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Old 04-24-2003, 09:13 AM   #1
Jeff Rice
Jeff Rice's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Westchester
Location: Bronx
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11
Decided on aikido -- followup

I wanted to make a post and fill you folks in on how things are going, since you were so encouraging when I was trying to decide whether or not to start. I'm nearly the end of my third week at Aikido Westchester and I'm really loving it. I have to say that if this dojo is typical of aikido dojos worldwide, then aikido must have a corner on the supply of nice people in the world.

I'm doing pretty well for a complete beginner, I think, and although it often seems very foreign and awkward, occassionally I can see the thread of "sense" that runs through it. That still doesn't mean I can remember which foot goes where, mind you. Mostly, I'm thankful for gravity because without it I'm not sure I could remember which direction to fall in.

Overall I'm having a great time. I'm mostly past the nervy stage I had at the beginning since I'm comfortable in how the class works and the people in it, even though I have no idea what I'm doing.

My biggest problem at the moment is that my rolls aren't very good. Or at least, aren't reliably good. I can get good ones in, and I can feel the difference *during* the roll but not always what I did differently. There is so little time during class to actually work on this, since I'm trying to figure out the move leading up to the roll. How did you learn? Did you go in early and just roll until you puked, or did you gradually pick it up during the process of learning other moves?

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Old 04-24-2003, 09:24 AM   #2
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Hi Jeff,

Glad to hear that things are working out well for you; I think you are at a great dojo (as everyone I've ever met from there is super nice).

As to the rolling question; heck, it took me YEARS to learn to roll comfortably! Everyone learns at their own rate, and some things come easier than others. Three weeks is very new, and you are not expected to be totally comfortable with your rolls yet. Just practice, practice, practice; they will come with time (specific to your own body and abilities).

best to you, and thank you for updating us on how things are working out.

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Old 04-24-2003, 09:38 AM   #3
Jeff Rice
Jeff Rice's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Westchester
Location: Bronx
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Three weeks is very new, and you are not expected to be totally comfortable with your rolls yet.
Of course. Getting ahead of myself perhaps. It just feels unusual for me to being moving onto more complicated stuff before being solid on the basics.

I guess my concern is that I'll develop bad habits because I don't have the basics down. I don't want to reinforce incorrect form by repeating it over and over. I'd rather start out right than have to unlearn it. Unless sensei is watching me, no one seems to correct my form. I refuse to believe that's because it's correct. :P

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Old 04-24-2003, 09:53 AM   #4
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Hi again Jeff,

In many dojos, it is not considered proper for other students to "correct" what you are doing unless specifically requested by the sensei, so that might be why you are not getting corrected as you indicated.

Basics are the basis and your foundation, so it is really important to work on them. At the same time, it is good to get into the fray and just throw yourself into aikido (which it sounds like you are doing). Your teacher has lots of experience, and will lead you through this in the right way. If you are unsure of something, grab one of the senior students and ask them to help. It is still very early, and I doubt you would pick up bad habits at this point that can't be corrected once you are ready.

As an aside to that; when someone is new, there are so many things that are incorrect in their body language. It would be overwhelming for the student to try and correct everything at once, and therefor most teachers will concentrate on the most important things first, and slowly work into the finer details. If you try and concentrate on getting everything right from the start, you might not be able to move!

Have a good time in class; absorb what your teacher is showing you; follow the examples of the senior members, and you will do just fine.
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Old 04-24-2003, 10:12 AM   #5
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: New York
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 322
Hi Jeffrey! I can't really add much to what Rachel has already said, but welcome to Aikido. I go to a dojo about an hour and a half north of yours, and I know my teachers know yours. I have heard really good things about your dojo, so I'm sure you are in great hands!

As far as rolling, I couldn't do a forward roll at all until I had been training for about 4 or 5 months, I think.....then I got injured (not rolling, though, LOL) so now when I can go back to rolling, I'll be back at square one. So, take your time, it's not a race!

"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 04-24-2003, 10:24 AM   #6
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Hello Jeffery; glad you're enjoying Aikido!

Can't add anything to the other excellent posts on the subject of rolls; mine are a bit square as well. But I can offer a small caveat: Even if you love pushing your body; don't push yourself when practicing rolls - never "practice 'till ya puke". If you get the least bit queasy, or more importantly sore, stop and do something else; hitori-wza or something. I made that mistake; I wanted to get rolls down after an ambarrassing (but very funny) spill at the Virginia seminar; so I practiced constantly - literally dozens and dozens of rolls at once; foreward, backward, over and over; sometimes for hours at a time.

My technique didn't progress as fast as I wanted; I was trying too hard. Worse; I developed sharp pains in my knees from square rolls; and had to take more than a month off while my body healed.

To sum up; take it easy; have fun. You learn the most when you're having fun; so there's no need to push it.



Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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