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Old 06-01-2004, 06:00 PM   #1
Jeff Lynne
Location: Florida
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 8
Beginner's Syllabus

I am a beginner with martial arts experience in shotokan and wado-ryu karate-do. When learning those arts, there was clearly a progression of technique, each building upon the next. In aikido, my instructor, who I respect deeply and think is an amazing person, has the philosophy to throw a lot at his students and hope they absorb "at least 60% of it." I don't know if this was the way he was taught or merely the way he teaches, but it is really frustrating the heck out of me. Furthermore, the classes are long - 90 minutes - so there is a lot of technique taught each class.

Is this the traditional way all aikido beginners are taught, or merely how my instructor does it? And does anyone have any encouraging words for a karateka who is having a hard time picking up aikido so slowly???

Thanks for reading.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:07 PM   #2
Jordan Steele
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 126
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

Aikido is learned with the eyes. Learning with the eyes allows you to develop a style unique to you as opposed to being told how to do something based on anothers interpretation. Make an effort to match the names and the techniques together and then just do what sensei shows. It all falls into place eventually. Do your thinking outside of the dojo, but when you're training try not to focus on too many things. I treat training the way I would like to perform in a real encounter and if I'm constantly self-editing myself during training I am grooving a bad habit of having the wrong mental attitude.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:45 PM   #3
Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

I don't know about Jordan, but I learn much better by doing, not seeing.

Jeff, you're going through something that I went through, and I'm pretty sure everyone else did too. I'm also willing to bet the better part of a paycheck that you're picking things up faster than me

I still consider myself lucky if I maybe improve one thing in my technique in the course of a class after two years (elapsed) of training. Trust me, eventually things will start to seem familiar, and you'll start to remember techniques, names, etc.

The "throw techniques at 'em and hope something sticks" method is rather common, and I've found that a notebook helps some, and going through techniques after class with a partner helps more.

Good luck, you are just taking the first steps,
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:58 PM   #4
Location: Auckland
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 971
New Zealand
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

The training method you describe is common in Aikido. I may hazard a guess that it's because Aikido is much less of a solo art than say Karate. You can't have beginners working on "beginners techniques" because they need to be working with high grades as partners.

It is confusing when you're doing a bunch of different techniques, but be patient. Eventually you'll be able to see the links between them, the common entries to attacks between various techniques, the basic building blocks of movement that the final technique is tacked onto the end of. It will come together.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 06-02-2004, 11:24 AM   #5
Jeff Lynne
Location: Florida
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 8
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

Thank you all for your responses and encouragement. Reading other posts about "beginning aikido" have been useful as well.

I then pondered, why do people get involved with aikido in the first place? I am sure the Steven Segal movies of the 90's caused an inflow of new students, but generally, what gets new students to the dojo, and moreover, what keeps them there? I know for me, I did a lot of reading about aikido before taking the leap. I wonder about others. In any event, I am pleased that I have found this path and am thankful for the community of other aikidoka on this web list.
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Old 06-02-2004, 03:17 PM   #6
Joanne Arnest
Dojo: Oberlin Aikikai
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

When I started aikido last fall I was in a beginners class, so there was more structure to the syllabus in that it was dedicated mostly to techniques on the 6th kyu test. However, most of those techniques appeared completely unconnected at first. Eventually things start to look familiar. Try to grab the more advanced students, just taking ukemi from them can help a technique make more sense.

There is currently a thread on why people started aikido in the general forums section- "why did you start aikido?" You should check it out if you're curious about why people got into aikido.
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:43 PM   #7
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,887
Re: Beginner's Syllabus

IMHO, when I first started, coming from a FMA/JKD background, none of it made sense. It still doesn't make sense, but i don't care because in the long run it seems to work.

Aikido, in principle and training, is different. Its the shifting of the mental model that makes beginning so difficult.

Just relax, breath, and enjoy yourself. Now, get back on the mat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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