View Full Version : Which style to resume?

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08-31-2017, 03:10 AM
Hi Aikiweb,

I'm just after some advice on what style to resume. I trained at an awesome Yoshinkan school in my city on and off for 6 months and learnt a lot. I am quite a big/tall fellow but am losing weight now. I kept no - showing at my previous school because of my size, there was a lot of strict kata practice that I found *very* hard on my lower back due to the stances. These would sometimes take up half the class and my back would be screaming. I don't believe my Sensei realised the pain I was in as I'm a totally different body type to everyone in the class. To clarify, I had no problem with the rolling and technique practice. I really want to resume practice and although I've never cared about belts, I'd love to grade and shed my white belt. I was considering going back to my old school which I really like but I'm worried that I won't be able to take the extensive katas and rigid stance and I'll just end up no - showing again.

My question is, is all aikido like Yoshinkan with rigid kata stances? Maybe I could get to a point where my back muscles won't hurt anymore but getting there is the problem. I love aikido. Thankyou for any advice.

08-31-2017, 07:15 AM
If you don't have a choice of other schools, all "which style" considerations are academic. Perhaps it's best to start with that. Find out what schools are in your area, go and observe their practice, and then make a decision.

(I'm not really understanding what aikido stance becomes more difficult if you're big and tall, but that's another discussion)

08-31-2017, 10:48 AM
@Edward --- if you haven't done so, you should speak with the instructor an let him/her know the difficulty and pain you are experiencing. I would hope they would work with you to ensure your basic posture and such is correct as it should not be painful no matter your size.

As to the question if all aikido is the same, the answer is no. As suggested, local the schools in your area, visit them and see which one fits the best. Good luck.

08-31-2017, 10:51 AM
Hi Aikiweb,

My question is, is all aikido like Yoshinkan with rigid kata stances? Maybe I could get to a point where my back muscles won't hurt anymore but getting there is the problem. I love aikido. Thankyou for any advice.

Yoshinkan tends to be one of the "harder" styles of Aikido; not all Aikido is done the same way. As advised by Mary, have a look at other schools in your area. Good luck.

08-31-2017, 08:51 PM
The choice of where to train should not be taken lightly, nor should you assume that style-specific generalizations will have any real bearing on how training is conducted in individual dojos. My advice is to look at all the viable choices you have in your particular area. Observe some classes, or take some trial turns on the mat, if offered. Talk to instructors about your particular limitations, including categorizing those you wish to work on vs. those you must live with. When you are through "sampling", I'm sure you will know which of your choices is the best fit for you. Good luck...

09-01-2017, 12:19 AM
Yoshinkan DEFINITELY focusses on stiff stances more than other styles (no judgement on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. If you are in Canberra, I know there are a few different styles to choose from. Check them all out and see what you think. Won't necessarily plug my own style, because it really depends on what you feel is right for you.

Peter Goldsbury
09-01-2017, 05:23 AM
Hello, Mr Matthews,

Other longtime AikiWeb posters have given you their advice and I plan to do the same, but from a different perspective. I am the chief instructor of two general dojos in Hiroshima which attract a wide range of members—all Japanese. The gender balance is about 40%/60% in favour of males, but an interesting feature of our dojo population is that there are a number of families who train: one or both parents and the children—of both sexes—all together. I am in my fifth decade of training, but whole families training together has been a new experience for me. I have never encountered this in the UK or US.

A corollary of this is that I am well aware of body types. I give seminars in Europe and can often see that the adaptation of aikido to suit tall long-legged Europeans brings its own problems, especially with hip throws. Morihei Ueshiba was 5’ 2”, but built like a moving tank—a Japanese tank, for he had relatively short legs and was also expert in jujutsu and sumo.

You do not state your age, but I can also tell you from experience that age does matter. I see young kids and teenagers training with their parents, and—all things being equal—the kids and teenagers grasp what I am teaching comparatively quickly. However, parents bring a certain maturity of approach that their kids do not yet possess.

You state that you would like to shed your white belt, but it took me nine years to do this. One reason for this is that I was a student and kept changing universities, but I think the point of a shodan is that a student has acquired enough ‘body education’ to begin training of a different kind than hitherto. The ‘body education’ is vital and I think this is something that you have perhaps not really embarked upon. I think a reasonable minimum time from beginner to shodan is five years (in the Aikikai). The way I do basic movements here is by means of weapons: the wooden sword and the staff. Initial training is individual and kata-based, but we then move on to paired kata, which is more interesting and stimulating, especially when family members are training together.

I have trained Aikikai all my life, but I sporadically trained with both Yoshinkan and Tomiki instructors when I was in the UK. After becoming a yudansha, I had the good fortune to be able to train with the late K Chiba and his aikido became a model.

If you go back to your Yoshinkan dojo, I am sure that Stephen Miranda and Robin Boyd, who post here, can give you much good advice. However, I second the advice of other posters to look around and see what ‘fits’, but I think you should be aware that, in any case, gaining shodan will take a lot of "blood, sweat, toil and tears," to quote a famous English political figure. But I thought that all this was worth it.

Best wishes,

09-01-2017, 07:08 AM
Thank you everyone for the excellent and detailed information and advice. It is much appreciated. From the advice given, I think I should have a look around and then go back to my previous dojo and have a chat. Thanks again.

09-01-2017, 08:30 AM
I just had to clarify in my original post I mention that I didn't think my Sensei was aware of my muscle pain. It is my fault as I didn't let him know - just kept it to myself and as mentioned I am quite a bulky build, so unfortunately certain atheletic activities are naturally harder for me (like certain stances for periods of time etc). I think I need to return and open a dialogue. Anyways, thanks again.