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Kevin Forbes
09-09-2004, 09:34 AM
Hi everyone, great website with a lot of information and a place to communicate with others interested in Aikido.

I'm currently not inrolled into a DOJO but, looking for one to join. What I'd like to hear is some of your comments on what I should be looking for in a DOJO before I decide to join? Fortunately there are several DOJO's here in the San Diego area to chose from.

I trained in Karate and Ju-jit-su about 20 years ago and have always been facinated with Aikido. Look forward to learning the art and the friendships that come along with it as well.

Look forward to hearing your comments and excited to start a new journey. :)

Kevin

Greg Jennings
09-09-2004, 09:44 AM
Hi Kevin,

Welcome to AikiWeb.

The biggest thing in finding a dojo, IMHO, is finding an environment that works for you. By "environment", I mean the whole nine yards, but especially the instructor(s) and senior students.

Make a list of the dojo that you can commute to. Visit them all. Train with them if they'll let you. Ask questions politely. You'll be amazed at how fast you'll narrow things down.

If you have questions, please feel free to PM or e-mail me.

Best regards,

akiy
09-09-2004, 10:24 AM
Hi Kevin,

Welcome, and thank you for your introduction!

As far as looking for a dojo, here's my "form letter" on the subject when people ask me about finding a "good" dojo near them.

-- Jun

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

Kevin Forbes
09-09-2004, 03:04 PM
Greg, Jun,

Thanks for the hearty welcome and the recommendations. Appreciate you taking time to welcome me and to share your thoughts on this. I look forward to visiting a couple more Dojos and seeing how it goes.

Thanks again,
Kevin