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Ima
05-06-2004, 10:26 AM
I am new here and am just beginning my search for a dojo to join as an absolute beginner in Aikido.

I live in the Geater Hartford, Connecticut area and these are the three dojos I plan to look into.

1 -Shobu Aikido of Connecticut - Wethersfield Dojo
2 -West Hartford Aikikai
3 -Greater Hartford Aikikai In Glastonbury, CT

I have done a search on these forums and have only found a reference to Shobu AIkido of Connecticut. It was a brief, positive endorsement of Robert Liberti as a good teacher to work with.
I would like to know if either of these schools is better than the others for a beginner.
My intention is to visit each dojo with an open mind and to start Aikido in the same manner. However I do have one set goal. I definitely want to eventually take sword/bokken instruction as part of my Aikido training. Any replies as to whether each of these schools has a sword program and its quality will be appreciated. I am interested in any and all opinions on these or other schools in the greater Hartford Connecticut area.

If anyone is in a position to give any input, either positive or negative, I would appreciate it.

Ima

akiy
05-06-2004, 11:16 AM
Hi Michael,

Here's my "boiler plate" response that I usually give to people when they ask about recommendations for dojo:

I can't give you a recommendation for any dojo in your area, but here are some suggestions to help you choose a dojo.

Go visit all of the dojo in your area within a reasonable driving distance and observe a few classes at each of them. As aikido is not just something to be taken up and tossed away like some brief hobby, I think it's worth the time to do this -- especially if you're thinking about enrolling your child in a class, for instance. Never go by the "reputation" of a dojo alone.
Watch how the teacher interacts with his/her students. Watch how the students interact with their teacher. Watch how the students interact with each other. See if you feel comfortable with the way all of these interactions play out. It's often said that you can tell the quality of any kind of school by its students...
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the school's history and affiliation. Ask about the teacher's aikido history. Ask about the teacher's philosophy in doing aikido. See if any of their answers feels "different" than what you see being practiced and taught.
Do some research on aikido. Some good sites on the Internet include the Aikido FAQ http://www.aikidofaq.com and AikiWeb http://www.aikiweb.com.

Basically, a good yardstick to use if to think if the dojo itself is some place you want to be practicing for the next five years, probably at least two to three times a week.

In any case, you may want to try using the AikiWeb Dojo Search Engine to look for a dojo in your area:

http://www.aikiweb.com/search

Hope this helps.

-- Jun

aikidocapecod
05-06-2004, 12:07 PM
Hello Michael,

I have endorsed Rob Liberti Sensei in this forum. That is not to say anything negative about any other dojos in the area. I am merely stating that which I know about.

Rob Liberti Sensei is wonderful to train with and learn from. His style is not to show how much he knows, but rather to have his students learn Aikido. He has great patience and a style that makes his students want to go to class.

I am not one of his students, but we have practiced together at William Gleason Sensei's dojo in Boston. I have been studying Aikido for almost 20 years. I have practiced with many gifted Aikidoka. I would put Rob Sensei near the top. I learn from him each time I practice with him. He studies, as I do, under Gleason Sensei. Gleason Sensei makes frequent visits to Rob Liberti Sensei's dojo in Ct. Gleason Sensei is not to be missed.

I agree with Jun, go to all and see which style is best suited to your desires. Both Rob Sensei and I learn from one of the best Aikido instructors around in Gleason Sensei. So take that into account when making your decision.

Then...go to Liberti Sensei!!!!!!!!!!

Good luck

Larry

Ima
05-06-2004, 12:29 PM
Jun and Larry

Tahnk you both for the replys.
Very good advise

rob_liberti
11-20-2004, 07:19 PM
Hi Larry, thanks for your kind words! Michael, if you are interested in sword class, show up to any Tuesday night class in Wethersfield and we'll be happy to show you what we do...

Thanks for your interest - Rob