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NekVTAikido 01-09-2014 08:32 PM

Some Advice on Starting Out
Although this article specifically talks about the author's experience in a BJJ gym, the points she makes are very applicable to aikido as well

Dave Sampson 01-12-2014 08:26 AM

Re: Some Advice on Starting Out

Gordon Young wrote: (Post 334083)
Although this article specifically talks about the author's experience in a BJJ gym, the points she makes are very applicable to aikido as well

I can only speak of my experience when i first started aikido and it differs completely to the lady who wrote the article. I have never seen a more friendly environment being offered to an outsider than when i first stepped into the dojo and i have been in lots of clubs, associations in my life. These were warm hands being extended that were sincere unlike the, which i perceived to be superficially, ones being offered at the authors first dojo. Although i have to agree that you can't force a "relationship" or butt your way in as mentioned in the article.

Nor am i there to offer advice on how to teach us better. I am there to absorb and do in the beginning. How i learn is up to me but i am sure as hell not going to lecture sensei on how they can teach me. These techniques have been done for a long time prior to my arrival and i trust that they work.

If, however, there are things that our teachers need to be aware of that could effect our progression then they do need to be made aware of these potential issues that could impact our learning. This has nothing to do with being disrespectful at all. Somebody that has bee through trauma could have PTSD and react in unexpected ways to being "handled" with force. That needs to be addressed. The last thing a practitioner of aikido needs is mental disassociation at the moment an atemi comes in as that could lead to injury.

Krystal Locke 01-14-2014 08:19 AM

Re: Some Advice on Starting Out
I have certainly felt the internal conflict the author described in her training partners.

I really like human beings, and I am very excited and pleased to get a new person on the mat. I give my best ukemi and friendship, I offer my body and my safety up to them gladly, and then they're gone. It is a little uncomfortable when I over-commit to a newbie.So I try to find a middle ground where I am happy to meet them, happy to give my best because that is how I train anyway, but I wont jump right in emotionally.

My experience shows that sometimes, it is too much of a welcome that drives folks away. Sometimes sempai's excitement is overwhelming. And I wonder, should I allow every newcomer in? Is it not also appropriate that martial arts training should have some sort of vetting process, some sort of initiation/trial period to see if there's a good fit, in both directions? Isn't that self-defense of a very mild and reasonable sort?

Janet Rosen 01-14-2014 09:35 AM

Re: Some Advice on Starting Out
I don't quite understand why anybody expects "instant community" upon joining a dojo, but then, I was the seven year old who took one look at a roomful of "Brownies" (junior girl scouts), turned to my mom and said "can we go home now?" :-)
I love working with newbies but that doesn't mean I want to share personal stuff or go out to coffee with them.

lbb 01-14-2014 09:49 AM

Re: Some Advice on Starting Out
I think that most people who are there to train are not too terribly concerned with becoming part of the in-group right away (or even at all). I'm guessing that people who are, are probably after something other than training. A dojo can be a good social outlet, but if that's your main reason for being there, there are better choices.

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