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Old 12-01-2003, 10:39 PM   #26
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,001
Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
Besides, we all have such incredibly large egos that we'd never admit we were interested in something "flashy".
Heh. I sometimes like flashy... Some teachers I know will suddenly go into "Combatto" mode during their seminars and show some pretty flashy (but effective) stuff. I still can't get the tantodori using only my feet...

-- Jun

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Old 12-02-2003, 12:22 AM   #27
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
Heh. I sometimes like flashy... Some teachers I know will suddenly go into "Combatto" mode during their seminars and show some pretty flashy (but effective) stuff. I still can't get the tantodori using only my feet...
One honest person in the group.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:08 AM   #28
Dojo: University of Chicago Aikido Club
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 36
A/B what's the difference so long as you continue redefining your abilities? Aikido will grow out of all it's teachers, young and old, yudansha and whatnot, rank is only what you make of it; it's the "Do" that matters.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:19 AM   #29
aubrey bannah
Dojo: Yoshinkan Brisbane
Location: aust
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 34
I'll have to go with the higher rank instructor. "A" would have to be a gifted instructor to go with him, and what dojocho of a international org would allow a good instructor to stay at 2nd dan, let along a gifed instructor. My only real queston with instructors is who IS their teacher.

Such powers I poccess for working in the political field have been derived from the spiritual field. Mahatma Gandhi.
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Old 12-02-2003, 02:08 AM   #30
Dojo: Porvoo Aikikai, Porvoo
Location: Porvoo
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 10
I would choose the one that better suits my interest in style of aikido. Cannot choose based on the information at hand and I would therefore have to take a couple of lessons from both of the instructors first.

Saku Ohtonen
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Old 12-02-2003, 02:34 AM   #31
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 176
since no one's voting for B guy...

I like flashy techniques
can't live without them...

what's the point of learning aikido if you can't amaze people every now and then?

remember that aikido is a martial "ART"

Last edited by indomaresa : 12-02-2003 at 02:39 AM.

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 12-02-2003, 03:16 AM   #32
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 245
Yeah, it impresses the womenfolk...what other reason do you need? Maybe Jun can tell us about the massive increase in his dating frequency after he started being flashy in aikido...
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Old 12-02-2003, 03:49 AM   #33
Location: Bangkok
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 803
First, it seems to me that Rachel really wants us to vote for A. Second, I myself would like to train with both, but if I have absolutely to choose one, I would go for B. I am aware that A is probably the better choice with solid basics and strong technique, but B is probably more fun with irrealistic but breath-taking ukemi, and flashy extravagant techniques. So basically I would chose fun over quality. Anyway that's why I practice aikido, to have fun.
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Old 12-02-2003, 05:20 AM   #34
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Hello Edward, thanks for your comments everyone. No, I don't want anyone to chose "A", but I think I set up my own prejudice by the way I phrased the question! Sorry, that wasn't my intention.

Both have substance, both are about equal in their abilities, one has rank and better physical prowress, the other has more experience, less rank and very quiet mannerisms on the mat. Still a hypothetical.

Please, I am not asking advice on whom to train with, this is a hypothetical exercise trying to get at peoples perceptions on whom the would honestly be drawn to over the other and why.

Thanks again for the continued indulgence!
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Old 12-02-2003, 08:09 AM   #35
L. Camejo
L. Camejo's Avatar
Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Personally I'd be drawn to the less flashy one. To me, true strength is silent and knows itself and does not have to show off at every juncture. To me, flashiness is like ice cream - sweet to the senses, with not much nutritional content, and melts when placed in the heat.

This is an interesting question to me, cuz its exactly how I chose my dojo many years ago. Was faced with flashy, deadly, effective, ninja-looking aikijujutsu on the one hand - which was very impressive, and was also faced with clean, precise, controlled and deceptively effortless Aikido on the other hand.

One had an obvious outward power, the other had a steady, calm, subtle power. I chose the subtler one and have had absolutely no regrets.

Funny, my Aikido sensei thought I would have gone the other way when I showed up to class the next day.

Not to mention, I have yet to meet a flashy martial artist who could hold their own against an almost equally skilled realist.

Just my thoughts.


--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 12-02-2003, 09:50 AM   #36
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
...trying to get at peoples perceptions on whom the would honestly be drawn to over the other and why.
Oops, I didn't give my "why". Mostly because if given the choice of the type of instructor I'd like to be, it would be A.

I will agree with Erik and Jun (and others) that flash is fun. Every so often sensei will bust out with something off-the-wall and it's a blast to practice it, but I don't think I'd want to train it like that all the time.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-02-2003, 10:46 AM   #37
Cliff Geysels
Dojo: En Shin Bouwel
Location: Herentals
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10
Just a remark with description B: fifteen years of training and already yondan?!
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:06 AM   #38
Ted Marr
Location: Providence, RI
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 94
OK, since we're discarding issues of who has "better" technique, as measured by how it feels to get thrown around by these people, we can devolve to secondary issues.

First, your style will eventually come to resemble that of your teacher, so really any expression of preference is to become like one or the other of these people. Given that, I'd want to be the guy who had practiced forever and just stopped caring about rank at some point.

Second, I know that in a lot of cases, people who naturally excel at something for whatever reason often don't make terribly good teachers of it. The more problems you have to work through, the more you know the problems that other people might have.

Third, when you're comparing across styles of martial arts, and even across organizations that have different ranking schema, the most often used, and most reliable measure of "how good" a person is is how long the person has been studying.

Lastly, I have seen the "sensei belly" effect quite often... I have a pet theory that as your practice gets better, you use less energy to accomplish the same thing. As a result, this thing that you were doing as your sole form of exercise in your youth (4 days a week of Aikido) suddenly isn't burning the same amount of calories anymore. If intake doesn't drop, or if your practice isn't supplemented with some time on a stairmaster, you get a bit of a gut. If this is true, you might actually look for a bit of a belly as quality assurance on your teachers. That, or you can say that I'm just trying to set up an excuse for myself 10 or so years in advance *grin*

Long story short, I'll go with A
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:09 AM   #39
Location: Australia
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 641
It's trendy to say A because it's politically correct to poo poo "flash". So I had a bit of a think about that.

Then I though, "screw you guys, I'm going with flashy. Flashy will keep the juices going".

But then I realized that I'd probably feel like a klutz around a guy like that.

Wouldn't learn a great deal that way.

Also, I'm not much for flashy techs, rather simple techniques done with panache (ease, fluidity, flow etc)

Given the limited info then chalk another one up for A.

Addendum: Does "flashiness" extend to basic personality? If so, how do you define it? Outgoing, friendly etc. If so, I'm changing my vote back to B. Above all, personality counts.

(hey, ambiguous questions get non committal answers ;-)

Last edited by bob_stra : 12-02-2003 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 12-02-2003, 01:03 PM   #40
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
Since everyone's jumping all over the word flashy...

I am already flashy in other parts of my life (if by flashy we mean flourishy, charismatic and confident). I certainly don't want to disparage my own flashiness, but I will say that I am taking aikido (an art in which I am all flail and no flash) because I want to become more than flashy overall. I want to learn how not to be that great at something and love it anyway, to be deeper than a flashy person might be, to be unconfident.

So I still choose A.

Deb Fisher
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Old 12-02-2003, 07:49 PM   #41
Sharon Seymour
Dojo: AikidoKIDS! & Katsujinken Dojo, Prescott Arizona
Location: Arizona
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 57
Guess I'll join the fence-sitters here. I'd have to go to the person's dojo and experience one of their classes. Years and rank are certainly a consideration, but the "feel" of the dojo is very important to me.

Interesting question ... thanks!

There is more to balance than not falling over.
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Old 12-03-2003, 09:52 AM   #42
kung fu hamster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 166
I'm going to go out on a limb and try to imagine how my own teachers would respond. I think they might say something like, "Same aikido, different flavors. Both types of instructors attract students. The real question is, how can we, as teachers with different ‘flavors', work together cooperatively to give the students the best training possible, and what steps can we take to make the highest quality training available for people in the future?" People surely do have different styles - I've been hearing the word 'non-discrimination' in our zen studies lately and been pondering it's meanings and applications...
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Old 12-03-2003, 11:20 AM   #43
ranZ's Avatar
Dojo: Ki no Kenyukai/Jakarta
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 60
I'll go for A.

Why? My current teacher is A type & i feel that my training under him is worth everything. (i can't say every penny coz it's free ). He's old, low in rank, teaches boring stuff, but a very good teacher. He is kinda flashy too... but from the inside. (you just know he is a good & nice person -just because-).

My former teacher is B type. I had a good time training with him too, .. but i just don't get the flashiness. hahaha..

(it's like he's really trying to be flashy.. and it feels fake sometimes)

Imho Viggo Mortensen should've played Last Samurai!
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Old 12-03-2003, 06:11 PM   #44
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
OK Rachel.........drumroll please, as the troops can't stand much more suspense.

Have the answers to this question given you the info/insight/"feel for..." etc. you need?

The question is concerning the nature of what kind of person you wish to emulate, more than anything else, I think. Equal skill-just personality differances.

Interesting idea........I keep seeing the differance as more stark than you probably intended.....(Mr. Muyagi vs. the Cobra dojo-cho)

Funny how thoughts roam, huh?


Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 12-03-2003, 06:38 PM   #45
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Hi Lan,

Yes, I've been thinking of my response all day (in between my work of course), but the poll actually turned out to be quite different than what I had expected, so now I have to really take some time and formulate my response. It will be forthcoming in the next day or two (I am in class all day tomorrow and friday).

In the meantime, please keep them coming.

I have found the responses really interesting, and frankly there is a lot more maturity and insight out here in the responses than I had expected. Glad to be hearing all this from you folks!

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Old 12-04-2003, 12:34 PM   #46
Dojo: Rochester New York Aikido Club
Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 44
I would pick the one that I click with most on a personal level. For me it's not about "experience" or "rank" as both are milseading indicators for picking a teacher.

If one is looking for a teacher and wishes to become a student, I think they need to decide which student - teacher relationship is a better fit for them.


Jim Growney
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Old 12-05-2003, 11:34 AM   #47
John Boswell
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
As given in my signature, I'm a big believer in experience as much as I am of knowledge of things.

For an instructor to be young, gifted, talented, strong in body and throws in flash for good presentation? (Instructor B) I'd have to ask why this guy was 1... in such a hurry to attain rank within 15 years and 2... what purpose is there in presentaion and flash? Is there a purpose to it?

As for Instructor A who has some rank but is older, more strict and definitly grounded in the basics as well as an all around knowledge of technique... that's all I'm looking for. To associated with Hombu is also a factor I'd look for, personally. I have a great deal of respect for many of the Sensei in the world, but you have to admit... Doshu rocks!

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Old 12-05-2003, 01:47 PM   #48
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 495

your question is really a very deep.

I have noticed something in all martial arts - maybe you have had this experience.

Ever been to a seminar where there are various instructors (some flashy, some not, some powerful, some subtle, whatever.) - and been able to pick out their students without initially knowing or seeing some type of insignia? In other words just by their demeanor not necessarily their technique? I have.

I prefer the understated and profient instructor. I receive information better that way and I gravitate more towards that type of personality. I prefer to take the simple and make it mine:-)
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Old 12-05-2003, 07:31 PM   #49
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Smile my long-winded response

When I started this thread, I thought the responses would be quite different than they are. I had an objective in mind, and your thoughtful and often insightful responses have changed my way of thinking to a large degree. I truly thought the majority of readers would be more interested in the flashier and younger teacher than the more staid but experienced teacher. I thought rank really does matter, but at least on paper (or on the web) that appears not to be the case.

The whole thing that got me thinking about this, and posing the question, is in regards to a teacher whom I know and respect. This teacher has a full-time dojo and has been practicing for upwards of thirty years. For whatever reason, s/he seems to have been overlooked. This person is understated and has no flash; I've even heard folks on the mat rather disparaging of this individual, yet I have absolutely no doubt in my mind of the effectiveness of this person's technique and the ability to impart knowledge to the students. I think it is precisely because this person is middle-aged, slightly overweight, and lacking in any flash, that they have been overlooked. The younger teachers in the organization are invited to teach at seminars, and this person attends, but rarely seems to teach. It has dismayed me for years, as I have never really understood why this happened. I have also been surprised that this individual was, until fairly recently, a 3rd Dan, when many of the younger teachers were higher ranking (4th and 5th Dan) with far less experience (even 15-years in one instance). Because of all of this, I was deducing that something is missing, and thought it was the lack of flash, or maybe "presence".

I see a whole new generation of young teachers coming up who have a certain spark to them. Something that makes them interesting to watch, something with a bit of flash even (this is part of what I define as flash; the other part I define as flash has to do with the embellishment of a technique or as uke, where not needed). Often these younger teachers have a ton of energy and have a lot of really good things to pass on. They have a lot to offer. So does the aforementioned instructor.

So anyway, these were my musings. From the responses in this thread, it appears however that I was wrong in my assumption that most folk would prefer to train with the younger, higher-ranked and maybe more vigorous teacher than the lower ranked and more experienced teacher. The point I was going to make, but cannot now, is that rank does matter (and this was in response to an earlier thread where rank was debated). So, you all taught me a lesson over the last week.

Best regards to all, Rachel
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:24 PM   #50
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
Hello Ms Massey

You pose an interesting question. From my perspective I regard myself as a student of aikido and regardless of the "flashyness" of the younger instructor or the experience of the older instructor, I am sure there is something that I could learn from both.

I guess I am looking for the substance in what they have to offer, whether they be the instructor or a training partner.

For me its not their rank but what they contribute to the energy of the dojo.

As a result, I don't have any preference per se.

Happy training

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