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Old 05-18-2011, 04:31 PM   #12
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,266
United Kingdom
Re: Frustration with super-soft aikido class

Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I am a 6th kyu who has been training for about a year-and-a-half.

I train at an aikido dojo and one of my senseis, a shodan, is very into connection exercises. He sometimes makes an entire class out of them.

My last class was spent "connecting" to my partner, trying to move him with one finger, trying to "center" myself, doing breathing exercises, trying to do a tenkan without arm strength, etc. There were no techniques and I took no ukemi. I left confused, frustrated, and having never sweated a drop.

I have no problem with any of these things in and of themselves, but I have two problems with them being taught this way.

First of all, my understanding of aikido is that most of its great masters (including O Sensei and his teacher himself) learned technique first, then once they grasped the basics of the art, set about learning softness and ki. Trying to teach this stuff to a sixth kyu seems backwards to me, like trying to teach Einsteinian physics to someone who hasn't learned Newton yet.

Second, the sensei made no attempt to connect any of this to any technique, so I never got see how any of it fits into aikido.

I love aikido and don't want to quit, and classes are not always like this one, but at the end of a class like this, I can't help wondering if I should go find something else. I feel like this class was a complete waste of my time.

I'm not here to ask for advice, really. I'm still a beginner, and have no business telling any instructor (even just a shodan) how to teach. What I'd like to know from more experienced aikidoka than myself is whether or not I'm being reasonable about this.

Is it reasonable for me to expect the teaching of technique in every class? Is it reasonable for more me to expect an aikido class to provide me with at least a little bit of a workout? Is it reasonable for me to expect that as a beginner I will be spending most of my time on basic technique rather than abstract principles of the art? Is it reasonable to expect at the end of a class to feel that I know more than when I began?
Dear anon user,
I do not think it is unreasonable to be practising waza.I think you teacher is trying to make you run while you can barely crawl.
'Connectedness' only comes by training in Aiki principles.
Perhaps your Shodan teacher is using you as guinea pigs to perfect his /her own understanding of aiki?
Cheers, Joe.
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