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Old 07-24-2002, 05:11 PM   #6
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
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Inside/ outside/ wrong impressions

I understand the concern of women who are treated like beginners, but as much as I visit different dojos and meet different people, I cannot count on my fingers and toes, the times well studied students tried to teach. This is not with advanced kyu rank students, but with dan rank holders who regard men with hakama's as seasoned practictioners. Maybe they are looking for an overall skill level, but most times it is a bad judgement based upon viewing a black belt of hakama.

My talent is not to use muscle, but to effect my training partners movement within a wave of energy, not muscle.

Some people have an affinity to throws, some to falls, some to being uke, and some to nage, but my specialty is being able to feel the tension in my partner. Maybe that is a holdover from my karate / jujitsu training where a cry of pain or fervent slap was the indicator of enough pain. Sometimes not draging uke around like a rag doll indicates less skill to the senior students of a dojo.

This seems to be a bone of contention when visiting new dojos or meeting new people who expect that all students are advance by fast flying ukemi or that those wearing hakama's are the leaders of the dojo who must acclamate the lesser skilled students.

Whether it is the woman who wears a hakama, or a visitor who at first doesn't do everything quite the way sensei is teaching, putting up with this teaching attitude is part of the learning curve. Some beginners are incensed, others are put off, but ... sooner or later, as you advance you will be asked to show basics to someone someday. If you don't like it, find another teacher, or dojo.

Until you can put aside your own ego, take it as a learning curve, or until you have to hold back from really hurting your partner, you are just gonna have to put up with it. Once you get really good, you can laugh because your Aikido is really on track, and physically happening, I don't think that it really matters at that point anymore. But it will take a while to get there.

My own opinion of Hakama's is that it should not be an option for anyone to wear until first kyu, when most practitioners begin to teach. Either that, or until you pass first dan.

I really don't like colored belt testing either. The simplicity of White Belts and Black Belts should be enough.

Western vision? Maybe. But then again, we are taking what works for us and changing it, no doubt we will soon have more names for the variations that are taking place as Aikido will be forced to examine larger area of knowledge in martial arts.

Aikido that is not Aikido but it is Aikido?

Just like hakama's going out of style, it just might happen.
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