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Old 08-22-2000, 02:26 AM   #1
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
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Talking

I happened in on a kid's class not too long ago and I was struck by the fact that these lads were all laying on the ground, feet up in the air and giggling non-stop. They were obviously having a great time and doing something related to Aikido.

It immediately dawned on me that the adult classes are much more sedate virtually everywhere I visit. As adults we are TRAINING, or we are WORKING on something, or we are getting READY FOR SOMETHING. The kids just play and have a great time. We are SERIOUS.

I think there is a disconnect somewhere around here.

How often do you wind up on the floor in a giggle fit?
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Old 08-22-2000, 03:36 AM   #2
shadow
Dojo: Aiki Kun Ren (Iwama style)
Location: Sydney
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 166
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well at my dojo it is a fairly lax environment....in most cases anyway, there are of course the more serious aikidoists, but after class among the younger students....myself only just beginning to be included as I am a new student and still a little shy.....and some of the longer studying students (hakama wearers), people will stay to practice a little more for a grading or just in general and when this happens things are a lot more relaxed...mucking around and wrestling....

classes are for learning and should be serious I feel, but afterwards what's to stop a little bit of fun?
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Old 08-22-2000, 06:47 AM   #3
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
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Smile I laugh all the time!

I don't know about a giggle fit, but I laugh a lot in class, and almost always have a smile on my face.

I laugh when I get thrown in some unexpected way by my sensei, or when the connection is *so* good that I seem to go from attacking to flying without a transition. I laugh when I'm learning a new and wonderful technique -- something that I hadn't seen before or that's surprising in its effectiveness and simplicity. I also laugh when I make silly mistakes. These aren't really belly laughs, but pleasant, soft laughs.

That's not to say that all of my training is a completely joyous experience, but enough of it is to keep me coming back for more. I recently attended the Aikido Association of America Summer Camp 2000 and took classes from Fumio Toyoda Shihan (6th dan) and Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan (8th dan). Both men are wonderful teachers, and both approached Aikido with a sense of humor. Kobayashi sensei would often make jokes, in a kind-hearted manner, at his uke's expense (including me), and Toyoda sensei was always making small jokes. These men taught me that one can train seriously in Aikido while still training joyfully.

Our time on the mat is special. Even though we are studying -- at least in part -- to prepare ourselves to be able to handle a violent encounter, that doesn't mean that our training can't be an enjoyable experience.

-Drew
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Old 08-22-2000, 08:40 AM   #4
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
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My experience with aikido and the atmosphere in the dojo has been similar to Drew's. In addition, one of my favorite sempai consistently will crack a joke or two while we're practicing together (always while I'm uke), usually causing my body to pretty much give in to whatever technique he's performing on me because I'm laughing so hard. I look on it as one of his unique little atemi's.

-BC
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Old 08-22-2000, 08:53 AM   #5
Chuck Clark
 
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
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There's always laughter and smiles in our dojo during training. The humor goes along with strong intent and a "dilemma rich environment" which makes a nice balance.

If there's no humor, it seems to me that the training and training relationships get "brittle" and false.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 08-22-2000, 09:20 AM   #6
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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My dohai and I all have a great time off the mat, and share some good times and jokes on the mat, but I think that there also needs to be some serious times, or, while we all become wonderful friends, we don't learn any Aikido, and that is (for most of us) why we're there...

Sorry for the dark attitude, I'm in math class right now .

More later,

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-22-2000, 09:51 AM   #7
Kristina Morris
Dojo: Kannagara Jinja
Location: Granite Falls, WA.
Join Date: Jun 2000
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"Laugh, Laugh, I thought I'd die!"

If I didn't have the training atmosphere where I could giggle once in awhile, I probably wouldn't train. It eases tension a lot. It's a lot better than crying, that's for sure.
Serious training can be tempered with joyful training and still be very effective in the learning process. I'm all for a happy medium where the two can be mixed.

Kristina
I don't laugh at others, I laugh at myself
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Old 08-22-2000, 11:29 AM   #8
Axiom
Dojo: TC Aikido Center
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I've found that it really depends on the sensei that is teaching the class. On tuesday nights, our sensei rarely jokes, and is extremely serious. The class itself is fairly serious, too. Then on thursdays, our sensei will crack jokes, tell stories, etc and the atmosphere becomes a bit more relaxed. But even on nights when the most laconic instructors teach, there are always a few giggles from teh side of the room where two newer students are trying to figure out the technique...I'm usually one of them...

_________
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
-- Gandhi
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Old 08-22-2000, 10:33 PM   #9
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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My faith is restored.

I'm still waiting for the adults class where all the adults get up and chase each other around after class though.
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Old 08-23-2000, 03:03 AM   #10
Josie
Dojo: Nakai
Location: West Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Talking taught me to laugh

During our training, my three boys, ages 9, 7, and 5 will quite often break out in enormous giggles. This used to always get a sharp look from me that said, "You better staighten up, or else!" That is, until one class, when I was doing my exiting backward roll, that I did not end up where I had expected, and delivered a good swift kick in the face to my own 7 year old.(He was fine, no injury) Well of course the whole class broke out laughing, but it was when sensei said, "You have just developed a new technique, pretty good for a newbie.", that we all, my 7 yr old and myself included, had to hold our bellies and laugh. For the most part we are a serious bunch, but it sure is better to laugh at our embarrassing moments, then to cry or get angry.
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Old 08-26-2000, 11:02 PM   #11
Dan Hover
Dojo: Bond Street Dojo/Aikido of Greater Milwaukee
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Re: I laugh all the time!



I recently attended the Aikido Association of America Summer Camp 2000 and took classes from Fumio Toyoda Shihan (6th dan) and Yasuo Kobayashi Shihan (8th dan). Both men are wonderful teachers, and both approached Aikido with a sense of humor. Kobayashi sensei would often make jokes, in a kind-hearted manner, at his uke's expense (including me), and Toyoda sensei was always making small jokes. These men taught me that one can train seriously in Aikido while still training joyfully.


I too was a AAA Summer camp (Southern region) and one of the things that strikes me about Toyoda Sensei is exactly how much fun he looks like he is having on the mat. I have had the priviledge of having lunch with Toyoda and he has got to be one of the most friendly, open instructors here in the States.
Practice in a joyful vibrant manner...didn't that irish guy O'sensei say that...somewhere??

Dan Hover
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Old 08-27-2000, 05:45 AM   #12
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Quote:
Erik wrote:
My faith is restored.

I'm still waiting for the adults class where all the adults get up and chase each other around after class though.
...uhmmm, we're not supposed to do that? no wonder i get such funny looks.
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Old 08-27-2000, 01:00 PM   #13
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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seeing as how I'm one of the few (or two) 'children' in my dojo, it'd probably just be me running around the mat...

Of course, I already fly across the mat, so why not run?

Kanpai,

-Nick



[Edited by Nick on August 27, 2000 at 02:15pm]

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-28-2000, 12:24 AM   #14
Chocolateuke
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
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I am in the children/ teens class 2 days a week then on saturdays i am with the grown ups. to explain my name Chocolateuke is because out teacher motto is conserve energy for eating chocolate. so... he is a big joker but when must be sourous he is. childrens class if some times more together than adults. adult compete a lot they try to revers and wrestle while fun it is not aikido. my teacher sometimes lets it not go by but he also lets them do it once in awile. children are more cooperative in uke that adults also children and teens have to cleeen the dojo and adults they dont ( partly due to the fact that teens childrens class is first.) and did not O_sensi say Aikido should be trainded in a joyous manner.

I think this is why jesus said Suffer teh little children unto me. becaues they are wise and accept teh world as it is and teens and grownups fight and try to understand while children accept then they understand.

I may be wrong but....
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Old 09-22-2000, 10:15 AM   #15
Bob
Dojo: Dryden Aikikai
Location: Dryden, ON, Canada
Join Date: Jul 2000
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"Joyous practise" must be the rule for all who will make aikido a lifetime habit but we need to develop personal control. There is nothing inherently wrong with a smile on the mat or even a laugh but we should also develop the ability to feel joy without showing it on our faces and in our voices - that is simply good practise (ask any poker player) because there may be times when it is inappropriate to laugh. For instance, a laugh or a smile might be misinterpreted by your partner or your sensei because you can never fully know the other person's mindset and an innocent giggle, just like an innocent remark, can sometimes cause a problem and if that problem comes as a surprise to you then in some instances at least you need more self-control.

The simple fact is that we provide information to others by the words we choose to use, the tone of those words and our body language and as martial artists we should have enough self-control to ensure that everyone around us is getting the right message, whatever it is.

yours in aiki

Bob
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Old 09-22-2000, 11:53 AM   #16
Pete Nappier
Dojo: Lincolnton Aikido & Foothills Budokan
Location: Lincolnton NC
Join Date: Jul 2000
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Smile

we chase each other all the time!! our dojo is large open and wonderful and i encourage everyone to have a good time, children and adults! and we DO!!!!!!!!

PETE NAPPIER
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Old 09-29-2000, 11:22 PM   #17
Kestrel
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: College Park, Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2000
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Talking Laughter on the mat.

During out training we frequently (usually once per session) spend some time kneewalking. To get people used to this we often play dodgeball (people sit on the outside and ROLL the ball..) or freezetag. During this time we all cut up and have fun trying to avoid being tagged. Its great fun and also helps us to develop better reflexes for avoiding moving objects from seiza. I saw one of the senior students actually lift his entire body away from the mat high enough to let the ball roll under him. I'm still trying to figure out how
And of course during pratice there is occasional laughter when people make mistakes..usually coming from the person who is having trouble. I dont think I would enjoy it nearly as much otherwise.

Tim

"Are you *sure* this is safe?"
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