Hi, I'm new to the forum but not new to Aikido. Just like to get some input/advice from forum users.
I started Aikido about 12 years ago. Got my 1st kyu about 5 years later (was missing twice for a few months in between for personal reasons). I was close to my Shodan grading when I had to stop altogether (jobless for a few months, then got a job closer to home, which is far from the dojo -
my previous job was closer)
I stopped training because the trip to and fro would take up a lot of time. Furthermore, I was given more responsibilities like opening the dojo and assisting, even conducting some classes for the lower grades. My CI was grooming me to be an assistant instructor. I couldn't possibly take up the responsiblity and not be able to fulfill it. Worse still I could barely make it in time for my own class which started later.
Now things have changed and I am thinking about starting again after about 7 years. But I have another problem. There is another dojo that has just opened near my home and they teach a different style of aikido, which to be honest, I am quite keen to try. I do not want to reveal which styles my previous dojo and this new dojo are because the users here might be swayed and suggest according to which styles they are in.
My question is, should I stick to my previous dojo and try to attain my Shodan or start all over again at the new dojo? It's not about rank but I'm torn between my loyalty to my previous sensei/dojo and training in a different style + proximity/convenience.
One more thing, just out of curiosity. If I had not stopped training, what do you reckon my rank would be?
Thanks everyone. :)
I just re-started my training after an extended hiatus. I am practicing with my previous sensei. There are dojos closer to my home (different affiliation), but I felt a sense of both loyalty and comfort with my previous instructors, so I decided to travel further.
Before I began, I asked sensei if he wanted me to start from square one again or if I retain the rank previously acquired.
Some teachers have no problem with students visiting other dojos and teachers. I don't think it would be disloyal to simply ask your sensei if he/she would mind if you trained at the other dojo as well. If sensei says "no," than you have a loyalty issue to deal with.
I personally feel people learn better if they have multiple teachers (as long as the styles are not VASTLY different). One teacher can teach certain things better than others.
Just my .02
Re: Starting again
My take on the situation is, why does ranking matter? If you like the other style of aikido, do it. You might find yourself regretting that you did not go to the other dojo.
Besides, if you are 1st kyu, you should accel quickly to that same rank unless it is a compleletly different style.
Of course, you could always do both!
If you want to know what your probable rank might have been, look at the promotion schedule for your old dojo. Since rank promotions vary greatly between dojos, you'll need to determine from the testing schedule that you had or compare yourself to someone who was a classmate that started at about the same time.
There are several things that might have remained the same, like the distance from your home to the old dojo. If the inconvenience was part of what stopped you, then that factor would still be there. Your old school might still give you added responsibilities that could continue to hamper you.
On the surface, the new dojo sounds like a fresh start. However, if the style is different, you'll find yourself comparing technique. You'll have to relearn movements and principles. Although styles do the same technique, sometimes they utilize different principles to make them work. It will seem like you have the burden of taking two classes instead of one. They might also heap responsibilities on you. As a dojo member, there is no way of getting out of that.
You also won't be treated the same way as when you started. With your old dojo, you have a history with them. With the new one, you'll start as a beginner, but also as an experienced aikidoist. But perhaps the most important thing is that you've changed over the years.
I've mentioned some things you can think about, but I can't tell you what dojo to choose. Only you can do that.
Chose wisely, then back-up that choice with determined training. :cool:
welcome to aikiweb!
I can give you some perspective from my own end, but only you can make the decision where you want to be and what is right for you. In the end, rank really doesn't matter though, so I wouldn't attach too much weight to that issue.
I started aikido in 1983 with one style of aikido, trained consistently until 1989, had a son, went back in 1990 for a year, and then left. I attained the rank of nikkyu (they were not big into testing, so it wasn't at all uncommon to train that long and still be a kyu grade). Something was missing though, and I didn't feel fulfilled in my aikido training. I met someone who had trained in the aikikai style, and they told me all about this new dojo that had just opened up, so curiousity brought me to the door, and once I saw one class, I signed up on the spot (1993). The sensei did not recognize my rank from my old dojo and that was fine with me as I did want to make sure that I went into this training with an open mind, ready to learn new things.
When I started with the new school, I really threw myself into aikido with vigor. The style was very dynamic and ukemi was a major emphasis. I do not regret one day of my training with this dojo. I've been there since 1993, and it took me until 1996 to attain shodan as I had to start all over again (which was the same time frame as others who started with a clean slate having never taken aikido before). While sometimes I feel a bit bothered that my previous training was never recognized, I really do think the training that I have received at this dojo was top notch, and have no regrets on chosing this path. I would much rather be a really strong nidan than a weak sandan or yondan (which is where I would be if I stuck with my old school). It really does come down to personal preference, but if you feel that the new dojo is where you will receive the best training, then it is most definately worth looking into.
On a side note, the place that I started with is a terrific karate dojo that also had some pretty decent aikido. The CI was my mothers karate instructor, and I've known him for 30 years. One of the senior teachers is my ex-fiance and still remains friends even after 20 years. I don't think there is any hard feelings there, certainly not on my part, and I really doubt on their part. We all have to follow our own paths, and teachers usually recognize this and accept it graciously; it appears my first teacher was always accepting and gracious about my decision to leave, and I respect him tremendously for that.
all the best on this,
Re: Starting again
Welcome to Aikiweb.
IMHO, its a big depends on what you wish to achieve from returning to aikido. I would give your old dojo and the new dojo a try for a few sessions. From there make your decision based on what fits best for you and what you want to achieve.
As for what rank you would be if you continued to train, that's not something that can't be easily answered without knowing grading requirements and competency.
Btw Rachel nice story. I had similar background. Started aikido/jujitsu (predominately yoseikan aikido) at University and practiced for about 4 years. Took a 4 year break from training for a number of reasons and returned to Aikido in 1993 to first, an aikijutsu based style, then shifted to aikikai based dojos. Yeah, coming up to my 10th year of continous training...kewl ;)
Now train regularly at two aikikai dojos with a smattering of teaching (about once a month and assisting Sensei). The second dojo that I train at recognised my grading from my first dojo when I officially joined them. I was a visitor to the second dojo for about a year before officially joining.
Happy training all :)
Hi again. First of all I would like to thank everyone for a warm welcome. You all remind me of the first time I stepped into the dojo.
I'll try to answer each one of you. Hope this post doesn't run too long.
I did visit the new dojo btw, didn't talk to anyone, just stood outside and observed. The CI of that affiliation wasn't the one conducting the class. This particular instructor I saw was a little hurried in his method of instruction.
diligently. I was always going over a technique until I could do it smoothly and with little effort.
I've seen students , both junior and senior, who only show up when grading is around the corner just to attain the belt. They would appear stiff when executing the movements and stumble all over their partners. I have no
doubt that even after 7 long years without practice, I wouldn't be too out of place when I step back on the dojo. So belt/rank to me is not a fair reflection of the practioner.
I've decided to serialize this so part 2 is in the next post :)
Rachel, lovely story. The Assistant CI of my dojo is also a lady. She's petite but also lethal ;). She's a mother of a teenager but very dedicated to teaching aikido. Never missed a class without valid reasons.
Thanks for all your replies. However whichever dojo I choose, I have decided on one thing. I'll be entering the dojo with a WHITE belt :)
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