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John Boswell
06-10-2004, 09:55 AM
There are a ton of things we touch on in classes that I would like to spend more time on, but often we work whatever technique just a bit and move on. Over time, I get better of course, but there are days when we touch on something that I would just assume spend all day working on.

Do any of you train outside the dojo with fellow aikidoka? Is this not a good idea, for fear of developing bad habits... or is it worth the time to get as much training in as possible outside the dojo?

Just fishing for other thoughts on this.

Domo! :)

gamma80
06-10-2004, 10:11 AM
Training outside the dojo with others is a great idea in my opinion for a few reasons: 1) You get a better level of practice with an uke/nage combination versus trying to practice by yourself (great for golf, not so great for Aikido). 2) If you get stuck on something your partner may know the proper form and help to correct you. 3) You can concentrate on the tecniques that you specifically want to improve upon.
The issue to be careful of is not being sure of a technique, if neither of you is sure make a note and ask your Sensei during the next class to clarify how it should be done, don't guess and practice incorrectly. Don't try and "teach" each other, only practice what you know for sure, leave the gray areas for the dojo.

Chris

Aikidoiain
09-16-2004, 01:49 PM
Nearly all of my training has been outside the dojo, sparring with fellow Martial Artists from various styles.

We would role play real life scenarios and "reality test" various techniques.

I found it to be a rich source of experience for preparing the mind and body for real confrontations. I did join a Hapkido club briefly and got a yellow belt, but left due to ill health. Soon I intend to join an Aikido dojo for formal lessons - after around 25 years training outside a dojo!

I've already mentioned my real life experiences in that post.

Now, at the age of 41 my formal training is about to begin. A slightly unorthodox journey to say the least!


Iain. :ki: :)

thomas_dixon
09-16-2004, 04:44 PM
It really depends, some things you can practice outside a dojo, others you should definiately have a supervisor near, as if you do the technique improperly, severe injury can occur. Just be careful and use common sense, everything should be fine.

mj
09-16-2004, 06:51 PM
Teaching yourself martial arts is like representing yourself in court.

Lyle Laizure
09-17-2004, 01:34 AM
Whenever you get the chance. Training outside of the dojo provides you with more time to experiement and as you mentioned you can spend time on things you are really interested in. Myself and a few others do this regularly.

kroh
09-17-2004, 05:38 AM
A few of the guys in my dojo train regularly in one of their back yards. It is usually a brutal affair that turns into less technique and more let's see if I can knock the other guy down. My own training outside the dojo sometimes bumps me into some Aikido friends. The training we do is usually a fair trade of ideas, safe and easy going so we can learn each others skills. Although... One day my school ran a little seminar as a fund raiser in my friends Aikido School. Filipino Kali. The head instructor Put the beat down on my cranium and the matches turned into stick grappling... ;-)

They were soft sticks but man... Aikido Guy can hit!!!
Thanks All...
WalT

Matt Molloy
09-17-2004, 08:22 AM
Teaching yourself martial arts is like representing yourself in court.

To extend this a tad, Teaching yourself martial arts could well wind up with you representing yourself in court. ;)

"They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client! Well as God is my witness, I am that fool!"

Gomez Addams. The Addams Family Movie.

He didn't do too well either.

Cheers,

Matt.

kroh
09-17-2004, 08:37 AM
One of my trainers in the Army was one of those people who never went to an actual school, but had some boxing from the Army as well as A LOT of backyard time with some people who did train at "sanctioned" schools. Through constant sparring and semi-full contact matches he garnered an impressive repetoir that was surprisingly effective. He had spent years back-yarding it though and as a result had become very proficient in what he did. Very interesting...

Regards
WalT

happysod
09-17-2004, 09:39 AM
On the formal/informal structure thing I'm ambivalent. I do think that the people who are saying you can't teach yourself ma are slightly mistaken. I'm also in total disagreement with those who say you shouldn't train outside the dojo.

The more formal option of the dojo, association etc. provides a nice and easy one-size fits all way of measuring your progress while maintaining a consistent standard. You have your teachers to measure progress and the structure of the organisation to maintain standards, all well and good (ok, I'm ignoring politics at this point).

Then there's the other option, informal training. Yes, you can do it, but it's actually a much harder road in my opinion as you must determine what you are using as your yard-stick for proficiency - open competitions? a war zone? your mates down the pub? Secondly, who do you listen to when training? We all have faults and most of us will happily enhance our faults through training if you don't get an outside check on them now and again. Finally, what are your goals, how do you measure success?

With regards to informal training outside your dojo, I treat this the same way I treat my cats. As long as you don't bring anything disgusting back into the dojo that I (or anyone else) has to deal with, train away and have fun.

Matt Molloy
09-17-2004, 10:18 AM
I wouldn't say for a moment that informal training can't turn out some formidable fighters. Just because they are formidable fighters, are they martial artists? Hmmm. I would find this difficult.

Personally, I define an artist as someone who takes a skill to its ultimate level. Any skill, from painting to tea making to (for this board) fighting. By this argument I would say that most of us are not yet martial artists but are fighters striving to become martial artists, indeed the true martial artist wouldn't need to fight at all. (D*mn that sounds familiar.)

I would agree with Ian that it is possible to become a martial artist-and a formidable one-via the informal road and that it is harder but I would add that there is a greater chance of self delusion (witness the amount of McDojos that have been started by those who have apparently tested their "art" on the street) and of getting stuck in a rut. (A good teacher regularly pushes you out of your comfort zone.)

I think that I'd have to agree with Ian with the caveat that just because informal training can turn out a good martial artist it doesn't necessarily mean that one can be that person. That person would IMHO be truely exceptional.

I hope that this makes sense.

Cheers,

Matt.

Kevin Masters
09-17-2004, 10:28 AM
I don't do much outside-dojo training. Sometimes my son and I go over some stuff. He's kind of a tricky uke because he's 7 and turns into a turtle at the first sign of techniqe happening to him. :D

I think it would be a great way to practice for your tests if you have a fairly good idea how the techniques are done and just want to polish them.

Kev.

Nick Simpson
09-17-2004, 07:43 PM
When i first started training I would practise ukemi at home because im lucky enoungth to have a fairly long living room to roll in. This gave me an invaluable advantage in ukemi over the other novices who only trained in ukemi at class's. Myself and a friend who had started training at the same time would also try and remember techniques from that weeks class and practise them. We always got them wrong, of course, but i wasnt expecting to get them right, it did however give us both a good attitude to training and physical conditioning e.g." If you knock me down i'll get back up and then its my turn to knock you down, ok? " Which I am very glad I developed as early as possible in my aikido training. I used to do a lot of bokken suburi and some jo suburi at home and although I am terrible at both I soon got bored, its just not the same as dojo training.

thomas_dixon
09-18-2004, 03:01 AM
The only negative about training at home would be developing bad habits with techniques.I just remembered this so i figured i'd post it..my old Tang Soo Do sensei said it:

"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

Aikidoiain
12-12-2004, 08:05 PM
To mj,

My training outside the dojo has always been under the instruction of at least a 1st Dan, or Kung Fu expert.

Yes it's true that when I was a teenager, I did try to teach myself Karate from a book, but that was pointless. I wouldn't recommend teaching yourself Martial Arts.

Just thought I'd clarify that for you.

Iain. :ki: :)

PeterR
12-12-2004, 08:30 PM
Do any of you train outside the dojo with fellow aikidoka? Is this not a good idea, for fear of developing bad habits... or is it worth the time to get as much training in as possible outside the dojo?
It's a great idea. Work on what you know, explore a little. Training among friends with similar interest and experience gives you a chance to go in directions that interest you particularly and work on your own specific problems.

This is a far cry from pseudo -sensei trying to teach. It's a mutual training environment.

In my group I've got three students that decided they have mornings free and they want to practice more Aikido. Two of them are no-kyus with no previous Budo experience. They have my full encouragement even if the other one can not come. The other has significant MA training - him I would never dare tell he couldn't train.

I have a similar arrangement up at my work for certain evenings - the practice does not have a dojo structure with the formal dojo setting being the connecting factor. Those that take part in the former should come to the latter.

The Molinjir
12-12-2004, 09:22 PM
I do quite a bit of practice outside the dojo with a 2nd dan Kenpo blackbelt who is my friend, but he mostly helps me work on non-aikido technique (more punches, kicks, and even just sword sparring). It really helps me, as it usually makes me more effective as an uke, the sword work helps my wrists and forearms, and even the occasional correction on my technique.


I think training with someone who is inexperienced is useless, as well as being dangerous.

~Molinjir

PeterR
12-12-2004, 09:46 PM
I think training with someone who is inexperienced is useless, as well as being dangerous.
Disagree a little bit or more to the point what level is inexperienced.

A couple of guys getting together to put a little extra work in for something they learned in class can only be good.

I can see problems when you have raw beginners wanting to make it real but frankly I've never known any that were so stupid.

maikerus
12-12-2004, 10:41 PM
I would be careful about training outside the dojo, mainly because if you forget something or you get sidetracked or come up with a new theory that doesn't match what your instructor teaches, it might take awhile to get back on track.

I'd also worry about ego in this time. If you want to "make the technique work" but can't and have no one to ask for advice then its possible that people will get hurt. I think most people who train understand that there is a danger of this involved, but if you forget in the heat of the frustrating moment...

For test training, for working out with stuff that you did the day before or two days before, for trying to work on a concept that you understand in your head but your body doesn't get...then go for it. I would, however, suggest that any revelations you get be discussed with your instructor at the earliest available opportunity.

Of course, I've been told that if you have enough energy to do extra mat time then you're not putting enough into the "official mat time". But that's a different discussion <g>.

cheers,

--Michael

Aikidoiain
12-13-2004, 06:20 AM
I agree with Peter Rehse.

When I joined the Aikikai dojo just down the street, I was able to take advantage of some extra training with one of the higher ranked kyu students. This allowed us both to work on any basics I had trouble with, and for me to show him some Tomiki stuff - such as how to deal with knife attacks. We both benefited from this.

Sadly, I've been off ill for some time now, but I was shown some basic bokken cuts I could practice in my flat. Right now, my main priority is to get well, so I can return to the dojo.


Iain. :ki: :)

MaylandL
12-13-2004, 07:13 AM
I regularly train at two dojos, both are aikikai. They have different emphases on training and techniques that provides a more rounded training regime. My sensei encourages everyone to train in other dojos since he recognises that he does not know everything and that students can only benefit from having a different perspective.

Also I am about to start training with some karate people who are interested is sharing some ideas and techniques. Looking forward to it.

Rocky Izumi
12-13-2004, 04:56 PM
There is only so much dojo time since the instructor only has so much time. If you want to get good, how can you do so without extra practice? Training so hard you can't practice any more? If your wrists are broken, work on your feet. Dojo time isn't for you to wear yourself out. It is for you to get instruction so that you can go off on your own or with a friend(s) and go practice. If you are wearing yourself out during dojo time, you aren't paying attention intently enough. It is time for you to be corrected by your instructor and learn the finer points. So you are practicing something incorrectly? The instructor will correct you the next time you are in the dojo. It can't be that everything is incorrect! You must be getting something correct that you are practicing. I can't waste my time on people who only want to chunk people around during dojo time and don't want to be corrected. You can do that chunking outside of dojo time on your own time -- not on my time.

With that out of the way, I can now say that there are a lot of people who can't afford any more practice time than allotted for dojo time due to conflicts with family and work. I understand that there has to be some chunking time built into the dojo routine. I need it myself even just for the fun. So, it is chunky time again!!!! Gotta go and chunk some people. Bye y'all.

Rock

Michael Hackett
12-13-2004, 06:12 PM
Fumio Toyoda Shihan reportedly said that students who remain on the mat after class to train pay honor to their instructor. It happens routinely in our dojo, and it is not at all uncommon for a few students to get together at one home or another, on a Sunday to work on something they wish to polish, or something that may be eluding them.

senseimike
12-13-2004, 06:22 PM
We have a group that gets together from time to time for additional training. Most of us are yudansha or ikkyu and this is an opportunity for us to practice some of the more advanced techniques. There are also a few of us who operate our own dojos and don't get the chance to train with people of equal rank. I think it's a great idea and suggest it to anyone who can get it done safely and productively.

Nickyd30
12-14-2004, 12:01 PM
I have only been training since late October, so am a complete novice, however I agree with many points here.
Since starting training, I now regularly attend at least three classes a week, each at different dojos, sometimes more than this, each class focuses on different points, the more advanced classes give me a chance to try harder techniques, as well as ensure my basic techniques are perfect, whereas the more beginner classes, going over basic things, I have the confidence in my ability to test the techniques on higher ranking aikidoka.
Outside of lessons, I spend a lot of time working on my own, either practicing the weapons work, as obviously this can be practiced alone quite easily, or practicing the very basics, to help ensure my movements are flowing.
The three sensei I work with regularly all know about my practice both at other dojos and at home, alone or with other aikidoka, and all have supported me with this, I have also had several comments about my improvements, as I am now more flowing in basic movements thanks to the many hours of practice put in.

dracones
12-16-2004, 01:32 PM
i think is very important to train outside the dojo:

1) once our sensei tought us a new technique. one of the elder students did not know that technique, i did ( i learned it by myself), he said: man! how comes you do it so well? of course i did not do it perfectly by i could say i knew it.

2) let's not forget that ueshiba oftenly went into the mountains to train. of course that's totally another level... :)

as for the mistakes, i like to learn a new technique then go to dojo and ask the sensei: is it the right way? any mistakes? the usual answer is as ueshiba used to say, a student shouldn't learn a technique by heart , he must do it as comfortable to him.

maybe i see all this that way because i usually train by myself wether it's aikido, skiing, rock climbing, swimming or whatever.

Pavel.Dobrus
12-17-2004, 03:33 AM
Training inside the dojo shows me the way. It 's up to me to try to discover this way. And training outside the dojo is good for it, because I can focus on the special issues. I train outside the dojo either alone, or with partner. Both is valuable.

PeterR
12-17-2004, 03:36 AM
And to take it a little further. It's important to train Aikido every now and then outside, wearing street clothes. It's amazing how wrapped up we can get in our uniform.

Pavel.Dobrus
12-17-2004, 04:00 AM
It reminds me, what I consider the another part of outside dojo training is performing ordinary activities , like going upstairs, standing in subway, driving a car and so on. I always (often) try to observe myself, my correct posture, or rather, body settings.

alparis
12-17-2004, 11:18 AM
I'm sorta new to the board, but I will throw in a few thoughts:

1) Weapons/Form training at home makes all kinds of sense to me, especially because I needed to do 31-jo A LOT before I was able to remember it. If we did it a few times per week in class, it wasn't enough for me, I needed to do it every day until I had it.
2) Although my wife is no longer practicing, she is still sometimes a semi-uke at home. If we learn a new technique in class and I want to drill in the setup (no throw), I will ask her to attack me a few times for setup.
3) In addition to "after class" that somebody mentioned, our dojo has an "open mat" 1/week. One of the instructors is present to answer questions, but by and large it is students working with each other on whatever they need, including test requirements.

AP

markwalsh
12-17-2004, 12:50 PM
In dojos that concentrate on teaching I sometimes need to have a bash after class (apres tsuki if you will), whereas in others where you work up a sweat I might need to go over the finer points/new stuff at the end. Practicing/ Learning balance, though there is obvious overlap.

Partner practice outside of class can be useful IMO, but as mentioned has its flaws mainly due to lack of correction. I've learnt things from the kind of practice that would never be allowed in a sensible dojo however...

What I would say is essential however is physical preparation (eg stretching) and movement drills out of normal, and very limited, class time. In addition to time, another factor is that the environment is often wrong during an aikido class to concentrate on doing something correctly. Example, I've been practicing the imimi tenkan movement now, 50-100 at a time outside of class for the past few years, and I can still feel that mine is not much good. Just doing it in class as part of a technique, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate this, or get the limited improvement I have from focused practice. I came to this conclusion by accident when I wasn't able to get to a dojo regularly for some time, and did some simple aiki exercises just to tide me over.

I would hope that we all practice aikido in the wider sense at some point, as applied to relaxation, economy of movement, breathing, posture, conflict resolution, etc). If not its a great shame, kinda of like learning French in a classroom and never actually employing it to chat up a hot girl...or whatever :)

Merry Christmas btw,
Mark, x

dracones
12-17-2004, 04:08 PM
if you ask me, there are only 2 things you can learn inside the dojo:
1.the way to break the opponents momentum in a technique
2.small things that make the difference (the sensei's winsdom :) )

all the rest is hard work by yourself

Rocky Izumi
12-17-2004, 11:12 PM
What I would say is essential however is physical preparation (eg stretching) and movement drills out of normal, and very limited, class time. In addition to time, another factor is that the environment is often wrong during an aikido class to concentrate on doing something correctly. Example, I've been practicing the imimi tenkan movement now, 50-100 at a time outside of class for the past few years, and I can still feel that mine is not much good. Just doing it in class as part of a technique, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate this, or get the limited improvement I have from focused practice. I came to this conclusion by accident when I wasn't able to get to a dojo regularly for some time, and did some simple aiki exercises just to tide me over.
Do you turn your head to face the direction of movement before turning the body or stepping back? I find that most of my students that have problems with irimi tenkan are not turning the head first but as they turn.

Try doing it on a swinging punching bag, that might help since your head then moves to track the bag as it goes by. Make sure you are doing it so that you do the irimi tenkan continuously about twenty or thirty times as the bag swings past. Don't let the bag hit you and get yourself in position to immediately go into irimi tenkan again as the bag swings back at you.

If you push the bag through as it passes you, you can keep the exercise going a long time. Once you have that, then move on to sankaku irimi, tenshin, and tenkai, then mix them up and try to make sure the bag doesn't hit you at any time. It's good aerobic exercise and fun.

Rock

markwalsh
12-18-2004, 05:27 AM
"Do you turn your head to face the direction of movement before turning the body or stepping back?"

Cheers for the advice, creative idea with the punch bag. I've experimented with different things re head turning:
- Head first - the movement of the head and eyes moves the body.
- All at once.
- Head last. Ballet thing I think, stops you getting so dizzy.

Cheers again,
Mark

Rocky Izumi
12-18-2004, 07:48 AM
"Do you turn your head to face the direction of movement before turning the body or stepping back?"

Cheers for the advice, creative idea with the punch bag. I've experimented with different things re head turning:
- Head first - the movement of the head and eyes moves the body.
- All at once.
- Head last. Ballet thing I think, stops you getting so dizzy.

Cheers again,
Mark
Turning your head first makes sure you get your feet all the way back and into hanmi position. If you turn your head last, you will find that your feet tend to end up more parallel -- one of the reasons, I am told, in ballet you sometimes move your head last -- to keep your hips facing forward rather than obliquely. For us, our hips are to turn obliquely so moving head first gets it there.

Rock

feck
04-14-2005, 03:08 PM
Hi,

I'm quite new to Aikido (5 months), and am now only beginning to understand that, when at home and wanting to train, practice Jo & Ken techniques. This will enable you to start to recognise the connection between these, and the unarmed training you see and practice in the dojo.
By understanding these basic movements will train our body sense to grasp other unarmed techniques quicker.

Train in both ukemi and weapons techniques as much as possible for the individual alone, at home, or in the dojo.
Practising in pairs, could be beneficial I suppose although I dont have the luxury of this, and sensei could always correct you the next time your in the dojo. So I could not see how this could be a problem.

Tim Gerrard
05-04-2005, 04:40 AM
When I first started, I was lucky enough to have in my class a number of very experienced individuals, and every week we would make the effort to train for a couple of hours in our uni gym, practicing what we'd learned. Also as there was a number of skills, judo, jujitsu, karate, boxing we'd also teach each other what we knew, and how these different areas could be used to add a different aspect to our aikido. Not only was it great fun, it helped develop my aikido and also to be mindful of a number of different options that can be applied to a technique.

Nick Simpson
05-04-2005, 09:23 AM
When i fisrt started training I practised ukemi at home and some of the techniques with a friend who had strated training with me also. It helped me to get a good footing in aikido and progress a little quicker than I perhaps might have without the additional training.

These days I sometimes practise suburi and kata at home, but I tend to practise more stuff like kaeshi-waza and new ways of doing techniques with friends when we horse about.

Jeremy Young
05-04-2005, 09:36 AM
John:

My opinion is that it is a can be a very good idea. Do you already have someone to train with? If so, my 2 cents are that you ask your instructor first to have his approval and then practice things that you understand enough to do more or less correctly. Or i mean know them well enough to be able to at least walk through it with your partner. I practiced outside of the dojo with another student, literally, for some time. We found that one really can roll on the grass as long as there are no rocks!! But i found it to be very enjoyable as you can concentrate on those small details that you need and dont always get a chance to do in the dojo. Have fun training!
Jeremy Young
Tatsumaki Dojo
Springdale, AR

Mark Uttech
05-29-2005, 06:50 AM
The dojo actually becomes "everywhere" over time. I think this is because after you have become accustomed to bowing and being aware, the dojo where you train goes right into your heart.

Adam Alexander
05-29-2005, 05:29 PM
[QUOTE=John Boswell]Do any of you train outside the dojo with fellow aikidoka? Is this not a good idea, for fear of developing bad habits... or is it worth the time to get as much training in as possible outside the dojo?[QUOTE]


Kisshomaru Ueshiba, in one of his books (can't remember the name, only that it's like a purple or bluish color) says that the only way for you to get good is to train on your own.

I'll try finding the book and post name and page number.

My experience is that you uncover real secrets by training on your own. Sensei gives you a correction, you go home and practice it. You come back and do one of those style techniques again. The last correction is assimilated. You're ready for the next correction.

I don't think there's any way a person can assimilate a correction to the level of reflex by only doing it a few times in class.

Just my O.

Adam Alexander
05-31-2005, 06:49 PM
The name of the book is "The Art of Aikido."

I didn't find the quote (I didn't want to read it again), but that's the book. It's a cool read.