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Old 06-23-2004, 09:22 PM   #1
Hawkins121
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Beginner having trouble.

Hello,

I have been training every day sometimes 2 classes a day for the past 2 weeks. (Not long I know) and I am having alot of trouble with the most basic techniques and how to uke properly. How much pressure to grab with, which direction to roll in etc etc.

I find myself getting very frustrated in class. When a technique is demonstrated it is done very quickly and then the instructor claps his hands and says please. We all choose a partner and begin practicing. Theres only one problem. I have no idea what the instructor just did. When I get a partner that starts to show me how to do the technique the instructor claps his hands and we all line up and he shows a completely different technique and claps his hands and we try to do that technique.

Also, the dojo i go to only has one beginners class during the week. And it is more of an orientation class and the same thing is taught every week. I guess my question is:


How can you properly learn a technique if its being changed every 3-4 minutes?

How Can you develop if nothing is shown to you except the very fast "Full speed" demonstration given by the instructor?





I thank you in advance for letting me vent a little. My dojo is great... I dont mean to complain but I am just getting very frustrated.
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Old 06-23-2004, 09:58 PM   #2
PeterR
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Some teachers prefer this approach some prefer the other extreme but in any case this is exactly the situation for which where the sempai/kohei relationship works best.

Eventually you will get used to seeing what is being done but until that happens you should find a more advanced partner - it is his role to help you understand what you just saw and begin to learn it. Do your best to understand what the teacher is demonstrating but don't get worked up about it if you don't. Frustration often puts the breaks on learning. Rely on your seniors.


Don't stop going to the beginners classes - it may be the same things being taught but basics is the core of what we do. If you can get comfortable there than the advanced classes will become easier.

Seeing the full speed technique is for the advanced students who have seen the stuff before. How would they feel if everything was slowed down for the newest student (its difficult enough being partnered with them on occasion). It's also a chance for the instructor to practice - he's there for that as much as anything if he's any good.

One of my students was (how can I say this) physically inept. The smallest movements were a source of intense frustration. I was convinced that he would quit but he kept coming. At the 4 month mark something chaged - this Saturday I expect him to give an above average 8th Kyu test. What changed in my mind was mental focus - he began to understand it in relation to physical activity. The guy is a physics PhD and language nut - he understood mental focus in relationship to intellectual activities - in the end it really is the same thing.

Last edited by PeterR : 06-23-2004 at 10:01 PM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-23-2004, 11:04 PM   #3
PeterR
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Quote:
*** **** wrote:
I thank you in advance for letting me vent a little. My dojo is great... I dont mean to complain but I am just getting very frustrated.
By the by - being able to vent, bounce your ideas around and go places you might normally not be able is the great thing about Aikiweb. Its often as hard to do that in a dojo as it is to learn Aikido on the internet.

Most people sign their names to their posts. Not sure if its still the rule. There is an anonymous section for sensitive subjects.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:19 AM   #4
bleepbeep
Dojo: kyokan dojo bacolod city/dale city aikikai, va
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

in our beginner's class, there are basic exercises and also observation exercises. this consists of what to look for..like footwork, direction, where the technique started and ended...etc. maybe you can practice observing particulars..and yes, keep up the beginners class as well
and hang in there. i think at some point, we all passed thru a phase like yours now...

always in the spirit of harmony, stella
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:21 AM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

My first several months were like that. It's ok. Try not to have expectations about remembering things, and slowly patterns WILL emerge....well ok, I cheated a little: I bought a couple of books oriented towards beginners/aikikai flavor (OConnor's AIkido Student Handbook and Homma's Aikido for Life) and they helped my intellectual side begin to process what my body/brain couldn't. I don't think it helped my training, but it made me feel better about it!
and truly, if you just keep showing up, over and over, you DO learn it.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:40 AM   #6
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Are there any open mat times at your dojo? If so talk to a sempai about coming in to give you some one on one help. Do something simple for the whole time, one or two techniques from the begining tests (*cough ikkyo cough*)

And don't stop coming 5 days a week unless it becomes inconvenient. Personally, I'm of the philosophy that the more you immerse yourself in something, the more chances you have of starting to see how it works.

Best of luck

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 06-24-2004, 07:29 AM   #7
Dario Rosati
Dojo: Zanshin - Milan
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Hi,
as a beginner myself I truly understand.

Fortunately for me, it only happened at my first two seminars, where I've met "look-and-try-to-copy" senseis, with no explanations, no names, no slow motions... shame on them (pun intended).
My sensei (and many others as well) simply "splits" the tecnique in key movements for us beginners and show them at fast speed, normal speed, and slow speed, commenting every movement with "do" and "do not", making the thing a lot easier to understand.

You can probably try to figure out by yourself, or explicity ask your sensei or your sempai: techniques can often be splitted in a sequence of "basic" movements that you probably do while warmup (stance, type of attack, tenkan, kaiten, side/front/back step and so on until the final front/back ukemi).

If you sensation of unease doesn't go away in 1-2 months, where I you I would change dojo and find a sensei with better didactical methods.

Bye!

--
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Old 06-24-2004, 10:31 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Deepest compassion and empathy. I remember as a beginner feeling the same thing. Perhaps your frustration is hurting your progress more than the teaching style. Relax and enjoy yourself. You will get there eventually. Perhaps you may need to cut down on classes.

There was an old story of a sword master. A student how long it would take to master the sword? The master said, 5 years. And if I train every day? 7 years. And if i train all day everyday? 10 years. If your mind is so focused on the goal, you will not learn the lesson taught that day.

Relax and train for the fun of it.

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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Old 06-24-2004, 12:47 PM   #9
Sue Trinidad
Dojo: Island Aikido
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

I know what you mean--I've been training for less than 2 months and there are times that I struggle to keep from laughing after the demonstration, just at the sheer impossibility of my being able to do that thing they just showed. It's like watching somebody fly around the room, land, and then say, "Your turn!"

But something happened for me pretty early on that has helped--I realized that *of course* I won't be able to do it the way sensei or most of the sempai do. . . they've been training, in many cases, for years! If I keep training, though, I know I will learn more and more--and my own aikido will develop as I do. A big part of this training for me is practicing patience.

If it's any encouragement, I can tell you that there are flashes of insight every now and then where I can "get" the technique without having my brain grinding away on every single movement--and that's really, really cool when it happens.

Also, the advice re working with sempai: yes, yes, yes. Our dojo is great about this. I'm really fortunate in that one of our sempai does a once-a-week beginner session that is slower, spends more time on each technique, shows how different techniques fit together or are related, and offers lots more time for questions. It helps that it's usually only two of us newbies, so we get lots of attention. I've also been able to go to open mat and work with a few different sempai on 5th and 4th kyu techniques, which has helped a ton. These times have also really helped me learn the Japanese words for things, which aren't emphasized very much in class--and which I anticipate will help come testing time.

Two other things that have worked for me: making sure I'm breathing (sounds funny--but sometimes when I check I realize I haven't been doing it!) and choosing a cheerful attitude in the dojo. It's great to have a place that I look forward to going to and know I'm going to enjoy the time I spend there, even if (and some days, because) it presents challenges that make me a little bit uncomfortable.

Good luck!
Sue
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Old 06-24-2004, 01:26 PM   #10
BC
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Try not to let the frustration get to you too much. I remember last month our dojo hosted a seminar with a guest instructor who is a senior student of another late shihan in our organization. Even though our late sensei and this late shihan were in the same organization, their styles were very different at times. During and after the seminar, many of our senior yudansha were struggling to understand the techniques that were being taught. One even commented to me afterward that it made him feel like a newbie again.

Talk about seeing some fast techniques - there are going to be a couple of sandan tests this evening in our dojo tonight! Should be interesting to watch...

Robert Cronin
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Old 06-28-2004, 06:37 AM   #11
Bridge
Dojo: Slough Aikikai
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Ease up on yourself. What's the rush?

Rome wasn't built in a day.

The people in your class didn't get to be as good as they are overnight. It took them months/years/decades of steady practice and learning. And that's why they are so worthy of respect.

If Aikido was that instant, we'd all be black belts wouldn't we?

And I think Lynn Seiser's swordmaster story (above) is a very good lesson to note.

The best comes to those who wait...
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:11 AM   #12
Olga Mihailova
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

What I really enjoy about the trainigs - you can never understand too much. However long you train, whatever rank you have. I remember one of the recent trainings. We were doing a technique I had been doing at the exam (a successful one). I paid a bit more attention and noticed some details that I had never noticed before. I worked with a newbie (one month of trainings or even less). As we had to start the technique she looked at me in a very unhappy way and said "I didn't understand it at all." I sighed "Neither did I." She didn't understand the sequency of movements. I knew the movements, but it didn't help to understand those new details I had suddenly noticed. So I explained her the basic movements, but I myself was very frustrated with being unable to understand those new things. Then the sensei came to us and showed something to my partner. That was good. I said him:"Can you show me please? I don't understand that kokyu." He glanced at me in a bit a strange way "Neither do I."
That is what I like about this whole thing of understanding.
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Old 06-28-2004, 12:06 PM   #13
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Quote:
William Hawkins wrote:
I find myself getting very frustrated in class. When a technique is demonstrated it is done very quickly and then the instructor claps his hands and says please. We all choose a partner and begin practicing. Theres only one problem. I have no idea what the instructor just did. When I get a partner that starts to show me how to do the technique the instructor claps his hands and we all line up and he shows a completely different technique and claps his hands and we try to do that technique.
This was very much how my teacher, Saotome Sensei, taught.One of the things I got out of it was not to be too "attached" to results. You train because you like the "doing of it", the people you train with, etc. And at some point things start to happen. What we seldom tell the beginner up front is that experience of frustration doesn't ever go away. I know a vast amount more after thirty years than I did when I started, but the things I am trying to work on seem just as inaccessible to me as the beginner level skills do to you. So, if you want to really take your training to a high level it is essential, I think, to learn to be at home with your frustration. It can be a tool that you use to prod yourslef to greater effort but you don't want it to be an impediment to your training. When folks get too attched to results, they often quit.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:47 PM   #14
Troy
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

I had the same problem when I first started 3 months ago. Just give it time. Your mind needs to develope as well as your body. I thought that my Sensei was going to fast as well, but once my mind went to the next level, I found that my Sensei was goign at the same speed all the time, unless he was fooling around. It all takes time, and even O-Sensei had to start at the beginning.

"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions."
-Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 03-29-2005, 11:07 PM   #15
Hardware
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Quote:
William Hawkins wrote:
Hello,

I have been training every day sometimes 2 classes a day for the past 2 weeks. (Not long I know) and I am having alot of trouble with the most basic techniques and how to uke properly...
Maybe you're training too intensely or frequently. You've only been training for two weeks - exactly what do you expect of yourself?

There are different learning characteristics for different personalities. I happen to be classed as an assimilator. We learn better when we're shown/taught something, we practice it briefly and then we walk away from it for a while. However our minds are still focused on it. We come back at a later date and we've learned it.

If you're an assimilator, you won't learn by immersing yourself so intensely right at the outset.

Other learning types prefer (or learn better) under different conditions.
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Old 03-30-2005, 01:17 AM   #16
Sonja2012
 
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Re: Beginner having trouble.

Quote:
Stella Fuentes wrote:
in our beginner's class, there are basic exercises and also observation exercises.
This sounds great, Stella. I think it is a very important thing to help beginners understand what to look out for and teach them how to observe. Most people never had the chance to develop that skill, unless from doing some kind of other sport before (which, in my experience, a lot of beginners of aikido did not do) and I have found that many people (not just beginners actually) have quite bad observational skills.

I am wondering how it might be possible to help beginners develop the ability to observe? Stella, could you maybe tell us a bit more about how your instructor does it exactly? Also, what comes to my mind, is watching DVDs (or videos for that matter), so one has the possibility to watch a technique done in full speed a few times and then watch the same technique in slow motion - or the other way around.

As I am about to give my first beginnerīs course, I would appreciate any input

Regards,
Sonja
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