View Full Version : Tapping in place

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09-28-2003, 01:25 AM
Hi everyone,
I'm starting this thread to hear everyone's opinion on this matter. It's not a simple matter so tell me what you think.
I've been training aikido for about 6 years now, and now I'm a 2. kyu (from september 2002). Everyone at the club are very good friends and I know my sensei for a long time. We recently (2002) joined the Aiki-Osaka federation, and since then hosetd a few international seminars for guests from Germany, Austria & Switzerland. My sensei is the best aikido master in our country (Yugoslavia) that I've seen, but there is one thing that is beginig to bother me.
We have a lot of different kyu's. From the begginer to my level. But we are all doing the same trening every time. I understand that it is necesary to perfect the basic techniques and I think that there is always room for improvement, but I also think it is vital to progress. I can also tell that i'm aware that sensei is looking constantly at not only our preformance of the technique but also at our growth as person and our inner self. He once told us that he preffers to do it like the old masters (from the O'sensei school) did it, not to have a regular examination or a scheduled one but to simply do the trening and when the time comes he will somehow teel us that we are ready to go a level up. That's OK with me. But if I constantly do what everyone does (all the kyu's) I don't feel like I'm making progress.
I tried to talk to him but that is a sensitive area and I don't want him to think that I'm demanding or pushing myself where I shouldn't be going. He just smiles and tells me nothing. I have every confidence in him but with no plan of road or a purpose or some new things, I'm starting to lose patinece. i mean, I can tell you almost exatcly how our each trening is going to be.
I want to know what everyone thinks. I'm not asking if I should leave the club because I'm not planing to, and I am satisfied with my aikido, but I don't feel like I'm making progress recently, and a picture of the future is a mistery at best.

09-28-2003, 07:50 AM
As to the appropriateness of everyone doing the same thing I think that is up to the sensei. I try to approach every training session as a way of refining or understanding something new about what I'm doing-even when teaching. In other words, I step on the mat every time expecting to learn something new-and I always do. Even if it is a subtle distinction on how I turn a foot or move or a hand position.

Another perspective is a focus on basics-continued practice of basics helps us move from incompetency to mastery. Learning a lot of techniques without solid basics is simply sloppy technique. Within those basics are a lot of subtleties.

Perhaps by approaching your training with a different mindset you will at least enjoy it more and learn more. Then your sensei might recognize this and move you forward.

Just my thoughts.

09-28-2003, 11:57 PM
At the higher levels, training partly becomes the student's responsibility. A teacher simply can't cover all the bases, so a student needs to take the driver's seat once in a while and try to learn what s/he needs and/or wants.

In different wording: At first, sensei tries to stuff as much knowledge in our heads as he can. After some time, we need to become sponges and seek even more that what was simply taught in front of class.

Try John's idea with this in mind, take a different approach, but make sure it furthers your knowledge. Maybe think "How can I make this more efficient?" or "Why does this really work? Where is the energy flowing?" Things like that.

Hope that helps,


09-29-2003, 04:41 AM
Thanks guys, I thought as much, and I will chnage my view of taking as much knowledge from my sensei as I can.

10-21-2003, 07:53 AM
It seems to me that the question you need to find an answer to is "what exactly am I seeking with my aikido?".

Once you have that question answered then you will be able to develop your aikido and take a different focus on the basics that you continue to learn.

Currently, I'm continually seeking to maintain the proper balance between martial and art in my aikido. This is a very personal and subjective thing. I'm sure that what I consider to be a good balance many would consider much more martial oriented. Maybe not, I'm not sure really.

So what this translates to in my training is maintaining a solid base of technique and at the same time trying to develop and incorporate kokyu into every technique. This makes the basic movements very advanced for me. By that I mean very difficult. Even basic movements like tenkan from a same side grab become very difficult.

Seems like you have a pretty good base, and need to decide where you want to go.

Good luck.


10-21-2003, 12:13 PM
Instead of asking to do more techniques or just something different, why not ask your sensei what he thinks you should work on -- as you want to improve your aikido. Leave the question at that, and see what he has to say. I think it shows a couple of things. First, that you know you need to improve. Second, that you know that you don't know. (if that makes any sense). It shows you are taking responsibility for your training, and that you are simply interested in improving.

Jeanne Shepard
10-21-2003, 10:05 PM
Don't you have an advanced class where the upper ranks can push it a little? I've never know a dojo that didn't.


10-22-2003, 05:41 AM
well we don't because, we are not a new dojo but we have very little members due to not enough interest in the martial art. I'm the highest rank (2. kyu) right after my friend and instructor (who is 2. Dan). I understand that he is trying not to divide us because ranks after mine also are very different. And I also understand that I have no one with whom I colud do advanced techniques sucha as randori and realistic techniques because we until recently didn't have tatami (which we recived as a donation this year) and it was impossible for many to learn ukemi's or various techniques.

My orignal complaint was that we JUST do the basic techniques.but, I gave it some thought and accepted his way of thinking. I know he has other plans and until then I'll try to get the most out of the basics because you can always improve for the better. :)

R. Pittman
10-29-2003, 12:23 AM
I can understand how you may feel that you are not progressing. I believe that we all feel that way at one time or another. I also reallize that it is only temporary. You stated that your sensei does not like to schedule promotions, which I think is great. As well, you mentioned that he not only takes note of your aikido technique but also your personal growth, which I also agree with. However, if have even considered asking him/her about your promotion, that may indicate that you are not ready for promotion. I am from the United States, now living and studying aikido in Misawa, Japan. Our dojo consists of only 2 belts, black and white, yes there are ranks, but no one keeps up with that. We are to busy learning. As far as the basics, I have studied under several instructors and have learned that all there is in martial arts is basics. What some call advanced techniques are only groups or combonations of basic techniques done very well. Also note, that outside of the dojo, rank has no meaning, the color of belt you wear, or the nice certificate on your wall will not help you in any way. I write this in complete honesty, yet my aim is to encourage you to continue your training. Focus on learning the basics, besides what other techniques are there?

R. Pittman

Nick P.
10-29-2003, 10:22 AM

If the urge to see or do more is becoming greater, consider going to another dojo once a month. This should satisfy your cravings and curiousity. You might want to (or not want to) ask your Sensei first. Remember, complementing your training from time to time in no way threatens or lessens your fundamental training.

Nick P.
10-29-2003, 10:25 AM
...in fact, I think it adds to my training.