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Old 08-20-2001, 11:45 AM   #1
taro
Location: thunder bay
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Need Suggestions For Learning...

I've come to the realization that in my search for a new dojo(moving to a new city), the biggest factor will be finding a teaching style that suits my learning style the most. I think I'm leaning towards Yoshinkan's step-by-step kata method, but I'm not sure what I'm sacrificing by not learning the Aikikai's way.

I'm hoping to hear from the instructors here about their experience with students.

1. What FACTORS should I consider when choosing a teaching/learning style?

2. Any questions I should ask a prospective sensei/instructor?

3. What should I look for when visiting a dojo?

4. What should I ask MYSELF when considering training methods(not sure how well I know myself as far as my learning style)?

5. Any considerations I've missed?

My goal at this point is to prepare myself in making a choice (next month, when I move) that will maximize my efforts in training. I want to be sure that I've chosen a place to train that is most congruent with my learning style. I have a tendency to want to try everything, but I would really like to maintain a steady training routine for as long as possible. Thanks for any help.
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:51 AM   #2
cbrf4zr2
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Taro -

First, maybe a few questions need to ba answered...

Why are you taking Aikido?
What do you want out of it?
What purpose do you want it to serve?

************************
...then again, that's just me.
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Old 08-20-2001, 12:02 PM   #3
REK
Join Date: Oct 2000
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At the risk of beating a dead horse...

I think that you should try a number of different dojo, if different styles are available in your area. I think the style becomes less important as you progress. What is important is the atmosphere of the dojo, the investment the instructor has in the students, the sense of community in the dojo and the openness to other training.

It's easy to say Yoshinkan or Aikikai has a more appropriate style based on how you perceive your learning style. My experience has been that it doesn't matter what the school says on paper, it only matters what they do on the mat. That is the only true measure. Good luck and have fun!!!!

Rob

________________________
Mors certa, hora incerta
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Old 08-20-2001, 03:50 PM   #4
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Re: Need Suggestions For Learning...

We need to write one of these. Anyways, this is a version for Shotokan karate. This guy is pretty hard edge in a lot of ways but in general I think he did a good job with this part.

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/sh...findadojo.html

Personally, I don't think you can accurately judge a fit for at least a few months and even then it can be hard to be sure as you and they change. Dojos go in cycles. They can be very martial one month and the domain of lovey-dovey flower-sniffing foo-foo fighting skirt wearers the next. It's almost impossible to tell out of the gate as not only don't you know them, you probably don't even know what you really want out of the art.

You are going to have to make the best decision you can and jump in--after going to as many dojos as you can to watch several classes. Use your common-sense, intuition and judgement and go for it. You can always get out of the water and go jump in a different pool if it doesn't work out.
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Old 08-20-2001, 06:28 PM   #5
L. Camejo
 
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Triangle Re: Need Suggestions For Learning...

Originally posted by taro
1. What FACTORS should I consider when choosing a teaching/learning style?

If you did Aikido before, you should stick to a similar style. When one takes up any MA we learn new "unnatural" responses to situations. If you have already invested some time in a system, it will be wise to maintain the mind/body conditioning you have already started, instead of changing suddenly or even restarting. This is one of the reasons why students are told to at least obtain 1st Dan grade before switching to a new form of MA. This allows one type of conditioning to set in without confusing your inner systems with something different.

2. Any questions I should ask a prospective sensei/instructor?

You should be able to trace a path from his/her teacher right back to O-sensei Ueshiba. If you can't, they should not be calling what they teach Aikido. Also, get an idea of how long the person has been teaching Aikido.

3. What should I look for when visiting a dojo?

Pay attention to detail. Observe very carefully how the instructor controls the class and how adept he is at facilitating the progress of his students. Good instructors tend to have a natural flow regarding the procession of a class.

4. What should I ask MYSELF when considering training methods(not sure how well I know myself as far as my learning style)?

I agree with cbrf4zr2's post above. You must know yourself at least to that extent or you may find yourself losing interest over time. If effective self defence is a major thing for you, I think Yoshinkan would be the better bet.

5. Any considerations I've missed?

Above all else, take your time. When I have new students I let them come watch as much as they want, and even train a couple classes to see if they like it.

I hope this helps.
Regards.
L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:03 PM   #6
taro
Location: thunder bay
Join Date: Feb 2001
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cbrf4zr2:
Why are you taking Aikido?
- I prefer this martial art to others for a few reasons
-I like the idea of circularity/sphericity and joining with an attack rather than opposing it
-I like the idea of minimal force
-I like the close contact required to develop sensitivity(to attacker's intentions)
-I like the idea of developing inner ki
-Also, I'm part Japanese in background and I prefer exposure to the culture.

What do you want out of it?
-develop control over mind and body
-develop stronger mind/body connection
-develop self-confidence
-develop life-long habit of fitness
-develop self-defense skills

What purpose do you want it to serve?
-to improve myself physically, mentally and spiritually
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Old 08-20-2001, 11:19 PM   #7
taro
Location: thunder bay
Join Date: Feb 2001
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REK:
ok, thanks for the tips

Erik:
the Zen story reminds me of FightClub and Karate Kid
Buddy has some good tips though, thanks.

L. Camejo:
Thanks for your help.
1. The school I have been going to wasn't affiliated with either aikikai or yoshinkan or any other 'federation' as far as I know. So I can't really continue what I've been doing. I'll be exposed to something different either way. Up until I've had no choice. This was the only aikido school in town. I'm wondering whether you meant stick to the same style of aikido or to the same style of martial art. If you meant the former, do you think it would be that bad to go from an predominantly aikikai style of teaching to yoshinkan?

2. Will definitley look for this.

3. Could you please elaborate on this point?
I'm not clear on what you meant by
"...controls the class..."
"...facilitating the progress...", and
"...natural flow..."

4. what specifically made you make the comment that Yoshinkan would be a better bet for self-defense?

5. I've already had to miss about 3 months of training because of work, but I'll try not to sign up with the first school I visit

Thanks everybody.
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Old 08-21-2001, 08:32 AM   #8
L. Camejo
 
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Ai symbol

[quote]Originally posted by taro

1. The school I have been going to wasn't affiliated with either aikikai or yoshinkan or any other 'federation' as far as I know. So I can't really continue what I've been doing. I'll be exposed to something different either way. Up until I've had no choice. This was the only aikido school in town. I'm wondering whether you meant stick to the same style of aikido or to the same style of martial art. If you meant the former, do you think it would be that bad to go from an predominantly aikikai style of teaching to yoshinkan?


I meant the former, and no it would not be THAT bad. Yoshinkan just tends to use more atemi waza and is a more effective self defence style than "Typical" Aikikai I think (and this is just My opinion ok?). It may not be as circular as Aikikai in some techniques also.

3. Could you please elaborate on this point?
I'm not clear on what you meant by


"...controls the class..." - This means that the instructor must be extremely aware of what is happening at any point in the class, and should be able to stop students and address problems, before they go out of control. This includes problems with technique, personality differences, tests of strength between students when they should be practicing and things like that. In other words, discipline should be enforced by him at all times.

"...facilitating the progress...", - This has a bit to do with the previous one. The instructor must be attentive to the needs of the class as a whole, as well as individual needs. He should be able to determine where some students may have critical problems and address them immediately to avoid the students developing negative habits that can really hurt their Aikido later on. This refers technically to things like using extreme muscular force to do techniques, inability to heed when uke taps in pain and things like severe lack of self-confidence among certain students. Aiki awareness needs to be increased exponentially when one is an instructor.

"...natural flow..." - I guess this comes from my Shodokan background. I believe that classes should flow from beginning to end in a more or less structured manner. It should begin with basics and very light partner practice and increase incrementally in intensity and difficulty as you near the end of the class. This creates a graduated process where the students can develop from basic exercises into technical applications and then develop those techniques into practical elements of self defence in a step by step manner.

4. what specifically made you make the comment that Yoshinkan would be a better bet for self-defense?

If you get the chance, read any of the books by Gozo Shioda, such as Dynamic Aikido. I believe that Yoshinkan is the Aikido style that closest resembles Takeda's Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu (the forerunner of Aikido, sort of) which was a devastating form of hand to hand combat. It is also the self defence style taught to the Tokyo police force.

I hope this clarifies stuff.

Good luck in your search and let us know how it goes.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 08-21-2001, 02:37 PM   #9
Mona
Join Date: Aug 2001
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Re: Re: Need Suggestions For Learning...

Quote:
Originally posted by L. Camejo
You should be able to trace a path from his/her teacher right back to O-sensei Ueshiba. If you can't, they should not be calling what they teach Aikido. [/b]
My sensei studied with several teachers, and only one of them was the student of O'sensei's own son. Does this mean he qualifies for being a "proper" Aikido teacher?

In Aiki,
Mona
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Old 08-21-2001, 03:06 PM   #10
taro
Location: thunder bay
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Right on. Thank you Larry. I appreciate your help. Very informative. I think I know what to look for since my previous sensei fit your description, and I think I'll know if a prospective sensei won't have those qualitites. As far as Yoshinkan, I'm getting a better idea. I won't decide until I go and visit a Yoshinkan dojo and see the diference for myself. From what I know, I think I'd like to have both. The flowing circularity of Aikikai, plus the atemis and the more martial nature of Yoshinkan. Oh well.
By the way, you mentioned Shodokan. Isn't that a form of karate? Or is that another branch of aikido I'm unfamiliar with?
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Old 08-21-2001, 07:13 PM   #11
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
Location: Sheffield, UK
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Quote:
Originally posted by taro

By the way, you mentioned Shodokan. Isn't that a form of karate? Or is that another branch of aikido I'm unfamiliar with?
The style of karate you're thinking of is 'Shotokan' with a 't'.

Shodokan is another name for 'Tomiki-style' aikido. It would be rather arrogant (particularly in japanese culture) to name a style after yourself, so Tomiki sensei himself never talked about 'Tomiki-style' aikido.

When he founded his dojo in Osaka, he called it the 'Shodokan', and that also became the name for the style. (The same way that 'Aikikai' or 'Yoshinkan' are used to refer to either the style of aikido, or the honbu dojo for that style.)

Sean
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Old 08-21-2001, 07:57 PM   #12
Erik
Location: Bay Area
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Quote:
Originally posted by taro
From what I know, I think I'd like to have both. The flowing circularity of Aikikai, plus the atemis and the more martial nature of Yoshinkan. Oh well.
Find the right teacher and you'll get both. There are plenty of Aikikai folks that will rattle your skull and they can do it with atemi or in other ways.
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Old 08-21-2001, 10:18 PM   #13
L. Camejo
 
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally posted by taro
By the way, you mentioned Shodokan. Isn't that a form of karate? Or is that another branch of aikido I'm unfamiliar with?
Hi Taro,

I guess Sean already answered the question. Shodokan is a great style though. I think it's a good balance between the self defence and chracter building aspects of Aikido.

For more information, you can check out my website at www.ttac.0catch.com.

Good luck in your search.

L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 08-22-2001, 10:58 AM   #14
taro
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Ok, thanks guys. Greatly appreciated.
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