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Old 04-23-2006, 03:51 PM   #1
statisticool
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First month of aikido

Hi,

I'm planning on starting to take aikido. I've already sat in on a few classes, and talked to the sensei about what it is I'd be learning in the first month of class.

I was curious, what did some of you learn in the first month of class, and what did you feel as a beginner? In other words, was it difficult, frustrating, easy, and so on.


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 04-23-2006, 04:35 PM   #2
dps
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Re: First month of aikido

I learned how to stand, then I learned how to sit down, then I learned how to roll backwards. It was fun, frustrating and life changing.
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Old 04-23-2006, 04:56 PM   #3
samuraisam
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Re: First month of aikido

Hey Justin,

Good deal!!! Aikido isn't just a "martial art", so you can't go into it with that mind set. I don't know if you ever studied anything else but you need to go into the Aikido school with a mindset kind of like your learning a new language. (If that makes sense?)

I'll tell ya in a nutshell what happened to me and you can get an idea...I come from a background of "hard style karate" since I was a kid, never knew anything but the idea of overpowering an aggressor with strength. I'm not that big, bout 5'08", 185 lbs. and a cop. Back in 1991 I made a traffic stop, no biggie, some guy was weaving around and I figured I had a D.U.I. The driver got out of the car so I could evaluate him and he was bout 6'02", 250 lbs, solid....Found out later he had just gotten out of prison. (And, as I would soon find out he had no intention on going back) To cut to the chase.....I went to handcuff him, he spun around on me and popped me in the face. Fight was on! I did everything I knew. EVERYTHING!!!! and all it did was piss him off. He was bleeding profusely from the face etc...but steady fighting. I don't like to say (for pride's sake) that I got beat. Because he did finally get handcuffed and went to jail. But, I got my ass kicked! Best thing that ever happened to me in my career.

I had to learn some easier way of helpin me on the street. This wasn't too long after I first saw Above the Law and like many said what the hell is this guy doing...I went to the Aikido School of Atlanta and met George Kennedy Sensei. Most wonderful man I have ever learned from...I went in thinking I was going to learn to kick ass. I was wrong! Aikido compliments everything else that you have ever or will ever learn. If you let it! But, just like learning a language it takes time and patience. The first most important thing to start learning is to relax....Move with an opponent not against them. Yes it can get frustrating, but if you have a good teacher then it'll be fun. Just don't give up in a month or two. If you can make it past the start you get hooked. Also, get some books on O'sensei and read his philosophy. And start learning some of the greats, there are many out there, if you read you will quickly learn that it is not at all just about learning how to fight. It's about life!
Anyway, I got off on a soap box....sorry!!!! Good luck bro and stick with it. Sam

P.S. If your in Alexandria Va. you should stop by Satomi Sensei's school just outside of D.C. I had the chance to visit when I was at Quantico a few years ago. It was some damn good training.
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:10 PM   #4
Lucy Smith
Dojo: Samurai Dojo
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Re: First month of aikido

You will probably find that the more advanced students will help you a lot, since it is not a competitive but a helpful atmosphere. You may feel a little frustrated with ukemi (falls) at first, but we all have problems learning them, and when you finally do, you will love it soooo much that you will be desperate to fall all day long.
I learned the basic techniques, always pairing with an advanced student who helped me. Everyone is patient and trying to help. You'll be surprised of how much you will improve in just a month.
I started weapons training during the first month, which was great.
So don't worry if you get a little frustrated and don't you leave until you have compleated at least 3 months of practice!


Lucy
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Old 04-23-2006, 08:04 PM   #5
mathewjgano
 
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Re: First month of aikido

Hi there!
For me those first few months were spent trying to familiarize myself with training. I remember focusing a lot on learning how to roll, though it was always from a seated position at first and I couldn't wait until I could fly across the mat. Training was frustrating at times and I often felt completely clueless about what I was doing (still a common feeling ). Learning the new names and basic forms of a few techniques and then forgetting them was a common thing for me too, but one thing I particularly like about Aikido, at least as I've eperienced it, is that the attitude of those who do it tends to be very friendly and understanding. In some ways I had to learn how to move all over again, particularly when it came to having my balance broken, but over time it will become second nature...and has saved me from some injuries off the mat too.
Have fun!
Matthew

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:33 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: First month of aikido

Welcome.

First month I learned to bow and fall down. Really frustrating.

Glad I stuck it out for the next 11.5 years.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:42 AM   #7
Richard Langridge
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Re: First month of aikido

Justin, good luck with your training! I started in December, and I've been hooked ever since. It all seems very strange to start with, but once you begin to get the basics of falling you can relax and enjoy learning the techniques. The only advice I can give (from my limited experience) is that you'll pick things up a lot faster if you stay attentive whilst receiving a technique; you're not just a practice dummy.
Anyway, enjoy!
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:17 AM   #8
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
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Re: First month of aikido

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
I was curious, what did some of you learn in the first month of class, and what did you feel as a beginner? In other words, was it difficult, frustrating, easy, and so on.
It was difficult, frustrating, easy, and so on. It was also the best thing I ever did.
Keep an open mind, relax, enjoy it, and you will be like many of us here 'hooked'.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:50 PM   #9
Arike van de Water
Dojo: Seikikan
Location: Dordrecht
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Re: First month of aikido

Good luck in your first month!

I think that the two major feelings I had when I started back in October where the huge thrill of having discovered such a wonderful sport, the first I ever came across that I liked everything about, from the philosophy to the way to is taught to the techniques themselves, and really, really sore muscles. I started together with a couple of other people, and the ones that didn't like it were gone after the first two lessons.

The best things to have during the first month are, I think, enthusiasm and some patience. After the sore muscles go away, and you figure out some of the basics, the real fun starts!
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:27 PM   #10
statisticool
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Re: First month of aikido

Thanks all for the recollections! Maybe I'll post mine after doing it for a month.

I've checked out some dojos in DC, as well as one in Arlington that I think I am going to go with.

The tough part was choosing because all were so nice!


Justin

A secret of internal strength?:
"Let your weight from the crotch area BE in his hands."
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:47 PM   #11
Saw Y. C. Naw
Location: San Jose, CA
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Re: First month of aikido

It depends on the teaching speed of your sensei, the learning speed of the other students and your own speed. Here are my experiences with a "very fast" sensei and a "very slow" one.

My first Aikido classes were at the university club, with a very friendly instructor. He was a great guy, but I think he went a little too fast. During the first class, we were taught how to do kneeling rolls. The next class was about forward standing rolls, then forward standing rolls from tenchinage and introduction to ikkyo. The 3rd class got us paired up with 2nd and 1st kyu students, and we were asked to do breakfalls and backward rolls from their colorful assorted variety of throws!

On top of this, we had to be nage for them and do their techniques as well. They were all very nice people and helped us newcomers as much as they could, but as you can see, the rate at which we were forced to take in information was unbelievably fast. So by the 2nd month, I had been exposed to a variety of techniques, plus counters, plus counters to counters... not to mention a 15-step bokken kata.

Of course, it's virtually impossible to absorb all those techniques within such a short time. But when I transferred to another university (due to external circumstances not related with Aikido) I found myself in the beginner class with a sensei who went really slowly -- it took one whole month before she taught the standing forward roll. All the rush of techniques I learned previously definitely had some benefit, as I was already familiar with some of the basic principles that were being gently introduced in this class. And of course, having taken ukemi from more varieties of throws than you can remember helps a bit ^_^

I guess it's unusual to have initially gone through the techniques at warp speed, and then come back to square one and stroll through. It's not the most ideal way of training, but it was definitely great fun


It's more than likely that you'll have a great first-time experience in the dojo, since Aikido seems to attract the best of people, although I may be biased in this opinion. Don't be discouraged if you get off to a rough start though -- my sensei's sensei would say, "During the first month of training, you are taking in more information than the most advanced black belt."

Last edited by Saw Y. C. Naw : 04-24-2006 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 04-24-2006, 11:44 PM   #12
Shannon Frye
Dojo: Aikido Fellowship of VA / Chesapeake Va
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Re: First month of aikido

My first month or two were the hardest for me so far. You're the new guy, you're not sure what you're doing, and not sure who is "who" (as far as knowledge and rank is concerned). I encountered uke that seemed to take pleasure in screwing up my very slow technique-- feeling like I had 3 left feet (only 2 right ones!)--and constantly had to resist the urge to break into other styles that I had previously studied. (Ex: I had just trained judo, so it was hard to tenkan to the outside, and not turn inside to go for a throw). And because YOU are new, you can never tell if someone is new, clumsy, or just mentally not with it that day, cause everyone is wearing white belts (cept the yudansha, of course).

On the good foot (or feet), you learn the stop using strength to power thru techniques. You learn that it is a BIG benefit to snag a yudansha for a partner on difficult techniques. You get to work with everyone, and make new friends. AND -- when the NEW new guy rolls in, he has no idea how long YOU'VE been doing AIkido!
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:54 AM   #13
crbateman
 
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Re: First month of aikido

My very first month was spent UNlearning many of the things that I had learned in TKD that I thought were universal and absolute, but soon came to know were not... It was awkward and a large dose of culture shock, but strangely stimulating at the same time.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:17 AM   #14
xuzen
 
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Re: First month of aikido

Quote:
Justin Smith wrote:
Hi,
I'm planning on starting to take aikido. I've already sat in on a few classes, and talked to the sensei about what it is I'd be learning in the first month of class.
I was curious, what did some of you learn in the first month of class, and what did you feel as a beginner? In other words, was it difficult, frustrating, easy, and so on.
Justin
All I ever learned in mys first month of aikido lesson were the first two kata of the Tomiki 17 randori katas, and lots of breakfalls. Learning breakfalls is the most difficult and frustrating aspect of aikido IMO.

Now that I am a judo noob; I find again learning the ukemi is still the most difficult and frustrating aspect of the art.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:40 AM   #15
dps
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Re: First month of aikido

IMHO what you learn in the beginning is your foundation for your continual practice of Aikido and no matter how long you practice Aikido , you should maintaining your foundation by continually practicing what you learn in the beginning no matter what rank you are.
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:14 AM   #16
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
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Re: First month of aikido

hmm what i learned in the first few months? how to write an essay when you can barely move your shouder was one, the other one was that breakfalling badly can really hurt your soulder

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:20 AM   #17
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: First month of aikido

i learned forward rolls and your basic ukemi. It was so frustrating that for the first 2 weeks I would be nervous going to class. I'm glad I stuck it out, though, and you will be too!
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:49 AM   #18
Grant Generaux
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Re: First month of aikido

I just want to thank everyone for their responses, including Justin for starting the thread. I'll also be starting aikido in May, so the insights have been great to read. Also like Justin, I'm finding the difficult part is to choose a school where to begin, since there are quite a few good schools in the Triangle, NC area (OpenSky, Raleigh Aikikai, Choshinkan, among others). I guess it's a good problem to have!
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:38 PM   #19
heyoka
 
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Re: First month of aikido

The first two or three months were an exercise in patience (with myself). Learning to roll properly, which in some cases is still a challenge almost two years later, dealing with my own cumbersome body mechanics, and etiquette (very 'traditional' atmosphere). Mostly I just had to repeat the same mantra to myself, "I knew it would suck for me in the beginning, just keep training. I knew it would suck for me in the beginning, just keep training. etc etc". Now I keep repeating that phrase but the context evolves. "Everything I'm doing is bad, just keep training, everything I'm doing is bad, just keep training"...so it goes.

Paul Major
Dojo Secretary
Aikido Center of Los Angeles
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:25 AM   #20
Mathew Cartwright
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Re: First month of aikido

i will be going along to my first aikido class tonight. i am starting to get nervous now.

i feel like this is going to be the right martial art for me (i have no previous experience in martial arts at all).

curious what to expect but glad to have found this forum with a lot of helpfull information.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:34 AM   #21
dps
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Re: First month of aikido

Good luck Mathew and have fun.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:51 AM   #22
Eric Webber
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Re: First month of aikido

I learned it was a long road, but a worthwhile one.
Ten years later I have the same opinion.
Enjoy your journey.
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:43 AM   #23
Takumi
 
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Re: First month of aikido

Hello,

I am still a beginner. I am only on my second or third month. (you lose count after so much fun).

I found the first month to be anything EXCEPT frustrating. I had soo much fun and was excited to go every class. I learned back rolls, front rolls, and a few techniques and so far it has been the best thing I have ever done and it keeps getting better..

The first month was life changing (with the principles and everything) and VERY fun and exciting.

Good luck in your training and I hope you have the same fun and luck as I have..
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:48 AM   #24
heyoka
 
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Re: First month of aikido

Have fun, Matthew! Don't worry if you're really sore in the morning.

Paul Major
Dojo Secretary
Aikido Center of Los Angeles
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:49 AM   #25
Mark Freeman
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Re: First month of aikido

Quote:
Mathew Cartwright wrote:
i will be going along to my first aikido class tonight. i am starting to get nervous now.

i feel like this is going to be the right martial art for me (i have no previous experience in martial arts at all).

curious what to expect but glad to have found this forum with a lot of helpfull information.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step

Let us know how you got on.
You may not know whether it is the right art for you for quite some time. Give the art and yourself a decent amount of time before deciding.

regards,
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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