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Different stroke 01-27-2005 11:13 AM

Training in other schools of aikido
 
I belong to an aikikai organization and have been training for quite a while. I have also wanted to train other schools of aikido simultaneous with my present aikikai style to broad my knowledge and hopefully my skill as well. The problem is - my teacher will never permit it. I have not asked him yet but I know he will not as even the utter of Iwama-ryu brings disgust to his face. At one time, someone gave me a brochure of a Yoshinkan school that was nicely done which I then passed to him to have a look. Without a glance, he threw it into the waste-paper basket obvious to the rest of the class.

As I have invested much time and money thus far, I jeopardize my prospect of getting a shodan by being kicked out the Aikikai dojo if I am caught training in another style. Does it mean I am being disloyal to my teacher and Aikikai? I know I am not but how can I convince my teacher?

Adam Alexander 01-27-2005 06:38 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
that is disloyal. in an honorable exchange, he gives you his knowledge, you give him what you know he wants for that knowledge: allegiance. If you do not wish to give him allegiance, then you should not accept what he is offering for that allegance: knowledge.

dekodo 01-27-2005 08:32 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
that is disloyal. in an honorable exchange, he gives you his knowledge, you give him what you know he wants for that knowledge: allegiance. If you do not wish to give him allegiance, then you should not accept what he is offering for that allegance: knowledge.


I could not agree less.

First off, nobody has all the answers. I realize there are things I cannot give to my students, experiences I simply do not have. That in no way invalidates what I am doing on the mat.

The open exchange of concepts and ideas...sharing...that is what leads to knowledge. If a student (no matter how much my junior) has something to offer, regardless of where it came form, I want to explore it so I can grow and develop.

If a student of mine finds something else out there that suits them better, then I would encourage them to explore it. My Aikido is still my aikido, so the way I see, If the student leaves, what I had to offer was not for them...

D.K.

David Yap 01-27-2005 09:16 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
that is disloyal. in an honorable exchange, he gives you his knowledge, you give him what you know he wants for that knowledge: allegiance. If you do not wish to give him allegiance, then you should not accept what he is offering for that allegance: knowledge.

Jean,

I tend not to agree with you. In the past (> 50 years ago), I may agree with you. What if his teacher makes his living by instructing aikido or any MA for that matter? The student now pays for his lesson - it is not simply a teacher-student relationship but also vendor-client relationship. When the student first joins a dojo, he is told to fill a form (his name, address, contact, etc.) and probably a waiver. I don't think allegiance is mentioned or implied anywhere.

I speak as a former dojo-cho (karate). I don't demand allegiance from my students, I allow them to train in any MA discipline or with other style of karate. While I taught Shotokan, I train Goju-ryu and aikido. "Armed" with these knowledge, I can answer their questions appropriately. The loyalty I gain from my students (past & present) is not from a teacher-student relationship but rather from our friendship - the sharing of knowledge, the open-mindedness, the trust and honesty with one and other. I always tell my students not to accept my answers as the honest truth but to put them to test and they should share their findings, good or bad, with everyone including myself. I feel I can learn as much from my students by teaching them or looking at their movements and from their experience from other MA disciplines.

Change is inevitable, growth is optional and tradition should be preserved (Shu Ha Ri). The truth is Allegiance is not a Tradition.

Happy training

David Y

Janet Rosen 01-27-2005 09:28 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
The modern aikido dojo is not a feudal institution for the transmission of knowledge from one teacher to a small group of selected persons. It is a place that students from a variety of backgrounds, needs, abilities enter--with the permission of the instructor--and while sometimes a student and an instructor may develop a bond of loyalty, I'd say that just as often it does NOT happen.
Me, I learned early on that there are many styles of teaching, learning, and doing aikido, and that I could learn something from each of them. At the same time, I had instructors who felt they had the "one true way." Well, it was hard, because I'd fallen for the loyalty thing. But yknow what? You change dojos and its not the end of the world.
I would never be a member of a dojo that looked askance at me taking responsibility for my own training, including going to seminars or visiting other dojos.

maikerus 01-27-2005 09:51 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
I also believe that one should be able to train anywhere and learn from anyone, although you probably should have a "main" dojo for where you do your gradings.

This instructor apparantly does not allow that. Most of us disagree with that, thinking that (as Janet puts so well) "there are many styles of teaching, learning, and doing aikido, and that I could learn something from each of them."

But shouldn't that be their choice as an instructor/dojocho/whatever. If someone wants to learn from this instructor then they should abide by their rules. The old "when you are in my house you do it my way" kind of attitude. As Jean points out this is the price that is paid for the knoledge received. If we complain about this because we want "choice" then we can hardly complain when this instructor "has chosen".

My advice would be to discuss why you want to train elsewhere from him and listen to his reasons why he thinks you shouldn't. If the two of you can't agree and you still want to train elsewhere then walk away. Shodan isn't so important that it can't wait another few years at another dojo.

Oh...and pick up that Yoshinkan pamphlet out of the garbage and go see them if you do decide to leave ;)

My few yen...

--Michael

Amir Krause 01-28-2005 03:16 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

that is disloyal. in an honorable exchange, he gives you his knowledge, you give him what you know he wants for that knowledge: allegiance. If you do not wish to give him allegiance, then you should not accept what he is offering for that allegiance: knowledge.
The disloyal act here is going behind your teachers back and doing a thing he forbids. Learning from other teachers/ styles should be encouraged and does not mean a break of loyalty.

Quote:

My advice would be to discuss why you want to train elsewhere from him and listen to his reasons why he thinks you shouldn't. If the two of you can't agree and you still want to train elsewhere then walk away. Shodan isn't so important that it can't wait another few years at another dojo.
I agree. If he merely prefers his students not to go and learn from others before the have a strong solid basis (some would say Shodan or 1st Kyu), it is very sound. If he expects his students to learn only from him, I think you should probably start thinking on quitting at some point (unless he is an exceptional teacher).
My teacher actually encourages his students to learn more M.A. (He is teaching Judo & Karate besides Korindo Aikido and progressed in all 3 M.A. to senior ranks (around 6th Dan)).
I went to train in Aikikai for a short while in another dojo and he just kept asking me for interesting new ideas. I have also trained in TKD for a period (2-3 years) and one of my reasons was my wish to see the perceptions of other teachers. Other students went to train in Kendo and other M.A.

One point to consider is that when you wish to study another style of Aikido, it does imply some lack of confidence in his teaching of THE SAME M.A. and from my experience, you mat find it more difficult to distinguish the teachings and custom in 2 similar Dojo's...

Amir

Adam Alexander 01-28-2005 03:35 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
You folks have me wrong. I'm not saying it's a feudal agreement. I'm not saying that an instructor should or should not demand allegiance.

What I am saying, is that our anonymous friend KNOWS the price of this instuctor's time. That price is monthly dues AND total commitment to only that style/instructor.

Sure, he has the right to go elsewhere. I'm not saying that he MUST stay. I'm only saying, pay the price or be honest that you're not willing to do so.

Janet Rosen 01-28-2005 03:55 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Put that way, yes, Jean, I agree w/ you.

Pauliina Lievonen 01-28-2005 04:10 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
What I am saying, is that our anonymous friend KNOWS the price of this instuctor's time. That price is monthly dues AND total commitment to only that style/instructor.

Sure, he has the right to go elsewhere. I'm not saying that he MUST stay. I'm only saying, pay the price or be honest that you're not willing to do so.

I've been in this situation and I chose to leave.

In my opinion, a "loyalty" that is forced is false loyalty and not worth much. The loyalty that I feel for my current teacher comes from mutual respect and trust and is worth so much more. It doesn't stop me from visiting other schools and seminars. It keeps me coming back though. :D

kvaak
Pauliina

Chris Li 01-28-2005 06:11 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Pauliina Lievonen wrote:
I've been in this situation and I chose to leave.

In my opinion, a "loyalty" that is forced is false loyalty and not worth much. The loyalty that I feel for my current teacher comes from mutual respect and trust and is worth so much more. It doesn't stop me from visiting other schools and seminars. It keeps me coming back though. :D

kvaak
Pauliina

I would too. The fact of the matter is, you can't force people to do something that they don't want to - they end up leaving anyway and all that happens is a lot of resentment and hurt feelings is generated along the way.

Best,

Chris

MaryKaye 01-28-2005 07:19 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
If it was a permanent ban and not just "I'd rather you didn't until you have a better basis here," I think I'd leave. I'd certainly think very hard about leaving.

It just doesn't seem like a healthy dynamic. It could come from insecurity in the teacher's abilities, or an excessive desire for control, or a history of infighting with other dojo, but none of those sound very good to me.

But it would be good to ask before quitting, just in case the answer is either "You need a more solid grounding first" or "I know the dojo you're considering and it's bad for reasons X, Y and Z." Or just maybe "All right, if you can do it without interfering with your training here"--it's hard to know till you try.

Mary Kaye

maikerus 01-28-2005 07:47 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
I wouldn't call it a forced loyalty, but rather (as Jean stated) this is the price of the instructor's time. By entering into that agreement you acknowledge and accept that limitation.

An analogy I see would be choosing between, say Japanese citizenship and Canadian citizenship. My kids will have to choose at the age of 18 whether they are going to be Canadian or Japanese because the Japanese government says that if you are a Japanese citizen then you cannot hold citizenship in any other country. The government says that at the age of 18 you must decide.

The Canadian government, on the other hand, allows its citizens to also be citizens of another country and to hold multiple passports.

Should we advise all Japanese to go become another nationality because of this restriction placed on them? Its a little absurd to suggest that, but this is still the price of being Japanese.

Bronson 01-29-2005 12:25 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Michael Stuempel wrote:
this is the price of the instructor's time. By entering into that agreement you acknowledge and accept that limitation.

I think in order for this to apply the instructor would have to make it clear to new/prospective students that this was how he ran his school.

Bronson

maikerus 01-29-2005 01:12 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Bronson...good point. I missed that in the original post. I thought it was made clear to this instructor's students, but re-reading the post I see that it looks more like its an assumption made by the student.

--Michael

Different Stroke 01-29-2005 04:08 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
You folks have me wrong. I'm not saying it's a feudal agreement. I'm not saying that an instructor should or should not demand allegiance.

What I am saying, is that our anonymous friend KNOWS the price of this instuctor's time. That price is monthly dues AND total commitment to only that style/instructor.

Sure, he has the right to go elsewhere. I'm not saying that he MUST stay. I'm only saying, pay the price or be honest that you're not willing to do so.

Hi Jean,

You are confusing me. I, amongst others, is not getting free lessons, we pay the monthly dues. I am not walking away from the current dojo. I am prepared to invest more money and time in aikido joining an additional dojo. At some aikikai dojo, there may be more than one teachers instructing at different time and students get to do and feel things differently. But not so at my place. If I attend another Aikikai dojo, I may offend my teacher by giving the impression that his instructions are inadequate. My intention is join a non-aikikai dojo or aikikai dojo that follows either the Iwama system or Nishio's system to broad my aikido knowledge; after all both Saito and Nishio was and is direct students of O Sensei.

For some reasons, I feel my teacher is afraid of offending anyone at Aikikai Hombu, hence, the "dislike" for Yoshinkan, Iwama-ryu and probably Nishio. So, when I said he will not permit it means he will not permit it period - no discussion.
So to my question: Disloyalty to who? My teacher or to Aikikai?

Regards

Adam Alexander 01-29-2005 05:12 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Here's an analogy:

I'm selling a Ford. The price is $100, three tofu dinners and twenty hours of cleaning my house.

I'm not willing to negotiate and I'm willing to lose you as a buyer.


Your instructor is selling the car (Aikido). The price is allegiance (in his way) and dues. He will not negotiate ("So, when I said he will not permit it means he will not permit it period - no discussion.")

You say,"...I, amongst others, is not getting free lessons, we pay the monthly dues." This is like saying,"sure, I took the car, but I paid him $100." Problem is, I wanted a whole lot more than $100...so does your Sensei.

Being that it's a car, we'd say that you stole it. However, being knowledge and time, we don't say that it's stealing from your Sensei. What is it then?


And finally, you say,"So to my question: Disloyalty to who? My teacher or to Aikikai?"

I respond: When you take my car without paying the total price, are you stealing from me, or Ford?

Different Stroke 01-29-2005 06:07 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Here's an analogy:...

Thanks for analogy. Comprehensive.

X amount is paid for the lessons and that is the perceived value and nothing else is demanded or implied. Some of my sempai in fact train at other Aikikai dojo, no problem. Some also train in other MA, again no problem.

The problem is training at other schools of aikido.

So, the answer I fiqured out must be loyalty to Aikikai. It must Aikikai or Hombu favored system, any other school is no no. I am a 2nd Kyu. I think I will buy time, take shodan and then decide from there. It is a small world; if I leave now, join another Aikikai dojo which permits me to train in another school, he will definitely hear about it. The reason I signed uo with him is that he is A senior instructor and every other Aikikai instructors look up to him.

Thanks for the pointer.

stuartjvnorton 01-29-2005 06:32 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Maybe he's just a follower of the One True Path.

L. Camejo 01-29-2005 11:01 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

For some reasons, I feel my teacher is afraid of offending anyone at Aikikai Hombu, hence, the "dislike" for Yoshinkan, Iwama-ryu and probably Nishio. So, when I said he will not permit it means he will not permit it period - no discussion.
Personally I think you should find a Shodokan (aka Tomiki) Dojo. :cool:

If he dislikes Yoshinkan, Iwama and Nishio then by logic he should absolutely hate us. If you're gonna be an Aiki-Heathen, be a REAL Aiki-Heathen is what I say evileyes :crazy: .

Quote:

So to my question: Disloyalty to who? My teacher or to Aikikai?
It can't be disloyalty to Aikikai since I know of many Aikikai instructors (and a couple Shihans) who are open to cross training within Aikido. Unless they are all heathens too. :confused:

If you want to be "loyal" to your teacher, great. But unless you signed an agreement to be "loyal to him alone and his one true path" when you signed up for classes, then there is no reason to stick around and limit yourself. Most non-ego intoxicated Instructors I have met are very open to their students "standing on their shoulders" and moving beyond even them. To do this one often needs a comprehensive view of Budo that allows the the more particular training in one's style to make a bit more sense when seen from an outside perspective.

From my experience Instructors who call for this sort of loyalty are either 1)Afraid that their quality of instruction is not up to the par of the group they are representing 2) Taking liberties in their own teaching methods that would be frowned upon if viewed by other teachers who know how to spot BS 3) So consumed with their own ego and belief that they are on the "one true path" that they view other training methods as being somehow "beneath" their own. :freaky:

The above is just from my experience, for all of the above I'd be heading out the door. If you are worried about disloyalty the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to learn "Aikido" and be proficient in it or if you want to align yourself politically with a particular system of teaching and become an instructor yourself etc. etc. If your answer is the former then you do whatever it takes to be proficient (in your own view) in Aikido. If the answer is the second one, then you have to decide whether you want to be Aikikai affiliated or affiliated to your instructor (which at the moment is the same thing as being Aikikai affiliated, but may be only so for the moment). Often the "I am the one true way" sorts tend to get antsy when their overseeing organisation is not going where they would like it to.

So its your call - Politics or Proficiency? Sometimes you can get both in the same place, often not.

Just my take. I reserve the right to be wrong.;)
LC:ai::ki:

Different Stroke 01-29-2005 08:36 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Larry Camejo wrote:
Personally I think you should find a Shodokan (aka Tomiki) Dojo. :cool:

None where I live.

Quote:

If you want to be "loyal" to your teacher, great. But unless you signed an agreement to be "loyal to him alone and his one true path" when you signed up for classes, then there is no reason to stick around and limit yourself. Most non-ego intoxicated Instructors I have met are very open to their students "standing on their shoulders" and moving beyond even them. To do this one often needs a comprehensive view of Budo that allows the the more particular training in one's style to make a bit more sense when seen from an outside perspective.
Agree.

Quote:

From my experience Instructors who call for this sort of loyalty are either 1)Afraid that their quality of instruction is not up to the par of the group they are representing 2) Taking liberties in their own teaching methods that would be frowned upon if viewed by other teachers who know how to spot BS 3) So consumed with their own ego and belief that they are on the "one true path" that they view other training methods as being somehow "beneath" their own. :freaky:
Hmm, this starts me wondering...

Quote:

So its your call - Politics or Proficiency? Sometimes you can get both in the same place, often not.
Definitely not from my post.

Quote:

Just my take. I reserve the right to be wrong.;)
LC:ai::ki:
You read my thoughts absolutely well. Much thanks.

Hanna B 01-29-2005 09:14 PM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Your teacher has an unfortunate attitude. IMO it would be very very difficult to train in his dojo plus another one for any kind of time. Going elsewhere might be the first step to leave.

It is up to you how you want to handle it.

Amir Krause 01-30-2005 01:34 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

I, amongst others, is not getting free lessons, we pay the monthly dues. I am not walking away from the current dojo. I am prepared to invest more money and time in aikido joining an additional dojo.

Learning Aikido (or any other "way of life") means you should forget about the Customer mentality. Your paying the teacher has nothing to do with the situation and doesn't give you any more rights!

Quote:

he will not permit it period - no discussion.
So you must make your choice - stay with him & respect his requirement of leave. Those are your choices. Do not go behind his back - THAT IS BETRAYL!!! And the first person you would betray in such a way is you. Your studies of Aikido will forever be shrouded by the fear of his discovering, and you will no longer enjoy the practice in pure heart.

Quote:

think I will buy time, take shodan and then decide from there.
This is an unfortunate yet possible decision. Just be honest with yourself to make sure it doesn't turn your training bitter.


Amir

ruthmc 01-30-2005 03:10 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

So, the answer I fiqured out must be loyalty to Aikikai. It must Aikikai or Hombu favored system, any other school is no no. I am a 2nd Kyu. I think I will buy time, take shodan and then decide from there.
Just a thought - your teacher may not allow you to take shodan, or may delay you taking it, if he suspects that you won't stay solely with him after getting that grade... It's not unknown for this to happen.

Ruth

Different Stroke 01-30-2005 08:04 AM

Re: Training in other schools of aikido
 
Quote:

Ruth McWilliam wrote:
Just a thought - your teacher may not allow you to take shodan, or may delay you taking it, if he suspects that you won't stay solely with him after getting that grade... It's not unknown for this to happen.

Ruth

There were others who graded shodan and stopped and some at first kyu who then joined other aikikai dojo.

Joining other aikikai dojo has not been a problem with my teacher, joining other schools of aikido is a BIG problem. If I join another school now, I may never get an Aikikai shodan. Even if I join a Yoshinkan or Iwama-ryu system of the Aikikai, I don't mind starting from scratch, so in my thinking I rather have all (yudansha in Aikikai, Yoshinkan, etc.) or nothing.

Quote:

Amir Krause wrote:
Do not go behind his back - THAT IS BETRAYL!!! And the first person you would betray in such a way is you. Your studies of Aikido will forever be shrouded by the fear of his discovering, and you will no longer enjoy the practice in pure heart.

So you are saying that I should leave for my quest of knowledge and it should done after obtaining shodan ;).


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