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Chicko Xerri
03-29-2011, 05:49 AM
Please give your examples and experiences when you have visited another dojo where the Aikido method of practice differs from what you are used to.

Walter Martindale
03-29-2011, 06:10 AM
Please give your examples and experiences when you have visited another dojo where the Aikido method of practice differs from what you are used to.

I've only done that once - well.. I watched because I was sick, and the other person from my dojo took part. He put his feet in places that were different from where the other dojo put their feet, from time to time, but they took him in, let him practice, no harm, no "you're doing it wrong." There was "thanks for coming" and "thanks for the practice" from both sides at the end.

We're Aikikai, at the time from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada), they were Yoshinkan in London, Ontario (also Canada). We were in London collecting a trailer and half a dozen rowing shells from the manufacturer.

I have, however, visited lots of Aikikai dojo. (Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton (2 dojo), Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Auckland (3 different places), Gisborne, Hamilton (NZ), Wellington, Cambridge (NZ), Dunedin, Christchurch, Queenstown, Hiroshima Police, Aikikai Hombu (Tokyo). Haven't had a bad visit.
W

Hellis
03-29-2011, 06:19 AM
I was in Australia many years ago, I visited Perth - I was informed that there was an Aikido dojo nearby. I went to the dojo and everyone was on the mat, I entered with good etiquette and sat quietly watching. other than a high grade looking at me for approval everytime he made a technique, no one spoke to me, as the class ended they put the mats away and still ignored me. I began to feel like the invisible man .I left before they turned the lights off and locked me in...

I then went up near Cairns where I visited a dojo run by a Robbie and Greta, they were so welcoming and charming, invited me to their home and to teach at the dojo. I went out in the evening for a meal with the students. I really did enjoy meeting them and training with them and their students..

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

Carsten Möllering
03-29-2011, 06:23 AM
I've always been welcomed very kind. And was treated with respect.
I mostly was corrected only a little and could take my time to try to adjust to the different movents and footwork.

We often have visitors from other styles or lines of aikido. And it was always a pleasure.
(Only one exception: We had to ban someone who injured his partners willingly.)

One of the teachers of our federation, who travlells a lot round the world, once statet: "It's one big family."

sakumeikan
03-29-2011, 08:10 AM
Dear all.
If I venture into any other groups dojo other than my own I am unwelcome. I have been barred from training , given petty excuses [no insurance, instructor has not cleared you for training]and since then I do not even bother visiting any more.Even my kohai [B.A.F] never invites me to my ex dojo. The list of excuses made by other groups are mind boggling.
For myself I will practice anywhere any place.I have no time for Aikido sectarianism.If people are in their own little kingdom and are comfortable there -wonderful.Joe. Ps When we hold seminars I send information to various groups.Most of them dont even have the courtesy to state if they are coming or not.Aikido as a family? Only if you like control freaks , egomaniacs and hypocrites as cousins.

Marc Abrams
03-29-2011, 08:50 AM
Dear all.
If I venture into any other groups dojo other than my own I am unwelcome. I have been barred from training , given petty excuses [no insurance, instructor has not cleared you for training]and since then I do not even bother visiting any more.Even my kohai [B.A.F] never invites me to my ex dojo. The list of excuses made by other groups are mind boggling.
For myself I will practice anywhere any place.I have no time for Aikido sectarianism.If people are in their own little kingdom and are comfortable there -wonderful.Joe. Ps When we hold seminars I send information to various groups.Most of them dont even have the courtesy to state if they are coming or not.Aikido as a family? Only if you like control freaks , egomaniacs and hypocrites as cousins.

Joe:

I am curious as to why you believe that people enact this policy with you. I frankly have only heard of people being barred for intentionally hurting other people or simply making spectacles of themselves.

marc abrams

Hellis
03-29-2011, 08:53 AM
Dear all.
If I venture into any other groups dojo other than my own I am unwelcome. I have been barred from training , given petty excuses [no insurance, instructor has not cleared you for training]and since then I do not even bother visiting any more.Even my kohai [B.A.F] never invites me to my ex dojo. The list of excuses made by other groups are mind boggling.
For myself I will practice anywhere any place.I have no time for Aikido sectarianism.If people are in their own little kingdom and are comfortable there -wonderful.Joe. Ps When we hold seminars I send information to various groups.Most of them dont even have the courtesy to state if they are coming or not.Aikido as a family? Only if you like control freaks , egomaniacs and hypocrites as cousins.

Joe

You are always welcome in my dojo and my home.
"" Aikido as a Family "" now that is something we often hear / read, it always gets a smile...I saw a grand thread on the BAB website """" Aikido- a way to reconcile the world """"" I am sure the poster meant well, the first four responses were his own and then a couple of others....
In the early days Aikido as you will recall was a fairly tight knit community - I never thought that I would see it so fragmented as it is today....... Aikido to unite the world :D :D

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

Alex Megann
03-29-2011, 09:00 AM
I have always been made welcome at other dojos - in fact, this is one thing I find quite special about aikido. I also try to make visitors from other dojos and styles feel appreciated and welcomed in my own classes.

When I first started teaching in my own (Aikikai affiliated) dojo, a few of us started visiting the local Tomiki club once a week, and were treated very well. Some aspects of the class were rather unfamiliar, especially the solo footwork and tegatana exercises, and I could never get the hang of the randori with the rubber knife, but there was of course plenty of overlap.

More recently, I have made a habit of taking my dogi when I have travelled for work, and have dropped in on the local dojo: this has without exception been a very enjoyable experience. I normally e-mail the instructor or secretary a few days beforehand (although I did surprise Peter Brady in Birmingham a few years ago, having completely failed to get through to his club secretary). I have particular praise for Miami Aikikai, which I have visited twice - a nice vigorous practice, which I don't often have the chance to get at home.

My own attitude is that one should try to fit into the training environment as much as possible, and leave everything pertaining to "style", grade and training history until after the class - this has always worked for me.

By the way, Joe would always be welcome in Southampton...

Alex

philipsmith
03-29-2011, 09:25 AM
Almost always had completely positive experiences of visiting dojos in various countries.

In fact I spent my summer vacations as a student visiting dojos in Europe and America and was often allowed to stay in the dojo overnight rather than pitch my tent nearby.

As my close friend says Aikido must be the only community where you can turn up not knowing anyone and be welcomed with open arms.

john.burn
03-29-2011, 09:29 AM
Henry / Joe & anyone else...

If you're ever unlucky enough to be stuck in Coventry, or sent to Coventry then you're more than welcome to come along and take a class or three at my dojo. We might be a small club but at least we're open minded and friendly :) .

And Joe, I promise I'll try and understand those principles :p

Hellis
03-29-2011, 09:42 AM
Henry / Joe & anyone else...

If you're ever unlucky enough to be stuck in Coventry, or sent to Coventry then you're more than welcome to come along and take a class or three at my dojo. We might be a small club but at least we're open minded and friendly :) .

And Joe, I promise I'll try and understand those principles :p

John

Thanks for the invitation.
I remember teaching in Coventry with Ken Williams Sensei around 1960. In those early days we always stayed at the home of the senior teachers. This particular visit was rather special, we arrived to find that we were booked into the " Leofric Hotel " I seem to remember that name.
It was the first time we had been booked into an hotel...It was much better than the dojo or the back of the car...
Good times :)

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

john.burn
03-29-2011, 09:53 AM
Hi Henry,

Yep, The Leofric... It's now a Travelodge.

Do you remember who was around then? I know Tom hadn't started Aikido, maybe Pat Stratford? Not sure about his lineage to be honest.

Thankfully we have a nice old pub about 2 minutes away from where we train which we always seem to end up in after class for some reason or other.

Marc Abrams
03-29-2011, 10:07 AM
It is nice to hear so many positive experiences about people visiting other dojos. Imaizumi Sensei's policy at Shin-Budo Kai is that everybody is always welcome to visit, watch, train. That open door policy is in effect at my school as well. Simply looking at the different people whom I have teach seminars at my dojo, should clearly get across the fact that all martial artists are welcome to visit and train.

I have been fortunate to travel extensively throughout the world. I have uniformly had good experiences at other dojos and other gatherings such as the Aiki Expos.

At the end of the day, we should be practicing what we preach. Ellis Sensei so clearly pointed this out in an earlier post. Opening doors typically leads to more enriching experiences in aspects of life.

Marc Abrams

Hellis
03-29-2011, 10:41 AM
Hi Henry,

Yep, The Leofric... It's now a Travelodge.

Do you remember who was around then? I know Tom hadn't started Aikido, maybe Pat Stratford? Not sure about his lineage to be honest.

Thankfully we have a nice old pub about 2 minutes away from where we train which we always seem to end up in after class for some reason or other.

John

So, I remembered OK. nice to confirm that the brain is still making contact........Now the Leofric is a Travel Lodge :yuck: , It was supposed to be the best hotel in Coventry ? I still had a great time.....:) :) :)

I seem to recall we discussed before that the Judoka who opened up Aikido in Coventry was a great guy named Ken Webster, he was with the BJC and Abbe Sensei....I have just emailed my old friend Gerry Gyngell who worked with Abbe Sensei and Bill Woods in the London office of the BJC to see what he knows of Ken Webster.....

Mr Pat Stratford, to be honest, I had never heard of him until a few years ago...I don't know him .............

Henry Ellis
Aikido Books
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Alex Megann
03-29-2011, 10:45 AM
Do you remember who was around then? I know Tom hadn't started Aikido, maybe Pat Stratford? Not sure about his lineage to be honest.
.

As I understand it, Pat Stratford has a connection with Shigeho Tanaka (who was, incidentally, the teacher of Minoru Inaba, the latter being mainly responsible for the influence of Kashima Shinryu on aikido, but that's another story). I have seen a film of Tanaka Sensei which I found rather impressive - very charismatic and very powerful, although I have no experience of Pat Stratford himself.

Here (http://www.aikidounionengland.co.uk/more.php) is a site with some more information on Stratford Sensei's lineage, although it seems to be rather out of date.

Alex

Basia Halliop
03-29-2011, 10:52 AM
Most of the times I've visited other dojos has been for seminars, which is a different kind of situation so I don't know if I'd compare it (except to say all my experiences of that kind have been positive).

But when I've visited another dojo when traveling on business I was treated very welcomingly, with everyone introducing themselves and trying to make me feel at home and show me where everything was in the dojo. I was corrected for some things I was doing differently from how the instructor was teaching them, but not in any 'insulting' way, just in a teaching kind of way which seemed natural to me (if I'm taking a class for someone I would expect them to assume I want them to teach me how they're doing what they're doing).

Pauliina Lievonen
03-29-2011, 11:10 AM
A few years back I spent a summer month in Helsinki on holiday and free to do as I pleased. I visited I think ten different dojo in Helsinki and the neighbouring Espoo and Vantaa.

The main impression I got was that it was quite common for people to visit each other there, maybe even to train fairly regularly at another dojo. These were all dojo under the Finnish aikikai umbrella, though with different lineages. I felt welcome everywhere (in the usual understated Finnish way).

Two places that made the strongest impression was a group doing Nishio style aikido, at the same time very serious and obviously dedicated to their training but also cheerful and relaxed, and Juhani Laisi's dojo, who follow Endo sensei. Endo-style aikido is very different from ours, but somehow I felt very much at home at that dojo. Laisi sensei made it all make sense.

I've visited a Tomiki school in Holland and had a very nice experience. Felt like a complete newbie of course but one of the yudansha kindly helped all through the class. And funnily enough there's a Shinkendo dojo in Amsterdam that does aikido that feels very familiar to me in many ways, through our dojo's history with Kanetsuka sensei.

I've also visited several Aikikai dojo in Holland and always felt welcome. Have to confess that visiting different styles was easier when I was more of a beginner. That's a difficulty that comes from inside myself though, it's harder to let go of everything I've learned now. :o

Pauliina

Lan Powers
03-29-2011, 11:31 AM
uniformly welcomed by each group I have managed to connect with
(mostly here in Texas.) Mostly through seminars, but the occaisional odd visit when travel makes it possible.

Uniformly welcoming.

Just visited a Nishio style dojo in San Antonio and was treated like a long-lost family member.
Very nice people at Bollinger Sensei's school.
(hope I spelled that right)

john.burn
03-29-2011, 11:39 AM
Mr Pat Stratford, to be honest, I had never heard of him until a few years ago...I don't know him .............

Henry Ellis
Aikido Books
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Yup... I had a conversation with a very drunk ex student of his the other week demanding I refer to him as Master Stratford...

Alex, yes I've seen his websites... enough said ;)

john.burn
03-29-2011, 11:45 AM
In order to answer the original question...

I've always been made to feel very welcome. The first time I went to Boulder Aikikai for 3 weeks or so I trained, went out for dinner afterwards and during the day got to travel around Colorado with Ikeda sensei and Ginger to all sorts of places from the Rockies to a sculpture fayre in Loveland - I was kind of sat there thinking hmmmm, I'm just a nobody from the UK and you're being this kind to me? Wow. It's something I'll never forget.

Walter Martindale
03-29-2011, 12:12 PM
My first visit to Gisborne, NZ, I contacted the local sensei, Alan Wade, 6th dan aikikai, one of Chiba's students from the UK. I asked if there was a practice that I could attend. That visit I had no time to fit in, but at another visit, when I was free on Sunday, Wade sensei got his dojo together for a practice on a day when there was no scheduled session. Very interesting, very pleasant teaching style, and no nonsense.

Janet Rosen
03-29-2011, 12:38 PM
I have visited a variety of dojos in the USA over the years and never had a bad experience. It may help that often there would be someone - an instructor or a student - who I knew from aikido-l or aikiweb. I always check website and if it says visitors welcome and lists a mat fee, I show up but if in doubt I call or email ahead.

Ron Tisdale
03-29-2011, 01:07 PM
You can search on my name here, on e-budo, and aikido journal and find many if not most or all of my experiences training in other "styles", affliations, independant dojo, countires, etc.

In brief, I'd have to say never had any real issues or problems, always enjoyed myself, and never was asked not to return. I hope they all got at least a little something positive out of my presense...I certainly learned a TON from all of them, and wouldn't pass up the experiences for anything.

Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. That should bout do it.

Best,
Ron

sakumeikan
03-29-2011, 01:36 PM
Henry / Joe & anyone else...

If you're ever unlucky enough to be stuck in Coventry, or sent to Coventry then you're more than welcome to come along and take a class or three at my dojo. We might be a small club but at least we're open minded and friendly :) .

And Joe, I promise I'll try and understand those principles :p

Dear John,
I would be happy to see you in Coventry.As you know I have a fairly strong personality, some might say arrogant.I do not consider this to be a fair assessment of my character,As far as understanding principles are concerned , principles in Aikido are very important .How we use these principles in the forms can of course be subject to interpretation.
Hope you are well. Joe.

sakumeikan
03-29-2011, 01:45 PM
Joe:

I am curious as to why you believe that people enact this policy with you. I frankly have only heard of people being barred for intentionally hurting other people or simply making spectacles of themselves.

marc abrams

Dear Marc,
I am referring to the local dojos in my own backyard. I have always been welcomed by dojos in France, Greece, U.S.A, Tunisia and Holland. As it happens I consider I am made far more welcome by strangers than by people I have known over the years . Certain people within the U.K aikido community sad to say are not on my Xmas card list.
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
03-29-2011, 02:16 PM
I have always been made welcome at other dojos - in fact, this is one thing I find quite special about aikido. I also try to make visitors from other dojos and styles feel appreciated and welcomed in my own classes.

When I first started teaching in my own (Aikikai affiliated) dojo, a few of us started visiting the local Tomiki club once a week, and were treated very well. Some aspects of the class were rather unfamiliar, especially the solo footwork and tegatana exercises, and I could never get the hang of the randori with the rubber knife, but there was of course plenty of overlap.

More recently, I have made a habit of taking my dogi when I have travelled for work, and have dropped in on the local dojo: this has without exception been a very enjoyable experience. I normally e-mail the instructor or secretary a few days beforehand (although I did surprise Peter Brady in Birmingham a few years ago, having completely failed to get through to his club secretary). I have particular praise for Miami Aikikai, which I have visited twice - a nice vigorous practice, which I don't often have the chance to get at home.

My own attitude is that one should try to fit into the training environment as much as possible, and leave everything pertaining to "style", grade and training history until after the class - this has always worked for me.

By the way, Joe would always be welcome in Southampton...

Alex

Dear Alex,
Very nice of you to make an offer to welcome me to Southhampton.Considering my past involvement with the B.A.F or to be more precise certain parties in the B.A.F I consider your gesture most magnaminous. I appreciate your comments very much. Hope you are well.
Cheers, Joe.

crbateman
03-29-2011, 02:31 PM
I have seldom been made to feel unwelcome in any Aikido dojo, and I make it a point to visit as many as I can. In fact, most folks are happy and curious, respectful and most accommodating, sometimes to the point that I almost feel embarrassed. I think the key is to go in being humble and respecting the way that they may prefer to do things. Another thing that helps me, I think, is that I'm up front about training "ronin style". By not waving the banner of any particular style or lineage, it seems to be less "in-your-face" and less offensive. I will also never utter the words "Here's how they do it where I come from...". If asked directly whether I have experienced "alternatives", I will respond in a purposefully non-judgmental way, without so much as a hint of condescension. I just think that as I give, so I'll receive, and I have seldom been disappointed.

Peter Goldsbury
03-29-2011, 02:40 PM
As I understand it, Pat Stratford has a connection with Shigeho Tanaka (who was, incidentally, the teacher of Minoru Inaba, the latter being mainly responsible for the influence of Kashima Shinryu on aikido, but that's another story). I have seen a film of Tanaka Sensei which I found rather impressive - very charismatic and very powerful, although I have no experience of Pat Stratford himself.

Here (http://www.aikidounionengland.co.uk/more.php) is a site with some more information on Stratford Sensei's lineage, although it seems to be rather out of date.

Alex

Hello Alex,

Your post was very interesting. At the risk of some thread drift, I would like to pursue it further. Actually, on further reflection, my post does relate to training at other dojos, but not in the UK.

I noticed this statement on the website you cited in your post.

“Whilst studying at Sussex University he [Pat Stratford] met Norio Tao, now 7th Dan, who in turn introduced him to Master Shigeho Tanaka.”

Tao [this was the name we always used] was a student of transport economics who graduated in 1970, I believe. I was an undergraduate at Sussex from 1966 to 1969 and it was at Sussex that I began aikido at the hands of Norio Tao. At the time, Tao had a 3rd dan (given by Morihei Ueshiba) and wanted to continue training while he was a student, so he and a handful of his students started an aikido club. I was one of the handful and the two years I spent training under his direction marked the beginning of a friendship that has continued to the present. We last met in Hiroshima in 2008.
Through Tao, I met Tanaka Shigeho and Inaba Minoru and practiced very occasionally at the Meiji Jingu Dojo in Tokyo. Meiji Jingu was not strictly Aikikai (the connection is extremely complicated) but I was always made very welcome. Coincidentally, I discovered a link with Yamaguchi Seigo. Yamaguchi Sensei visited Hiroshima quite regularly and, of course, knew Tao, as did Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

I once discussed this small world of Japanese aikido with Chiba Kazuo Sensei, at whose dojo in Chiswick I trained intermittently after Tao returned to Japan. He never met Tao while the latter was in England, but knew about him. The rather exclusive nature of aikido at Tokyo University (Tao was a graduate of the very prestigious Faculty of Law: the Japanese counterpart of Harvard) would have made this very difficult: a fact that I now understand very well.

Actually, it is far more difficult in Japan to visit dojos outside one’s own organization than it appears to be in the UK.

How is your father, by the way. I hope he is well. I regret that we have not been in contact recently.

Best wishes,

PAG

ninjaqutie
03-29-2011, 03:42 PM
Come to Oregon Joe! I'm sure you will be accomodated here. ;)

sakumeikan
03-29-2011, 04:03 PM
Come to Oregon Joe! I'm sure you will be accomodated here. ;)

Dear Ashley,
I would like to think so since my Oregon friends, Bluhm Sensei and Robert Nagato Needleman and his lovely missus are there. I would love to see the beautiful trees and mountains in that part of the U.S.A. Also a visit to Roberts Tiger sanctuary would be hiigh on my list of things to do.Usually I end up in San Diego visiting Chiba Sensei . I do appreciate your mail,
Cheers, Joe.

SeiserL
03-29-2011, 04:11 PM
I have always been treated well where ever I go.

This has always surpirsed me.

kewms
03-29-2011, 05:18 PM
Dear Marc,
I am referring to the local dojos in my own backyard. I have always been welcomed by dojos in France, Greece, U.S.A, Tunisia and Holland. As it happens I consider I am made far more welcome by strangers than by people I have known over the years . Certain people within the U.K aikido community sad to say are not on my Xmas card list.
Cheers, Joe.

That is, alas, not an attitude exclusive to the UK. A friend of mine back in Boston was literally not allowed to register for a seminar at one of the other dojos in town. I've never attempted to train there, but I've never been anything but welcome elsewhere, even at out of town affiliates of that same dojo.

Katherine

Eva Antonia
03-30-2011, 03:14 AM
Hello,

I've already done both - invited people to my dojo and been a guest to other dojos (Istanbul regularly, Ankara, Baku, Abidjan and some Belgian dojos), and I've always been treated very very well notwithstanding style or cultural differences. In Ivory Coast and Azerbaidjan the people even invited me after training to eat and drink and chat about aikido & life...I really loved these experiences. I tried to go to a karate dojo in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, but was not allowed by my employer...for security reasons :yuck:

And here in Belgium I've already hosted several aikidoka couchsurfers (there is an aikido sub-site on www.couchsurfing.org, very useful!); it was always an enriching experience!

Maybe the only feeble disappointment could be that sometimes people from other dojos/ styles try to prove that THEIR way of doing XYZ is really the best and what you learn in your dojo might be valid, but a it less than theirs. But maybe that's just some temptation people CANNOT resist to....

And maybe next week I'll try one in Budapest???

Best regards,

Eva

Walter Martindale
03-30-2011, 06:26 AM
www.couchsurfing.org,

Eva

"Safari can't find the server"

Oops - tried again - there it is...

Alex Megann
03-30-2011, 07:00 AM
Hello Alex,

Your post was very interesting. At the risk of some thread drift, I would like to pursue it further. Actually, on further reflection, my post does relate to training at other dojos, but not in the UK.

I noticed this statement on the website you cited in your post.

"Whilst studying at Sussex University he [Pat Stratford] met Norio Tao, now 7th Dan, who in turn introduced him to Master Shigeho Tanaka."

Tao [this was the name we always used] was a student of transport economics who graduated in 1970, I believe. I was an undergraduate at Sussex from 1966 to 1969 and it was at Sussex that I began aikido at the hands of Norio Tao. At the time, Tao had a 3rd dan (given by Morihei Ueshiba) and wanted to continue training while he was a student, so he and a handful of his students started an aikido club. I was one of the handful and the two years I spent training under his direction marked the beginning of a friendship that has continued to the present. We last met in Hiroshima in 2008.
Through Tao, I met Tanaka Shigeho and Inaba Minoru and practiced very occasionally at the Meiji Jingu Dojo in Tokyo. Meiji Jingu was not strictly Aikikai (the connection is extremely complicated) but I was always made very welcome. Coincidentally, I discovered a link with Yamaguchi Seigo. Yamaguchi Sensei visited Hiroshima quite regularly and, of course, knew Tao, as did Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

I once discussed this small world of Japanese aikido with Chiba Kazuo Sensei, at whose dojo in Chiswick I trained intermittently after Tao returned to Japan. He never met Tao while the latter was in England, but knew about him. The rather exclusive nature of aikido at Tokyo University (Tao was a graduate of the very prestigious Faculty of Law: the Japanese counterpart of Harvard) would have made this very difficult: a fact that I now understand very well.

Actually, it is far more difficult in Japan to visit dojos outside one's own organization than it appears to be in the UK.

How is your father, by the way. I hope he is well. I regret that we have not been in contact recently.

Best wishes,

PAG

Hi Peter,

As it happens, I did think of you when I saw mention of Tao Sensei and Brighton on that webpage, since I remember you mentioning in one of your articles that he was your first aikido teacher.

I knew of the connection with Yamaguchi Sensei via Inaba Sensei - in my opinion Yamaguchi Sensei's aikido was strongly influenced by the kesagiri swordwork of Kashima Shinryu (there is a very rare clip of him practising this on William Gleason's DVD, by the way). Tanaka Sensei also demonstrated kesagiri on the film I saw of him (which incidentally belonged to Kanetsuka Sensei).

I have had two people practising regularly at the Southampton Dojo recently who had been to the Meiji Jingu Shiseikan, one of them through Paul Smith in London, who has his own relationship with Inaba Sensei. It is interesting to hear you describe the Shiseikan as "not strictly Aikikai": Paul Smith himself has told me that Inaba himself doesn't teach "regular" aikido, and the focus seems rather more on the sword practice itself and on relaxation and centre-to-centre contact than on what you might call "orthodox" technique.

Yes, my father is very well, and still teaching one class each week at the Oxford Dojo. I'm sure he would be very pleased to hear from you...

Alex

Takahama
03-30-2011, 07:54 AM
I have always been made welcome at other dojos - in fact, this is one thing I find quite special about aikido. I also try to make visitors from other dojos and styles feel appreciated and welcomed in my own classes.

When I first started teaching in my own (Aikikai affiliated) dojo, a few of us started visiting the local Tomiki club once a week, and were treated very well. Some aspects of the class were rather unfamiliar, especially the solo footwork and tegatana exercises, and I could never get the hang of the randori with the rubber knife, but there was of course plenty of overlap.

More recently, I have made a habit of taking my dogi when I have travelled for work, and have dropped in on the local dojo: this has without exception been a very enjoyable experience. I normally e-mail the instructor or secretary a few days beforehand (although I did surprise Peter Brady in Birmingham a few years ago, having completely failed to get through to his club secretary). I have particular praise for Miami Aikikai, which I have visited twice - a nice vigorous practice, which I don't often have the chance to get at home.

My own attitude is that one should try to fit into the training environment as much as possible, and leave everything pertaining to "style", grade and training history until after the class - this has always worked for me.

By the way, Joe would always be welcome in Southampton...

Alex

I recall visiting your dojo some 12 or 13 years ago when I was home from Japan one time. I couldn't have asked for a more friendlier environment in which to train; I felt very welcome - both during training and in the pub afterwards.

Alex Megann
03-30-2011, 08:24 AM
I recall visiting your dojo some 12 or 13 years ago when I was home from Japan one time. I couldn't have asked for a more friendlier environment in which to train; I felt very welcome - both during training and in the pub afterwards.

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your generous comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed your time with us - I hope you will call in again on your next trip home!

Alex

makuchg
03-30-2011, 09:38 AM
I have always been welcomed. I traveled a lot when I was in the military and had the opportunity to train in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan (Okinawa). I've never heard a discouraging word (and the sky was not cloudy all day...sorry, couldn't resist).

I highly recommend it for a different perspective. I've met amazing people many of whom I stay in touch with and I consider dear friends.

Takahama
03-30-2011, 09:22 PM
Hi Michael,

Thank you for your generous comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed your time with us - I hope you will call in again on your next trip home!

Alex

My brother still lives in Southampton so maybe I could get the chance again in the future. I'd like that.

Regards,

Michael

susanmarie
03-30-2011, 10:17 PM
I train regularly at several local dojo and have visited others in upstate NY and the UK while visiting friends/family. Everyone has been very nice and welcoming, and I look forward to more trips to the area.

aikidoaddict
06-25-2011, 11:28 PM
I was in Australia many years ago, I visited Perth - I was informed that there was an Aikido dojo nearby. I went to the dojo and everyone was on the mat, I entered with good etiquette and sat quietly watching. other than a high grade looking at me for approval everytime he made a technique, no one spoke to me, as the class ended they put the mats away and still ignored me. I began to feel like the invisible man .I left before they turned the lights off and locked me in...

I then went up near Cairns where I visited a dojo run by a Robbie and Greta, they were so welcoming and charming, invited me to their home and to teach at the dojo. I went out in the evening for a meal with the students. I really did enjoy meeting them and training with them and their students..

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

Dear Henry,
If that was the same aikikai group in Australia that I was with for many years, I fully understand and apologise for their normal reactions and treatment towards any outsider who happen enter their private realm. I myself came from New Zealand to Australia back in 1985 and was with a certain Aikido association in Australia for over 15 years before I finally resigned (teaching at their Hombu Dojo in Victoria for over 7 years). I was constantly treated as an outsider, frequently overlooked for gradings and mostly ignored by the hierarchy. Despite all that my Aikido grew and grew, and I had rather large following of like minded students and enjoyed my time there. My deepest apologies, on their behalf, for they know not what they do. Like hamsters in a wheel, they know nothing of the outside world and are so suspicious of everyone coming from the real world. if only their Aikido ability was half that of their arrogance and ignorance.
Paul

Mark Mueller
06-26-2011, 09:08 AM
Early in my Aikido journey I traveled for my work quite a bit but I always packed a gi and hakama so I could try out new dojos. I was in San Diego and went to visit a local dojo. Well I evidently made a huge gaffe....I wore my hakama (I was affiliated with ASU where you wear them after your first test). I was informed of my mistake and I quickly took it off and apologized). The instructor then assigned me a "host" who I practiced with the rest of the class....who then proceeded to try and thrash me about on every technique. My ukemi was good enough to take the abuse but I literally had to slam my hand on the mat to slap out for the pins and submissions. I walked out of there bruised and sore and pissed. But in 24 years of practice that was my only bad experience. It also inspired me to really ramp up my practice to never let that happen to me again.

Hellis
06-26-2011, 09:26 AM
Dear Henry,
If that was the same aikikai group in Australia that I was with for many years, I fully understand and apologise for their normal reactions and treatment towards any outsider who happen enter their private realm. I myself came from New Zealand to Australia back in 1985 and was with a certain Aikido association in Australia for over 15 years before I finally resigned (teaching at their Hombu Dojo in Victoria for over 7 years). I was constantly treated as an outsider, frequently overlooked for gradings and mostly ignored by the hierarchy. Despite all that my Aikido grew and grew, and I had rather large following of like minded students and enjoyed my time there. My deepest apologies, on their behalf, for they know not what they do. Like hamsters in a wheel, they know nothing of the outside world and are so suspicious of everyone coming from the real world. if only their Aikido ability was half that of their arrogance and ignorance.
Paul

Hi Paul
I don't know who the group were in Perth - I did not get a chance to introduce myself - In 55 years of Aikido that is a first for me.
I hear of dojos telling visitors that they do not recognise their grades, what does it matter what belt you wear, you wear it - you live with it..My teacher Kenshiro Abbe Sensei would often say " No matter your pretense - you are what you are and nothing more.".
It sounds to me that you are well away from that dojo.
Good luck to you.

Henry Ellis

British Aikido the Origins from 1955

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5pOv-0xaBI

Adam Huss
06-26-2011, 04:57 PM
I've travelled a bit and usually try to attempt a dojo visit. It has been mostly good, with occasional snobiness, and sometimes simple neglect or apathy toward my presence. Anyway, most times its a great experience and sometimes ends in going out for dinner and/or beers afterward. Some of the best welcome's I've recieved (outside of my organization or people I know, or know by proxy) have been in the Tidewater area (I think Norfolk area) though I don't remember the name, Andy Sato Sensei's dojo in Chitown (owe you guys a bottle of sake and royalties for three techniques I stole for my nidan shinsa), Moore Sensei's dojo in Chitown (though he was away when I was there), a small church dojo in Kenosha, and a small aikijujitsu dojo in Cbus. Thanks all, and I apologize if I've left anyone out!