Christopher Juliano wrote:
Thanks for the replies. I just realized my original subject line sounds like the beginning of a joke....."Two teachers walk into a bar and........" I think Dirk touched on part of my problem which is picking a base dojo. I know one of the dojos charges just a mat fee to train if you belong to another club but I don't know about the other. I'll just have to find that out. The reason I would do this is because I have the opportunity to train at the NY Akikai HQ because I'm down in the city part of the week but the rest of the time I'm up in the Southern CT area so I have to decide which to make my base.
There are pros and cons to either decision. Being a USAF East man myself I have trained with the Sensei of NY Aikikai and I know what their Dojo is like.
The good thing about deciding to have NY Aikikai as the base is of course that you have Yamada and Sugano Sensei as the ones directly in control of your rank and thus when it comes to Shodan testing time, you will be very familiar with their testing requirements and exactly what Yamada likes to see, so it may take off some of the presure and allow you to enjoy the experience more.
The bad thing about having NY Aikikai as base is that it is a very small Dojo compared to the size of its student base. Thus it's very crowded and Sensei may not be able to give you the full attention that you may receive at another Dojo.
I don't know the other Dojo you are looking at, but if they are smaller this may allow you more personal time with the Sensei, which is always an advantage.
As for the etiquette part, you most definitely have to tell both Sensei in this situation as Yamada Sensei is the head of the organization and thus if you choose to make the other Dojo your main Dojo, your rank certificates will be coming from Yamada Sensei, so its better to be up front about it since he will find out any way the first time you test.
As far as I'm concerned if you are taking a different martial art completely at another Dojo say Wing Chun as well as Aikido, then you don't really have to mention that to your Sensei as I don't consider it any more his business than the fact that you play golf or Poker two nights of the week, as they are two different animals. However, if you are taking the same art from a different instructor you really owe it to your Sensei to let them know as such. Not only will this be good for you as it will allow them to be aware that you are training more than they realize, and thus may be progressing at a quicker pace than they anticipate or even require (training hours for testing), but it is also good for them as they will know that the things you may be doing well or badly, isn't necessarily a result of their teaching. Remember, good Sensei learn just as much from their students as students learn from their Sensei. If you seem to be doing Sankkyo in a rather weird way, it's their right to know that it is because you were taught that way by someone else last week, rather than a failing on the Sensei's part to get across the understanding of how their Dojo does it.
From my experience I can almost guarantee it won't be an issue if you are upfront about it as it is the same organization and Yamada Sensei expects every Dojo within to be up to standards. If you were practicing two different styles of Aikido such as Aikikai and Tomiki, I could see that being an issue, but you shouldn't have any problems.
Just pick one Dojo or the other to be your base, register with that Dojo and then show up at the other and say that you are from the first Dojo, but would like to train here part of the week.
If you really can't decide choose the Sensei whose personality you like best and ask them what they think.