Thread: Should I stay?
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:32 AM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
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Re: Should I stay?

To 'Undecided',

I think much depends on how you see your own training: how the insights of your own training regimen will enable you to place the dojo issues in perspective.

From my own experience (nearly 40 years in aikido), there are at least four possible training perspectives: dojo-centered; teacher-centered; waza (technique) centered; self-centered. Note that these perspectives can assume a different importance depending on a whole variety of circumstances. (For example, you might have started training when you were young, single and free, but now you have a wife and kids, so changing a dojo is a major issue, despite the sensei.)

1. If you are 'dojo-centered', you have a strong bond with the dojo and will try to maintain and develop the dojo at all costs (dojo as shangri-la: a place where you can be and do the things you cannot be and do outside). Thus, for you, the transition of senseis is simply a contributary factor in maintaining or diminishing the strength of the dojo as a whole. The main question for me would be: what is the point or purpose of the dojo: a training arena, or a social club.

2. If you are 'teacher-centred', you will have found a teacher who you believe is able to meet all the needs that you perceive arise from your training. This can go well beyond the technical needs arising from training. So you will attempt to match your own training to conform to your own perception of (and to) your teacher's, in respect to what your training should be like. So in this case, there would never be a conflict: you would follow your teacher, regardless of where it might lead you and regardless of the 'atmosphere' of the training in the dojo.

3. If you are 'technique-centered', you do not really care about the dojo or the teacher. What you want to study is aikido, purely and simply, and for you, this might mean just 'pure' techniques: where can I learn the perfect koshi-nage? At the Hombu, or in Iwama? Where is the blend between taijutsu and weapons most perfectly expressed? In a Nishio dojo, or with Hikitsuchi Sensei in Shingu, or with Saito Sensei in Iwama?,
Or, if you want to study 'applied techniques': how does aikido perform against expert MMA, or BJJ etc etc?

4. Finally, you can be 'self-centered'. This is not a bad thing at all. It means training your own body (and mind), but basically on your own. Most people think that aikido training needs a partner. For waza, this is true, but there is another aspect that has been neglected (probably since since the war, in my opinion). There are various reasons for this, but I think the main reason is a mistaken interpretation of what O Sensei actually stated. If you want to achieve the situation where you can do waza really well, you need to train yourself privately.

Of course, as John Connor told the Terminator, you can do combinations and so not all of the four perspectives are mutually exclusive.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 04-19-2008 at 06:37 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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