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Tom Wolowiec
02-16-2004, 04:59 PM
Hi, I'm new here. I'm planning to switch to Aikido from TKD soon (TKD just isn't for me, although I might return to it later in life), and I used the dojo search on this website to find dojos in my area. I got a list of about 5 or so that are reasonably close, but the thing is, the sensei in those dojos are low dans. Lowest is 1, highest is 4. Is that normal in Aikido? I mean, in TKD, a 1st degree doesn't know enough to teach. A 4th just barely. Thanks in advance.

Steven
02-16-2004, 05:23 PM
Hi Tom,

This is really dependent on the school. At mine, and where I was taught, we train our students to be instructors, not black belts. So we end up with non-yudansha, who teach on a regular basis. Whereas, there are a lot of yudansha who just train, have high rank, but rarely teach.

You will also find that some low ranked yudansha have in reality, been practicing and teaching longer than the higher ranked yudansha.

Don't let the dan rank be the deciding factor. Visit each of the schools, see which one feels best for you, and go with it.

... Cheers ...

Tom Wolowiec
02-16-2004, 05:39 PM
Thanks, I'll check them out when I have some time.

I also have another question, though. What is "Icho Ryu" style? I googled it and found lots of Aikijutsu stuff. Does that mean the style is actually Aikijutsu instead of Aikido? And what are the differences, anyway?

rachmass
02-16-2004, 06:11 PM
What is "Icho Ryu" style?

never heard of it

As far as Dan grades, aikido doesn't grade as quickly as TKD, and you will see a lot of folks out there with many years of experience with relatively low grades. Don't judge an aikido teacher by their rank, watch them teach a class and see how they handle the curriculum. Watch their students to see ho well they are doing, and how polite they are to someone watching the class. Notice the atmosphere of the dojo; is it a place you want to be? is it a place that you would feel comfortable? Also, in aikido, you will see a lot of reference to the teachers lineage and it is usually not grandiose but more subdued.

There are few dojos a bit of a distance that might be of interest:

Dojo Aikido Eastside (single)



Distance: 21 miles (North of auburn, WA)

Address: 13410 SE 32nd St; Bellevue, WA 98005 (Map)

Country: United States

Instructors: George S. Ledyard, 5th dan

Phone: (206) 570-9377

Fax: (425) 868-5143

Schedule: Daily except Sundays (Adults and kids)

E-mail: aikigeorge@aikieast.com

URL: http://www.aikieast.com

Affiliation: ASU

Puget Sound Aikikai (single)



Distance: 21 miles (North of auburn, WA)

Address: 400 Dexter Ave. N.; Seattle, WA 98109 (Map)

Country: United States

Instructors: Malory Graham, 2nd dan

Phone: (206) 341-9801

E-mail: psa@scn.org

URL: http://www.scn.org/~psa

Affiliation: USAF

I've had opportunity to practice with Malory and she's very nice and has good aikido, and Ledyard Sensei posts on this site and I think many folks out here in cyberland know him.

best,

Jeanne Shepard
02-16-2004, 06:32 PM
Hi,

Malory Graham is now Yondan (4th).

Jeanne

Don_Modesto
02-16-2004, 06:49 PM
Dojo Aikido Eastside (single)

Address: 13410 SE 32nd St; Bellevue, WA 98005 (Map) Instructors: George S. Ledyard, 5th dan

Phone: (206) 570-9377

Fax: (425) 868-5143

Schedule: Daily except Sundays (Adults and kids)

E-mail: aikigeorge@aikieast.com

URL: http://www.aikieast.com

Affiliation: ASU
I can personally recommend this dojo having trained there and with George long before he set it up. George is an excellent teacher who can not only tell you how to do something, but arrange training so that you feel it. He doing a RANDORI seminar here in Florida in March that I'm quite looking forward to.

BTW, I agree with the things said about DAN above, but fwiw, George is 6 DAN.

Tom Wolowiec
02-16-2004, 07:28 PM
That would be like a half an hour drive...

But, I 'spose it'd be worth it.

I'll switch at the end of May, that's when my TKD contract ends, and I'll let you know how it's going. :)

PeterR
02-16-2004, 08:19 PM
That would be like a half an hour drive...

But, I 'spose it'd be worth it.

I'll switch at the end of May, that's when my TKD contract ends, and I'll let you know how it's going. :)
Personally I travel almost two hours each way once a week to train with the best I can find. If George Ledyard is it - that's what I would do - BUT - I would also seriously consider something a little closer. Perhaps do both - or reserve Mr. Ledyard for seminars.

If you really enjoy Aikido you will probably find yourself gravitating towards Mr. Ledyard but as a beginner that drive would be, just one more excuse, not to go.

As to high Dan versus low Dan. I've chosen Nidan over Godan in the past because of personal fit into the Dojo. A person that's been practicing 8-10 years is going to be able to teach a beginner more than enough.

Larry Feldman
02-16-2004, 09:09 PM
Go see George.

George S. Ledyard
02-17-2004, 12:48 AM
You folks are sweet But I agree with Peter... unless someone is already a serious, motivated student it's unlikely that they will travel more than around twenty minutes to half an hour for class.

I met a very nice lady named Sherry this past weekend who has a club down in the Auburn, Kent area with a small number of students, at a community center i believe but I am not sure how to get hold of her. There are also some folks down in Tacoma who are probably closer at rush hour than I am. Feel free to e-mail me: aikigeorge@aikieast.com and I can put you in touch with some of them.

George S. Ledyard
02-17-2004, 12:58 AM
I found a dojo In Auburn for you to check out... Todd Shewman is in charge according to the website. I may have met him but can't remember for sure. Anyway, a Nidan in Yoshinkai style Aikido should be quite competent to teach you the basics.

Auburn Dojo (http://www.aikido.ca/washington/)

Karen Wolek
02-17-2004, 05:44 AM
I actually disagree with Peter and George. I think that once he starts, if he really loves it, a half hour is no big deal.

I started Aikido almost a year and a half ago at a dojo that is 40 minutes from my home. I attend class there 4 or 5 times a week, PLUS I now go to our sister dojo in Woodstock at least once a week and that dojo is an hour away.

So I think it depends on the student....if he gets obsessed and addicted right away like I did, and he feels at home in his dojo, the long drive won't dissuade him at all.

I think his best bet is to visit every dojo he could conceivably drive to a few times a week, and join the one he feels most at home in.

rachmass
02-17-2004, 06:26 AM
I agree with Karen!

My dojo is made up entirely with beginners (the dojo has been open 15 months) and my highest ranking student just passed fourth kyu. Out of the 8 students, 2 drive over 1/2 an hour to get to me (and there are other choices closer), and one drives about 50 minutes.

Visit the various dojos within the 25 mile radius (or even further if you wish) and check them all out. Go with whom you feel most comfortable. Your choice of a teacher should be what appeals to you most, and not what we tell you (other than the obvious making sure that they have proper credentials, which is not necessarily contingent upon rank).

Jeanne, please suggest to Mallory that she update her listing to reflect her 4th Dan!

Kevin Masters
02-17-2004, 08:59 AM
Hey Karen. That's FATHER dojo to you!

hahahahah

:D

Tom Wolowiec
02-17-2004, 12:15 PM
I found a dojo In Auburn for you to check out... Todd Shewman is in charge according to the website. I may have met him but can't remember for sure. Anyway, a Nidan in Yoshinkai style Aikido should be quite competent to teach you the basics.

Auburn Dojo (http://www.aikido.ca/washington/)
That's the one I was looking at before I came here.

It'll be hard to balance college, a part time job, and Aikido, so I probably won't be able to go 6 times a week anyway.

Thanks for the advice, I'll check out some Dojo's then, and see which one I like. :)

Karen Wolek
02-17-2004, 12:49 PM
Ha, Kevin, right.

So would that make NY Aikikai my grandfather dojo??? ;)

rachmass
02-17-2004, 12:53 PM
best wishes Tom; check back later and tell us where you joined and how you are enjoying it.

giriasis
02-17-2004, 01:25 PM
Ha, Kevin, right.

So would that make NY Aikikai my grandfather dojo??? ;)
Well, then NY Aikikai would be our father dojo and Woodstock our sister dojo. Then Karen, that you make you our Nephew dojo.

:freaky:

George S. Ledyard
02-17-2004, 10:31 PM
I actually disagree with Peter and George. I think that once he starts, if he really loves it, a half hour is no big deal.

I started Aikido almost a year and a half ago at a dojo that is 40 minutes from my home. I attend class there 4 or 5 times a week, PLUS I now go to our sister dojo in Woodstock at least once a week and that dojo is an hour away.

So I think it depends on the student....if he gets obsessed and addicted right away like I did, and he feels at home in his dojo, the long drive won't dissuade him at all.

I think his best bet is to visit every dojo he could conceivably drive to a few times a week, and join the one he feels most at home in.
Yes, it depends on the student. For years I went across the bridge at rush hour to get to Mary Heiny Sensei's dojo. I also trained with Bookman Sensei half time as well. It took me over an hour to drive what normally was 20 minutes at off times. That doesn'r negate my point. The number of people who are like us is quite small. I have close to 100 students now if you count kids, adults, and defensive tactics students. Over the fifteen years we have been open 90% of them have travelled from within a 20 minute travel time. If there is another dojo that is closer to them, they will go there. This is true even when they have already been training with you. A new place opens that ius more convenient and they'll leave to train there. There are exceptions... some people want to train with a specific teacher or do a particular style and they will go out of their way but most people will not.

akiy
02-18-2004, 09:48 AM
Yes, it depends on the student. For years I went across the bridge at rush hour to get to Mary Heiny Sensei's dojo. I also trained with Bookman Sensei half time as well. It took me over an hour to drive what normally was 20 minutes at off times. That doesn'r negate my point. The number of people who are like us is quite small.
Here's a poll that I took about a year back:

"How long does it take to get to your aikido dojo from home?"

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=153

-- Jun

Ted Marr
02-18-2004, 12:43 PM
Take a look at the discussion thing a while back on "how long did/does it take to reach 1st dan". If you take into account that most people have trained at least 5 years, and more often something like 8-10 years to get to 1st dan, the question of whether they are qualified to teach is less relavant. And I totally agree with the idea that you should visit the dojos rather than make a choice based solely on rank. Referring again to the "how long does it take" discussion, not all ranks are created equal with respect to training time required.

Best of luck in your new art

Karen Wolek
02-18-2004, 01:24 PM
Well, then NY Aikikai would be our father dojo and Woodstock our sister dojo. Then Karen, that you make you our Nephew dojo.

:freaky:
So, would that make you my Aiki Aunt?

Tee hee.

giriasis
02-18-2004, 01:36 PM
So, would that make you my Aiki Aunt?

Tee hee.
Yes, my little Aiki Neice. ;)

In regards to the poster's question. I started at my dojo because they had a branch dojo at my university. I could walk to class. I was already hooked to aikido though as I had already been training in aikido for 6 months prior to starting at Florida Aikikai. The reason for the switch was that I moved away from my old school. I ended up switching from Juko-kai (you know them as the combat ki folks) to my present school.

Eventually, I started going to our main dojo which is about a 30 minute drive. I've been training for 4.5 years and have been with my current dojo for 4 of those years.

One of the other women in our dojo would travel 2.5 hours by bus to get to our dojo and there was one closer to her on the way. This was when she first started. Needless to say, she's still around.

Fausto
02-18-2004, 04:24 PM
I used to travel 8 hours per week by train to go to the dojo (2 classes of 2 hours each) and i had a dojo which was 15 minutes far from my home!... why I did that cos i felt more comfortable with the other dojo.... so go to the dojo you fell more comfortable... as far as the Dan issue well my last Sensei was a San-Dan but his technique felt like a Go-Dan!!!... so my advice is to watch a couple of lessons then attend class in the dojo you liked best and feel Sensei's technique if you are happy with his technique stay there if you're not... go to another dojo.