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Old 08-28-2007, 10:02 AM   #26
James Davis
James Davis's Avatar
Dojo: Ft. Myers School of Aikido
Location: Ft. Myers, FL.
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 716
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't...

...you're right."

Stewie Griffin

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 08-28-2007, 10:06 AM   #27
jennifer paige smith
jennifer paige smith's Avatar
Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I'm going to add my voice to those suggesting a change of dojo. Not every student clicks with every teacher, teaching method, dojo culture, etc. It may be that you just have not found the style, teacher or dojo that lets you learn.
Me, too.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:39 AM   #28
Amelia Smith
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Dojo: Martha's Vineyard Aikido Club
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 154
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

Me three.

Try another dojo, and maybe take a yoga class once a week if you want to do extra work on relaxing. Mind you, I've met some pretty tense yoga practitioners in my day, so it's not a magic bullet, but might be worth a try.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:56 AM   #29
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

I really like the suggestion of yoga. Try that for a while. If you have no health issues, make it a rigorous style of yoga, like bikkram or ashtanga. Something that is relatively fast past paced, and that stresses a lot of weight bearing postures. Perhaps working yourself hard in that format you will start to relax while your body performs hard work. This is a difficult thing to do for quite a few people, myself included.

As to the other stuff, I really don't know you well enough to give really personal advice.


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:49 AM   #30
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,184
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

The fact that you are thinking of going back after such a difficult experience makes me think that perhaps there's something in aikido that's calling to you. So, I think it's worth giving it another try, but rather than rush right into the dojo, I'd do a few things to prepare.

1. Get into a routine of doing some non-impact exercise on a regular basis first. Aikido may be for everyone, but it's a helluva lot harder on people with poor aerobic fitness and really stiff bodies -- and if it's your only form of exercise, it will be harder for your body to recover well from the inevitable tweaks you get when training aikido. Do something that will get your lungs and heart going, and that will help you to get used to using your body again, increasing your range of motion, etc.

2. Look at other dojos. Just go and observe some classes. You might find somewhere else more congenial, and if you do, there's no shame in moving on.

good luck with it,
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:49 PM   #31
Eric Webber
Dojo: Aikido West Reading
Location: Reading, Pa
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 261
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

I would suggest some creative cross-training: Alexander Technique, yoga, Gestalt therapy techniques (focusing your mind on the stiffness, viewing it as a stuckness, and figuring out how to let go of it), then take these into the dojo with you and do them while training.

Recommend not telling yourself what you're going to do, but rather what you are doing right now. (Reflection on your post from above)

Turn your 20 seconds of relaxation into 21 seconds today, 22 seconds tomorrow....
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:55 PM   #32
Boblyn Patton
Dojo: Albuquerque Shin-Budo Kai
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

Hello, Peter. Please know I don't in any way consider myself particularly worthy of replying as I'm very, very new to Aikido and therefore can't relate directly to the amount of time and dedication you've invested in this art. But I can relate to being tense and rigid and having questionable ukemi, and progressing slowly, and I truly, utterly believe in what I've been taught so far, and that's that aikido is meant to be practiced joyously. There is always good-natured, spontaneous laughter in the classes I attend. (I'm sure this has nothing to do with my being a complete clutz and dodo... ) In all seriousness, I wouldn't have made it even this far if it weren't for the atmosphere of my dojo. This being said, with what information you've given, I can't help but agree with most of the folks who've posted. Some of the greatest joys come from being able to accept and embrace our differences and perceived "hang-ups". I honestly cannot imagine stiffness or rigidity being just cause for fellow students and especially a sensei to refuse to practice with you. You used the word "uncooperative". Is this the term your sensei/fellow students used? To me, this word implies that you weren't trying, and I think it is unjustly applied to you. Anyone who dedicates 3-4 days per week for four years is definitely, most certainly and undeniably trying his/her hardest, and that in itself is highly commendable, to my way of thinking. I can say with utmost certainty that no one, not the Chief Instructor or any of my Sempai would ever, ever seek not to train with me just because I wasn't fluid or having a hard time getting up from the mat or not catching on quickly, or because of any other problem I might be having. (And, believe me, I have some problems... ) If you don't feel accepted at your dojo, then I will be so bold to say that maybe the true spirit and intent of Aikido has gone a little awry.

I wish I could be more helpful. The only other thing I can think to say is to consider exactly what attracted you to Aikido in the first place, and if it still truly offers what you're ultimately seeking. I can't tell if your desire to return is for Aikido's sake or for the sake of conquering what you perceive as a past failure. Maybe what you're really looking for is meant to be found at the end of a different path. At the chance of really making a fool of myself, let me suggest that maybe your dojo/Aikido as a whole is your ultimate uke, so to speak? I'm not sure if it's possible to enter and blend with all opponents, but there must definitely be a certain type of energy there that creates a lot of resistance in you. If you can go to this dojo and feel truly glad to be there and be a part of it, looking forward to going to classes, then I think there's a chance it could work. But if you go and feel sunken or defeated and truly are not happy to see anyone there, then there's got to be another dojo; a fresh start for an old journey...?

I hope I don't seem puerile or contrived. It's just the thought of someone putting so much effort into something that's not meant to instantly gratify and instead is ultimately to be pursued for a great length of time and not being supported is really disheartening to me. Please know I truly hope that whatever your decision, you find relief and assurance.
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:36 AM   #33
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
Location: Boston
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 121
Re: Should I go back? Need advice.

I think your problem might be not being able to see your progress. I always say to my students, "If I could take a movie of your the first day of class and compare it to a movie of you six weeks later, it would show how much you have learned" but it is difficult for the student to see this improvement.

You might want to ask your sensei for some feedback when and if you do go back. You might be surprised that he/she sees improvement in you. As for relaxation, maybe it's something you can work on. You're looking for self improvement, so don't compare yourself with others.
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