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Beverly
07-02-2002, 03:03 PM
I have just started Aikido (I've been to 4 classes so far) and trying to get used to it all. I'm having a good time, the people at my dojo are great, and the challenge is fun but I have one question:

How does one remember it all from simply watching? Well, I guess I have two questions: Does learning this way eventually get easier?

I think in some ways I can be a quick learner, but I find that I have a problem remembering a technique that was just demonstrated (or shown to me) in class. Perhaps I am just nervous? Also, since all of these moves are foreign to me, I was hoping that once I start remembering certain moves, that learning new ones would be easier?!

Okay, okay I do have one more question:

Are there any books or videos out there that would be good for a new person, like me, to become familiar with certain beginner's techniques?

I really want to stick with Aikido and excel in it and if there is anything I can do out of class to help me become a better student in class, I will do it! Any advice is appreciated! Thanks for reading this!

akiy
07-02-2002, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by Beverly
How does one remember it all from simply watching? Well, I guess I have two questions: Does learning this way eventually get easier?
The answer to your second question, I'd say, is "yes."

The answer to your first question is that once you start recognizing some of the techniques, you'll start to pick up "new" techniques more easily.

Things to look for in a technique include the basic footwork (irimi, tenkan), the basic "direction" of your footwork (omote, ura), where your hands go, and your posture.

With all of that said, my thought that "just watching" won't make your aikido much better; it's the "doing" part which will.

Are there any books or videos out there that would be good for a new person, like me, to become familiar with certain beginner's techniques?
If I remember correctly, your dojo has tapes to help people for their kyu exams. Try asking Hugo at the front desk...

-- Jun

Kat.C
07-02-2002, 03:27 PM
Hello Beverly,
I am just a beginner too, less than three months of training so far and this is exactly what I wondered when I first started (still do sometimes:rolleyes: ) I have a very hard time remembering what sensei is demonstrating no matter how many times he goes through the technique, but it is getting easier. It helps that I know what tenkan, irimi and tenshi are, that way I just have to remember which movement I have to do rather than study senseis feet and remember 'right foot back,spin 180 degrees' etc. Of course sometimes when trying to do the technique I can't remember if it's tenkan or tenshi or what! :eek: I actually find that I don't learn from watching at all, I just get a general idea of what it shuld look like, I really learn from doing it as it is my body that must remember the technique. I do practice going over techniques in my head as well though when I can't physically practice them. This is getting to be a long post and I don't think I've said much that's helpful. Basically as I get more familiar with moving the way one does in aikido I find it a little easier to learn the techniques by watching and doing. I am still having problems though, aikido is very confusing,at least for me. My sensei said that usually after about six months it is alot less confusing. Anyways I hope this helps you a little.

Beverly
07-02-2002, 04:24 PM
If I remember correctly, your dojo has tapes to help people for their kyu exams. Try asking Hugo at the front desk...
Jun,

Yes, that's right, my dojo does sell kyu exam tapes (all demonstrated by Chiba Sensei :D ). I think it starts at the 5th kyu exam, but it would be a good idea to pick them up to study.

It helps that I know what tenkan, irimi and tenshi are, that way I just have to remember which movement I have to do rather than study senseis feet and remember 'right foot back,spin 180 degrees' etc.
Kathryn,
It would be a good idea for me to do the same, sometimes I try to observe everything and trying to remember where my feet go and what my hands do is impossible because I am trying to remember too much. If I knew the different movements then I could just concentrate on piecing them all together. Thanks, it's great advice!

erminio
07-02-2002, 04:32 PM
Hi, I'm starting Aikido and I guess I'll have the same problem; in a bookstore I found
"Aikido and the dynamic sphere" by Ratti and Westbrook: I think I'm going to use its drawns and description to put the moves in my mind and practicing at home, after the classes.

Hope I helped you

Have a good day

Erminio

Kensai
07-02-2002, 04:53 PM
Learning
I have been learning Martial arts for many years. But have been going to Aikido for a very short time.

i) Picking things up will get easier as you notice common patterns in the moves. Or the moves are an extension of say for example "ki" exercises.

ii) dont let your mind wonder.

iii) I find it helps looking at the hands and the one point of my sensei. This is where most of the technique comes from.

iv) Arm yourself with good books so that you know what the moves are atleast called before the lesson.

v) Never listen to anyone else other than your Sensei, even if these other people are trying to help. Your Sensei is Sensei for a good reason.

vi) ENJOY!

Have fun

Cheers

Chris

AikiAlf
07-02-2002, 05:40 PM
relax, listen to all people and do what the teacher did, not what you think he did:p
don't sweat it no one is going to ask you to demontrate techniques before you feel much better about this situation.
train regularly and soon you won't remember what it feels to have to think about your feet and hands all the time, and what comes next. Eventually it will become natural.
this insn't insta-MA. don't expect to master it in a year. Relax.

PeterR
07-02-2002, 07:32 PM
In the beginning stay away from books and tapes not specifically recomended by your teacher. It confuses things.

Far better to just go to the dojo and let the natural learning method take place.

First six months are the worst because everything is new - why add to the confusion.

jk
07-02-2002, 08:08 PM
Hi Beverly,

I'd stay away from the books and tapes for the present, because the most use you'll get out of them is as review material.

That being said, I don't think getting Chiba Sensei's 5th and 4th kyu tapes would be a bad idea...great stuff. Based on the opinions of those I respect, you're quite lucky to be training where you are. I'd love a chance to train at your dojo.

Regards,

MaylandL
07-02-2002, 08:56 PM
Hello Beverly.

Welcome to the forum and aikido.

Originally posted by Beverly
How does one remember it all from simply watching? Well, I guess I have two questions: Does learning this way eventually get easier?


I cant really add to what's been said in terms of specific advice. Hopefully I can add some words of encouragement.

I guess if you've ever taken up a new sport or activity that requires manual skills and dexterity you would be in the same position. It will feel "clunky" in the beginning but things will become more familiar if you keep up with the training.

When you are learning something new it will be awkward in the beginning but it gets easier with time and regular practice. Also in aikido you never stop learning, there's so much to explore and try out.

Originally posted by Beverly

Are there any books or videos out there that would be good for a new person, like me, to become familiar with certain beginner's techniques?


I agree with Mr Peter Rehse's comments. Train regularly, ask lots of questions of your Sensei and Sempais and above all have fun and enjoy the experience of learning something new.

All the best for your training.

Genex
07-04-2002, 07:18 AM
Hi
I'm reasonable new too been doind it over a month, basicaly i watch when the move is performed and then when we pair up we attempt to figure it out *communication* is the key if your not sure watch some of the advanced pupils i'm sure if your having major difficulties your sensei will notice (prolly cause you havent hit the mat at 100+ Mph yet)
if in doubt ask, you'll pick it up tho its hard not too just think about the kewl things you can do to ppl, i guarentee you'll get more airtime then an RAF pilot.
pete

Gopher Boy
07-04-2002, 11:15 PM
Hi Beverly!

(Hi Mayland!)


I agree wholeheartedly with Chris - you do start to recognise certain patterns after a while. As a new(er) student, I am at the point where things are starting to make sense and sit in my mind.

To ease any fears - yes, this does make things easier to learn. Sorry, let me re-phrase that.... It makes it easier to perform the technique in a such a way as for it look perfect to you and abysmal to Sensei :p

You will find as you progress, that so much of Aikido is based on a few fundamentals. Practise in Aikido is very much like kata in something like karate. It is to get a grounding in the basics. Once you start to recognise different movements, postures and feelings (pain is usually prominent!) then you will find that learning will be easier.

As for out-of-class exercises and ways to improve, practise is of course the most important. Different exercises help different people but one I find to help me immensely is just a plain, simple verticle cut of the bokken. If you are keen then ask at the dojo on places to get a good one and then talk to Sensei about the correct way to cut. Go home, find a nice open space (outdoors is good!) and cut away. You will find that the arms get quite sore early on. Continue as long as you can and then stop. Don't cut when your arms are too sore or you technique will become sloppy and you wont gain any benefit. Wash, rinse, repeat....

Another thing I found helpful was to simply miss a lesson. True, it was due to a badly sprained ankle, but it still made a lot of difference. Sometimes you need to forget the technique and actually do it. Most techniques in Aikido employ natural motions of the body and so quite often your body will know what to do even if you don't! HOWEVER - skipping lessons is not to be done regularly or even occasionally. It all depends on how you learn though. If you find that perserverance always gets you there then go for it. If you need to take a small step back then do it.


Hope you continue to have a great time!

Phill.

Duarh
07-05-2002, 12:38 AM
A somewhat strange experience. . .for the second time in my year-long aikido 'career', I was forced by my health to take a month or so off from practice. And, for the second time, I noticed a notable improvement in my aikido abilities right after a hiatus. . .this latter time it was because I finally forced myself to relax during class, but that was something I couldn't do when I was going to class every second day. It is strange how this happens. . .

It's not as if I'm going to take months off now to magically 'improve' my technique, though ;D

and yeah, everything in aikido certainly seemed immensely confusing to me in the very beginning, and grew swiftly less so as time passed - learning became much easier (of course, I'm still confused, but. . .it's a different kind of confusion)

SeiserL
07-05-2002, 08:59 AM
IMHO, don't wory about remembering. Just train in what your Sensei gives you that day. It comes to you after a while. There are far too many variations and combinations to keep up. Just train. Relax, breath, and enjoyu yourself.

Until again,

Lynn

Beverly
07-05-2002, 02:46 PM
I'd like to thank all of those who replied to my message. The advice and encouragement is greatly appreciated. This is only my second week at my dojo (which I am VERY honored to be a member of) and it has been... a challenge, but I am very excited about and very humbled by all there is to learn. I'm planning on sticking to it for the long run (as you all have said it's a continual learning process) but I'm glad to know that it will some day get easier. I have also heard that after about 6 months things start to fall in place/make sense. So any worries I have about learning are premature. But even that being said, I'm sure this will not be my last post here. :p

Beverly

Petroff
07-07-2002, 04:17 AM
I myself am a complete beginner in Aikido (having started 3 weeks ago) and I feel pretty much the same. Despite being very enthusiastic and finding it extremely interesting I seem to have a great difficulty understanding and remembering even the simplest movements. And because I am the only complete beginner in my group I used to think that the problem lies in me and that somehow I am not very suitable for Aikido. Everybody tried to persuade me that this situation is very normal for the first few months and afterwards all of a sudden things become a lot more clearer. Sensei says that all I need is practice. I am not entirely convinced, but certainly hope that itís true :-)

Duarh
07-07-2002, 10:03 AM
Ivan - it's true

Btw, it's taken me a year, not 6 months, for things to suddenly become a LOT clearer (and more misty at the same time) ;) so don't worry. (this doesn't mean that you won't understand more after 6 months than now - quite to the contrary)