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Old 02-27-2015, 11:24 AM   #1
Brian Sutton
Location: Roswell Ga.
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For whom the mat calls..

I would be interested to know what are some common threads that you have found in the students personality traits that come to learn Aikido. What has your experience been ?As a suggestion but not a guideline, what have you noticed in personality type, age, gender,race? Anything you can offer.Who wants to learn Aikido?
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:13 PM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Well I found that when I was in Japan, we had mostly Asian people, but many more white people in Australia. Is this answer helpful? Probably not...
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:40 PM   #3
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

I certainly haven't done a study of any quality, but have made some really general observations concerning the people I know who practice aikido.

Most are male Caucasians.

Most are college-educated.

Most are employed in white collar occupations.

A fairly large number are involved in IT work of some sort.

Many are also musicians, at least at the hobby level.

Many are artists who paint or sculpt in a variety of media.

Many seem to surf, dive, swim and sail (unique to location?)

Quite a few are educators.

Virtually all I've met have been really nice people.

With the exception of the water sports, these observations have been fairly universal in my travels around the country.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:43 PM   #4
dps
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

"Perchance for whom the mat calls may be so l, as that I know they toll for my knees; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, then they who are younger than me, and see the state of my knees, for the mats have caused the damage, and I know that now."

Sensei William The Bard

dps

Last edited by dps : 02-27-2015 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:01 PM   #5
robin_jet_alt
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
(unique to location?)
The point of my previous (slightly snide) post was to say that all of the above are unique to location.

Certainly, in one of the dojos I trained at in Japan, I was the only caucasian, only about half were university educated and nobody worked in IT. I would say that the reason for this is there were fewer than 10 caucasians in the city and no IT jobs in the area.

It might be wise to limit your parameters a bit. For instance, only ask about the types of people who do aikido in larger cities in the continental US (I imagine Hawaii would skew your results a bit).
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:23 PM   #6
dps
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
"Perchance for whom the mat calls may be so l, as that I know they toll for my knees; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, then they who are younger than me, and see the state of my knees, for the mats have caused the damage, and I know that now."

Sensei William The Bard

dps
Actually the paraphased quote was taken from John Donne.

dps
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:07 PM   #7
Brian Sutton
Location: Roswell Ga.
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I certainly haven't done a study of any quality, but have made some really general observations concerning the people I know who practice aikido.

Most are male Caucasians.

Most are college-educated.

Most are employed in white collar occupations.

A fairly large number are involved in IT work of some sort.

Many are also musicians, at least at the hobby level.

Many are artists who paint or sculpt in a variety of media.

Many seem to surf, dive, swim and sail (unique to location?)

Quite a few are educators.

Virtually all I've met have been really nice people.

With the exception of the water sports, these observations have been fairly universal in my travels around the country.
Mmmm. I too have noticed a connection between IT, music and Martial arts. Could have something to do with a need for pattern recognition.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:16 PM   #8
Brian Sutton
Location: Roswell Ga.
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Actually the paraphased quote was taken from John Donne.

dps
Wow that's an actual quote. I thought I made "for whom the mat calls"up. Oh well..
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Old 02-27-2015, 11:17 PM   #9
kewms
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Very location dependent. It should not surprise anyone to hear that a dojo located in an area with a technology-driven economy has a lot of white-collar people with jobs in technology. Or that one near a college campus gets a lot of college students. Or that one in Japan gets a lot more Japanese people than one in the United States.

Katherine
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Old 02-28-2015, 01:29 AM   #10
dps
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Wow that's an actual quote. I thought I made "for whom the mat calls"up. Oh well..
John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris:

"Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/f...ell-tolls.html

dps
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:25 AM   #11
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

I have to say that for the most part, Aikido attracts a better quality of person.

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Old 03-01-2015, 07:04 PM   #12
lbb
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I have to say that for the most part, Aikido attracts a better quality of person.
...than...?
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:35 AM   #13
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

In my experience most aikidoers I met are really nice and helpful people.

But then again, so are most people I met in the karate club, go glubs and people I met at work, parties, holidays, you name it
So perhaps is not so much an exception. Perhaps people in general are nice and helpful
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Old 03-02-2015, 03:38 PM   #14
kewms
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Dave de Vos wrote: View Post
In my experience most aikidoers I met are really nice and helpful people.

But then again, so are most people I met in the karate club, go glubs and people I met at work, parties, holidays, you name it
So perhaps is not so much an exception. Perhaps people in general are nice and helpful
Or perhaps you are nice and helpful.

I've definitely noticed that people attract reflections of themselves: helpful people attract helpful people, selfish grumps attract selfish grumps. And so their expectations of the world are shown to be justified.

Katherine
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:52 PM   #15
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Or perhaps you are nice and helpful.

I've definitely noticed that people attract reflections of themselves: helpful people attract helpful people, selfish grumps attract selfish grumps. And so their expectations of the world are shown to be justified.

Katherine
I haven't thought of it that way before.
Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:55 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

I think Aikido attracts people interested in self-defense that has a less "fighting" aspect to it.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-04-2015, 09:08 AM   #17
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I think Aikido attracts people interested in self-defense that has a less "fighting" aspect to it.
my head just wrapped around the pole on that one. i noticed that as well that many folks who came to our dojo mentioned about learning self-defense but the hate the idea of fighting. most of them, as uke, their attacks were terrible, i.e. bad in form and content. then i would spent time teaching them about attack which made them feel kinda uncomfortable because it felt like fighting. then i would spent time explain the uke-nage model where if uke doesn't perform his/her/it job to the fullest, then nage can't perform his/her/it job to the fullest, then we would just have crappy aikido.

in general, i see that aikido tends to attract the passive-aggressive folks.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-04-2015, 11:14 AM   #18
Janet Rosen
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
my head just wrapped around the pole on that one. ...
in general, i see that aikido tends to attract the passive-aggressive folks.
LOL. You are right to some degree (cf: a The Mirror column probably 8-10 yrs old Katherine and I cowrote just on that issue!)
I've heard from various instructors they have literally had prospective students (or parents of prospective students) walk in saying they don't want to actually TOUCH anybody.
And yes, teaching such people to actually deliver on on-target attack with some energy can take some time and effort. Some will never be comfortable and will leave. Some will learn to love it

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-05-2015, 06:52 PM   #19
Robert Cowham
Dojo: East Sheen Aikido and Kashima No Tachi
Location: London, UK
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Fitting a trend, I am male caucasian working in IT

Travelling a reasonable amount for work over the decades, I try to pack my dogi and practice where I can, particularly when it is more than a day or two. Visits range from California, Seattle, Houston, Boston, New York to most of Western Europe, Russia, Greece, India, Australia and Japan. Interestingly, over the years, I have been rejected 3 times: twice in the UK (ki society dojos for insurance reasons) and once in Sweden (they "didn't receive visitors"). My enjoyment of the style of aikido practiced has varied, but I have never otherwise had a bad experience. People are friendly, and often a visit results in a beer or a bite to eat, which beats eating alone.

My dojo in SW London is relatively small, but interestingly the majority nationality is a competition between British and Polish (with one joint nationality - whom I sponsored to become British and who now knows lots of stuff I don't about the country)! The most recent couple of recruits are currency traders (one English and one Czech), plus several IT, plus a hair dresser/artist and a couple of other finance guys.
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:14 PM   #20
Susan Dalton
Dojo: Greensboro Kodokan
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Sensei and I were just talking about this the other night. I was saying how happy I am to teach aikido in a community college because we get a more diverse crowd. Right now our dojo's average age of members is well over 40, most are middle class or upper middle class, and most are very educated. And yes, all are nice folks and quite a few do IT. At the college, I have young and old, from more diverse backgrounds. Interestingly enough, quite a few come because they like anime and are interested in Japanese culture.
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:05 PM   #21
Edgecrusher
 
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

I think that will depend on the demographic of your dojo. In a "college" town the diversity will be far greater than a more "traditional town. The dojo I train at is a Tomiki school and attracts more males than females. We have had some women come and go over the years. Our style includes chokes and mat work and can be intimidating to some who are not used to that and/or not comfortable. Usually it is with older people not under the age of 25.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:34 PM   #22
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

One dojo was in a college town, and was mostly medical professionals with some engineers (I seem to remember many engineers in the CAF). Lots of college degrees on the mat, but the dojo was associated with the university for years and then remained physically close by. I remember starting with a group of white belts, taught by a community health nurse who became a nurse practitioner. I became a nurse, one became a chiropractor, another became an orthopedic surgeon, another became an anesthesiologist. A teacher before my time was a neurologist. Firefighters and professional coaches joined us. It would be fair to say the environment developed my eventual choices in life, and maybe I reflected an aspect of my teacher. Different schools, different experiences.

If you're going to dedicate your life to an art, there is a disposable time and disposable money requirement. If your job runs the risk of injuries, hobbies and training with the risk of injuries isn't a great mix but I've seen it happen. There's also the simple fact that you will be in the same room with the same people and taking corrections from the same instructors for years. Don't like them, don't respect them, don't want to be around them - hard to imagine (maybe even sad to imagine) being a student there decades later, or being promoted. I think it starts with the Sensei, and the students will reflect some aspect of their teacher. The Aikido of that school will be a reflection of the teacher, and the students called to that often have at least something in common in my experience.

All Aikido in my home province can be traced back to one gentlemanly visiting Commerce professor from Japan. Had he been a different person, probably all successive generations of students in that province would be different than they are - some people may have never started training, others would have never quit.

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 07-29-2015 at 08:39 PM. Reason: More
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:49 PM   #23
Lan Powers
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

being in West TX we seem to attract our air share of blue collar working class folks ( as am I).
but overall a fairly high percentage of the "stayers" are people who think deeply and enjoy the incremental advances one makes through time on the mat.
The " I wanna kick some ass" crowd tend to flake away before they can actually gain any real martial benefits from using their center as opposed to muscle.

A more subtle art seems to attract a modicum of subtlety in the student.

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:35 AM   #24
Cromwell
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Re: For whom the mat calls..

Mostly had experience in karate. Thinking men and women.
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