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aikigreg
09-04-2002, 12:34 PM
Long story short (which for me will mean probably 4-5 pages :blush: ):

I just joined a dojo after a layoff from Aikido and a move to another city. I've tried out other dojos and the temperament, etc, never seemed to fit what I was looking for. This new dojo feels like home.

However, the instructor (who really knows his stuff and I'm happy to be working with him) has left an organization and struck out on his own. So he has no current affiliation with a larger organization.

So questions arise:

1) He doesn't place much emphasis on ukemi at all. While this doesn't affect me per say since I have been taught rolls, breakfalls, and my ukemi isn't TOO bad, I'm concerned for some of the newbies there who aren't learning to take ukemi well, nor are they learning to protect Uke when they are performing techniques. Any thoughts on how to approach this subject once I become more integrated into the group? What about convincing him to let me teach a "basics" class? It's a small club that's growing exponentially, and the Sensei is young and my suspicion is he honestly just hasn't thought much about it.

2) Our sensei is not affiliated with any organization. So how will any rank he gives me be looked at if I move to another organization? As a former member of ASU, I was comforted to know that when I tested under my sensei and awarded a rank, ASU kept a record of it. While the training and my growth in Aiki is most important to me, rank still has some important to me. Is it possible to perhaps GET us affiliated with someone if the sensei likes the idea, and how would I go about that?

Or does my perspective just need changing?

Thanks for the help.

Greg

Mel Barker
09-04-2002, 01:42 PM
Good questions. I think it's very important to find a dojo where you feel comfortable and like the instructor. Some people don't have the option to choose. However the first thought I have is who trained your sensei? This is important for several reasons.

First, where does he get trained? My sensei is a 4th dan, he goes to see a 6th dan regularly, who in turn goes to see shihan regularly. (As do the rest of us.) Without the advantage of my teacher regularly learning we wouldnít have progressed far. His Aikido has grown so much the nine years Iíve known him. Now if you are fairly new, this shouldnít matter for a while. However, eventually you will have many questions that will be difficult to answer from someone who hasnít continued to grow with his aikido.

Second, itís nice to know your lineage. My sensei was first trained by Aikra Tohei sensei. It is Tohei senseiís system he continues to teach. My first sensei credits Yamada sensei and Kanai sensei as his major influences. I can usually tell by watching students of all these shihan who their teacher was. It helps me to understand what they are trying to accomplish with their technique, and how better to take ukemi to facilitate their practice.

As to how to continue to obtain rank, I saw a poster once who went to one dojo for his rank and another to learn the waza that most interested him. We are all in that boat eventually in that we grow to have our own Aikido, but need to reproduce our test examinerís Aikido enough to pass his test. ;)

Good luck, and keep training.

Mel

Paul Smith
09-04-2002, 02:26 PM
Mel, I agree with your emphasis on lineage. IMHO, it is vastly more important to concern onself with the nature of one's training, and lineage, over affiliation.

I believe lineage is distinguished from affiliation by one thing, and one thing only: Lineage is a living link, composed of direct transmission, teacher to student, and it cannot be validated nor supplanted by a paper testament.

Of course, both lineage and affiliation can live in the same house, but not always. I believe it is important to realize that organizations and affiliations are there to serve as catalysts for budo improvement, as means serving a noble end, and not as ends in themselves, and for my money I would always go with a Sensei I honor for his or her budo, and ability to transmit that budo to me and my fellow students, over particular affiliations or lack thereof.

Paul