View Full Version : Attitude in beginning training
09-08-2000, 08:46 AM
I am beginning my Aikido training in DC at Aikido Shobukan Dojo. I am wondering if anyone could give words of wisdom to a beginning aikidoka as to the attitude towards training to display. The dojo seems very advanced, with many students are black belt and above. Several of the beginning students feel very challenged as to the level of training attention given and the challenges that a beginning student faces. What type of attitude (in a positive, serious sense) should I display to gain smooth and progressively positive knowledge and experience from such an experienced group? Hope this is clear enough.
Respect, Humility, Gratitude, Flexibility, Positive Attitute, Willingness to Learn, Obvervation, and more...
Actually, you should be able to ask one of the senior students (your sempai) this question and they should be able to help you. Also, watch how the senior students conduct themselves and act towards their sempai. There is also an excellent book for beginning aikido students by Greg O'Connor called "The Aikido Student Handbook." It's relatively inexpensive and available at many good bookstores. I think it's actually required reading at some dojos. In addition to this website, the following are also some good resources regarding aikido, among many:
09-08-2000, 09:24 AM
Lots of good advice already.
I think your attitude could also include the feeling "if those people can learn this...so can I!"
Ask them to share what they know with you. Be committed, be available, be eager, be respectful and don't quit!
There's an extremely good chance that in a few years you'll have someone coming up to you and asking for you to share with them.
09-08-2000, 09:33 AM
You're wise observations and suggestions are already making it easier to join such an experienced group.
Honestly, I was quite intimidated and felt as though it would be very difficult for me to begin. However, reading your comments and suggestions (especially the book on Aikido training... Amazon, here I come...), realizing that these students were all at "this point" before, and a deep willingness to follow Aikido burgeon the enthusiasm I felt when I first learned of Aikido.
Thank you for the community of spirit and the willingness to help a newbie!!
In my dojo I am one of a very small handful of beginners and have found that the dan grades actually like training with me!! It gives them a good chance to practice and develop their own teaching skills with a beginner and gives them the confidence that those teaching skills they are developing actually are going to work, and in nearly all cases, work well!!
I was talking to Sensei on Friday night and he is glad to have even a small influx of beginners because it gives his more advanced students something important to learn, especially since, as he said, they will one day want to open dojo's of their own!! He was amazed once when at one of his seminars there was a 2nd Dan in attendence from a different style, who when asked if he'd like to get up and show people something from his style that they may never have seen before, said that he had never taught!!
From the other side of the coin I find it quite stimulating practicing with these more advanced students as they all have something different to give, and quite often, different perspectives even within the same techniques. That to me is a whole wealth of useful knowledge from different sources condensed into an easily obtainable format available almost exclusively for me, the newbie!! Make the most of their knowledge and as in all Aikido both you and your Sempai will gain a lot from it!!
I enjoy having beginners (especially since I am one)- sometimes, since the majority of my dojo is yudansha, we start to move quickly so to speak, covering a lot on a lot of different topics- although all I can try to teach to beginners is basic ukemi (and I'm abd even at that), I've found that with beginners, you get to slow down a bit, polish your technique... taking two steps back so that you can take 4 steps forward, I suppose.
09-11-2000, 11:27 PM
Since I too am a beginner and in a similar situation (many advanced students and few beginners) I found the most important thing to remember is to be respectful, watchful, and willing to "sacrifice the body" This doesn't mean to act reckless with my body, but be open to new techniques that seem at first a little scary. (This sunday i took my first breakfall!!) Seeing my sempai demonstate and his faith that I could exacute this fall...even though I was scared I "took the plunge" and tried the fall. His faith in me proved right as I did the fall (not great of course) but I completed it multiple times with zero injuries and found that there was nothing to fear.
When I first started training, I was the one and only beginner in the group. At first it was a little intimidating, but everyone made me feel very welcome. But I take my training very seriously...to say that I am dedicated to training three/four times a week, comming in early to practise ukemi and stretch, and looking to my sempai for guidence at all times. But now, as new beginners enter the class I am a little bummed that they do not take their training and ettiquette as seriously as I do/did. As extended to me, I make every effort to make this new batch of new-commers feel as welcome as I felt in the beginning.
If you take training seriously, sensai and sempai will see your effort and extend every courtesy.
Jason R. Freed
09-15-2000, 02:05 AM
P.D. Don't forget to ask questions!
09-15-2000, 06:22 AM
The fact that you are humble enough to ask that question shows you have all you need. If you try to display an attitude that is "appropriate" for the dojo but is not natural to you, then you won't enjoy your training time as much. Just be yourself, keep an open mind and take your training time seriously.
I figure- be humble, follow your yudansha's instructions to the best of your abilities (you should be able to trust your yudansha enough to do this), and treat people with respect. Everything else will come in time.
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