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A friend of mine, and a senior student at the dojo I attend asked me several weeks ago what I want from my training. I gave him an answer at the time, but I'm not really satisfied with it. In the intervening month or so, I've continued to think about the question. As my blog posts over the past year indicate, I've been coming to terms with a new paradigm at a new dojo. The result has been a bit of frustration and a lot of confusion over the past year -- confusion that has been exacerbated by some big events that have cut into my training time. First, a bit of background and a caveat.
In December of last year I started training at a new dojo, Itten Dojo in Mechanicsburg PA, that is much closer to my home than the one I had trained at for the previous nine years, Susquehanna Aikido in York PA. Proximity is one-half the reason I switched. The other half is that Itten Dojo is implementing Ellis Amdur's aikido training concepts, and I've been fascinated by them since I attended one of Ellis's seminars several years ago. I still heartily recommend my old dojo to people looking for Aikido near York. If you want Aikikai/AAA style aikido, there are few (if any) places as good in Central PA. However, if you want to follow Ellis's deconstruction of Aikido, there is no other place than Itten dojo. Simultaneously, I started training in toho iaido at Itten Dojo. At this point, everything was new: new paradigm for aikido, internal strength training, and new sword wo