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Old 05-16-2010, 11:37 PM   #1
Zach Trent
Dojo: Integral Dojo
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Your "big break" in Aikido

I'm just curious- if you could point out an experience in your Aikido training that was either unique, or personally ground-breaking, what would you share?

For me, it was spending a weekend seminar with Mary Heiny Sensei after I had been doing Aikido for only 2 weeks. Hearing her insightful descriptions of Aikido has laid a foundation that has stuck with me even now, 3 years later.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:55 PM   #2
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
I'm just curious- if you could point out an experience in your Aikido training that was either unique, or personally ground-breaking, what would you share?

For me, it was spending a weekend seminar with Mary Heiny Sensei after I had been doing Aikido for only 2 weeks. Hearing her insightful descriptions of Aikido has laid a foundation that has stuck with me even now, 3 years later.
Ha! I was in the Baltimore area recently and just dropped by at Baltimore Aikikai for a class (I'm not affiliated with that group, just happened to be in the area) and it just so happened Heiny Sensei was there for their Kagami Baraki. It was a fun day of training.

For my personal ground-breaking point I would say I am still seeking that out. While this isn't a one time experience, I would say being uchideshi changed my life...as well as my aikido, and during that experience my attendance of a Kenshu course was one of the most significant to my understanding of the art.

Another important of events was a series of seminars I did as otomo to my teacher during a period of my uchideshi experience. These were all non-aikido schools we were giving seminars at and one in particular, a karate and judo school, had a relatively low opinion of aikido. My teacher and I were the only two aikidoka there and many of the students were resisting techniques to various degrees. They weren't being disrespectful, in my opinion, they just wanted to be sure they were getting training value and wanted to test out what they were being taught. Well this really forced me to focus on my technique when I was running around helping the students out and working with them. All the techniques I helped the students with worked..despite the fact that I was a bit apprehensive...and that really made an impact on me. Having that ability to safely and effectively control someone who had no idea what you were doing to them really helped.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #3
dps
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
I'm just curious- if you could point out an experience in your Aikido training that was either unique, or personally ground-breaking, what would you share?
The first time I did a breakfall and the first time I used Aikido to defend myself.

David
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:23 AM   #4
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

so far... I guess the biggest ground breaking moment in my aikido was the first day I stepped onto the mat. And that was a year ago today. :-)
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Old 05-17-2010, 10:19 AM   #5
RED
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Personally,
I was 5th kyu (???4th kyu?maybe?), and I was taking a morning class from Yamada Sensei. The class was scheduled a lot earlier than Yamada Sensei wanted to be awake for. There was a party the night before and I think everyone stayed up late, so no one really wanted to be up in the morning.
Sensei seemed a little irritated that morning, especially considering the class was earlier than expected. With respect, his mood wasn't well.

I was a lazy Aikidoka, I trained with just enough effort to get pass the class honestly. I knew I was never gonna go far in this and shrugged off on effort.

Sensei made a b-line to me and my partner. Snatched my partner from me and proceeded to show me everything I was doing wrong. He went as far to say "EXTENSION! I failed black belts for this!"
For about 7-10 minutes I had the Shihan telling me how to improve. He demanded I not slack off.

A Shihan, who was (respectively)in a bad mood, awake earlier than he wanted to be passed by the strong young men, the uchi deshi, the promising young kyu ranks and helped me..a short, weak little, lazy 5th kyu girl. he could of walked passed and said "who cares, just a little girl, I'm tired, not worth wasting the energy on."
He gave me his time, almost 1/4 the class time...scared me... but gave me his time non-the-less.

That's a teacher.

Before that class I knew I was a little girl and I would slack and be lazy in class. I thought "Why really try too hard to keep up, It's not like I'm ever going to be some great Aikidoka some day? I'm a little girl I'm never gonna be as good as the big guys around me anyways? "

My break through was, if a Shihan didn't walk past me and cared if I progressed, I shouldn't walk pass myself.
He took time to demand I trained with a degree of excellence, I should honor the time I was given by him and all my teachers by expecting excellence in training.
And grew to find out that the big boys are extremely envious of my wide hips, and ridiculously low center of gravity. lol

Last edited by RED : 05-17-2010 at 10:24 AM.

MM
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:21 AM   #6
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
so far... I guess the biggest ground breaking moment in my aikido was the first day I stepped onto the mat. And that was a year ago today. :-)
Happy anniversary!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:28 AM   #7
Aiki1
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Very nice story, Maggie.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:01 PM   #8
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Happy anniversary!
Thank you.

And Maggie! Awesome story! Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:06 PM   #9
RED
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido



These are great stories. These types of questions always seem to help people find common ground in Aikido. I can relate to what everyone said really.

MM
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Old 05-17-2010, 01:52 PM   #10
Allen Beebe
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

A turning point for me was when I first met my sensei Shirata Rinjiro. I had been training in the Ki no Kenkyu kai style for about 6 years back in the States, but was training at Hanzawa sensei's Iwama style dojo while in Sendai. Nakajima Masanori Shihan, whom I had trained with briefly at Tamate sensei's dojo, showed up one practice and when Hanzawa sensei would share a technique, Nakajima sensei would pull me off to the side and say, "Try it this way." Like magic the technique would work like a well oiled machine. He then would say, "That is Shirata sensei's waza." At the end of class, Nakajima invited me to attend the annual Yamagata Embukai taking place the next day. It was my birthday that day and so I thought it would be a nice present to myself.

I observed the Embu and was duly impressed. Still, I remained circumspect. I knew from personal experience that just because a person had technical expertise they weren't necessarily a good teacher, nor did they necessarily embody the qualities I sought in my Aikido practice. My wife and I had bought a shikishi and were hoping for a written memento. Nakajima sensei introduced us and we were invited into Shirata sensei's 3 tatami sized room. We sat for our formal introduction. I knew that, in order to show due deference, I should bow lower than Shirata sensei. We bowed and Shirata sensei touched his head to the grown. I touched my head too . . . now what? I also knew that I could stay down longer and that would allow me to show deference. I waited . . . and waited . . . I began to feel a little uncomfortable and began to wonder irrationally if Shirata sensei had already arisen and I'd missed it. I decided to lift my head slightly to peek. As I lifted my head Shirata sensei lifted his simultaneously and we rose together. After a pleasant conversation Shirata sensei wrote upon two shikishi and then asked us if they would be adequate.

I had found my sensei. To me, he embodied all that I sought from Aikido both technically and spiritually. Technically he served as a wonderful physical example and was a marvelously explicit teacher. More importantly he served as a terrific example of how to continue to learn and improve. Spiritually he provided a wonderful example of dedication, determination, kindness, honesty and the strength of true humility.

During my time with him he never failed to be everything I could want in a sensei, never asking for anything in return and, while passionate about his teacher and Aikido, never claiming to be more than just another student on the path.

Last edited by Allen Beebe : 05-17-2010 at 02:02 PM.

~ Allen Beebe
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:37 PM   #11
Phil Van Treese
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

My big break was when Tomiki Shihan allowed me to come on the mat and when he invited me to learn.
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Old 05-17-2010, 03:11 PM   #12
Walter Martindale
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

6 months before I started Aikido... A parent at a rowing training camp I was coaching, showed me some "stuff". A formerly pretty tough judo person and a shodan, I was helpless with an aikido shodan.
That was February. I was way too busy to start it until October, then in Oct 1993, I gave Aikido a try.
There have been a few since then, but without that rowing parent showing some of his stuff, I never would have started.
Walter
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:26 PM   #13
Aiki1
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Great stories.

My first "big break" or, breakthrough, in Aikido came one day early on in my training, about 28 years ago, when I was working alone with my instructor, Don O'Bell. He asked me to show him some of the martial art that I had been studying right before I started Aikido. Not the striking or kicking, but joint locks, throws, etc. He threw a punch at me, I side-stepped it, and…. I could not do anything to/with him, at all. I couldn't move his body, or even his arm or hand that he nicely left out there for me to take advantage of. And he wasn't using muscle strength at all. And it wasn't that he had "checked out" and wasn't "participating" nor was he adjusting to what I was attempting to do.

That was the day that I really learned about and began to internalize my own process with Center, Ki, Kinesthetic Invisibility (Don's term), connection…. all grounded in internal training. He had phenomenal abilities in this regard, and was very good at inducting people into the process of how to feel and access these inner resources.

That day changed my Aikido, and my life process, forever.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 05-18-2010, 03:07 AM   #14
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

I have several, but one that stands out in my mind is when I finally got the chance to see Chiba Sensei in person at a seminar. After watching him and hearing what he had to say, I knew that I had to study his system. I have been very fortunate since then to be training under my Sensei, George Lyons Shihan, who was and is Chiba Sensei's student. It was the best decision I had made as far as Aikido goes and a major turning point in my overall training.

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Old 05-18-2010, 07:14 AM   #15
lbb
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
My break through was, if a Shihan didn't walk past me and cared if I progressed, I shouldn't walk pass myself.
Wow. Great story. I like that imagery, of "walking past yourself", an action that I'm sure we all tend to fall into by default.

As for me, no big breaks, no astounding revelations, nothing like that. I just keep on doing.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:19 PM   #16
RED
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Wow. Great story. I like that imagery, of "walking past yourself", an action that I'm sure we all tend to fall into by default.

As for me, no big breaks, no astounding revelations, nothing like that. I just keep on doing.
Keeping on is as honest of a reason as any.. if not more honest than some reasons.

MM
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:24 AM   #17
Eva Antonia
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Hi all,

maybe it was not a "big break", as I was none the wiser nor better later, but last March we had a Tissier seminar in Brussels, to which I attended, and the second day, among all the black belts in the first row, he called me (4th kyu) as uke for a loooong series of kaiten nage.

During that seminar, I had the impression that every technique went well, that I understood and managed everything, and I think I was high on endorphine for maybe a week.

Afterwards I found out that even if I may have understood the one or other thing during that seminar I lack the practice to incorporate new achievements for my aikido if there is no one who constantly reminds them to me and corrects uncessingly. Memory gets weak, and after a while I just don't remember what really was the knack of that particular technique and what exactly I learned...so I assume I sort of °unlearned° all these brilliant things afterwards.

But still, I changed level for some restricted time and was much better than ever after or before...maybe that comes back one day?

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 07-02-2011, 11:32 AM   #18
kyu mg
Dojo: New School Aikido, Stockton
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

So far....
Walking into the Dojo for my first class....
I'll give an update in a few years....
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #19
James Wyatt
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Good topic, first one came when I watched a class where the sensei had a sense of humour and knew I had found a great sensei. The next breakthrough came about two years later when he started to take the time to criticize my technique as he realized I was serious about aikido. The next breakthrough came a good few years later when I stopped thinking (one of the sensei's great platitudes was "don't try just do").

James
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:10 PM   #20
carina reinhardt
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

One very nice experience was when I went the first and only time to Tokio to the Hombu Dojo, I was 5th Kyu. We went to the first class in the morning at 6:30 with the Doshu and I could train with both ukes of the Doshu, all the japanese teacher and students in that class were so kind. And in the last class one 6 Dan asked me to train, I mentioned that I would like to take some photos, he went to his car and brought a camara for one use and gave it to me, he had taken some photos already, I send them to him when a came back home. So it is always a very nice memory for me!
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:59 PM   #21
Philip Hornback
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

my experience was during my first seminar. Chuck Clark sensei asked me to attack, then he vanished. A second later I said to myself "hey that's the ceiling, how did I get down here". I did'nt feel a thing. That's when I was hooked.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:09 PM   #22
Mario Tobias
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

my big break in aikido came in my 15th or 16th year, i cant remember exactly. the thing is i was so disappointed that all through those years I still cant get the techniques to work correctly. there were times I'd ask myself whether to continue or quit.

then suddenly, with the practices now going on my 22nd, it seemed like a lightbulb turned on and can now make them work. The effectiveness of the techniques seemed to have come out from nowhere. I also now quickly understand the principles behind the techniques and can explain them to the junior, or even senior grades. This is when I realized that learning is not a linear slope but a series of steps where you'll encounter "quantum" leaps and plateaus. As with the plateaus, the challenge is to survive those plateaus no matter how long it takes.

Don't quit as you might be in the ending phases of that plateau before you make another jump. If you quit, you'll never know.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 07-02-2011 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 07-03-2011, 12:13 AM   #23
tarik
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

Hmm.. there are many little revelations, but I would say my most important moments are when I decided to train and when I met the man who would become my teacher (after having trained nearly 10 years).

For me, the first experience was about recognizing that I was intent on beginning a search. The second was meeting someone who, for the first time in my experience, embodied the principles and concepts in a way that I knew modeled my view of the art and could teach it to me.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:55 AM   #24
amoeba
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

I can't say there was one single moment, but there was certainly a time where a lot changed for me in Aikido. In 2007, my teacher fell out with our sensei and decided to start her own place with another teacher from our club. Before that, I'd trained maybe twice a week and mostly in the youth class, had only gone to seminars in our own club, didn't really know any Aikidoka from anywhere else.

In the new club, we were very few people at first. I went to almost every training, went to train in Sweden for the first time, had a lot of "luxury" classes with our teachers (with only three people on the tatami you learn a lot faster...), finally learned how to do breakfalls... it was a good thing for me, all in all.

And last year, when I went to Sweden and trained in Vanadis Aikido Club for three months with Jorma Lyly and Ja Nevelius.
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:11 AM   #25
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Your "big break" in Aikido

When I met a young woman on the tatami that a few years later would become my wife.

I had been practising Aikido for a few years but always felt something was missing. A friend of mine met Alain Peyrache in Germany and came back very enthousiastically (got to see this, this is wat we want, this guy knows, etc...). After attending his seminar in Belgium (a week) I found my Aikido. A little later I asked him if I could become his student and am to this day.

Another one:
I had always been a bit scared of koshi nage because someone hurt himself pretty badly during practise. On a seminar in Belgium Alain wanted us to perform shomen uci koshinage. No way! Luckily nobody really did any good and Alain explained. Within ten minutes everybody performed koshinage safe and properly. I have never been scared of koshinage again.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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