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Old 04-03-2006, 09:27 AM   #1
Gonzalo Scotti
Location: Miami
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Advice needed...

Hi, my name is Gonzalo Scotti.
I am interested in starting Aikido training and I wanted to ask you guys a question.
I live in South Miami, Florida. The closest Dojo to my house (and there are not that many either) is Tenshin Dojo.
Can any of you tell me if you know this Dojo and the quality of the training there and more specifically about the "Tenshin Aikido" variant of Aikido?

I know it is the one "endorsed"/"created" by Seagal and I really don't want to start a Seagal thread (amusing as they are).

Just looking for advice from people more knowledgeable than myself in this.

Thank you very much for your help

Gonzalo
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:59 AM   #2
kaishaku
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Re: Advice needed...

I would recommend exploring other dojo that may be a bit further.
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:07 AM   #3
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Gonzalo Scotti wrote:
Hi, my name is Gonzalo Scotti.
I am interested in starting Aikido training and I wanted to ask you guys a question.
I live in South Miami, Florida. The closest Dojo to my house (and there are not that many either) is Tenshin Dojo.
Can any of you tell me if you know this Dojo and the quality of the training there and more specifically about the "Tenshin Aikido" variant of Aikido?
Welcome to aikiweb and aikido Gonzalo. I would visit the dojo and watch a few classes to see if you are comfortable with the classes and people plus you'll get a better feel for if the dojo's class schedule fits in with your life. You will be training with them week after week and it's important that you feel "at home" in the dojo. I'm not personally familiar with Tenshin Aikido but people I've talked to from that style and they seem fine.

Marc
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Old 04-03-2006, 11:56 AM   #4
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Advice needed...

Hmmm... I know nothing about Tenshin Aikido, but I wasn't inspired by that dojo's website -- they seem to be trying to do too many martial arts at once. I personally prefer to train at a dojo that is very aikido-focused, where the instructor has really specialized in mastering this one art (although cross-training can be useful). Note, this is just my gut reaction to the website, and may not reflect reality too well.

It looks to me like there are several other dojo in your area. If I were you, I would take a week or two and visit all of them, try to get the best fit, and go to the dojo where you are most inspired to train (and one that's not too too difficult to get to). I visited http://www.aikidoalvarez.com when I was in Miami and had a great practice there, but it's probably not too convenient for you.
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Old 04-03-2006, 12:16 PM   #5
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Advice needed...

Gonzalo,
Look to the left of the screen, the first entry under databases gives you all the dojos within set distances. There are at least 13 dojos within 10 miles of South Miami listed in the Dojo Search.

Welcome to AikiWeb!
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Old 04-03-2006, 01:20 PM   #6
Gonzalo Scotti
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Re: Advice needed...

Thanks to everyone for the responses.
The problem is that I don't know the first thing about Aikido to be able to determine a good place from a bad one.

Also, this place is really close to my work and my house...and we all know THAT is a great plus when starting a new activity.

I was hoping somebody knew of this place and style first hand and could help me out.

Thank you very much again for your time

Gonzalo
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:13 PM   #7
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Advice needed...

http://www.tenshindojo.com/index.cfm seems to be the website for the school in question. I don't think I can give any idea of what the school is actually like from the website, other than it seems the head instructor has trained for some time, and that it doesn't really hurt to have a background in other arts. Many of the best japanese instructors also have backgrounds in kendo, judo, or other arts as well. In some people that does lead to a kind of bastardizing of the aikido class, in others, not at all. You really are best served by visiting all the dojo within reasonable travel distance for you, and seeing where you think you fit best. If a dojo is right next door, but you don't like the training, the short travel time won't mean anything. Find what you like...if you travel an hour to get there, it should be worth it.

There are several threads on this site about the things to look for when selecting a school / teacher. Worst case, you start one place, learn enough to make a qualified decision to stay or to leave.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:28 PM   #8
Raspado
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Re: Advice needed...

Jorge Angulo Sensei is a con artist and faked a knee injury to avoid doing his black belt test with Seagal because he was afraid of the randori. Ask Larry Reynosa at makoto dojo in Ventura, CA for more infor about this school. www.makotodojo.com
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:04 PM   #9
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Advice needed...

Some things you might look for in visiting dojo:

--Do the instructors try to pressure you or get a bunch of money up front? Do they make rash promises (i.e. black belt in a year, beat up ten assailants, etc)? These are usually not good signs. Do they put down other dojo or teachers when trying to get you to sign up?

--Do the current students seem to be enjoying themselves? Are they enthusiastic? Conversely, do they appear scared of their teacher or each other? Do they welcome you, or do they make you feel like an unwanted pest? Is there a clear-cut way for beginners to get involved, whether by joining beginners' classes or by getting special attention in the mixed classes?

--Are there a range of ages, genders, and physical types among the students, or are they all athletic young men? (The one dojo related to Seagal's lineage I have visited had a mix in the introductory classes but the advanced classes were essentially all athletic young men. I thought that might mean that the level of athleticism required was too high for me, and I was right.) Whether this is a problem for you depends on your own level of physical fitness, of course.

--Does the aikido you see on the mat, both from the instructors and from the students, excite you and make you want to participate? This is totally subjective, but it's also very important. Aikido is a lot of work and you'll never stick unless you are excited about it.

You may not be able to judge the teacher's aikido, but you can judge the people and the emotional tone of the group, and those are probably more important as a beginner. I learned a lot of my aikido from first-kyu students whose own aikido was not sensational, but they were patient and got me through the basics, and I don't regret it.

Location does count. Some people are happy commuting an hour each way to the dojo, but for others that is the straw that breaks the camel's back. You know your own needs the best.

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:11 PM   #10
crbateman
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Re: Advice needed...

There are ASU and USAF dojos in Miami. You should be well pleased in either. Avoid the independant schools until you have enough training under your belt to know good from bad. Find a style and an instructor that is comfortable to you. You can always move on if you feel the need later.
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:39 PM   #11
giriasis
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Re: Advice needed...

Don't be so quick to choose something closest to you. There is a lot of aikido in the Miami-Dade area. I'm only familiar with Gold Coast Aikikai and Miami Aikikai. You will learn excellent and effective aikido in either of them. It is worth the drive to them: Gold Coast Aikikai or Miami Aikikai

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-03-2006, 09:35 PM   #12
giriasis
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Re: Advice needed...

Oh, I want to add that I drive 45 minutes in rush hour traffic from Aventura (where I work) to Fort Lauderdale to train where I train. (I live in the Davie/Cooper City area) When you find a dojo that's good and you enjoy, the South Florida traffic is worth driving through.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:29 PM   #13
Gonzalo Scotti
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Re: Advice needed...

Thanks to everybody who took the time to answer.

Ms Kuhner, I will certainly take your advice in selecting the Dojo.

Ms Giri, thanks for the 2 links. I checked them both on the Internet and will go see them both in person. Both are a 20 minute drive from my home against traffic and seem to have very good teachers.

Mr. Geery, thanks for you advice.

Gonzalo
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Old 04-04-2006, 06:00 PM   #14
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Mike Geery wrote:
Jorge Angulo Sensei is a con artist and faked a knee injury to avoid doing his black belt test with Seagal because he was afraid of the randori. Ask Larry Reynosa at makoto dojo in Ventura, CA for more infor about this school. www.makotodojo.com
Harsh.

I visited his dojo once, was received cordially, and was pleased at the quality of training I saw there.

Mr. Scotti, fwiw, the Tenshin organization has had tons of acrimonious fighting. I don't know whay Mr. Angulo was slammed, but he left a good impression on me. I'd train there if it wasn't 50 miles away.

Other good people in Miami are Elliot Rifkin and Gustavo Ramos, who until recently had a dojo together.

If you're interested in great training outside of aikido, ie, DR aikijujutsu, PM me.

Btw, Mr. Bateman, who is the ASU rep in Miami? I didn't find an ASU dojo in Miami in the search engine.

Thanks.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:28 PM   #15
giriasis
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Re: Advice needed...

Don, I believe there is an ASU school at the University of Miami. They have a club there.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:31 PM   #16
giriasis
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Gonzalo Scotti wrote:
Thanks to everybody who took the time to answer.

Ms Kuhner, I will certainly take your advice in selecting the Dojo.

Ms Giri, thanks for the 2 links. I checked them both on the Internet and will go see them both in person. Both are a 20 minute drive from my home against traffic and seem to have very good teachers.

Mr. Geery, thanks for you advice.

Gonzalo
Gonzalo, I think you'd be happy with either Elliot Rifkin at Miami Aikikai and Wee Wow Dumlao and Gold Coast Aikikai. They both have very centered, strong and martially focused aikido. When we have seminars together I always try to train with both of them. I believe Gold Coast offers more classes at the moment.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-05-2006, 09:12 AM   #17
Raspado
Dojo: Gracie Barra Tampa
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Re: Advice needed...

Don, it was harsh because it was true. I'm glad that was your experience, but after having been with Larry Reynosa for five years, you would be amazed at the things I have seen from people trying to get "in" with Seagal.

Last edited by Raspado : 04-05-2006 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:20 AM   #18
maynard
Dojo: St. Pete Aikikai
Location: Pinellas Park, FL
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Re: Advice needed...

There is a university club affiliated with ASU through Messores Sensei at Florida International University, but I don't know the specifics (instructor rank, membership limitations?). Their website seems to be down, but if it ever comes back up, it should be http://www.fiuaikido.com/ . To be clear Messores Sensei is not the head instructor at FIU, he teaches seminars there every few months.

John
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Old 04-05-2006, 02:45 PM   #19
Raspado
Dojo: Gracie Barra Tampa
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Re: Advice needed...

Here we go again.
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Old 04-05-2006, 03:07 PM   #20
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Here we go again.
?? Huh??

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-05-2006, 04:34 PM   #21
crbateman
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Re: Advice needed...

Two ASU schools in the Miami area are Aikido Miami (Guillermo Gomez) and Aikido of Palm Beach Co. (actually in Boca Raton - Josh Drachman).
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Old 04-05-2006, 05:55 PM   #22
Marc Kupper
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
Two ASU schools in the Miami area are Aikido Miami (Guillermo Gomez) and Aikido of Palm Beach Co. (actually in Boca Raton - Josh Drachman).
Aikido Miami looks like a USAF affiliate and Boca Raton is a good hour plus (depending on traffic) north of Miami. If Gonzalo works and lives very near the Tenshin Aikido dojo then he's in deep south/west Miami which would be even more painful of a drive up to Boca Raton. The ASU, www.asu.org/dojo.html, does not seem to have any dojo in the southeast part of Florida.

All that aside - I'd still stand by what I posted in the first place which is to watch a few classes and see if you are comfortable with the people/dojo. Gonzalo seems well aware that it's a Steven Segal affiliated dojo and the potential negatives of that.

I personally would not worry too much about the "faking a knee injury" accusation simply because the sensei/dojo continues to represent Tenshin. I doubt any shihan would allow a fraud/fake to continue representing him or her. If the knee issue bothers you then ask Angulo sensei about it directly. I know there have been times I have been annoyed at someone about something but when I brought it up with them and understood their side of the story then my feeling of annoyance was handled.
Quote:
Gonzalo Scotti wrote:
The problem is that I don't know the first thing about Aikido to be able to determine a good place from a bad one.
Gonzalo, if a dojo is listed in something like AikiWeb's dojo finder, and particularly if it's affiliated with an organization (USAF, IAF, Tenshin, etc.) the odds are it'll be ok. Probably the only thing I would watch out for would be something like a Tae Kwon Do school where somewhere in the advertising they say "Aikido." With them it's likely you will learn TKD and very little about Aikido. Earlier in this thread Mary Kuhner posted a good list of things to look for in a dojo and so I'd keep that in mind as you look around. Good luck and best wishes for a happy Aikido "career."

Marc
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Old 04-05-2006, 07:05 PM   #23
Michael O'Brien
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Marc Kupper wrote:
All that aside - I'd still stand by what I posted in the first place which is to watch a few classes and see if you are comfortable with the people/dojo. Gonzalo seems well aware that it's a Steven Segal affiliated dojo and the potential negatives of that.

I personally would not worry too much about the "faking a knee injury" accusation simply because the sensei/dojo continues to represent Tenshin. I doubt any shihan would allow a fraud/fake to continue representing him or her. If the knee issue bothers you then ask Angulo sensei about it directly. I know there have been times I have been annoyed at someone about something but when I brought it up with them and understood their side of the story then my feeling of annoyance was handled.
To further expand on that, I briefly reviewed the website as well, and on the faq page he states that all candidates for black belt are personally examined by Segal Sensei so it appears clear that Segal Sensei has no issues with the school or the instructor(s).

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 04-06-2006, 06:26 AM   #24
crbateman
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Marc Kupper wrote:
Aikido Miami looks like a USAF affiliate
Good catch, Marc. They have indicated an ASU affiliation in their AJ dojo listing, but that is apparently erroneous. My bad...
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:54 PM   #25
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
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Re: Advice needed...

Quote:
Marc Kupper wrote:
Aikido Miami looks like a USAF affiliate
Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
Good catch, Marc. They have indicated an ASU affiliation in their AJ dojo listing, but that is apparently erroneous. My bad...
Err - make that my bad. Something did not sit right with me and so I looked into Aikido Miami further. Their web site is www.aikidomiami.com which does not say much (I can barely figure out where the dojo is located) but it turns out to be part of www.dynamiczen.com which tells more about the instructor and that the orientation seems to be towards kick boxing and something called "Dynamic Zen." I don't think it's affiliated with any Aikido organization.

Marc
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