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Old 07-06-2004, 06:53 PM   #1
Ryan Porter
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 6
United_States
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Dissatisfied at my Dojo

I read with envy a recent thread about how to choose a good dojo when there are choices. My problem is that in the small town where I live there are not enough choices of dojos.

I'd been doing Aikido about three years when circumstances compelled me to move about three years ago. At the first dojo I joined in my new home, I felt the sensei was arrogant, belittled the students, and didn't care about their well-being. (I once got injured because I was too intimidated to ask to take a rest.) Practicing there was a joyless affair. I actually began to hate Aikido—as unthinkable to me as it probably is to many of you. I quit that dojo after three weeks. I heard later that many other people had bad experiences with this sensei. I'm sure he's turned many people away from Aikido, unfortunately.

In any case, I luckily uncovered the only other dojo in my town. It is smaller, but the people are much nicer and warmer, and I've been going consistently. I started to enjoy Aikido again. But years later, I'm finding myself dissatisfied.

The classes are very low energy and kept at a basic level. The techniques are normally done from static positions, so there's little dynamism in the techniques and ukemi is stiff. There's not a lot of creativity or variation to the instruction—just cycling through techniques lifted from kyu tests. I don't feel like I'm advancing as much as I could be. I don't get a good work out. Frankly, I'm often bored.

None of this is to say that I feel I'm better than others at this dojo or that I have nothing to learn from the instruction there or from the other students. And other people enjoy it quite a bit. The dojo just doesn't suit me well.

My first dojo that got me hooked on Aikido was much more exciting and energetic, and whenever I travel, I try to visit a local dojo. I've seen many that I would be happy to join if I lived there. So, I put the question out there, what should I do?

One option is to take up another martial art and then turn back to Aikido if I ever move again. If so, which art? And is this a solution if cross-training isn't what I really want to do? I really want to focus on Aikido.

If I stick with this dojo, how can I make it more to my liking? As second kyu, I'm not qualified to teach any classes. And I don't feel like I could bring up any of my concerns with the sensei without seeming disrepectful or impudent. I'm aware I'm in no position to criticize how he runs his dojo.

Or I could practice Aikido on my own. But I don't see how that's possible.

Any thoughtful comments are appreciated.
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