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Alvin H. Nagasawa
01-17-2005, 08:23 PM
Re: A visiting Instructor conducts class and is it appropriate to take the individual out for coffee or a bite to eat.?
No.2 A visiting Instructor from out of town attends a dojo in your area. Is appropriate for the host dojo to ask the individual his affiliation or rank. I know you have to sign a waiver form and pay a mat fee for some dojos. What is your individual dojos policy's on this subject. :)
No.3 is it appropriate to hand over to the host dojo the individuals Yudansha IAF Affiliation hand book to determine his or her credentials.

Colbs
01-17-2005, 10:01 PM
Alvin,

Critique means "critical evaluation" (approximately) I think the word you are looking for is Protocol, Etiquette or Custom.

Quite frankly, what is appropriate depends entirely on the people/cultures involved. The best way to do things is to do what you'd like it if someone did for you (if it was the other way around). Here's my take (not that I run a dojo or anything, but being nice is pretty much universal):

Signing waivers would be normal, charging a mat fee might be seen as a bit rude (although the visiting student should offer to pay something, which you may accept). Asking for credentials is due dilligence that no-one should get upset over. You need to establish that it is safe for them to participate in certain activities with your students as part of your duty of care to them.

If someone is visiting it is nice to offer to go for a coffee/food with them after, it makes them feel welcome and helps make you contacts - networking has helped people throughout the ages. Of course, it's nicer to ask in a way that lets them say no without feeling obligated, so I'd say something like "Myself and a couple of the guys are going for a bite, would you like to join us?". etc.

Again, common sense and courtesy are your friend.

senseimike
01-17-2005, 11:44 PM
When visiting a dojo, both inside and outside of my organization, I always take along my Yudansha book but don't always advertise my ranking. When asked I'll give my ranking and offer my credentials. I feel that the visitor should offer a mat fee, and it's up to the individual dojo if the fee is accepted or politely declined. If the visitor is an instructor, at least in my dojo, the fee is declined. It is proper and very classy to invite the visitor out for a bite to eat, coffee or drinks after class. This always helps establish a good relationship between the host dojo and the visitors and provides a chance for the all important fellowship that should be a part of Aikido training. You never know when you may cross paths again and it's best to get things started on the right foot.

Alvin H. Nagasawa
01-17-2005, 11:47 PM
Mr. Pender,
Thank you for your response. I may have been to critical with the word "Critique", But as you have mentioned in your reply Etiquette, Protocol should have been used. Therefore I stand corrected.

Much of Etiquette is taught by your Instructor or mandated guide lines of the dojo. It dictates the protocol which all student must obied by. Respect and courtesy should be show to all who enter any Dojo. When you visit another dojo, You have to remember that you represent your Instructor and Dojo. Treat others as you would want to be treated in your dojo.

csinca
01-18-2005, 09:58 AM
Why would it be inappropriate to invite someone for a bite to eat or coffee after class? If you just got done working out for a couple hours with someone and they aren't an ogre, I can't see why it would be a problem. On the flip side, I've never visited a dojo thinking "boy they better invite me to Starbucks after class or I'm never coming back!"

Most of my visits go something like this:
Me: "Mind if I work out with your class tonight?"
Them: "Sure, have you practiced aikido before"
Me: "I practice in ___________"
Them: "Oh great, just sign this waiver"
Me: "No problem, what do I owe you for the class?"
Them: "$10" or "Nothing, we're glad to have you" or some such thing
Me: "Do you mind if I wear my hakama or would you prefer that I don't" this is simply because I've grown more comfortable with skirt than without.

Then I line up at the beginner's end of the line. Sometimes they leave me there and sometimes they put me in line according to rank. Doesn't matter much to me as I'm there to experience their interpretation.

When someone is visitig our dojo we usually spend a few minutes talking and getting a feel for their experience. We basically want to know if they can safely participate. I don't think we've ever charged a mat fee. If we are going to lunch after class we usually invite visitors or new students.

I was teaching one night and we had a visitor that had been practicing aikido about the same length of time that I've been breathing. He certainly outranked me but it never occurred to me to ask him name rank and serial number. I knew that he could keep up with the class and would be safe so we went forward with class. About halfway through I asked if he wanted to take the class and show his style and he took it from there.

Chris

dion
01-19-2005, 10:05 PM
In our Dojo we can't train in another Dojo without permission from our Sensei (Chiba) and he has to give us a written letter from him to give to the head instructor at the Dojo we will be training at.

I think it's great and very polite to ask a vistitor out for a beer or coffee after training.

Janet Rosen
01-19-2005, 10:34 PM
I've never been asked for an introduction at a dojo I've visited, nor would I seek my instructor's permission before visiting--I do try to email or call ahead to an out of town dojo I' ve never visited, but to make sure its ok to train as a visitor, but I've been welcomed at dojo of all styles/affiliations across the United States and never had a bad visit.

Shipley
01-19-2005, 10:55 PM
When I travel I try to take every opportunity to train in the city I'm visiting. I generally have experienced a bit of probing into my background (perfectly fine, and makes for interesting conversations, as my background is a bit unusual, with my first decade of training under one of Koichi Barrish's senior students, then a couple of years in an ASU dojo, and a couple of years in an Aikikai dojo, and now back under Barrish sensei's umbrella). I don't mind the chat, as it is them making sure that I will be safe on the mat, both technically and attitude-wise. I've never had anybody ask to see my yudansha book, that's a new one on me.

I always offer to pay a mat fee, but usually have it refused and have to sneak it into a donation jar, or thank you letter when I head back home. I've never experienced anything less than a very warm welcome and sincere training. I don't recall ever being invited out to a coffee after training, but it would certainly be a nice guesture. Oh, and I do always call or email ahead to keep from surprising anybody.

I also try to gracefully decline when asked to teach, as I don't think my level of experience generally warrants it (plus, it's one of my few chances to train instead of teach (selfish me)).

I hope this helps,

Paul

Jeanne Shepard
01-19-2005, 11:26 PM
I like to bring flowers when I visit.

Jeanne :D

Alvin H. Nagasawa
01-19-2005, 11:54 PM
When I travel I try to take every opportunity to train in the city I'm visiting. I generally have experienced a bit of probing into my background (perfectly fine, and makes for interesting conversations, as my background is a bit unusual, with my first decade of training under one of Koichi Barris h's senior students, then a couple of years in an ASU dojo, and a couple of years in an Aikikai dojo, and now back under Barrish sensei's umbrella). I don't mind the chat, as it is them making sure that I will be safe on the mat, both technically and attitude-wise. I've never had anybody ask to see my yudansha book, that's a new one on me.

I always offer to pay a mat fee, but usually have it refused and have to sneak it into a donation jar, or thank you letter when I head back home. I've never experienced anything less than a very warm welcome and sincere training. I don't recall ever being invited out to a coffee after training, but it would certainly be a nice guesture. Oh, and I do always call or email ahead to keep from surprising anybody.

I also try to gracefully decline when asked to teach, as I don't think my level of experience generally warrants it (plus, it's one of my few chances to train instead of teach (selfish me)).

I hope this helps,

Paul

Paul, It's nice to hear a positive response and your humbleness when visiting other dojos. In other organizations one would need permission from there head instructor. A letter of introduction from the teacher for the student to carry with him or her to present to the other dojo. Usually it is a formal gesture of critique from a ranking instructor. It should make one's visit much more pleasant. and you might be asked to have coffee or a bit to eat too.

Thank you for your posting on this matter.
Aloha! :ai: :ki: :do:

Yann Golanski
01-20-2005, 03:15 AM
Every time I went anywhere to train in Aikido, I just asked the sensei if I could practice and told them my rank and style of Aikido. Some asked me to train with a hakama and a black belt, other said it was up to me and others asked me to train with a white belt.

Frankly, I care not what I wear. A uniform and a piece of paper are going to impress everybody till I do a roll. Then they will know how good (or bad!) I am.

Beth Mizuno
01-20-2005, 07:14 AM
Back in the '80s when I was new to aikido, I traveled for work and wanted to train at local dojos. I asked Saotome Sensei if it would be OK for me to take class at these dojos and he said that was fine. If he had said, "no," I wouldn't have trained at these other dojos. You see, I felt that I was representing his dojo and I did not want to embarass him or do anything behind his back. With only one exception, the dojos were wonderfully hospitable and I was regularly invited out for a meal afterwards.

Several years ago, I had a chance to spend a fair amount of time in LA. I emailed Furuya Sensei at Aikido Center of LA to ask if I could train there and he gave his consent. When I arrived, he met me at the door and we chatted a little. Furuya Sensei and his students were very gracious, very generous in their training. They took me to dinner. I wrote them a thank you letter when I got back home. Of course, I offered to pay a mat fee and while I paid, I am sure that I did not pay as much as I should have for the valuable experience Furuya Sensei and his students provided.

I called another dojo in LA and also asked to train there and the first thing they talked about was mat fees. They were very aggressive about that and it left me with such a bad impression that I never went to train there.

I visit at Clyde Takeguchi Sensei's dojo, where my 12 year old daughter takes class. They have been so warm and welcoming. I know several people who train there and going with them probably established me as an OK person and besides, I'm from Hawai'i and so is Takeguchi Sensei, so... if I had behaved badly, word would have gotten home to my family -- a guarantee of good behavior! The Hawai'i community is pretty extensive and intertwined and word always gets around.

I never carry my yudansha book (never thought to -- eek!) and no one has ever asked to see it.

But I always view myself as a visitor and a guest, never entitled to anything, just grateful for the chance to train and learn.

MaryKaye
01-20-2005, 10:51 AM
I've trained at 8 different places across the US; it's always been a good experience. Some asked for mat fees up front, others let me offer and then politely accepted or refused. Most asked for waivers. I'm kyu rank so credentials were never really an issue. The other Ki Society dojo tended to ask who my teachers were (and often recognized them); the non-Ki Society dojo just asked where I trained and what rank I was.

I asked my teachers if cross-training was okay and they said yes; there has never been any mention of letters of introduction.

When we have visitors we just try to figure out if they can take ukemi safely. We have a mat fee on paper but I don't think we usually charge it.

Mary Kaye

Tadhg Bird
01-20-2005, 12:00 PM
This is another kata in our Art, called "Yudansha-Visit-Waza"

The idea is to show proper courtesy to each party, the visitor and the host.

The visitor shows respect for visiting another dojo by asking the instructor if he should wear his own black belt and hakama, or just wear a white belt.

The host shows respect by allowing the visiting Aikidoka from another dojo by allowing them to wear the symbols of thier rank, even if in another style or unaffiliated dojo.

To assume the right to wear your rank in another school without asking is discourteous, as is asking your guest to take a "demotion".

It is another ritual which we participate in for the sake of harmony.

I keep a white belt in my bag to remind me of this attitude, even when in my own dojo. I have never had to wear it, but I am willing to do so if ever asked.

Lyle Laizure
01-20-2005, 12:36 PM
I don't see there being a problem with inviting a visiting instructor out for a bite to eat, whether or not he/she taught class. If the instructor was invited to teach a class then I would take the instructor to dinner as my guest.

Regardless of the individual who is visiting (unless I already know them) I will ask with whom they train. They can volunteer affiliation and rank if they like. I don't require credentials but depending on the person I may request them later.

I have never thought about taking my passport with me when visiting other dojos, but this would be a good means of establishing who you are and the organization you are with as well as rank. My preference is to show up an practice in sweats and a t-shirt.

Alvin H. Nagasawa
01-24-2005, 04:51 PM
Back in the '80s when I was new to aikido, I traveled for work and wanted to train at local dojos. I asked Saotome Sensei if it would be OK for me to take class at these dojos and he said that was fine. If he had said, "no," I wouldn't have trained at these other dojos. You see, I felt that I was representing his dojo and I did not want to embarrass him or do anything behind his back. With only one exception, the dojos were wonderfully hospitable and I was regularly invited out for a meal afterward.

Several years ago, I had a chance to spend a fair amount of time in LA. I emailed Furuya Sensei at Aikido Center of LA to ask if I could train there and he gave his consent. When I arrived, he met me at the door and we chatted a little. Furuya Sensei and his students were very gracious, very generous in their training. They took me to dinner. I wrote them a thank you letter when I got back home. Of course, I offered to pay a mat fee and while I paid, I am sure that I did not pay as much as I should have for the valuable experience Furuya Sensei and his students provided.

I called another dojo in LA and also asked to train there and the first thing they talked about was mat fees. They were very aggressive about that and it left me with such a bad impression that I never went to train there.

I visit at Clyde Takeguchi Sensei's dojo, where my 12 year old daughter takes class. They have been so warm and welcoming. I know several people who train there and going with them probably established me as an OK person and besides, I'm from Hawai'i and so is Takeguchi Sensei, so... if I had behaved badly, word would have gotten home to my family -- a guarantee of good behavior! The Hawai'i community is pretty extensive and intertwined and word always gets around.

I never carry my yudansha book (never thought to -- eek!) and no one has ever asked to see it.

But I always view myself as a visitor and a guest, never entitled to anything, just grateful for the chance to train and learn.
Beth,
Thank you for your input on this posting. And for everyone else that had their own individual experiences. But the key here is be prepare it's like journey into the MA world. How you conduct yourself shows how you are perceived by others. I for one always carry a white belt in my bag. ( I forgot my black belt several times ) :blush: :o And I use it to demonstrate some techniques too. I am from Hawaii and I guess it is different out side of the Islands. (Ohana & Aloha) is always expressed back home. Of course my teacher had allot to do with that experience and protocol.
Well be prepare, always be early to any meetings or events. Be on time, No one likes to be kept waiting. My teacher always reminded everyone of this. Check out Steven Trussel.com on the topic of Yoshioka Sensei.

justinc
01-25-2005, 12:02 PM
While not a yudansha myself, I have visited quite a number of other Dojos, as I travel quite a bit. Most of the time I just notice the dojo on the way to/from the hotel to the place I'm working at. Invariably, it is a call-in visit. Each time, I make sure to be polite, ask for the senior instructor and introduce myself. I always carry the white belt and never ask to wear my local rank belts. Sometimes the instructor will request that I wear the coloured belt, other times they say nothing. I find this works very well and I've never had an issue with any dojo. I think most of the time it comes down to the attitude expressed by the visitor. If they seem a bit up themselves with needing to wear their rank, then the dojo tends to go the opposite way.