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Old 12-29-2008, 08:25 AM   #1
Toby Bazarnick
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Lecce, Italy
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Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Hi all,

Could anyone recommend a particular dojo in Dublin? Given only a few days in the city, with which instructor(s) would you train? I'll be staying in the center of the city for a week (12-31 to 1-6) and will not have a car.

Shobu Aikido of Boston (Gleason Sensei - www.shobu.org) is my home dojo. These are links to films of some of teachers whose seminars I've enjoyed:I also went to London recently and enjoyed the intensity and sincerity of D.Bath's class (the 5th dan from Chiba Shihan's former dojo). Maybe there are some people who train regularly with Gouttard Sensei or Tissier Sensei?

Thanks very much!

Toby

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Old 12-29-2008, 09:44 AM   #2
brian donohoe
 
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Dojo: Nenagh and sadly no longer police college Templemore
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Hi Toby
Here are some links to sites of clubs in Dublin.

The first one is my home Dojo where I used to train when I lived in Dublin The second is a French guy who has strong ties to France and the third is the Aikikai club in Dublin

http://www.aikidoireland.ie/index.html

http://www.aikidoireland.ie/index.html

http://www.aikido.ie/

Enjoy

Brian
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:55 AM   #3
Toby Bazarnick
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Lecce, Italy
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Quote:
Brian Donohoe wrote: View Post
Hi Toby
Here are some links to sites of clubs in Dublin.

The first one is my home Dojo where I used to train when I lived in Dublin The second is a French guy who has strong ties to France and the third is the Aikikai club in Dublin

http://www.aikidoireland.ie/index.html

http://www.aikidoireland.ie/index.html

http://www.aikido.ie/

Enjoy

Brian
Thanks Brian! Your old dojo looks like a friendly group - I really appreciate the leads.

The French 4th dan, Cyril, has a brilliant marketing-oriented website. There's a curiously aggressive branding of "French Aikido" as evolving, modern, non-chauvanistic, not too focused on fundamentals/discipline, having dynamism, not stuck in the 60s...

The video of Cyril's movements are that of Yamaguchi-as-interpreted-by-French-aikidoka...it's smooth & beautiful, but making a new brand out of that seems like a stretch. I hope that he's teaching personally and get to train with him.

John Rogers sensei's site is spartan (no "filler"). His history seems compelling - he launched aikido in Ireland under Chiba sensei's support, tested under great masters (incl. Yamaguchi), studied shinto and macrobiotics deeply. I'll definitely check out his dojo.

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Old 12-31-2008, 05:32 AM   #4
brian donohoe
 
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Dojo: Nenagh and sadly no longer police college Templemore
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

That's no problem Toby.

Your interpretation of the websites sounds close to me.

Brian
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Old 12-31-2008, 07:10 AM   #5
Guillaume Erard
Dojo: Aikikai Hombu Dojo
Location: Tokyo
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Hi Toby,

You'll be welcome in our dojo anytime. Classes resume on Monday 5th although I am checking if I can organise an informal practice on Saturday 3rd. Contact me in PM if you are interested.

I actually believe that we have a couple of students from your organisation training with us at the moment. As you know, our webiste can be found here.

Thanks for the compliments on the website (which I actually built and run). i do have one question though, can you tell me where you got this impression of marketing from the website ? We are not selling any product (DVDs, books etc) appart from quality Aikido tuitions if you wish to call that a product so where is the marketing there? The rest of the content is just articles, interviews that I wrote and found to be relevant to any Aikido enthusiast.

All the best

G
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:04 AM   #6
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Quote:
Toby Bazarnick wrote: View Post
... your brand of aikido as being based in critical thinking, realistic/honest and non-magical techniques, a solid pedigree, a common tradition of philosophical inquiry, and (I loved this one!) "pedagogic research and Aikido development".
Well to me these words sound very familiar.
To me this seems not to be the brand of one certain dojo in Ireland. But describes in generall the Aikido the way Christian Tissier practices and teaches it.

The words you cite are often used when his way of Aikido is described.

Quote:
I'm not sure how the Irish, let alone the larger international community, perceive this branding.
I don't know wether I get that right: Do you think someone resents Guillaume this description of Aikido?

I don't think so:
Tissier is very well known in Europe. He is one of few non-Japanese official represantatives of the Aikikai here.
He is in charge not only in France but together with Endo Seishiro shihan also in charge of the AFD (German Aikido Federation).
He has a very large scholarship in Europe and is well respected even by Aikidoka of other aikikai styles.
His summercamp here in Germany (where he sometimes uses the words you cited) allways is visited by by his scholars but Aikidoka of all styles.

Carsten
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:18 AM   #7
Toby Bazarnick
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote: View Post
Thanks for the compliments on the website (which I actually built and run). i do have one question though, can you tell me where you got this impression of marketing from the website ? We are not selling any product (DVDs, books etc) appart from quality Aikido tuitions if you wish to call that a product so where is the marketing there? The rest of the content is just articles, interviews that I wrote and found to be relevant to any Aikido enthusiast.
We went to Tralee on Wednesday and missed the chance to train with you and Cyril. That was a pity - I was hoping to get in some training.

You are certainly doing heavy marketing on your website. You aren't selling DVDs, but you're absolutely selling some distinct products. The most obvious and expected products are classes, events, seminars - these are the undeniable products sold by every dojo.

The deeper level was much more interesting to me as a marketing professional and aficionado. You give a lot of clues about the ideas and practices to expect at your dojo - all very necessary for a potential student. There's a lot of power in words...

I like that your positioning of your brand of aikido as being based in critical thinking, realistic/honest and non-magical techniques, a solid pedigree, a common tradition of philosophical inquiry, and (I loved this one!) "pedagogic research and Aikido development". These seem like they are universal ideas with aikido versus other martial arts, regardless of the culture of the community.

Let me elaborate on my reference to the aggressive marketing of French aikido - this was the factor that I noticed right away; it's what you use to distinguish your dojo from the other local aikido dojos.

Your interviews, descriptions and articles are branding "French style" or "French aikido" (or something existing only within France). For example, at 4th dan, Cyril is described as "a pioneer" of teaching some perspective of aikido that is different from the aikido offered locally in Ireland. The credibility is based on a loop of 4 or 5 aikido instructors, all of whom are French. I think the common threads are Senseis Tissier and Gouttard? These folks studied with Yamaguchi Sensei and have some of his characteristics in movement that are different from the mainstream.

----------------------------------
An example from your interview of Cyril - this refers to his split from another sensei's school 10 years back (at 2nd or 3rd dan?) to launch Tissier Sensei's organization in Ireland - full text here -

"G.E.: Why did you go back the "French style" Aikido?

C.L.: I needed a breath of air, well being, vitality and some motion. I wanted to go towards a more modern Aikido, technically more mature and in constant evolution. I did not want to remain stuck in the practice of the 60's."
-----------------------------------

There are lots more examples of this positioning on your site - mostly, it holds cultural commentaries on the physical and philosophical limitations of practitioners in Ireland, the UK and the larger Anglo-Saxon community to do this supposedly different form of aikido (essentially, "to evolve" or not be "stuck in the 60s"). These are two basic ideas about the aikido brand you're selling that sort of raised my curiosity: "French style" and "evolved". I'm not sure how the Irish, let alone the larger international community, perceive this branding.

I checked in with some aikidoka with experience in Ireland to see if my radar was broken - though they agreed with these assessments of the aikido in the area, they also supported my notion that this branding may be interpreted negatively, aggressively, whatever....

Here in southern Italy (a very non-Anglo culture), there are similar observations to Cyrils' re: Anglo-Saxons/UK/Ireland: What I see is a big emphasis on static, staccato movements, boring repetition, disconnection, and obligations to trade off doing fake ukeme...ego generally flares up if a technique "does not work". I have theories about the origins of this behavior, but it's irrelevant. I liked your Sagan quote - it's loosely connected.

The other reference to marketing in my post can be seen in the affiliate marketing you are doing on the site:

You've used your branding to do some interesting cross-marketing: references to an affiliated publication (the French aikido magazine that you edit), your individual histories and credibilities as martial artists, and also your 1st-3rd dan instructors' related businesses (including a guy who sells results-oriented self-defense to women and police, and also a martial arts supplier, right?).

Sorry to be initially vague - I hope this clarified my statement!

Last edited by Toby Bazarnick : 01-08-2009 at 08:25 AM.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:43 AM   #8
Toby Bazarnick
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Lecce, Italy
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I don't know wether I get that right: Do you think someone resents Guillaume this description of Aikido?

I don't think so:
Carsten, thanks for the comment - I was not clear about the difference between these references describing aikido in general, and the "French style" branding on the site that had me confused.

Resentment is a big word, so I doubt that it applies. It might be easy to misinterpret this branding message as a cultural statement, so I clarified and reposted above.
Quote:
Tissier is very well known in Europe. He is one of few non-Japanese official represantatives of the Aikikai here.
He is in charge not only in France but together with Endo Seishiro shihan also in charge of the AFD (German Aikido Federation).
He has a very large scholarship in Europe and is well respected even by Aikidoka of other aikikai styles.
Sensei Tissier's pretty awesome - I have a lot of respect for his aikido and am amazed by his successful dissemination of the training.

I'd love to train with him some time at his dojo in Paris as it's hard to get the sense of the teacher without directly working with them and their students.

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Old 01-09-2009, 04:16 AM   #9
Guillaume Erard
Dojo: Aikikai Hombu Dojo
Location: Tokyo
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Hi Toby,

Thanks for this thorough analysis. In fact, I must say that it is the first time that I get such a detailed feedback on the content of the website so it is greatly appreciated. If I had had such feedback from my own students, I might actually have done things a bit differently actually.

I would like to address the main issue of the positioning or "branding" of the Aikido we practice..

First, what you see as a coherent body of communication is to me just an aggregation of various bits and pieces I had written over the years. Therefore, I have never really thought about the impact of the material as an ensemble. Your outside view is indeed very interesting for me on that respect.

You refer to the French publication (now defunct Aikidoka Magazine). All the articles I published on the Dublin Aikido website are translated straight from their original support: Aikidoka Magazine. Hence, the editorial perspective is very France-centred because the magazine was the biggest internet resource for French-speaking Aikidoka. Now it might seem clearer to you why there is this constant referential (or perhaps sometimes opposition) between French style or French organisation and the rest of the world.

Based on your analysis, I think that I should perhaps have taken the time to "adapt" the material in order to target it to a broader audience. I realise now that some people might feel offended or at best excluded by the numerous parallels drown with French Aikido. Point well taken and if I get the time, I will try to sort out this issue.

Now, one thing that has to be made clear is that the editorial line of is purposely very loose. There is no discussion between Cyril Lagrasta, Philippe Gouttard or I when we write articles and contributions should only be taken as the expression of each individual's point of view, and not necessarily as the position of our organisation regarding the topics approached. The same goes for the interviews of course.

To me, it is much more important to have articles that are inherently subjective and perhaps sometimes flawed than having something controlled and "politically corrected".

This is the way I look at editorial work and I will stand by it. It has caused us some problems in the past with Aikidoka Magazine but I think it is the only way to earn the respect of your readers. Otherwise, we end up with archetypical articles were nothing is being said; just a waste of space and pixels in my opinion.

As an example, I recently published several articles on my own website written by various Aikido personalities with whom I do not necessarily agree all the time. Even if the website carries my name, it is important to understand that somebody writing a piece is doing so in his/her own name. Even if I don't agree 100% with the opinion expressed, I think they should be heard.

Last thing, as Carsten pointed out, there might be some common points betweeen our opinions and Christian Tissier's but it is crucial not to make the assumption that we are representing him or his positions when we put content up. In fact, what really seduced me about the teachings of people like Christian Tissier or Philippe Gouttard is that they encourage you to experiment and carry out your own research rather than spoon feeding you with their views. It is very rich in terms of practice but of course it can lead to some discrepancies if taken as a coherent body of opinions.

In fact, I had several times people from abroad telling me that they found more differences in the approach of the various DAA instructors than between instructors from different federations. This, to me, is a good thing.

To put it in a nutshell, I just want to state that again, the content should be taken with a pinch of salt and is not intended as a "positioning" of our organisation or group of practitioners regarding Aikido or its practice in Ireland and abroad. It is just the outcome of the reflections of the person writing it. The French centred perspective is probably a problem and I will deal with it ASAP.

Thanks again Toby for your analysis, if you have any more comments, I would be glad to hear them since they really helped me to get an invaluable outside perspective on the website.

All the best and if you ever come back to Dublin, don't hesitate to pop in any of our dojos!

G
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:21 PM   #10
Toby Bazarnick
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Lecce, Italy
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

Very glad that you found some value in my diatribe - nothing worse than a bored marketing professional! My impression of your positioning was obviously taken on a gut level, and with a healthy portion of salt, so it's just raw information. My assumption is that intent (logic and planning) rarely plays a part is such representations. Anyhow, this inspired me to consider how the training I've had might be dominated by "American Aikido"...I'll explore that more.

Last edited by Toby Bazarnick : 01-09-2009 at 05:33 PM.

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Old 01-10-2009, 02:28 PM   #11
griever
 
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

There's also 3 AOI Dojos in Dublin.
Heron Dojo: www.heron.aikikai.ie
Phoenix Dojo and Team Aikido/DIT : aikikai.ie
... so check out the websites as well if you still have a second.

regards

Andrzej
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Old 01-22-2009, 08:40 AM   #12
Guillaume Erard
Dojo: Aikikai Hombu Dojo
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Re: Recommended dojos in Dublin?

[quote=Toby Bazarnick;223305Anyhow, this inspired me to consider how the training I've had might be dominated by "American Aikido"...I'll explore that more.[/QUOTE]

Hi Toby, this actually made me wonder if it wouldn't be interesting to put in prarallel the histories of implantation of Aikido in both our countries. I am sure that it would put a lot of our assumptions on what we define as our practices into perspective.
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