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IWW 02-02-2007 12:48 AM

Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
My wife approached me and asked if I would mind her joining Aikido and go to class with me. She wants to become more involved in what I do for fun. I thought it was a great idea and I'm all for it! Two things I love in one spot.
My only problem is something that happened in the past is giving me a little doubt so now I would like to get both teachers and students opinions on couples in class.

In the past while dating a girl she decided to join the martial arts class I was in on her own accord. Pretty soon fights at home were brought to the dojo. I was embarrassed by this and would do my best to ignore it which made her push even more. Soon she started approaching other students and telling them stories about me. I won't get into it but basically trash talking me and making me look abusive. For a while people treated me a little coldly and I couldn't figure out why but as people got to know my character and hers they realized what she was doing and warmed up to me while trying to ignore her. Still it was pretty rough and I was very embarrassed. If someone joked with me, was friendly with me or we hung out after class she would approach him or her and double her efforts to smear me. As I said people saw through her antics but I still felt very bad for putting the other students through this and I ended up quitting. She quit three months later and shortly after we broke up.

Now my relationship with my wife is not like this at all. We don't fight and we have a lot of fun together. It's great that shes interested in Aikido and I'd love to show her how much fun it is. My only real concern is how it makes other people in class feel.
I know the standard reply will be that if we don't argue and keep things professional then everyone will have fun but what do you think about couples in class REALLY?
Do you find that it makes for an awkward environment?
In your experience, as a teacher or student, do fights still get brought to the dojo despite best intentions?
Do instructors try to keep couples from practicing together?
Or do you really think as long as the couple is mature and keeps home life out of the dojo everything will be fine?

Thank you.
IWW

Hanna B 02-02-2007 07:28 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I never saw anything strange about couples in class. Some of them train together sometimes, others avoid it - training with you gf or bf is not always easy! but I never heard anyone say anything bad about couples in class, and I've seen lots of them. People who very much stick to themselves might be a disturbance to the group, but that is the same regardless if they are husband or wife or best friends.

Ecosamurai 02-02-2007 07:38 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Met my girlfriend at aikido, we're getting married in a year or so. I'm her aikido instructor, off the mat she's my girlfriend, on it she's my student and we are very sensible about separating the two.

I've had people train with me who were a couple and I've never seen a problem with it. If it does happen then I'd say you're just as likely to find single people who make the environment awkward as married people.

Regards

Mike

aikidoc 02-02-2007 08:07 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
It might not hurt to set up some ground rules/agreement before she starts- i.e., both agree not to bring trash to the mat, etc.

dps 02-02-2007 08:36 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
You should already have an idea how your wife will interact in social situations, Akido practice should be no different.

Larry Feldman 02-02-2007 08:44 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
My first instructor had his wife in class as the senior student, and at times personal stuff came out, I ignored it and moved on with practice.

Definately try to leave your personal issues off the mat.

I don't let couples practice together in class, probably from my initial instructor experience. It can also be difficult to train someone you know - like your son or daughter.

If it works out, it can be great, and a lot easier to get time off for seminars since she will go with you!

Keith Gotschall 02-02-2007 09:41 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I can't imagine a better experience than practicing aikido with your spouse. I started Aikido with my wife about a year ago, and we have been having a ball! There are times when I am more keen and times when she is, either way we are supportive and encouraging of each other. It is almost like having a training partner around everyday. Cooking together, or any daily life stuff, becomes so much fun when aikido is stirred in the mix. I will often be attacking her with a wooden spoon etc., or she will go to hold my hand and end up applying yonkyo. It is a great thing to do with your spouse.

The other people that we train with seem to be very comfortable and supportive as well. We rotate through with partners just like everyone else. Sometimes we will be purposely put together, sometimes seperated depending on the situation, either way it is always done with good humor and with an eye towards the best training possible.

There are other couples I have trained with, and there has never been a problem. I think the trash talking you experienced is more indicative of the bad match you had with that particular girlfriend. Just hearing you say that you love your wife is enough to make me think you will both benefit greatly from practicing together.

Best, Keith

gstevens 02-02-2007 10:13 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I have been training with my wife for ~2 years now. We love it, I have been her uke for her tests, and we are currently ramping up her training and training schedule as she wants to test for her next rank, so we are training together every day. We train at the dojo every weekday except Mondays, and do weapons practice most other days...

Like all of us she gets frustrated sometimes trying to get the techniques to "work". We know this is going to happen, and that she is not frustrated with me. I get frustrated occasionally with her when she judges her aikido based on her frustration, but again she knows that it isn't her that I am frustrated with.

We don't argue about aikido. It has made a lot of the rest of our conversations, and actions a lot smoother, learning to get off the line and blend is a good thing, especially with your spouse!

However..... We have a different relationship than most couples. We are quite happy being together in very small spaces, we have lived aboard a boat and sailed over half the planet for the last 12 years.

Issues that we have observed with other couples either doing Aikido, or trying to teach each other to sail. ( They seem to be equivalent to teaching your spouse to drive a stick shift or cast a fly rod). If you spouse is a higher rank, or has more sailing experience, then he/she is going to try and help you learn. This is largely because they love the activity and want to see you succeed in it. Now here is the part that is the rub. The tone and inflection of voice used in teaching, and in starting an argument are almost identical. We realized this after several episodes of teaching sailing -> arguing, (while sailing, not on the mat...) and realized that you have to assess the situation and decide if your partner is trying to argue with you, or help you learn a new skill.

Now if you are both the same level, the above is 200X more true. So be gentle with one another and remember that you are both on a path, the do part of aikido, and that there is really no right or wrong to the whole thing. Have fun.

We were on the mat practicing once together, and another couple bowed into one another, Sensei went over and shuffled them to other training partners. They asked why, he said; "It is generally not a good idea to have couples train together". They both turned to us, and said; "What about them?" Sensei said; "They are different, they live in a really small space, and have sailed 1/2 way around the world together." Training went on...... I trust Sensei's experience in this more than my own.

Guy
:-)

maynard 02-02-2007 10:34 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I started aikido about 5 years ago, harassed my girlfriend (now my wife) about starting for 3 or 6 months, and gave up on her. About a year after I started, out of the blue, she decided to start, and it's been great for us.

In the beginning, I purposefully didn't train with her on every technique, with the goal of letting her find her own way on the mat. Until her ukemi was adequate to where she and I didn't worry about her getting hurt so much by abusive beginners, I helped her avoid those people either by training with them or training with her.

I think what works for us is that we don't make it a competition. We generally have a mutual respect for one another, and I think the lack of that respect is at the heart of the problems that many couples experience, on or off the mat. There are some techniques that she's more comfortable working with me on, and we'll seek each other out on those. For example, Saotome Sensei often at some point during a seminar will do an irimi omote type movement with a strike to the sternum/solar plexus. Most people don't feel comfortable striking a woman in the chest with any serious force, and my wife never got to really feel the technique. <sarcasm>Of course, I have no problem cracking my wife's sternum to help her training</sarcasm>. I'll give her more power than most, both as uke and nage and it helps her learning. Naturally, I'm not abusive, I give her what she can handle and work with.

I also think, couples who only train with each other all the time are missing out on the great diversity that a variety of training partners can give you. I suspect at some point this sort of training has many potential downfalls, but it probably works for some.

Most of the time, people are disappointed that I'm the one with the incessant Aikido addiction, and she's the one going back for her master's degree, so they see more of me and less of her.

heathererandolph 02-02-2007 12:53 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I think if your wife wants to join, It would be unpleasant for your relationship if you tell her you don't want her to participate. You don't really know how you'll really feel until she starts. don't assume it will cause uncomfortable situations. Maybe she'll love it and stay with it, maybe not. If your relationship is sound, she should not be "trash talking" about you. I guess you can't really control what other people do. Aikido is a great sport for couples in that even though you will be at different levels, you can still actively participate together and both enjoy it, unlike many other sports.

My only question is weather she might feel she's treated differently because she's your wife if she really becomes a "lifer." Some wives complain that they are not seen for their individual merits in class by some people, and always seen as an appendage of the husband. Other than that, if it does not seem to be working, you need to let your wife know right away so you can come up with a solution.

Princess Rose 02-02-2007 01:52 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I have never had any problem with mature adult serious couples on the mat. I think 19 year old couples (like me) are terrible and not mature enough to handle situations like break ups and fights and, for me, there is nobody on earth I could love enough to spend THAT MUCH time with. But in my home dojo there is a wonderful couple who practice together. The wife, in fact, joined her husband about 3 or so years ago. They never bring their relationship into the dojo, and they really both love Aikido, not just because they practice together. They just tested together a few weeks ago. The wife went for her sankyu and the husband for his shodan. They were the only people testing as well. And if that's not cute enough, the husband gave her his old blue belt!!!!! I almost threw up a bit lol.

Ed Stansfield 02-02-2007 02:29 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Quote:

John Murray wrote:
I started aikido about 5 years ago, harassed my girlfriend (now my wife) about starting for 3 or 6 months, and gave up on her. About a year after I started, out of the blue, she decided to start, and it's been great for us.

That's quicker than me... Met my partner in '95, started Aikido in '96, got married in '05, my wife started Aikido just before Christmas last year. But it's been great for us too.
Quote:

In the beginning, I purposefully didn't train with her on every technique, with the goal of letting her find her own way on the mat. Until her ukemi was adequate to where she and I didn't worry about her getting hurt so much by abusive beginners, I helped her avoid those people either by training with them or training with her.
I'm not at the "not worrying" stage yet. This is the thing that makes practicing really different when my wife is on the mat.

Quote:

iww wrote:
In the past while dating a girl she decided to join the martial arts class I was in on her own accord. Pretty soon fights at home were brought to the dojo.

Well, obviously after 10 years practicing Aikido I'm so harmonious that we never fight ... :straightf ... or perhaps not :rolleyes:
The area where I've seen problems is not so much where people are in a relationship, but where that relationship comes to an end :( . I don't think it made things awkward for the rest of the class, but it made things awkward for them.

Quote:

iww wrote:
Do instructors try to keep couples from practicing together?

My teachers don't prevent us from practicing together, but they would if we never practiced with anyone else.
Quote:

Do you find that it makes for an awkward environment?
Not awkward, but at the moment, for me, different.
Quote:

Or do you really think as long as the couple is mature and keeps home life out of the dojo everything will be fine?
Yes :)

Best,

Ed

Keith Gotschall 02-03-2007 05:20 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Princess Rose, a very aware answer, I am impressed. When I was younger I am not sure I would have realized this. I think what it would have been like to participate with some ex's I had... oh man, the mind reels at the horror it would have been. :yuck: :)

Princess Rose 02-04-2007 02:50 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Quote:

Keith Gotschall wrote:
Princess Rose, a very aware answer, I am impressed. When I was younger I am not sure I would have realized this. I think what it would have been like to participate with some ex's I had... oh man, the mind reels at the horror it would have been. :yuck: :)

Actually it's not really mature. I did date a guy from my dojo for a year. It was not fun after we broke up. I realized that I am simply NOT mature enough to handle that. That could be just my personality though.

cserrit 02-04-2007 11:55 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Quote:

She wants to become more involved in what I do for fun. I thought it was a great idea and I'm all for it! Two things I love in one spot.
IMHO Having someone you care about joining you in something that you love to do is great!

Be careful that you don't lose something that you enjoy doing alone. My bf and I like sharing activities together, but we also like doing things as individuals...kinda like...something we can call "our own."

He comes to my tests and dojo gatherings and gets along great with all my dojo friends...he just doesn't have to take all the high falls and yonkyos ;)

Good luck with the outcome :)

-C

AikiJ 02-13-2007 11:24 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Just to add my little piece..i recently started a training group with my instructor's permission where i live...and my gf, who trained before in a different style, comes with me to help me get these guys started. Honestly, I really appreciate her being there and I haven't noticed any weird vibes about her presence. In fact, in the car on the way home after practice, I take the opportunity to ask her about her honest opinion about class...and even about how i did! haha So if both of your intentions during class is to train...I couldn't see any reason why it would matter that you are a couple outside of the dojo.
Jeremy

DonMagee 02-15-2007 07:29 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
My wife tried aikido. She separated her shoulder by attempting to take falls too soon and never came back. It was her personality, she expects to master everything the moment she touches it.

Angela Morton 02-24-2007 04:01 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
My fiance and i are 5th kyus in the same dojo, i started aikido originally because of him, but now i love it for aikido itself. Sometimes it can be harder to train with him that with others, but my main problem is not kissing him on the mats! Luckily he's not so seductive i can't resist! Sensei is (married?) to a blue belt he teaches as well. Training with a partner can be great, and it means you can learn off each other outside of the dojo (obviously throwing each other around in the living room could be dangerous). I know that sometimes my hand will remain in contact with my fiance a fraction longer than with others, and i know he does the same with me, but it is only a fraction and doesn't affect training. It's nice to train with someone you trust so much too.

You had a bad experience with a girl, but i doubt your wife would be the same. I find even when i go to training furious with Matthew, furious to the extent it shows on my face, by the time i get around to training with him, i've calmed down, aikido's worked it out of me and training together brings us close again. That alone is an odd concept, getting close again while throwing your partner or attempting yonkyo. You train with so many people on the mats your seperated from your partner enough for it not to disrupt training, while occasionally training together is fun and can become a valuable part of your relationship.

Angela Morton 02-24-2007 04:20 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
Quote:

Rosemary Wulf wrote: (Post 167161)
I have never had any problem with mature adult serious couples on the mat. I think 19 year old couples (like me) are terrible and not mature enough to handle situations like break ups and fights

I was 18 when i started training with my bf, 19 when i passed my 5th kyu, which was 15 days before Matthew proposed. Never judge by age alone, we get on well on the mats. i'd be heart broken if i was told i couldn't train with him. I mainly train with others, but do a technique or two with him aswell. He helped loads getting me ready to grade for 5th kyu, he got his the day before me. I think couples who aren't allowed to train together at all are being deprived. Obviously to train well you have to train with many people of many levels, but being able to train with a partner brings in a different element to training. If you're angry with your partner avoid traing with them until you're calmer, but i don't feel people should be banned from training together encase they behave foolishly. But i believe in innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. If there is a problem couple, then split them sure, but don't do it unnecessarily.

I know a lot of 19 year old who are mature enough to handle aikido with a partner, and a lot of older people who aren't.

Mike Hamer 02-28-2007 02:56 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I was training with a woman in my Aikido class whom I hadnt met before, and it wasn't untill later that I found out she is the sensei's wife! I could'nt even tell. Both my sensei's wife and children train, and it only seems to help them out.

Michelle 03-02-2007 03:03 PM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
I don't see why there would be a problem with couples in Aikido class, unless they were trash talkers like your ex-girlfriend!
I met my husband in Aikido. However, he has practiced off and on since then, only recently coming back to class. We have a one-year-old daughter, Ava, so we take turns watching her during training. Its great having this family time.
I have always found that in Aikido, you tend to leave your problelms at the door. I think Aikido is a good way for couples to spend more time together. Especially if your spouse is someone who likes to isolate themselves and play online games for hours and hours!

Luc X Saroufim 03-05-2007 06:39 AM

Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?
 
there are *two* married couples in my class, and after 2 years, not one iota of drama has ever been presented on the mat. it will depend on what kind of person your woman is.

my biggest pet peeve is having a woman demean me in front of my friends. those relationships never lasted long. i prefer a woman who's got my back.


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