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shadow 03-13-2002 03:11 AM

Frustration
 
Any people here get frustrated with aikido? Many I'm sure.
Do you get the feelings that it's all for nothing? How about the feeling that with every class you are getting worse? Or that you never progress? That you'll never get 'there' wherever 'there' is? Or any other similiar feelings.

What feelings do you have and what do you do to overcome them?

Arianah 03-13-2002 06:55 AM

Hi Damien!
I went through a period of a couple of months where I couldn't do anything right. Even the simplest things took me forever to get, and everything that I had been reletively good at had deteriorated. My ukemi, which had previously been very good, was terrible, and every throw I took hurt. I was off balance, more than once falling down when I was nage. :blush: And everything I did to correct it just made it worse, and I started to get an anxiety about going to class. It passed. It always passes. My sensei often tells the stories of the times he's wanted to quit. Anyone going through this should be confident that s/he will get past it. The thing I found that helped me get over it, though, was relaxation and centering myself. I was worried about screwing up before every class, which made me tense. No sense of center made me off-balance. I didn't consiously relax or center myself, but one day things started clicking again, and I found that I was relaxed and centered. I think that the most important thing that I did to get over it was that I kept going to classes, even though I was starting to hate them. Had I quit, I would have never gotten through it.
If you're in a rut, I hope you get out of it.;)

aiki_what 03-13-2002 07:08 AM

Frustration
 
Frustration is a sure sign that you are learning. We tend to work from an area of comfort and we like doing things that we know and can accomplish. That frustration starts when you start to feel or comprehend something outside your comfort zone. Enjoy those feelings of frustration!! They signifiy that you are experiencing a revelation.

The key to keeping anything fresh is to determine new ways of frustrating yourself.

Greg Jennings 03-13-2002 07:11 AM

Re: Frustration
 
Quote:

Originally posted by shadow
Any people here get frustrated with aikido? Many I'm sure.
Do you get the feelings that it's all for nothing? How about the feeling that with every class you are getting worse? Or that you never progress? That you'll never get 'there' wherever 'there' is? Or any other similiar feelings.

What feelings do you have and what do you do to overcome them?

Sure, everyone gets frustrated.

On Aikido-L the saying is that all of us always suck. We just strive to suck at a little higher level.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Keep training. You're probably actually making progress, but being your own worst critic, you're not seeing it.

2. Get someone to videotape you training at six month intervals. Look at the current, then review the takes from six months and a year ago.

3. If you just feel that you're in a rut, go visit another dojo that trains in a different way. The different perspective often helps.

4. If all else fails, go train at the local McDojo for a couple of months.

Best,

Ghost Fox 03-13-2002 07:27 AM

Re: Frustration
 
Quote:

Originally posted by shadow
Any people here get frustrated with aikido?
Yep.
Do you get the feelings that it's all for nothing? [/quote]
Ahuh
How about the feeling that with every class you are getting worse? [/quote]
Been there. Be there again.
Or that you never progress? [/quote]
Done that.
That you'll never get 'there' wherever 'there' is? [/quote]
That to.

What do you do to overcome them? [/quote]

These feelings of incompetence tend to balance out my manic feeling that I'm a god and that my aikido is going to be better than O'Sensei's.

But on a serious tip. I wrestle with these problem in aikido as well as in life, more the latter. When I'm feeling this way I usually read a quote from The Art of Peace and sit and breathe for a moment. I also, remind myself not to take myself seriously and try to laugh at myself.

What I like to do is help out the lower ranking aikidokas. By helping them I can see myself when I started and see how much I progressed I have made. Also, by helping others I tend to feel better about myself. Aikido is love after all.:rolleyes:

MaylandL 03-13-2002 07:50 AM

Hello Damien

Your feelings of frustration are not unusual and quite normal. As aikidoka we all have good and bad days in the pursuit of improving our aikido. That's what keeps me going back and continuing with aikido. Its the knowledge that I am continually learning about aikido and that there's so much more I can learn.

As for the feeling its all for nothing, yeah sometimes but then there's the feeling of getting something right, if just for a short while, that is sooo very satisfying. I live for those moments :)

Yeah progress sometimes seems like a standstill. I was in a dreadful rut one time but I managed to get out of it. I'm now training at two dojos with different senseis. Having a different perspective on techniques has made a huge difference. From this perspetive, Greg Jennings' advice is very sound.

More training isnt necessary the answer. For me I found that meditation, staying relaxed and enjoying aikido helped a great deal. There was less pressure to perform and get the technique right. For me, I do aikido because I learn something new each time I go to the dojo and not about getting to an end point. I think what Ghost Fox and Arianah say about relaxing is very true. I've found that when I'm relaxed and not over analysing the technique, the aikido becomes smoother and easier.

Hope this helps and keep up the training :D

akiy 03-13-2002 08:42 AM

I remember George Leonard sensei writing in his book Mastery that everyone must undergo plateaus in their learning and that these plateaus are necessary in their progress. As he says, in order for a golfer to break 90 strokes in his game, he'll probably have to play up in the 100's for a while. Breakthroughs never happen on their own but are results of being on those plateaus.

I think that dealing with frustration is very much part of the training process. If it were all honey and cream without discomfort, we wouldn't be learning anything...

-- Jun

Bruce Baker 03-13-2002 04:17 PM

training difficulty?
 
I guess, with the transition of Karate, and learning the basic movements of Aikido, over and over and over and over, until my brain finally gave up and remembered, is the hardest thing to do.

Most people have read books by John Stevens Sensei, and some have gotten the chance to attend a seminar with him. About three years ago, at my firt Stevens seminar, there were no less than two hundred people, at least a third teachers of various black belt levels. With in that group who were following the jo and bokken warm ups that Stevens sensei goes through, about a quarter of them got lost at various points when we would do other than normal dojo exercises. From the four points, to the eight points, then reverse the clockwise motion to counter clock wise.

There is nothing so funny as seeing a teacher who is the hero of his/her dojo get lost while funny looking white belt falls into motions within one completion of each new exercise. Maybe it is mimic training of marching in the service, or MA training of follow the leader in warmup exercises, but weapons always seems to come easy to me.

My point being, that no matter how long you mess up, or get frustrated, somewhere, sometime, somehow your brain will sort out the mystery and get your body to go along. Even teachers get frustrated, but laughter is the best medicine for that.

It took many, many months of Aikido to break me of my bad habits of making novices use more force than needed, or getting both sides of my body to work in unison ... you know, left hand with left foot, right hand with right foot. But, slowly, surely it happens ... just like another birthday every year, one day, there it is.

Many people do not talk about the changes the body goes through as it gets older, but maybe your training is being held up because your body is not what it was last month or last year? Don't get ahead of yourself by trying to do advanced techniques beyond what you can do that day. Sometimes reviewing the simpler, easier techniques actually increases your advancement in training.

I know in karate we were taught to do Kata forwards, backwards, and on both the left and the right side ... not always the mainstream, but done slow, with effort and forsight to attackers in kata, then many things you thought you knew become new again.

I would say, if difficulty persists, watch from the sidelines, and see if it appears different than when you are training? A notebook might be helpful for finding things you have missed ... I know many of the classes I have had to watch because the room was spinning from my own illness, have been sometimes more insightful than training?

Hope you get past this little problem, good luck!!

warriorwoman 03-13-2002 05:29 PM

frustration
 
Please listen to the advice in all of the previous posts. Read them and reread them. There is nothing more that I can add to them, except to re-emphasize that your training will not follow a linear progression, but will in fact be a series of plateaus. If you understand this, then you won't feel as though there is something wrong with you. Do not compare yourself with others in your class. You are following your own personal journey and your obstacles and breakthroughs are what make it yours. No matter how long this lasts, keep going. It will eventually level out again.
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

shadow 03-13-2002 06:51 PM

Thanks for writing people (lovely to see you post on a thread I started, Arianah hehe). I didn't intend it to be aimed specifically at me, more of a chance for people to talk about their own frustrations and methods to deal with them.
Of course I wouldn't bring up the subject without it being true for myself. At this point, it seems lately that my frustration stages are coming at increasingly closer intervals and also lasting longer. It seems these days that I spend more time feeling crap than good. Whereas in the past it was always opposite. Although the times when I do feel good with aikido....I feel really good!

Someone told me a quote he was given whilst an uchi-deshi for Saito sensei. We all start as cubes and for everything we get right we cut of a corner, thus producing four times as many corners as were there before. So on we go cutting away our corners and producing more until one day.....we end up a sphere!

Whaddya think?

Arianah 03-13-2002 09:07 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by shadow
lovely to see you post on a thread I started, Arianah hehe.
Well, hey, I'm like a soccer mom--gotta come out and show my support.:p *stands and starts clapping with a loud "Woo hoo!"* :D

shihonage 03-13-2002 09:49 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by shadow

Someone told me a quote he was given whilst an uchi-deshi for Saito sensei. We all start as cubes and for everything we get right we cut of a corner, thus producing four times as many corners as were there before. So on we go cutting away our corners and producing more until one day.....we end up a sphere!

Whaddya think?

Consider worrying a bit less about metaphors such as above and instead try and find metaphors which help you with the actual techniques.

Andy 03-13-2002 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by shihonage
Consider worrying a bit less about metaphors such as above and instead try and find metaphors which help you with the actual techniques.
This from a guy who's relied on image attachments to convey his messages.

guest1234 03-13-2002 11:46 PM

hey, he didn't say metaphors were bad, just that ones related to the techniques might be more useful to someone frustrated with his progress in those techniques.

Besides, I like his pictures, they make me laugh, and most would agree it's better when I'm in a friendly mood evileyes

shihonage 03-14-2002 01:08 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by ca
hey, he didn't say metaphors were bad, just that ones related to the techniques might be more useful to someone frustrated with his progress in those techniques.

Yes, that's what I meant, thanks.

I can make a dozen general Aikido metaphors off the top of my head ("Aikido is like a river because it flows around things instead of colliding with them!"), but I find that analogies specific to techniques (such as the "holding a pizza" for kokyo-dosa, for example) are the ones which actually contribute to a student's progress in Aikido, as opposed to his progress in making metaphors.

Mares 03-14-2002 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by shihonage


I can make a dozen general Aikido metaphors off the top of my head ("Aikido is like a river because it flows around things instead of colliding with them!"), but I find that analogies specific to techniques (such as the "holding a pizza" for kokyo-dosa, for example) are the ones which actually contribute to a student's progress in Aikido, as opposed to his progress in making metaphors.

I understand what you are saying, but I don't necessarily agree. Is Aikido just a collection and catagorisation of techniques? or as some people put it, is it a martial way?

the general aikido metaphors encourage you to think about aikido and what it is or what does for you. I guess they help to stimulate the mind.

But I do agree that analogies specific to techniques can contibute to a students progress with thier physical aikido techniques.

MaylandL 03-14-2002 10:47 PM

An Epiphany in the Midst of Frustration
 
Hello All

I had a very interesting training session last night with a large part of the training on ikkyo. What a seemingly simple technique that is sooo deceptively difficult to learn properly.

I have been struggling to improve this technique for years. :confused:

I have been feeling that there wasnt something quite right about the way I did ikkyo and especially the pin and that has been a source of constant frustration. Last night proved that when I was training with Sensei.

But thanks to his patience, understanding, insight, persistence and genuine concern to help, ikkyo is a lot easier and more powerful. I've still got a lot more to learn but its a step in the right direction.

Yes there are periods of frustration and niggling thoughts that techniques dont quite feel "right". But there are moments where things become much clearer. That's what makes me continue despite the difficulties and the frustration because you do learn something if you're willing to put in the training effort and to keep an open mind.

Above all be patient and persistent and take any opportunity to train with sensei or senior or more experienced sempais when the opportunities arise. I know something about ikkyo that I can train and practice that I didnt know before. I live for these moments.:D

All the best for everyone's training.

warriorwoman 03-15-2002 07:33 PM

frustration
 
Sometimes when you've been training for several years on a regular basis week in and week out, taking a break of several weeks or even a month without any training whatsoever can also give you a fresh way to look at your training. When you do return to training, you may have a very different perspective on many things, like starting over again, but with carryover knowledge. I have found this can sometimes jumpstart a period of relative banging your head against a wall.
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

Thalib 03-16-2002 01:46 AM

used to...
 
Frustrated... at one point of time, I do get frustrated. Things such as not being able to get the technique right, or why this and that don't work.

But those things don't bother me anymore, because it is something called "the learning process". At first, everything was only based on form, people just follow through. But as we progress up the ladder of knowledge, people that once we train with refuse to follow through anymore. This is caused by the need of truth and reality of the subject matter. Everything that seems to be the simplest became the hardest, such as Long-san's ikkyo training session.

Having an uke that gives me a hard time, teaches me a lot more, than having an uke that follows through. This is of course within boundaries of experience. I would never allow such attitude on a complete beginner, they need to be introduced to proper forms first. After their first grading maybe I would expose them little by little, showing why the forms were suppose to be done the way it was done. But when you're more than half way through the grades, it's time to face truth and reality completely.

The trick is not to get frustrated, remembering that you are still learning, no matter how high your grade is. Always have a mind of a beginner, don't get the head swelled up because of the belt color. Different partner, different things to learn, new things.

shadow 03-17-2002 06:19 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Thalib
The trick is not to get frustrated, remembering that you are still learning, no matter how high your grade is. Always have a mind of a beginner, don't get the head swelled up because of the belt color. Different partner, different things to learn, new things.
we don't have different belt colours :p (I hope that turned out as a tongue)

But yeah I see what you mean.

Oh and warriorwoman, that's good advice too...I felt I have been overtraining so I half took last week off...now I need to go back! haha

Anyways don't aim your advice at me, aim it generally, please :)

warriorwoman 03-18-2002 05:26 PM

frustration
 
Sorry, Shadow,
I didn't mean you - shadow - but you as, you know, you. Does this sound better? "Sometimes when one has been training it makes sense to take time off from one's training....". It gets a little awkward. But I did read your post about using this situation hypothetically. I probably should have said "Sometimes when I have been training....", because I've been there and recently had an opportunity to take a vacation. All I wanted to do when I got back was work on some of the things that occurred to me when I wasn't actively trying to think about them.

One minor caveat, however, whatever the length of time you take off, be sure that it's not left open-ended. Take off a specific amount of time with the understanding that you will definitely return on such and such a day. Peace, Kage.
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org

shadow 03-19-2002 04:21 AM

don't be sorry, I'm sorry. Do aim it at me now because I have some personal issues to bring up now and it probably was personal at the beginning but I didn't want to feel like I was being 'helped'. I went to aikido tonight and I walked out feeling quite aggressive and angry. It just doesn't feel good anymore, I don't enjoy it and I tend to clash with everyone on the mat. I think I have lost my focus/intention/attitude to training. Has this happened to anyone else? I'm not sure wether I should continue training and hope that I refind my attitude, or if I should take time off to reflect as was suggested. If these kinds of feelings arose in your training, how did you deal with them? This, I feel, goes deeper than frustration, I've never walked out of a class feeling so angry before. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

MaylandL 03-19-2002 05:41 PM

Hello Shadow

I hope you can work through your feelings of frustration with aikido. Having practiced aikido and other disciplines for about 15 years, being relaxed during practice and having a clear mind will make training easier. I'm not sure what difficulties you are experiencing with your training and techniques but I am sure that the Sensei and Sempais in your dojo would be happy to help you with it.

Yes I have felt significant frustrations with aikido at times but sensei was kind enough to help me work through them. He helped me understand the source of that frustration and doubts.

Aikido is a difficult martial art to learn (what martial art isnt) but overcoming difficulties and persistence ultimately provides its own rewards. Maybe its a test of spirit and commitment that comes with the territory.

I hope that you can work things out and continue with aikido.

Largo 03-19-2002 07:49 PM

Well...when you're learning something new, you gotta expect to feel something diffrent. (After all, isn't that the point?) Anyways, sometimes there's lows, sometimes there's highs.
Quote:

. I think I have lost my focus/intention/attitude to training.
That may be a good thing. If you stop growing and changing, then would be a good time to start worrying (I think... for now)

Quote:

I tend to clash with everyone on the mat.
Just like me...and like everyone else does or did. NO ONE started out great. I don't know too much about O'sensei, but I'd bet good money he clashed and messed up a lot too (law of averages at work...the more you do something, the more mistakes you will make).

Just my thoughts... hope it helps

warriorwoman 03-19-2002 08:09 PM

frustration
 
Hi Shadow!
Please e-mail me if you'd like to discuss this further. I have some ideas about what might be going on, and yes, I've been there, too. Rather than bore everyone with the details, however, perhaps I can share my experience with you. I have some theories, but the ultimate goal is to help you through this. My e-mail is janet@warriorwoman.org
janet dtantirojanarat
www.warriorwoman.org


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