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Old 12-20-2009, 04:50 PM   #26
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
Sorry - I disagree. Stuck up is stuck up - regardless of rank.
A teacher will tote the 'company line". Perhaps senior students will as well, as they have a vested interest in "being senior", but it's a start. There's nothing wrong with seeing how personable, approachable, and humble the seniors can be (before joining). Might also want to chat with students who have been there a few months - to get their perspective as well.

But remember, in the end it's what YOU perceive and want that should matter most to you.

Good luck!
I'm not sure I understand you well....
Anyway, many of "approachable, and humble seniors" I have seen, the reason was they can't practice seriously so they talk a lot instead

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:08 PM   #27
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Szcepan,

Surprise, surprise! You and I differ on this... I think you actually have to train a few years to be stupid enough to suspend your common sense as to what is abusive and what is not. A brand new person who has not trained before will recognize it immediately. It's like the Emperor's New Clothes...
"Oh, that teacher is an abusive psycho..." "Oh. that 5th Dan is an arrogant asshole." It's actually very simple.

In the words of the great Bob Dylan, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."



Hope you have a great holiday season!
- George
As you surly know, traditionally, more you see commitment in junior practice, more severe is a teacher with him. That is how a teacher express his love and respect to him. I don't think anyone out of dojo will understand it. In fact, it is very rare that even advanced beginners with few years of training understand it. This is particular behavior in the context of Budo and 'common sense' is no help, as the context is not known.

I also strongly believe, that a gap between the advanced students and beginners is so important, that the understanding of aikido by advanced students can be easily taken for arrogance by beginners.I don't know how to explain it better - beginners can see only superficial external form\behavior.
Someone with no aikido training at all, has noting(no tools, no training experience necessary) to judge advanced students.
Happy holidays for you too!

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:46 PM   #28
RED
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

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Duy Trinh wrote: View Post
Orc-Paladin??? Omg, you play WoW? Which server?
..not anymore...lol I got a full-time job now that involves customer service
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Old 12-20-2009, 08:55 PM   #29
RED
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
Oh jeeees, more of that "karate' mentality of "I train with a 5th degree from Federation X, cause a 3rd degree from Frederation Y is lower and can't possibly be as good."

While you don't want to train under someone who has declared themselves "grand master", don't overlook instructors who teach good art. Sometimes "FEDERATION MEMBER" means nothing more than politics and annual membership fees.
Sounds like some one comes from a non-affiliate. LMAO

When I suggested an affiliation background I was suggesting a federation has standards for testing. The two affiliations on my side of the country in which I'm referring to have connection directly back to Hombu dojo. Thus your black belt is accepted there, is issued from there, and the standards for those belts are stated strictly. There are no second year nidans allowed basically. (And yes I have ran into second year 14 year old nidans in non-affiliated clubs before.)

In a nutshell, the mentality of the art is preserved because of those standards of excellence.

And as for membership fees.... that pays for the liability insurance. As a student of pre-law I can appreciate that sort of initiative.

Last edited by RED : 12-20-2009 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:28 PM   #30
Shannon Frye
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Non-affiliated depends on what your interpretation is - who more do I need to be affiliated with?

Safe bet that none of my students will ever visit Japan, and could care less where their rank is 'accepted'. Even if they visit another local dojo, their 'rank' may not be accepted, but their knowledge cannot be ignored. Guess I'm very fortunate to attract students that aren't in it just for the rank.

Even though we are not affiliated with Japan, we hold to the same testing standards as USAF. We learn more than that, but we maintain that as a minimum, to ensure that standards are upheld. Just because we are independent doesn't mean we ave 6 yr old yudansha, or 'make it up as you go along' rank requirements.

Does membership payments that go overseas actually get you insurance? Thought it was just tribute that you never see again. Most sensei I know have their own insurance, as "Federation Fees" don't cover it. It's just lost money sent away to ensure that you can brag about what group you are allowed to pay your way into.

ps. Did that pose hurt your neck? (hehe) I have to try and recreate it every time I see your pic, and it cramped a time or two!!

pss - My little smiley faces aren't being inserted where i want them - probably a browser error. Nothing above said with anything but good humor and good intentions

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Sounds like some one comes from a non-affiliate. LMAO

In a nutshell, the mentality of the art is preserved because of those standards of excellence.

And as for membership fees.... that pays for the liability insurance. As a student of pre-law I can appreciate that sort of initiative.

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:47 PM   #31
RED
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
Non-affiliated depends on what your interpretation is - who more do I need to be affiliated with?

Safe bet that none of my students will ever visit Japan, and could care less where their rank is 'accepted'. Even if they visit another local dojo, their 'rank' may not be accepted, but their knowledge cannot be ignored. Guess I'm very fortunate to attract students that aren't in it just for the rank.

Even though we are not affiliated with Japan, we hold to the same testing standards as USAF. We learn more than that, but we maintain that as a minimum, to ensure that standards are upheld. Just because we are independent doesn't mean we ave 6 yr old yudansha, or 'make it up as you go along' rank requirements.

Does membership payments that go overseas actually get you insurance? Thought it was just tribute that you never see again. Most sensei I know have their own insurance, as "Federation Fees" don't cover it. It's just lost money sent away to ensure that you can brag about what group you are allowed to pay your way into.

ps. Did that pose hurt your neck? (hehe) I have to try and recreate it every time I see your pic, and it cramped a time or two!!

pss - My little smiley faces aren't being inserted where i want them - probably a browser error. Nothing above said with anything but good humor and good intentions
It is less about rank, and more about standards for the art.
I am a USAF member, I pay 30 dollars a year to be a my federation. My 30 dollars is for two reasons primarily: liability insurance forthe federation(I pay for my insurance with my dojo dues), and for the budget of my federation. With that budget they have to pay out salaries to the Shihans(who are fulltime teachers.) and they pay for misc upkeep.

With that said, just because some one down loads what USAF's test requirements are, does not mean the test is being held to USAF standards. Ikkyo is a USAF 5th kyu requirement...however there is still a bad way and good way to do ikkyo. A certified USAF instructor is the only person that would know if that ikkyo was to their federation's standards, and to their shihan's standards. Downloading our testing requirements don't mean much in that regards. lol

I believe in a good federation because I believe specifically that my federation protects the art. I can trace my instructor within 2 degrees of separation to O'sensei. Andmy federation is commissioned by Hombu, therefore I know the Aikido I learn is the Aikido the Doshu is in support of.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:05 PM   #32
Shannon Frye
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Federation insurance and Federation budget, Federation salaries... Hard enough to support the family here, but add to that a Federation? Don't think so. (though I admit, $30 is small compared to some other arts).

I like how USAF requ's went from 'their's to 'ours'. Does that $30 buy ownership of the techniques too?

I can trace my instructors lineage right back to the same O'Sensei that you can.

A Federation is a good thing - maintaining quality of the art is important. But don't look down on everyone else because they are not a part of YOUR Federation.
"And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
It is less about rank, and more about standards for the art.
I am a USAF member, I pay 30 dollars a year to be a my federation. My 30 dollars is for two reasons primarily: liability insurance forthe federation(I pay for my insurance with my dojo dues), and for the budget of my federation. With that budget they have to pay out salaries to the Shihans(who are fulltime teachers.) and they pay for misc upkeep.

With that said, just because some one down loads what USAF's test requirements are, does not mean the test is being held to USAF standards. Ikkyo is a USAF 5th kyu requirement...however there is still a bad way and good way to do ikkyo. A certified USAF instructor is the only person that would know if that ikkyo was to their federation's standards, and to their shihan's standards. Downloading our testing requirements don't mean much in that regards. lol

I believe in a good federation because I believe specifically that my federation protects the art. I can trace my instructor within 2 degrees of separation to O'sensei. Andmy federation is commissioned by Hombu, therefore I know the Aikido I learn is the Aikido the Doshu is in support of.

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:31 AM   #33
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

I imagine that the OP is finding this pro-federation/anti-federation squabble very informative. Just what information is being conveyed, however, is something we probably don't want to dwell on.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #34
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Its not looking down on anything. It is just a more globalized view.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:31 AM   #35
Shannon Frye
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I imagine that the OP is finding this pro-federation/anti-federation squabble very informative. Just what information is being conveyed, however, is something we probably don't want to dwell on.
I'm sure the OP may be interested in hearing from non-Federations dojos, specially when they are so talked down on by other posters (or preferably suggested as unfavorable). I get tired of the "better than you" complex just because someone pays money to belong to a certain club. And I'm not anti-Federation. Best wishes to Hombu.

Sorry that any discusssion that doesn't interest you is considered a "sqwabble" - I thought we had a discussion going. There are other topics to view, Mary. (lol)

"In the end there can be only one"

www.AikidoFellowship.com
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:44 AM   #36
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
As you surly know, traditionally, more you see commitment in junior practice, more severe is a teacher with him. That is how a teacher express his love and respect to him. I don't think anyone out of dojo will understand it. In fact, it is very rare that even advanced beginners with few years of training understand it. This is particular behavior in the context of Budo and 'common sense' is no help, as the context is not known.

I also strongly believe, that a gap between the advanced students and beginners is so important, that the understanding of aikido by advanced students can be easily taken for arrogance by beginners.I don't know how to explain it better - beginners can see only superficial external form\behavior.
Someone with no aikido training at all, has noting(no tools, no training experience necessary) to judge advanced students.
Happy holidays for you too!
I have seen many products of this "tough love" system. Basically, abused children grow up to be abusers. But Ellis wrote a whole book which covered this at length... no need for me to cover all that ground again. Suffice it to say that there has been a level of violence accepted as normal in Aikido that simply doesn't exist in many of the other arts. You simply don't see this in the koryu, which are supposed to be the "combat" arts. I was there at the Aiki Expo when a prominent Aikido teacher talked about purposely injuring students as part of their training. That is TOTAL bullshit. An occasion deserving of Glock 19 waza as far as I am concerned... "shihonage this , succka" Ok, clearly not an "evolved" response... unlikely to forward the goal of World Peace. But a satisfying fantasy that I only feel a tiny bit guilty about having...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:49 AM   #37
RED
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

I actually get the opposite view. LOL Every time I mention I'm in a federation on this site,I get a slue of people with a chip on their shoulders discrediting me for the fact I belong to the USAF.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:03 PM   #38
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I actually get the opposite view. LOL Every time I mention I'm in a federation on this site,I get a slue of people with a chip on their shoulders discrediting me for the fact I belong to the USAF.
Maggie,
I don't think that's the gist of what they intend to be saying... I don't see an anti USAF bias here rather than a certain insecurity about being independent that causes some folks to be a bit defensive. I wouldn't worry about it. Organization affiliations have their good aspects and not so good aspects just as being independent can be a liberating situation or the last resort for those who don't play well with others. Totally depends on the individual.

Personally, from what I have seen, each organization does certain things well and others not very well. I don't see any as being better than the others. It's really about who your teacher is, who is his or her teacher. The rest is all about how the art gets transmitted to the masses. Important, since there are so many folks training now, but not having any inherent value that transfers to the members just because they are members.

Anyway, I wish there were more USAF folks on this site. They represent a major component of American Aikido and it would be great if some of the Federation seniors were contributing here. It's very nice that you are here contributing.
- George

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:12 PM   #39
lbb
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
Sorry that any discusssion that doesn't interest you is considered a "sqwabble" - I thought we had a discussion going. There are other topics to view, Mary. (lol)
It's got nothing to do with whether I'm interested in it or not, and everything to do with how the "discussion" proceeds. OP asked for information on what to look for in checking out a new dojo, and I think got a bit more than that. The conversation devolved (IMO) into something that would better be described as a squabble than a reasoned discussion, taking a rather personal tone at times, with the participants reading disparagement into each other's words. I think that someone who's seen a little of dojo politics and federation/anti-federation politics could sort it all out easily enough, but what is someone who's new to it going to think?
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:14 PM   #40
RED
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Maggie,
I don't think that's the gist of what they intend to be saying... I don't see an anti USAF bias here rather than a certain insecurity about being independent that causes some folks to be a bit defensive. I wouldn't worry about it. Organization affiliations have their good aspects and not so good aspects just as being independent can be a liberating situation or the last resort for those who don't play well with others. Totally depends on the individual.

Personally, from what I have seen, each organization does certain things well and others not very well. I don't see any as being better than the others. It's really about who your teacher is, who is his or her teacher. The rest is all about how the art gets transmitted to the masses. Important, since there are so many folks training now, but not having any inherent value that transfers to the members just because they are members.

Anyway, I wish there were more USAF folks on this site. They represent a major component of American Aikido and it would be great if some of the Federation seniors were contributing here. It's very nice that you are here contributing.
- George
I think there is a fear that federation students don't take independent schools seriously. Which is typically not the case. I've seen independent schools that are positive and genuine, and I've seen independent schools with 30 year old ex- USAF 4th kyus naming themselves grand shihan. The extremes make me weary until I see what the school teaches.
I think the fear is that Federation students will lump every school in together.
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:11 PM   #41
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I have seen many products of this "tough love" system. Basically, abused children grow up to be abusers. But Ellis wrote a whole book which covered this at length... no need for me to cover all that ground again. Suffice it to say that there has been a level of violence accepted as normal in Aikido that simply doesn't exist in many of the other arts. You simply don't see this in the koryu, which are supposed to be the "combat" arts. I was there at the Aiki Expo when a prominent Aikido teacher talked about purposely injuring students as part of their training. That is TOTAL bullshit. An occasion deserving of Glock 19 waza as far as I am concerned... "shihonage this , succka" Ok, clearly not an "evolved" response... unlikely to forward the goal of World Peace. But a satisfying fantasy that I only feel a tiny bit guilty about having...
Hi George,
Don't get excited too much Not everywhere Glock-waza is legal, as in your corner of the world...From above description looks like you have never seen serious practice. I have no idea what kind of 'prominent teachers' were invited to Aiki Expo...........

I had impression your teacher trained you exactly the way I wrote. But may be my impression was wrong. May be he was nice and gently with you.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:51 PM   #42
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

As someone more clever than myself said a few months back, "popping some popcorn and pulling up a chair."

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:24 PM   #43
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Hey all, thought I'd give you an update. You guys have been absolutely awesome, btw! A lot of really helpful info and tips. Thank you very much for your time. I did a ton of research, reading, watching vids...etc...before sitting in on my first class. I went to my first class with the intention of sitting and watching. I was asked if I wanted to join in and practice with the class. I felt very at home. Everyone was very open, kind, and helpful. I decided to go ahead and join the dojo. I'm really excited about the path that I have chosen. I'm a little older than most in the class...34, but I feel like age isn't important. Of course I would have loved to have done this earlier in life, but the important thing is that I've started. I'll be posting plenty questions in the future I'm quite sure.
Thanks again for the support and helpful information.

B
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:42 PM   #44
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

I like what Ledyard sensei said about finding a good teacher above all. Once you have some of those, their respective arts become almost meaningless in my view. That said, you also have to start somewhere. You may not know what is best for you until you've spent some time gaining that allmighty experience.
My main piece of advice is not to let people pressure you into defining your own practice. Take whatever people tell you as food for thought, but digest it on your own...that's kind of the nature of learning anything, as I see it...regardless of whether you're learning Aikido or learning what kind of Aikido you want your practice to be. I've studied at two very good schools in my opinion and neither put pressure on me other than to do my best at following my personal goals. That's the mark of a good school or teacher as I see it.
With that in mind I'd like to reinforce the idea that schools which demand long-term commitment before you get to taste what it's like might be problematic.

I just saw your recent post:
....Congratulations on finding a place to train!
Gambatte!

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-21-2009 at 03:46 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:37 PM   #45
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi George,
Don't get excited too much Not everywhere Glock-waza is legal, as in your corner of the world...From above description looks like you have never seen serious practice. I have no idea what kind of 'prominent teachers' were invited to Aiki Expo...........

I had impression your teacher trained you exactly the way I wrote. But may be my impression was wrong. May be he was nice and gently with you.
33 Years of training under Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, I have NEVER been injured by either one. Sure, my nose got a bit flattened, I've had my ribs "touched" with some vigor, I've had a few locks put on that didn't leave any doubt about how fast I wanted to get to the floor... But not once was I injured. I have never seen either one of them purposefully hurt an uke. One of the few things that would get you banished from the DC dojo when I was there was hurting people. It was expected that you learn control. Period.

In my younger days I trained plenty hard, taken some ukemi that just about made me wet my pants. But my teachers always threw you in the cleanest way possible, so even someone with my mediocre ukemi skills and super tanker size always came out unhurt.

Aikido training is a cooperative process. If I offer my arm to my teacher so that he can demonstrate a technique, I expect that it is treated with respect. Someone wants to see if they can break my arm, we're going to do that outside in the parking lot. Then we can see... I have no problem going outside. But the dojo is a place for practice and there needs to be trust that my dojo family is at my back. I don't think the student should have to worry about being injured by his fellow family members. That's nothing but a dysfunctional family dynamic. Folks who do that should be in therapy and I won't train with them nor will I allow folks like that in my dojo. They have to stand outside and invite me to play.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:03 AM   #46
lbb
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Barry Johnston wrote: View Post
Hey all, thought I'd give you an update. You guys have been absolutely awesome, btw! A lot of really helpful info and tips. Thank you very much for your time. I did a ton of research, reading, watching vids...etc...before sitting in on my first class...
Barry, congrats for finding a place where you feel comfortable training, and welcome!
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:34 AM   #47
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
. I have never seen either one of them purposefully hurt an uke. .
......hmhm.....communication over internet is difficult. I don't remember where I said that serious practice means 'purposefully hurt an uke'? Or you are reading too much in my post, or you are applying some misleading concepts to the terms I'm using in my writing.

I'll try to explain myself better .

Beginners are not study aikido - they are doing some kind of conditioning. Advanced students can only study aikido when a teacher is able to create training environment where there is a sense of danger, threat. Only in such environment there is a chance for spiritual transformation and spiritual grow. That is one of the reasons O sensei choose martial techniques from Daito ryu as a vehicle in this journey. Otherwise he could use dance, or any other body expression where a danger is not involved. If a teacher is not creating such propitious environment for practice even students with very long history of training will still do merely physical conditioning to the end of their life.

The line between such environment and abuse is very thin, and it is very difficult to understand for ppl from outside what happens without knowing well the teaching methodology of the teacher and his relations with students.

I can give an example: -- ppl who were involved in war, or other life dangerous events practice and understand aikido very differently then students without such experience. Because they faced dangers or death, their spiritual development is on much higher level.

Last edited by NagaBaba : 12-22-2009 at 07:37 AM.

Nagababa

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Old 12-22-2009, 08:54 AM   #48
Amir Krause
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Re: Checking out a new dojo

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
As you surly know, traditionally, more you see commitment in junior practice, more severe is a teacher with him. That is how a teacher express his love and respect to him. I don't think anyone out of dojo will understand it. In fact, it is very rare that even advanced beginners with few years of training understand it. This is particular behavior in the context of Budo and 'common sense' is no help, as the context is not known.
As you surly know, a teacher can be strict and demanding without being abusive, and vice versa.

Insisting on the smallest detail, requesting lots of repetitions, and demonstrating a lot with some student as Uke is not abusive. These are all traits of demanding.

Causing bodily harm (not just pain), causing pain while totally disregarding the students slaps (indicating a request to stop), continuously demeaning the person (for a beginner, do not confuse with treatment of advanced students in special cases as a check for their Ego) ... is abusive.

Amir
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