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Old 07-09-2000, 10:27 PM   #18
Dojo: Aoinagi Karate
Location: Redlands, CA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 7
The woods are thick, but what are the trees?

I am relatively new to martial arts, and have been training in shito-ryu karate for 5 years now. I am saddened by the following:

Orange wrote:
...the only times I walk out injured (usually just bruises) is when I work with someone who has pracited another martial art (such as Karate). This frustrates me to no end! ...It seems that people who have studied other martial arts don't get the "your partner is not a training dummy" idea. Do styles like karate not have partner practice?
I am sorry you had this experience. I think you will find that while the art will flavour the students approach, much of this is really dependant upon the individual student and the Sensei under which they learn. The tough guys tend to pack with the tough guys, etc.

When I first started karate at 16, I had a miserable time. I was treated like a punching bag, and quit.

After moving to California 10 years later, I joined my current dojo -- against my better judgement, but my girlfriend of the time had won a free months training, and coerced me as only a man in love can be coerced.

It seems, that when my Sensei opened his dojo in the 70's, his was a hard contact school just like where he had trained. But after three months, he and his three starting students (all male) had each broken a bone. For him, it was his 15th broken rib!

He adopted a complete reversal, and made his school "non-contact". The idea was to learn focus and control, rather than how hard you can hit fellow karate-ka. He knew that he was giving up some things -- but also felt that this would allow for uninterrupted training, for women to join and work toward their potential without being beaten upon by 200 lb. men, and for learning cooperation, self-awareness and control that could be even more valuable.

The character of the dojo changed. I think almost everyone has a university degree or is attending college. What's more, most of them are doctors, lawyers, chemists or engineers... etc. Almost half of the students are women. Some of them are old. Cooperation is a by-word. And when they go to national competitions, like the one in Atlanta this past June, they win first place -- just like other dojo's do.

I guess what I wanted to let you know from this is really that all students and dojo's are different from one another. Some, like my Karate school, collect academics. Others, bartenders and brawlers. I bet there is a rogue "street-fighting" aikido school out there, if you looked for one.


A fellow martial artist
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