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Old 10-29-2010, 01:54 PM   #101
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I'm not sure personally. I've never heard a student with that lack of commitment last more than 2 years.
{raises hand} almost 15 years now.
For the first two years, twice a week because that's all that was offered at that dojo.
For the next couple of years, sometimes three times a week but mostly twice a week due to other, pre-existing life committments.
Then mostly 3 times a week for some years.
After injuries/surgery/rehab, mostly 2 times a week.
Now, getting myself back into better shape, alternating twice a week with three times a week.
Got news for ya, kiddo, there's a lot of us out there; we are older, we have other family members and obligations in life but we treasure every moment we can train, and your yardstick and your poolboy metaphors are pathetic.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #102
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
From what I'm gathering from what you've posted your position is that a person who trains only twice a week is less committed to Aikido than the person who trains three times a week? Even if, hypothetically, that person has a family that comes first and the other person has no outside commitments?

Have you considered the possibility that for some people training two days a week is far more difficult than it may be for another to train four or even five days a week? Doesn't that show greater commitment on their part?
If you have a family and that family is of a higher priority then fine. I'm talking about prioritizing your life.
If Aikido is a higher priority to you then you will prioritize more time for it. However, I'm complaining about the attitude I'm finding where people seem to think they can get amazing at Aikido with little commitment. If all you can commit is two days a week, don't kid yourself by coming off like Aikido is your life...which I've seen many people do. If you can only commit 2 days because of family obligations, then your family is your life. Just be honest about it.

MM
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:10 PM   #103
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post

"hell fire"? So, you've died and been to hell and can tell us what "hell fire" is like?

Hyperbole may convince some. On me it has the opposite effect.
I think the point of the analogy was lost. People will be willing to move their life around and over come great obstacles in accordance to how important a given thing is to them.
I've known many children who can never seem to find time to finish their homework, despite spending hours on video games a day. The video game is of a higher priority to the child. We find time for the things we enjoy and fulfill us. People move mountains to accomplish what they value.

MM
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:27 PM   #104
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

One of my past managers had a saying that I think could apply...

"The weeds will weed themselves out."

Personally I don't have time to worry about whether someone else's training is enough or not and I'm hardly going to waste my time worrying about them. If they show up cool I get to play with another body. If they don't, oh well, I still have at least sensei to play with....

And if someone is busy worrying about whether the time I put into my training is enough or not I have to wonder if they really need to adjust their own focus. That is between me and my teachers. If they are satisfied then I have nothing to worry about.

Mr Ledyard thank you for your recent couple of posts. They have helped clarify a few things that I was having trouble with in your earlier posts.
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:19 PM   #105
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Greg Jennings wrote: View Post
I'll go out on a limb here -

Anyone that puts aikido first in their life is either a professional instructor with no family, or they have their priorities askew.

FWIW,
Yup! That would certainly be the general consensus... askew pretty much sums it up.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:11 PM   #106
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
{raises hand} almost 15 years now.
For the first two years, twice a week because that's all that was offered at that dojo.
For the next couple of years, sometimes three times a week but mostly twice a week due to other, pre-existing life committments.
Then mostly 3 times a week for some years.
After injuries/surgery/rehab, mostly 2 times a week.
Now, getting myself back into better shape, alternating twice a week with three times a week.
Got news for ya, kiddo, there's a lot of us out there; we are older, we have other family members and obligations in life but we treasure every moment we can train, and your yardstick and your poolboy metaphors are pathetic.
No, I think her comparison is pretty accurate. If you love something, you show it by spending time doing it. Whether you are physically able to do it or not is a separate issue. If a paraplegic (someone who is completely unable to train at all) who had never trained said that Aikido was their life... who would believe them? Some people are too old, sick, injured, or disabled to train regularly, but they are not on the same level of an aikidoka who trains 40 hours a week just because they have an excuse.

Your argument is the same line of logic that for a, "I'm as good as a doctor because I like to help people. I just can't put devote any time to medical school like all the other doctors."
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:30 PM   #107
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I'm not sure how much someone has to train to be good at aikido....and I really don't even know what being good at aikido means.

Being a father and a husband, I find it disappointing that some people think that aikido (or any number of other activities) takes priority over family. I had a family before I started aikido and I provide for them financially so quitting my job is not an option and neither is ignoring them 5 nights a week so I can train. Believe me, I wish I could train 8 hours a day but some day when my life is about to end I would much rather be remembered as a great father instead of a great aikidoka....and hopefully I can find a way to be remembered as both.
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:30 PM   #108
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I have noticed that people who train 2 times a week tend to stay longer than people who train 4 times a week right away. People who burn bright usually seem to burn fast, in my experience.
Not surprising... it takes more effort to do the four than the two. The question is, is there some inherent benefit in making the commitment that doesn't necessarily result in higher level skill, over deciding that what it takes to be good is too much and using ones time elsewhere? I am not saying that I have the answer to this... I know how I feel about it for myself, but then my priorities are askew...

Maybe, it really is the purpose of all the hobbyists to provide the support for the dojos and the hard core students out there and that is their function... I have resisted thinking that way over the years although I have had a number of folks express it that way to me. It is still my belief that EVERYONE is capable of doing his or her Aikido with "aiki". That each person training is quite capable of doing what teachers like Endo Sensei, Saotome Sensei, and Ikeda Sensei are doing. It isn't hard to do. It does require a certain amount of reprogramming and that takes a critical amount of time committed to accomplish as well as better training methodology than we have generally had. Anyone can do it, but it takes the aforementioned 10,000 hours of hard training to make it your "default setting".

I don't want to buy into the notion that most of my students, all these folks that attend the seminars I teach, the people who buy my videos, are all just there to support me in my getting better. I have been told by Japanese Shihan that my job is to up the mountain as high as I can... and to show my students what I am doing. There was no sense at all that I would be concerned whether about whether they could follow the path I had blazed. That is their problem not mine.

I have chosen not to buy in to that. I think it is a distinctly Japanese viewpoint, and lucky for my students, oh! I am not Japanese. I care whether people get it. I really want people to succeed and get good at the art. In doing so, the real "goodies" start to be revealed. It just gets more and more fascinating. But folks insist on telling themselves that they will get the goodies making a commitment that will not allow that to happen. When I state my view on what it takes, people tell me that they can get what they want on less.

As a teacher, I REALLY want people to get it. But think what it is like to stand up in front being asked to pass on what one knows to a group of folks that you know, right then and there, won't train enough to ever get it, no matter how good your instruction. Do you have any idea how hard it is to not get jaded, to stop caring about all practitioners and just put my effort into the folks that have a chance of getting what I am teaching. I make a simple statement about what I think it takes to be good at this art. Then folks turn around and tell me why they cannot will not, or don't actually need to do that. What is one supposed to do with that? I could say, you're right.. I was too hard, too judgmental, too demanding.. You really can get good at this art while putting family, career, etc ahead of it.

EVERYTHING I have read by by O-Sensei, Kisshomaru, any of the other senior Aikido people talks about daily training. Not to be a Shihan, not to be a teacher, but just to really do Aikido. At Hombu Dojo there is an entire group of folks who have been doing Aikido every morning for decades. They do the Dohu's class each am before work. These guys have killer jobs, I'm sure most have families, although that doesn't mean the same thing there as here. But Aikido is simply built into their lives.

I'm not even talking about that... I said THREE times a week, out of the seven available, is what it takes to be good at this. I didn't even talk about daily training or five nights a week... And folks are going to debate that with me. It doesn't matter as long as everyone understands that you really need more practice to be competent. If you don't care if you are competent, then fine. If you don't care if you get your black belt or ever teach class, great. But that isn't what happens...

What happens is the when the majority of folks see two times a week as enough, pretty soon the standard for getting a black belt is dumbed down to allow them to succeed. Eventually, by virtue of hanging in there with that twice a week for a long time, they'll get promoted again and again. They'll end up teaching, for sure. When the yudansha-kai are made up primarily of folks who believe that they represent the proper standard for the rank they have, which I assume most folks would, otherwise you should give your belt back, then in no time at all, people don't even remember what the standard used to be. That the standard used to be much higher. It used to be much harder to get that rank. Give this twenty years and you'll have these folks running dojos. They will be responsible for the training of other students of Aikido but simply will not be able to take them to any level higher than mediocrity because they have never excelled themselves.

Looking around, could anyone honesty maintain that what you see of the community of dojo cho represents a group of people who have excelled at the art? Someone earlier asked how these folks got promoted and ended up in these positions? Well, it started way, way back when they first took their kyu tests and weren't held to a high enough standard then. With each promotion it gets harder to hold them back, to tell someone he is substandard. It's like work where you have had nothing but good reviews and then they fire you. How do you tell a person that is a San Dan that they are pretty bad? That should have been taken care of years ago. Maybe they would have quit, or maybe they would have changed their training. But you wouldn't have a San Dan who sucks.

But that doesn't happen any where near enough. Typically the student tells the teacher that he can only commit two times a week to his Aikido. The teacher says ok. Then, since the teacher will not simply state that twice isn't enough, he or she will let this person rise up the ranks anyway. By San Dan, they'll look just like someone who has done Aikido twice a week for twenty years.

So, I let people know right up front. If you want to get rank, to move up towards getting a Shodan from me, to progress at all beyond 3rd kyu, you have to train, not every day, not an amount that calls for ending your career or neglecting your family but three nights a week or two nights and something on the weekend when we run all our events. It's fine if they don't want to do that. I give them the same effort as everyone else gets when they show up. I give them every bit the same instruction that rare five or six day a week person gets. But I have a standard for what I think constitutes a black belt. I am not dropping that standard. And I have yet to see anyone who could meet that standard training twice a week. So folks can make their choices.

I have a very small dojo, in part because of this. It would be great to have a lot of students but it is more important to me that the students I have get a chance to be great themselves. They won't get that if I am lying to them about what is required or telling them all training is ok. It's not.

Aikido may be a modern martial art but what makes it a great art, and a traditional art despite its youth, is that it is a vehicle for "old wisdom". There is stuff going on in this art that it took thousands of years of practice for people to develop and pass on to each generation. This "old knowledge" is like an endangered species. It can only survive in the proper environment. That environment is provided when people really take their practice seriously. That they accept the responsibility of being part of the survival of this art. When too many people put everything in their lives ahead of Aikido, the environment gets degraded and this old knowledge is lost because this is not hobbyist knowledge, it is deep knowledge. It will not be rediscovered once it is lost, any more than an an animal that goes extinct will reappear out of thin air. When its gone, its gone.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 10-29-2010, 05:30 PM   #109
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I have the solution :-).

Eliminate Black belts and replace with Merit badges that you sew on your gi. Just like the scouts. One badge for ikkyo, one for nikyo, one for sankyo, etc, one for each weapons kata and so on. Aikidoka collect them based on a single examination for each technique. A person who trains 2 days a week may focus on only a subset of techniques and gain his "black" merit badges in the same time as the 3 day a week person gets his "expanded curriculum" badge set.

Eventually the 2-dayer will accumulate the same number of badges as the 3-dayer. That way you truly judge each student on his ability to perform specific techniques.

It would make for a colorful dojo!
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:09 PM   #110
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Ryan Szesny wrote: View Post
No, I think her comparison is pretty accurate....Your argument is the same line of logic that for a, "I'm as good as a doctor because I like to help people. I just can't put devote any time to medical school like all the other doctors."
I would say that both of you are making a logical fallacy, equating loving the art or feeling committed to it to claiming "my aikido is as good as your's." I never said the latter. I have said up front that I am not a professional aikidoka. But as Mary has pointed out, neither of you are in a position to second guess our hearts, our motives, or, yeah, or level of committment to the art.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:27 PM   #111
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I have to agree that you can't judge someone's commitment based only on the number of days of class they attend a week.

Another thing to keep in mind, at least in my opinion, is that some people just learn and progress faster than others. Take two people that both train 3 days a week and their level of aikido will probably not be equal a couple years down the road. It may not be the norm but I know some people who only train 2 days a week that have progressed quicker than people who trained more often.

So I train as much as I can and enjoy it without worrying about how much someone else may be training. Just remember there is always someone in the world who is training more than you are...unless you truly are the person who trains more then everyone else.
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:20 PM   #112
Rob Watson
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I recall Shibata Ichiro taking rank away from folks (not to mention the MANY failed tests). I guess they didn't continue to measure up so he dinged them. Not at all like merit badges that are collected but ongoing evaluation and rank according to now with minimal regard for history.

If more did that (taking rank away) then I think things would be considerably different. Think of all the professional groups that have annual, semi or biannual re-certification requirements. If one does not measure up then the door is shown.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 10-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #113
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I recall Shibata Ichiro taking rank away from folks (not to mention the MANY failed tests). I guess they didn't continue to measure up so he dinged them. Not at all like merit badges that are collected but ongoing evaluation and rank according to now with minimal regard for history.

If more did that (taking rank away) then I think things would be considerably different. Think of all the professional groups that have annual, semi or biannual re-certification requirements. If one does not measure up then the door is shown.
I was present at a USAF-WR Camp many yrs ago and watched someone fail his recert as shidoin. It happens.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-29-2010, 10:45 PM   #114
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
I recall Shibata Ichiro taking rank away from folks (not to mention the MANY failed tests). I guess they didn't continue to measure up so he dinged them. Not at all like merit badges that are collected but ongoing evaluation and rank according to now with minimal regard for history.

If more did that (taking rank away) then I think things would be considerably different. Think of all the professional groups that have annual, semi or biannual re-certification requirements. If one does not measure up then the door is shown.
That's (subtly) what I was hinting at. So much emphasis is put on Shodan, as if magically one becomes "enlightened" after reaching this coveted grade.
Does the student who trained 4 days a week to reach shodan, only to drop back to 1-2 times a week after shodan, really deserve to keep the shodan title? Where as the person who diligently and continuously trains 2 times every week, those 2 times potentially representing a tremendous commitment of time away from career/family, does not even qualify for shodan consideration?
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:42 AM   #115
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I'm aware that this may sound strange or wrong or hard or ...
... but

Quote:
Brian Gillaspie wrote: View Post
I had a family before I started aikido and I provide for them financially so quitting my job is not an option and neither is ignoring them 5 nights a week so I can train.
This is not just set.
It is a decision you make.

Quote:
Believe me, I wish I could train 8 hours a day
If you want to, you can. You decide how to live your life

Quote:
but some day when my life is about to end I would much rather be remembered as a great father instead of a great aikidoka.
This too is your decision.

Some do.
Some don't.
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Old 10-30-2010, 01:32 AM   #116
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Rabih Shanshiry wrote: View Post
If you're still doing what you're doing after having a couple kids, struggling with medical issues, and working a full-time job, I'll be all ears.
I don't know Maggie.
But I know a whole lot of students of aikido living aikido exactly the way you describe.
The people I know who commit their life to aikido have familiy, often make their living from a "normal" fulltime job, have got friends ... but train a lot more than twice a week. (shihan, teachers, students ...)

By the way:
Who decides whether my priorities are "askew" or not?

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 10-30-2010 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:11 AM   #117
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I would say that both of you are making a logical fallacy, equating loving the art or feeling committed to it to claiming "my aikido is as good as your's." I never said the latter. I have said up front that I am not a professional aikidoka. But as Mary has pointed out, neither of you are in a position to second guess our hearts, our motives, or, yeah, or level of committment to the art.
Once again, I think I need to make my feelings clear. My statements about time training have to do with whether someone can master, at what I consider to be a decent level of competence, the techniques of Aikido.

There are folks who are VERY committed to the art, really love it, who really put themselves into their training when they can train, and who make enormous contributions to their dojos, their teachers and their fellow students but just cannot or do not train very frequently.

I have always had a problem with the hierarchical nature of the art... In this kind of structure, we tend to confer value, or status on the person with the highest rank. You get that rank by training more, and therefore the folks who train more have more value. I think that is total bs.

I know people who are millionaire business owners who built their businesses from the ground up. These guys are fantastically talented and have leadership and managerial experience that far exceeds anything you might find in your typical martial artist. But they don't have any particular status within the community because they aren't terribly high ranked. So the organization has all this talent that it really can't take advantage of, because the only thing that counts is the rank. Makes me crazy... these guys are Shihan in their world but in our world no one confers any great status on them.

When I say that you cannot reach an acceptable level of skill in Aikido unless you are training a certain amount, that is a totally separate issue from someones love of the art. They may have totally had their lives changed by their practice. They may have been a crucial element in the founding and survival of a dojo. There are all sorts of ways in which people can care and be committed. As far as I am concerned we should have ways of recognizing this contribution that is separate from rank or, we could have a separate track for teacher certification that is separate from rank. Then the many different ways that people can be committed could be recognized. Thirty years of Aikido is something, even if it isn't taken to a very high level. That person deserves recognition.

There are a number of folks whose Aikido is quite good but who are pretty wretched as human beings. O-Sensei cautioned his students against being too focused on technique. It misses the larger point of training.

We need to un-hook this imagined connection between technical skill and our own self image or sense of self worth. A great nikkyo has nothing to do with any individual's value. Technical skill only matters when we are talking about the transmission. I wouldn't care what Dan ranks people got relative to their skill if it wasn't intrinsically connected to their opportunities to teach. If teacher s had a separate certification from the Dan ranks, I think that folks could get Dan rank for any of a number of contributions they make on a regular basis to the art.

Technical skill must be there in order to be able to teach. Teaching skill must be there to be able to teach well. Rank at this point has little to do with the first and nothing to do with the second. I would like to see rank as only one element someones influence in Aikido. Great talent i any area should be something that commands respect in our world. I have a friend who does executive leadership training for huge corporations around the world. Do you think we take advantage of the talent? Of course not... she is relatively junior so no one pays attention. If I ran things I'd have her doing leadership and team building work with our senior instructors...

Everyone contributes according to his abilities and according to his or her desire. Ones value as a person is intrinsic and totally independent of whether ones Aikido is any good or not.

I am worried about the transmission. I worry about the quality. I try to inspire folks to be better than they have allowed themselves to be. I have no patience for teachers who can't do their jobs and won't do anything to change that fact. I have a tremendous sense of gratitude for all those folks, who know they'll never get high rank or be a teacher, who still train and love the art. That's a fantastic thing and no one should demean that commitment. It's just different than the commitment of time and effort needed to be excellent at the art. Teachers should be excellent at their art and many are not. That doesn't make them bad human beings, it just means that they shouldn't be teaching. It doesn't mean they care any less, they just haven't made the necessary commitment to training. Several folks have said they'd rather be a great Dad than great at Aikido... we should applaud that. I'm tempted to say that the world would be a far better place with more great Dad's than more great Aikido teachers. Personally I'd like to see both.

You can see how this whole thing can shape up to be oppositional. The folks that love Aikido but can't train more want to feel like it's still enough to be of value. The folks that put more effort and time into their mat training want to feel that it's worth the sacrifice, that the "more" that they do somehow makes them "better".

Well, it will make you better from a technical standpoint but it doesn't make yo better in any other sense. Folks who feel that they have to make hard choices and won't train as they would like to i an ideal world, need to be grateful to those folks who do make sacrifices for their art. because these folks will be the ones that keep the transmission alive, who give the art its depth and breadth.

And you definitely want to unhitch that sense of self worth coming from technical mastery. If you don't feel good about yourself already, don't create a false sense of worth because you are pretty good at throwing someone. Bruce Klickstein was an excellent Aikido teacher but was a completely wretched human being. People need to unhitch that need to be a teacher from their sense of self worth. I've done Aikido all these years so I should be teaching now. Why? Are you excellent at your Aikido? Are you an excellent teacher? Do you inspire people? If you can honesty say yes, then by all means be a teacher. But if you honestly can't say yes, don't teach. You can make every bit as important contribution by being a great student, a model for other students.

There should be no sense here that three times a week is better than two or that seven days a week makes someone a better or more valuable person. I'll stay with the three days a week as necessary to be good at the art. I haven't seen anything that would make me question that and I've been around a long time, But that has nothing to do with what someone takes out of their participation in the art, or how profoundly their participation, such as it is, can contribute to the art, the dojo, and their classmates.

These are simply choices. It's really simple. You want to be in the Olympics i any sport, you have to find an international caliber coach. You have to train every day for years. You have to compete against folks who are also world class, you have to put all that first, ahead of EVERYTHING else or you won't make it, because your competition did.

So if you want your Aikido to be anything like the Aikido modeled by your Shihan, you are going to have to train and train frequently. I think we are getting to the point in many areas in which one can legitimately expect someone heading a dojo to be a Shihan level teacher. I am trying to say that with only three days a week, he or she can do Aikido that is just as sophisticated as any Shihan you can see. You won't be as good at it as he is, not without the same kind of commitment in training they made. But you can be excellent with three times week and you can do an Aikido which has some depth and sophistication.

Not training that frequently doesn't mean you are not a good person. But it probably means that much of what your teacher would like to show you, you will never master because you simply aren't putting in the time. This isn't a value judgment. It is, at least in my own view, merely a statement of fact.

So, I'd like folks to not put value judgments on a personal level into these considerations. The question was "is two days a week enough?" If that means to love Aikido, support the dojo and the teacher, to get a basic sense of the art and the movement with perhaps flashes of something brilliant that you can't reproduce at will, then sure it's enough, given enough time. But if you mean attaining levels of proficiency associated with each Dan rank, to continuously improve from each stage to the next, then no.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:37 AM   #118
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
When I say that you cannot reach an acceptable level of skill in Aikido unless you are training a certain amount, that is a totally separate issue from someones love of the art. They may have totally had their lives changed by their practice. They may have been a crucial element in the founding and survival of a dojo. There are all sorts of ways in which people can care and be committed. As far as I am concerned we should have ways of recognizing this contribution that is separate from rank or, we could have a separate track for teacher certification that is separate from rank. Then the many different ways that people can be committed could be recognized. Thirty years of Aikido is something, even if it isn't taken to a very high level. That person deserves recognition.
That person doesn't need recognition. That's what the "masters" will never understand. How could they? If you're all about the recognition, you'll never get what makes these people tick.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:59 AM   #119
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I'm aware that this may sound strange or wrong or hard or ...
... but

This is not just set.
It is a decision you make.

If you want to, you can. You decide how to live your life

This too is your decision.

Some do.
Some don't.
I respect that you consider these as decisions but to be honest for me I do not consider them as decisions. I chose to start a family so I am obligated to them so for me it is a responsibility. Please note that I am not condeming anyone who puts aikido as a priority over family but it is something that is not appropriate for me and my situation.

By the way, I do train more than 2 hours a week so I just want you to know that I am not bashing anyone who trains several hours a week. I simply just sharing my thoughts.
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:20 AM   #120
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That person doesn't need recognition. That's what the "masters" will never understand. How could they? If you're all about the recognition, you'll never get what makes these people tick.
You are right! They don't "need" the recognition, they do it all anyway. I'm just saying the should have recognition, not because they need it but because the rest of us agree better for having made that recognition.

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Old 10-30-2010, 10:24 AM   #121
Janet Rosen
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

George, I recall a column Katherine and I collaborated on a few yrs ago on the issue you raise of folks getting their self-worth as people inappropriately conected to their technical abilities on the mat. An easy trap to fall into if you either turn OSemsei into a spiritual demigod to follow or are in a dojo that promotes an us-vs-them, true believer mentality.
Again I tend to agree with Mary that many of us parttimers don't link grading to our contributions to the workings of the dojo; we put in those nontraning hours of effort because we are woven into the fabric of the dojo community.
Having said that...I'd encourage you to find ways to make use of some of the nontechnical talent you have among your members

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Old 10-30-2010, 10:59 AM   #122
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Brian Gillaspie wrote: View Post
I respect that you consider these as decisions but to be honest for me I do not consider them as decisions. I chose to start a family so I am obligated to them so for me it is a responsibility. Please note that I am not condeming anyone who puts aikido as a priority over family but it is something that is not appropriate for me and my situation.

By the way, I do train more than 2 hours a week so I just want you to know that I am not bashing anyone who trains several hours a week. I simply just sharing my thoughts.
Hi Brian,
It's all still choices... I think we all have to accept that every act we make involves a set of choices. Jack Kornfield entitled one of his books, A Path with Heart using a term from Castanefa;s Don Juan. It's about living intentionally. Most of us don't do a very good job living intentionally. Stuff just happens and we start in one place and end up in another without having much of a sense of how we got here.

Each individual picks his Path. A good Path has "heart". That means it is a Path that allows you to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and see someone who doesn't waste time on regrets. So you've chosen to have a family and see that it entails an obligation. Many folks have families and don't see that as a set of obligations at all. So your Path with heart is to be a good Father and if while doing that you can fit in some Aikido, that's great. But you are clear about where your priorities lie.

I would say that what you are doing is what the vast majority of folks doing Aikido are doing. My message for these folks isn't that they've misplaced their priorities or that in order to have value in the Aikido world they need to shift those priorities... My message is that, with only a slight adjustment in their effort and a lot of changes to the system of transmission, they could all be doing much more sophisticated Aikido. Can most folks really maintain that twice a week is really, absolutely the limit they can train? I know folks for whom that is true. One guy had his relationship falling apart and twice a week was what was agreed on in their counseling. But for most folks, when they say they can't, it simply means it is too difficult or inconvenient.

That's why I made it a requirement for promotion after 4th Kyu to train three times a week. Folks come in and right from the start they know what is expected and they tell their spouses, they build it into their schedules, their family quickly gets used to it... And I tell them that in exchange for the support that they get from the family for their training, they need to be really present when they are home. Often, when a guy says he can't get to the dojo three times a week, he is saying he doesn't want to miss the game on Saturday's TV or some such. He really isn't doing much with the family when he is there... they probably would have been fine with an extra day.

I don't believe that for most folks it's about the extra time to be good, it's about the inconvenience. It's harder to balance everything else in your life every time you add a day to your training. So, for most folks I am not saying every day or five times a week... I only say that to the young singles who should take advantage of this time in their lives when they are relatively unencumbered to train their brains out. If they can't find the time now, they never will.

All I am saying is that, finding one more day each week can make the difference over time between doing this art well and not doing it well. Rather than tell oneself that you can do it with less, or accept that you will never be any good at it, neither of which is true, why not put some thought into how one might get that extra time. Maybe you could ask your teacher to add an early am class and go before work. Maybe a Sunday evening class that would let you do all the stuff you'd normally do with the family, all your chores, etc and when everyone else is winding down you get in an extra session. Folks do this all the time. It's not about telling yourself all the reasons why you can't train more, it's about doing the work to find a way to do so. If twice a week just isn't quite enough to get good and one extra day would allow that to happen, isn't that extra effort worth it? I absolutely fail to see how that extra day would make one unable to meet ones other obligations, if one put some thought into it.

The art is worth it. The satisfaction of knowing that your black belt really meant something is worth it. Being able to read things that O-Sensei wrote and have a real sense of what he might have meant is a wonderful goal for a Path with Heart. And it doesn't take that much extra effort. To be great... sure, that is all consuming. But just to be good, no, anyone could do that.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 10-30-2010 at 11:03 AM.

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Old 10-30-2010, 11:13 AM   #123
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
George, I recall a column Katherine and I collaborated on a few yrs ago on the issue you raise of folks getting their self-worth as people inappropriately conected to their technical abilities on the mat. An easy trap to fall into if you either turn OSemsei into a spiritual demigod to follow or are in a dojo that promotes an us-vs-them, true believer mentality.
Again I tend to agree with Mary that many of us parttimers don't link grading to our contributions to the workings of the dojo; we put in those nontraning hours of effort because we are woven into the fabric of the dojo community.
Having said that...I'd encourage you to find ways to make use of some of the nontechnical talent you have among your members
One of the ways in which I get around the whole Dan rank thing is to use "Titles". People love titles. As soon as someone has a title people see them differently and the see themselves differently. This isn't always good but if used judiciously it can work really well. I have a student who is a newbie. I think she's up to 4th kyu now. This is on a mature dojo in which I have 5th Dan, and everything below that. But this person is the energize bunny... she is one of those get things done, take charge folks. So I made her "Dojo Operations Manager". Cool title, right? Well, it works perfectly. She can go up to any of the Yudansha and and ask them to do things. ask for help or time, and no one thinks anything of it. The guy who is President of the dojo is not the most senior. The title gives him parity with the senior Dan ranks. Works really well.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:21 AM   #124
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

I guess I really can't argue that it is a choice to give up some training time to be with your family. I also completely understand that I would be better if I did spend more time on the mat. I get on average 5 to 6 hours a week on the mat and my family understands that. My wife would be ok with me training more but that's tough to justify to my 8 and 11 year old kids. Sometimes it hard to justify antyhing to them :-)

So for now I choose to stick with the 5-6 hours and am satisfied with that amount of time....even though I am not necessarily happy about it. The good news is that my wife and I had our children early so I'll barely be over 40 when both kids are off to college so hopefully I'll still be in good enough shape to increase the training.

I have actually tried to talk some other students in to coming over and train in my garage late in the evening after my kids get in bed so I am looking for additional training time without to much interference with family time.

I appreciate everyone's replies to my posts and just wish I could express myself as well as Mr. Ledyard.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:13 PM   #125
Chris Evans
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Re: Is two Days a week enough?

2 days per week at a Aikido dojo,
+ 3~4 days per week at a kara-te dojo,
daily zazen,
being of "no-mind" and fully perceiving, especially during sparring class.

That's what's "enough" for me now and I am grateful for my familly and for my work that allows this level of practice.

2+2 would be sustainable during more busy times.

If you wish to move really well, then think of the level of intensity and the number of practices a colledge sports athlete does, say for three plus years. Assuming access to good coaching/instruction, that kind of schedule's what I suggest if you want your body to move instinctively fast, smooth, with effectiveness in under stress.

Twice a week of receiving feedback seems just right to acquire a sincerely taste of what can be.

Last edited by Chris Evans : 10-30-2010 at 02:17 PM.

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