View Full Version : Would you switch schools?

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03-01-2004, 04:05 PM
Question is mainly aimed at other Yudanska.

Is there anything that could make you change schools? The same "style" or different, but different organisation?

03-01-2004, 04:40 PM
I think it would have to be a pretty extreme situation before I changed styles. I just like the style that I do & would find it too weird to start in another style. Not as far as dropping ranks goes (in the end, rank doesn't mean much), but just being told to do something like _this_ when I really want to do it like _that_.

When I moved from Brisbane for work, I moved to Melbourne because I knew it also had a good Yoshinkan dojo. I didn't even consider moving to Sydney, even though there were more jobs there.

As for organisations, I don't know. In Australia, they only have the IYAF as far as I know. What does it matter, as long as you respect the teacher & like the way they train?

03-01-2004, 05:11 PM
So what if things changed?

03-01-2004, 06:06 PM
So what if things changed?
Things that could make me want to leave would be if the head instructor stopped teaching (for whatever reason) & whoever took over turned it into something I could not respect any more, or if there was some sort of serious criminal abuse going on that was being supported or ignored by the powers that be. Short of that, I can't think of anything.

Because all of the Yoshinkan dojos in town (1 main one plus a couple of satellite ones) are run by the same head instructor, to leave the dojo is to change styles.

Jamie Stokes
03-01-2004, 06:21 PM
I had to change schools. And although I did find it different at first, I found that it complimented my training.

Because I was used to trainingin a set of conventions (you grab this, I do that) a whole new set of convenetions actually added to my growth.

Move outside your comfort zone, before it becomes a rut.

And who knows, you just might bring something back to your "home" dojo.

I had to change scools because of shifting for work. And had no choice, because it was that Aikido school, or no school at all.



Nafis Zahir
03-02-2004, 12:15 AM
I already have changed schools. It was a year ago. The style is also different. I find it to be a great challenge. I don't mind being told to now do it this way, because there is more than one way to do technique. My instructor is great! He doesn't belittle the way I'm use to doing it, but simply says that it's just different, or just another way to do it, and then explains why he does it the way he does it. Chiba Sensei said at a seminar last year, that you shouldn't do technique just one way. You should always look for a better way. Because of this change, it has opened up my mind to many variations. Some of which I have been taught, and some I learned on my own through experience. Although styles may be different, the nucleus is still the same. By the way, I left my old school because my instructors like to control every aspect of their students, including their personal lives. One of the instructors spent more time giving his personal opinions about peoples religions, sexual preferences, world affairs, politics, television, and literally anything you can imagine. Class never started on time and always got out late. Once there was a weapons class in which the students had to sit in seiza for 1 hour and 15 minutes while he rambled on about this and that. It was not about Aikido. He also spent a great deal of time bashing the Aikikai, although he emulates alot of what Chiba Sensei does, and saying that his style was the one true style and everyone else was wrong. You tend to feed into that after awhile until you get away and find out that's it's just not true. I have finally found an instructo who teaches the true spirit of Aikido and who has taught me so much more in 1 year than the whole 7 years I was at the other place. There is alot of great Aikido out there.

big craig jamieson
03-02-2004, 03:46 AM
I just changed organisations last month. I was'nt training in aikido for about 2 years (after having trained for 2 already), done some other arts in that time, but found something missing in them. A situation common to a lot of aikidoka i think. Anyways came back to my 'home' dojo to find a lot of changes which i didnt like, mostly to do with technique, and felt that the organisation had lost aikidos martial roots in favour of ki development.

Reckon you've just got to do whats best for your own development as a martial artist.

Enjoying my aikido so much more now thanks to the change, and thats the main thing.



Ghost Fox
03-02-2004, 05:52 AM
This is not exactly on topic, but I alternate between school ever since I earned my Shodan a couple of years ago.

I spend three month in the new dojo, then alternate between my home dojo and the new dojo. Last year I spent my time at an ASU dojo and this year I'm spending my time at a USAF dojo.

Most of the dojo-cho find this a little strange, but they have all been very friendly. The training really help me see the similarity in the variations for a particular technique, and I have to say my aikido has improved a lot. Sometimes you just have to hear the same thing said a different way before it makes sense.

03-02-2004, 06:05 AM
Yes - change of personal location, organisational changes which I found annoying or if I got into "issues" with the main man.

I do aikido for me, not the organisation (yes I'm happily a selfish sod through and through). Basically, if I stopped enjoying where I was or what I was doing, I'd move on.

03-02-2004, 07:09 AM
I changed organizations 11 years ago. There was nothing wrong with my old teacher, but I felt that the aikido wasn't really for me, and there was absolutely no emphasis on ukemi. I had to start over at no-kyu, and totally try to empty my cup (never really managed to do that though). I have never regretted making the move.

A couple of years ago I switched from Western Region to Eastern Region, but it is still within the same umbrella organization. I did that because I am a huge Yamada Sensei fan, and it had nothing to do with the WR, just with my wanting to be one of Yamada Sensei's students (albeit long-distance), and belong within the group where I have many aikido friends. I still go to WR seminars, and train with a good friend who operates a WR dojo. Just different fingers of the same hand as it were.

03-02-2004, 07:53 AM
I could not think of a reason for me to change dojo. Not now at least... it would be like leaving my family...

We all worked together to build the dojo from the ground up. We all "grew" together.

Our sensei give us the freedom to explore Aikido.

Aikido is a path, where that path leads is up to you.

Robert Rumpf
03-02-2004, 08:14 AM
This ASU school that I'm at now is my 6th school and 4th style of Aikido. I tend to train at wherever is most convenient with the most available hours, and most of my past changes have been motivated by life issues (graduation, new job, etc.)

If I were to change schools again, it would depend more on where I was going than where I was coming from.. The new instructor would have to not belittle the things I learned elsewhere, even as I tried to bring his Aikido into mine. The style would also have to be different enough from what I do now to be worth reinventing my techniques for yet again (I wouldn't mind going back to the Ki Society for a while, for example, which is quite different from my current ASU/Aikikai experience).

However, in the past I have found it to be frustrating to go to different styles or new schools and be corrected by 6th, 5th, and no-kyus, so I'd have to be at a point in my training where I felt that I really needed to change things up if I was to embrace that fully again. Either that, or I'd have to get a new job elsewhere.. :)


Hanna B
03-02-2004, 10:54 AM
Is there anything that could make you change schools?
But of course! Why does the question even have to be asked?

I took the decision to leave one place for another when I was second kyu. I was vaguely unhappy about some things in my dojo that I could not really pinpoint, then I met a teacher who I really wanted to train with.

Robert Jackson
03-02-2004, 02:07 PM
For the most part no I wouldn't even consider changing schools. I have a great Sensei (don't tell him I said that) and a great group to pratice with (don't tell them I said that). Which all in all makes for a great overall experience. I couldn't ask for more. There are extraordinary circumstances that make a change necessary (for instance relocation).

Jack Robertson
03-02-2004, 02:34 PM
I don't mean to change the topic. But Robert, I must say, you have a very cool name ;)

03-02-2004, 05:40 PM
I don't mean to change the topic. But Robert, I must say, you have a very cool name ;)

03-02-2004, 05:49 PM
I saw 2 changes in Sensei. The first was fine because there was no change, but the second was awful, because he changed everything and really missed the boat!!! There was really no choice.

Eventually it is your Aikido, not the Sensei's.

03-03-2004, 08:11 AM
I would probably switch if the head Sensei left and the new Sensei would not gain my respect or continue to teach me more.

I would actually look to change styles just to keep my Aikido more well rounded. I enjoy seminars now that give me different perspectives.

Hopefully, it will be a long time before I am faced with that decision.

When I was young and into "bashing arts" I changed styles often until I found the right instructor and style for me.

03-03-2004, 08:26 AM
For me it is more about getting good instruction rather than a particular school or organization.

I train at my present dojo because I feel I have something to learn there. Prior to that I was training in the Aikiai style because of the instructor not the style.

Now that I have had a chance to revisit the Aikikai style after I find that the Ki Society really added to what I was doing.

For me to leave any style or organization would have to be a result of bad instruction or me feeling unfulfilled. The politics don't affect me unless it trickles down to what is being taught.

03-17-2004, 12:53 PM
Hi Nafis!

Wow, I feel an instant connection to you post! I trained in a place for 4 years and had to leave for very much the same reasons. Basically the sensei try to control the students in every aspect of dojo and personal life as well. He does not realize that through aikido training, hopefully the student can cultivate good character etc and it is not up to him to judge the heart by playing God! I had to leave and seek training elsewhere. If forced me to become a sensei much ealier than I wanted to just so I could continue training. If you want to see what I mean about my previous sensei, chech out www.newlifeaikido.com and click on the "dojo rules" tab. Believe me, what he say there he tries to also do in your personal life and if you don't go along with it, he feels your heart is in contempt and you are a "sinner"! What a freak! Even the name, "New Life" has new age religous connotations to it.

If a student was not of the baptist denominational doctrine, then you were treated like an outsider until he either asked you to leave publically or it drove you away. Its a shame that the AAA still sponsors this nut!

Want to know how biased this guy is? If you were of his faith, he charged you half of what he did me! For all these reasons is now why he only has his church members to train with. A person should come to train aikido with biases of race, sex, religion, etc and I constantly felt my rights were infringed upon!!!!!

03-17-2004, 02:11 PM
Brad. While some of the things may be true as you say, I feel it is inappropriate to bash your former instructor on a website by identifying him. You may be right about not bringing religious issues to the mat and not descriminating. Some of this was noted in the dojo rules. However, it shows more maturity to simply just let him go about his own way of doing things. It is his dojo. You are better off just leaving and moving on.

03-17-2004, 02:32 PM
Hi John!

I did leave 1.4 years ago and I am now happy and training as usual.

If the former sensei did not want his website discussed then, it should not be on the net!

Also, this discussion is not for my benefit because I am beyond that mess. I feel that there are others faced with conflict that might get good advice from you guys so they won't feel that don't have any options.

There is always something good to come out of something bad. I do feel this is a mature way to present particular cases for study.

The are thousands of scnerios that one could face in a prospective dojo and perhaps people can learn some warning sighns by reading these types of threads.

It is unfortunate that you see this as a bashing and not a learning tool.

No shihan or great sensei I know of runs their dojo this way although they are probably buddhist!

When a student comes to a sensei, he has a fragile mind that could be manipulated and it is important not to impose personal beliefs among those whoes sole purpose is to train aikido. Otherwise, why would you be doing it other than to attract people to your faith, which by the way, was his purpose?

O-sensei taught that aikido can be incorporated into your own faith but by no means did he mean to turn your dojo into a church for sermons!


03-17-2004, 02:34 PM
Also, don't you think that people from other religous backgrounds might be offended? If I opened a dojo under the banner of my faith, do you think that much of anyone other than my faith will come to train?

O-sensei wanted to spread aikido, not shintoism. Shintoism was his personal conviction and never pushed it on anyone, He realized that people where diverse int his matter and thats why he did not name his art "Aikishintodo"!


03-17-2004, 04:59 PM

I don't disagree that the dojo should be a neutral place devoid of religious, political or sexual issues. However, you state you have left this behind some time ago and yet you continue to take issue with it and have bashed your instructor in another thread. Perhaps you really have not left this behind. I disagree that people come to a dojo with a fragile mind.

03-17-2004, 05:21 PM

I know where you are coming from. I only mentioned the "fragile mind" as to be taken in reference to some cases. People come to the martial arts for very diverse reason. Wheter it be to develop a matcho personna for egotisical reasons, to reach a deeper understanding of the self to discover what one is capable of, or perhaps from a little guidance and self confidence.

In any case, it is my duty to conduct myself in a way that represents the art of aikido and the good character that I have acertained so students can hopefully identify with it. Beond this, I will not push anything else unless the wish to seek it out privately.

We should be concerned with what kind of a role model we can portray but not to the extent that a student notices convergence not by there own discression. I am religous as well but I leave the missonary work to the church and not the dojo as I feel its not the place for it. Now, if someone recognizes my faith and wants to join me in sunday's services, great!

I am not bashing my former sensei per se but rather the situation in general that many faced when training there in the past.

I am done with this. On to a new thread and John, your insight is always welcomed.


05-14-2004, 03:21 PM
I have switched schools several times, for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that I don't believe that one instructor can teach you everything about Aikido, so I have always tried to go to see other styles and different instructors. Unfortunately some of my ex-instructors took this to mean I was acting disloyally towards them, so I took this to mean that they were not really interested in my progress in Aikido.

You should always do what's best for you.

05-17-2004, 01:33 AM
Question is mainly aimed at other Yudanska.

Is there anything that could make you change schools? The same "style" or different, but different organisation?

Oh blimey, I have done 4 times in the 12 years I have been studying Aikido. Three of these have been as a result of the same dojo moving between associations for various reasons. I have gone along with the dojo because I followed my Sensei and enjoy training there. I am still a member of my first dojo and now teach there myself. The other time was when I relocated to Japan on business, I was able to join the Aikikai and Hombu dojo and train there for a couple of years. I return to Japan regularly to visit family and friends, even there though, I train at three different dojo's run by different people!

I don't think that any of the changes have hindered my Aikido training, it probably hindered my grade progress (e.g. dropping previous grades when I joined the Aikikai), but that never really bothered me much, it has never been about the belt.



05-19-2004, 05:52 PM
A question for those of you who have been training for a long time - In your search for greater knowledge of Aikido have you paused to consider that what you seek lies within, not out; that you have reached a point in your journey where you need to hold your own light and find your way?

Is it possible that dojo hopping is a manifestation of the fear that it's time to leave the nest and define your own Aikido?

Just wondering.

05-19-2004, 06:27 PM
Brad: Gotta say I disagree with you buddy. Now normally I'm the most anti-religion-in-organisations kind of guy you can find. Prayer in school, any link between govt and religion, and I'll fight it tooth and nail. But I don't see what the issue is with someone seeing a link between Aikido and their spiritual beliefs and choosing to put them together in a dojo. Sure they should probably make that explicit, but assumadly you saw a copy of the dojo rules fairly early on so knew what you were in for. If you don't share the same beliefs or don't agree with them being discussed on the mat, there's plenty of standard dojo's around to join. Why should your desire not to mix the two impinge on his freedom to do so?

David Yap
05-19-2004, 11:24 PM
<snip>.. I don't believe that one instructor can teach you everything about Aikido, so I have always tried to go to see other styles and different instructors. Unfortunately some of my ex-instructors took this to mean I was acting disloyally towards them, so I took this to mean that they were not really interested in my progress in Aikido.

You should always do what's best for you.


Agreed wholeheartedly with you. Ironically, some of these instructors who felt this way have done the same themselves. Bottom-line, it is an ego thing and it just shows that they still have not gone beyond techniques.

Some instructors need to know the difference between "entertaining" and "teaching". Student pay hard-earned money (either theirs or their parent's) to learn the art. Some "teachers" I have seen in dojo/seminar are interested in showing what they can do rather than teaching what they can do.


Hagen Seibert
05-20-2004, 01:23 PM

I understand the neccessity to hear other voices.
Did you really learn everything your former teachers had to offer before leaving ?
Because, in that way it is acting disloyal as your former teacher had put effort into your progress and you threw it away before fully grasping it.
Of course, if what they thaught was what you had already mastered then you were right to leave. Or you found out it was not what you were looking for.

05-25-2004, 08:39 AM

I understand the neccessity to hear other voices.
Did you really learn everything your former teachers had to offer before leaving ?

What makes you think I don't still train under my former teachers? :)

Just because I've switched schools doesn't mean I won't train under any teacher, given the opportunity. I do still train under them, with the exception of one. The reason why I'm with my current school is because I learn so much more there every session than I do under my former instructors.

I think that's fair. I do Aikido for me, not for anybody else.


06-22-2004, 07:10 AM
I've had to change schools many times and in various arts since beginning my martial arts training. (I'm not a dan grade)

At first you find it very difficult to adapt to the different way of doing things. And you don't exactly "buy" what new sensei is teaching because your old sensei did it differently (and better, or so you believe).

Some organisations I've left because of their attitude of theirs being the only "true" way or such like. I've had moves forced on me due to going away to and graduating from Uni, which meant I was sad to leave (I miss you Jitsu Foundation!). I've also left one instructor due to his teaching style, and there was a bit of a falling out, but we are on speaking terms again, but then I didn't leave the organisation just moved clubs. I'm now training with both karate and aikido clubs and my senseis are both excellent (as are the rest of the club) and very understanding when an odd or unrecognised technique comes out, when I get stuck! They are patient and give me time to work the new technique til I'm happy.

After moving about so much, it's gotten to the stage where I am willing to learn anything put my way and I will try all techniques before judging. And I'm not afraid of asking WHY it is done a certain way. At the end of the day, it's more techniques to your armory and you get a wonderful insight into the many ways of skinning a cat I guess.

If you get a chance to try other things, I would recommend it as you never know what you are missing, even if you do go back to your original club!