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06-06-2005, 07:42 PM
I'm a beginner of about 3 months now, and currently train Tuesday and Thursday mornings and just started Saturday evenings a few weeks back. As of now, this is every class offered by my dojo.

There's been talk of the dojo adding a beginner class on Friday mornings and an hour of open mat time on Monday mornings. Failing that, the Yoshinkan hombu dojo is near my office and offers english-language classes weekday mornings (besides Monday) that I could attend when my dojo has no class.

On one hand, I really love training (this came as a bit of a shock, actually) and I want to improve, but on the other hand I wonder how much is too much for me? At some point the law of diminishing returns must come into play and I'll spend more time nursing my injuries than actually doing anything productive.

So how much did you all train when you were just starting out? Any replies are appreciated.


- Drew

06-06-2005, 08:38 PM
Here's what I tell my students when they first start. It's always best to train as much as you can. Keywords: "as much as YOU CAN." For some that means only twice a week, for others it may mean four times a week. For still others, it means learning how to address injuries pro-actively and wisely so that one can train every day, twice a day.

In other words, injuries are a part of training - not the end of training. Figuring out how to treat them, how to not make them worse, and how to quicken healing times, is a huge part of not having to experience them so often. All of this allows for more time on the mat and less time off of the mat - which is always best. And that is the true way or best way that I think this question should be asked - not "How much should I train?" but rather, "How can I lesson my time off of the mat?"

Keywords: "CAN I."

Rupert Atkinson
06-06-2005, 09:54 PM
I tell people that in their first months it is important to devote as much time as possible as it will be their most important formative period. Less than thrice a week is a waste of time and will prevent them learning in the long run as good 'habits' will not have the time to form. I have long since seen this principle proven right, both from the good and the bad sides.

06-06-2005, 10:39 PM
When I started I was going twice a week. As other class opportunities opened up I took them until I was usually in class 4-7 times a week. I did this for a while but started burning out. I didn't have any balance with the rest of my life. I've found that FOR ME two days as a student and two as teacher work out well.


Jerry Miller
06-07-2005, 12:47 AM
"How can I lesson my time off of the mat?"

Bingo ;)

Pauliina Lievonen
06-07-2005, 05:45 AM
In my first year, for a while I trained 5 times a week, two-hour classes. I eventually cut it back to four classes a week because I started to feel burned out, but I'm glad I did try it. I figured that I could just as well make use of the motivation when I felt it. :) Nowadays I rarely have a chance to train more than three times a week but I still think four would be ideal for me.

I'd say try and see what you can handle, cut back if you need to.


06-07-2005, 06:18 AM
In my opinion the number of weekly practices matters less than the dedication and attention you put into each class. I have seen some practicing steadily 2 or 3 times a week for years without improving much, and I have myself mannaged to improve through times with only one weekly practice.

Basically what you put in you'll get out.....

That said one weekly practice is not a good strategy in the long run. I would settle for 2-4 practices each week based on what is possible for you, and the add a small handfull of seminars ranging from 2 to 7 days with 2-3 practices each day. Of course you could also go for the big '10 practices a week strategy' - but that is only possible if your life permits it. It's all a question of creating a good ballance in your life. Aikido should be a wonderful addition to your life and not a heavy burden ;)

Mark Uttech
06-07-2005, 06:40 AM
When I first started years ago, the formula I set for myself was to train 'once a week no matter what but no more than three times a week'. I felt that this formula covered both ends: the quitting end, and the burning out end. Now after twenty years, I don't really need a formula anymore but I readily hand on this formula that worked for me. In gassho.

Amelia Smith
06-07-2005, 06:55 AM
In my first year I trained 3-5 times a week (except for 2 months when I was traveling in India). The next year, I started training at New England Aikikai, and went about 5-6 days a week for a while. I got really tired - not burned out on aikido at all, just injured. So, after two years of 5 days a week or so, I cut back to 4 days a week so my body wouldn't totally fall apart, which worked well for me. In my slackest regular training times, I average a little more than twice a week. For me, 3-4 times a week works best, but at this point I'm willing to let go of a few practices to do other things, like have a social life outside the dojo, or go kayaking on a nice day.

06-07-2005, 09:35 AM
I began at 3 times a week and continue at 3 times a week.

We each have to find that line between enough and too much. Its different for each of us. Training wiser is better than simply training more.

You can also supplement (not replace) your physical training with reading, watching tape, and mental rehearsal.

Ron Tisdale
06-07-2005, 10:32 AM
Started at twice a week, quickly went to 3 to 5 times a week, slowly went to even more with seminars and such. Then the dojo moved and we only got the space 3 times a week. Now I only train 2 to 3 times a week, occationally more with seminars. Sometimes you have to make due with less = more.


Jeremy Young
06-07-2005, 11:27 AM
i think i started 3-4 times a week. now i train monday - friday 6am-7am and again at 5:30pm-8:00pm and saturdays we have a "free" training from 7am until everyone decides it is enough...usually 9am or a little later. i imagine your body will tell you what is too much.

06-07-2005, 11:29 AM
I started with two a week and when I first went to three my seniors warned me not to injure myself. I wasn't in good shape, and back-to-back classes turned out to be quite hazardous. The first time I did three in a row, I hurt myself. I think starting with three would have led to not continuing--my body just wasn't up to it after 39 years of couch potato.

Currently my dojo offers regular classes three nights a week, but I also train with the teenagers on Saturday, and every other week or so pick up a Friday night at the local Aikikai dojo. This has required a lot of accomodation in the rest of my life and I wouldn't recommend it to everybody, but it's nice for me. I feel I learn a lot faster with the every-other-day schedule than with less. (Plus I go into ukemi withdrawal if I miss more than a couple of days.)

If I wasn't married and didn't have much else going on in my life, I would probably try training daily to see if I could do it. (Did a week while on vacation, a while back--that was fun, though the very last class got me clobbered.)

Most of my classmates train twice a week, a few three. The general opinion is that it's hard to improve with just one.

Mary Kaye

Adam Alexander
06-07-2005, 01:45 PM
Up to 10x a week (for a few months). However, that was an extremely difficult pace. I did get injured more. I did develop smoother technique. However, now I keep it to 1-3x per week.

However, if I had to do it all over again, I'd stick with 1 or 2 per week in class and every single day practice by myself (except when I feel the "blahs").

Then again, because of injuries, I think I developed a better awareness of being uke when getting injured. I became more attentive as uke. I also became much more sensitive to how I fell.

06-09-2005, 09:46 AM
i'd recommend training as much as your body/mind will allow.
pay attention to what your body is saying for those first couple months, but don't be afraid to push the physical envelope a little. sometimes pain is a good thing...

Adam Alexander
06-09-2005, 02:29 PM
Pain the accompanies direction on how to utilize it. However, pain without direction or enough experience may be counter-productive...in a permanent way.