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tmichael 10-16-2002 02:47 PM

Newbie With Question
 
I am a total newbie to martial arts. Recently, however, I picked up Art of Peace and then began to read about Morihei Ueshiba and eventually Akido. This form of martial arts seems appealing to me and I thought that I'd like to seriously give it a try. I live in Ohio and from what I can tell we have basically three Akido dojos to choose from in Columbus. Two of them are ASU affliated and one of them is USAF affliated. What are the differences between USAF and ASU schools? Just from looking at the web pages listed for the schools. What are the sort of things to seek in a dojo? What things will set a good school apart from one that might be a scam? Again, I'm totally green to this so any advice would be super.

akiy 10-16-2002 02:58 PM

Hi Travis,

I wouldn't worry too much about affiliations and organizations. The main difference between USAF and ASU is that they're headed by different people. You can get more information on their organizations by looking at their websites:

USAF: http://www.usaikifed.com/

ASU: http://www.asu.org/

I'll include the "form letter" I usually send out to people asking for recommendations for places to train below.

Bill Witt sensei also wrote up a piece on "Evaluating a Dojo" which is available for reading here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/witt1.html

Hope that helps.

-- Jun

------------------

Here are some suggestions to help you choose a dojo.
  • Go visit all of the dojo in your area within a reasonable driving distance and observe a few classes at each of them. As aikido is not just something to be taken up and tossed away like some brief hobby, I think it's worth the time to do this -- especially if you're thinking about enrolling your child in a class, for instance. Never go by the "reputation" of a dojo alone.
  • Watch how the teacher interacts with his/her students. Watch how the students interact with their teacher. Watch how the students interact with each other. See if you feel comfortable with the way all of these interactions play out. It's often said that you can tell the quality of any kind of school by its students...
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the school's history and affiliation. Ask about the teacher's aikido history. Ask about the teacher's philosophy in doing aikido. See if any of their answers feels "different" than what you see being practiced and taught.
  • Do some research on aikido. Some good sites on the Internet include the Aikido FAQ <http://www.aikidofaq.com> and AikiWeb <http://www.aikiweb.com>.

Basically, a good yardstick to use if to think if the dojo itself is me place you want to be practicing for the next five years, probably least two to three times a week.

In any case, you may want to try using the AikiWeb Dojo Search Engine to look for a dojo in your area:

http://www.aikiweb.com/search

Chris Li 10-16-2002 04:49 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Travis Michael (tmichael) wrote:
I am a total newbie to martial arts. Recently, however, I picked up Art of Peace and then began to read about Morihei Ueshiba and eventually Akido. This form of martial arts seems appealing to me and I thought that I'd like to seriously give it a try. I live in Ohio and from what I can tell we have basically three Akido dojos to choose from in Columbus. Two of them are ASU affliated and one of them is USAF affliated. What are the differences between USAF and ASU schools? Just from looking at the web pages listed for the schools. What are the sort of things to seek in a dojo? What things will set a good school apart from one that might be a scam? Again, I'm totally green to this so any advice would be super.

All of the three schools that you're referring to (if I'm interpreting things correctly) are legitimate, so I wouldn't worry about scams. There are some differences in training philosophies between USAF and ASU, but they aren't large, and I wouldn't worry too much about them. I'd visit all three places and choose the one that I like best. My personal recommendation in the Columbus area would be Frank Hreha, but that's just me :).

Best,

Chris

Musuko 10-16-2002 07:07 PM

When I began aikido four months ago I found the nearest dojo and whent to an free introduction class. I felt very welcome in the dojo it had a nice atmosphere, and after an hour of stumbling over my own feet and smashing my face :freaky: into mat when trying to do a breakfall I knew this was the place I was looking for, and I have only grown funder of my dojo.

So my choice of dojo was based on my intuition influenced by a (one) great expirience, and I don't know how else I could have evaluated the dojo.

I hope your intuition will guide you as good as mine.

/Benjamin

bluestone 10-16-2002 09:24 PM

desicions, decisions...
 
Travis,

First off, welcome to aikido!

You can't get better advice that what's been posted already- the best way to select a dojo is to try each one on. Go watch a class. Go try a class! Follow your gut feeling, and choose the one where you are most comfortable.

Each of the dojos in Columbus has its own strengths and own flavor. I spent about eighteen months training at the Aikido School of Central Ohio, and it was a very positive experience. Garry Bielanski, one of the head instructors, also teaches the Aikido I class at Ohio State (Go Bucks! :D ). There is some crossover between that class (daytime), and the regular evening students at the dojo. The other two area schools I know only through attending seminars, although their head instructors are well respected (see Chris' post above).

Just my two cents worth :)

Good luck with your search,

Erica

> "A quick wit is best accompanied by quick reflexes." <

Dan Hover 10-16-2002 10:30 PM

Travis I grew up in Columbus OH, and trained at all of those dojo over the years, Columbus Aikikai, Aikido Schools of Central Ohio, and the USAF one, if you want get with me via E-mail and I can tell you more.

ross_l 10-17-2002 01:17 PM

There is also an Aikido Yoshokai club at Ohio State. I'm not sure if you have to be a student or not to join. Here is a page with the contact information:

http://www.ohiostaterecsports.org/pr...tm#martialarts

Greg Jennings 10-17-2002 07:20 PM

Re: Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Christopher Li (Chris Li) wrote:
My personal recommendation in the Columbus area would be Frank Hreha, but that's just me :).

I've heard really good things about Hreha Sensei, but I haven't trained with him.

I have trained a little with Paul Linden at the USAF dojo. He's a nice fellow and I liked the way he felt.

You're lucky to have several good choices to choose from.

One other thing: If you get a chance to visit Mike McVey at Yellow Springs Aikido, http://www.ysaohio.com/ , it would be a good trip. He's a great guy with a different flavor of aikido than what the Columbus dojo have. If you visit, please give him my regards.

Best Regards,

Chris Li 10-17-2002 08:42 PM

Re: Re: Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Greg Jennings wrote:
I've heard really good things about Hreha Sensei, but I haven't trained with him.

I have trained a little with Paul Linden at the USAF dojo. He's a nice fellow and I liked the way he felt.

I have mixed feelings about Paul, but I liked his wife a lot - OTOH, I haven't seen either of them in over 15 years, so I don't know how much anything holds true these days...

Best,

Chris

Mike Pabst 12-02-2005 07:35 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Hello Travis,

Regarding your search for Aikido in Columbus Ohio. I read all the good advise given thus far on finding a dojo to suit your needs and there really isn't much worth adding. I can personally recommend all of the dojos you've listed. They all have unique qualities worth pursuing.

I just want to mention that there is yet another Aikido dojo in Columbus Ohio - The Circle Of Harmony. Friends are always welcomed and you can find out more by going to www.aikicircle.com

Best of luck to you,

Mike Pabst

crbateman 12-02-2005 08:14 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Both organizations are headed by longtime students of O'Sensei. The credibility of these men is unquestionable. But what should be most important to YOU is the feel you get from the instructors and students in each dojo. I would urge you to ask questions, listen to the answers, and take trial lessons in each, and get a feel for them on your own terms before you make a decision. I would be willing to bet that you'll emerge from this process with a clear favorite, and what feels the best for you probably is. Regardless of the outcome, welcome aboard.

markwalsh 12-02-2005 11:54 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
I've met Paul Linden twice and wish to spend a lot more time with him. In my opinion he's an aiki-genius.

He's written a bunch of interesting articles/ books, some of which can be found here:
http://aiki-extensions.org/member_pubs.html

crbateman 12-03-2005 06:24 AM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Mark Walsh wrote:
I've met Paul Linden twice and wish to spend a lot more time with him. In my opinion he's an aiki-genius.

He's written a bunch of interesting articles/ books, some of which can be found here:
http://aiki-extensions.org/member_pubs.html

Mark, I've read the e-books... they are good reads. Do you know if he has put anything out in conventional book form? (Afraid I might have missed something...)

roosvelt 12-03-2005 04:05 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Mark Walsh wrote:
I've met Paul Linden twice and wish to spend a lot more time with him. In my opinion he's an aiki-genius.

He's written a bunch of interesting articles/ books, some of which can be found here:
http://aiki-extensions.org/member_pubs.html


Good article.

Is there more?

Matthew White 12-12-2005 09:56 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
This answer may get me in trouble, but I'll say it anyway... look for anybody wearing red tape... look for a triage center in the room... ask how often to expect to get joint sprains, bruises, bodily harm in general. ask how many injuries the dojo has had in the past 2-5 years (as in, kept them from going to work the next day, or hospitalized them).

There is, IMO, far to cavalier an attitude in the "general aikido world" about what kind of "abuse" constitutes "good training". Far too many people are being hurt.

Having said that, let me leave you with this... I've never trained with the groups you're talking about, I've never met or heard of them. So I don't know what kind of training they have, so I'm NOT knocking them. I have no experience with them. They could be great guys with a perfect history of no injuries ever in their dojo. I don't know.

Mark Uttech 12-13-2005 12:29 AM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Mathew, you are in trouble

justin 12-13-2005 01:35 AM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
I don't think that is a fair picture by which to judge a dojo on, in any dojo in any art you will have injuries from not paying attention to some junior or senior on a power trip good wits is all you need to keep you away from these injuries i.e. don't partner with them, the first few months if you have never trained in any arts before will be sore you will have to pull a few sickies as you back feels like a herd of elephants have been doing ballet on it, doesn't mean the dojo or the style being taught it poor.

Ed Shockley 12-31-2005 09:45 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Definitely take the time at least to watch Aikido School of Central Ohio. No knock intended on the other schools because I have not visited them but I lucked into Sensei Gary when visiting in-laws years ago and now I encourage my wife to visit her mom. The weapons work is stellar, the open hand inspired, the dojo beautiful and the atmosphere respectful but not stiff. Any dojo that can make a man want to visit his mother in law must be very good. Also, they just graduated the largest class of Yudansha in their dojo's history so there is a large competent group of Sempai teaching as well. Enjoy.

PS: It's also reasonably priced.

Don_Modesto 01-01-2006 04:55 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Christopher Li wrote:
My personal recommendation in the Columbus area would be Frank Hreha, but that's just me :).

Hreha is excellent and fun. Good guy, good teacher.

I haven't met or trained with the others.

Don_Modesto 01-01-2006 10:38 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Update: Just on the phone tonight with a friend who teaches a couple of Hreha's relocated students. Evidently Hrera has become peripatetic and no longer has a dojo.

Alas!

Catch him at one of his seminars; he's worth it.

Chris Li 01-01-2006 11:45 PM

Re: Newbie With Question
 
Quote:

Don J. Modesto wrote:
Update: Just on the phone tonight with a friend who teaches a couple of Hreha's relocated students. Evidently Hrera has become peripatetic and no longer has a dojo.

Alas!

Catch him at one of his seminars; he's worth it.

For those who are interested:

http://www.hrehamaps.net/

Best,

Chris


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