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Old 07-23-2003, 08:25 PM   #1
Seth Jackson
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 21
Trainning at more than one dojo

Has anyone ever had problems trainning with more than one dojo? I was thinking about talking an extra class here and there at some other local dojos to fill in some empty time in my normal schedule which is only 2 days a week. Now I am already going to drop in for a little visit at some places and watch them train, get prices and things. This is serving a dual purpose as I have a friend that wants to give it a try too but in our conversations I really found myself only being able to draw upon "how we do it" situations, so we get the bright idea to just hit every single dojo within our area that we would be willing to drive to and get a vibe on the atmosphere and the attitude of the instructors.

So has anyone run into this you can only train here or nothing mentality when visiting other dojos?
I know some people deal with the politics of aikido associations but I really... truly... dont care about your foolish politics if you thrive on such things. Just want to train more with more body types and perspectives in this art.

whats your experience?
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Old 07-23-2003, 10:01 PM   #2
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
I don't even have a home dojo. I just show up at places with $10 and everyone seems happy with the arrangement. I don't want a home dojo, or association, or any of it right now. I tell people I'm on walkabout and I reserve the right to change my mind in the morning.

For me, the only train here rule, is an invitation to go somewhere else and it's an invitation I would accept every time assuming it ever happens. It's never happened to me.

To be fair, I'm in the Bay Area which in most cases is a very open aikido community.
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Old 07-24-2003, 04:13 AM   #3
Location: West Yorks and Merseyside, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 170
United Kingdom
I live in an area with 4 dojos each having only one class a week. I think if you want to progress in the art it is essential to practice a lot more than once a week. The policy of my home dojo is this: if you can bring something positive into our practice then do so. Another sensei told me it's a good idea to absorb everything.

I will assess a dojo before I start coming regularly, but I don't have a problem with cross-trainig as long as it's good Aikido.
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Old 07-24-2003, 02:03 PM   #4
Doug Mathieu
Dojo: Aikido Bozankan
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 64
Hi Seth

My personal opinion is its not a good idea to go out and purposely plan to train at multiple Dojo's at the same time.

Perhaps there are unique circumstances such as Taras where its not possible to get enough training at one location and that may be the only option.

I have had more than one teacher over the years and even a few different Dojo's. All not because I wanted it that way but due to local circumstances. I did not train at more than one Dojo at a time but experienced some things that probably would happen to you.

I can tell you even though the teachers were good and sincere it was like starting over everytime. They all have their own ideas of how to do something and expect you to train their way. It may not be wrong practice but you will end up changing how you practice at each Dojo since you want to respect that teacher. This is going to make it hard to develop 2nd nature body movements so you can get to the next level of training.

Also, its very possible you will find yourself not being accepted as well by a teacher if they know you are not devoted to their Dojo. They may allow you to train but they may not have the feeling "you are their student" and give you the extra effort and devotion a good teacher has for their students.

I believe my experience caused me to take longer to develop and go through ranking.

It is not a bad thing to know 10 ways to do one technique but believe me when you start out its easier to go with one and get it down as best you can before exploring options.

Over 12 years of training I have seen many different ways to do single techniques but on looking back I feel until you reach Yudansha level its probably better to not pay to much attention to variety and stick to core basics.

It was always hard come test time trying to determine what should be done to demonstrate a test version vs. variations. Most teachers want to see the basic versions for a test even when they show variations during training.

This is my personal story and I hope it helps you.
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Old 07-24-2003, 02:17 PM   #5
Seth Jackson
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 21
Thanks guys I appreciate your relating your experiences.

Seems its gonna be a luck of the draw situation.
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Old 07-26-2003, 01:57 PM   #6
Anat Amitay
Dojo: Nes- Ziona, "the red house"
Location: Israel
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 137
Hi Seth,

I think this has a lot to do with sensei's. For example, my sensei always said that we should go to visit other dojo's, see other styles. He used to urge the higher ranking students to do so more.

I think it's a good idea to be open minded, to see other things. But it is important to do so in the right way.

What I mean is- you might see different things in different dojos and it is important not to come up and say- "this isn't right, I've been shown to do this like..."

Different sensei's are open in different degrees, no matter what they say, you need to know them and their reaction to things.

My sensei is open new things. He has been doing MA's since childhood and does not believe he knows everything or does everything in the correct manner. If I come to him and ask why we do something in a certain way and not "X" which I saw in another dojo, he will try to think which method is more correct. He is willing to admit if he understands mistakes of his own.

But not all sensei's are like that. Some do not wish to hear what others have to say. They believe they are right and that's the end of it.

I see this a lot in country seminars when people come from all around. I come to learn what the guest sensei is teaching, the way he/ she teaches it, but then you see others who take the specific technique and do it as they do it in their dojo. then why come to the seminar if you are not open minded to learn new things?

Bottom line- you need to see how your main sensei reacts to your training in other places and be smart in the way you mix what you learn. Always be open to receive criticism, because your teachers have more experience than you, but be smart to learn from the good things and the bad.

I hope you enjoy training, whether you stay only in your dojo, or train in more!

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Old 08-24-2003, 03:37 PM   #7
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
I think it depends on the individual and the senseis involved.

In California where there were a lot of dojos, I could not get enough training when I first started at one dojo. At one time, I was training at three different dojos, two were in the same organization and the third was actually another organization. I found over time, I learned the most from one instructor but continued to train in the others as it gave me an opportunity to practice (I was doing 7 days a week and sometimes twice a day on 3 days a week).

I carried it even one step further. One dojo was independent, another hombu affiliated. I tested in both organizations and the instructors were aware of this. It did not seem to concern them.

It was actually a good experience for me. Made some great friends.
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:32 AM   #8
Location: Maidenhead
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 167
United Kingdom
I think it depends somewhat on what style of aikido. For instance, if one of the dojo is Yoshinkan and the other is Ki Society, the training is very very different. Mixing the two is possible but tough, and very confusing in the early years. Where one dojo uses a very structured training method based on specific ideas and the other does not follow the same method, there is bound to be some difficulties. Especially where the two conflict, for instance "there is no stance in aikido" vs "kamae is everything".

Last edited by justinm : 09-01-2003 at 10:35 AM.

Justin McCarthy
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