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PeterR
03-10-2004, 07:15 PM
In the Discussion of Chuck Clark's article there was a bit of divergence just begging for it's own thread. Below I've quoted David's response as a jumping off-point.

One of the hardest things for me to teach to absolute beginners is training attitude. Once they get the rate of skill improvement increases dramatically. My two best students are both Dan ranked in PK arts - there was no problem having them adjust to the training attitude I wanted - they were close anyway. Intellectually they understood the technical differences very quickly and were physically able to adjust almost right away. I've never had problems with cups being full.

People generally have their own ideas about various martial arts - that is true for beginners and those from other Budo. In the latter case, if they come to an Aikido dojo, they already have prepared themselves for a new experience and are open to something new. They are also less likely to be surprised, frustrated, or intimidated.

This is my experience. Most of my students come from some form of Budo background although recently I've had an influx of complete novices.

Who in you group is most likely to be there a year after joining? Those with Budo background or those without?







Brad,

I agree absolutely with Peter. Take me for example, been doing karate for more than 30 years (hold a 3rd Dan)and practising aikido for the past 10 years. A visiting shodan aikido instructor from another dojo asked me last week why was I there in my shihan's class. I assumed that he wanted to know why a karate instructor like me would want to study aikido. When I told that him that I was there for spiritual reasons, he laughed out loud and said, "Why? You mean there are spirits here". I saw no point to explain further to him.

Karate has taught me to bring a person down with a strike or a punch or a kick or a sweep. Now what would I do, if the rule forbids me to use any of the above tools that I've learned so well. More so, if I enforce this rule on myself with this objective - whatever techniques I need to use to control/subdue an attacker, I must do it with minimal effort and maximum effect (and reality). Hence, unlike some aikidoka who have no prior MA skill and understanding, I train with a different prospective and I believe I can advance in Aiki-Do at a much quicker pace.

Brad, there are both linear and circular movements in karate, the linear movements you are familiar with are only in sports karate (kumite), look at the kata and you will be surprise to see the various aikido techniques there, to the trained eyes karate-jutsu have many circular movements. There is a beautiful and quite accurate written article in Aikido Journal website detailing the differences and similarities of karate and aikido that you should read. Most of the past and present shihan who studied aikido under O'Sensei have/had also done karate.

Regards

David

Chris Birke
03-10-2004, 11:02 PM
Karate and Aikido are similar?! Next you'll be saying TKD has it's roots in karate!

Seriously, though, isn't it obivious that all budo is similiar in one way or another. I'd imagine the core of the tree has a very similar vein all the way to the taproot.

Relatedly, does anyone know of a good map of martial arts development and interplay? Ie, this sprouted into that, which in turn changed the origional this, which grew this branch here, and that... etc...

I'd be fascinated

PeterR
03-10-2004, 11:10 PM
elatedly, does anyone know of a good map of martial arts development and interplay? Ie, this sprouted into that, which in turn changed the origional this, which grew this branch here, and that... etc...

I'd be fascinated
Perhaps not exactly what you are looking for but how about this (http://homepage2.nifty.com/shodokan/en/kyogi5.html).

Jamie Stokes
03-10-2004, 11:57 PM
Hello All,

I think there is no way to really guage it. Some people come to a dojo, without any MA experience and stay, others will try it, and leave.

Some cross train and stay, or search for another art.

I have asked the question "why did you start Aikido" and many varied responses, only a handful were doing another MA first.

As for other techniques, read "Towards the unknown" and "Beyond the Known" (I think those are the titles, they are in the book review section) and there is a small paragraph in one of them on how students from different arts were doing the same movements form other arts. Made me think about movements in any martial art.

I haven't answered the question at all, I've just stated it as I see it.

But am open to suggestion, and can change my mind in light of further opinion.

warmest regards,

Jamie

p00kiethebear
03-11-2004, 01:52 AM
Seriously, though, isn't it obivious that all budo is similiar in one way or another. I'd imagine the core of the tree has a very similar vein all the way to the taproot

Yes, budo is a like a good piece of cake. No matter which side you start eating it from, in the end it's still sweet.

I think the ones who are going to last are the ones that don't feel as if the art is a novelty. We've had plenty of students who sign up for a few months of classes, because they were impressed with their first few experiences on the mat. When after a while the initial interest dies down, the begin coming less and less and finally don't come anymore. They realize it's alot more work than it looks to become "good."

So you're right, it's mostly about attitude. I would say other martial art experience can help that. But it doesn't have to be martial art experience.

Dedication to a highschool or college sport (like running) could help you get that right attitude.

The person most likely to stick it out is the one who has practiced dedicating themselves somewhere in their lives.

happysod
03-11-2004, 03:25 AM
Peter, my response has to be a full and frank "haven't really got a bloody clue" (and if I knew, I'd not say, they're mine I tell you) so my comments should be taken with huge heaps on salt.

For the previous experience crowd, it seems to depend on whether they have actually got true confidence in their previous ma, in which case they can cross train correctly and do seem to stick. Those who are still unhappy with their experience in the other ma are more likely to focus on unnecessary comparisons and will drop one or the other depending on their temperament.

The no experience group are just baffling. The only thing I'm very wary of is over enthusiasm early on. For example planning for next years course after a few weeks, already bought the complete set of aiki-videos after one lesson etc. They just seem to burn out quickly and go on the the next fad.

Plus wot Nathan said re novelty, although I disagree on the "dedication" comment, sometimes aikido has filled a gap in a previously listless person before.

PeterR
03-11-2004, 04:05 AM
For the previous experience crowd, it seems to depend on whether they have actually got true confidence in their previous ma, in which case they can cross train correctly and do seem to stick. Those who are still unhappy with their experience in the other ma are more likely to focus on unnecessary comparisons and will drop one or the other depending on their temperament.
Interesting proviso - and very true. Even so - the searcher still has a better idea than the complete novice. I don't expect Aikido to be everyones answer so yes people are still going to leave because its just not for them or they've had enough cross-training. School, work and love interests also take their toll.

I think what I'm getting at you alluded to when you mentioned over enthusiasm. I think previous MA experience, even a relatively small amount, helps guard against that. Training is taken for what it is and you see less burn-out.

Nathan - good point about other endeavors. One of my beginners is an Indian gentleman with a background in Yoga. He picked up the correct training attitude from day one - or he already had it. I've seen the same from some (not all) dancers. I think the endeavor has to involve a constantly evolving skill set to have meaning though - in this context.

Yann Golanski
03-11-2004, 04:51 AM
I think a lot of new people on the mat want to see their technique work NOW. It can be really hard to not be able to do any techniques at all after your sixth class and still feel as if you've learned nothing. Especially when you watch sensei do it and it's crisp, sharp and looks so simple.

People who have gone through this once will find it a lot easier when they come to it again. In Aikikai, I am told all the time to improve this or that, concentrate on this basic aspect or that basic aspect. I don't mind because I know that's why I am there to do! I knew what it would be like having gone through white belt before. However, if I were a beginner, I can see it wearing me down.

When I started Aikido, all I wanted to do was learn. I ever told sensei not to grade me till I was ready to get shodan. What I wanted -- and still do -- is learn not get a nice hakama or black belt or ``chew rocks for breakfast''.

Maybe that's the key?

indomaresa
03-11-2004, 05:11 AM
Yes, budo is a like a good piece of cake. No matter which side you start eating it from, in the end it's still sweet.
that's an interesting way to put it. No wonder I have toothaches when learning. :)
I think the ones who are going to last are the ones that don't feel as if the art is a novelty. We've had plenty of students who sign up for a few months of classes, because they were impressed with their first few experiences on the mat. When after a while the initial interest dies down, the begin coming less and less and finally don't come anymore. They realize it's alot more work than it looks to become "good."

So you're right, it's mostly about attitude. I would say other martial art experience can help that. But it doesn't have to be martial art experience.

Dedication to a highschool or college sport (like running) could help you get that right attitude.

The person most likely to stick it out is the one who has practiced dedicating themselves somewhere in their lives.
That is SO right on the spot. I've thought about this "beginner's burnout" problem a lot, but this is the first time someone wrote it down and mentioned about "dedication"

And all these years I've been telling newcomers that Aikido requires their mind and concentration....

Qatana
03-11-2004, 09:42 AM
I'm pretty sure my years of dance and meditation have had much more benefit to my aikido than my months of karate.

j0nharris
03-11-2004, 09:47 AM
I would have to agree that it can really vary. My wife came to Aikido looking to do some cross-training in preparation for her nidan exam in karate. (I was starting Aikido at the same time, incidentally, & that is where we met:) ). She was open-minded about learning something new and had fun even though it was a struggle at times to get something new into her muscle memory.

She enjoyed it so much that she stayed with it -- the Aikido, that is!

I had a background in Judo and Tai Chi, so I didn't have all of the same difficulties.

In large part, I think it depends on how deep a person's experience is in another art. All of us when we're just starting will tend to think that "my art is the best!", which can make it hard to be open about something very different.

I have read that a person should have a fair degree of ability in any art before beginning another. Maybe this is part of the reason.

Janet Rosen
03-11-2004, 05:35 PM
In an early 2002 New Yorker I found this in an article by Atul Gawande on the training of surgeons:

"There have now been many studies of elite performers--concert violinists, chess grand masters, professional ice-skaters, mathematicians, and so forth--and the biggest difference researchers find between them and lesser performers is the amount of deliberate
practice they've accumulated. Indeed, the most important talent may be the talent for practice itself. K. Anders Ericsson, a cognitive psychologist and an expert on performance, notes that the most important role that innate factors play may be in a person's WILLINGNESS to engage in sustained training. He has found, for example, that top performers
dislike practicing just as much as others do. (That's why, for example,athletes and musicians usually quit practicing when they retire.) But,more than others, they have the will to keep at it anyway."

Chuck Clark
03-11-2004, 06:04 PM
Peter,

After 50+ years in budo practice now I have come to the conclusion that I can't do anything about anybody's practice but mine. If I practice and can find at least one other person that wants to train, then we can give others an example. I think that grows and it's the only thing that keeps people around is that they see others doing what they want to do. They either stay or they don't and it's darned near impossible to predict whose going to stay the long haul.

I do my best to teach interested people the best I can when they're in the dojo and let them go when they leave. If not, you'll get your heart broken many, many times. I have been continually surprised by how many have stayed the long haul with me so far.

Gambatte!

PeterR
03-11-2004, 06:54 PM
Words to live by - thanks Chuck.

ikkitosennomusha
03-11-2004, 10:01 PM
[QUOTE]="Yann Golanski"]I think a lot of new people on the mat want to see their technique work NOW. It can be really hard to not be able to do any techniques at all after your sixth class and still feel as if you've learned nothing. Especially when you watch sensei do it and it's crisp, sharp and looks so simple. [QUOTE]

Finally, I was wated for this response to emerge. Once I originally posted this comparable response, Someone could not see the logic.

I stated that those from another art such as Karate are used to fast promotions and grabbing new concepts quickli like punching and kicking which is not too hard to emulate, right? So, it is only natural for disapointment to set in when you see sensei do all thin amazing stuff.

The key thing is that the person realizes that aikido is a personal journey through which progress is proportionate to the amount of work and time invested. It is not an overnight success. From this one can reap all the rewards whenever it is time. To own a technique, one must master it, until then, you do not own it.

I have even had a karate person push me to the point of an after class sparring session. I eventually agreed so that a lesson can be learned in hopes that the person's opinion/attitude will be changed. I ended it in about 2 seconds. Never saw the person again. It was harmless just to make a point but I think realized the severity of wrongness and bruised the ego a little. If one thing is for sure, aikido will humble a person.

ikkitosennomusha
03-11-2004, 10:03 PM
QUOTE]="Yann Golanski"]I think a lot of new people on the mat want to see their technique work NOW. It can be really hard to not be able to do any techniques at all after your sixth class and still feel as if you've learned nothing. Especially when you watch sensei do it and it's crisp, sharp and looks so simple. Finally, I was waiting for this response to emerge. Once I originally posted this comparable response, Someone could not see the logic.

I stated that those from another art such as Karate are used to fast promotions and grabbing new concepts quickli like punching and kicking which is not too hard to emulate, right? So, it is only natural for disapointment to set in when you see sensei do all thin amazing stuff.

The key thing is that the person realizes that aikido is a personal journey through which progress is proportionate to the amount of work and time invested. It is not an overnight success. From this one can reap all the rewards whenever it is time. To own a technique, one must master it, until then, you do not own it.

I have even had a karate person push me to the point of an after class sparring session. I eventually agreed so that a lesson can be learned in hopes that the person's opinion/attitude will be changed. I ended it in about 2 seconds. Never saw the person again. It was harmless just to make a point but I think realized the severity of wrongness and bruised the ego a little. If one thing is for sure, aikido will humble a person.