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Old 01-14-2021, 10:16 AM   #1
Location: Fl
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 1
I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?


I started my first session this past Sunday. At least I thought I did. I thought it would be a good idea to arrive early, but I misjudged just how close to the dojo I actually do live so I arrived before the previous one ended, which was a weapons class (I scheduled for open handed classes). A good 20 minutes beforehand, at that. There was only one other student
there, and I was invited to the mat where I made a real fool out of myself the whole time. My basic left and right seemed to be left in the car when I was in the parking lot. I felt like the sensei was getting kind of frustrated with me, particularly to be someone my age getting such simple things mixed up. At the same time, he wasn't slow to encourage me when I corrected myself or to discourage and encourage the other, more advanced student either. One thing that stuck with me particularly is that his (head?) instructor was doing the exercises with us and corrected the other student in a particular movement without really interrupting but explaining to the sensei that he had noticed it and had a way that he thought he would understand it. When he stepped in front of us, the way he explained it helped me understand it as well, and it led to the two of them showing so eone of a step by step process on the reasoning behind it.

I still made myself look like some kind of fool. I took the opportunity during breaks to apologize to them for the way it was going and he seemed like he asked me if I was there for the class I asked for or if I changed my mind to the weapons class instead. I have alot of respect and no doubt of his abilities so I don't want to run myself off by making a bad impression of myself from the get go. I suspect I might be overthinking some parts of it.

I've scheduled 4 more classes for one each week, but I'd like to start scheduling for twice a week, is there any advice that one is willing to offer as far as etiquette, a better way to approach, should I be there at EXACTLY the time of my class instead? Anything I might not be thinking of at the moment? Any advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:28 AM   #2
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,402
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

I don't know how many times I heard, " No your other left". Don't sweat it. You are training your body to do things it is not use to. Most of us have had similar experience. Keep practicing and practice at home.

"two left feet "

Go ahead, tread on me.
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Old 01-14-2021, 12:56 PM   #3
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 689
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

It's common for any person who starts learning a new skill.

As for the etiquette (arriving before time etc.) the reality is far les general than people seem to think. Some teachers make things seem very strict, others are very flexible, each group/Sensei have their own way, and the best Sensei will adjust himself to local culture, the group and the student. A simple suggestion - talk to your Sensei and ask how to behave.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:29 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 716
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

Sounds pretty normal to me. Don't worry about it. Everyone looks silly when they start.
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Old 01-22-2021, 06:22 PM   #5
Dojo: Twin Cities Aikido Center, St Paul MN
Location: Eagan MN
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 11
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

We tell folks that they WILL lose track of left/right hands and feet. That if you are confused, you are in good company. And, leave your ego with your shoes.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:03 AM   #6
jc225's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 11
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?


Well done and welcome to the family. You, like all of us at one time are at the beginning of an amazing journey that's naturally going to take a minute for you to get your bearings down. I think it's safe to say that we all experienced what you are now and had the same questions. I think the most important thing to focus on at the moment is not if you know your left from right but, the incredible obstacle you have already overcome in that very first class that in your mind was a total disaster:

You showed up.

Before you know it, you will be having this same conversation with the next new student that walks through that door early, and appears to not know left from right.

Good luck.

Last edited by jc225 : 01-23-2021 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 01-23-2021, 08:07 PM   #7
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 795
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

I was still having moments of ... wait... what??? after my nidan grading. It would probably still be happening now ten years later but I have had to bow out of aikido much to my regret
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Old 01-24-2021, 02:09 AM   #8
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,402
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

??? Which side of my body is the left foot on??? ��


Go ahead, tread on me.
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Old 01-24-2021, 04:03 PM   #9
Location: Halifax
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 39
Re: I just started Aikido. Did I make myself look bad already?

I think it's an amazing opportunity to show up that early and watch a bit of the previous class before it ends!

Normally I used to show up about 5-10 minutes early before the class starts if I can but that is mostly just me and my personality as I personally hate to rush to class. My group will still sometimes joke around regarding me just making it within 1 minute from the class starting time as they can hear me running with flip flops on slapping the floor echoing all the way down from the other end of the hallway. Embarrassing for me at the time but funny now that I think about it again. We all had a good laugh/chuckle.

As for looking like a fool, I suggest embracing it. Just go with it, show up and try; you will learn a lot just by doing so! I was very clumsy when I first started. It took a while to learn proper falls and then rolls for me, let alone techniques and names. I also originally started with just one aikido session a week. Then after a few months, twice a week. Then after a year or two, 3 times a week if my schedule allowed it. Gosh I miss them and those days.

"Go left. No, your other left."
You'll hear similar sayings many times as everyone else has.

If you enjoy it, keep going back, I'm sure sensei and the others will be happy to have you there!
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