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AsimHanif 12-09-2003 08:08 AM

Has Past training helped or hindered?
When I first started training in aikido I distinctly remember saying to myself (almost like a mantra, "forget what you know, forget what you know."
I tried to put my past training in a jar and forget about it thinking that would clear the way for me to learn aikido. Well that screwed me up literally for years. It wasn't until I embraced my past that I was able to progress. I found that the arts I studied previously had much value. There are many common threads and it also helps me to approach practice from a different perspective. Although my initial instincts are still very much "attack" as opposed to blend, the more I practice the more my combined skills begin to synthesize.

Does anyone else have a similar or different experience? How did you deal with it? For 2 years I was really screwed up! I still am but that's a different story:-)

thisisnotreal 12-09-2003 08:10 AM

May I ask what MA's you've trained in?


AsimHanif 12-09-2003 08:22 AM

Washin-ryu, Goju-ryu (Shorei-ha), and Kickboxing. For over 20 years I studied karate so now looking back I think it was rather insane to think that it wouldn't come out. I'm not talking about trying to do karate while practicing aikido. That was never an issue. But just my instincts, I had to soften some of my movements, shorten stance, etc.

aikidoc 12-09-2003 10:47 AM

I sometimes have difficulty getting students to break footwork patterns developed in other arts: hanmi is not a cat stance for example with the weight on the back foot. That and sometimes softening or lack of musubi create difficulties. They are used to punching and getting out of there and not connecting with tori.

Anders Bjonback 12-09-2003 03:49 PM

My two and a half years of training in Brazilain Jui Jitsu created a lot of problems with my aikido when I first started (a year and a half ago), and still creates some problems. As I train more and learn aikido's way of movement, my former jui jistu training doesn't create as many problems. I'm not trying to forget what I learned in jui jistu, because it's still useful in some situations, and there's no reason to try to forget it. There are times (especially in randori) when I have a strong instinct to use jui jistu, but it's not a problem until I use it when it's not appropriate.

(edit: by the way, I was also really bad in jui jitsu, so maybe it wouldn't be so much of a problem if I was actually had a decent level of skill in it and learned how to relax)

p00kiethebear 12-09-2003 04:34 PM

When I was really young (age 9 - 14) i did nothing but gymnastics for 9 - 12 hours a week. Gymnastics teaches the body how to adapt and move in the most unlikely ways. It taught me a great knowledge of where my center was.

What it gave me, was the ability to learn almost any new movement quickly.

When I started Aikido when i was 17, I improved extremely quickly getting my 5th in 4th kyu in less than "standard" minimal time.

It seems that the arts that teach >movement< in general rather than "martial movement" like in karate or jiujutsu, give the best foundation for learning new arts, whether they be martial, or dance.

boni tongson 12-09-2003 07:21 PM

I did karate before studying Aikido but I really did not dedicate myself to training then so when I studied Aikido it was as if my first martial art was Aikido. I think it also took several months for me to attain that naturalness in performing the techniques but all in all I think my past Karate training did not hinder me.

Is it an advantage if one really starts Aikido without prior training in other martial arts?

although I'm also doing other martial arts now but thats after I did Aikido and it does not hinder me or anything while i'm training in Aikido. :)

Clayton Drescher 12-09-2003 07:58 PM

An uke I worked with the other day had previous training in karate(substantial I assume) and it was affecting his ukemi on my technique. Sensei came over and explained to us how to approach ukemi in certain situations: to be one step behind and 3 steps ahead so that you aren't unfairly following the technique but you know where its going to end up eventually.

Perhaps if you've trained alot in another art, you would reflexively see that 3rd step ahead as a karate or judo technique instead of an aikido technique. If that were the case, I can see where past cross-art training could hinder a person until they clear their reflexes enough to focus only on the proper art at the proper time.



jk 12-09-2003 08:18 PM

Funny that this topic came up. Before I started training in aikido, I trained relatively seriously in hapkido for 8 years, along with a trivial smattering of other arts. When I watched my current aikido instructor for the first time, I was quite taken with the beauty of the movement. Like Asim, I repeated the mantra of "forget what you know" when practicing aikido, and it seemed to help my progress.

However, what you've learned in the past more or less stays with you...I'm at a point right now where, right or wrong, I'm starting to question what my instructor is teaching me; there are some things he's teaching me that I feel do not jibe with my previous experience in terms of "what works." Perhaps students who come into aikido from other arts will, at some point, feel an urge to put their aikido instructor to the test; I honestly find myself wishing that my instructor will say to me: "Just bring it...come at me with whatever you've got." There's a lecture on the hazards of ego in here; give it to me if you must.

Seeing aikido through the filter of past martial arts experience may, at some point in time, turn you into a doubting Thomas with regards to the aikido you're being taught (in contrast to aikido as a whole, of course). How that gets resolved is between the doubting Thomas and the aikido instructor in question.

pbaehr 12-09-2003 08:23 PM

When I was practicing karate a very talented black belt I met there came to practice with us at aikido. He progressed much faster than many of the other new students that started with him. His biggest problem was that his techniques were typically on the rigid side. But it improved as time went on. On the flip side, I started karate after I'd been training in aikido and I felt it helped me pick up on things more easily.

SeiserL 12-10-2003 05:31 AM

Initially I found my training in FMA/JKD worked against me so I kept the two arts separate. As I progress they blend by themselves.

wendyrowe 12-10-2003 08:14 AM

My karate training has increased my strength and stamina LOTS. Without that, I wouldn't be able to make it through our intense aikido practices. And after learning karate breakfalls, ukemi was nothing to fear. Karate training also gave me a headstart on learning how to focus on what's important in training.

My sensei would be a better judge, but I think I focus completely on aikido during practice without letting karate "corrupt" it.

But my long karate stances keep showing up in my tai chi, causing my tai chi instructor to comment every so often that that's the hardest habit to break.

AsimHanif 12-10-2003 09:12 AM

Good stuff. I hope I can get all this in...

Is it an advantage if one really starts Aikido without prior training in other martial arts?

Good question Boni.

Maybe not but I have to admit I wish more aikidoist knew how to attack with conviction not necessarily punch or kick.

; I honestly find myself wishing that my instructor will say to me: "Just bring it...come at me with whatever you've got." There's a lecture on the hazards of ego in here; give it to me if you must.

JK, I think that's natural not necessarily ego. You have other experiences that are "allowing" you to critically think about these issues.

I am in a good situation whereby I have a good instructor and a Sandan to work with outside of regular class and I can attack them with a little more ferver. I think in my situation we look at it as an opportunity to learn from each other. Maybe you can approach it like that but I wouldn't do it during formal classes.

I also agree with respondents who indicated the value of karate (or past training) was that you are able to pick up things more quickly. In my case I had to accept my past first.

Wendy - I also used Tai Chi (Yang) to transition to soft style (aikido). I plan on going back to Tai Chi (Chen) after the new year as part of my overall training.

Edward 12-10-2003 10:33 PM

My many years of judo training helped me a lot when I first started aikido. I didn't need to learn ukemi, eventhough I had to adapt mine gradually to aikido's softer version. I was and probably still am the only one in class who has no fear of high breakfalls, and who has absolutely no issues with koshi nage. On the other hand, I was a little apprehensive in the beginning of why should I take ukemi for someone who is nunable to take my balance and I resisted a lot, which didn't help me create friends. Also, I had, and probably still do to a certain extent, a lot of koshi in my nage techniques such as irimi nage and kokyu nage, which is not very esthetic but quite efficient. However, I believe I almost got over it now, judging by the fewer remarks I am getting from the instructors, or maybe they just gave up on me :(

BKimpel 12-11-2003 12:56 PM

I previously studied Karate (4 years), Judo (1 year), and JKD (informally). All of them helped my Aikido progress more quickly. I didn't need to learn how to attack (I got that from the hard styles), and Judo's ukemi and kuzushi lessons worked in just fine. I found that the vertical punch in JKD works best for atemi to the face (90% of the atemi I do), but maybe that's just me. Even the concept behind the one-inch-punch helps in Aikido atemi, in that many times you need to atemi from any position.

In fact, just the other day one of the sensei mentioned that I had actually picked up a bad habit from so much time in Aikido (8 years since I have formally studied Karate now). My ma-ai was way too close.

He gave me a light little kick to the belly to remind me and I was back on track, but now I am aware of the natural tendency to get closer and closer when practicing Aikido. I believe it is because of the lack of a committed attack for the most part. From what I have observed, all of the people that come from a hard-style background seem to give more committed, more real attacks that force you to remember the ‘martial' side (IMO).

cindy perkins 12-11-2003 07:24 PM

Ego lesson: Seems that the lesson would depend upon your use of ego. Should a karate practitioner and an aikidoka take each other on? If both know ukemi, trust each other, and are not ego-bound to triumph, why not? O-Sensei took on practitioners of many arts with his new "aikido." It is not the action, but the spirit in which it is engaged, that would determine whether it is an admirable learning experience or an ego conflict, IMHO.

And if you and your instructor chose to do this in a spirit of joy and curiosity, I (and probably lots of other beginning aikidoka) would love to witness it.

AsimHanif 12-16-2003 12:38 PM

I agree with Cindy. It should be more of a study opportunity than a "this style verse that style" matter.

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