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Big Dave
03-26-2004, 09:35 PM
Hi all, my question is this - at what point is it appropriate for a student to start attending seminars? For example, I have been training now for four months. Would attending a seminar be a waste of time and money at this point? Or would they be able to accommodate my status as such? If not now, when? Thoughts?
Thanks,
Dave

p00kiethebear
03-26-2004, 11:01 PM
Some seminars are for black belts only.

But yes, infact it's probably good that you're going as a beginer. I went to a seminar when i was only about 4 months in to aikido and afterwards felt like i had improved 100 times better.

thatoldfool
03-27-2004, 12:39 AM
I agree. I would draw the line at total beginners that can't roll yet, but as long as you can roll, I think you're ok to attend. Usually it's too crowded to take breakfalls anyway...

MaryKaye
03-27-2004, 07:15 AM
i went to my first seminar just a little later than that. I have two pieces of advice:

(1) Let your training partners know that you are inexperienced and they should proceed accordingly. One of my sempai got macho at his first seminar and cracked a rib.

(2) If you get so tired that you can't safely take ukemi, sit quietly at the back. There was a definite gap between when I learned to roll and when I could roll while exhausted (in fact, I'm not sure I'm there yet).

I had a great time at my first one, so I'd encourage you to do it, just take care of yourself.

Mary Kaye

Mark Uttech
03-27-2004, 07:50 AM
third kyu seems to be the time to 'get serious' about your training and attend seminars with 'shoshin' ( beginner's mind)

Joanne Arnest
03-27-2004, 11:47 AM
I went to my first seminar when I had been training for barely a month (I've been training now for about 6 months), though it was also free for me, as a student at the college, and a waste of money wasn't an issue. I will say that I don't think I got as much out of it as I did at the seminar I attended the end of January (again, free for me). I feel like I learned a lot from that one.

aikidoc
03-27-2004, 12:01 PM
I went very early after starting. I think it is essential that you can do some basic ukemi and as others have cautioned let your partners know you are a beginner.

David Edwards
03-27-2004, 12:41 PM
Straight away! As soon as possible! It's always good to learn from other teachers, often a higher grade than your own, and practice with other Aikidoka with different person styles than the ppl with whom you are used to practicing. And of course, you'll make new friends over time as you meet more and more Aikidoka from other dojos. Well, that's the way I see it, anyway. Ask your Sensei's opinion :)

Noel
03-27-2004, 09:07 PM
Most instructors I've seen at seminars are quite accomodating if they know what level you are at. Knowing the basics of rolling and falling are where I draw my personal safety line, though.

Harvey Konigsberg just did a wonderful session in Syracuse last month where he was exposing the deeper parts of some fundamentals. It worked great because the advanced people could work on subtleties, while the beginners felt comfortable because they were doing basic techniques.

p00kiethebear
03-28-2004, 04:50 AM
Also.

Work with as many black belts as you can. Hakama wearers will often try to work with eachother and not people in the kyu ranks.

You may find it necessary to literaly GRAB them and shout "O NEGAISHIMASU" before they even get a chance to stand up. Don't be afraid to. Obviously you can't always do this. BUT DON'T LET THE BLACK BELTS RUN AWAY FROM YOU. It will be great learning for both you AND them. No one is too good to be your uke, no one. always remember that.

dan guthrie
03-28-2004, 10:38 AM
I've only got 7 months under my "belt" and I went to Doshu a few weeks ago as a spectator. I'm glad I didn't get out on the mat and I would suggest going to at least one seminar as a spectator before getting out on the mat.

Now I know what will be expected and I can gauge my level with other aikidoka. I learned a lot just by watching: some dojo chos move like Fred Astaire and some like Fred Flintstone (no one acted like Freddy Kruger).

If your sensei advises you to participate, you're probably a lot better than I am so go for it. If you aren't sure, being a spectator is absolutely wonderful.

David Edwards
03-28-2004, 03:40 PM
Nathan: Absolutely! I agree wholeheartedly. I'm a kyu grade, and I always manage to work my way into the midst of as much black stuff as I can. As my own Sensei advised me long ago to do so, I never fear to just touch someone and say "Onegaishimasu", even if it's some 5th dan I haven't met before (Don't think there are any in the country now, but you get the idea).

Dan: It's the ones who move like Freddie Mercury to watch out for ;)

Ian Williams
03-28-2004, 08:04 PM
everytime a shodan or higher puts a joint lock on me (Jujitsu), I wish I was practicing with a mon belt again...

*youch* :)

barnibis
03-28-2004, 10:34 PM
im not sure if this was mentioned earlier in this thread, but there is the issue of connection with O-Sensei.

i have trained for three years, and am only a kyu rank. But i had always believed that Seminars provide an opportunity to train under Shihan that have trained under O-sensei himself.

i remember telling many of my Kohai, that those Shihan that have trained directly under O-sensei probably won't last my generation. (i'm 28)

These notions were realized with a terrible loss this weekend.

i feel so emtpy inside, and i just had to reply to this thead when i saw it, i hadn't even read all of the posts.

For those who have committed themselves to Aikido, i would say, attend seminars as much as you can. Even if only to watch. Because the opportunity to learn under these first generation Shihan is fleeting. And we are reminded of this each time we lose such a Shihan.

i don't know what else more to say except my dedication has definately increased. i promise i will not let Sensei's attention and time go to waste, i will take his teachings and make myself the best Aikidoka i can be. Thank you Sensei, it was a privledge, and an honor.

o..

justinm
03-29-2004, 05:13 AM
Otto - what terrible loss? I can't find any news that this could be about?

Justin

justinm
03-29-2004, 07:18 AM
I have now seen the sad news about Mitsunari Kanai Sensei, in a separate thread.

Justin.

David Edwards
03-29-2004, 08:07 AM
im not sure if this was mentioned earlier in this thread, but there is the issue of connection with O-Sensei.

i have trained for three years, and am only a kyu rank. But i had always believed that Seminars provide an opportunity to train under Shihan that have trained under O-sensei himself.
This is why I also look forward especially to, for example, Ken Cottier Shihan's vistits to our dojo... sometimes, I even find I can learn as much from talking to him (Well, really, listening to him mainly) in the bar / restaurant after the class...

SeiserL
03-29-2004, 08:57 AM
I often have the pleasure and privilege to train with beginners and always learn something myself. Please, join in.

DanielR
03-29-2004, 09:19 AM
This past Saturday at Yamada sensei's seminar at LBI Aikikai I saw several participants who couldn't have had more than several months of experience. I'm sure it was a day well spent for them. I noticed Yamada sensei instructing some of them personally several times, and he explained the techniques in great detail. Most of the more advanced participants also seemed very careful and willing to help.

Paul Melsness
03-29-2004, 02:23 PM
I attended my first seminar after only 2 weeks into my Aikido training. What a wonderful experience! It was with Ikeda Sensei, and it gave me a small glimpse of what is possible.

My sensei has always encouraged us to attend as many seminars as possible.

Peace,

Paul

Big Dave
04-01-2004, 09:22 PM
thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies and encouragement. I have decided to "go for it" and will attend the Cherry Blossom Seminar 2004 in Washington DC with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan and Kenji Koyama Shihan. I'll give you all a report on Monday when I get back.

Dave

Big Dave
04-05-2004, 02:51 PM
Got back last night after a long drive from Washington. The seminar was terrific. I did the Cherry Blossom Seminar 2004 in Washington DC with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan and Kenji Koyama Shihan from Tokyo. It would have been well worth the trip just to watch these masters demonstrate their craft. Sensei Kenji Koyama was 78 years old and did a brilliant demonstration of the use of Ki. The people at the seminar were also very friendly and encouraging to me. There were several other white belts as well. All in all a great weekend.

David Board
11-10-2009, 12:53 PM
After reading, this thread I feel encouraged to ask my sensei if I am ready to attend my first seminar. It would be with Mary Heiny. Who is visiting our Dojo next week. It seems that it would be a rare chance to learn from someone that trained with O'sensei.

However, I'm fairly nervous. I feel that I might detract from other participants ability to fully engage in the seminar when paired with me. I've been training for 4 months and am comfortable, not skilled but comfortable, with forward and back rolls (no break falls gotta roll before you can fly). I am sure that I will learn a ton. However, I have reservations that my presence will detract from older more experience students learning. While I'm comfortable with a handful of techniques most are confusing at best and some will be completely new. When I practice these techniques I still often find myself pausing and having to recall what is next. In class, I find other students paired with me focused on teaching me and not on their own technique. This seems unfair to ask in a seminar.
Does anyone have suggestions? Am I ready to attend a seminar (my Sensei is a better person to ask and I will today)? But more importantly how do I make sure that my presence doesn't interfere with another students learning?

jss
11-10-2009, 01:01 PM
In class, I find other students paired with me focused on teaching me and not on their own technique. This seems unfair to ask in a seminar.
Some people at the seminar will think it's cool someone with only 4 months of training is attending a seminar. Others will be bothered by your lack of experience, because it will 'limit' them in their training. Ignore these people, it's not your problem, it's theirs. If they're good enough to be 'limited' by you, they're good enough to remember what was shown and try it at home with a more experienced uke.
And by the way, the people who don't like to train with non-black belts at seminars, are quite often the people that don't perform the technique as it was shown at the seminar, but as they perform it all the time at their own dojo. So no big loss there. ;)

Janet Rosen
11-10-2009, 01:10 PM
Definitely ATTEND! Especially as it is YOUR home dojo - your sensei and seniors should help make it be a comfortable experience for you.

Pauliina Lievonen
11-10-2009, 01:29 PM
From the October column by Lynn Seiser:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16990

"Perhaps it's the respect for the courage it takes to just train. Martial arts is not an easy road to travel. It's filled with sore muscles, ice packs, and Tiger Balm. When I lived out in California I participated in several endurance events and was always impressed by the respect and appreciation the elite athletes gave us "back of the packers". They seemed to know the hours we all spent alone on the road to pay for the privilege to line up on the same line and finish on the same line (though hours later). Anyone who signs up, shows up, dresses out, and bows in gets my respect. They are no longer a spectator but an active participant in life."

This is how I feel about training with beginners as well. There are lots of people who never even dare to step on the mat. If you do, you deserve to be there!

In my experience, people who don't want to practice with beginners at a seminar will just simply try to bow to other advanced people. For the sake of your own training, do try to grab a few yudansha as well, be proactive about that. There will be plenty of people who'll be happy to train with you, and those who don't, maybe they just need to work on their own stuff this time. If they're experienced enough they'll manage to grab enough advanced partners during the course of the seminar, you won't have to worry about setting them back if they train with you once or twice.

In short, go attend, try to train with as many people as you can, and it will all sort itself out in the end. :)

kvaak
Pauliina

BWells
11-10-2009, 01:54 PM
ATTEND! If your dojo is like ours, your sensei will probably be teaching off of what he got in the seminar for the next week or so, and attending will give you a head start.

Shadowfax
11-10-2009, 02:32 PM
GO!!!

I attended my first mini seminar... incidentally with Heiney Sensei...After only 2 months of training, and got a lot out of it. All of my partners were terrific as was Mary.

I just attended my first full seminar ( Ikeda Sensei) last month after only 5 months of training. I am so glad I went. Yeah it was a lot to take in but so worth it. And those other more experienced students really seemed happy to work with me.

chillzATL
11-10-2009, 03:29 PM
I agree. I would draw the line at total beginners that can't roll yet, but as long as you can roll, I think you're ok to attend. Usually it's too crowded to take breakfalls anyway...

This would be my only concern. If someone can't fall properly, a seminar is likely going to be somewhat wasted on them. Otherwise a seminar is a great environment as they will be exposed to a wide variety of size/strength/experience and that will only help them.

Shadowfax
11-10-2009, 03:35 PM
At the seminar with Ikeda there was almost no falling at all. Way too crowded. I got thrown more by Ikeda himself than by all of my partners combined over those 6 hours of training.

At Mary Heiney's... well she likes to see people rolling around I hear. Lots of falls. But I worked with a partner there that was not able to take falls at all and it certainly was not a problem. And toward the end of the day I was pretty tired and I stopped taking them. I still learned a lot.

Talking to your Sensei will give you the best answer.He knows your abilities. But if he says you should go then you definitely should go. :)

danielab1924
11-10-2009, 04:02 PM
ok seeing as this question was posted up almost 6 years ago, I'm going to respond anyway for the hell of it. I think its good for beginners that recognize the basics of aikido to attend a seminar ie, hamni, tai no henko, etc. As long as you're not bothered by being talked down to to the highest degree by students that are higher in rank than you, you should have a lot of fun and definitely benefit.

Shadowfax
11-10-2009, 04:17 PM
yeah its an old thread. Should have been a new one started, but since it wasn't and someone needed some support.... ;)

Its a good thread, worth reviving.

I must be really really lucky. All of those I have had the privilege to train with that were higher rank than me have treated me very well, in fact in several cases I could feel that they were actually happy to be able to work with me and help me learn. I'm sure it will happen some time but so far I have really never been talked down to or made to feel inferior in any way but those of higher rank.

Abasan
11-10-2009, 08:34 PM
I took part in my first seminar, a BAB sponsored one after my 4th lesson or so. Needless to say I was whiter than white and greener than green.

But to this day I remember that seminar and the huge confidence boost it gave me. I met some brilliant fellows there who didn't mind taking a newbie under their wing. One guy just had me become nage for kotegaishe when I confessed not knowing anything at all. And pretty soon I was like throwing him around like a rag doll...(or so I thought a the time). :)

You should delve into the unknown because it is the nature of man to explore space and the final frontier...

Garth Jones
11-10-2009, 10:10 PM
David,

Four months is plenty! Mary Heiny is an amazing teacher not to be missed and you will definitely learn a bunch. If you were in my dojo I would strongly, strongly encourage you to come.

Cheers,
Garth

JO
11-10-2009, 10:18 PM
Four months is twice the experience I had at my first seminar. The seminar in question is an annual one that I have only missed once over the last 10 years. I figure that first one helped me get off to a good start.

MattMiddleton
11-11-2009, 08:31 AM
After reading, this thread I feel encouraged to ask my sensei if I am ready to attend my first seminar. It would be with Mary Heiny. Who is visiting our Dojo next week. It seems that it would be a rare chance to learn from someone that trained with O'sensei.

However, I'm fairly nervous. I feel that I might detract from other participants ability to fully engage in the seminar when paired with me. I've been training for 4 months and am comfortable, not skilled but comfortable, with forward and back rolls (no break falls gotta roll before you can fly). I am sure that I will learn a ton. However, I have reservations that my presence will detract from older more experience students learning. While I'm comfortable with a handful of techniques most are confusing at best and some will be completely new. When I practice these techniques I still often find myself pausing and having to recall what is next. In class, I find other students paired with me focused on teaching me and not on their own technique. This seems unfair to ask in a seminar.
Does anyone have suggestions? Am I ready to attend a seminar (my Sensei is a better person to ask and I will today)? But more importantly how do I make sure that my presence doesn't interfere with another students learning?

GO GO GO GO GO!!!!

Sorry, I was just at a seminar with Mary Heiny Sensei, and she's awesome!

Victoria Pitt
11-11-2009, 11:57 AM
If you can afford it and your sensei says it's okay, GO. Sure, you'd get more out of it if you have been practicing for a bit that doesn't mean that you won't get anything out of it at all. It's great to be able to do technique with people who are not a part of your home dojo. I have not been training a year yet and I went to one about six weeks ago and I got a lot out of it.

David Board
11-16-2009, 12:23 PM
Everyone thank you for your encouragement. My apologies for dragging up a dead thread. I have signed up and my sensei thinks I will get a lot out of it.

I had no doubt I would but still have reservations that I might hold other students back when they get stuck with me but will take the suggestion to grab the more advanced students when I can (note to self, don't always grab the kind ones they always get stuck with you). Any suggestions on how a beginner should should take ukima with advanced students. I try to project an attack at the beginning but once things start rolling, I'm busy trying to learn from what their doing and not getting hurt. More often then not I'm along for the ride. Is there any words from the wise that would help my partner learn even from me, a beginner. I always learn some much from my uke (even the silent ones) that I feel I provide little in return as their uke.

Looking forward to a great seminar (busy aikido week, testing/demoing this week [new system in the dojo "testing" every month] and the seminar.)

Victoria Pitt
11-16-2009, 01:32 PM
Everyone thank you for your encouragement. My apologies for dragging up a dead thread. I have signed up and my sensei thinks I will get a lot out of it.

I had no doubt I would but still have reservations that I might hold other students back when they get stuck with me but will take the suggestion to grab the more advanced students when I can (note to self, don't always grab the kind ones they always get stuck with you). Any suggestions on how a beginner should should take ukima with advanced students. I try to project an attack at the beginning but once things start rolling, I'm busy trying to learn from what their doing and not getting hurt. More often then not I'm along for the ride. Is there any words from the wise that would help my partner learn even from me, a beginner. I always learn some much from my uke (even the silent ones) that I feel I provide little in return as their uke.

Looking forward to a great seminar (busy aikido week, testing/demoing this week [new system in the dojo "testing" every month] and the seminar.)

Just let the person with whom you are practicing with know that you are new. You can do atemi as hard as you think your partner can take it (meaning if you are with a yudansha then don't be shy, but if you aren't sure, with another white belt, ask them how hard you should go). By telling your partner that you are new, they can still perform technique on you but not throw you into a crazy breakfall that you may not be ready for yet. They will still get the idea of the technique- the technique is the same if you go fast or if you go slow, that doesn't change- but they can temper the speed/force to accommodate you. Also, it does help people who are more senior as that slowing down helps them to notice little mistakes that they have been making because they usually go so fast.

Just my two cents from an "unranked" newbie. :D

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 04:13 AM
Absolutely visit some seminars, what better way to soak up so much knowledge.

So if you're a beginner thinking of attending one, go for it, yes it might cost you money and you might think it's not worth it if you're not taking part, but that's not the case.

I find watching lessons can almost always teach me as much, if not more about Aikido than physically taking part.

Watching others make mistakes seems to help me no end. You see what they did wrong and you see HOW they did it wrong, which validates everything that you do right! It makes me itch to be on the mat and try things out myself. A great source of inspiration if you're not feeling very confident in your abilities of late.