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Old 11-22-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
"lostaikido"
IP Hash: a3aeeb69
Anonymous User
Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

Recently a dojo I am training at has had a rift and there is going to be a split. The 7th Dan Sensei is going to break off and do his own dojo while the 3rd Dan (or maybe he's 4th) is going to stay and run the dojo. I have trained with both in their classes and I like both.

Originally it was more of a decision of which dojo is easier for me to get to. Currently the 7th Dan is teaching at a dojo that is 2 hours away by train (45 min by car), but I don't have a car. I am told he's going to start something up within the city.

However, I did receive an email the old Sensei sent out that said the new Sensei has "ideas and a mentality that I do not share" and that his only interest is teaching "good aikido." A number of the hakama have seem to have gone with him as I haven't seen them for a few sessions now. There usually were 4-8 ish in class, now there's 3-4.

Both have tested for Dan rankings under a Sensei who trained with O'Sensei, so I can only assume that they know their Aikido.

I'm a beginner, how do I know what is and isn't good Aikido? Or who I should go with, if they both have a dojo that is accessible to me?
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Old 11-23-2016, 01:33 AM   #2
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

Hello,

I have some questions and comments, basically to be clearer in my own mind about your situation.

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Recently a dojo I am training at has had a rift and there is going to be a split. The 7th Dan Sensei is going to break off and do his own dojo while the 3rd Dan (or maybe he's 4th) is going to stay and run the dojo. I have trained with both in their classes and I like both.
PAG. Is this the only dojo at which you are currently training? When you state that the 7th dan instructor is going to break off, is this breaking off from the organization & management of the dojo, or breaking off from the organization to which the dojo is affiliated? Is the junior yudansha a student of the 7th dan teacher, or has he trained with another teacher?
I ask these questions because it seems strange to me that a person of 7th dan rank should break away from a dojo at which he would probably be the senior teacher, given such a high rank.

(Background: I broke away from the main dojo when I was 6th dan and started my own dojo, which I run with one Japanese and two non-Japanese colleagues. The dojo chief instructor was 7th dan and the reason for the separation was irreconcilable differences in outlook, not any technical differences. My dojo will soon celebrate its 15th anniversary and I myself received 7th dan a few years ago, so I do not think the separation was a ‘political' mistake.)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Originally it was more of a decision of which dojo is easier for me to get to. Currently the 7th Dan is teaching at a dojo that is 2 hours away by train (45 min by car), but I don't have a car. I am told he's going to start something up within the city.
PAG. This might well give you more freedom to choose.

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
However, I did receive an email the old Sensei sent out that said the new Sensei has "ideas and a mentality that I do not share" and that his only interest is teaching "good aikido." A number of the hakama have seem to have gone with him as I haven't seen them for a few sessions now. There usually were 4-8 ish in class, now there's 3-4.
PAG. Well, having ‘ideas and a mentality that I do not share' is the usual reason given for such splits and is not very illuminating. In my case the ‘ideas and mentality' were a certain lack of tolerance for non-Japanese students in the dojo and also a refusal to allow even senior students to visit other instructors. Having a ‘sole' interest in teaching ‘good aikido' is the usual reason given for such splits (on both sides) and I would imagine that the junior dan holder would also have a similar interest in teaching ‘good aikido'. In fact, he would be a fool not to.

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Both have tested for Dan rankings under a Sensei who trained with O'Sensei, so I can only assume that they know their Aikido.
PAG. Well, it depends. O Sensei passed away in 1969, which is the year I myself started training, and even then, there were serious differences in interpretation of his teaching among the instructors I had -- all of whom were directly taught by him. Two major areas of difference were weapons or no weapons, and atemi or no atemi. Both sides of the divide have reasons and both sides invariably invoke O Sensei as a supporter.

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I'm a beginner, how do I know what is and isn't good Aikido? Or who I should go with, if they both have a dojo that is accessible to me?
PAG. The short answer is that you probably do not and so you will need to invoke reasons for your decision other than that both teachers know their aikido because they were taught by teachers who trained with O Sensei.
In my aikido career, I trained for nine years in three different dojos in two different countries before I became a dan holder. In the UK, the Japanese chief instructor returned to Japan and his place was taken by his senior student, also Japanese. The senior danholders under the old teacher could not accept some of the teachings of the new teacher and so they started their own group. I had a problem because I knew both teachers and many of their senior students, and so did not want to be put in a position of having to choose. So, I trained with both groups until I came to live here in Hiroshima. I was living in London and there was no problem of distance.

Finally, you are posting in the Anonymous forum and so might not want to give information that might reveal your dojos or instructors. So feel free to send me a Private Mail if you wish.

P A Goldsbury
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Hiroshima, Japan
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Old 11-23-2016, 08:13 AM   #3
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

You could consider factors such as: price, easiest to get to, where it feels best. You could also ask other students what they think. Another option is why choose? Why not train with both?

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Old 11-23-2016, 11:43 AM   #4
Dan Rubin
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Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

Because you are a beginner I think that the most important thing for you is which dojo will be more enjoyable for you, including the ease vs. difficulty of getting there without a car. If you don't enjoy the experience, you won't last long (and shouldn't). As for the teachers' ranks, higher ranked teachers are not necessarily better teachers for beginners. I suggest that you stay in your current dojo; by the time the senior teacher opens a dojo convenient to you, you can visit there and be better able to judge which dojo you prefer.
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Old 11-23-2016, 02:01 PM   #5
"lostaikido"
IP Hash: a3aeeb69
Anonymous User
Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

>Peter Goldsbury

I will PM you to clear a few things up. I definitely don't want start any drama. I feel like both of these Sensei are good people.

>Mary Eastland

Those are good points. I have talked to the other students that are around. Some are very open and some don't want to talk about it. I'll probably have to pick one or the other eventually because of price.

>Dan Rubin
>As for the teachers' ranks, higher ranked teachers are not necessarily better teachers for beginners.

You know I was wondering the same thing. Would someone that high of a rank be able to understand still someone just starting out or would it be more beneficial of someone lower ranked who can still see themselves a lower rank?

My biggest concern is just that I learn Aikido "right." I watch a lot of videos on youtube. Saito Sensei seems to be one I gravitate to often. There are a lot of videos of Chiba Sensei and Yamada Sensei I watch as well.

Thank you everyone for your input.
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Old 11-23-2016, 04:37 PM   #6
rugwithlegs
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Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

Great advice here. Remember you will spent hundreds of hours in the same room with the same people if you are to reach black belt. If anything about the environment or people don't work for you.
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Old 11-24-2016, 12:03 AM   #7
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 705
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Re: Dojo split, how do you know which side to take?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Recently a dojo I am training at has had a rift and there is going to be a split. The 7th Dan Sensei is going to break off and do his own dojo while the 3rd Dan (or maybe he's 4th) is going to stay and run the dojo. I have trained with both in their classes and I like both.

Originally it was more of a decision of which dojo is easier for me to get to. Currently the 7th Dan is teaching at a dojo that is 2 hours away by train (45 min by car), but I don't have a car. I am told he's going to start something up within the city.

However, I did receive an email the old Sensei sent out that said the new Sensei has "ideas and a mentality that I do not share" and that his only interest is teaching "good aikido." A number of the hakama have seem to have gone with him as I haven't seen them for a few sessions now. There usually were 4-8 ish in class, now there's 3-4.

Both have tested for Dan rankings under a Sensei who trained with O'Sensei, so I can only assume that they know their Aikido.

I'm a beginner, how do I know what is and isn't good Aikido? Or who I should go with, if they both have a dojo that is accessible to me?
I'm also happy to help. Feel free to PM me.
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