Well today my friend and I observed a training session of the New England Aikikai.
It was 90 degrees in boston today and the class was relitively small.
First we watched a beginners class
My expectations of the sensai teaching the class maybe were a little too high but, One thing I noticed is that he was constantly staring at the clock on the wall. Every two or three seconds he would look at it.
Also, the students would bow after he individually instructed one of them, but he would turn away and leave to look at the clock before they were done bowing.
The next class was a normal mixed class
This one was GREAT ! the sensai was a mix of respectfull, and energetic.
Some students that were late would wait at the side for permission to enter the dojo. She was very good. Teaching the students and acknowledge thier respestfull bows.
The general atmosphere seemd rather casual, but I suppose the degree of devotion is left up to the participant.
This school is pretty easy to get to, and I think I will attend this one.
Again, I plan to be more serious in my training, and I noticed a few others there that were serious also.
I look forward to begining my training, practicing my falls at home, and such.
I was REALLY impressed with the grace of the style as demonstrated by the senior students.
I think I will enjoy myself, and my expiriance in Aikido
Sounds like you found a good place to train, Norman! Let us know how your first day of training goes and such.
If you get the chance, you may also want to try dropping in on Shobu Aikido of Boston which is across town. I've visited there and found it to be a nice dojo as well.
After seeing your message, I felt obliged to respond. First thing I should say is hello and welcome. I was in the beginners class that you watched, the taller of the two fair skinned men. I didn't stick around for the latter class. I'm a new student, and hadn't practiced any martial art before starting Aikido ~2 months ago.
So far I've enjoyed my experience at New England Aikikai greatly. Everyone has been kind, helpful and understanding. I could probably list about 10 names of people whom I feel particularly grateful to, which is extrodinary considering how bad I am at remembering names.
When I read your post my first Instinct was to defend Paul, which I guess says something right there. BTW Paul was the sensai who taught the beginners class. On to the defense. Paul teaches one mixed class Saturday morning, and a beginners class afterwards. I suppose I could list many excuses: how Paul is not as young as he looks(and how he does not look particularly spry to begin with), how he has trouble sitting/kneeling(never seen him do so, sits cross legged)/bowing, how he was sweating profusely, though not as much as us (we had all been at the previous class, and literally left puddles under our feet). I would rather say that I did not feel disrespected, and I am sure neither of the other two did. It was an excessively hot day, we had all practiced hard already, yet I did not worry about the clock, nor did the thought enter my mind that I wished the class to be over soon (this has sometimes been known to happen <sheepish grin>). However, the best indication is probably that all of us were in Paul's class before the beginners class.
There are two mixed classes on Saturdays, one before and one after the beginners class. Paul usually teaches the first class, and someone else (often David when I went) teaches the second. No indication was given as to which class one should go to, and my initial inclination was to go to the later, as then I could sleep in and watch cartoons :) After taking the beginners class with Paul I changed my mind and switched to the earlier session. I assume others have done the same.
Paul generally concentrates on the basics of movement. On extension, movement from your center, stability, how to do things with as little force as possible. He encourages questions (sometimes forcefully), and keeps a much more relaxed atmosphere than in the other classes. It seems that his exercises, and comments are designed to get us to think about our bodies, or perhaps more correctly, to synch our minds with our bodies. The other begining classes (Tuesdays,Thursdays) would probably have been more along the lines of what you thought they should be. For me Pauls class provides something different from the other two, but which is equally as important.
Disclaimer: everything I said may be completley and totally wrong, as I am a beginner, but I don't think so, because I am an arrogant beginner.
Hopefully I'll see you at the dojo, or somewhere else. I think I've rambled on enough.
Norm, I like your quote, here's another.
"If you have one eye on your destination, then you have only one eye with which to find the way"
Hello Drew !
Its great to hear from you !
I really look forward to training with you often. My first day was today (monday) and I attended the 7:00AM,5:30PM, and the 6:45PM classes after struggling with proper form and movement I can't wait to get into Sensai Pauls class.
The observations are from my own perspective with the expectations that "I" had. Personally, I am a very dedicated person when I put my mind to something. I tend to take my training perhaps too seriously (although I dont believe one can be too serious)
I enjoyed meeting you tonight (I think that was you anyway *smiles*) and thank you for the social invite after class.
New England Aikikai
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