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John McBride
08-05-2016, 05:20 PM
Good day,

Brand new member here.

I have a question that may seem to have an obvious answer if I were to ask outright, but there are some factors that need to be considered prior to the formulation of an answer. Because of that, I submit a brief synopsis of my situation, and the question is to follow.

Some 20+ years ago, I had trained and progressed through the ranks at a local dojo to a 1st kyu.
Life became more demanding and I ended up having to leave the mat. initially, leaving the mat was NOT by choice. A demanding first wife who viewed the spirituality of the practice of Budo/Aikido as paganism and antithetical to her "Christian" values, a "sin" if you will. Suffice to say I bowed to the pressure and began a very long sabbatical from my beloved Aikido. Not because I, in any way shared her beliefs, more that I just could not stand the proselytizing and brow beating....it was a very dark 14 year marriage.

Flash forward to present day, I am several years into a fabulously wonderful new marriage. life is still demanding and middle age is well upon me.
I have been recovering from a broken back suffered while skiing a couple of years ago. I am medically cleared to begin exercising and have shed nearly 50 pounds of recovery weight since last December. Body weight workout routines and mountain biking along with radically revised, plant based diet have helped there.

I finally feel as though I am ready to come back to the mat and begin training again. Cleared from my Doctor to even get tossed around by other students.

My question is this. I have found a small and traditionally run Dojo right near my house. I like the feel of the school, and want to train here.

I wonder, is it bad form not to relate my previous training? My thought is, back then I actually cared about rank and the climbing through the Kyu's with the Sandon always representing one of the brass rings.
Now, I much rather go to class, exhale the day, focus on my movement and more or less "enjoy the ride."

Is there disrespect in NOT revealing that I have trained before? I am not hiding anything. I would answer truthfully were I to be asked. But I wonder if there is a breech of protocol by not discussing my previous training upon beginning training at this new dojo.

Any guidance here would be most appreciated. i go to visit the school tonight to observe a class.

Domo
John

Mary Eastland
08-05-2016, 05:43 PM
Jo John:

If someone was coming into our dojo I would appreciate hearing that they had trained before. We would also honor the rank.

Best wishes in your endeavor.

John McBride
08-05-2016, 06:14 PM
Jo John:

If someone was coming into our dojo I would appreciate hearing that they had trained before. We would also honor the rank.

Best wishes in your endeavor.

Domo Mary,

I thought as much. Ultimately that was my gut feeling.

I guess I was just really wanting to sort of "blend in" and start from scratch. Add to that the politics of rank etc. and I just thought maybe it were better not to mention any previous training.

That said, I absolutely concur that it is best to be up front upon initial enrollment into the Dojo. I can see that this may be a better approach rather than not saying anything at all.

I suppose i knew that all along. Perhaps a bit jittery about getting back on the mat after all this time.

anyhow, thanks for your response.

John

Mary Eastland
08-05-2016, 06:55 PM
I can always tell anyway. People that have trained before moved in a different way than others. Hope you have fun.

John McBride
08-05-2016, 10:27 PM
I can always tell anyway. People that have trained before moved in a different way than others. Hope you have fun.

Im going to. It was a great little dojo. It is just getting started, so I will actually be one of the first students. First as in, one of a dozen maybe? Its better than I hoped for. I am super excited.

R.A. Robertson
08-06-2016, 12:30 PM
Enough time has elapsed that you qualify in many ways as a beginner. There is nothing wrong in approaching things afresh, and representing yourself (self-identifying) as a beginner.

At the same time, nothing is served by hiding relevant details from your past, and I can't imagine any offense committed by disclosure. Hopefully the admissions process will allow a two-way interview, formal or otherwise. That would be a good time to tell your story.

Rank is its own issue, and that is for the dojo community to assess. I've long viewed rank as a kind of currency -- tokens inherently worthless yet representative of perceived value. Exchange rates among aikido groups are often ad hoc.

It's fine if they value your rank at parity; it's fine if they determine your currency to hold no meaning in their system; it's fine if it's recognized, but depreciated.

It's up to you to see to it that, over time, your investment accrues appreciation.

Good luck!

John McBride
08-06-2016, 03:54 PM
It's fine if they value your rank at parity; it's fine if they determine your currency to hold no meaning in their system; it's fine if it's recognized, but depreciated.

It's up to you to see to it that, over time, your investment accrues appreciation.

Good luck!

Ross,
I agree, but as it happens, the very first question out of sensi's mouth was "So, you have studied Aikido before?"
Being of honorable spirit, I knew the jig was up, and disclosed that yes, I had indeed studied before many, many years ago. Since no further discussion about where I left off regarding rank was forth coming, I relaxed and enjoyed observing my first class in over 20 years as a beginner.

I realize that this may seem trivial, but I am a very different person from who I was lo those many years ago. Starting over from the beginning is what I was after, and I am excited beyond measure (and more than a little apprehensive) to get back on the mat.

I truly appreciate your response. It means a lot.

Domo,

John

Peter Goldsbury
11-30-2016, 08:03 PM
I have just seen this thread and would add my comments as the chief instructor of a general dojo. I tend to ask prospective students if they have any disabilities, or have had any previous injuries, which might impact the level of training in the dojo, where the members rank from total beginners to 4th dan.

I agree with Mary Eastland's and Ross Robertson's comments. If you came to my dojo and had some injury, even a minor injury -- and then I discovered that you had previously had a severe injury, I would want to know why this information had not been given before.

Not so long ago s student enrolled in the dojo. He was doing his PhD and had trained before, but in a Yoshinkan dojo, where he had gained 1st kyuu. He had no injuries and was a good uke, but I had no problem with the Aikikai in promoting him to 1st dan at his next grading. I agree with Ross that rank is like a currency, but where the cash value differs from organization to organization.

Best wishes,

Larry Feldman
12-05-2016, 04:04 PM
Definitely relay any injury history. The fact that you studied before will likely show itself in your practice.

You have the right attitude about just wanting to practice and not worrying about rank. I trained in one dojo and passed my Shodan test, but ended up studying in another dojo - (in the same style) shortly thereafter. But it was a different enough that I could not pass the new dojo's Shodan test - my original teacher was a little 'out of date' with the current standards, the dojo I went to had a rigorous set of standards. They insisted I keep my black belt on - I was more than willing to put the white belt back on....
I just went and practiced, as my skills migrated to the new dojo the question became - what test to take, a Shodan test, or just wait and take their Nidan test. My new teacher gave me the option. The Nidan test was pretty extensive, and I passed it and their standards.