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Kat.C 03-17-2002 06:00 PM

Going to other dojos
 
In one of his answers to my last post Greg mentioned going to seminars and other dojos.
Which reminded me of another question I have.
Can you go to any other dojos? Should they be of the same style you are training in? Do they need to be dojos that yours is affilliated with? Can you go to any seminars or do they need to be run by senseis in your affilliation? In karate we had to ask our sensei's permission to go to other dojos. Of course they were in our organisation and one was our sensei's parent club. Does it work the same way in aikido?

Chuck.Gordon 03-17-2002 06:15 PM

Re: Going to other dojos
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kat.C
Can you go to any other dojos?

Yes. But I will qualify that statement by saying that I think you should get a solid grounding in your dojo's methodology and practice before venturing out.

THen there are sub-issues -- another dojo in the same organization? Same style? Another aikido dojo from a different lineage (Tomiki vs Ki Society vs ASU vs USAF (E/W/MAF) vs independant vs? Related Japanese jujutsu systems (Daito Ryu, et al) ... etc etc. There are lots of flavors of aikido and they all offer something to learn.

If your teacher says no, you cannot, ever, ever, for any reason, any time visit and train with another dojo, find another teacher.

Should they be of the same style you are training in? Do they need to be dojos that yours is affilliated with?

Be easier that way,, but see above. Later in your training, you will certainly find it enlightening and challenging to train in other systems and with other organizations.

Can you go to any seminars or do they need to be run by senseis in your affilliation?

See above. Get a base, then when you start venturing outside your 'comfort zone' you can learn a lot (sometimes about the very things you do at home -- never discount the value of looking at a thing through a different perspective).

In karate we had to ask our sensei's permission to go to other dojos.

Ack! I can see informing your teacher that you are going and getting his or her thoughts, but to ask permission? No way.

Of course they were in our organisation and one was our sensei's parent club. Does it work the same way in aikido?

Some aikido teachers would have it that way, but IMNSHO, it's just wrong.

Like one of my students says: If all you ever date is your cousins, all the kids'll start looking alike after a while.

Chuck

Greg Jennings 03-17-2002 06:17 PM

Re: Going to other dojos
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Kat.C
In one of his answers to my last post Greg mentioned going to seminars and other dojos.
Which reminded me of another question I have.
Can you go to any other dojos? Should they be of the same style you are training in? Do they need to be dojos that yours is affilliated with? Can you go to any seminars or do they need to be run by senseis in your affilliation? In karate we had to ask our sensei's permission to go to other dojos. Of course they were in our organisation and one was our sensei's parent club. Does it work the same way in aikido?

My, you weren't joking when you said you were curious and always full of questions. I think that's _great_, BTW.

Mostly aikido dojo are really good about welcoming visitors from out of town. Let me tell you right now that if you ever visit my area and don't stop in to visit, I'll be irritated.

Most aikido dojo will list a "mat fee" on a per visit basis for visitors. In my experience, it's usually waived, but be prepared.

Your instructor will have his own ideas about his/her students visiting other dojo. You should ask one of the senior students (sempai...there, that term should be familiar to you) about it.

How it works here is when I'm travelling on business, I find a dojo that I want to visit and my instructor calls them and asks if I could train there while I'm in town. If there isn't enough time for that, he gives me a letter of introduction that I present when I go to the dojo after calling and asking if I can visit.

Always _ask_ and be very polite. You'll have a hard time going wrong.

Most aikido styles (I'm growing to hate that phrase), don't have competition. We do have seminars and they're almost always open to all aikidoists. I'm looking at a flyer right now that says "All Aikidoka Welcome".

But that gets back to "ask one of your sempai" about the local custom.

Best,

guest1234 03-17-2002 06:29 PM

It depends on the sensei/dojo. I was in one that required permission, and while the rule existed, it was expected no one would actuallyask permission to train in other Aikido dojos (one of the things that led to my being shown the door there:rolleyes: ). The others I've joined encourage their students to move around and explore---altough that is one thing I look for when choosing a place. This is not that those who are more restrictive are wrong or inferior, they are not, but it is just not my way of being. :confused: Just ask the sensei or a senior student what the dojo rules are.

Also, some dojos are not excited about hosting unexpected visitors (often the same ones that don't like their students wandering around from dojo to dojo). I find it best to call or write ahead to seek permission to train.

If the dojo is somewhat restrictive in visiting other places, your best bet is with another dojo in the same organization; if the sensei encourages exploration it usually doesn't matter.

When you are first starting out, visiting other places might be confusing, as there are often slight (or major :eek: ) variations in attacks and techniques and names, from style to style, or even dojo to dojo. If you are the type that needs to do it 'the right way' then don't travel until you are very comfortable in your home dojo. It is rude to visit another place and NOT do what the teacher is showing you, to the best of your ability, so go with an open mind and PAY ATTENTION to what is shown. Also, don't come back from a visit and tell your home dojo that THEY are 'doing it wrong'. The 'right' way is what is shown by the instructor, but a lot of times beginners are so hung up on getting it right, that they cannot accept many right ways and conflict builds.

Greg Jennings 03-17-2002 06:31 PM

Re: Re: Going to other dojos
 
Quote:

Originally posted by LOEP

If your teacher says no, you cannot, ever, ever, for any reason, any time visit and train with another dojo, find another teacher.

I had this happen outside aikido. Found out later the guy had something to hide. He didn't want his students going to a seminar and have someone tell them that he claimed a lot of bogus titles and affiliations.

I'm of the mind that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it's a duck. If it claims to be a peregrine falcon, then it's a duck with a complex.

Best,

guest1234 03-17-2002 06:50 PM

As for an example of why visiting new place might be confusing, refer to Greg's explanation (and a very nice one, by the way) of how to name techniques. In one style I studied, those names would still be 'missing' what I came to think of as the 'middle name' of the technique. For example, in his system a technique might be Katate tori kokyu nage (with perhaps an omote or tenkan) ki no nigare. In the one I studied, the same teachnique could be:
Katate-tori kokyu nage
a. tenchi nage irimi
b. tenchi nage tenkan
c. tekubi tori irimi
d. tekubi kosatori irimi, jodan style
e. tekubi kiri irimi, gedan style
f. tekubi kiri, chudan style
g. tekubi tori tenkan
h. ude oroshi irimi
i. ude oroshi tenkan

Imagine trying to square those conflicting names away while still working on getting a square knot to stay tied thorugh an entire class...

visiting new places is great, I think, just be sure you go with a very open mind and the knowledge that there is no one absolute way to do anything, from tie your hakama to get a partner to name a technique to do the technique.

Kat.C 03-17-2002 07:14 PM

You guys really are friendly. Not too many people want to keep answering all the questions that I ask. Or maybe its not the answering part they have a problem with just listening to me all the time. No worries about me thinking that there is only one way to do things. My first sensei would do things one way my second another and his sensei would also be different sometimes. I guess it all depends on what you are wanting the technique to accomplish. In karate some techniques could be a block or a way to break your attackers arm for example. I learned to do it the way it was done by the particular dojo I was in. Of course a couple of times the sensei would show me one way then his jokyoshi would later correct me on my technique and have me do it differently. Never was sure what to then so I just did it according to who happened to be watching. I also learned early on never ever argue with sensei, never tell sensei his method is wrong, and never say "well in my dojo they do it this way."
By the way Colleen I never could get my belt knot to stay tight during class but at least the strings holding my gi pants on always stayed tight!:D
Greg, you mentioned bogus titles and affiliations. This brings to mind another question. How do I check this stuff out. Hopefully without offending sensei? Which is never a good idea.
How long should one train before going to a seminar. I went to my first karate one after having graded only once so I guess I had been training for three months. I enjoyed the seminar though it was strenous as it was originally for blackbelts but they opened it up to every rank but never changed the curriculum! Was I ever sore! It was great fun
even though I was really nervous.
I read in another thread about students asking to be graded! Do you really do this?! My sensei told us to never ask about when we would be grading next and if we did they would make us wait longer. I never wanted to know I never felt comfortable grading so I definitly didn't look forward to it. I never thought that my technique was as good as it should be to grade but it was up to sensei and I would never question him on this. My husband (though we weren't married at the time) told me my technique was good. No prejudice there eh? ;)

By the way Greg, I'm assuming Al in your dojo address stands for Alabama. I live in Canada but I have an Aunt and Uncle in alabama. They live in Trussville
is that anywhere near your dojo?

Greg Jennings 03-17-2002 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Kat.C
You guys really are friendly.
Hi Kathryn! Oh, yes. This is a friendly forum. Well, till a flame war starts. But they're much rarer here than on some other forums.

Quote:


Greg, you mentioned bogus titles and affiliations. This brings to mind another question. How do I check this stuff out. Hopefully without offending sensei? Which is never a good idea.

The first thing to do would be to look up the dojo on the AikiWeb dojo finder. http://www.aikiweb.com/search/ . It may list the style of aikido and an affiliation.

Failing that, ask one of the sempai what the style of aikido is and if the dojo belongs to a larger organization. I might be an acronym, so listen sharp and write it down. One of us can probably track it down for you. There is a list of affiliations here: http://www.aikiweb.com/general/affiliat.html .

Quote:


How long should one train before going to a seminar. I went to my first karate one after having graded only once so I guess I had been training for three months.

Ask your sempai or instructor. They might have their own ideas.

I trained for two years before I knew there was such a thing as a seminar. But as soon as I did, I started attending them. There just about the maximum fun allowed by law.

Quote:


By the way Greg, I'm assuming Al in your dojo address stands for Alabama. I live in Canada but I have an Aunt and Uncle in alabama. They live in Trussville is that anywhere near your dojo?

Yep. Alabama. As I said somewhere "a back-woods dojo". Our metropolitan statistical area is about 300,000, but it's pretty spread out.

Trussville is about 1.5 hours away. It's an easy drive around the I-459 loop then down I-65. Be warned, if you visit, we'll nikyo you till you let us buy you dinner.

Best Regards,

PeterR 03-17-2002 11:00 PM

Just a quick comment on nomenclature and visiting other dojos. Basically I think it is a non-issue. Unless you are making a particular study of the style visiting is just that. Watch the sensei, try to copy, and if you feel that naming is important to help you remember far better to name the technique according to the conventions of your style.

Personally I find it very helpful to refer everthing that I see and hear to the teachings found in my style anyway. I have yet to come across anything that did not have some relation.

This is also the reason I recommend getting a reasonable grounding in one style before setting off. Contradictions are often not so contradictory - but it takes a little knowledge and experience to recognize that.

guest1234 03-17-2002 11:16 PM

Peter, I'd agree that it is best to go with what you know in terms of names, but what to tell the student who is asking the names without having set foot in the dojo yet? the point I was making was about beginners who focus on 'the RIGHT way' (you know them, they wander from senior to senior holding a book published by someone in a different style, or a magaizne or internet article, demanding to know why we don't use the 'right' name). I worry when folks who haven't even found a dojo yet are wanting to know answers that a dojo should be providing. Those are the types most likely to get frustrated when they find disagreement between what they read or see in videos and see and hear on the mat.

As for testing, Kat, not to sound like a broken record but ask at the dojo you join. Since you seem to have a fair amount of experience in karate, and have had several different sensei and dojos, then you must know that can vary from sensei to sensei. Some test those they want, when they want. Others only if it is requested. Just ask when you join a dojo, nothing that you read here matters, it is what your sensei tells you. You must realize this from all your previous experience.

Good luck on finding a place to train, let us know how you enjoyed your first class.

PeterR 03-17-2002 11:33 PM

Hi Colleen;

What we really need is an icon for shudder.

Coming from a Shodokan background nomenclature differences are a step beyond. I tend to run into rightous indignation about other things - nomenclature differences are only brought up to bolster the idea that Tomiki was a Judoka who never had a clue what Ueshiba M. was about.

Still my response, beyond different teachers different methods, is the same. This is the way we are - if you are interested stick around and maybe you'll understand why.



Quote:

Originally posted by ca Peter, I'd agree that it is best to go with what you know in terms of names, but what to tell the student who is asking the names without having set foot in the dojo yet? the point I was making was about beginners who focus on 'the RIGHT way' (you know them, they wander from senior to senior holding a book published by someone in a different style, or a magaizne or internet article, demanding to know why we don't use the 'right' name). I worry when folks who haven't even found a dojo yet are wanting to know answers that a dojo should be providing. Those are the types most likely to get frustrated when they find disagreement between what they read or see in videos and see and hear on the mat.

Simone 03-18-2002 12:48 AM

Hello Kathryn!

I'm from Germany and some things seem to be different here (can also depend on my style...).

We encourage our students to attend seminars when they finished their beginners course (approx. 6 - 7 weeks). I also did. My first big seminar was confusing, but that's normal, I think.

I was not jet really on a seminar outside an affiliated dojo, but I will go. And I don't ask the permission of my sensei every time. We spoke about this earlier and he agreed, so it's no question any more. And, agreeing with Chuck, change your sensei when he forbids you to visit others!

I visited many dojos, even outside my affiliation (and outside Germany). I always asked their permission before visiting (but without any introduction of my sensei) and it never was a problem. When I started this, I was 1st kyu and I, from my experience, also recomment a solid base in your "home"-style. Then you can enjoy and take to your advantage the great variety Aikido has to offer.

Hope you find the way working best for you,

Simone

Simone

Erik 03-18-2002 02:24 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Kat.C
Greg, you mentioned bogus titles and affiliations. This brings to mind another question. How do I check this stuff out. Hopefully without offending sensei? Which is never a good idea.
I'm not Greg, but the answer is sometimes you can't. When you walk into a dojo and the Sensei say's "I'm a 13th dan 7 times removed", you will have no idea if it's valid or not.

There's a Bay Area dojo which can tell you a nice lineage story. They talk about their teacher and how he's done this, done that and probably walked on the moon. Unfortunately, if his rank and title were real he'd be one of the most prominent Aikidoists in the USA, actually the world. At best, he's a nobody with a fake history, at his worst, well, it gets pretty bad if you know the story. Unfortunately, none of the neighboring dojos could tell you that truth without looking bad themselves.

If you've been in Karate you know the drill. You just can't tell.

Note: As far as I know this guy is no longer teaching but his students have gone on to open a couple of dojos. While their Aikido is almost certainly not up to my standards, which are not all that lofty, at least the pretty bad part seems to be gone.

Quote:

I read in another thread about students asking to be graded! Do you really do this?! My sensei told us to never ask about when we would be grading next and if we did they would make us wait longer.
This is all over the map. Some dojos have sign up sheets and encourage the students to test once they have the hours. Some just wing it when the sensei has the urge to test and others are in-between. Having hung around at least one serious winger I've had to not only ask, but cajole, push and plead (threats were on the horizon) to get a test done.

MaylandL 03-18-2002 03:28 AM

My experience is that most aikido clubs where I live are very inclusive and do not restrict their students from visiting other dojos. Certainly the senseis that I have trained under encourage visiting and training at other dojos to broaden an aikidoka's experience and technique.

There are regular friendship seminars where aikidoka from different "styles" attend to share techniques and to socialise. One of the dojos I train at (I train regularly at two but they're both aikikai) invites senseis from different dojos to train and share techniques. Recently we had some people form the local Kokikai dojo attend. It was a very enlightening training session.

Personally, I trained with yosheikan and yoshinkan aikidoka and have left feeling that I had learned something new and different. A good feeling :)

Assuming that the dojo that you choose and other dojos that you choose to visit are accommodating and inclusive, I think there's a lot to be gained from cross training in other aikido dojos. You may wish to stick with one dojo for a while to get use to the basics first before branching out to other dojos.

As for the dojos in your area, there's a lot that has already been said on this thread that I wont repeat.

All the best for your search for a aikido dojo and practice.

Jim ashby 03-18-2002 05:35 AM

We have many regular visitors from other clubs and associations. In fact, our Sensei encourages people to visit other Dojo's and invites other Association heads to teach at our place. We've just finished a weekend course taught by Sensei Wasyl Kolesnikov, which was very well attended. We have regular courses with Senseis Bill Smith and Hayden Foster at our Dojo (just see our website www.phoenix-aikido.com). I agree with others in this thread, if your Sensei is really against you visiting other Dojos, ask the reason why. It may be that your syllabus requirements are such that He/She doesn't want any outside influences, or it may be that they are afraid of comparison.
Have fun.

Kat.C 03-18-2002 05:39 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by ca

As for testing, Kat, not to sound like a broken record but ask at the dojo you join. Since you seem to have a fair amount of experience in karate, and have had several different sensei and dojos, then you must know that can vary from sensei to sensei. Some test those they want, when they want. Others only if it is requested. Just ask when you join a dojo, nothing that you read here matters, it is what your sensei tells you. You must realize this from all your previous experience.

Uh oh I had better clear this up. I never meant to imply that I had alot of experience in karate because I definitly don't.
I joined at the end of January 1995 and my sensei moved about three months later. Right after my first grading I believe. The sensei that he had asked to take over his dojo invited us to go to his sensei's dojo if we wanted to get in extra classes. So I was really lucky that summer, I got to train 4-5 times a week (our dojo only had classes twice a week) and I got to go to a seminar.:D Anyway my husband and I moved down here in november of the same year! We kept up training on our own for a couple of years. Whenever we visited home we would go to our dojo. Eventually we slacked off on training and eventually stopped altogether.
Well that was a rather long winded way for me to say that I actually had less than a year!
Anyway that is how I had three senseis. Lucky me they were all wonderful! My husband was in it for about four years I think. That is how we met. I joined the dojo and it was love at first punch!
I will of course ask the sensei of this dojo all these questions but I just wanted other peoples opinions so I could have an idea if what he says is "normal". I hate that word but I couldn't think of a better one.Besides I am curious right now and I am not at the dojo!

Kat.C 03-18-2002 05:50 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Greg Jennings

Hi Kathryn! Oh, yes. This is a friendly forum. Well, till a flame war starts. But they're much rarer here than on some other forums.


The first thing to do would be to look up the dojo on the AikiWeb dojo finder. http://www.aikiweb.com/search/ . It may list the style of aikido and an affiliation.

Failing that, ask one of the sempai what the style of aikido is and if the dojo belongs to a larger organization. I might be an acronym, so listen sharp and write it down. One of us can probably track it down for you. There is a list of affiliations here: http://www.aikiweb.com/general/affiliat.html .


Ask your sempai or instructor. They might have their own ideas.

I trained for two years before I knew there was such a thing as a seminar. But as soon as I did, I started attending them. There just about the maximum fun allowed by law.


Yep. Alabama. As I said somewhere "a back-woods dojo". Our metropolitan statistical area is about 300,000, but it's pretty spread out.

Trussville is about 1.5 hours away. It's an easy drive around the I-459 loop then down I-65. Be warned, if you visit, we'll nikyo you till you let us buy you dinner.

Best Regards,

Thanks for the info Greg I'll use those links and see what I find. 300,000 thats alot. The village where we live has a population of about 300. If you count people outside the village limits, such as ourselves, there might be 1000! When I visit my Aunt and Uncle ,I'll eventually get around to doing that,I'll definitly come to your dojo! No need to twist to my arm:eek: you can buy me dinner anytime!

jimbaker 03-18-2002 01:14 PM

Hey Kathryn,

As to testing, there are some dojos where a student is told when to test, but I would say that the majority of dojos simply hold tests on a regular schedule and it is up to the student to decide if they will test. There are minimum requirements, usually the number of practice days since the last test, which, once met, allow you to sign up for a test.

There are also a number of people who don't test at all, or quit testing after Shodan. I stopped taking tests after black belt and have been promoted "by recommendation" ever since.

Go and practice at seminars whenever you can. I remember a guy who came to a summer camp where the first class was his FIRST class. People sort of looked after him from then on, making sure he could fall or teaching him the basics. Aikido seems to attract helpful people like that.

I would also recommend that people check out the affiliations of a school (if any) before they start. I always gave new students the phone number for the USAF's office. Like Greg (Hi Greg, we're doing fine) said, you should also check the online services, like, well, this one!

JIM
Soon to be Aikido of Norfolk
currently Antarctica Aikikai
<http://home.earthlink.net/~jimbaker6/aa/index.htm>

Greg Jennings 03-18-2002 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by jimbaker
Like Greg (Hi Greg, we're doing fine) said, you should also check the online services, like, well, this one!

Hi Jim, Glad to hear that things are going OK. Please tell Wendy that I said "Hi".

Best Regards,


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