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Old 09-29-2006, 03:32 PM   #1
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club vs. dojo

I'm in an unusual situation right now, wanted to know others opinions...

I feel very frustrated about my current training situation. I am a part of an Aikido club that trains a couple days a week. The head Sensei is very good and a nice guy, just super casual about things....this frustrates me a little. People don't seem to take things very seriously. I understand people have lives, but being flaky is another thing. I miss having an actual dojo to train at, but right now I don't have access to one in my immediate area. Lately, I've had to rely on going to seminars for the bulk of my training. I really like doing this and learn a lot, but the only draw back is the monetary cost of traveling. Don't get me wrong the experiences I've had and people I've worked with at the seminars have been worth every penny. The problem comes because like most people I'm not a rich person nor do I have a job that allows me to just take off on regular basis to attend these seminars. Has anyone else been in this situation? How did you get through this?
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:02 PM   #2
James Davis
 
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Re: club vs. dojo

Quote:
I feel very frustrated about my current training situation. I am a part of an Aikido club that trains a couple days a week. The head Sensei is very good and a nice guy, just super casual about things....this frustrates me a little.
I can understand, but it is his club, right?
Quote:
People don't seem to take things very seriously.
Is there horseplay that could result in injury, or just not enough tradition? Please explain.

Quote:
I understand people have lives, but being flaky is another thing.
Again, please explain. Are your classmates not training often enough for you?

Quote:
I miss having an actual dojo to train at, but right now I don't have access to one in my immediate area. Lately, I've had to rely on going to seminars for the bulk of my training.
At least you are able to do so. I know it's expensive, but at least you have the money to spend on whatever you choose. Take advantage of your current situation and count your blessings; life can change real fast.
Quote:
Has anyone else been in this situation? How did you get through this?
For years, I've been the guy who folds his hakama when nobody else bothers. I've sometimes been the only guy who tries to learn japanese, too. Train and study seriously, and set an example for the people who walk into that club in the future.

My sensei moved to Georgia a couple months ago, so I'm the all-time teacher now. I don't get a lot of opportunity to be a student now.

A couple months before that, I only had one healthy knee and couldn't train at all.

Take advantage of your current situation and count your blessings; life can change real fast.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 10-01-2006, 06:50 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: club vs. dojo

One way for a novice to get through a situation like this is to 'quit complaining'. After all, a novice is a novice. Since you mention that you are 'searching', a likely answer is to keep searching. It is a well-known aikido adage that it is better to spend three years searching for a good teacher than to spend 3 years training with a bad or medicore one. I hope this helps give you some reflection.

In gassho,
Mark
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Old 10-02-2006, 11:50 AM   #4
cconstantine
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Re: club vs. dojo

If the "unformality" is related to start times (eg, club practice starts at 7pm and your instructor frequently arrives at randomly late intervals...) Take it upon yourself, or ask the senior person present to start class. At the club level, I feel this is common and acceptable. I've sometimes recommended simply having the class line up (with noone "up front"), senior person says whatever-your-style-uses, everyone bows, someone runs up front and leads warmups... Your instructor may *appreciate* everyone being all warmed up and doing basic ukemi drills when they arrive.

If the "unformatility" is related to traditions. Harmless horseplay, or laughter, or things you feel aren't appropriate for a dojo, I recommend simply doing what you feel *is* appropriate. You may be surprised... sit quietly in seiza and one of your friends will come over, talk quietly and pleasantly... sometimes this behavioiur is contagious. Or be the first person to sit in the "lined up position" -- tend toward the low rank side if you're nervous, and practice some breathing.

These are just my ideas (some are things I've done in actual situations) which will help ensure your influence on the situation is positive. Without your overstepping boundaries.

-c
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Old 10-02-2006, 01:39 PM   #5
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Re: club vs. dojo

One way for a novice to get through a situation like this is to 'quit complaining'. After all, a novice is a novice. Since you mention that you are 'searching', a likely answer is to keep searching. It is a well-known aikido adage that it is better to spend three years searching for a good teacher than to spend 3 years training with a bad or medicore one. I hope this helps give you some reflection.

In gassho,
Mark

I understand where you are going with this first section, but kind of doesn't apply to me. I'm not a novice, but not an expert by any means. Training for about 15 years or so. Which basically only means I don't trip over my feet anymore when I do kihon waza. I can very much relate to the adage you passed on to me. I've been there and done that too. Thanks for the advice
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Old 10-03-2006, 06:50 AM   #6
NagaBaba
 
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Re: club vs. dojo

Usually after 15 years of training one needs a teacher of shihan level to learn more then technical tricks. That may be a reason of your search. This is very good sign. Going to different seminars will allow you to find such a Teacher. Then you will have a choice: may be an opportunity to move to his location to practice with him, or travel regulary to his dojo, and in daily training apply his teaching even if conditions are not easy for that.

IMO the key word here is 'motivation' and only shihan can help you with that.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:43 AM   #7
Nicholas Eschenbruch
Dojo: TV Denzlingen
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Re: club vs. dojo

I was in a situation once that possibly compares -- I moved to a different place where there was no Aikido I could get enthusiastic about, I still trained five times a week, and while it was technically OK, friendly people there, too, I did not find the spirit I was looking for, all too fluffy there (I was more opinionated about that at the time...). I got all my motivation from seminars outside town.

My solution was to start my own group as soon as I got my first dan. While that may seem a slightly megalomaniac decision in hindsight, it made sense at the time and turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. It gave me the opportunity to carefully re-evaluate everything I thought I knew, pass my enthusiasm on to others, study basics while teaching, learn to live with mistakes, and so on. I made some great friends, too.

Things have moved on a lot again since. Funnily enough, I am now very grateful for a lot of stuff I learned in that dojo I was uncomfortable with at first and then left.

So I would guess if you have studied for a long time, and you are still enthusiastic, it could be helpful to create a setting where you can pass on what you value. My experience is that wonderful people will show up and appreciate your effort.

Hope that helps somehow, best regards
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Old 10-04-2006, 04:33 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: club vs. dojo

Quote:
I understand where you are going with this first section, but kind of doesn't apply to me. I'm not a novice, but not an expert by any means. Training for about 15 years or so. Which basically only means I don't trip over my feet anymore when I do kihon waza. I can very much relate to the adage you passed on to me. I've been there and done that too. Thanks for the advice
I agree with Szczepan here. If you have been training for 15 years and feel that you are stuck, I think this means that you need to re-evaluate your own training procedures. By the time I had been training for 15 years, I had moved to Japan and was training with my present teacher and also with shihans recommended by my previous teacher. It was a major change in my life, and one that I have never regretted. I am not suggesting you do something as drastic as moving to another country, but finding a good shihan to train under, one who can show you the possibilities of the art and guide you, is crucial, in my opinion.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: club vs. dojo

Thanks for all your thoughts and advice. I have definitely taken them to heart. It seems I have some thinking to do.
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: club vs. dojo

If things are too lax for you, then just do the things that you like to do. I'm assuming that the Sensei is not making you have the same easy going attitude. My current dojo is pretty lax as well, while I'm more formal. An attitude that I adopted from my first dojo. I've done things and then one of my instructors said " ...that's pretty hard core". I'm into learning the Japanese language, culture, etc... and bring it into the dojo as well. I'm informing the Sensei's and dojo mates the names, culture, etc.. but I tell them that is more of Jeopardy type material for them but it helps me to remember/reinforce the Japanese by using it all the time.

The 6th and 7th Dan {Japanese} that conduct our tests {a lot of dojos get together for this} tells us all the time to "...relax, you are taking this stuff too seriously."
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:50 AM   #11
JLRonin
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Re: club vs. dojo

I emphasize with you. Do you enjoy your Aikido practice? You have to enjoy what you do in order to appreciate it. Take into consideration the atmosphere in general. Take on the mat what you gather from seminars. Develop a training schedule. Start with basics including philosophy. Practice from the heart. Gradually. Relax. God Bless.
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Old 02-18-2007, 12:13 PM   #12
JLRonin
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Re: club vs. dojo

Talk to the Sensei and try to get this club recognized by hombu. Build relationships with other dojos. If this doesn't work then move on.
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Old 02-18-2007, 03:56 PM   #13
shidoin
Dojo: Aikibuken
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Re: club vs. dojo

Well I am turned off by martial arts intructors calling their Dojo's Studio's and I hate when they say come and workout! A dojo should be called a Dojo, and training should be called training, not working out. If you want a studio go record a record, if u want to workout go to golds, if you want a club, go golfing, but if you want to train go to a real traditional Aikido Dojo.
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:02 AM   #14
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: club vs. dojo

Studios, clubs, and workouts are simply attempts to bring exotic oriental arts into the mainstream.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 02-24-2007, 12:12 AM   #15
ChrisHein
 
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Re: club vs. dojo

Wow, I think if you haven't gotten it after 15 years you've been training with the wrong people.

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Old 02-24-2007, 04:17 AM   #16
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: club vs. dojo

I currently run what I consider to fall more on the club side that the Dojo side. For one, I am NOT of Dan rank in what I am overseeing. Second, the people I am working would be somewhat put off by the whole dojo scene.

So, I am an informal leader of what is NOT a dojo, but more like a club. We all get together, work out, train...share ideas, problems, and work through them.

It is all we have, and it works out. I like it...I don't have all the answers, and we are an open community.

Sort of like the difference between Microsoft and the Open Source Foundation for software development. Both methods work, but I prefer the semi chaotic environment of a bunch of dudes getting together to share and explore and grow right now.

I think for this reason, you find the word CLUB attached to college and university programs, whereas more established mainstream organizations have an affinity for DOJO.

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