View Full Version : Anyone in Arizona practicing Aikido?
08-02-2004, 01:26 PM
Hi, I'm pretty new to martial arts (except for a 1 month free pass to Karate) and recently I have taken an interest into aikido. My choice was between Iaido or Aikido, but my friend and i decided on Aikido as our Martial Art to learn.
Well anyways, I'm living in Gilbert, Arizona and am looking for tips on a good dojo in the Phoenix area. I am currently looking at Aikido of Scottsdale as they are apart of USAF, and thanks to their website I have more information about their pricing and what not.
But the problem is, I'm not to sure if this is an excellent dojo. I'm not too keen on going to one of those "joke" dojo's that are in it for the money, I want to learn this art and attempt to perfect the moves to the best of my ability. The spiritual side of the art is also grabbing me, and i don't feel a dojo in it for the money would be able to supply what I need from the dojo.
So I searched the web for an active forum (this one looks quite active) and now asking if anyone in Phoenix has knows of a totally awesome dojo that would help me immensely.
Another thing about Aikido of Scottsdale that I like is that there classes are open to all students. So I could go as many times per week as they were open. I did not find this feature with other school's websites I visited.
Thanks for your help.
Oh, just a little story. Earlier I mentioned how i didn't want to join a "joke" dojo, well here is a story of a run in with one. When I was 8 was when I learned karate, we went to a few different schools by our house, and one of the ones I tried was too much of a joke. Advancing belt colors, and advancing in class was determined by how you helped out your parents. If you vacuumed the house, you got a strip on your belt and just other things like that. lol. that just cracked me up. Keep the parents happy because the kid does chores, and they keep bringing the kid back to class and paying for him. Pretty smart for a greedy person :)
08-02-2004, 02:22 PM
Use Aikiweb's Dojo Search. I found more than a dozen dojo within a 25-mile radius of Phoenix. Visit in person and make your choice ... "awesome" is a bit hard to define for another person. Good luck!
08-02-2004, 03:58 PM
Thanks. I used the search earlier and thats how I found Aikido of Scottsdale. They are the only ones that had a website with useful information that isn't a 2 hr drive :-/
So I'm really looking for personal experience since I don't know what to look for when we visit. I am gonna get The Aikido Handbook by Greg O'Connor tonight to read about the dojo search in there, I just hope it helps.
08-02-2004, 11:30 PM
You can always just whip out the phone book and run down the list. The answer to this question is always a matter of running around and checking places out until you find one that fits you. Visit, ask if you can watch a class, talk to whoever will talk to you, and see if that school offers what you want. There are several different schools in the area of varying styles. You might also consider looking at the college catalogues. Last I checked there was a class at MCC. I'm pretty sure there's also one up at Scottsdale Community College. (I may be wrong, but I think it's the same instructor). There's a club at ASU, if you're a student there. Some of the local cities also offer community-based classes, and I think I once saw an Aikido course in one of them (though I don't recall which one...it might have been Chandler). I don't know if Gilbert has such a thing or not. Tempe has a class set up like that, but last time I checked it didn't have an Aikido course.
Personally, I'm fond of the phonebook approach. I'm quite sure there are other schools proximately close to Aikido of Scottsdale to Glendale. In fact, I can think of two off the top of my head. Check around.
Here is my form letter when someone asks me to recommend a dojo. Hope it helps.
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 Engineto look for a dojo in your area: http://www.aikiweb.com/search
Go check out a class if you already haven't. My guess is you will find that the dojo, which I am familiar with, is a good, traditional dojo where you can find good technique and good training partners.
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