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Old 02-02-2007, 11:34 AM   #9
maynard
Dojo: St. Pete Aikikai
Location: Pinellas Park, FL
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 38
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Re: Wife joining husband in aikido class?

I started aikido about 5 years ago, harassed my girlfriend (now my wife) about starting for 3 or 6 months, and gave up on her. About a year after I started, out of the blue, she decided to start, and it's been great for us.

In the beginning, I purposefully didn't train with her on every technique, with the goal of letting her find her own way on the mat. Until her ukemi was adequate to where she and I didn't worry about her getting hurt so much by abusive beginners, I helped her avoid those people either by training with them or training with her.

I think what works for us is that we don't make it a competition. We generally have a mutual respect for one another, and I think the lack of that respect is at the heart of the problems that many couples experience, on or off the mat. There are some techniques that she's more comfortable working with me on, and we'll seek each other out on those. For example, Saotome Sensei often at some point during a seminar will do an irimi omote type movement with a strike to the sternum/solar plexus. Most people don't feel comfortable striking a woman in the chest with any serious force, and my wife never got to really feel the technique. <sarcasm>Of course, I have no problem cracking my wife's sternum to help her training</sarcasm>. I'll give her more power than most, both as uke and nage and it helps her learning. Naturally, I'm not abusive, I give her what she can handle and work with.

I also think, couples who only train with each other all the time are missing out on the great diversity that a variety of training partners can give you. I suspect at some point this sort of training has many potential downfalls, but it probably works for some.

Most of the time, people are disappointed that I'm the one with the incessant Aikido addiction, and she's the one going back for her master's degree, so they see more of me and less of her.
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