View Full Version : Seeking opinions on SF YMCA aikido class

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Tim Gilbert
10-22-2005, 08:11 PM
Hi all...

I'm thinking of getting into Aikido, but am not totally committed yet. It seems like there are hundreds of dojos here in the SF bay area and I'm having trouble deciding where to try.

Since I'm just putting my toe in the water so far, I wondered if someone could give me advice on one particular class: the Central YMCA offers free classes (with a YMCA membership, about $50/month which is cheaper than the dojo classes I've seen around). Has anyone taken these classes?

Also, as a more general question, what broad factors should I be looking out for when evaluating a dojo as a total newbie?

If anyone would like to comment to me privately, please send me a PM or email and I can post your response myself so you can remain anonymous.


10-23-2005, 01:39 AM
Here's my standard reply when I get requests from people asking for dojo recommendations:


Here is an article that also goes over the same kind of question:


Hope that helps,

-- Jun

10-24-2005, 12:40 PM
I can't give any advice of what to look for in a dojo for everyone is looking for different things. I will say that I practice in a rec. center dojo. I have the best bargain in town when comparing price to quality instruction to dojo location. I had studied Aikido a bit in the past so I knew what I was looking for and I found it when I visited the first class. Go and look at the other dojos and compare them. Then look at the YMCA dojo and see if it stands up to the other more professional looking dojos. I used to discount dojos in rec. centers for I had an experience as a kid {here today, gone tomorrow}. The dojo that I am currently a member of does not fit this description so I ultimately wasted 6 years worth of mat time.

10-24-2005, 01:30 PM
It's all about the teacher. A good teacher in a flooded basement is better than a bad one in an upholstered palace. You should be able to find some background about the one you are considering. See if you can pay some guest fees to try a few classes with the "Y", then you don't have to commit to a membership right away, until you are comfortable with your decision.

Janet Rosen
10-24-2005, 01:55 PM
It is probably a "satellite" dojo w/ classes taught by a senior student of a larger, local dojo, in which case I recommend observing BOTH class at the Y AND class at the "parent" dojo.

Pierre Rood
10-24-2005, 02:10 PM
Here we can get a free trialclass at any dojo. So if that is possible, do that for two or three sensei's and see how you like it. Base your choice on how it feels with regards to your needs. Do you want fight effectiveness, a more light approach, spirituality, social contact etc.

10-24-2005, 03:24 PM
How many classes a week does the Y offer as opposed to how many classes a week a private dojo would offer. I pay $80 a month and have four aikido classes, one tai chi class and one energy awareness class a week. many dojos offer 3 classes a DAY for the same dues that I pay, which makes it much more economic to join a dojo.
Do you intend to make use of the other classes and facilitues at they Y?

Tim Gilbert
10-25-2005, 06:14 PM
Hi guys... Thanks for the responses. According to a flier at the Y, the teachers are 2nd-rank black belts, which does make me think it is a satellite class from some local dojo. I think there are three classes a week, plus an advanced one on the weekend. Part of the thing that appeals to me about the YMCA is that they also have Tai Chi and Yoga classes, plus a pool / gym / etc, all included in the membership fee, so I'll probably sign up as a member anyways and try out a class or two, which will at least give me a basis for comparison if I start to get more serious and want to look around and compare dojos in the area.

Anyways, thanks!

10-28-2005, 10:52 PM
I started in a Y class.....was a very small class....2 students and 2 instructors....hence the reason the Y dropped the offering....Instructors pointed me in direction of another local Gym that also had classes and was a sister of the Y class. Turned out both were satellites for a full fledged dojo in NJ. Well worth my time. Y charged $60 for 1 class per week/8weeks. But now i have the best value.....I dont pay anything....except testing fees.