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Old 10-08-2003, 08:48 AM   #1
Location: NY
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 14
Private Lessons

Since I am new to this forum and before I go on a rant, if there have been posts about private lessons then please let me know where I can read, if not, then...

Are private lessons the norm or exception in your dojo and are they given only by the chief instructor or by other instructors/students?
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Old 10-08-2003, 09:12 AM   #2
Location: West Yorks and Merseyside, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 170
United Kingdom
I know a couple of instructors who do them but I do not consider them necessary for myself yet. The way I see it is the higher you get through the grades the more you will start chasing masters around the country. If you started Aikido recently then private lessons are more a waste of money, you can learn things in regular classes. Although I know of a person who started learning the art and have been taking private lessons for a year, until he got his shodan. He could afford it because he owned a building company.

Anyway, this is only my opinion. If you feel that private lessons will help you more than regular classes then go for it.
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Old 10-08-2003, 09:56 AM   #3
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Depends if your dojo is in Hollywood…then private lessons are the rule, dojo's are the exception (just kidding)

You will learn the basics (up to shodan) way faster with one-on-one tutelage than you would in a group setting. Maybe like 4 times faster or more. Don't forget all of the old guys learned that way -- Ueshiba himself. That's why paying guys like Takeda was so expensive, because they didn't usually have a group to spread the cost across (plus there was always the aspect of "secrecy" in those days, where they wanted to be the only one to get the secret techniques).

The reason we train in groups is two-fold:

One, teachers have to maximize their time. They only have so many hours to teach, and many people that want to learn so…

Two, it spreads out the cost making it affordable. Just imagine if you had to pay the full fee for Mr.Seagal yourself instead of spreading that cost across all the participants of a seminar? Few people (except for Hollyweird actors/actresses) have that kind of disposable income.

So if you can do it -- do it! You will not regret it. You can always get exposure to different body types, etc. by visiting some dojos as well. Ideally private training mixed with group training would rock.


Bruce Kimpel
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Old 10-08-2003, 11:21 AM   #4
Location: NY
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 14
I'm not new to Aikido I'm just new to the forum. I had some questions regarding private lessons but didn't want to go on a rant here if this topic had already been discussed.

The dojo in which I train has noticibly changed it's forum in the past 6-8 months. Proably longer, but I just chose to not make note of the changes. I've noticed that it has become geared to the "newbie" and no instruction is really given to ranks of 3rd kyu or higher.

This dojo has been in existance 20+ years so it's not because of membership for this shift. It went from hardcore, to sudo hard, to where sempai always helped kohai in class and after to prepare for test or work on certain movements, to if you need help with anything that is not covered in beginners class then you have to take a private lesson with the CI or others that offer private lessons in order to advance.

In a way when I look around the dojo, it's not the community which I orginally joined. It's become a place of many new people and less sempai. A place where people come to "learn aikido" but are under the impression that in order to learn this or that, or to take ukemi like so and so you must pay extra money (on top of the monthly membership dues) to receive private instruction. On top of this, I hear during the private instruction the CI spends approximately 15-20 minutes covering what the person is PAYING the CI for instuction on and the balance of the hour is spent on warm ups, mediation or whatever else the instructor throws in because it's his routine.

Most of the senior instructional staff has moved on to other dojos where they can continue to learn and advance thier aikido and the ones that have not "moved" due to logistics are stuck watching this transition and feel for the people that are paying hundreds of dollars EXTRA per month for something they would learn in a beginners class at another dojo. It's not even the money, it's the thought of someone using Aikido to take advantage of another person for their own financial benefit.

I and others that have remained still try and work with kohai and each other to advance and learn the basics with the hopes that people will understand it's not privates, it's practice and seminars where you will learn and grow.

Sorry for the lenghtly rant, but I thought I would throw it out here on the forum to see if this happens at other dojos or am I just fortunate to train at such a place.
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:42 PM   #5
Jeanne Shepard
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
In my dojo, its expected that Sempai will help out new students with basic backrolls, shikko, etc. andything else that takes some time to pick up.

This sort of mentoring attitude is considered important when the sempai is being considered for readiness for the next test.

Also expected, helping with kid's classes, and the Girl Scout workshops we do.

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