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Old 07-23-2008, 04:13 PM   #1
Cynrod
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Do I Have The Right Dojo?

I decided to go back to Aikido after almost 17 years of non-training. Now at my age of 48 I want to be sure that I am in the right pathway to minimize myself in making mistakes because I am not getting any younger.

A month ago I was looking for a dojo and I happened to find 3 of them. First one is 17 miles, second is 10 miles and the third one is 5 miles away from my house. So just because the latter one is only 5 miles away I ended up enrolling on that dojo, maybe because of the gas price too . It was my second day yesterday at the dojo and I asked my sensei about any affiliations or organizations that my dojo belongs to. I was told that we are not affiliated with any of them and that sensei don't believe in certificates or paperwork (as I noticed also that there's not even a single Aikido certificate inside the office). I will be moving to So. California in 3 years thinking on practicing Aikido there also and the thought that my dojo is not anyway affiliated with any organization just gave me a moment to think about my practice. Now, I am thinking on moving to the Las Vegas Aikido Ki Society through a PM on one of the member here as they have dojos in the Southern California area. I am looking for a longtime/lifetime practice as a way of life is one of my main goal too and not just a short time practice.

Is it important for a dojo to be affiliated with any organizations or clubs either international or national? Certificates don't mean nothing and they are only piece of paper? To belong to any affliations is only politics and does not mean anything?

Am I in the right way? Please correct me if I am not. I need your honest opinion.

TIA
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:14 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

I strongly recommend you actually go in and train a couple of times at EACH of them. Your on the mat experience is in the long run (IMO) more important than affiliation.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-23-2008, 04:16 PM   #3
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

Quality of instruction and a good dojo fit for you personally is what will keep you training in the long run, IMO.
Same as Janet above, also.

Sounds to me like you've go your head on straight.
Jen

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Old 07-23-2008, 06:42 PM   #4
Cynrod
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

Thanks to you Janet and Jensei on the replies to my post. Yes, I will do what you've told me.

Take Care
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:12 PM   #5
crbateman
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

You will most likely know right away when you find a good fit. Try them all...
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:31 PM   #6
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

Quote:
Rod Lansangan wrote: View Post
I I am looking for a longtime/lifetime practice as a way of life is one of my main goal too and not just a short time practice.
And for that exact reason, I would agree with others here, and take a look at all the dojos you have available in your area - with no regard for affiliations, politics, or anything else - other than the quality of the teacher/s and the students, and whether or not you feel you "click" with a given dojo.

Ultimately, you are going to spend a lot of time with people were you'll train. So, it's really more about choosing the kind of people you want to have relationships with, and have their influence in your life.

And train. Just train with the best teachers and students available to you. And train, and train, and train more. Let everything else follow that.

Good luck with it, Rod.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:33 PM   #7
rob_liberti
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

Define your goals.
Then you can consider what the "right pathway to minimize myself in making mistakes" means in more concrete terms.

Are you in it for martial ability?
removing ego?
a good time?
a work out?
connection training?

I think you need to make your own list. Prioritize them. Then look for an instructor that meets your needs.

Rob
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:35 PM   #8
akiy
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right DOJO?

Hi,

Here are two articles which may help you in searching for a dojo for yourself:

"Selecting a Dojo" - my "boilerplate" response when asked for dojo recommendations.
"Evaluating a Dojo" by Bill Witt sensei - Some tips for evaluating a dojo for newcomers.

-- Jun

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:10 AM   #9
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

While a piece of paper does not necessarily mean or guarnatee anything, I will say this:

Personally I like that we have colored belts.
Many dojos dont even have this - just white and black. (They are fine with this and that is great.) But the belts come with your test/certificate.

Why I like the belts is because of this:
It gives you fast assessment of a level of any given person you are training with in your dojo and more particularly at a seminar.

Is my sensei, for example, were to go up to a beginner and apply the technique he does on a brown belt - there shoulder would be dislocated. (quite seriously...I know some dojos it wouldnt no matter what, and that is how it is.)

Its a good marker for me as well to know what to potentially expect from various people, also based on what I find at my dojo.

Again, I know many places with certificates dont even give colored belts, but that is why I personally like it. (And again it comes with ranking.)

Other thing, he doesnt have a certificate of any sort.
Not that papers are important, but again it does give you an idea at a certain level of proficiency they may have.

What does he know? What does he not know.

Also, if there is no testing, etc. - what are the goals?
I have my whole list of requirements printed out, etc. - and know where I am headed.

I never liked dojos of any sort, where I walk in, and they have ranking test, but its kind of a 'feel your way' and we will get there when its time. Just my personality type...I want the job description written in full. (not all are like this, and I respect that.)

Also, yes you can go and have fun and not even remotely do anything called Aikido...in the end, its up to you.

I would suggest to visit the other dojos. 5, 10, 15 miles isnt that much of a difference. - Used to live stateside in Atlanta where the closest things to us seemed like it was half an hour away. :-)

Let us know what you do, and how it goes.

Peace

dAlen

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Old 07-24-2008, 01:03 AM   #10
Shany
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Rod Lansangan,
how can an affiliation or paper work will make your Aikido better? Are you looking for world fame by having them?
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:19 AM   #11
Enrique Antonio Reyes
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Hi Rod,

I am a black belt with another club and now training with another club as a white belt. What's good with Aikido is that there are no differences in the lessons between belts during the sessions.

Just make sure you have your ego in-check before entering the dojo and it wouldn't really matter where you train.

One-Aiki,

Iking
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:13 AM   #12
Amir Krause
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
While a piece of paper does not necessarily mean or guarnatee anything, I will say this:

Personally I like that we have colored belts.
Many dojos dont even have this - just white and black. (They are fine with this and that is great.) But the belts come with your test/certificate.

Why I like the belts is because of this:
It gives you fast assessment of a level of any given person you are training with in your dojo and more particularly at a seminar.

Is my sensei, for example, were to go up to a beginner and apply the technique he does on a brown belt - there shoulder would be dislocated. (quite seriously...I know some dojos it wouldnt no matter what, and that is how it is.)

Its a good marker for me as well to know what to potentially expect from various people, also based on what I find at my dojo.

Again, I know many places with certificates dont even give colored belts, but that is why I personally like it. (And again it comes with ranking.)

Other thing, he doesnt have a certificate of any sort.
Not that papers are important, but again it does give you an idea at a certain level of proficiency they may have.

What does he know? What does he not know.

Also, if there is no testing, etc. - what are the goals?
I have my whole list of requirements printed out, etc. - and know where I am headed.

I never liked dojos of any sort, where I walk in, and they have ranking test, but its kind of a 'feel your way' and we will get there when its time. Just my personality type...I want the job description written in full. (not all are like this, and I respect that.)

Also, yes you can go and have fun and not even remotely do anything called Aikido...in the end, its up to you.

I would suggest to visit the other dojos. 5, 10, 15 miles isnt that much of a difference. - Used to live stateside in Atlanta where the closest things to us seemed like it was half an hour away. :-)

Let us know what you do, and how it goes.

Peace

dAlen
I strongly disagree with the above as a recomenation.

One can produce lots of papers, it does not promise they are true and not counterfeit, nor do they promise ability.

A good teacher should feel his students ability without looking at the belt. A senior student might be returrning from a long time off (even years) or sick. A beginner might be young and flexible, or rigid.

I also find the concept of "chaotic teaching order" has its own advantages. Progress is not always linear.

Amir
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:48 AM   #13
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
I strongly disagree with the above as a recomenation. One can produce lots of papers, it does not promise they are true and not counterfeit, nor do they promise ability.
While it's true that aikido is not necessarily found in the world of organizations, rankings, and certificates, it's also true that aikido is not necessarily found in groups that shun them.

The affiliated and the unaffiliated all have their roles and can each be a suitable gateway to aikido for some student. The same can be said of styles, lineage, focus on ki, focus on martial effectiveness, and so forth.

Find what is available to you and what suits you.

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Old 07-24-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Hey Rod,
I did not know that your moving to CA in three years when I PM you. I agree with the majority here. Define your goals, try the dojos available in your area and see which one best line up with your goals. Keeping in mind that your goals may change over the years.

Best of luck pare!
Larry

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Old 07-24-2008, 09:17 AM   #15
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Whatever 'torifune's' you under the" floating bridge of heaven".

Training in a dojo is a relationship. We go in it as individuals(hopefully we keep that, too) with independent goals and then the relationship offers and develops dynamic goals that result from the combo. Have your goals, but be ready to include some other stuff that comes from the relationship.Feel the dojo you go to . It might be best to drop goal thinking on the 'first date'( unless you see some red flags waving; then answer that mid-dinner call from your tactically-positioned friend and go home right after the meal). Get my drift?
Have fun, play safe, give your keys to the sober one.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-24-2008 at 09:23 AM.

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Old 07-24-2008, 09:45 AM   #16
DonMagee
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Without any paper work, I would strongly advise asking for his lineage and do your due diligence. You are paying for a service from a professional, if i was hiring a guy to work on my house who was not from a big named local company or backed by some big union, I would want references and background information. There is no difference here.

If he trained under X, then you should be able to call X and verify it, or at the very least find out who X trained under. The first thing given to me when I joined my aikido dojo was a pamphlet that included my instructors lineage going all the way back.

Plus, this gives you a good feel for the instructor right away. Anyone angered and not actually excited that someone is asking about their past is not someone I would want to train under. I would leap at the chance to talk about my instructors if asked.

- Don
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:01 AM   #17
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
.

A good teacher should feel his students ability without looking at the belt. A senior student might be returrning from a long time off (even years) or sick. A beginner might be young and flexible, or rigid.

Amir
Im actually looking beyond teacher and to myself what I find helpful.
For me at seminars it does a world of good to know who is at what level and not swimming in a sea of possibly all beginners or all advanced and not knowing.

Again, this is perhaps because of how we train...senior students are more vigorous, and in a seminar it would eat up time asking where each partner is at.

Of course, as I believe Jennifer pointed out, "what floats your boat" - it all boils down to the individual at the end and how things all fit together.

As far as papers, it would seem aikido does have a track (Hombu) of who are registered, so you at least know your instructor has a base level.

There are people out there teaching that probably would only qualify for 3rd kyu, etc. - it shouldnt have to be a guessing game for the new student.

But if things click, its clicks.

Peace

dAlen

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Old 07-24-2008, 10:11 AM   #18
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

And personally, I've been a bit disonwed by a previous teacher for political, if not personal reasons. So the affiliation is complex and not necessarily a good reference point for either one of us. During that process I also chose to forego rank for the time being.
But that doesn't have anything to do with skill, dedication, or lineage in great training. Almost the direct opposite.

Incidentally, it was an Independent dojo, so you won't find my name registered anywhere. But, I believe when I checked the mirror this morning, I still exist and can give just about anybody a good time training.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-24-2008 at 10:15 AM.

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Old 07-24-2008, 10:32 AM   #19
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
During that process I have also chosen to forego rank for the time being.
But that doesn't have anything to do with skill, dedication, or lineage in great training. Almost the direct opposite.
Totally understood.
There are people who do not test, and of course their skill is not affected due to not testing...that would be just silly to think otherwise. (I know a guy that used to be in our dojo that was about 3rd/2nd kyu level and didnt test.)

But having a certificate helps to show people that dont know you, or anything about Aikido, that you indeed have a basic grounding in the training your are trying to teach. (Again this does not at all guarantee that this person can teach or transmit the info, its up to you to tell if there is chemistry there, but you know they have the base skillset as mentioned.)

In the end, is the person forthcoming or trying to hide?

i.e., Jennifer, your were open and honest, and people can see that and watch your classes and make a choice based on this.
And in the end, I suppose thats what it boils down to...each person has to make up their own mind.

Now I have no idea who this guy is that the original poster mentioned. He may have extensive training, if so I dont see why he wouldnt talk about the lineage, etc. - maybe he will, who knows.

Still I would probably check out all 3 dojos anyway...just to see what the different chemistry is like at those places.

By the way, it would be interesting to see which dojo Cynrod ends up going to and if he actually tries out the other 2 or not and what he thought of them.

Peace

dAlen

Last edited by dalen7 : 07-24-2008 at 10:37 AM.

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Old 07-24-2008, 10:41 AM   #20
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Rod, one thing I would do...and this is just me - get a copy of their syllabus. They dont test...fine - but hes teaching something.

Personally, I hate not knowing what it is Im going to learn.
It could be 5 techniques or 50...and you have no idea.
No idea of time length, nothing to shoot for.

Again, this is me -
Seeing how structured they are would be how I chose a dojo.

If its willy nilly your not going to get far...i.m.o.

Peace

dAlen

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Old 07-24-2008, 10:54 AM   #21
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Rod Lansangan wrote: View Post
I decided to go back to Aikido after almost 17 years of non-training. Now at my age of 48 I want to be sure that I am in the right pathway to minimize myself in making mistakes because I am not getting any younger.

A month ago I was looking for a dojo and I happened to find 3 of them. First one is 17 miles, second is 10 miles and the third one is 5 miles away from my house. So just because the latter one is only 5 miles away I ended up enrolling on that dojo, maybe because of the gas price too . It was my second day yesterday at the dojo and I asked my sensei about any affiliations or organizations that my dojo belongs to. I was told that we are not affiliated with any of them and that sensei don't believe in certificates or paperwork (as I noticed also that there's not even a single Aikido certificate inside the office). I will be moving to So. California in 3 years thinking on practicing Aikido there also and the thought that my dojo is not anyway affiliated with any organization just gave me a moment to think about my practice. Now, I am thinking on moving to the Las Vegas Aikido Ki Society through a PM on one of the member here as they have dojos in the Southern California area. I am looking for a longtime/lifetime practice as a way of life is one of my main goal too and not just a short time practice.

Is it important for a dojo to be affiliated with any organizations or clubs either international or national? Certificates don't mean nothing and they are only piece of paper? To belong to any affliations is only politics and does not mean anything?

Am I in the right way? Please correct me if I am not. I need your honest opinion.

TIA
In Las Vegas there are two places I'd check out. One is Desert Wind Martial arts. The Sensei is Jim Sterling. He runs a very tight ship, very traditional. He's ex-military and law enforcement and the dojo reflects that so it's not everyone's cup of tea... But I teach there once a year and his students make steady progress (which is more than I can say about some places) and are very nice folks. They are in the ASU.

Stan Pranin has gotten together a group to train in the Iwama style of Saito Sensei. There are details on the Aikido Journal website. You can contact Stan to get info. I don't know if Stan has affiliated; you can ask him... But with someone who has been around so long, I wouldn't worry too much about it. He's legit and everyone knows it.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:00 PM   #22
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Personally, I hate not knowing what it is Im going to learn.
It could be 5 techniques or 50...and you have no idea.
No idea of time length, nothing to shoot for.
Which day was it again that you had your Shihan party scheduled, dAlen? I want to make sure we have it clear on the calendar

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Old 07-24-2008, 01:45 PM   #23
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
And personally, I've been a bit disonwed by a previous teacher for political, if not personal reasons. So the affiliation is complex and not necessarily a good reference point for either one of us. During that process I also chose to forego rank for the time being.
But that doesn't have anything to do with skill, dedication, or lineage in great training. Almost the direct opposite.

Incidentally, it was an Independent dojo, so you won't find my name registered anywhere. But, I believe when I checked the mirror this morning, I still exist and can give just about anybody a good time training.
Wow... I know that feeling---well, at least a variation.

As years pass and contract, I started making an exercise of saying, "This year, I'm going to focus on _(fill in the blank)_." One year it was breathing, another relaxing (might need another year or two on that one), ... Recently I had a year of considering deeply what ranking, certification, and all the other decorations meant to the practice...

... Whoops! Did I give away the conclusion?

It's reinforced a dimension of what I would like to transmit to my handful of hangers-on.

I have a homeschool group that includes my daughter. I wear a uniform, they don't---but the kids still enjoy getting a new belt or a stripe after a test. One of my proudest moments was when my daughter took her new belt back to the line, sat in seiza, and tied the belt around her head to hold her hair back. I use my belt to hold up my pants; she used hers to hold back her hair. She understood---and got a laugh from her friends.

I encourage them to explore with other teachers, styles, arts, and so forth, and I ask them to bring back what they learn. I remind them that the only thing that conveys as they visit or join other groups is what they have taken from our time together. It's also all that is important right now.

Since this crew started as homeschoolers---already outside institutional thinking---I'm hoping that the odds are good that the message will stick

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:18 PM   #24
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
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Which day was it again that you had your Shihan party scheduled, dAlen? I want to make sure we have it clear on the calendar
Thinking this time in 2015 would do - I know its kind of soon.

Thanks for the humor... nice to lighten up a bit...
You make a good point for sure.

Peace

dAlen

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:23 PM   #25
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Re: Do I Have The Right Dojo?

Quote:
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Thinking this time in 2015 would do - I know its kind of soon. Thanks for the humor... nice to lighten up a bit... You make a good point for sure.
Ha! Oh, I'm just having more fun than I'm probably supposed to, but I'll be watching for the announcement nonetheless.

Good posts, dAlen! You give a fresh and honest point of view.

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