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Old 11-18-2007, 03:54 AM   #1
Dom_Shodan
Dojo: Renbu Dojo / Melbourne
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Training in Japan, yes or no?

For many Aikidoka, Im sure the thought of going to Japan to train is exciting. I know for myself, since I was 8 years old it has always been a dream of mine. It still is, that is why Im travelling to Japan next year. However, I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now. I was just wondering peoples thoughts on this subject. I know we have come very far in our training through the years, but are there many of us who think less of travelling to the home of aikido to learn because of our progression through the years of training in our own countries?

Thanks for your input!

Dom.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:54 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

So many factors can come into play with these things. I'll tell you my own story as an example of various elements:

I only travled to Japan for less then a month, with my brother (both of us train toghether), and a week of it was spent touring.

I belong to a very small system - Korindo Aikido.
Thus during my visit, I recieved personal hands-on experiance with 3 senior teachers (two 8th Dan and a 6th Dan, the latter of which practiced and played with me and my brother as almost equals and both former only had very small classes and gave us personal treatment).

I also have a great local Israeli teacher, of a level comparable to the Japanese teacher I met (he only has 7th dan in Korindo, but has similar levels in Judo and Karate). My teacher knows me better, and knows which buttons to push and how I think (more phisics less spirit and imagination)

As I came back, I felt I made significant progress. But it was based on the very good foundation my teacher layed out. And had much to do with daily multi-hour\lessons high level practice (at home I only had 3 weekly lessons at the time, and had to help with beginners).

Amir
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:52 PM   #3
ramenboy
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Dominic Prokop wrote: View Post
...I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now...
hey dom

sure some may be right about the training outside of japan these days. but how often can you say you've been able to train in each class with a different shihan? there might be a difference between the training and the teacher.

it was an opportunity to train with my instructor in his dojo with his students, outside of waiting each year for summer camp. and i was able to go to classes with shihan i otherwise not have an opportunity to see.

go to japan. visit hombu. visit ise. visit fukuoka. visit yamagata. you won't regret it.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:23 AM   #4
Jamie_Macc
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

I can't wait untill I go to Japan (another 2 years yet). Even if the training isn't as good as you anticipated at least you can say " I've been to Japan." Its the experiance that counts

Jamie

To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is Aikido.

- Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:02 AM   #5
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

To my mind it's all about having a diversity of experiences. There are great aikidoka everywhere...and the same is true of the "not-so-great." That said, you never know until you get somewhere and play around a little. At the very least, I think simply putting yourself in a new environment can do wonders for your training. It has a great way of bringing back a bit of that "beginner's mind," in my brief experience...and really, Japan is a wonderful place to visit. I miss it often.
Where will you be traveling to in Japan? I spent most of my time in Himeji and Tatsuno in Hyogo-ken, just south of Osaka. If you get the chance, I'd certainly recommend viiting them. There's a great Shodokan dojo in Himeji and plenty of sights to see in the area (Himeji Castle is pretty cool and Tatsuno is a "smallish" city with lots of history).
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:17 AM   #6
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

A resounding "Yes" from me!

Quote:
Dominic Prokop wrote: View Post
However, I have been informed by some, not to expect too much from training over there, as the training here and in other countries is just as good, if not better now.
I'm glad I didn't pay too much heed to such things. I'm back in Japan for my second stint and every minute on the tatami is precious to me.

It's all too easy to make out that training conditions in one's own country are "better than Japan" or "better than in country X". However, this mentality fails to recognise that good sensei from all over the world criss-cross the globe to teach Aikido and good students travel from country to country just to train. I find it especially sad when I hear people who have never trained in Japan say things like "since they have lower standards in Japan, I would be a nidan now, instead of the first kyu I am at present." It's not even worth contradicting people who don't even understand that it is an international art of peace, not a competition between nations.

From my point of view, Japan is a rightly popular nexus. What distinguishes it from other countries is that it is the primary culture from which the art came and is home to some of its Meccas and founding instructors.

Sometimes people give fair warnings about sensei or dojos, but to me it gets dubious once they start talking about whole organisations or styles and I find their motives highly suspect when they are extending their warnings to cover entire nations or ethnic groups. Personally, I love this country and its people and I love training here.

But you're best off seeing for yourself. Good luck and PM me if you end up in the Kanto area!

Kind regards

Carl
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:44 AM   #7
batemanb
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
There's a great Shodokan dojo in Himeji .............
It is indeed a nice dojo, shame about the teacher though...................

sorry Peter, couldn't resist

Japan get's the thumbs up from me too. I started going in 1995, and found my sensei in 1996, I've been back to him every year since, also managed to live over there for a couple of years in between. Japan, like everywhere has good and bad teachers, it will boil down to your own experience with the people you meet and train with. For me, I've been lucky enough to have met and trained with quite a few good people over there. I have enjoyed every trip and always look forward to the next one.

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:52 AM   #8
PeterR
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote: View Post
It is indeed a nice dojo, shame about the teacher though...................

sorry Peter, couldn't resist
:grrr - well they threw me out so its just Omonishi now - still he was the talent.

Still up to some amazing things in the land of my exile - China. Drop me a line and I'll let you know.

The best Aikido I experienced has been in Japan although I've run into top notch dojo elsewhere. However, training in Japan gives you that cultural immersion in the art which you just can't get outside the country. I really think that adds to the overall experience and should at least be tried for a time.

Last edited by PeterR : 11-20-2007 at 03:58 AM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:00 AM   #9
PeterR
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Sometimes people give fair warnings about sensei or dojos, but to me it gets dubious once they start talking about whole organisations or styles and I find their motives highly suspect when they are extending their warnings to cover entire nations or ethnic groups.
Ditto.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:32 AM   #10
shadowedge
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

All this talk about training in Japan is so exciting!

Hi Dom, like you I might be there by around feb - march next year (hopefully permanently, since im going there to work)

In my experience, I've trained in 3 different dojos since I've moved a lot over the last 6 years. I was also able to train with a Japanese Sensei who didnt have his own dojo, but has been living here for 11 years.

With that said, I'm sure going to Japan to train will be a rich experience depending of course where you train and who you train with.

Incidentally, the reason why I posted a thread about training costs was so I could get an idea of how much training would cost there (on average). Anyone care to share?
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:49 AM   #11
louiev
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Incidentally, the reason why I posted a thread about training costs was so I could get an idea of how much training would cost there (on average). Anyone care to share?
Depends on the dojo, I suppose. Some dojos which have keiko twice or thrice a week would probably charge a monthly fee of around 5,000yen. Some dojos which have keiko *every day* would charge around 8,000 yen.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:37 AM   #12
Shany
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Don't look at this journey with the eyes of 'training in japan', see it with the eyes of 'opportunities to learn from different perspective',
there are fine western teachers, which have learned from the masters and continue on today to pass their knowledge.

Each has its own set of ideas and ways to pass on Aikido with their own mind-set. If you are going to Japan to study aikido, study it with a subjective experience.

There are Japaneses senseis that are less good than western senseis. because, it's not the nation that makes you good, it's the persistent in life, the life style and devotion to the aikido.

Just fly and enjoy the experience of learning from other people.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:04 AM   #13
Peter Seth
Dojo: Zanshin. Sunderland University
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Hi All. Aikido is aikido wherever you practice it and where better than the source. It should be viewed as a great opportunity just to travel to another country and experience the people and culture - with the added bonus of a wealth of aikido experience being present. Go for it! You only live once so fill your boots and think positive - you WILL have a great time!
Peter
PS: Carl, Uni class up and running will send photo of grading success all flew through 5th and 4th and their flow and control way above that level. Stay well - best to all in Japan.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:57 AM   #14
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Peter Seth wrote: View Post
Go for it! You only live once so fill your boots and think positive - you WILL have a great time!
I don't think I would be here without this man and the university aikido club he runs. He knows what he's talking about: I AM having a great time!
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:52 AM   #15
Peter Seth
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Thank you carl - i'm embarrassed now, but also very touched and honoured to have been a part of your aikido journey. I'm still learning the basics after all this time but still endevouring to turn them on their heads a bit. Also doing multi art seminars and learning to apply aiki across a wider board. What a wonderful organic and flexible art we practice - can be adapted to almost anything. Best to 'WA'.
Pete
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:44 PM   #16
Carlos Rivera
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Dom,

To quote the Nike people, "just do it." You won't regret it, and you will be the one to determine how good your experience over there will be.
I went last year to Iwama and to tell you the truth, my Aikido got so much better and I had a great time. You get to train with good folks and get different points of view. And you can get by with a phrase book, and having studied key phrases well. The Japanese really appreciate when you make an effort to communicate in their language and show your willingness to appreciate their culture.

Can't wait to go back!!
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:25 PM   #17
shadowedge
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Carlos Rivera wrote: View Post
And you can get by with a phrase book, and having studied key phrases well. The Japanese really appreciate when you make an effort to communicate in their language and show your willingness to appreciate their culture.
Really? wow, i know this isnt directed towards me, but its something I needed to hear. Thanks man.

And incidentally, I've always feared that I cant train in another dojo (specifically the ones in Japan) while wearing a hakama and a rank that I've earned in a smaller dojo that hasn't had any connection to a Kai.

So I usually, take off my hakama and put on a white belt whenever I train in another dojo. If I were to train in Japan in the near future, will this be an issue?

Last edited by shadowedge : 11-22-2007 at 08:26 PM. Reason: spell fix
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:57 PM   #18
nagoyajoe
 
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Smile Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Go, train and enjoy. There is no place like Japan! Be sure to get out of Tokyo and visit some of the other training meccas in Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagono. Go with a very open mind and you will have a great time!
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Old 11-23-2007, 08:26 AM   #19
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

The biggest difference I've seen is that the instructors in Japan generally have a lot more experience and ability than those in the states. Anyway, I'm having a great time here, and I definitely recommend it.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:35 AM   #20
Mato-san
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

JUST DO IT!
I can give you blah blah blah.... but just do the nike thing.. I did, do, what ever
just do it

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:57 PM   #21
Nikopol
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

Quote:
Dominic Prokop wrote: View Post
For many Aikidoka, Im sure the thought of going to Japan to train is exciting.
Dom.
First you should be warned that trains in Japan can be unimaginably overcrowded and stressful.

Okay that was my joke answer.

My straight answer is YES it is a good idea to come to Japan to train in Aikido.

In fact, I have lived here for fifteen years, and have seen thousands of foreigners come and go, and can say from experience that it is the best of reasons to come here for an extended period.

Aikidoka can get through Japan emotionally in one piece... I think you would find that non-Aikidoka do not tend to fare as well.

Your next choice then would be where in Japan. Tokyo is not necessarily the best place to be. Research other locations where you will find good teachers. I'm sure some of the other forum members can refer to you to some outstanding Shihan throughout Japan.
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Old 12-16-2007, 08:08 PM   #22
lbb
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

With the disclaimer that I've never trained in Japan, I'd say a reading of "Angry White Pyjamas" is in order. I don't mean that that would be your experience training in Japan, but the book is a good example of how an experience is flavored by one's filters, preconceptions, expectations and baggage. The author also shows how 99% of any experience is rather prosaic, in Japan or anywhere else.
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Old 12-17-2007, 05:31 AM   #23
Jory Boling
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

I am training in Japan and it's a lot of fun. Where I'm from, it was an hour one way to my regular dojo. If I wanted to hit the next closest dojo, it was two hours.

Where I am now, there's about 10 or so different dojo to choose from. Some of the larger US cities don't even have half that number.

So from the standpoint of Baskin Robbins, training in Japan is pretty nice. I also haven't had a problem with visiting other dojo.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:27 AM   #24
pezalinski
 
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

GO GO GO! I went to Japan to train for 10 days this past April, and all of the preceding comments seem to reflect my experiences as well. Training in Japan is AWESOME -- it's like sumer camp plus cultural immersion, squared and then cubed. I'd be there today, except for the plane fare and this pesky need to keep a job and earn a living here in the States..... but I am saing for my next trip, later this year...


A little danger is a knowledge thing...

"Helping the planet make an impact on people, since 1985"
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:22 PM   #25
dbotari
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Re: Training in Japan, yes or no?

I've been to Japan to train an play tourist. I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. I will have the opportunity to travel there again in 2008 with my sensei and a group from the dojo. The only thing that is causing me some hesitation is the new law Japan has enacted requiring all foreingers to be finger printed and photographed upon entry to the country.

While I'm no criminal and have nothing to fear, it still makes me feel uneasy about the whole issue. Let alone the invasion of privacy issue, I am very concerned about the custodial issues such as how long can they/will they retain this info and how secure is it?

Has anyone out there experienced this situation yet? Can you provide some answers?

Thanks,

Dan
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