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JoelLM
03-29-2014, 12:04 AM
I'm not trying to step on anyones toes, insult or offend.

We currently have two instructors where im from, one a 3rd dan who is very clear on his claims and can provide evidence, as well as bring up one of his instructor for a week long seminars Tohsiro Suga. He also sends his students out to the French Federation for grading instead of passing out grades himself.

On the other hand, we have another who claims to be a 6th dan, who after speaking with him is very unclear on what he teaches, a lot of contradicting information, I've heard from others that he hold no official ranks in anything. Is there a way to verify his credentials?

I have nothing against this Instructor, I would like to take his class once I have a decent amount of experience with aikido, there are just a few thing about him that make me feel uneasy.

Janet Rosen
03-29-2014, 12:39 AM
Trust your instinct.

Carsten Möllering
03-29-2014, 02:06 AM
Trust your instinct.Yes. :)
Instinct, Feeling, Intuition ...
is our best leader in live.

osaya
03-29-2014, 03:07 AM
having official credentials can sometimes be useful to give us a rough indication of standard/validity. however, it can be equally as misleading at times. there are people with high ranks/quals with crappy abilities, and vice-versa.

i know this isn't exactly where you are coming from with your question, but i guess this is just another POV to consider aside from an instructor's qualifications is their ability as an aikidoka(ist) as well as a teacher.

roman naly
03-29-2014, 03:11 AM
Watch a class and if you like what you see, then take one of the classes.

philipsmith
03-29-2014, 04:49 AM
paper credentials can sometimes be just that, pieces of paper. In saying that anyone who claims high Dan ranking should be able to list his/her primary teacher and ranking organisation.
There are numerous individuals in the UK and elsewhere who claim (very) high rankings which are in fact awarded by their own students!

Now it can be argued that this is no different from the Aikikai; after all grades are awarded by people within the group; but at least bodies such as the Aikikai, Yoshinkan etc. have an international reach and, therefore, an extensive peer review system.

At the end of the day it depends on how important you, as a student, think rank is and your view af each teachers skill in both Aikido and teaching.

Rupert Atkinson
03-29-2014, 06:02 AM
If he has skill, go learn. If not, don't bother. The paper is all garbage - even if the credentials are sound - it does not mean the teacher will be good.

Malicat
03-29-2014, 06:51 AM
having official credentials can sometimes be useful to give us a rough indication of standard/validity. however, it can be equally as misleading at times. there are people with high ranks/quals with crappy abilities, and vice-versa.

i know this isn't exactly where you are coming from with your question, but i guess this is just another POV to consider aside from an instructor's qualifications is their ability as an aikidoka(ist) as well as a teacher.

A piece of paper is no guarantee of quality, that's correct. However, someone who lies about having a piece of paper should tell you all you need to know.

--Ashley

Millsy
03-29-2014, 07:34 AM
A piece of paper is no guarantee of quality, that's correct. However, someone who lies about having a piece of paper should tell you all you need to know.


It's sometimes easy to look at a piece of paper and infer quality, but it is no guarantee, at the base level it is evidence of time spent. I don't think the OP was claiming the 6th Dan was lying, only that he couldn't make sense of his background from some conversations, for some their budo journey isn't as neat and linear as others who have stayed with the one teacher/organisation. Some times the more "ronin" person has a richer understanding sometimes a more confused one.

The ability to teach as little to do with a Dan level, or even technical ability and understanding of the art, but the ability to transmit that knowledge to their students. Ultimately watch the teacher teach, does he communicate in a way that works for you; look at the students they are the reflection of the teachers ability to teach; and speak to the teacher, are they open or honest even if somewhat confused :)

SteveTrinkle
03-29-2014, 01:21 PM
just because he does not "hand out" grades him self may mean nothing , especially higher grades many times these must first be submitted to , for example Aikikai Hombu dojo one idea for you is to watch carefully the interaction between your instructor and his teacher what is your school's liniage? who was your teacher's teacher's teacher?

Dan Rubin
03-29-2014, 03:39 PM
Perhaps the people offering advice will be helped by your first AikiWeb post, here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23335

sakumeikan
03-29-2014, 04:03 PM
paper credentials can sometimes be just that, pieces of paper. In saying that anyone who claims high Dan ranking should be able to list his/her primary teacher and ranking organisation.
There are numerous individuals in the UK and elsewhere who claim (very) high rankings which are in fact awarded by their own students!

Now it can be argued that this is no different from the Aikikai; after all grades are awarded by people within the group; but at least bodies such as the Aikikai, Yoshinkan etc. have an international reach and, therefore, an extensive peer review system.

At the end of the day it depends on how important you, as a student, think rank is and your view af each teachers skill in both Aikido and teaching.

Hi Philip,
Hope you are well. As you say there are self graded individuals around.The latest being a certain gentlemen claiming 9th Dan here in the U.K. .My own view is this, simply keeping one or more grades ahead of your students and being graded to a higher level by panel of students of a lower grade imo is not the way to go.Personally I think anyone accepting or self promoting themselves to a high grade in this manner are fooling themselves.Of course different groups use different standards.Not every group has had the privilege of training under the tutelage from the many skilled Shihan we both have met over the years.I guess we could both agree that we are very fortunate to have had such experienced teachers in our formative years.I guess we are pretty lucky here??
Please pass on my warmest regards to your Mum, and warmest regards to your colleagues from Jenny and myself, All the best , Joe.

sakumeikan
03-29-2014, 04:22 PM
If he has skill, go learn. If not, don't bother. The paper is all garbage - even if the credentials are sound - it does not mean the teacher will be good.

Dear Rupert,
Pray tell me how a beginner can tell whether a instructor is good or knows his /her stuff?A beginner has little knowhow to tell whether the aikido is good or bad, technically sound or technically flawed. There has to be certain standards. The Fukushidoin /Shidoin/Shihan certification may not be perfect but it a least gives a degree of credibility to the teacher.
If a Doctor set up a practice would you like to think that the guy went to a medical school /passed exams and was accredited by a legitimate group or would you just go to the guy because he uses the word DR. in his surgery/calling card?
I believe an aikido teacher should be able to over and above demonstrate reasonable aikido skills, he /she should be able to list their pedigree /lineage ie the names of main teachers he /sge has studied under. I also believe a teachers grading record should be seen or authenticated by a reputable body.Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
03-29-2014, 04:27 PM
A piece of paper is no guarantee of quality, that's correct. However, someone who lies about having a piece of paper should tell you all you need to know.

--Ashley

Ashley,
Your quote says it all. Cheers, Joe.

Adam Huss
03-29-2014, 04:39 PM
Just came back from a quick visit to each school's website. Obviously armchair QBing this from the internet but, given lack of other information, here are my thoughts:

Both instructors seem skilled.

The younger instructor has a more obvious direct lineage, meaning, he trained with a particular person for a particular set of time. This consistency is very important for an instructor as it grants them a depth of knowledge (assuming their teacher knew what he or she was talking about) and can actually instruct others how and why things work. This is all assumption, no clue if its manifested in the dojo you are looking at.

The 6th dan guy seems to have a lifetime devoted to training. It's a full time dojo, meaning training and teaching is likely all this guy does. It seems like he seeks out training under many individuals, but does not list what his consistent training was. Did he have a disagreement with his organization around nidan level then split away and been solo for the last 30 years? Hard to tell. One important aspect of looking at an independent instructor is if he maintains ties with other practitioners outside of his own group, and does he seek to better himself or has running his own organization made him stagnate? HIs movements are reminiscent of older styles of aikido. His organization has a religious association (Christian Martial Arts Federation) and he is a pastor. Seems like he teaches several forms of budo...all taught within his seemingly own organization. So if you are looking for more exposure to different forms there's that to consider.

So really, it all comes down to you making a decision. Most importantly you need to audit classes at both locations. Observe the instructor's teaching style, atmosphere, student body and attitude. Then look at class schedule, what's offered, and how active they are (regularly host or travel to seminars, etc).

I would recommend caution in being too swayed by a website page. I have good friends whose dojo I would never visit based on their webpage alone, and they are great instructors.

JoelLM
03-29-2014, 05:12 PM
Perhaps the people offering advice will be helped by your first AikiWeb post, here:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23335

Thanks, Dan

I wanted to avoid bringing attention to both dojos as I do not have any malice against the instructors and I do not wish to tarnish their reputations. Yes YAMA DOJO is the one that is in question for me mainly because I felt more confused after speaking with the instructor then I had previously. After communicating with some of the other members of the martial arts community things got even more muddled.

Speaking with the Instructor, he asked me what my experience was in regards to martial arts. I expressed I had very little in regards to grappling but had done boxing, karate, and had done a tad bit of aikido. I expressed my concerns for aikido, mainly the ki aspect of aikido (no offence to practitioners of ki aikido) he's answer was that he does not teach nor is he a fan of Aikido. This is where I became confused as he advertises as an aikido school, at least thats what his website led me to believe. He claims to teach Aikijujitsu, okay, so I made a mental note. So I watched the class, I enjoyed what I saw.

I jumped online, did some research on Aikijujitsu as I had no clue what this was at the time and found Diato ryu. Wow, I thought I'd struck gold, I've never tried Diato ryu, but from the videos I saw, I think it's something I would really enjoy. Yet again, I started asking questions on a different forum and found that under all the credentials listed on his webpage he has no Diato ryu experience.... insert more confusion.

So, I run into a few friends who are Bujinkan practitioners and ask if they have met said instructor and what they thought of him. One said that he had heard that he had practice in a Bujinkan dojo in easter Canada for a couple of years and he noticed in his class that some of the techniques are indeed Ninjutsu. The other said that when he spoke to said instructor he had a poor view of Bujinkan and he felt as if he was being spoken down to. Insert more confusion. (His experience in the Buj is not listed on his website)

I feel like he was trying to sell me his art. I have no issues with this however I'd like clarity and transparency. He makes a lot of claims that I can verify or that seem to be contradictory. This is why I had hoped that maybe there was a way of verifying his claims so I can actually get an idea of what is he teaching. His art dose not look bad, I'm interested in checking it out, but I want something solid. I dont want to learn an art thinking its aikido and later go to another dojo and look like a fool because what I had learned was not aikido.

JoelLM
03-29-2014, 05:22 PM
Just came back from a quick visit to each school's website. Obviously armchair QBing this from the internet but, given lack of other information, here are my thoughts:

Both instructors seem skilled.

The younger instructor has a more obvious direct lineage, meaning, he trained with a particular person for a particular set of time. This consistency is very important for an instructor as it grants them a depth of knowledge (assuming their teacher knew what he or she was talking about) and can actually instruct others how and why things work. This is all assumption, no clue if its manifested in the dojo you are looking at.

The 6th dan guy seems to have a lifetime devoted to training. It's a full time dojo, meaning training and teaching is likely all this guy does. It seems like he seeks out training under many individuals, but does not list what his consistent training was. Did he have a disagreement with his organization around nidan level then split away and been solo for the last 30 years? Hard to tell. One important aspect of looking at an independent instructor is if he maintains ties with other practitioners outside of his own group, and does he seek to better himself or has running his own organization made him stagnate? HIs movements are reminiscent of older styles of aikido. His organization has a religious association (Christian Martial Arts Federation) and he is a pastor. Seems like he teaches several forms of budo...all taught within his seemingly own organization. So if you are looking for more exposure to different forms there's that to consider.

So really, it all comes down to you making a decision. Most importantly you need to audit classes at both locations. Observe the instructor's teaching style, atmosphere, student body and attitude. Then look at class schedule, what's offered, and how active they are (regularly host or travel to seminars, etc).

I would recommend caution in being too swayed by a website page. I have good friends whose dojo I would never visit based on their webpage alone, and they are great instructors.

Thank you, that was a very good Answer.

I've been with Aikido Yukon for almost two month now and have enjoyed my time there tremendously. There are issues which are not anyones fault other then life. The instructor missing class due to work, and I would also like to attend class more frequently then 2-3 times a week, but these things can not be helped. Aikido yukon is also bringing up Toshiro Suga this April for a seminar, this is something I have not heard the other dojo doing. I do not believe Yama dojo has ever brought up another instructor for a seminar, but that doesn't mean it has never happened, I've just never heard of it. One of the draws to Yama dojo for me was how frequently they trained and why I started questioning.

Dan Rubin
03-29-2014, 05:30 PM
According to this webpage, our very own Szczepan Janczuk knows Vitold Jordan 6th dan, and likes him:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?28836-Instructor-inquiry

JoelLM
03-29-2014, 05:35 PM
According to this webpage, our very own Szczepan Janczuk knows Vitold Jordan 6th dan, and likes him:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?28836-Instructor-inquiry

Okay, well that's very cool. At least this is conformation from someone that has practiced under him.

Adam Huss
03-29-2014, 05:42 PM
Be careful not to associate DRAJJ with aikijujitsu. Vitold doesn't appear to claim Daito Ryu lineage, and that is a very specific thing to claim. He appears to claim aikijujitsu, which is a more generic term. His movements overall seem to indicate that type of influence....things like his zanshin "stances" and hojo dosa for ushiro waza.

I felt pretty confident I've heard of Vitold Sensei before. Must have been through Mr. Janczuk's posts.

I don't mean to discredit someone who doesn't associate outside his organization (for those who are kancho/kaicho status), just that its something to pay attention to. Sometimes people want to teach a very specific thing in a very specific manner. That's not my approach, but I can appreciate legitimate reasons behind that thinking...namely quality control. But it can also indicate a person thats just difficult to get along with, or has poor grasp of teaching material and doesn't want to look foolish in front of other instructors. Impossible to tell w/o personally experiencing their dojo.

Joel,
glad you are enjoying your new dojo! Maybe you can even train at both, or just drop in to Vitold's school every once and awhile (if your teacher and Vitold are okay with that). I would be cautious with that until you have a solid understanding of what your home dojo is teaching, to avoid confusion. Part time dojo, like I am guessing yours is, becomes a pretty close 'family' of sorts. You definitely have to take into account that training environment can drastically change if your instructor becomes injured, or has work and personal life issues. These things happen. My dojo is pretty small, so if a couple people don't make class on a night, it can really change the energy level in class. Currently our dojo cho is recovering from surgery so the other black belts take turns teaching....so currently our class is a very very different experience depending on who's directing things that day. This is why I always recommend to people shopping for a dojo that they make more than one visit to each school they are looking at.

JoelLM
03-29-2014, 06:09 PM
Be careful not to associate DRAJJ with aikijujitsu. Vitold doesn't appear to claim Daito Ryu lineage, and that is a very specific thing to claim. He appears to claim aikijujitsu, which is a more generic term. His movements overall seem to indicate that type of influence....things like his zanshin "stances" and hojo dosa for ushiro waza.

I felt pretty confident I've heard of Vitold Sensei before. Must have been through Mr. Janczuk's posts.

I don't mean to discredit someone who doesn't associate outside his organization (for those who are kancho/kaicho status), just that its something to pay attention to. Sometimes people want to teach a very specific thing in a very specific manner. That's not my approach, but I can appreciate legitimate reasons behind that thinking...namely quality control. But it can also indicate a person thats just difficult to get along with, or has poor grasp of teaching material and doesn't want to look foolish in front of other instructors. Impossible to tell w/o personally experiencing their dojo.

Joel,
glad you are enjoying your new dojo! Maybe you can even train at both, or just drop in to Vitold's school every once and awhile (if your teacher and Vitold are okay with that). I would be cautious with that until you have a solid understanding of what your home dojo is teaching, to avoid confusion. Part time dojo, like I am guessing yours is, becomes a pretty close 'family' of sorts. You definitely have to take into account that training environment can drastically change if your instructor becomes injured, or has work and personal life issues. These things happen. My dojo is pretty small, so if a couple people don't make class on a night, it can really change the energy level in class. Currently our dojo cho is recovering from surgery so the other black belts take turns teaching....so currently our class is a very very different experience depending on who's directing things that day. This is why I always recommend to people shopping for a dojo that they make more than one visit to each school they are looking at.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. Vitold never claimed Diato, just to be clear! That was just the assumption I made because I didn't know any better.

Thank you for everyones help, now I can maybe help clear somethings up. Vitold has always been shrouded I mystery and skepticism because no one has ever been able to verify his claims. Lots of gossip can now be put to rest and maybe this will help both Aikido dojos grow.

Rupert Atkinson
03-29-2014, 06:22 PM
Dear Rupert,
Pray tell me how a beginner can tell whether a instructor is good or knows his /her stuff?A beginner has little knowhow to tell whether the aikido is good or bad, technically sound or technically flawed. There has to be certain standards. The Fukushidoin /Shidoin/Shihan certification may not be perfect but it a least gives a degree of credibility to the teacher.
Cheers, Joe.

Fair comment, but I like to think that I have been able to tell between the good and the bad, especially if you see more people for comparison - even when I was young. I mean, I'm not very good at soccer but I can easily see who is and who is not good. Of course, standards are good to have - but even then - there are many people with good credentials that lack skill. I have seen them many, many times (not only in Aikido - in every walk of life).

lbb
03-30-2014, 09:52 AM
Fair comment, but I like to think that I have been able to tell between the good and the bad, especially if you see more people for comparison - even when I was young. I mean, I'm not very good at soccer but I can easily see who is and who is not good. .

Hi Rupert,

Perhaps you're unusually astute, then? I say this because there are plenty of garbage "martial arts" schools whose students are fervent fans of what they're doing, and who earnestly believe that they're being taught good stuff by good instructors. If it's a common skill to distinguish good from bad, even with no prior experience, how do you explain these students?

ryback
03-30-2014, 10:19 AM
Christian Martial arts, Brazilian Ju-jutsu, Arabian Hip Hop, Venusian sushi and Martian belly dancing.
Jolly good, jolly nice!
What a bloody mess!!

"Nobody told me there'd be days like these,
Strange days indeed!"
John Lennon

Rupert Atkinson
03-30-2014, 04:11 PM
Hi Rupert,

Perhaps you're unusually astute, then? I say this because there are plenty of garbage "martial arts" schools whose students are fervent fans of what they're doing, and who earnestly believe that they're being taught good stuff by good instructors. If it's a common skill to distinguish good from bad, even with no prior experience, how do you explain these students?

I have no answer to that except to say they must be blind in some artistic sense. I too have come across this many times. Because of this, when I first visited Japan 25 years ago I visited many places before choosing where to train. I am now back in Japan again - as of last week - searching.

I have been involved in various sports (plus coaching) since a young age and have always followed the skill.

JoelLM
03-30-2014, 10:29 PM
I have no answer to that except to say they must be blind in some artistic sense. I too have come across this many times. Because of this, when I first visited Japan 25 years ago I visited many places before choosing where to train. I am now back in Japan again - as of last week - searching.

I have been involved in various sports (plus coaching) since a young age and have always followed the skill.

I see where you are coming from Rupert, but being able to tell if a martial art is bullshido or legitimately good is a skill. While some people might know what they are looking for I would wager the majority of people need some guidance if this was not the case then the problem of Macdojos would not exist. Aikido has so many different styles, it's not always easy to find what your looking for because non are "bad" they are just tailored to different people. What I look for is something that is a little more brutal, no nonsense, I'm not a big fan of styles that over exaggerate the movements and focus on internal energy. That being said and one of the reasons I've been asking questions is im also big on legitimacy which means being able to trace where my instructor came from in his journey.

While I think most people are able to tell if something is bunk, when your comparing two good dojos, its not always easy to tell which dose it best. And I nitpick a lot.

PeterR
03-31-2014, 02:34 AM
Well I would not go so far as to say none are bad - but generally Aikido seems to have avoided some of McDojo pitfalls.

Rupert's skill comes from experience - by nature (I suppose) he looked around before buying and bought well the first time. His soccer analogy holds water for him because you can easily see a lot of players at different levels quite easy.

Most of us are lazy or just don't have the opportunity to observe the wide variety so luck plays a far bigger role. And let's face it - the second part of human nature is to convince ourselves what we do is the bestest and the mostest. It is a trap easily fallen into.

Rupert Atkinson
03-31-2014, 05:27 AM
Actually, now that I think about it - not quite true Peter.
I first did Judo as a kid and I guess I just trusted it _ my mom sent me. After a while I just found that I wasn't learning - I was just fodder for the bigger kids - and eventually quit. I did a lot of work - sweat etc - but learned very little. They taught very little. And I figured that out for myself.

Then, I found Aikido and they actually taught stuff. It was Tomiki Aikido and it emphasised effectiveness. My teacher was a prison officer and used it often. He was also black belt Judo and he taught us good Judo waza. I loved it and was hooked. We learned katas, and then we studied how to make the individual waza work (Tomiki and Judo). Then I discovered my teacher (Barry Vigrass) was also shodan in what he then called - Ueshiba Aikido - so off I went to find out what that was - Aikikai.

Back then, 1980s, I had lots of 'material' to compare. Many teachers were just not that good. More than a few clubs had teachers who were just kyu grades and it was OK for them to be not so good, but actually, they were usually pretty good for kyu grades. I have seen far worse dan grades in more modern times. My teacher encouraged us to train in different places and we did - I like to think it made a difference. In those days, it was rather taboo to train elsewhere so we had to be careful - everyone was so protective and I still don't really know why. At one point I was doing Tomiki, Aikikai, Judo, and Jujutsu, and Wing Chun all at the same time and I could not tell the teachers I was doing other stuff. I just had to keep my mouth shut (except to the Tomiki teacher). I went on all sorts of courses and got to see many different people so I think that is where I learned to distinguish between who has the skill ...or not. And it cost me a fortune! Sometimes I wonder if I have just wasted my time!

PeterR
03-31-2014, 06:25 AM
Actually, now that I think about it - not quite true Peter.
I first did Judo as a kid and I guess I just trusted it _ my mom sent me. After a while I just found that I wasn't learning - I was just fodder for the bigger kids - and eventually quit. I did a lot of work - sweat etc - but learned very little. They taught very little. And I figured that out for myself.

Then, I found Aikido and they actually taught stuff. It was Tomiki Aikido and it emphasised effectiveness. My teacher was a prison officer and used it often. He was also black belt Judo and he taught us good Judo waza. I loved it and was hooked. We learned katas, and then we studied how to make the individual waza work (Tomiki and Judo). Then I discovered my teacher (Barry Vigrass) was also shodan in what he then called - Ueshiba Aikido - so off I went to find out what that was - Aikikai.

Back then, 1980s, I had lots of 'material' to compare. Many teachers were just not that good. More than a few clubs had teachers who were just kyu grades and it was OK for them to be not so good, but actually, they were usually pretty good for kyu grades. I have seen far worse dan grades in more modern times. My teacher encouraged us to train in different places and we did - I like to think it made a difference. In those days, it was rather taboo to train elsewhere so we had to be careful - everyone was so protective and I still don't really know why. At one point I was doing Tomiki, Aikikai, Judo, and Jujutsu, and Wing Chun all at the same time and I could not tell the teachers I was doing other stuff. I just had to keep my mouth shut (except to the Tomiki teacher). I went on all sorts of courses and got to see many different people so I think that is where I learned to distinguish between who has the skill ...or not. And it cost me a fortune! Sometimes I wonder if I have just wasted my time!

Great story - I also tried several different things mostly dictated by where I was and what was available and then one day (with some idea of what I was looking for) I ran into gold. I am prettyt sure if it was the past experiences that allowed me to see it.

Alex Megann
03-31-2014, 06:43 AM
I have no answer to that except to say they must be blind in some artistic sense. I too have come across this many times. Because of this, when I first visited Japan 25 years ago I visited many places before choosing where to train. I am now back in Japan again - as of last week - searching.

I have been involved in various sports (plus coaching) since a young age and have always followed the skill.

Hi Rupert,

I think your wide background, and your insistence on seeking the "real thing" outside your immediate lineage, educated you to some extent in terms of perceived quality. You are surely rare in this respect.

During the course of my aikido career, I have seen groups - in some instances, whole organisations - whose aikido has certain good points, but who have poor posture and (in my opinion, at least) lazy, sloppy and complacent technique. The teachers set themselves up as transmitting the "authentic" art, and their students, in the absence of much to compare with, believe them and copy their bad habits faithfully.

With regard to the original thread topic, I don't think there is any absolute guarantee of quality, regardless of paper qualifications. As Philip said, the moderation of dan gradings by shihan from the respective Hombu gives at least some assurance of a minimum standard, but then we get back to the thorny problem of a good practitioner not necessarily being a good teacher.

I would always say do some research online ("Google is your friend") and then, bearing that in mind, go with whichever group you like most on an intuitive level.

Alex

lbb
03-31-2014, 07:04 AM
Aikido has so many different styles, it's not always easy to find what your looking for because non are "bad" they are just tailored to different people. What I look for is something that is a little more brutal, no nonsense, I'm not a big fan of styles that over exaggerate the movements and focus on internal energy.

So, here's the flip side of the question I asked Rupert: if you're a beginner (or relatively new), how do you know that a movement is "over exaggerated" (emphasis mine)? How do you know that something is "nonsense", why do you want something that is "brutal", and how do you know it when you see it?

JoelLM
03-31-2014, 01:03 PM
So, here's the flip side of the question I asked Rupert: if you're a beginner (or relatively new), how do you know that a movement is "over exaggerated" (emphasis mine)? How do you know that something is "nonsense", why do you want something that is "brutal", and how do you know it when you see it?

I have a bit of background in other martial arts so I have an idea what works for me and how I like to train. Like Rupert I was thrown into MA at a young age fallowed by boxing later in life, I was fortunate that both my instructor where very skilled and that was reflected in my sparing. Later when my Karate teacher moved back to Japan and my boxing coach moved back to Quebec I was left looking for something new to fill in the gaps instead of going back to what I already knew. During my search I tried Bagua and xingy quan, a very compliant form of aikido, Japanese Jujitsu where the instructor was teaching out of a book, and last but not least Karate again. The Karate was just not the same and felt sloppy and I just did not love it.

So now I'll try and answer your questions. if you're a beginner (or relatively new), how do you know that a movement is "over exaggerated" (emphasis mine)?
Had I not tried 3 different aikido instructors I probably would not know that the moves were over exaggerated, I would have assumed that this is just the way it's done in Aikido and never returned because it didn't work for me. What do I mean by that? Well I tend to challenge my instructor, I don't do this out of malicious intent, I do it in order to learn better. So I want my instructor to be able to perform techniques on me while I resist to some degree, if he can't I think there maybe a problem with the way he is performing the move. In general you will be able to generate more strength closer to your body rather then further a way, this is one fundamental difference that I've seen in the different aikido schools iv visited. The schools that tend to lead the uke a lot or have an abundance of compliance tend do perform techniques further away from their body. This is just an observation I made and isn't true for everyone nor dose it apply to every teachnique. So how does a beginner know if something is exaggerated, they probably wont unless A, they have tried multiple schools and has taken the time to make observations or B, Is willing to take what he has learned and test it to see how it works best for him with a non compliant partner.

How do you know that something is "nonsense"

This one is a bit personal and other people will define nonsense differently. If I can't make something work for me while performing it correctly then it is nonsense. If It doesn't have the desired results then it is nonsense. This isn't isolated to martial arts. For example if im taking yoga to become more flexible but am not achieving my goals, then I may find that class to be nonsense. That dose not make the class bad, if I felt relaxed and calmer and this is what I was looking for from the yoga class, then it would have been a success. It really depends on your goals.

why do you want something that is "brutal", and how do you know it when you see it?
Brutal might not have been the right word to use. I prefer something more Martial rather then Art, so should it hurt during practice, yes to an extent, I think it should. I want to get thrown hard, I want my wrist to get torqued, and I wont make it easy. I'm not sadistic, I don't believe that pain equals injury, I hate getting injured and I hate seeing people get injured but I believe a bit of pain is good for the soul, it also allow you to undertand your own pain threshold as well as how far you can take something before seriously injuring someone. These are both good lessons that need to be learned in order to prevent injury. If ever the time comes and you find your self in a situation that you need to use your aikido, you will have better self control and have a better idea of your capabilities. This is less about seeing and more about experiencing.

Something that isn't made clear about traditional Martial arts that I think needs to be clarified is the difference between how you train a martial art and how you use it. I think that is where a lot a beginner make mistakes, get confused and drop out.

NagaBaba
03-31-2014, 05:58 PM
According to this webpage, our very own Szczepan Janczuk knows Vitold Jordan 6th dan, and likes him:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?28836-Instructor-inquiry

Yeah, I knew him 25 years ago, then I lost contact with him. Not sure what he is teaching now. If I was you, I would be very prudent, he seems to embrass very particular spiritual approach....

JoelLM
03-31-2014, 10:42 PM
Yeah, I knew him 25 years ago, then I lost contact with him. Not sure what he is teaching now. If I was you, I would be very prudent, he seems to embrass very particular spiritual approach....

I spoke to him about this, it was a concern of mine. From what I understood, he does not inforce the philosophy found in most Dojos, such as bowing before entering and exiting the mat, as well as bowing to O'sensei. He still expects you to be on time and wait before entering the mat if you are late. He does not preach his own beliefs and philosophies during class, but if you want guidance he is willing to provide that at your request. He was very upfront about this and I respect him for that, its a non issue for me.

All I wanted to know is, is he what he claims to be, if so then can someone verify this or speak for him on his behalf. If the community here knows of him, and can confidently speak for him so I can trace his lineage, then thats good enough for me.

lbb
04-01-2014, 07:00 AM
I spoke to him about this, it was a concern of mine. From what I understood, he does not inforce the philosophy found in most Dojos, such as bowing before entering and exiting the mat, as well as bowing to O'sensei. He still expects you to be on time and wait before entering the mat if you are late.

Those are not "philosophy", but matters of etiquette. Do not read too much into them.

He does not preach his own beliefs and philosophies during class

I've yet to meet an aikido sensei who does, but ymmv.

jonreading
04-01-2014, 01:29 PM
First, rank is supposed to be correlated with skill. That does not mean it is. Part of your decision-making process is balancing the learning model and access to talent and the practicality of commitment. Not students train to gain martial skill. There is an increasing number of practitioners whose goal is social community and physical outlet. While not negative, I would be critical of training under false expectations.

Second, most instruction will take on the flavor of the instructor, if not directly her personal influence. A zebra is not going to change her stripes. Watch or participate in 3 classes - if you aren't impressed, you're not gonna be impressed. The question then becomes, would you be satisfied with the training?

Third, a solid teaching model is going to clearly illustrate a path of education. There should be a "why" and "how" for what you do. Ikeda sensei is known for taking his movement, slowing it down and making it big to better illustrate what is going on. He also says that is what he is doing.

As a note of terminology for me, "brute" usual refers to the education of force. It would not be the term best describing aikido. To your point, the act of properly applying much of our waza should solicit discomfort.

kewms
04-07-2014, 04:04 PM
The lineage of the various aikijujitsu styles seems to be ... complex. If someone is going to claim a rank as high as 6th dan, though, I would want to know who awarded the rank, and then I would do a little research. There's nothing wrong with having trained with lots of people, but a high rank should imply a long-term commitment to a single style, and being unwilling to elaborate on that would be a big red flag for me.

The aikido lineage is less complex. I'd be very skeptical of someone who claimed to be teaching aikido but couldn't (or wouldn't) trace his lineage to a direct student of Ueshiba Sensei's. The higher their claimed rank, the more skeptical I would be.

(McDojos claiming to teach aikido do exist. There was one up the road from us until a couple of the senior students stopped by and asked about his lineage. He decided to change his sign...)

Katherine

crbateman
04-07-2014, 04:10 PM
Joel, there is nothing that says you can't try them both. You do not have to make a blind decision; you do not have to commit to either one. Try them both, and then trust your gut. And, even if you discover you've made a mistake, then you still have the same options.

JoelLM
04-07-2014, 06:12 PM
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, your input is greatly appreciated.

I made up my mind and I believe I will stick with AikidoYukon under Gael Marchand, as an instructor I find him excellent, he explains things well as to why techniques are preformed the way they are. I very much enjoy the community he has built and any questions or suggestions I present he addresses. Overall I trust him and believe him to be honest, overall a very good guy with a solid body of knowledge.

The purpose of this thread was not to help me make this decision but more so to help me discover who vitold is. While I think Vitold is a nice guy, their are still some things that remain unclear and make me feel uneasy, I doubt I'll be attending his dojo in the near future. This is not to say that Vitold is a bad instructor but that he is just not the right instructor for me.

Again thank you for your time.

Joel

Adam Huss
04-07-2014, 09:05 PM
Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond, your input is greatly appreciated.

I made up my mind and I believe I will stick with AikidoYukon under Gael Marchand, as an instructor I find him excellent, he explains things well as to why techniques are preformed the way they are. I very much enjoy the community he has built and any questions or suggestions I present he addresses. Overall I trust him and believe him to be honest, overall a very good guy with a solid body of knowledge.

The purpose of this thread was not to help me make this decision but more so to help me discover who vitold is. While I think Vitold is a nice guy, their are still some things that remain unclear and make me feel uneasy, I doubt I'll be attending his dojo in the near future. This is not to say that Vitold is a bad instructor but that he is just not the right instructor for me.

Again thank you for your time.

Joel

Finding the right teacher is definitely a rare and beneficial, and critical, part of your budo.

How is the relationship between Vitold and Aikido Yukon? Do the two schools have joint seminars? I've been training for some time, and am still surprised at how closed off some people can be to training outside their comfort zone. For my personal training, I always like to go outside my comfort zone. Helps with awareness training, humility, patience, and empathy.

Glad you are comfortable with your decision and have a great time training!

JoelLM
04-07-2014, 11:33 PM
Finding the right teacher is definitely a rare and beneficial, and critical, part of your budo.

How is the relationship between Vitold and Aikido Yukon? Do the two schools have joint seminars? I've been training for some time, and am still surprised at how closed off some people can be to training outside their comfort zone. For my personal training, I always like to go outside my comfort zone. Helps with awareness training, humility, patience, and empathy.

Glad you are comfortable with your decision and have a great time training!

Well, I'm not sure, I know Gael has encouraged student who have been interested in checking out Vitolds class to do so. Vitold seems to keep a very tightly knit circle and for the most part keep to them selves. I know that Aikido yukon has a really good relationship with judo club and the ninjutsu club but Vitolds seems to keep his dojo Isolated. I mean, I've seen, members of the Judo club at our dojo and I've trained with members of the Ninjutsu club, but I've yet to see a member of Vitolds dojo drop by.

Adam Huss
04-08-2014, 11:54 AM
Yeah, you'll have that...especially in aikido or sword arts. Doesn't mean Vitolds group isn't good, but I like it when people collaborate. My group has a seminar in the summer where we invite teachers from many different styles, and they all teach short, 30 min sessions. It's fun because everyone there will be doing something new at some point.

Riai Maori
04-10-2014, 03:09 PM
We here in New Zealand have this...

http://www.nzmai.org.nz

Copied and pasted from website...

"Sadly, within the martial arts community, as in other aspects of our lives there are people who claim qualifications that they do not have or have not earned.

There are also martial arts instructors who commit serious crimes or abuse their students.

In an effort to identify properly qualified and trustworthy martial arts instructors for the benefit of the public and the wider martial arts community the NZMAI was formed.

There are also instances of hard working competent martial artists who have no senior teacher and therefore no path for promotion or have inadvertently gained their grades from an unqualified teacher.

In these cases the NZMAI is there to help by setting up panels of independent but appropriately qualified people to assess individuals so their grades can be recognised and to put these people back on track for further progress in martial arts. We need the help of properly qualified martial artists to achieve this.
What if you are already reputable and recognised as such?

You may consider that because you already belong to a reputable overseas organisation, you do not need the services of the NZMAI. This may be true to some extent. However other New Zealand martial artists may need your help. We are a community of (mostly) like minded people and as such we can support each other in numerous ways.

Once the auditing process is complete you will be in a position to protect your chosen art from those who would bring it into disrepute.

Let us speak with one voice to the public and to government on the issues surrounding ethical and competent teaching in the martial arts"

Food for thought...:)