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crickel
03-23-2011, 10:04 AM
I'm out of practice. I haven't been seriously training in Aikido for a couple years since the primary dojo I was going to in the northland close to where I live closed down. I recently was talking with some friends of mine and it reminded me of how much I really enjoyed it.

But there are no local dojos now - all of them are 30 minutes away, or more. There's about three within 5 minutes of each other, clear across the city, but none on my side.

I tried going to the closest one last year for a few months, but ran into scheduling problems. I work a late schedule (9am-6pm, often with remote tech support calls at midnight), so I can't get up for the 5:30am or 8:00am classes, and it's just late enough that the 6:30pm classes aren't possible to get to and still have dinner due to the distance involved. Starving is no good for training!

I've tried drumming up some interest among friends of mine so I'd at least have someone to train with, even if they're not formal classes, but gotten a resolute 'meh'.

And no, I can't move. :) The thought crossed my mind, but it's just not feasible with where I work.

What else can I do? Is there a spot to post for 'looking for group'?

Lyle Laizure
03-23-2011, 10:31 AM
Not sure where you are located but I know of a dojo in Platte City at the YMCA. I also have a friend that is in KC that teaches a bit too. Where are you exactly?

Janet Rosen
03-23-2011, 10:32 AM
Can you eat a late lunch at work as your main meal, around 3 or 4? That's what I have to do to get to an evening class regardless of how far it is from work.
And let the instructor know you may hit the mat late for 6:30 pm class sometimes?

hughrbeyer
03-23-2011, 11:04 AM
Butch up. :) I drive 45 minutes to my dojo if I'm coming from work, 1h 20m if from home. After work, there's no time for dinner--I usually have a protein bar or something before class, and a late dinner after.

I figure you do what you have to do to get the training you want.

ninjaqutie
03-23-2011, 11:13 AM
Driving a half hour really isn't a big deal in my book. I have to leave about 40 minutes before class starts to get there, change and be on the mat before class starts. I too, do not get dinner before training. I eat a snack on the way and have a late dinner.

Also, if your sensei is truly interested in having you as a student, I'm sure he would be open to you being a few minutes late. Just make sure to tell him so, that way he doesn't think you are a habitual slacker or something....

If you really want to train, you will find a way and if you have a great instructor, I'm sure they will accomodate you. Best of luck!!!

crickel
03-23-2011, 03:50 PM
Not sure where you are located but I know of a dojo in Platte City at the YMCA. I also have a friend that is in KC that teaches a bit too. Where are you exactly?

Well in the Northland, just south of Gladstone. And I work even further north, up by the airport. Platte City actually wouldn't be too far... actually it'd be a lot closer to where I work than the one downtown! I did not see this class in the dojo listings. Do you know when they meet up?

ninjaqutie
03-23-2011, 04:45 PM
Glad you might have a lead!!!

lbb
03-23-2011, 09:53 PM
I think the simple truth is that training will take a good chunk out of your waking hours, and there's no two ways about it. A 30 minute commute is nothing unusual -- I know that I've never been closer than 30 minutes and often double that. My current drive is about 40-50 minutes depending on weather. So, round-trip that, plus two hours of class, plus a minimum of about 15-20 minutes of getting changed, dojo chores, etc. -- you're talking about close to four hours of waking time every day I go to class. You can try to shave a few minutes off here and there, but it's not going to make training the sort of thing that you can just slip into a schedule that's packed with other commitments. It demands its own space -- a lot of space.

So, it may just be the case that you can't or don't want to give the time that's needed. If you have family who depend on you, you can't just take off for four hours every evening. You can't train and spend two or three hours watching television every evening, or surfing the web. And you can't train and eat an old-fashioned home-cooking traditional sit-down dinner every evening, either -- unless you've got servants to do all the work for you. But an old-fashioned sit-down dinner doesn't go well with training anyway. I eat a couple of rye crackers with peanut butter at about 4 pm, drink some chocolate milk right after class, maybe eat something else light like a piece of fruit when I get home. Nutritionally, that does the job -- the need for a sit-down dinner is social and psychological.

How much you can train really depends a lot on how weird you can afford to let your life get. When I first moved to my current location, two hours plus from my old karate dojo, I was contracting and had a lot of schedule flexibility, and rarely had to be in any particular location as long as I could get on the net. I'd drive into town, find somewhere to work, train in the evening and then couch-surf at one of my dojo-mates'. Next day, do the same thing, then drive home after class. It's not something you can do if you have kids, and it puts a real dent into some other activities, but it worked for me.

crickel
03-30-2011, 05:22 PM
Well, I managed to find out more information about the dojo up in Platte City. They train on Saturdays, at 11am-12pm. When I'm not at work. :D Fortunately that's late enough it's easy to get to.

I notice that quite a few people are saying '30 minute commutes aren't uncommon'. I myself question the logic of driving 30 minutes each way for a one-hour class. I understand Aikido isn't as mainstream as Tae Kwon Do, or Karate, and dojos are going to be further apart, but there comes a point at which you spend more time driving than you do practicing. Is that really a good use of your time?

(Personally, I'm going to resolve that part by ALSO working on my archery practice on Saturdays just afterwards, at the Department of Conservation Range which is conveniently just five minutes outside of Platte City on the way back.)

With any luck, though, there may be some other 'practices' that might not be listed on the official class schedule during the week, which would be awesome. I'll let people know when I get more info, maybe even figure out how to add them to the dojo list here.

Shadowfax
03-30-2011, 08:06 PM
I drive 40 minutes each way to class 3 nights a week. The dojo I train in has two back to back classes n two of those nights and the third is one 90 minute class. Those two second hour classes are open only to more advanced students so for the first 6 months or so, I was driving that 2-3 days a week for just an hour class and I considered it well worth it. In fact before I really got the hang of traffic patterns and routes some of those drives took me up to an hour and 15 minutes in and 40 minutes out.

I completely rearranged my work schedule* in order to accommodate my desire to be at every class. And I miss rather rarely. I think a total of 4 or 5 classes in 2010.

For what I get out of those hours I invest I think it is well worth the effort. In fact if and when another class opens up I will probably figure out a way to make it to that one too.

If you want it bad enough and consider it worth doing, you do what it takes to get it. But you will never know if it is worth the effort if you never give it at least a good honest try. :)

*of course luckily for me I have the circumstances to allow me to make these changes. But it still requires some sacrifice.

ninjaqutie
03-31-2011, 12:17 AM
I guess you have to figure out your priorities and how important training is for you. Obviously, like you mentioned, several of us would rather travel 30 minutes or more for some mat time. It is well worth it to me, but it doesn't mean you have to feel the same way.

Hellis
03-31-2011, 03:06 AM
Perhaps you could contact one of the dojos to send someone round to teach you at home when you are available ?

Henry Ellis
http://henryellis-aikido.blogspot.com/

lbb
03-31-2011, 07:50 AM
I notice that quite a few people are saying '30 minute commutes aren't uncommon'. I myself question the logic of driving 30 minutes each way for a one-hour class. I understand Aikido isn't as mainstream as Tae Kwon Do, or Karate, and dojos are going to be further apart, but there comes a point at which you spend more time driving than you do practicing. Is that really a good use of your time?.

Well, yes -- it is a good use of my time. And no, it's not an aikido thing: when I was training in TKD and then later in karate, each was about a 45 minute commute, longer if public transit was being cranky. The important question, though, is whether it's a good use of your time, and only you can answer that.

Many martial arts schools in many styles have introductory programs. Most people who sign up for them enjoy the experience, and yet a year later, very few of them are still training. Of the many reasons why people drop out, the most non-negotiable one (in my view) is "inability" to commit the necessary time. I put "inability" in quotes because sometimes it simply can't be done, in other cases it can't be done without a major life upheaval (changing jobs so you don't work second shift anymore, for example), and in other cases it can't be done without sacrificing something purely optional but that you ultimately value more. I think you owe it to yourself to be honest with yourself about which category you fall into. There is nothing wrong with deciding that you'd rather watch American Idol than go to aikido class, but telling yourself that you "don't have the time" when the truth is more like "would rather spend my time doing xyz instead" is problematic.

Now I bet you're thinking, "But I do want to train! I just don't want to drive!" Well, yes, and I want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I just don't want the bother of traveling to Kenya. Sorry! The mountain may have come to Muhammad, but it doesn't come to you and me -- any mountains we want to climb, we've got to get ourselves there first. That's just part of the trip, and no sense fussing over it.

Basia Halliop
03-31-2011, 01:11 PM
I wouldn't make proximity my first criteria when selecting a dojo anyway. Of course it has to be somewhere on the list, but IMO it's hardly the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing where to train.

Of course if you literally can't get there at the times there are classes then obviously you have to consider that. And of course your own priorities and how much time you personally are willing to commute - that's a personal decision.