can't do anything right. Of course my bad days after 6 years are probably better than what I thought were good days during my first couple of months of aikido. I guess the good thing about having those bad days is that it keeps you humble and you realize how much more you have to learn.....plus if you get Aikido all figured out in 6 months then I don't know what you would do the rest of your life :D

Shadowfax
08-29-2010, 09:06 PM
I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away…


This may sound a bit odd. But... stop trying. The less you try to make it happen the easier it is.

Just train. Feel the techniques and the movement.

I think I was training for about a year when things started to make sense. And at that its never been any big moment of ,"Oh I understand Aikido now", its been a series of small, and occasionally a big, ah ha moments. The funny thing is I am really noticing that, the more I begin to understand it ,the more I realize I don't understand it at all....Which is what makes aikido just so fascinating. :hypno:

Enjoy each stage of the journey and don't get to wrapped up in the destination.

SeiserL
08-30-2010, 05:28 AM
IMHO, "making sense" usually means that you have a mental concept of what you are doing. "Not making sense" may mean you body and mind are not moving in same direction or working from the same model.

Someone once said that where ever the head goes the body follows. Its hard to move your body in a circle if your head is still thinking in a straight line.

You may want to read more about the concepts and principles about how and why we do what we do.

Shadowfax
08-30-2010, 06:34 AM
Someone once said that where ever the head goes the body follows. Its hard to move your body in a circle if your head is still thinking in a straight line.


Whoever said that never rode a runaway draft horse.:D

Marie Noelle Fequiere
08-30-2010, 09:12 PM
Sensei keeps saying that Aikido is the application of a number of principles. Try to find the principle behind the technique, and you will find the link between all of them.
I've been training for four years, and I'm still struggling. Okay, I did improve in some techniques, but others still make me go :hypno: .
All newbies wait for the moment of enlightenment. Kensho Furuya Sensei said that training is the enlightenment.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Train for the fun of it, and you will improve.
You will never tame a bird by chasing it. You need to sit still and let it come to you.
Now, go train.

fisher6000
09-03-2010, 07:38 AM
I felt like I was actively getting worse for many months too. I think that's fairly normal.

In addition to being detail-rich, aikido is also a partnered exercise, and every person is really different. What works great with one person will sink you with another, and these days I think training is about figuring out how to navigate that constant stream of variables (height, weight, skill level, intensity of attack, flexibility, ukemi skills and on and on and on) with increasing integrity.

It takes a long time to make sense of that much information, which is all unfolding in this profoundly relative and shifting context. It's not like there is such a thing as an "ideal" iriminage that you can perfect in a vacuum, like a suburi. There is only this interaction, which is limited in its ability to tell you anything about what iriminage is because it's so specific to you and your partner.

Thinking in terms of principles and not getting hung up on details helped me get through this. Weapons work helps too because there are suburi, and because a lot of the principles of body movement are laid out in a way that lets you focus and perfect.

Finding a sense of humor about it helped me most of all. Like you, I am a fast learner with my body and got really frustrated by aikido. Figuring out how to laugh at myself made a huge difference, kept me from quitting.

Maarten De Queecker
09-03-2010, 07:48 AM
Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people :)

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

When we train, it's pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave :)

I had that moment only recently. Recently being after I've been training for 2-3 years. I definately had my frustrations too (I always managed to see what I should be doing but my body just didn't want to play along), but I managed to put them aside and learn from every single person I train with. Once you get that frustration out of the way, you'll be able to train in a much more relaxed way.

There's definately an "aha!"-moment, but you have to be patient for it ("patient" really being the key word here). Just keep training and it'll come.

lbb
09-03-2010, 10:30 AM
It's like learning to roll a kayak. First you don't got it. Then you got it. Then you don't got it. Then you got it again. Then you lose it again. Then you got it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

(of course, the "it" keeps changing, whether you realize it or not, and the context changes as well. kinda a microcosm of life in general I guess)

Dave Plaza
09-04-2010, 04:53 PM
Thanks everyone for taking the time to give feedback, it's much appreciated :)

What I mostly take from all your words, is not to get too hung up on my progress and just enjoy the training... which I definately do.

I did however skip my Wednesday and Thursday training this week because I've been at it non-stop and I thought a bit of time away might do me some good... My life does seem to be consumed by aikido at this juncture, that I usually run through moves with ghosts every night before I sleep. (ghosts as in dreamt up people :) )

I think missing the training was a mistake though, I miss it far too much.

Thanks everyone :D

Shadowfax
09-04-2010, 09:25 PM
.

I did however skip my Wednesday and Thursday training this week because I've been at it non-stop and I thought a bit of time away might do me some good... My life does seem to be consumed by aikido at this juncture, that I usually run through moves with ghosts every night before I sleep. (ghosts as in dreamt up people :) )

I think missing the training was a mistake though, I miss it far too much.


Dave, I train with the ghost people too. ;) You sound a bit like me.

In the past year I have missed only 3 classes. ( I train 3 days/5.5 hours a week) And in the past 8 months none. The thought of missing a class is just unthinkable to me. Heck when there was no class due to the 4th of July holiday I felt really out of sorts all week until the next class.

Just relax and allow yourself to progress at whatever rate seems best for you and just enjoy the training as you guessed. There is no time limit on learning aikido.

Anita Dacanay
09-05-2010, 05:38 AM
For me, I reached a crisis about one year into training. I thought, "Man, I really stink at this. Maybe I should just forget about it." Then I thought about what I would say to my kids. "Why did you quit Aikido?" they would ask. I realized that "Because it was too hard" was not an answer I was willing to give them. That's just ego junk anyway. Honestly, when do you "get" Aikido? When do you stop needing to train? I am sure I will never reach that point and that is okay with me. It's all about the (often bumpy) journey.

Dave Plaza
09-05-2010, 05:27 PM
Dave, I train with the ghost people too. ;) You sound a bit like me.

I'm so glad that somebody else does this, thought I was losing it a little :)

For me, I reached a crisis about one year into training. I thought, "Man, I really stink at this. Maybe I should just forget about it." Then I thought about what I would say to my kids. "Why did you quit Aikido?" they would ask. I realized that "Because it was too hard" was not an answer I was willing to give them. That's just ego junk anyway. Honestly, when do you "get" Aikido? When do you stop needing to train? I am sure I will never reach that point and that is okay with me. It's all about the (often bumpy) journey.

How long have you been learning now?

Thanks

Dave

danj
09-05-2010, 07:02 PM
Hindsight is a great measure of progress. With a relatively limitless continuum forward its going to be a while before you might think you are getting somewhere.
looking back is a good guide though,
- how am I doing compared to new students who have just walked in,
- how have i progressed in kokyu dosa (aiki without the busywork of technique)
- how is my ukemi going
these might be interesting questions to ask one self

dan

fisher6000
09-06-2010, 09:10 AM
Wow, those are good questions Dan.

One of the visiting shihan here said in a recent class that whenever he got frustrated by technique, he would let it go completely and focus exclusively on the ukemi for that technique.

This is one of those things that's easy to say and hard to do, but I've been working to incorporate it into my own practice. Focusing on ukemi when frustrated does seem to shut off the critical internal dialogue and make more listening happen.

Linda Eskin
09-07-2010, 12:56 AM
...
I did however skip my Wednesday and Thursday training this week because I've been at it non-stop and I thought a bit of time away might do me some good...

I think missing the training was a mistake though, I miss it far too much.


Yup... :D

After my 5th kyu test I thought I'd back off a little, regain some balance in my life, and spend a little more time on other things. Ha! Like you, I missed it too much. Since then I've been training pretty regularly 4 nights a week, and I miss it on the days I can't be there. I'm adding a 5th day for the next few months (2 more classes, plus working one-on-one with a mentor) while I get ready for my next test.

This weeekend I've been reading "Mastery" by George Leonard. Everthing about it rings true for me. He even uses some of the same examples I've been using. :) I think you'd really enjoy the book, and it relates directly to the toloic of your thread here.

GMaroda
09-07-2010, 07:46 AM
Nancy Moore Sensei once told me "if you're not confused, I'm not teaching you right." After that, I just assumed Aikido was not supposed to make sense. :)

Anita Dacanay
09-07-2010, 01:58 PM
How long have you been learning now?

Thanks

Dave[/QUOTE]

Dave,

To answer your question, just about another year since that crisis. I just try to stay in the moment when I'm training. There are days when I feel or experience "getting" some aspect that I've been working on, but I find that there is always some other aspect to "get" that I'm not getting... like Mary said: you got it, you don't got it, etc...

So why bother? Well, I find Aikido fascinating and deeply rewarding even as I find it maddening and yes, very difficult indeed. A yoga instructor once told me that the poses that are the most difficult are the ones you need to practice, because they are the ones that are working on your areas of weakness. I see practicing Aikido in a similar light: "because it's hard" isn't a reason for me to quit, it's a reason to keep training, and thereby work the areas of my being that need strengthening.

How are you enjoying your training this week? :)

Janet Rosen
09-07-2010, 02:22 PM
One of the visiting shihan here said in a recent class that whenever he got frustrated by technique, he would let it go completely and focus exclusively on the ukemi for that technique.

I find myself doing that pretty much any time I'm blocked in my nage-waza for any reason. I'll ask my training partner to stay in the nage role for a few extra turns each time, and since most people seem to think that's more important or prefer it, we are both happy :-)

SeiserL
09-08-2010, 06:35 AM
IMHO, it can begin to make sense at the level you.
It will make different sense as you progress.
Each time you experience something new you will be confused again.
Don't be in a hurry.
It sounds like it has already begun.

Dave Plaza
09-11-2010, 05:00 PM
This weeekend I've been reading "Mastery" by George Leonard. Everthing about it rings true for me. He even uses some of the same examples I've been using. :) I think you'd really enjoy the book, and it relates directly to the toloic of your thread here.

I will check it out, thanks. :)

A yoga instructor once told me that the poses that are the most difficult are the ones you need to practice, because they are the ones that are working on your areas of weakness. I see practicing Aikido in a similar light: "because it's hard" isn't a reason for me to quit, it's a reason to keep training, and thereby work the areas of my being that need strengthening.

How are you enjoying your training this week? :)

I will remember this when it gets confusing on my bad side, I mean it's confusing on my good side, but y'know what I mean :)

Training was a mixed bag this week. The first night was weapons, and I mess that up quite often, but I'm never too hard on myself about this aspect. The next night was high level stuff, Sensei likes to take us right up there some nights then drop us back down again on another session, it's always up and down with him edging the goal posts slightly. The last training night was amazing, I left buzzing, practiced a lot of techniques against strikes, and it had a good contemporary street feel to it. :)

IMHO, it can begin to make sense at the level you.
It will make different sense as you progress.
Each time you experience something new you will be confused again.
Don't be in a hurry.
It sounds like it has already begun.

Thanks for the advice :) Thanks to everyone for their advice :D

tarik
09-17-2010, 05:47 PM
I guess I will differ from everyone else in saying that what you're working on should make sense pretty much from day 1.

All the other issues people discuss about being patient with yourself, not overtraining, are quite true, however, in my own experience, a teacher should be able to make something of what you are working on make enough sense right away that there is no mystery to it.

Now you will still experience mystery, ongoing growth, and aha moments, and you won't understand or make sense of everything right away by any means, and you should be learning stuff that you have no clue about if your teacher is any good.

This could be why it took me so long to call anyone I learned from 'my teacher', because few of them were capable of that level of teaching. If it doesn't make sense, it could be you, but I would also suggest that it could be your teacher.

Best,

Janet Rosen
09-17-2010, 08:00 PM
This could be why it took me so long to call anyone I learned from 'my teacher', because few of them were capable of that level of teaching. If it doesn't make sense, it could be you, but I would also suggest that it could be your teacher.
Best,

Tarik, you're not actually suggesting that a lack of basic pedagogy or curriculum exists in some aikido dojos, are you?! :D

Amir Krause
09-19-2010, 07:53 AM
Tarik, you're not actually suggesting that a lack of basic pedagogy or curriculum exists in some aikido dojos, are you?! :D

There are many ways of teaching Aikido:

* Some teachers are methodological. They have a clear logical order of techniques and situations.
* Some teacher are instinctive, they see their students and adapt the teaching to the needs of the students.
* Some teachers believe in intentional chaotic methodology.
* Some teachers have no idea about methodology and just teach as they see fit.

The above categories are not exclusive. People rarely belong only to a single group. E.g. I was lucky to find a teacher who belongs in the first two groups, I would not have kept practicing otherwise.

Amir

tarik
09-19-2010, 01:38 PM
There are many ways of teaching Aikido:

Indeed.


* Some teachers are methodological. They have a clear logical order of techniques and situations.
* Some teacher are instinctive, they see their students and adapt the teaching to the needs of the students.
* Some teachers believe in intentional chaotic methodology.
* Some teachers have no idea about methodology and just teach as they see fit.

There is a difference between people who actually teach and those who merely lead class. I do believe that there are a lot of great teachers out there, but I believe that there are also a lot of high ranked leaders of class who get called teachers. <shrug> It all depends on what you're looking for in a teacher and looking to learn in the dojo. I think it takes a lot of time to even discover that for yourself.

Best,

tarik
09-19-2010, 11:50 PM
Tarik, you're not actually suggesting that a lack of basic pedagogy or curriculum exists in some aikido dojos, are you?! :D

Janet, I reckon that there is a pedagogy and a curriculum in most aikido I've experienced.

It's just that a lot of it wasn't really designed by skilled educators who were specifically trained in how to teach and build physical skill sets. It shows, particularly in the debate about what makes or doesn't make a principle.

Best,

Janet Rosen
09-20-2010, 10:44 AM
Janet, I reckon that there is a pedagogy and a curriculum in most aikido I've experienced.

I don't know.... does a list of techniques constitute a curriculum?

tarik
09-20-2010, 11:01 AM
I don't know.... does a list of techniques constitute a curriculum?

Yes, of a very basic sort... and we all know what teaching to the test does for a student. ;-)

Best,

jonreading
09-21-2010, 12:04 PM
I am talking old-school here...In the Aikido Journal Yukiyoshi Takamura wrote an article about teaching and the levels of instruction and learning through which a student must pass (shu, ha, ri). The article was not about aikido training, but the article is so instructive I find it one of the best sources I ever read to learn how to better teach and how to better learn aikido.

For my part, aikido should make sense upon explanation; whether your body can physically perform aikido is a matter of training, not education. For example, gravity makes sense even if I don't understand the physics of gravity (I can comprehend the theory). My education dictates the level of comprehension. There is an order to learning and that is where curriculum can provide an advantage over instruction which is not structured.

Some of the old school structure makes a lot of sense because it limits what a students is supposed to know until she is ready to expand her education. It also ensures that students who are faking their training will not expand their education.

Curriculum to me not only incorporates a list of techniques, but the level of comprehension that should be demonstrated while applying that technique. I would not expect a black belt to perform technique like a white belt, nor the reverse. I expect a black belt to act like a black belt.

I may not be able to do what sensei shows, but I should comprehend what sensei wants to see me do. If I comprehend what to do then I can practice what sensei shows. If I don't comprehend what to do I can only mimic what sensei shows...

danj
09-21-2010, 07:52 PM
I am talking old-school here...In the Aikido Journal Yukiyoshi Takamura wrote an article about teaching and the levels of instruction and learning through which a student must pass (shu, ha, ri). The article was not about aikido training, but the article is so instructive I find it one of the best sources I ever read to learn how to better teach and how to better learn aikido.



wow heady stuff speaking to my past, present and I hope future thanks for sharing.
Here is the full text http://www.advdojo.org/shuhari.html

Nicholas Eschenbruch
09-22-2010, 11:00 AM
I guess I will differ from everyone else in saying that what you're working on should make sense pretty much from day 1.

All the other issues people discuss about being patient with yourself, not overtraining, are quite true, however, in my own experience, a teacher should be able to make something of what you are working on make enough sense right away that there is no mystery to it.

Now you will still experience mystery, ongoing growth, and aha moments, and you won't understand or make sense of everything right away by any means, and you should be learning stuff that you have no clue about if your teacher is any good.

This could be why it took me so long to call anyone I learned from 'my teacher', because few of them were capable of that level of teaching. If it doesn't make sense, it could be you, but I would also suggest that it could be your teacher.

Best,

Great post! Could not agree more.

Zach Trent
01-29-2011, 05:24 AM
Great question- if you would like to compound your frustration and confusion, just try studying at another dojo!

For various reasons I have studied under 3 aikido teachers in 3 years- it is basically like starting all over each time...though it takes less time to reach a level of competence than it used to.

Still- I guess this is to say that you will likely experience confusion and frustration even after you feel competent ;)

Matt Fisher
01-29-2011, 12:00 PM
Dave,

From my perspective (25+ years of studying aikido), the comment made by someone that different people go through somewhat different paths in terms of aikido making sense resonates with my experience and discussions that I have had with others over the years. My own practice has been characterized by a number of plateaus rather than what I perceived as "steady progress." When I first started aikido and was testing for kyu ranks, it felt like a lot of the jumps from one plateau to the next one came as I trained more intensely to prepare for a test. As a yudansha, the transition between plateaus has taken on a rhythm of its own that is independent of tests.

A number of times I felt like the transition to another plateau was preceded by a period of time where some particular techniques didn't feel as if they worked as well as before. Someone (can't remember who, a senior or one of my teachers) made the comment that sometimes we improve to the point where we are pushing up against our "old limits" and being at that point often results in techniques feeling awkward that used to feel good. That idea made sense to me at the time, and my experience in the years since first hearing that still support that idea.

All of the above is why I find aikido one of the most fascinating learning processes that I have EVER been involved in.

(and I have taught at the undergraduate level fulltime for 20 years now...)

Matt

kewms
01-29-2011, 06:54 PM
A number of times I felt like the transition to another plateau was preceded by a period of time where some particular techniques didn't feel as if they worked as well as before. Someone (can't remember who, a senior or one of my teachers) made the comment that sometimes we improve to the point where we are pushing up against our "old limits" and being at that point often results in techniques feeling awkward that used to feel good. That idea made sense to me at the time, and my experience in the years since first hearing that still support that idea.

That's been my experience as well. The frustrating "nothing works" periods are often followed by "everything works"... for about three days, and then I find that there are still things not working at my new level...

Katherine

jurasketu
01-29-2011, 11:39 PM
It's like learning to roll a kayak. First you don't got it. Then you got it. Then you don't got it. Then you got it again. Then you lose it again. Then you got it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

(of course, the "it" keeps changing, whether you realize it or not, and the context changes as well. kinda a microcosm of life in general I guess)

That's my Aikido life... "I'm getting it. I'm getting it. Uh... No I'm not."

George S. Ledyard
01-30-2011, 02:24 AM
When does it begin to make sense?

It always made sense to me... it's just that looking back, I was pretty much wrong most of the time.

Janet Rosen
01-30-2011, 12:37 PM
It always made sense to me... it's just that looking back, I was pretty much wrong most of the time.

Or as I said afer passing 4th kyu and ever since...my aikido now sucks at a higher level :-)

Andrew Macdonald
02-02-2011, 10:34 PM
In my own training i always tried to make sense or have apersonal take on what i was doing, whether right or wrong it doesn't really matter but i believe it is important so that you are at least trying different things within the technique, so in that way you always own the technique not just borrow your sensei's technique for the evening, as as you progress the technique that you own will become better

lbb
02-03-2011, 07:37 AM
In my own training i always tried to make sense or have apersonal take on what i was doing, whether right or wrong it doesn't really matter but i believe it is important so that you are at least trying different things within the technique, so in that way you always own the technique not just borrow your sensei's technique for the evening, as as you progress the technique that you own will become better

And yet there are so many situations in life, never mind aikido, that defy attempts to make sense, at least when you first come to them. I think that the ability to proceed when things don't make sense is itself a skill, and I prefer it to insisting on making sense of something and getting it wrong.

sourceone
08-04-2011, 10:59 AM
my advice is to stop thinking about it so much. train hard, find a good uke. thinking can get in the way. my teacher told me, stop thinking so much and just do it, and koshinage turned out much better!

Mario Tobias
08-05-2011, 07:51 AM
Do not worry too much about it. If you practice regularly and consistently it will come to you. You will eventually get it. I am a slow learner and was like you that I got frustrated at my early years of training.

You need to realize Aikido is a very difficult art so you shouldn't beat yourself for not learning fast. Some get it easier than others but you are not them. I have experienced phases where I questioned all of it and if it would make sense not to continue since I wasnt getting it. these are the times you just need to have more faith and soldier on. You also need to realize it is a lifelong journey. my greatest learning was that knowledge doesn't come linearly but in quantum steps. You'd just be amazed that one day your lightbulb turned on, that techniques will come naturally but you cant explain how this came to be. Remove all your frustrations and just practice.

Aikironin21
11-23-2011, 12:04 AM
How is your training going?! Have you "gotten" your "aha" moment yet?

This was my experience! I was just as you described yourself! In fact maybe a bit worse since we kept having to close and reopen the dojo in different locations. I wasn't even able to "train with O'Sensei" as we say it here. I had none of the clue my friend! We finally opened up a dojo next to one of the senior student's repair shop. I showed up one morning and he let me in to train, and came over to help me when he had some down time.

This is what we did for about an hour. He simply attacked me over and over, with traditional Aikido attacks. All I had to do, was get out of the way of his strikes. Next, I had to maintain Hamni and get out of the way. Then I had to maintain Hamni and tenkan to get away from the strike. No actual techniques. Just get your body moving, and in correct posture and position, and the techniques will come. That was my "aha" moment in Aikido. It was like we turned a key on a lock that morning and unlocked the world of Aikido for me.

Alberto_Italiano
01-06-2012, 01:19 PM
I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack.

Welcome in the land of nonsense training.
The schools you come from are so vastly superior to the training paradigm that is the most popular in Aikido dojos, that you are going to run a significant risk of never truly coming to terms with this type of training. They will never give to you what you want: reality and impact. And yet you will be fascinated by the idea of matching the beauty of aikido with impact and violence, and you will look for a dojo that does that, and yet you will never find it...

Good luck!

LinTal
01-07-2012, 04:47 AM
Well, they say a watched pot never boils. Maybe a judged koshinage never flips? :p There's something about just forgetting to think and just doing it for it's own sake that makes me think it inspires quicker progress...

Ha, maybe that's why I've yet to find it too! :D

TheAikidoka
01-08-2012, 02:34 PM
Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Hi David,
For me its when you no longer feel the need to ask the question. :)

Forgive me if this sounds a little contrary. But it is an honest answer.

In Budo

Andy B

Mario Tobias
01-09-2012, 02:28 AM
It will begin to make sense if you understand that techniques don't work but principles do

A principle starts as a theory (your own) and if you test it, it sometimes will work, most of the times not.

Then you'll discover more and more theories, some successful ones, mostly failed ones. Then more and more principles. There's no end to the cycle of searching, trying, succeeding and failing.

You'll then somewhat observe that a technique is just an amalgamation of principles put together. And every technique is similar but not the same. Over time, by being aware, decades of repetition and experimentation, incorporating the successful principles while rejecting the failed ones in our techniques WE become the principles.

This is my theory anyway :D

dalen7
01-11-2012, 06:16 AM
My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

Dave :)

First, after having a hiatus of approx. a year and a half of not posting, I would like to say 'hello' to everyone here at Aikiweb.

Dave, your question, though a bit older, will serve as a good reintroduction post for me, as it is one of the main reasons I took the rather lengthy break that I did from Aikido.

- The first point that things started to click was after the first six months.
Keep in mind I had to watch, as I could not speak the local language of Hungarian to gain clarification.
This however, pushed me into really searching and 'trying' things to see what worked.

- Second point where things became evident as to what worked, and why things either did or did not work, was when I received the rank of 3rd Kyu.
[I, somewhat regrettably, left right before being able to test for 2nd Kyu.]

At 3rd Kyu we were tasked with going to other martial arts and 'watching' to see the differences.
For me I wanted to 'feel' the difference, so I took up Thai Boxing/Grappling while still training in Aikido.

As I am sure I posted I was able to pull off Kotegaishi, in a very unorthodox position on the ground, which surprised some of the folks there - but mind you they were not necessarily formidable opponents on the ground, as this was primarily a Thai Boxing class.
[side note: I did get the daylights half knocked out of me by a guy who weighed about 25kilos heavier than me - was not pretty.]

The above is not meant to suggest that what I did would always work, but it does go to further that point that many who have mixed arts with Aikido realized - the first time with a given technique against a trained opponent you may have a chance... after they know whats up your chances go down, and its best that you have a full rounded program. [I would say BJJ, Aikido, and Judo are really parts of one body, and while some seem close to whole unto themselves, are not quite whole, and each party could benefit from knowing skills of the other.]

When going back to Aikido training I was quite disappointed with the fact that I clearly saw what was happening... which was with no true resistance as with BJJ, you end up having 'many masters' and 'many methods' of implementing a technique... most of which are inaffective due to the very nature of missing why the techniques work to begin with. [ie., my kotegaeshi came from a position that you would never see in Aikido, on the ground, yet it was a clear knowledge of why the technique worked, that allowed me to execute the technique.]

In this time period I had been approached by several lower kyu ranks to train them, which I obligingly did so on the side, and of which they all were able to take their exam and passed with no issues.
[These same folks, who stayed, have since moved on nicely in rank.]

This, along with the current air of training, led me to just stop Aikido altogether.
I only picked it up again at the beginning of this year as to get some exercise again.
[Having dropped Thai Boxing, was not keen on being thrown in with people a good deal higher in weight than myself. Things operate a bit differently in this country, not necessarily the most safe methods are taken.]

I now have the advantage that things have become more stream-lined in my dojo - yet Im under no illusion that things are different in regards to Aikido vs. another art, etc.

Aikido is what it is. Without any other training one should never labour under the delusion that their skills will work in a practical manner, unless against an untrained person... or for bullying purposes.
[G-d forbid]

This may turn some on edge, but I will say the same about Tae Kwondo, etc.
[In Thai Boxing, while standing there for conditioning as someone kicks their right leg against your weak leg, it hurts worse than you can dream of... yet in motion legs were very easy to catch, and had it been on the mat at the time, they would have been thrown down easy enough.]

Aikido is a beautiful art, very aesthetic once the individual realizes that is what it is supposed to be and then blends.

For the person who wishes to compete, even if just to improve their own reflexes, etc., will find that Aikido is a very nice supplement, that should not be overlooked, with their BJJ training, etc.

So, at what level does it click?
Well, given the nature of how Aikido is taught, it can take about six months to feel comfortable.
Then if you look at it as something it is not, it can take a life time of thought... though I will say that the one thing Aikido provided for me over the years, as well as others here I know, is deep introspection into ones own life and dealings with life.

Aikido is as deep as you want it to be, and has many facets to it - which can be fully enjoyed when not feeling the need to make it into something it is not, or more accurately just allowing the experience to be what it is at the time. ;)

Again, good to be back...

Peace

dAlen

Dave Plaza
01-15-2012, 02:46 PM
Hey there folks! :)

Thanks for all the replies. I was about 5 months into my training when I first posted this question, in a month or so time I will be 2 years in. Have I had that aha moment yet??? Not really, no... But I can feel it coming if that makes sense.

What I gathered from everybody's comments is that you've just got to stop worrying about the learning process, and that's exactly what I did. I reminded myself that I went to training because I love it, not for a higher grade... I mean, sure I want to become better, but that's kind of secondary to just being there and enjoying it :)

So where am I now? Well, even though my techniques are kind of rough around the edges, some of the main changes that I've noticed are...

I can now watch Sensei demonstrate, and pick out the finer details (not saying I can do it, but at least now I can see it).

I feel and know, that whilst performing a lot of techniques I don't turn enough, that is, if you are suppose to go 180 round, i'll only do 140 (if that makes sense).

When a strong non-aikido muscle guy grabs me, they feel week... It's like I can absorb their power... In fact this was probably a little aha moment for me. A guy grabbed my arm in work the other day (just kidding around), I immediately felt my arm relax and absorb the grab, and he just let go of me with a kind of "what did you just do" look on his face, I didn't actually do anything :)

So nearly 2 years in, yes there has been moments that I wanted to quit it... Mostly brought on by me judging myself. I'm so gald that I've stuck with it. My New Years resolution was to train more :)

Have a good year everyone... See you on the mat.

Dave