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Old 02-08-2005, 07:17 AM   #1
JoeBannon
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
Location: Dallas, TX
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Question Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

I was thinking of planning a trip to Tokyo and maybe stay for a month to practice at the Hombu Dojo. Has anyone practiced there? If so, were did you stay, experiences you'd like to share?


http://www.aikikai.or.jp/Eng/index.htm
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Old 02-08-2005, 06:50 PM   #2
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi Joe,

There`s a hotel that rents by the month just down the street from the Aikikai Honbu if that is where you mean. Maybe if you contact Honbu they can help you. Or maybe people who are there now can take a look and give you the name and number.

As far as experiences, I am remembering this French guy I met who saved up money to visit and happened to pick a week that the dojo was closed. I recommend looking at the dojo calendar before coming,

Charles
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Old 02-14-2005, 08:17 AM   #3
DanielR
Location: New York
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi all,

After browsing the several threads on the subject here, what I've learned so far about visiting Aikikai Hombu is:
- Daily fee: about 1500 yen plus tax, can visit all classes that day.
- Recommended to bring the membership card and/or a recommendation letter - these may or may not be required to get in.
- There've been precedents (apparently extremely rare) of hombu representatives at the reception insisting on the visitor demonstrating Aikikai affiliation, and refusing a chance to train if such affiliation is not demonstrated to their satisfaction.
- One should not expect them to know names of non-Japanese shihans, so, again, some form of documentation may be helpful.

In addition to the above, I was wondering if anyone had any comments on the following:

- Can one expect the Hombu reception personnel to recognize a USAF yukyusha card?
- Hombu has beginners' classes - what level of training are these for?

Many thanks,
Daniel
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:41 PM   #4
aikido_diver
Location: Brisbane
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Australia
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

I went not long ago, I stayed pretty far away from Honbu though, like in a place called Ginza, but i went there a couple of times. However being only a Mukyu at the time, I was worried that I would not be able t participate, however I showed them a recommendation letter, in which had Aikikai in Kanji and explained to them that we are affiliated through Seiichi Sugano Shihan, and I was allowed in. After they knew that, they were all very warm loving caring people. I enjoyed it greatly. Though Osaka was so much cheaper and better hehe...
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Old 02-14-2005, 08:56 PM   #5
kokyu
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Dear all,

In response to Joe's question, it's a wonderful experience at Aikikai Hombu Dojo as one rarely has the opportunity to train under so many high-ranking Senseis at one location. Also, the normal classes at the 3rd level dojo has 90% yudansha. It's a great opportunity to learn from people who have practiced for many years - one might also get lucky when your uke for the session happens to be a 6th or 7th dan

There is also a good article on grading at Hombu Dojo here:
http://www.bujindesign.com/newslette.../article.shtml

In response to Daniel's questions, from my experience, the reception does accept kyu grading certificates from Aikikai recognized organizations. The beginner's classes are quite basic - as the article above points out, people from 3rd kyu and above tend to attend classes at the 3rd level dojo. Also, there seems to be a jump in difficulty between the beginner's class (the 2nd level dojo) and the normal class. One of the good things about the beginner's classes is that one enjoys more space on the mat... the classes on the 3rd level dojo tend to be packed, so it's nice to have more freedom to move around...

Hope this helps
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:19 AM   #6
Gawad Adham
Join Date: Aug 2001
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi all
I'm considering going to Japan as well, can any one give me an idea as the kind of cash i would need for a months stay? and r the summer months really too hot to train,? I am a 40 year old shodan wnd have always wnted to go, and i figure if don't go now i probably never will... I've been a shodan since 96, and would lve to test for nidan at hombu . any advice???
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:22 PM   #7
kokyu
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Dear Gawad,

There isn't much air movement within the dojo, so it can get stiflingly hot in summer - which is why people try to get a spot near the windows during that season... and then they back away from the windows in winter Although last summer was very hot, you might be lucky this year...

If you are going for the sole purpose of grading (and can extend your stay in Japan), you might like to try the Aikido Academy (also at Hombu Dojo) -- see <Aikido Academy> at http://www.aikikai.or.jp/Eng/index.htm -- the course allows for closer interaction between the Shihan and yourself. The normal classes are packed and less personal - i.e. it's going to take much longer if you are hoping to be recommended for dan gradings. Maybe someone who has attended the courses at the Academy can comment.

In any case, it's a great experience...

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:33 PM   #8
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:

If you are going for the sole purpose of grading (and can extend your stay in Japan), you might like to try the Aikido Academy (also at Hombu Dojo) -- see <Aikido Academy> at http://www.aikikai.or.jp/Eng/index.htm -- the course allows for closer interaction between the Shihan and yourself. The normal classes are packed and less personal - i.e. it's going to take much longer if you are hoping to be recommended for dan gradings. Maybe someone who has attended the courses at the Academy can comment.
Do they even let visitors participate in gradings? I don't know - maybe if your instructor contacts them (and they know who they are).

I wouldn't waste too much time on the Academy classes - better to take a lot of the regular classes if you're going to be training several times a day.

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
In any case, it's a great experience...
Hombu's a great place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. You can see a lot of teachers and senior folks in one place, which is good, but the classes are really much to large to get much personal contact with the instructors, which isn't. If you're going to be in Japan for a while I'd suggest focusing on training in a smaller dojo where you can get more intimate contact, and just visit hombu for some variety.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-22-2005, 05:08 AM   #9
kokyu
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Do they even let visitors participate in gradings? I don't know - maybe if your instructor contacts them (and they know who they are).
From what I've seen, it's possible to get graded as a visitor if your Sensei accompanies you and recommends your promotion (I've seen this happen for a group dan grading). However, this particular grading was separate from the normal monthly dojo gradings.

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
If you're going to be in Japan for a while I'd suggest focusing on training in a smaller dojo where you can get more intimate contact, and just visit hombu for some variety.
If I'm not mistaken, some of the students treat Hombu Dojo as a place for supplementary training - i.e. they belong to the stable of dojos headed by a particular Shihan and train at Hombu on the specific day that the Shihan instructs there... i.e. Chris is right, not everyone lives at Hombu Dojo

I guess it all depends on what you are looking for
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:43 AM   #10
Robert Townson
 
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi all,

I wanted to know at what sort of level would you consider high enough to visit and train in Japan.
I have always want to go, but have only been training a short time. Is there a "guide line" level someone should be at before even thinking about visiting the Hombu?

Last edited by Robert Townson : 02-22-2005 at 06:45 AM. Reason: typo!

Thanks,
Rob

"You are not truly dead until you are totally forgotten."

"Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear."
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Old 02-22-2005, 01:21 PM   #11
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
From what I've seen, it's possible to get graded as a visitor if your Sensei accompanies you and recommends your promotion (I've seen this happen for a group dan grading). However, this particular grading was separate from the normal monthly dojo gradings.
That's not uncommon - Kobayashi Dojo (for example) usually borrows hombu for the day and does a whole bunch of tests at once. What this sounded like to me was more along the lines of someone dropping in from out of town (or out of the country) for a week or two and trying to take part in grading at hombu.

Best,


Chris

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Old 02-22-2005, 01:23 PM   #12
Chris Li
 
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Robert Townson wrote:
Hi all,

I wanted to know at what sort of level would you consider high enough to visit and train in Japan.
I have always want to go, but have only been training a short time. Is there a "guide line" level someone should be at before even thinking about visiting the Hombu?
The first time I went to train at hombu I was a 5th kyu with about 3 or 4 months of training. I trained in the regular classes for a couple of months at that time without problems, but you could always take the beginner's classes if your ukemi's not up to par.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-22-2005, 03:32 PM   #13
Aikiscott
Dojo: Central Coast Aikikai
Location: Gosford
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 65
Australia
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

I have trained at hombu in 2003, We were staying in Edogawa, so it was a bit of a hike to Hombu especially as we really wanted to take Doshus class after a 4.30am start. Unfortunately we got there to find out he was out of the country.
The training was great, A little crowded but couldn't beat the atmosphere. We also took the next class with Osawa Sensei which I highly recommend.
The only down side was two North Americans making comments about the fact that we had only that day to train in Hombu, as we were the guests of another organisation in Edogawa.
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Old 02-22-2005, 07:25 PM   #14
kokyu
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
That's not uncommon - Kobayashi Dojo (for example) usually borrows hombu for the day and does a whole bunch of tests at once. What this sounded like to me was more along the lines of someone dropping in from out of town (or out of the country) for a week or two and trying to take part in grading at hombu.
That's true, it's rare that a dojo allows a single visitor to train for a week or two and then take part in the regular grading. However, the particular example I brought up involved a group of overseas visitors (with their Sensei) who trained for a week or two and were graded by the Hombu Shihan.

Because Gawad wanted to get graded after a short period of training, the only place I could think of was the Aikido Academy. Although the web page says "This course is not designed for special promotions or considerations.", it then goes on with "Graduates of each course will be given CERTIFICATES, and upon successful execution of grading examinations, Aikido kyu or dan ranks will be conferred. Promotions are possible as follows: Beginners Course - up to 3rd kyu; Intermediate Course - SHO DAN; Advanced Course - up to 2nd DAN."

IMHO, the real benefit of going to Hombu Dojo is the opportunity to receive teaching and much kind advice from the many Shihans and high-ranking practitioners
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Old 02-23-2005, 02:59 AM   #15
M.E.Perona
Dojo: Paris Aikido Club
Location: Paris
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Daniel Rozenbaum wrote:
Hi all,

After browsing the several threads on the subject here, what I've learned so far about visiting Aikikai Hombu is:
- Daily fee: about 1500 yen plus tax, can visit all classes that day.
If you plan to practice more than a week, the monthly fee is interesting.

Quote:
Daniel Rozenbaum wrote:
- Recommended to bring the membership card and/or a recommendation letter - these may or may not be required to get in.
I showed up with my membership card (I got if after passing my Aļkikaļ shodan in France), as was asked no further questions.

--
http://www.parisaikidoclub.com
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:02 AM   #16
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Malaysia
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi,

If you want a cheap hotel try Tokyo Business Hotel. It was cheap but i can't remember how cheap. We tripled bunked though. The hotel itself is nice with communal baths but it locks its doors at midnight, so forget visiting the tokyo night scene if you stay there. its also about 10-15mins walk. Former when you begin training, latter one week later into training.

All in all, I think 2000usd for two weeks is enough to get by in tokyo. I got by with less, but it all depends on your lifestyle. A cheap meal can be gotten for less than 500 yen. So do your maths. On tuesday, you can get some beef ramen for 100 yen in this particular shop. but i can't remember which.

i loved the beginners class. The shihans take pain to explain a lot stuff (in japanese unfortunately). but it helps a lot if basics aren't your strong point. the class when i was there was cramped because of the pillars in the middle. so i preferred the 3rd floor dojo.

personally, i would try and train with foreign girls who speak japanese. (they tend to be serious in their training but have impeccable technique) they seem to have the best attitude and non-forced aikido. old japanese guys and some of the younger men (all races) are a bit too rough unless you like that sorta thing.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:27 AM   #17
batemanb
 
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
ahmad abas wrote:
All in all, I think 2000usd for two weeks is enough to get by in tokyo. I got by with less, but it all depends on your lifestyle. A cheap meal can be gotten for less than 500 yen. So do your maths. On tuesday, you can get some beef ramen for 100 yen in this particular shop. but i can't remember which.

I think you can probably get by on quite a bit less than this. You can find plenty of business hotels that rate between $60 and $80 dollars per night.

You should be able to eat out for about $10and $15 a pop at night, if you don't go to big expensive restaurants. You should also be able to find set menu lunches for about $5. Alternatively, the local conbeni (7-11, Lawson etc.) will do very cheap food.

Yoshinoya (big orange signs with Yoshinoya written in black, see http://www.igougo.com/photos/journal_photos/yoshi2.jpg) used to do Gyudon for 100 yen. I'm not sure if they still do this, business went a bit sour on the beef front a while back, but that may have changed.

regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:22 AM   #18
Chad Scott
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 41
Japan
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Quote:
Robert Townson wrote:
Hi all,

I wanted to know at what sort of level would you consider high enough to visit and train in Japan.
I have always want to go, but have only been training a short time. Is there a "guide line" level someone should be at before even thinking about visiting the Hombu?
Hi Robert,

No need to worry -- Hombu is where I started and where I still am. I bought my keiko-gi on the first floor right before my very first lesson, put it on, and jumped right in! In the classes for beginners, there are always new people starting for the very first time, especially in the Sunday morning class.

The instructors in these classes for beginners are very patient and used to teaching "newbies." I am impressed with every one of them; some of my favorites are Irie Sensei, Osawa Sensei, and Ito Sensei.

Hope this helps!
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:26 AM   #19
kokyu
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Hong Kong
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

Hi all,

For those who are interested, the Netherland Aikikai Aikido website - http://www.aikikai.nl/movies.html - has 3 clips (5 mins each) of a training session conducted by the second Doshu at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Although the clip is 10+ years old, it captures the atmosphere of the present Doshu's classes very well - you can also see how crowded the normal classes can get ...although nothing beats the crowds at the Etsunengeiko!

The 3 clips are under the section "Kisshomaru Ueshiba Video" and labelled "een" "twee" and "drie". The creators of the website have also placed clips of the current Doshu demonstrating kihonwaza - http://www.aikikai.nl/technieken.html
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:29 AM   #20
Gabriel A
Location: Costa Rica
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

I find it odd that hombu doesn't assist with lodgings? ( I'm not saying for free..) to visitors.
Or not even with information or advice...

GREAT MINDS HAVE PURPOSES, OTHERS HAVE WISHES"
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Old 03-01-2005, 08:44 AM   #21
Gabriel A
Location: Costa Rica
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Re: Has anyone visited the Hombu Dojo?

What I mean is... well going to to hombu and train!!! wow!! I bet every one who has actually thought do do it ( and even those the just dream it...) must think or feel that. So why not help those who do actually do it. I mean just getting there is a lot! Why not have a contact with a nearby hotel and have special fee to visiting, or for those who are kinda short of cash ( this is me just brainstorming...) help and get a a part time job. Or even just by having a small section on their page about FAQ's and recommendations. Local hotels that they recommend etc...
..well just my 2 colones (my local currency)
Regards To all!
Gabriel

GREAT MINDS HAVE PURPOSES, OTHERS HAVE WISHES"
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