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Ronin22
10-24-2005, 02:58 PM
I was hoping to get some insight to a problem I might be faced with. I have the opportunity to train in two different dojos but under the same affiliation (Yamada Shihan) Is there some kind of protocol to follow in letting both know I train at another dojo? When I was training in Kyokushin I remember a student getting whacked by sensei with a shinai for not letting him know he was training with another. Thanks in advance

John Boswell
10-24-2005, 03:58 PM
Uh... you might ask each Sensei their thoughts on the matter before actually doing it.

That's a start. :)

Seriously, asking the instructors first, before actually doing it, is the best course of action. I really don't think it will be a problem.

Dirk Hanss
10-24-2005, 04:22 PM
I do not think you have to ask, Christopher.
But you should tell both instructors.

Later I wouldn't mention the dojo. Definitely I would not encourage you to say "... but in xyz we are doing it that way.

And for yourself you should define your primary dojo, i.e. where you want to promote, etc.

My sensei knows that I randomly visit other dojo, but I do not tell every visit.

Kind regards

Dirk

Rupert Atkinson
10-24-2005, 06:43 PM
Do what ever you like, and if the sensei doesn't like it whack him with a shinai. :)

Devon Natario
10-24-2005, 10:28 PM
You train where you want and you don't have to tell anyone anything, unless you feel you should.

I have been kicked out of dojos in the past for mentioning I trained elsewhere.

Their excuse is the following,
1. "You can only serve one master!"
2. "Once you get a base, then that's fine, but not until you have a solid foundation."
3. "You may get confused with learning different things, from different people."
etc etc

Honestly, I've done it all my life and I have never had an issue with learning and I have never had an issue with serveing two masters. To be honest I serve one master, and that's the Lord.

If my students learn from other people that's great. You can never learn too much. As a matter of fact, they better share with me the things they learn too because if it's good, I am so eclectic that I will add it to the syllabus if I like it, and I will credit them from bringing it to us. :)

So you do what you want. As an instructor, I do not care. I only ask that when someone speaks of the "other instructor" they say, "my other instructor".

Good luck, and learn all you can, there's so much out there.

Jorge Garcia
10-25-2005, 05:08 AM
It's almost always a problem, one way or another, but you can try it and find out for yourself.
Best wishes,

Ronin22
10-25-2005, 09:39 AM
Thanks for the replies. I just realized my original subject line sounds like the beginning of a joke....."Two teachers walk into a bar and........" I think Dirk touched on part of my problem which is picking a base dojo. I know one of the dojos charges just a mat fee to train if you belong to another club but I don't know about the other. I'll just have to find that out. The reason I would do this is because I have the opportunity to train at the NY Akikai HQ because I'm down in the city part of the week but the rest of the time I'm up in the Southern CT area so I have to decide which to make my base.

pezalinski
10-25-2005, 11:45 AM
Sounds like a great "problem" to have :p

Usually, an aikido instructor is more than happy to have you attend additional classes at his/her shihan's dojo. Now, regularly attending classes at an unaffiliated dojo, or at another sister-dojo would be a completely different set of circumstances, and something you'd have to work out with your primary instructor.

I guess the kicker would be, where/when you are able to commit to a schedule of classes, and who do you want to be promoted under. The good news is, you get to pick.

Personally I'd find it much easier to drop in to the "mother-ship" for a few classes around my work schedule, and pay the mat fee, and commit to regular training under a primary sensei at the local dojo near home. That way, my focus for special events would be based around HOME instead of WORK... and I'd change my job long before I'd sell my house and relocate.

George S. Ledyard
10-25-2005, 12:04 PM
My students are certainly welocme to trainwith whomever they wish. I trained for quite a while with both Mary Heiny Sensei and Bruce Bookman Sensei while maintaining my relationship with Saotome Sensei as my teacher. I ran a dojo under Chiba Sensei's within the USAF Western region while being a student of Saotome Sensei and a personal memeber of the ASU. In no circumstance was I ever less than absolutely open with anyone about what I was doing.

Those folks who maintain that it is not the teacher's business whom you train with demean the relationship between the teacher and the student. Anything which has to do with my student's training is of concern to me. They are welcome to train any way they need to but if they lie to me or go behind my back they are clearly not students whom I can trust and I will not invest in them. If you feel that you can't tell your teacher anything about what you are doing with your training then you need to find a new teacher, not dishonor yourself by becoming a "sneak".

batemanb
10-25-2005, 01:08 PM
Agree with George.

Dirk Hanss
10-25-2005, 02:48 PM
Those folks who maintain that it is not the teacher's business whom you train with demean the relationship between the teacher and the student.
George,

I hope you do not mean me and my post. I hope I was clear that I totally (or at least mostly) agree with you.

Kind regards Dirk

John Boswell
10-25-2005, 03:47 PM
Dirk,

One example I know of was my own Sensei. When he was in California, he trained in 3 dojos at one time. He made sure to DO what was being taught at the dojo at the time he was there, and not try to mix things up. He also never corrected or pointed out,"This is how they do it elsewhere." as was mentioned before.

Listen to Ledyard Sensei. I'm sure he didn't mean you nessecarily. He is a TREMENDOUS resource on Aiki-web and has a wealth of knowledge we should all hope to aspire to.

Good luck! Let us know how it works out for you!

Lyle Laizure
10-25-2005, 08:24 PM
It sounds like a fair amount of folks have had bad experiences with training with more than one sensei. I have only had one aikido sensei. That being said I have trained with other senseis and currently train in other martial arts. In today's society everyone seems to be of the attitude that they owe nothing to their sensei. Well, all that aside I think it is important to ask permission from your sensei and when/if he/she gives permission then you also have to get permission from the other sensei. Just a thought.

Sonja2012
10-26-2005, 01:02 AM
I have heard fo a dojo that got kicked out of their organisation for inviting a teacher from a different organisation to hold a seminar in their dojo :eek:

I am very fortunate to be practicing under a teacher who not only encourages me to go and learn from other people, but who is also very interested in what other people do - especially out of our organisation. He first wants us to get the basics right though (I guess that means "right" in his opinion, of course :D ) before we go out and get confused though, which I think is fair enough and I personally agree.

I am very grateful for his openness, and in return I always make sure that I donīt keep anything from him and tell him where I go. Anything else would be disrespectful.

Jorge Garcia
10-26-2005, 08:00 AM
I agree with Lyle.

Also, I have a friend who told his new Sensei that he was going to be training in two dojos and he was promptly told that he wouldn't be doing that in "his" dojo. I also once trained in two dojos many years ago and I did tell my Sensei and he gave me permission but it later caused some minor problems. I once had two teachers in the same dojo from different styles but again, because of internal problems, which class you went to became problematic.
I think that the answer to the original question is that it depends on the circumstances. As George Ledyard said, everything should be clear and up front. I also think that in a situation between dojos of the same organization, things should be OK if all is up front and known and even in other situations where people are friends and are used to cooperating. That said, sometimes, Sensei's are wary of "dojo hoppers" and other political things. I personally don't try to regulate what the students do with their own time and would never forbid a student of mine to attend another dojo. I do think that getting your basics done in one style is preferable but if a person can take info and adjust , that's fine. It all depends on what the circumstances are and who the people are. In short, no one can answer this question. We can just report on our experiences.
Best

Devon Natario
10-26-2005, 10:10 AM
Those folks who maintain that it is not the teacher's business whom you train with demean the relationship between the teacher and the student. Anything which has to do with my student's training is of concern to me. They are welcome to train any way they need to but if they lie to me or go behind my back they are clearly not students whom I can trust and I will not invest in them. If you feel that you can't tell your teacher anything about what you are doing with your training then you need to find a new teacher, not dishonor yourself by becoming a "sneak".
I hope you have this in your dojo kun too. A common day teacher is not a Psychologist in which you need to pour out your entire past, present, and future concerning anything. As an instructor I am there to teach, guide, and be a friend. If I have done my job correctly, my student would tell me.

If you have done your job correct and you have earned the respect of your students, they will be open and forthcoming with you anyways. I for one do not think just because I am called Sensei that gives me the right to dictate anything of anyone. I still must earn the trust of my students and vice versa. Being there before them does not make me a God in where I command anything.

If a student feels they want to tell me, fine. If they feel they do not, fine. I will not make character judgements of my student because obviously if they do not tell me, it is because I have not earned that trust and I need to accept that, or change it.

A real teacher that is involved with their student is going to know regardless of an open statement. A teacher that is just there to bring in money will not see the students change or growth in the arts, or care to notice. So if a person chooses to keep it from their instructor, so be it. A real instructor will notice the changes anyways.

On another note, many people are not close with their instructors. My true instructor and I are very close to this day. We ate dinner together, we went to recreational things together, I called him during ever changing things in my life (family deaths, divorce, school guidance, martial advice). He was a true instructor. He guided me in life, not only the arts. Out of the fourteen instructors I have had in my 20+ years experience, he is the only one who I would call an instructor or true Sensei. The rest were superficial teachers sharing their knowledge for money. Most instructors that are in it for money, could care less about you. They care that you return to help them make their lease. This is why I say be careful of who you learn from. Now I am not saying you can not learn from superficial teachers, but why feel an obligation to them that teach for money only. If you are close with your instructor, then you wouldn't be asking if you should or should not tell him, you ALREADY would have.

MaryKaye
10-26-2005, 11:47 AM
I didn't tell my sensei the first time I trained at another dojo (during a couple of weeks when mine was closed). I got chewed out over this by my friends, it set up weird political undercurrents with the other sensei, and it made me feel sneaky and guilty--all in all, a bad decision. The next time I told her, she gave her approval, and that was that.

I currently train a couple of times a month at an Aikikai dojo, paying mat fees--usually I'm there for their open mat night, but occasionally for an actual class. They know that I am not their committed student, but they also know that they offer something I really value--a much broader training in ukemi than my home dojo--and apparently that's okay with them.

I try to do what I'm shown in each dojo, but the Aikikai folks can glance at me and see that I'm not one of theirs--"oh, *that's* why you're so light on your feet," as someone who had just trained with me for the first time said recently. If this bugged them I would leave, but so far it hasn't. I strictly avoid talking about one style when studying the other, except when questioned directly--that can get awkward really fast.

So far this has not caused me trouble at home, though it could--I have been taught a few techniques that my sensei regards as unsafe, and mustn't do them in randori. I'm sure that if I had tried to keep the cross-training secret I would have been caught out long ago. The Aikikai school blocks atemi that the Ki Society school would dodge, and I blocked one from a junior instructor the other night. He just grinned and said "Beats getting hit."

I am in favor of training at multiple schools if the student wants to do it, but I would strongly recommend being honest with both teachers and keeping an eye out for potential problems.

Mary Kaye

odudog
10-26-2005, 12:25 PM
I don't see why you have to tell/ask permission to study at another dojo. If you want to study some place else then go ahead. My dojo lost a student for he was studying in Ninpo as well. The other Sensei said that he couldn't learn Ninpo and Aikido at the same time for they were too similar plus he didn't hold Aikido in high regard. What if you want to train more? The days your dojo is closed, the other dojo is open. I currently learn Aikikai, but in my mind and heart, I don't do Aikikai for I still have some mannerisms and techniques from another style that I learned many years ago. Plus, I have my books, dvds, internet, and tapes. Are you now not supposed to purchase or view any Aikido that is not performed by your Sensei? Are not supposed to attend seminars now as well?

Budd
10-26-2005, 12:44 PM
When/If your teacher is making a large investment in your training, then honest communication with them is an important part of that relationship. If your teacher isn't spending much time with you at all, then whether or not they approve of you training elsewhere is only one of your concerns, in my opinion.

aikidojoe
10-26-2005, 01:33 PM
Chris,

If you have the opportunity to train in NY with Yamada Sensei and another Aikikai school in CT, then do it. I would let Yamada Sensei know, as well as the head sensei in the other dojo. It isn't asking permission, but letting them know is respectful.

You'll find that both Yamada Sensei and the head sensei of the other dojo very agreeable to your training at both. If you want to gain rank, then you should ask them which school they think you should do that at, and how you should track your training hours. It will probably be at whatever one you train at most.
Remember, Yamada Sensei is the USAF chairman, so he already knows the head sensei at that school in CT.

Even if it wasn't affiliated, I know he would probably encourage you to train elsewhere if you wanted.

Gambatte,

-Joe

Ronin22
10-27-2005, 03:08 PM
A lot of good info here thanks for the replies

Joshua Livingston
10-27-2005, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the replies. I just realized my original subject line sounds like the beginning of a joke....."Two teachers walk into a bar and........" I think Dirk touched on part of my problem which is picking a base dojo. I know one of the dojos charges just a mat fee to train if you belong to another club but I don't know about the other. I'll just have to find that out. The reason I would do this is because I have the opportunity to train at the NY Akikai HQ because I'm down in the city part of the week but the rest of the time I'm up in the Southern CT area so I have to decide which to make my base.

There are pros and cons to either decision. Being a USAF East man myself I have trained with the Sensei of NY Aikikai and I know what their Dojo is like.

The good thing about deciding to have NY Aikikai as the base is of course that you have Yamada and Sugano Sensei as the ones directly in control of your rank and thus when it comes to Shodan testing time, you will be very familiar with their testing requirements and exactly what Yamada likes to see, so it may take off some of the presure and allow you to enjoy the experience more.

The bad thing about having NY Aikikai as base is that it is a very small Dojo compared to the size of its student base. Thus it's very crowded and Sensei may not be able to give you the full attention that you may receive at another Dojo.

I don't know the other Dojo you are looking at, but if they are smaller this may allow you more personal time with the Sensei, which is always an advantage.

As for the etiquette part, you most definitely have to tell both Sensei in this situation as Yamada Sensei is the head of the organization and thus if you choose to make the other Dojo your main Dojo, your rank certificates will be coming from Yamada Sensei, so its better to be up front about it since he will find out any way the first time you test.

As far as I'm concerned if you are taking a different martial art completely at another Dojo say Wing Chun as well as Aikido, then you don't really have to mention that to your Sensei as I don't consider it any more his business than the fact that you play golf or Poker two nights of the week, as they are two different animals. However, if you are taking the same art from a different instructor you really owe it to your Sensei to let them know as such. Not only will this be good for you as it will allow them to be aware that you are training more than they realize, and thus may be progressing at a quicker pace than they anticipate or even require (training hours for testing), but it is also good for them as they will know that the things you may be doing well or badly, isn't necessarily a result of their teaching. Remember, good Sensei learn just as much from their students as students learn from their Sensei. If you seem to be doing Sankkyo in a rather weird way, it's their right to know that it is because you were taught that way by someone else last week, rather than a failing on the Sensei's part to get across the understanding of how their Dojo does it.

From my experience I can almost guarantee it won't be an issue if you are upfront about it as it is the same organization and Yamada Sensei expects every Dojo within to be up to standards. If you were practicing two different styles of Aikido such as Aikikai and Tomiki, I could see that being an issue, but you shouldn't have any problems.

Just pick one Dojo or the other to be your base, register with that Dojo and then show up at the other and say that you are from the first Dojo, but would like to train here part of the week.

If you really can't decide choose the Sensei whose personality you like best and ask them what they think.

Best wishes,

Ronin22
10-28-2005, 10:21 AM
Thanks Joshua
What was the training experience like at the NY dojo? Did Yamada and Sugano Sensei teach the classes or is there a assistant instructor? I kinda figured they were crowded classes, was there a difference in the class size from during the week to the week end? Sorry for all the questions, I just like to gather info.

Joshua Livingston
10-29-2005, 03:26 AM
Thanks Joshua
What was the training experience like at the NY dojo? Did Yamada and Sugano Sensei teach the classes or is there a assistant instructor? I kinda figured they were crowded classes, was there a difference in the class size from during the week to the week end? Sorry for all the questions, I just like to gather info.

I've never actually trained at the Dojo, but I know a lot of people who have and thus have heard many reports of their experiences.

Yamada and Sugano hold regular classes when they are not out at seminars, as well as other Yudansha, depending on the time of day and day of the week.

http://www.nyaikikai.com/schedule.htm

The above is their current training schedule. You will of course have different number of students training depending on the class time and who is teaching. Also it will vary from year to year, and I have't spoken with anyone who has trained their in the past year, so I'm not sure what it's currently like, but nearly everyone comments on how little space there is to move around and train.

I would also highly recommend taking any classes Donovan Waite Sensei teaches. He's awsome to work with.

racingsnake
11-05-2006, 09:05 AM
This is a great thread.

My 'lineage' goes up through Sugano Shihan, but my sensei encourages us to attend courses run by other shihan (for instance, Yamashima, Hiroaki and of course Yamada) whenever they are within travelling range. Of course, that's not quite the same as encouraging us to train at another dojo, but I think openness is the most sensible course if that's what you are planning to do. As other posters have noted, that may also help your teachers understand why you aredoing something a particular way.

The key thing, to my mind, is to steer clear of the "I've been taught a different way: your way is wrong" trap. Just learn from both. After all, if you are in the position of being taught by two teachers, who are you to say that one is wrong and the other is right?

As I say, great thread, very thought-provoking and positive.

sullivanw
11-05-2006, 10:06 AM
We are free to visit other dojos. Actually, it is encouraged. But if we wanted to train regularly at another dojo as well, then we would have to let our instructor know.
Come to think of it, sometime last year our instructor told a few of us that as soon as we get ranked, we should begin exploring another martial art as well.

-Will

Roman Kremianski
11-05-2006, 07:08 PM
You can only serve one master!

"Serve"? "Master"?

Since when did we start using words like that to describe our relationship with our sensei? :dead:

Ecosamurai
11-06-2006, 11:06 AM
Their excuse is the following,
1. "You can only serve one master!"
2. "Once you get a base, then that's fine, but not until you have a solid foundation."
3. "You may get confused with learning different things, from different people."
etc etc

Honestly, I've done it all my life and I have never had an issue with learning and I have never had an issue with serveing two masters. To be honest I serve one master, and that's the Lord.

A few weeks ago I encouraged one of my students to visit Edinburgh where Yamada Shihan was teaching a weekend course, I did so despite the fact that we're a ki-aikido dojo. Had I been able to I would have gone myself.

My own Sensei knows full well that from time to time I visit other dojo and he doesn't mind. I think he knows that he's my 'teacher' and always will be.

Having said all of that I'd have to say that the two of the above quoted 'excuses' for asking a student not to train at another dojo are most definitely NOT 'excuses' but rather very good reasons for not training regularly at another dojo (except for No 1 which is just dumb). One of my white belt students went and trained at another dojo and cam back thoroughly confused, he couldn't remember what he was supposed to do when I asked him to do it. The result being that he is unlikely to be able to grade for his first belt when everyone else in the dojo does.

You may say thats fine but I doubt he'll be able to grade at the other dojo either which basically just leaves him confused and having made little progress, which is shame because before he went to the other club he was getting on really well. I don't mind that he went there, and if he prefers what they do to what I do, then thats fine by me, but he can't expect to be learning from me and be submitted for assessment by me when my teacher visits if I know he's just going to get muddled when the time comes (which makes him and me look bad).

Regards

Mike

RoyK
11-07-2006, 05:59 AM
I would tell my sensei if only because he's in charge of my progress and health, and he should know of any serious variants, like injuries, or training somewhere else.

Also, it allows you to bring questions you have due to conflicting ideas or teachings and confront your sensei with them!

CNYMike
11-08-2006, 12:46 AM
If I may stuick my head in so someone may cut it off ....

.... I think Dirk touched on part of my problem which is picking a base dojo .... I have the opportunity to train at the NY Akikai HQ because I'm down in the city part of the week but the rest of the time I'm up in the Southern CT area so I have to decide which to make my base.

In addition to all the other comments that have been added, it really comes down to your schedule and how often you will be where, also what's easiest for you. Where do you live, CT or the city? I'd make the closest one my base for convenience.

Jaikido
11-08-2006, 03:13 AM
Luckily for me, the other dojo I train at is run by Sensei Gwynne Jones who is my Sensei's Sensei. So it's helpful for me as I am learning almost exactly the same style, but as Gwynne Jones developed the Shin-Gi-Tai style he has a wide knowledge of all Aikido and he can add in bits of Ki Aikido and Aikikai without confusing.

Ecosamurai
11-08-2006, 07:06 AM
Luckily for me, the other dojo I train at is run by Sensei Gwynne Jones

Hello Jacob,

I saw a demonstration by Gwynne Jones Sensei a few years back while I still lived in the westcountry, it looked really nice :)

A polite enquiry, I'm just curious as to his 8th Dan, and please don't interpret this as a pointed comment in any way (as so often happens with the subject of rank).Do you know who awarded it and when? I'm assuming that the 8th Dan was awarded by his own organisation, the Shingitai, would that be right? Or does shingitai have links to another organisation that I'm simply unaware of.

To tell the truth I'm actually more interested in the when than the who, I saw him do a demo in 1997/98 (I think) and he was advertised as 6th Dan at the time.

Thanks in advance.

Mike

Jaikido
11-08-2006, 11:36 AM
Hi Mike!

I have only been with the society for a few months, and have only recently met him. I'm certain that he is 8th Dan, but I cannot confirm when he was awarded with it and who gave it to him. I expect it was in the last couple of years, but I have an old video of his, easily 10+ years old I'd have thought, which advertises him as 6th Dan. I'll try and remember to ask next week and get back to you about when/who!

The society's website (http://www.shingitai.org.uk) doesn't offer much, but he has been training since 1961! I'd expect in 45 years it's possible to acquire that grade, given all that he has done for Aikido.

It's incredible to see him train, every Sunday after class he takes two students and puts them through 340 moves (everything up to 4th Dan except weapons, I think). It's incredible to see him move like that at his age!

edit:

A quick google finds:

Gwynne Jones promoted to 8th Dan

It is with great pleasure that I would like to add to the shin-gi-tai history by congratulating Gwynne Jones on recieveing his 8th Dan on 29 August 2003. It is well deserved for a life time of Aikido study and Teaching.
SHIHAN AWARDS

Also on the date above, Sensei Gwynne Jones has been awarded the title Shihan and from that time onwards he should be refered to as Shihan Gwynne Jones.

source: http://www.communigate.co.uk/herts/norfolkandnorwichshingitaiaikikai/page1.phtml

It seems that it is the society that awarded it to him, int August 2003. I wonder how you come to those kinds of decisions where you award people grades that are above your head? intriguing. I heard he is the highest graded in Britain however, although it could be joint with others!

Ecosamurai
11-08-2006, 12:54 PM
Thanks very much for that Jacob :)

I did enjoy the demo I saw him do back then, was fun.

As to the highest graded in Britain, well thats a tricky one really and there are other threads here on Aikiweb about that, I'll leave you and the search function to find them :)

Thanks again

Mike

Jaikido
11-16-2006, 03:53 PM
I asked the other day about who awarded it to him. It actually turns out that it was the British Aikido Board who awarded it to him. I'm not sure about the exact circumstances, but I believe he was 6th Dan for longer than he was 7th.