View Full Version : My first Seminar -advice-

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Jeff Tibbetts
04-02-2003, 08:44 AM
Hello everyone. There is a seminar coming up in Iowa City (about an hour from where I am) with Yamada Shihan that I would love to attend. I have a few questions for anyone who's been to a seminar, or one of his in particular.

I am a member of the ASU, and I was wondering if the way that we do things is significantly different from his branch. The instructor from the I.C. Dojo has been down to our Dojo to host a couple of classes, and he is a great teacher. He tends to do things a bit more "hard" style than us, but nothing that's bad or really all that different; I quite like the variety and different perspective that he shows us.

I also have a couple of questions about seminars in general. First off, I was wondering if a Shihan generally picks just anyone to take Ukemi for him, because I don't think I could handle it quite yet. I don't have a problem in class, but I've only worked on breakfalls once so far and then only straight front falls. I know from videos that nearly every technique a Shihan does ends in a breakfall, so I don't want to be in a position that I would have to politely refuse to take Ukemi for fear of making him look bad (if I break my arm or something.) I don't know that this is a big concern for me, just something that occurred to me. Another thing, should I get a hotel even though I'm only an hour away or should I try to drive home? I ask because I've heard a lot about how tiring these seminars can be, and because I was hoping that there would be some sort of beer-waza afterwards, so I don't know that I want to drive home... is this even a common thing, or was exhaustion a big issue for you?

Okay, thanks for reading, and any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

04-02-2003, 08:50 AM
Hi Jeff,

look for me at the seminar, as I plan on going there too!

As to Yamada Sensei; he is a wonderful teacher and sometimes really emphasises the basics over the course of a seminar. He is warm and inviting, and I am sure you will enjoy the seminar (I go to as many of his seminars that I can drive to each year). Don't worry about taking ukemi, as the only time a newer person is likely to get used for ukemi if he (or really most teachers) is demonstrating something for a small group or person, and you get called on with the rest of the group. He will also take care of a beginner, so no need to worry.

Look forward to seeing you on the mat (look for me, short woman, a bit round, with short hair and a big smile).


Jeff Tibbetts
04-02-2003, 09:42 AM
Thanks for the advice. I've read a lot of your posts, so that will be fun to meet you! I'll prob'ly be nervous the whole time, but hopefully there will be time for everyone to talk. Any other people on this board coming? I should mention that this is the seminar at the end of May. I'll try to see if it's on the web yet.

Jeff Tibbetts
04-02-2003, 09:44 AM
There we go. Here's a link to the seminar info.


04-02-2003, 12:15 PM
Hi again Jeff,

I didn't read your post through thoroughly the first time, and noticed you ask about staying instead of driving home. One of the really cool things about seminars (for me), is the chance to meet and hang out with great folks, and thus expand my aikido horizons. I almost always stay with someone from the dojo that is hosting the seminar, because it is such a great way to get to know people (and of course, I reciprocate alot on that end too). Usually there is a party on Saturday night when theres a seminar, but you would be best advised to contact the host of the seminar to see if there are plans for any general party or not.

As to the comment about the Shihan always doing breakfalls; not so! There are so many techniques that don't require breakfalls, and the breadth of the knowledge of these teachers is so great, that you can go an entire seminar without breakfalls. Chiba Sensei rarely teaches classes involving breakfalls, whereas Kanai Sensei often has lots of highfalls, and Yamada Sensei seems to be in between. Don't be too nervous, it should be lots of fun.

Seminar is May 31-June 1.

Mel Barker
04-02-2003, 02:16 PM
The great folks in Iowa City put on the best pot luck in all of Aikido. With any luck you'll find out.



05-02-2003, 09:57 AM
You will love Yamada sensei. I wouldnt worry about being called up for ukemi. Usually one of his "guys" will be there or a dan ranked uke will be chosen. But he does stop class alot to give out pointers, so you may get lucky and get the honor of taking some brief ukemi for him if he stops at your practice.

For seminars, make sure you bring more than one Gi. There is nothing worse that coming back from a lunch break to a wet Gi. Also bring some extra underware. Sweaty underwear is no fun for the drive home. Bring a towel and soap if there are showers. Bring a towel anyway to wipe sweat off with.

If you are injured, make sure to tape your injury and point out the injury to your partners. No point in paying for a seminar, then get hurt and have to watch from the sidelines.

Grab as many Dan ranked students as you can to practice with. Yamda sensei changes partners after every technique. So its a good opportunity to work with the Dans.

For my own practice, I would to try to train at the front of the dojo/seminar, so Yamada sensei would see me. If he comes over to correct you, thats a good thing. You getting your moneys worth and a small private lesson from a one of a kind Sensei.

05-29-2003, 09:15 AM
Hey Jeff,

Are you still going to the seminar in Iowa? We are heading off tomorrow morning (7+ hour drive!) and will be there for Friday's class. Look for me (short, stout woman with short hair-40's), and for Shawn (you can't miss her!), we'll be there with bells on.


Mel Barker
05-29-2003, 03:03 PM
Rachel, have fun in Iowa City. It's not in my budget, or I would be going too. We just hosted our first seminar and it was a smashing success. Pics are on our web page.


University of Louisville Aikido Club


05-29-2003, 04:35 PM
Ack. I'd be there too, but my band is playing in Madison on the 31st. As far as the Iowa City people are concerned, I've only heard good things about them from people I've trained with. I'm sure it will be a good time.

05-29-2003, 05:20 PM
Hey Mel,

Sorry I'll miss you. I'll look up your photos after class! Zach, hope to see you on the mat some time, sorry you can't make the seminar either.

Jeff, haven't heard from you, are you still going?

Greg Jennings
05-30-2003, 08:47 AM
<snip> Shawn (you can't miss her!), we'll be there with bells on.
Shawn Dansby from Aikido of Cinci, by any chance?

If so, all I can say is "Wow". Very good technique, great ukemi.

We were both at Hendricks Sensei's Seminar at Yellow Springs in Feb 2002 (I think).

Unfortunately, by the time I worked my way through the crowd to train with her, she had injured her neck.

I was seriously bummed. It would have been nice to train with a fellow ukemi artist.

BTW, she's good looking too.


05-30-2003, 09:12 AM
Hi Greg,

Shawn here! Yes, Dansby alright, and she's standing over my shoulder laughing right now, and thanks for the compliment. Should have asked her to train anyway, injured or not she would have gotten on the mat.

Look forward to training with you, but sorry you won't be in Iowa. We are off in a few minutes time.

She's blushing about the good looking part....

Greg Jennings
05-30-2003, 09:29 AM
Hope you have a great time.

I was the tall, buzz cut goombah on the other side of the mat getting frisky with Mike Sensei's uchideshi. Great fun, that.

If Hendricks Sensei comes back to YSA again, I'll be there.

BTW, I actually asked and Shawn waved me off. Can I get a verbal raincheck?


05-30-2003, 09:39 AM
Shawn speaking: gee I must have really been in pain then. Consider this your official "rain check verbal" reply. Look forward to seeing you at the next seminar, no wave offs!

Greg Jennings
05-30-2003, 09:42 AM
Thank you so much. I'll coordinate as the time approaches.


Choku Tsuki
05-30-2003, 10:41 AM
We were both at Hendricks Sensei's Seminar at Yellow Springs in Feb 2002 (I think).
Have you seen the photos (http://www.ysaohio.com/2002.htm) ? This (http://www.ysaohio.com/images/Pat%20Hendricks%20Seminar/Day%201/Dsc01405.jpg) is the group photo.

I was there too. Good times.


Greg Jennings
05-30-2003, 11:23 AM
No, I'd not seen them. Thank you very much.

I'm front row, far left (from prespective of photo-ees). With my eyes closed as usual.

This http://www.ysaohio.com/images/Pat%20Hendricks%20Seminar/Day%202/Dsc01436.jpg is me. See? It says so on my right cheek.


06-02-2003, 01:02 PM
Hi All,

Just got back (late last night, 8 hour drive!!) from Iowa, and wanted to say that the seminar was terrific! I met Jeff but didn't get to train with him. Shawn did and said he was really nice. It was great to meet another aikiweb denizen again, and look forward to more chances in the future. Anyone else who lurks here that was there?

Charlie McGinnis Sensei taught several very animated classes, one which made my quads scream. Yamada Sensei was as always, totally inspiring.