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Panin4Gold
11-17-2004, 11:39 AM
This must be an old question, to you. It's very new to me. Promptly, at 7:30 pm, tomorrow, I will enter the Aikido Curacao Dojo (Aikikai) for the first time and begin living and learning Aikido. I am endlessly interested in your truthful answer to the following question:

What do you wish you had known, or been told, about Aikido and how to truly learn it, live it, and fully experience everything it is about, just before you walked into your first dojo?

Thank you for your time and advice. Truly, thank you.

Victor Moreno :cool:

Misogi-no-Gyo
11-17-2004, 12:33 PM
Here is the short list. In no particular order...

1. Aikido is not about inducing pain as a way of forcing any measure of compliance at any level. In fact it is the antithesis of that.

2. Martial arts are 97% about seeking the correct attitude and 3% learning techniques.

3. Spend your time seeking a true mentor through your regular teacher. When you meet any Aikidoka, ask him or her who their teacher is (not was). Then ask them who their teacher's teacher was. Make sure there is a short list that leads directly back to the Founder, Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei. If someone can't provide this information for you, run don't walk to the next dojo on your list. Should there not be a direct, verifiable link back to O-Sensei that is not necessarily a dojo to avoid. However, it may mean that you are not studying Aikido, but some variant, offshoot, or what have you. Having said that, it may also mean that there is no connection to O-Sensei and then it is not Aikido.

4. Religion is not part of Aikido. However, the ascetic practices of O-Sensei are the pathway to understanding the art. Anyone who says that O-Sensei "...mumbled on about religious this and that's..." or "...didn't have a teaching method..." or "...didn't make much sense..." is clearly indicating that they, themselves, have yet to understand these things. This does not mean that they are not understandable, by any means.

5. The focus is "ukemi" the art of "receiving" the transmission. Take everyone's ukemi and feel the various techniques with your body, not your mind. The body learns instantly, then the mind takes a long time to unravel the lessons.

6. Don't teach until you are told to do so by your teacher. It is okay to share ideas, but more than likely you have no idea what you are talking about for the first 10 years.

7. Don't be in a rush.

8. Don't injure yourself or others. Injuries prevent you or others from training.

9. Training is all of the time, and wherever you are, not simply when you are on the mat.

10. Never demonstrate techniques on non-martial artists. Bring them to the dojo, let them watch a class, have them ask your teacher some questions. If they are serious this will be the natural progression. If they are not, what is the point...?

11. Unless you are at a Ki-Society, or other "Ki" style dojo, forget about the power of "Ki." Focus on Kokyu (breath power) Kokyu-ho (breathing method) and Kokyu-dosa (exercise that blends breath and movement).

12. If there is no Kokyu, there is no Aikido. If there is no Irimi, there is no Aikido...Yes, even during Tenkan.

13. To understand Aikido one must completely delve into the relationship between Hanmi and Irimi-Tenkan.

14. Just as there is a relationship between Zen and martial arts, there is also a relationship between music and frogs. Therefore, there is no practical reason to practice Zen to understand aikido. It may help, or hurt, but that depends upon the individual practitioner. Better to master one and then proceed to the other, than try to delve into two deep transformational studies and end up lost.

15. Wait at least 10 years before cross-training in another art. 15 years is better, still.

16. If you feel the need to test your teacher, find another teacher.

17. Martial arts begin with a bow and end with a bow. They are about respect. Period. If you find someone that you don't respect, get to know them better and find out something about them that has you respect them.

18. People don't need to earn your respect. Who the hell are you anyway?

19. Until you reach shodan, your teacher really hasn't accepted you as a serious student. Therefore, after you reach shodan, get serious. Maybe then you will be accepted as such.

20. Martial arts are not what you think it is. If it was, you wouldn't need to spend your lifetime seeking what your teacher, and his teacher (your mentor) spent his lifetime seeking.

21. It is all about Shugyo. There will always be pain and suffering no matter how hard or how much you train. As a matter of fact the more you train, the more suffering there will be. It never ends.

22. most importantly Remeber everything that I just said, and then forget it all!

SeiserL
11-17-2004, 12:34 PM
Shoshin: beginner's mind
Mushin: empty mind

Be ready to learn how much you don't know. Be ready to change your mental map about how to move and think. Be ready not to get it. Be ready to learn humilty, patience, and discipline.

Releax, breathe, and enjoy yourself.

Nick P.
11-17-2004, 12:34 PM
Victor,

What I wish I had known/been told: Empty your mind, and simply allow yourself to absorb everything.

...but that's just me. Good luck.

Janet Rosen
11-17-2004, 12:39 PM
That there is a risk for knee injuries, and how to minimize the risks.

Blue Beckham
11-17-2004, 12:58 PM
It is going to hurt.

It will also humble and inspire you at the same time.

Goye
11-17-2004, 01:18 PM
1. Don’t worry if there is some pain in your back and shoulder the first week while beginning learning ukemi waza,.. That is normal,.. Keep training.
2. Have fun doing aikido.
3. You will not become a super spiritual master, there is not any celestial light going every where you go,.. you will continue being a normal human being.
4. You will not become a professional fighter in a short time.

AsimHanif
11-17-2004, 02:30 PM
Aikido people are no different than any others. There's the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just work on correcting yourself.

batemanb
11-17-2004, 02:31 PM
Nothing, it`s so much fun discovering something new each time you train.

rgds

Bryan

deepsoup
11-17-2004, 02:58 PM
This must be an old question, to you. It's very new to me. Promptly, at 7:30 pm, tomorrow, I will enter the Aikido Curacao Dojo (Aikikai) for the first time and begin living and learning Aikido.
Sounds pretty intense.
I don't have any advice for you, but one small suggestion.
Don't go to "begin living and learning aikido", go instead to begin dabbling in aikido, on a part time basis, just for fun. You can always get more serious later.

Sean
x

Don_Modesto
11-17-2004, 03:13 PM
14. Just as there is a relationship between Zen and martial arts, there is also a relationship between music and frogs. Therefore, there is no practical reason to practice Zen to understand aikido.

LOL.

Ha! Good list, Shaun.

kaishaku
11-17-2004, 03:14 PM
Sounds pretty intense.
I don't have any advice for you, but one small suggestion.
Don't go to "begin living and learning aikido", go instead to begin dabbling in aikido, on a part time basis, just for fun. You can always get more serious later.

I was thinking "That's like saying "I love you" on the first date!" :D

On the other hand, that sort of determination is cool if it's sustainable.

Pauliina Lievonen
11-17-2004, 03:22 PM
What do you wish you had known, or been told, about Aikido and how to truly learn it, live it, and fully experience everything it is about, just before you walked into your first dojo?

I wish someone had gone through the beginning bows with me, that way I wouldn't have felt so awkward. Since I started at the same dojo my sister trained at, I guess the people there assumed she'd explained... :p

Other than that, I don't think anything anyone could have said would have made much difference. I would have needed to find out for myself anyway.

kvaak
Pauliina

cck
11-17-2004, 06:03 PM
One of my instructors said that on those occasions where you simply cannot make your body do what you want it to do, it's because it's trying to improve and figure it out. I don't know that my body has a life and mind of its own, but it certainly feels that way sometimes. And it always does get better. So the one experience that really helped me: do not despair, it will come to you. I feel really awkward at times, but knowing that it won't always be so absolutely helps. The first time felt I could safely roll without feeling like a square was exhilerating - but I still clunck long the mat sometimes.

MaryKaye
11-17-2004, 11:24 PM
I'm glad no one told me that this aikido thing was going to expand and expand and eat all my free time. I might not have started....

Otherwise I'm pretty happy with what I knew going in; it was enough to start with. Except I wish I'd caught on a little quicker that I had to learn the vocabulary. This dawned on me horribly at my first belt test, and I owe my fifth kyu to the instructor who surreptitiously shuffled my application to the bottom of the stack, because if I'd had to go first I'd have been sunk.

Mm, and knowing that I should do knee strengthening exercises would have saved me a couple of painful months. (Sit in a chair, stick your legs forward, cross them at the ankles. Push the lower leg up while resisting with the upper one, hold, release. Repeat a few dozen times a day. Apparently there are a lot of women, in particular, who find this avoids knee problems.)

Have fun!

Mary Kaye

Qatana
11-17-2004, 11:33 PM
Funny, I was going to say a thorough comprehension of the Japanese language!
Now I speak both sushi and basic budo...at least I can count up to sankyo...

CNYMike
11-17-2004, 11:44 PM
May not quite anwer your question, but I spent the 16 year "break" in Aikido training thinking it didn't contain anything like a Judo-style hip throw; I believed Uke typically went from being vertical to being horizontal directly, with none of this lift-him-up-and-drop-him-down nonsense.

As you can imagine, seeing koshi nage for the first time -- which is a hip throw -- was something of a shock.

:crazy:

Sorry, but that's all that popped into my head at the moment. :)

Panin4Gold
11-18-2004, 06:25 AM
Shaun- What can I say? Thank you, for all of the advice. And, I understand what you mean in #22, but I printed the list anyway. Thank you, sir.

Lynn- "Be ready not to get it". I think I get it. Thanks.

Nick- Thanks.

Jane- Good advice. I guess if your knees go....your perspective on just about everything would change.

Cesar- "You will continue to be a normal human being." I understand what you mean. I will try not to expect anything. I will just breathe and keep training.

Asim- I will.

Bryan- Cool.

Sean- Gotchya. I'll chill a bit. haha. thanks.

Keith- No. Sean was right. I'm going to chill out a bit and just relax. haha. You guys crack me up. But, you're right.

Paulina- Good point. Myabe I shouldn't have asked? I'm glad I did though. Thanks.

Camilla- Thank you. I will train until "it" comes.

Mary- Thanks. I will pay as much attention to the names of techniques as I can afford. And, "knees".....got it. I'm on it. Not literally. I mean....I'm not on my knees....I mean, you know what I mean.

Jo- Thanks. I look forward to learning......Domo arigato.

Michael- Koshi Nage? I have a feeling the first time I experience this technique....I will be looking up from the mat thinking to myself, "ah-ha! that must've been koshi nage. Ow."

Everyone- Thank you. I'm going to walk in the dojo tonight with a lot of good advice in my head.....and.....I guess if I could sum up all of that advice.....the best way to show it would be to forget it all as I bow.......and just learn.

Domo arigato.

CNYMike
11-18-2004, 12:33 PM
You're welcome; happy training.

siwilson
11-18-2004, 04:49 PM
I wish I had known about Yoshinkan Aikido, as I may have actually started Aikido a lot earlier!

Remember it is a Martial Art, not a dance or role play - it MUST work!

I have seen a lot of crap over the years, but the worst was only a few weeks ago:

Shomen Irimi Nage:

Him: "You should not touch me, I should just see your arm in front of my face and I will fall over! I didn't see it!" (I put him on the tatami!)

Me: "What?" (...a load of b*ll*cks!)

Ikkajo (Ikkyo):

Him: "I felt power in your technique, and that makes me want to fight it!"

Me: "What?" (...Fight that and you will break your arm! I bounced his head off the tatami and then he tried to fight my ikkajo!!!)

On the second situation, I had him fixed on the tatami, so I let the technique off so as not to hurt him, but what happened next was crazy! I just lazily walked through ikkajo like a day one begginer with no Uke, and this guy hurled himself to the tatami like I had hit him with a lorry!!!!!!

So to further answer your question, I wish someone had told me that Aikido was a Martial Art, but some people seem not to realise that!!!!

markwalsh
11-18-2004, 05:17 PM
Don't go to Andover, they're mean there.
Joke, it wasn't me, there might have been some valid points amongst all that hippie stuff though Si?


Real advice has mainly been covered: Learn ukemi, don't get injured (you never heal 100%), be careful who you sleep with at the dojo (they may never heal 100%), on the mat assume Sensei is right, occasionally question this off the mat; the strength doesn't come from where you think, you're not nearly relaxed, watch the ego, and kyu grades who try and give you advice are generally full of crap.

Happy training.

PS. Went there once Victor. My plane stopped unscheduled and I couldn't figure out where I was or why there were people were speaking Dutch (had slept through announcement on way to Ecuador). Confused the hell out of me, don't do that either :)

siwilson
11-18-2004, 05:42 PM
:-)

Mark

Try Poland - nothing wrong with there, as my wife is Polish and I met her through Aikido a few years ago, but they are a kill or be killed nation!

Errr, it wasn't meant to be hippy stuff from me (I don't think you meant me though), but dispair at the hippy crap of others!!!! A "get real" shout! You use the center to move Uke, not telegraph it to let UKe know when to sit down and not do anything!

Can I say that the softy way of Aiki is a pile of crap??!!!!

Charles Hill
11-18-2004, 07:28 PM
Here is the short list!

At first glance, I thought this had to be too long and too wordy. However, I could not find anything that I would change or take out. Victor, I would recommend that you print out Shaun`s list and really think about it.

Charles Hill

CNYMike
11-18-2004, 09:13 PM
Just a quick post-script ....

.... Michael- Koshi Nage? I have a feeling the first time I experience this technique....I will be looking up from the mat thinking to myself, "ah-ha! that must've been koshi nage. Ow."



Aiki-Otoshi may invoke the same response. :crazy:

Just trust me on this one. :D

With respect ....

Mike

scorpioet2
11-18-2004, 09:16 PM
I would not have wanted to know anything. Because if I did, then I would have had a pre conceived idea about the art, and I probably would have missed the most glorious aspects of it.

My previous knowledge in Shaolin inhibited me from truly learning aikido for the first 6 months, until I learned to rid myself of that info and become aikido. LAter.....that knowledge came back and then everything was heaven.

Eriksen
11-19-2004, 08:20 AM
If your gi trousers have a cloth string inside (for tying at the waist), always use fabric softener when you wash them. :rolleyes:

bob_stra
11-19-2004, 11:17 AM
Honestly?

(1) Aikido hurts
(2) Find your own movement
(3) Trust your own movement
(4) Some ppl are a$$holes, aikido training or no.
(5) Begin bokken training ASAP
(6) Work on the mental aspect / fear / habitual startle patterns ASAP
(7) Dedicate more time to ukemi. Ukemi done right is magic.
(8) Find a club the gels with your personality - not nec. the nearest one.

CNYMike
11-19-2004, 12:01 PM
(1) Aikido hurts



Somehow, the Seidokan dojo I was in back in the '80s could do nikkyo without inflicting any pain, although it would still work. I remember when the late Rod Kobayshi Sensei got me in nikkyo during a seminar here in 1988. "Try to get up," he said. I couldn't move -- it didn't hurt at all, but it felt like my wrist was pressed against a solid wall -- couldn't budge!

Well, someone should have warned me that there are painful versions of nikkyo, and the dojo I am in seems to find them. And then do nikkyo for 25 minutes. Well, not always, but it works out that way sometimes. So I've been making a point of doing the aiki taiso wrist stretches after class, especially the one derived from nikkyo, so that I don't feel it in my pecs (of all places) the next day! :crazy:

rachel
11-19-2004, 12:18 PM
(1) Aikido hurts
I'd just like to point out that Aikido never has to hurt. When you practice, you always have options. You can choose your partner, how aggressively to attack, how much to resist, how hard to fall, and many other things. If you don't want to get hurt, you have a choice to practice in a less rough style. You will still learn, no matter which way you choose, but you know what your physical body can handle. Make smart choices in class and you will not be hurt.

siwilson
11-19-2004, 07:00 PM
I'd just like to point out that Aikido never has to hurt. When you practice, you always have options. You can choose your partner, how aggressively to attack, how much to resist, how hard to fall, and many other things. If you don't want to get hurt, you have a choice to practice in a less rough style. You will still learn, no matter which way you choose, but you know what your physical body can handle. Make smart choices in class and you will not be hurt.

I would say that you need to "feel" Aikido, and that includes some pain. There are degrees of pain and what we learn to do is avoid "damaging" pain with our ukemi. Feeling the pain (from Aikido that hurts) allows us to grow so that we don't react to the pain. The reaction to the pain (shock/flinch) can be the difference between life and death! Plus, the pains makes us stronger people inside.

maikerus
11-21-2004, 11:41 PM
Really good question...

If I had to pick one thing I think it would be that "power follows form".

By this I mean that since Aikido is a martial art (as Si so eloquently expressed) we want/need it to work. What I had to learn and what took me a long time to realize is that it didn't have to work *for me* the very first time I tried a technique, or the 10th time or even the 500th time. And that using muscle and forcing a technique to work didn't actually make it work.

By working on the form and the balance and the timing the technique started to work and as the form got better the power got stronger. Which made techniques work better and stronger and I didn't have to work as hard.

So...once you have the form the power will follow...but believing that and not "making" it work with a little bit of muscle is/was hard for me to do.

--Michael

ian
11-22-2004, 09:24 AM
1. you don't get taught aikido, you learn it i.e. it is not a passive thing, you must search to do the best aikido you can do.
2. people do aikido differently. There are many poor high grade instructors and there are many low grades who have enormous insight into aikido.
3. when the student is ready the teacher will appear (i.e. sometimes what some people say sounds crap because you are not yet ready to understand it)

I think the above come under sincerity in aikido training (and being sincere to yourself).

4. aikido is not a set of techniques, but what comes after you've learnt those techniques (i.e. the completeness and responsiveness which allows the techniques to occur without fore-thought) - it is complete and whole set of principles within itself, not a list of techniques.

Most importantly - although there are plateaus in aikido training, these are essential to get the routine aikido ingrained - there is always more to learn and you'll never know from what source this inspiration will appear to come from or how long it will take to arrive.

Finally, the messsage in my signature:

siwilson
11-22-2004, 04:30 PM
...as Si so eloquently expressed...

What came over me? :)

I hate the "pretend we are doing a martial art" crowd! Especially when they seem to be the loudest voice

:yuck: :disgust: :rolleyes: :confused: :crazy: :freaky: :crazy: !