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03-03-2003, 09:25 AM
What keeps you motivated and coming to class?

I'm getting ready for my 1st Kyu test in May, which I believe I am fully prepared for, and have been more or less ready to test since...oh...October. Our Dojo sort of went through a transition period where there was an exodus of upper ranks and all that is left is Sensei, myself at 2nd Kyu, and nearly all the rest of the students haven't tested or only have one or two tests under their belts. (No pun intended)

While I have no problem helping teach and sometimes leading class, it's pretty much impossible to get any training in for me. Rather hard to practice randori with ukes who haven't really gotten ukemi down, and a little difficult to throw any of the higher level techniques that are required on my test.

I know that the Dojo is not just for me, but I'm finding it hard to keep myself going to class when it's hard to get anything out of it. Oh sure when I have to break things down for the beginners I see little things here and there that I incorporate, but to throw ikkyo over, and over, and over, and katatekosatori kotegaeshi over, and over, and over...gets rather...boring.

Has anyone else run into this? How did you find motivation to keep coming?

03-03-2003, 11:52 AM
I haven't been in Aikido very long but I would like to throw in my .02 cents worth.

I try to learn something new or at least improve on something everyday of my life either in or out of the dojo. Someone gave me the advice of taking your worst or least comfortable technique and making it your best and to do that over and over. Usually there's always room for improvement in somebody's training somewhere, that's why it's called learning and practice.

Trust me, I've got alot to improve on and I haven't even been in my class but for about six months.

My motivation is really simple, I love what I'm doing and I want to keep going back. It's virtually the only thing that I look forward to during my work week.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

Joseph Huebner
03-03-2003, 11:59 AM
As a beginner, I feel it is important for me to attend class as much as possible to learn all things ending with "undo" (LOL, feeble attempt at humor). Second, I am using parts of my body not used since the 1970's when I was a young lad. Today in the 21st. century I have risen to answer the alarm clock and felt the effects of the previous evening's class. With each passing class, this is becoming less painful (not the class, the next morning, that is).

This is all new, and very exciting for me. I believe, seriously, my motivation to keep going to class is to learn, and demonstrate my sincerity.


mike lee
03-03-2003, 12:03 PM
There's always room for improvement.

Greg Jennings
03-03-2003, 12:37 PM
It's those nocturnal visits from the spirits of O'Sensei and Terry Dobson. Just kidding.

For those that know their aikido trivia, I'm not slamming a certain instructor out there, either.

Best Regards,

03-03-2003, 01:37 PM
Some people motivate by moving towards a goal. Others motivate by moving away from something they fear. Others just enjoy the process. The last would be me.

Until again,


03-03-2003, 02:34 PM
It's the entire energy, spirit, and power of the art. The family of the dojo. The connection to the universe.

And of course, the beer waza after class :)

Nick P.
03-03-2003, 02:45 PM

I thought I was reading MY next post (except for the exodus part)!

I too am a an ikkyu who is called on to lead class, and have recently been through a "what's my motivation, again?" phase (I am not sure I am out of it).

I found motivation in, of all places, not really caring about motivation. Rather, I accepted the fact that there might not actually need to be any more motivation. Simply, keep going. I in no way mean that I no longer love Aikido, the people I train with, what it has helped me become, or that I take my training any less seriously.

Maybe this is what they mean when they say that, as we move towards shodan, we are now truly ready to begin learning? Maybe all along we have not so much been learning the techniques, but rather we have been letting the useless fall away.

I asked myself "Do I want to keep doing Aikido?" and the answer, simply, was "Yes". Not a resounding "YES!", just a confident, calm "of course".

Good luck.

03-03-2003, 05:21 PM
I very much agree with Mike. There always is room for improvement. Aikido has so many levels to learn I doubt anyone can learn all there is to know about it. The basics are important because that is what every technique is based from so you need to keep working to improve them. I believe it is also important to remember that if a technique is done correctly it is not done exactly the same every time so keep searching for what makes it right. The dojo where I teach is at a university so we always have a majority that is 4th kyu and under so I do understand how you feel. Just remember there is always more to learn.


03-04-2003, 02:34 AM
Every time I go to the dojo, I spend a lot of the time working on being the best damn uke that I can. In my opinion this includes being able to give a fast full power attack against an experienced nage, AND being able to give a sincere attack that will help a beginner to get the tecnique working. I allways try to give an attack the helps my partner to learn something. Actually in my opinion being a good uke is perhaps just as important as being a good nage, and it's a challenge that will teach you something every time you practice. No matter the level of your partner.

03-04-2003, 03:22 AM
Hi Edward,

Sympathise with your dilemma, I ran a Uni club for a while and they are notorious for the problems you mention (except when adopted by a town club). My motivation has always been rather stoic for want of a better word. No matter how bad/frustrated with the training I am, not training has proved to be worse, proving it must be doing something for me, even when it's discouraging.

Also, a dojo's character changes at an alarming rate, so you can soon look forward to being the "old sweat" throwing the nice keen bouncy young turks with aplomb. With this in mind, as you're currently finding you're having to teach more often than train, link your motivation to the student's you're teaching and help them become the cannon-fodder of your dreams...

Matt Whyte
03-04-2003, 09:48 AM
Hi Edward.

I was curious as to what style of Aikido you do, and how long it took you to grade to nikkyu. I have been training for 2 years, and I have not yet graded, which is very annoying for me. And, to dispel any questions about it, it is not that my skill level is not sufficient to grade. My sensei has said to me on a number of occasions that I have the ability of at least an ikkyu student. It annoys me, because I could be an ikkyu student by now, and because of my area representive's political stance on many subjects, I am not allowed to grade.

Anyways, I was just curious. Thanks.

John Boswell
03-04-2003, 10:00 AM

I liked Vince's idea of taking your "worst" technique and making it your best. As all the others have said, there is always room for improvement.

When I first started Aikido last year, I had trouble and frustration with the basics. I felt like I wasn't progressing enough, not fast enough, etc. When my Sensei told me that Ikkyo was considered a 30 year technique (I think that's right?) that is when I got the point that I would ALWAYS have room to improve on it.

Aikido is anything but Boring to me. Every class starts off the same way: Tenkan. We work on that for a while and I always try to improve. Every class, Sensei stands up and begins to do Tenkan with good extension, posture, breathing, footwork, handwork, all of it. Everyday I re-evaluate myself and try to improve on it.

Also, I train in a VERY small dojo/class. When I first attended class, one of the regular students that we have is an Ikkyu like yourself (at the time, the only one) and he just got back from an instructor's seminar in Chicago. He continued to watch our Sensei and take a LOT of ukemi and always found something else to work on.

Whenever I hear stories about Aikidoka who are 5th Dan and higher and they consider themselves "students of Aikido", that is when I realized no matter how much I think I know, there is always something I don't and I need to look for it.

Aikido is the Way of Harmony. If you find yourself getting bored, then logic would dictate that you are not in harmony with the art. Step back and re-evaluate yourself, your skill, your TRUE motivation and see if you can find where your energy is currently focused and adjust it to blend in! ;)

That's getting pretty deep there. Most people will listen to me and think "John's a first year student! What the hell does he know??" Well, I know theory and philosophy and logic pretty damn well. I also know I like to help where and whenever I can. Thus... I tend to talk a lot.

Hope something I've said may be of use to you. :)

:ai: :ki: :do:

mike lee
03-06-2003, 02:53 AM
What keeps you motivated and coming to class?
Feeling aiki and then refining it.