Re: How to choose dojo if there are choices?
Since you say you used to study karate you might like a pretty strong/physical/martial practice (these are cliches, and not really accurate, but the best I can think of). Try USAF West (under Chiba Shihan), Yoshokai (I don't know who's teaching in that area, but the founder would be Kushida Sensei), or Yoshinkan (I think that would be Jaques Payet in that area). I would visit at least one school with a "softer" style just for comparison as you may like it. Maybe someone else can recommend something or someone like that. FYI yoshinkan tends to focus a lot on form and step by step learning at the beginning (kind of similar in some ways to some approaches to karate) and using the basic movements (kamae, body change, elbow power, afterclass exercise) to power the technique. Yoshokai would be much the same (Kushida Sensei split off from the yoshinkan). I personally really like the form of the 4th to 5th dans under Chiba Sensei that I've seen. Made me feel right at home.
You may want to check out the aikido faq (a link should be posted around here somewhere) to check out how certain styles advertise themselves, then check out the teachers in the area from the ones you find most interesting.
You could also do a google search on the style/school/teacher and check out the common knowledge on them that way.
Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-17-2004 at 01:41 PM.