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Old 10-08-2013, 03:09 AM   #32
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 705
Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Hello Traveller,

I have changed styles 3 times (4 different styles), and each time, it has been because I have moved house due to my job.

The first style I did was a bit on the hard side in terms of how technique was applied, but not intense trainging, and lacking in a lot of the finer points I have come to appreciate in aikido over the years, but it did give be a broad exposure to many different techniques including weapon techniques. Anyway, I didn't know anything different at the time.

Then I moved and did honbu style. No weapons, fewer techniques, but unusually for honbu style, it gave me an excellent appreciation of the basics of aikido movement. The training was intense, and my ukemi improved immensely. Often, my body struggled to keep up with the training, and this was a bit dispiriting, and this was exacerbated by being unable to train as often as I would like due to other commitments. I didn't really miss the weapons work etc. and my main frustration was with myself not being able to keep up.

Then I moved to a Nishio-style dojo. The general level of ukemi was poor and the training was nowhere near as intense as I was used to. This frustrated me no end, and I ended up travelling to another dojo on Sundays occasionally to keep up my ukemi and get a workout. The advantage was that I got a refresher in my weapons work, and I got a good education in using atemi and being aware of and accounting for my own openings. Apart from the lack of intensity, I was also frustrated by how complicated everything was. I don't think it sat very well with me.

I'm now at a school that is from the Tohei lineage, but with a teacher who has trained in many different styles. He is a bit of a maverick in this style and tries to incorporate a lot of stuff from Saito sensei, Yamaguchi sensei, and Shirata sensei. He likes to keep what he finds works and throw out what doesn't, and after spending 4 days with William Gleason, we are trying to incorporate a bit of IS training (which clearly works). The only thing that frustrates me about where I am now is the lack of a physical workout, but that isn't an issue because I can just go for a jog if I want. I still get to practice ukemi at a high level, just not constantly enough to get a cardio workout.

In general, the way to cope is not to argue with the sensei too much and try to learn what you can. Unless you are very comfortable with your sensei and know that (s)he will take it the right way, keep your opinions to yourself. (I am lucky enough that I can discuss this sort of thing with my current sensei. He is very open minded.) Even though I don't feel like Nishio aikido is for me, I did learn a lot from it, and I trained with some great people. Just try to focus on the positive, and if you get a chance to go out and play occasionally, try to take it.
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