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Old 03-09-2016, 09:58 AM   #1
Clare Din
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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6th kyu forever

Okay, I've taken 77 classes so far (since last July) and I'm not up for 5th kyu testing yet. What am I doing wrong? I asked Sensei for a critique of how I was doing so far. He said he wanted to see more flow between techniques and better footwork. "You have to reach deep down inside you and make the Aikido your own," he said. But wait... here's the thing... we do these versions of the techniques I've never seen in any video on the net or anywhere and that's what we're being tested on, so my studying Yamada, Waite, Weiner et al isn't going to help me! In Sensei's classes, strangely, sometimes I don't know what I'm doing wrong and when I do something right, I don't know why it was any different than what I was doing wrong. I'm 77 classes in and don't understand why I'm still making mistakes at this point. I'll likely never have a quick first step to get my arms up in Ikkyo because I'm 48, not 20-something or even 30-something, and I'm not athletic and have never had lightning fast reflexes. I think I would've benefited greatly from being assigned a mentor, much like what happened with me in yoga. One of my yoga teachers took a great interest in me and pushed me harder each time I took her class and somehow I thrived in that environment and ultimately became a yoga teacher.

My stubbornness says to just stick it out for some more months. My other side says maybe this isn't the school for me. Really, I don't give a damn about the rank, but when I was given my 6th kyu after only 11 classes, I felt a sense of accomplishment and I wanted to feel that way again. I often thought that maybe I'm just not jelling with my Sensei. I could do the techniques on anyone my size, but not on him. In other classes not taught by him, I do a lot better. The teachers are more encouraging. I've practiced the 5th kyu techniques over and over and have never been criticized as strictly as in Sensei's classes. My partner says maybe he's holding me to a higher standard. I look around my class and there are 3rd kyus making the same mistakes, he's correcting them, and yet I'm the one who is still 6th kyu.

Sorry for ranting. This is mighty frustrating to me.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:32 AM   #2
nikyu62
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Hello Clare, I think I understand your frustration....almost every time i hear "I don't care about rank" it really means the opposite....everyone wants to feel that they are progressing, and rank is the measure established to show progression. It is not an objective standard, however. You didn't mention what style you train in, they all have their own standards. Maybe you got moved to 6th kyu (too) quickly and now your sensei is making you wait longer for the next step because of that. In the long run, those beginning steps are just that. If you enjoy aikido, just focus on that. If you are having an issue with getting validation from your sensei, that is a different thing. One of my teachers was held back and made to go through many additional steps in his training by his teacher; he ended up being a very excellent high ranking teacher. I wish you well.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:57 AM   #3
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Steven Shimanek wrote: View Post
Hello Clare, I think I understand your frustration....almost every time i hear "I don't care about rank" it really means the opposite....everyone wants to feel that they are progressing, and rank is the measure established to show progression. It is not an objective standard, however. You didn't mention what style you train in, they all have their own standards. Maybe you got moved to 6th kyu (too) quickly and now your sensei is making you wait longer for the next step because of that. In the long run, those beginning steps are just that. If you enjoy aikido, just focus on that. If you are having an issue with getting validation from your sensei, that is a different thing. One of my teachers was held back and made to go through many additional steps in his training by his teacher; he ended up being a very excellent high ranking teacher. I wish you well.
Hi Steven,

Thank you for your response! Rank meant something to me for a period of time when I thought to myself that maybe I could teach this (Aikido) someday. I've always been a teacher of sorts, having taught at the high school to graduate school levels and now yoga. When I get into something, it is like an obsession. I purchase as many books and videos on the subject as I can and read and study everything, so I'm not some silly person complaining for the sake of complaining. I'm in an Aikikai school, so the bare minimum classes beyond 6th kyu to test for 5th is 40 classes and it's 60 minimum total for 5th kyu, which is why I feel at 77 classes (at 1.5 hours each) there should've been something done to correct my mistakes by now. In my yoga classes, if I saw someone doing something wildly wrong in a class, I'd correct it right away and not let it go for 70+ classes.

Yes, perhaps I was given my 6th kyu too quickly. It was more for my proficiency in rolling than anything else and I will admit that I always throw myself into a situation, meaning I overexert myself beyond my current capabilities. I still do. It's in my nature to keep pushing myself because I've always been the smallest/weakest/least athletic one in my class.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:53 PM   #4
Dan Rubin
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
...sometimes I don't know what I'm doing wrong and when I do something right, I don't know why it was any different than what I was doing wrong.
HA! Get used to it.

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
Really, I don't give a damn about the rank.
Do you read your own posts?

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
I purchase as many books and videos on the subject as I can and read and study everything.
Stop watching/reading videos and books! They're making it harder for you!

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
When I get into something, it is like an obsession.
Obsess on this: Go slow! Accept frustration! Fifty percent of your practice is as uke, the partner who is defeated; can you learn to accept defeat? That will be the most difficult and most important lesson that aikido can teach you. I wish you luck.

Dan
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:51 PM   #5
kewms
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
I'm 77 classes in and don't understand why I'm still making mistakes at this point. I'll likely never have a quick first step to get my arms up in Ikkyo because I'm 48, not 20-something or even 30-something, and I'm not athletic and have never had lightning fast reflexes.
Get back to us when you realize you're still making mistakes after 7 years... At this point, your biggest issue is the idea that you *shouldn't* be making mistakes after 77 classes. How much yoga did you know after three months?

A "quick first step" has nothing to do with speed or fast reflexes. It has to do with initiative. If you know when and where the attack will be, it's easy to be there first. But that's not a concept I'd expect someone to master in three months, either.

Quote:
My stubbornness says to just stick it out for some more months. My other side says maybe this isn't the school for me. Really, I don't give a damn about the rank, but when I was given my 6th kyu after only 11 classes, I felt a sense of accomplishment and I wanted to feel that way again. I often thought that maybe I'm just not jelling with my Sensei. I could do the techniques on anyone my size, but not on him. In other classes not taught by him, I do a lot better. The teachers are more encouraging. I've practiced the 5th kyu techniques over and over and have never been criticized as strictly as in Sensei's classes. My partner says maybe he's holding me to a higher standard. I look around my class and there are 3rd kyus making the same mistakes, he's correcting them, and yet I'm the one who is still 6th kyu.
Personally, I don't think I've ever met a beginner who I'd promote after 11 classes, in part because of the risk of creating exactly the unrealistic expectations that you seem to have. In our system, you wouldn't even be eligible for 5th kyu until you'd been to 90 classes (30 for 6th kyu, then 60 more for 5th).

I don't know your instructor. But generally speaking, when a teacher holds a student to a higher standard it means that he is trying to push that student to reach their potential. Because of your yoga experience, you probably move differently from a true beginner -- true beginners usually have miserable structure and body awareness, for example -- and so your teacher may feel that you are ready for more challenging aspects of the art. Why don't you ask?

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:51 PM   #6
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
HA! Get used to it.

Do you read your own posts?

Stop watching/reading videos and books! They're making it harder for you!

Obsess on this: Go slow! Accept frustration! Fifty percent of your practice is as uke, the partner who is defeated; can you learn to accept defeat? That will be the most difficult and most important lesson that aikido can teach you. I wish you luck.

Dan
But hold on. I replied to my response about rank. I care about progress and the thing is I don't think I'm progressing. Like I said about my being a yoga teacher, I would never, ever let someone continue making the same mistakes again and again after 70+ classes. To further my point about not caring about rank, I'm at a point where I just want to take one class a week with my favorite instructor rather than devote myself to 3, 4, or even 5 classes per week. Why? Because it's not enjoyable any more, especially with a teacher who makes it so frustrating.

Watching videos and reading books should add to someone's growth, not hinder it.

You are right about accepting defeat. I never accepted defeat. It's my stubbornness that prevents me from accepting it. That's why I'm still taking these classes. But at some point, you have to say to yourself, maybe, just maybe, it's not the student. Did you ever take a college course with a professor you found to be totally unenlightening? Do you continue to take courses with that professor because you have no choice? No, there are always other options. Other professors, other schools, etc.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:58 PM   #7
kewms
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
But hold on. I replied to my response about rank. I care about progress and the thing is I don't think I'm progressing. Like I said about my being a yoga teacher, I would never, ever let someone continue making the same mistakes again and again after 70+ classes.
Yoga is not a partner practice. A critical part of aikido is responding to the specific person and specific attack you are facing at that moment. NO ONE is able to do that consistently after 70 classes. Not me, not you, not my teacher, not Ueshiba Sensei himself.

Be gentle with yourself. This is a journey of years.

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:17 PM   #8
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Get back to us when you realize you're still making mistakes after 7 years... At this point, your biggest issue is the idea that you *shouldn't* be making mistakes after 77 classes. How much yoga did you know after three months?

A "quick first step" has nothing to do with speed or fast reflexes. It has to do with initiative. If you know when and where the attack will be, it's easy to be there first. But that's not a concept I'd expect someone to master in three months, either.

Personally, I don't think I've ever met a beginner who I'd promote after 11 classes, in part because of the risk of creating exactly the unrealistic expectations that you seem to have. In our system, you wouldn't even be eligible for 5th kyu until you'd been to 90 classes (30 for 6th kyu, then 60 more for 5th).

I don't know your instructor. But generally speaking, when a teacher holds a student to a higher standard it means that he is trying to push that student to reach their potential. Because of your yoga experience, you probably move differently from a true beginner -- true beginners usually have miserable structure and body awareness, for example -- and so your teacher may feel that you are ready for more challenging aspects of the art. Why don't you ask?

Katherine
It's been 7 months, not 3 (July to today), but, yes, I get your point about initiative. But to answer your question about how much yoga I knew at 3 months, not a lot, but at 7 months (actually at 6), I was recommended for teacher training. This usually isn't recommended to anyone with less than 2 years of yoga practice. I practiced almost every day and saw progress because my yoga teachers kept pushing me harder and harder every time I came in. I didn't go to teacher training until many months later (about 1.3 years into my practice) because I didn't feel ready yet. The thing is I've felt ready for my 5th kyu test for at least 2 months now. I practice with 1st ad 3rd kyus regularly and practice all the 5th kyu techniques with them before class and they think I'm ready, so, again, it's very frustrating.

I do appreciate yours and Dan's responses. I think I would've benefited from slow and steady progress than a quick promotion.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:24 PM   #9
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Yoga is not a partner practice. A critical part of aikido is responding to the specific person and specific attack you are facing at that moment. NO ONE is able to do that consistently after 70 classes. Not me, not you, not my teacher, not Ueshiba Sensei himself.

Be gentle with yourself. This is a journey of years.

Katherine
Some yoga forms are partner practices (see below)



No, no, I wasn't referring to being able to respond to any attack after 70 classes, but rather mistakes of where my feet should be, my hips should be, my hands and arms should be, etc.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:40 PM   #10
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Slower the progression, more money spent in training fees.

And, BTW, we're talking about 5th kyu aikido skills... anybody who can tell his left hand from his right foot has them.
.
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:59 PM   #11
Cliff Judge
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Seems like you are experiencing some conflict in your Aikido journey, facing some unexpected resistance.

Hmmm...what to do about that. If only there was some type of philosophy of how to deal with such issues...
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:01 PM   #12
robin_jet_alt
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Re: 6th kyu forever

It took a year for me to take my first grading. Eventually I got up to 1st kyu before changing styles when I went right back to 6th kyu for 4 years. You will get little sympathy from me about your rank.

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post

But hold on. I replied to my response about rank. I care about progress and the thing is I don't think I'm progressing.
Why aren't you progressing? What are you doing wrong?

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
I'm at a point where I just want to take one class a week with my favorite instructor rather than devote myself to 3, 4, or even 5 classes per week. Why? Because it's not enjoyable any more, especially with a teacher who makes it so frustrating.
How do your teachers make it frustrating? In my experience aikido is inherently frustrating... If I ever found a teacher who could take away the frustration, I would deeply distrust them...
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:05 PM   #13
kewms
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
No, no, I wasn't referring to being able to respond to any attack after 70 classes, but rather mistakes of where my feet should be, my hips should be, my hands and arms should be, etc.
But because aikido is a dynamic partner practice, you need to worry about your feet, hands, etc. *relative to* a partner. The "correct answer" to those questions is relative, not absolute, and you have to find it over and over again in each unique situation while, especially at the beginning, trying to remember the details of each individual technique.

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:07 PM   #14
kewms
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
This usually isn't recommended to anyone with less than 2 years of yoga practice. I practiced almost every day and saw progress because my yoga teachers kept pushing me harder and harder every time I came in.
Like your aikido teacher is doing?

Katherine
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Old 03-09-2016, 05:18 PM   #15
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

When I started, 6th kyu did not exist.

I trained from September to May for my 5th kyu, and I had to learn 32 separate kata for it including koshinage and nine separate pinning postures.

Today, the entire 5th kyu test for Aikikai Hombu has four techniques, with two of them likely being with two versions, so six. You can prepare and test in 30 days.

In the USAF, there are no specific requirements after Nikyu.

Enjoy learning the basics - at some point all too soon, no one else is teaching you anything, or giving you an actual lesson very seldom - but judging you anyway

I submit you might be making some progress that you do not perceive. Frustration and feeling that the basics are being done poorly means for many students that they are becoming better aware of what they are doing wrong and the literally millions of corrections that make the different between the basics and the advanced material (which are virtually the same in terms of gross motor movement).

If the technique feels perfect, usually there is still some way to pull it apart and start again.

Politics can play a role, and be clear for yourself if you are genuinely being encouraged to do more, or if you are being held back for worthless reasons. If you are ABSOLUTELY certain these are not good reasons after talking with your Sensei, quit and be grateful you learned this at 5th kyu and not 5th Dan.

But, we train for training, not for testing. Testing is a silly addition to a martial tradition - every single time, every second, you succeed or you should've died. Everything else is fairy dust; smoke and mirrors.
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:56 PM   #16
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
I've asked Sensei for a critique of how I was doing so far. He said he wanted to see more flow between techniques and better footwork...I don't know what I'm doing wrong and when I do something right, I don't know why it was any different than what I was doing wrong...I'll likely never have a quick first step to get my arms up in Ikkyo because I'm 48, not 20-something or even 30-something, and I'm not athletic and have never had lightning fast reflexes...
I have some yoga experience, less than you, but I do remember my yoga teacher telling that that yoga (maybe just her yoga, I can't say) was about take opposite extreme postures so that the normal everyday felt better and more easy. I liked the idea.

When I teach Taiji and Aikido, I do mention what my teaching of these arts focuses on - exploring everyday normal. Not to everyone, but I see dancers and gymnasts and yogis come on occasion and I offer this to help them understand the difference. While this set of postural principles came from "How do I hit someone harder?" It's also how do I have better balance, how do I generate more power for heavy doors, heavy grandkids, groceries.

The postures in, for example, the Sun Salutation are good Yoga but poor martial arts - even the Warrior poses are for flexibility and strength but don't explore good posture for combat.

There are variations and disagreements out there, but for me:

Feet should never be so far apart that I cannot completely and easily shift 100% to the other foot at any time. No jumping, no gathering up energy to step. Can you always lift one foot off the ground without adjusting your posture in any way? There should be no sense of a stretch. It should absolutely never feel like a workout to get off line or close the distance. IMO

The back should be upright and flat, with any push on my shoulders going to my feet. No thrusting the chest upward. No straight locked joints anywhere - dancers, figure skaters, gymnasts in particular have years of training for super dramatic minimal base and straight legs with the chest thrust outward. It is beautiful. Every part of every posture for combat should feel like power is still in reserve.

If you have a combat integration, shifting your weight on the soles of your feet moves your entire mass forward and backward. Good integration is more muscles in a single movement working together, and the body's entire mass (or as much as possible) behind it with no joint held in an extreme position. It ain't pretty. But at 46 I am able to arrive faster than some of the 16 year olds and 26 year olds I get to play with because I try to start in one piece, and when I arrive I try to be all in.

Good integration means all joints are already aligned to move so it really is faster. Already in one piece means there is no adjustment, no step to start to develop structure for power because I try to be there already from the start, no need to think about blocking as my hands are already there. Lately I try to set the pace.

Just some random thoughts. Telling yourself you will never be faster, that you're old and slower - might mean you are mentally refusing the lesson that could make you faster and stronger. Than anyone in the world? No, but can you be faster and stronger than untrained you; or are you truly at your absolute peak of your abilities?

A gymnastics example - a gold medal can mean permanently getting crippled by landing pretty. Martial Art training is different.

Sorry for the length. this is what I give to students who have similar background to you. I hope it helps, even if you don't stay.

Last edited by akiy : 03-09-2016 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag
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Old 03-09-2016, 08:49 PM   #17
Cliff Judge
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
But, we train for training, not for testing. Testing is a silly addition to a martial tradition - every single time, every second, you succeed or you should've died. Everything else is fairy dust; smoke and mirrors.
Well Aikido does have a performance / demonstration component to it that is pretty important. We wouldn't all be on here chatting about this if Ueshiba only taught hands-on.

I'd argue that getting students up in front of the rest of the class to face the stage fright and all that certainly has its place.
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Old 03-09-2016, 09:12 PM   #18
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Well Aikido does have a performance / demonstration component to it that is pretty important. We wouldn't all be on here chatting about this if Ueshiba only taught hands-on.

I'd argue that getting students up in front of the rest of the class to face the stage fright and all that certainly has its place.
Good point. I would say the test is it's own form of training.
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:04 PM   #19
Janet Rosen
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Wait a minute.
Fifth kyu test should demonstrate FLOW????? Most dojo don't look for that until somewhere around second kyu.
Fifth kyu is, in my experience (which being an aikimutt involved seeing testing in several dojos in different organizations) do you know the names of the attacks and techniques we are asking for and can you demonstrate the gross movements. Period.
Forget the testing. Keep training and trust the process a while longer. You're building the basic vocabulary and some of the syntax at this point. You may try to build sentences and want to build paragraphs, but yeah most of the time you will come out with phrases :-) Then one day there will be a CLICK and you will have some sentences.....
If you truly feel you are not making ANY progress - not because of not being deemed ready to test, but really truly not ever improving - you could quietly visit and observe other dojos in your area to see if there may be a better fit elsewhere.
But my guess is you are impatient with yourself and the relatively slow integration of body/mind in techniques.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-09-2016, 10:07 PM   #20
Janet Rosen
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Oh and Katherine is totally right about reflexes and speed not being the thing, being prepared earlier to move is the thing. I was a 41 yr old beginner who was totally nonathletic and for several years I always entered late. I'm 61 now and with accretion of minor disabilities still a relatively slow human being but my entries are generally when they need to be because of being able to read my attacker.

Janet Rosen
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Old 03-10-2016, 06:54 AM   #21
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Hey, Clare are you having any fun?

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Old 03-10-2016, 07:24 AM   #22
phitruong
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Re: 6th kyu forever

wrote this on another similar thread awhile back http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=23225

6th kyu - you discovered you got two left feet or possibly two right feet
5th kyu - you realized you actually have a left foot and a right foot. you also discovered you have two left hands or could be two right hands
4th kyu - you can actually move your feet in some sort of direction, but usually in the opposite of everyone else. still can't figure out which is left hand and which is right hand.
3th kyu - you move in the same general direction as everyone else, but for some reason it seems to be in the next planet. and you discovered your left hand actually on the left side and your right hand, right side of your body.
2nd kyu - you discovered that your ass is too large, because it kept sticking way out the back.
1st kyu - you waddle like a penguin or maybe a duck and you realized you actually have a head, since you keep smashing it into other folks hands.
shodan - you tripped on your hakama and hurt yourself by trying to go through the mat with your face
nidan - you developed a beer gut and that smooth out the waddle
sandan - you started to recognize those strange chicken scratches on the wall is actually meant "Aikido" and wondering why in the hell name someone didn't write it as "Aikido" in the first place.
yondan - you realized you don't have to wear anything under the hakama and nobody care, and that makes going to the bathroom easier.

as you can see, you are at the very early stage of self-discovery. give yourself time and hakuna matata. don't take things too serious, since you won't get out of life alive.

forgot to mention, that i found a pattern where folks who excel in some other physical endeavour, who tend to believe that they would be good at a different physical endeavour like aikido. more often than not, their belief was a hot air bubble.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:13 AM   #23
lbb
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Hi Claire,

I see a lot of people in this thread posting about their various training experiences and how they differ from yours, and I hope you're using those experiences to get some perspective -- but also that you keep in mind that they're describing different circumstances than yours. The obvious difference is the number of hours for this rank or that rank -- it's also rather beside the point; you really cannot look at someone else's time to rank, at some other school, in some other system, under some other teacher, and form any expectations for when you should be testing (and don't say "Yes, but...").

So forget the damn hours. Also forget not making mistakes. Most importantly, forget making progress. At this point, you're like someone who is trying to get somewhere you've heard about, but you don't have precise directions, or a complete map, the road signs are in a different language, and you don't even know how you'd recognize the place once you got there. If you were in that literal situation, in the physical world, would you charge full speed ahead? Would you complain about not making "progress"? Not if you were wise. You'd first try to figure out if the destination was a place you wanted to go, and -- since you'll never really get a concrete account of it -- you'd figure out if the journey was worthwhile. Not the journey ten miles down the road, where you imagine you'll see a beautiful vista: the journey right in front of you, right now, the next step, the 78th class. Is that worth it? Is it? Because, to be honest, as far as I can tell that's all it ever is. Aikido is your training, right now. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow doesn't exist. Now has to be sufficient. If it isn't, then don't do it.

As for your prior experiences with yoga, eeeesh...this is going to sound very disrespectful, I suppose, but I've heard of a number of people fairly new to yoga who were encouraged to enter teacher training, and it strikes me as a bit of a racket. While I know people who practice yoga on a deeper level, the cynic in me says that this is a way for a studio or organization to make money, no different than the exercise fad du jour where people take a series of classes or two and then pay more money to become instructor certified. And hey, for all I know maybe it's somewhat functional -- maybe someone at that level really can learn to teach others. But I don't think it's a good idea in a martial art. We had a joke in karate: "No one knows as much about karate as a green belt (a rank that most people get after about 9 months of training). Just ask one." At that stage, a reasonably bright and diligent student knows enough to be "getting it" on some level, and for some people, developing understanding manifests itself in an urge to teach others. I really see this as a dangerous impulse. To use an aikido analogy, it's the same danger as grabbing onto uke's arm instead of simply maintaining kokyu: when you concretize your understanding in the way that people tend to do when they feel the urge to teach others, you run the very real risk of locking onto something that isn't really the thing you should be focused on (insofar as you should be "focused on" anything). Stop trying to "get it". Keep your focus soft. Just train, stop chasing it, and let aikido come to you.
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Old 03-10-2016, 09:56 AM   #24
Clare Din
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I like the recent responses so far. One thing they all have is a large amount of experience behind them. This I see as a good thing. Like in yoga, the ego can get in the way of the goal ahead and goals can change over time.

I did visit another dojo last night. The teacher was a lot more dynamic, moving from student to student, pairing up beginners with more experienced students. No one was left behind or left to feel like they're in a sea of befuddlement. The teacher is a student of one of the greats in Aikido (you've all seen him before) and that alone should be reason enough to switch to a new dojo. I swear the experience just made me cry just watching how good this guy was. When he demonstrated his falls and rolls, he was soft as a feather. It was like he was on a cloud of air all the time.

Mary, you are right that yoga is a big racket, but the same can be said about a lot of martial arts dojos, too. Many dojos want to give students that first rank right away to pull in monthly fees. It's a business after all. If it were a non-profit, it would be a different story. What I can tell you about my yoga journey is my studio wasn't teaching the teacher training course. In fact, I went against their recommendation to take a certain teacher training (Bikram Yoga) and took a teacher training with an entirely different organization (evolation yoga) and I still ended up being successful teaching in my studio so there were no incentives/kickbacks for my studio to send me to teacher training.

I have a martial arts friend (an ex-karate black belt instructor) who will be watching my class tonight so he can give me insights on what he thinks of my dojo.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-10-2016, 10:25 AM   #25
PeterR
 
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
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Re: 6th kyu forever

We grade relatively quickly and make no bones about it. The first grade is a welcome, you know enough to train safely. Specifically its 20 hours (give or take), three techniques and basic footwork and ukemi.

Its not to suck someone into the fold or part of a racket - but people do feel they were outside and now they are more inside.

Point is grading has always had more purpose than just recognizing proficiency.

To the OP - people learn very differently. I've seen people grasp the early stuff very easily and hit a wall soon after. These are often the worst to deal with because they don't recognize their own limitations. All of us hit a wall somewhere along the kyu grades, and we all struggle with the why.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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