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Old 01-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #23
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,182
Re: New Person Training Full Time

Diane Lasken wrote: View Post
I have researched Aikido for about 2 years. I want to learn from the best and dedicate myself to learning it. I'd prefer to learn outside of North American where I can be around another culture while I learn Aikido.
Understood. I don't want to discourage you, but I do want to encourage you to get some knowledge of aikido that isn't abstract before making this kind of commitment. This is because most people who try out aikido, or any martial art, find that it isn't for them. They may practice enthusiastically for a few months, but look at who's still around and training in a year. Answer: not very many. A lot of people come in the dojo door following some idea they've gotten about martial arts training. When they experience the reality, and realize that you don't "get there", you just keep on training day after day and year after year, most lose interest fairly quickly. I'm not criticizing these people, just pointing out that martial arts is a minority taste, and you simply cannot know that it is to your taste through any amount of research, or by any method other than spending some time on the mat. Dedicating yourself to a path in which you have no experience is like buying a used car that you've never seen -- if ditching it six months from now isn't going to bother you, then go right ahead, but otherwise best look more closely and carefully before you leap.

As for learning from the best...I always wonder when beginners say this. I want to learn to play tennis, and I've never picked up a racket -- should I seek out lessons from Roger Federer? That seems pointless, and maybe a little bit presumptuous. He's the greatest tennis player in the world, and I'm a rank beginner -- why would anyone think that I needed his instruction to learn tennis, or could benefit from it?

Ideally, you would like to learn from the best teacher of beginners -- which is not necessarily someone holding a certain dan ranking. But even that's a bit much. The outcome of a learning experience depends at least as much on your quality as a student as it does on the teacher, and there are many senseis who are plenty good enough to teach a beginner everything that that beginner is capable of learning at that time.
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