Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-01-2009, 12:02 PM   #1
John.Minker
Location: Richmond, IL
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 9
United_States
Offline
Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Hi, my name is John Minker and as a kid I've always dreamed about learning aikido. My dream first began after I first learned of aikido from watching above the law with Steven Seagal. I asked my dad what martial arts he used in the film and he told me that it was "aikido".

However, there were many things that held me back from my dream of learning aikido. For one, I could never find any dojos around my area close enough to walk or bike to. My parents weren't willing to drive me an hour away so I could learn aikido, so that began letting me down, and thats when I started to give up trying to learn aikido. My parents also held me back from starting aikido as a kid. They didn't support me at all and called me "stupid" for wanting to practice aikido. My friends also thought the idea was a joke. I knew I wasn't "stupid" for wanting to learn aikido but again, my enthusiasm for trying to learn aikido started to fade away.

I went so far as to downloading an instructional video on the aikido techniques from limewire, and began trying to teach myself aikido with my brother. I learned how to roll and a couple techniques, but I'm sure I wasn't executing them perfectly and I wasn't getting the spiritual training from aikido that I wanted to experience within a dojo. After my brother got tired of practicing aikido with me and gave up, I gave up as well.

Now, I'm eighteen years old and have graduated highschool and I've finally decided to fulfill my dream of learning and mastering the art of aikido physically and spiritually. However, yet again I come to the issue that there is no dojo near where I live. I live in Spring Grove, Illinois. I've done google searches and dojo searches on this website, and I've found that the closest dojos are in McHenry, about 15 - 20 minutes away and the other dojo is in Harvard which is 35-45 minutes away. The problem with the McHenry dojo is that classes only take place Monday and Wednesday 7:30-8:30 and then 8:30 to 9:30 for more advanced techniques. Not that two days a week is bad, I'm just really passionate about learning aikido, and would like to spend at least 2-4 hours a day and at least 3-4 days a week studying aikido. I suppose I'm also a little worried about the McHenry dojo because it seems like it might cost a lot. I didn't understand the fees described on the website

Does anyone know of any ways to go to Japan without a lot of money, to learn aikido, or any other way to learn aikido that doesn't require a lot of money? Right now I don't have a lot of money to go to aikido camps for 8 days for 600$ like the one I found on the Harvard dojo website. I'm working hard every day though to pay off some credit card debt so I can start saving money for aikido.

I know I've started to ramble on in the end here, but I'm really just looking for advice and help on how I can start my path to spiritual harmony with aikido. If anyone here could help me I would appreciate it beyond belief.

My email is minker.business@gmail.com, I'll check back here tonight after I return from the McHenry dojo tonight. Thank you.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:22 PM   #2
brUNO
 
brUNO's Avatar
Dojo: Jita Kyoei Dojo/Dallas, Texas
Location: Dallas/Texas
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 41
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

John,
Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say, my first exposure to Aikido was also "Above the Law", but at least that was back when Seagal was actually doing the stunts (and not speeding up the film to make it look hard). I liked it because it wasn't "Flashy Kicks" and long, drawn out fight scenes. He took care of matters quickly and efficiently and I liked the movements

I'm an artist and I've never had alot of money. But the pusuit of things we love and "hobbies" alike take money. Take whatever you can afford, for now. It's a start. At times, I have had to barter for my mat time with Artwork and physical labor. Do whatever it takes.

I, myself, felt the same excitement you did and lost several jobs chasing my dream. I wanted to find the best teacher I could, but instead found an abusive SOB that led me to my present teacher. I have been told that when the student is ready, a teacher will be provided. So what I'm saying is, sometimes you have to wait. Aikido takes a lifetime and is still not mastered after that. Remember its the journey and not the goal that's important. You are young and have your whole life in front of you. So if this remains one of yor important goals, you WILL find a way to accomplish it.

PS: You don't have to go to Japan to learn Aikido, just because its Japanese. It's world-wide, now, and good teachers can be found all over the world.

Last edited by brUNO : 06-01-2009 at 12:23 PM. Reason: spelling

Bruno
"A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He's about absolute vulnerability."
- Socrates
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 12:54 PM   #3
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
Location: chicago
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 328
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

hey john

i know the instructors at both dojos you're near and they're top notch.

i suggest visiting the dojos, watching a class and speaking to the instructor. you can't make a good decision without doing that.

also, shellin out $600 bucks for summer camp without even lesson one under your belt isn't smart. BUT take a ride out there (to kenosha i'm assuming) and watch the aikido.

i agree with brent. you don't have to go to japan. yes, its the birthplace of aikido, but there will be chances to go there later.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:09 PM   #4
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

"However, yet again I come to the issue that there is no dojo near where I live. I live in Spring Grove, Illinois. I've done google searches and dojo searches on this website, and I've found that the closest dojos are in McHenry, about 15 - 20 minutes away and the other dojo is in Harvard which is 35-45 minutes away. The problem with the McHenry dojo is that classes only take place Monday and Wednesday 7:30-8:30 and then 8:30 to 9:30 for more advanced techniques. Not that two days a week is bad, I'm just really passionate about learning aikido, and would like to spend at least 2-4 hours a day and at least 3-4 days a week studying aikido. I suppose I'm also a little worried about the McHenry dojo because it seems like it might cost a lot. I didn't understand the fees described on the website."

I wouldn't start by qualifying things so much - cost, distance, opportunity. That is the beginning of a long line of excuses. Just say, I want to do Aikido and start finding a way to do it as conveniently as possible. Look at the obstacles involved and then work on overcoming those obstacles. If distance is the obstacle, then look at a way to get there faster or to accept the distance. When you can't overcome the obstacle, then accept it and move on. If cost is a problem, try to find a way to get the money and if you can't, then wait until you have it but don't say you can't do it because of the obstacle. Even if it stops you, it is just until you can figure out a way to overcome it. The way you look at a problem is the key. That is how I conquered the same problems many years ago. I now have my own dojo that is open 7 days a week and I am president of a small Aikido Association that has 18 dojos in Texas and Mexico. I have found that seeing things in a light that accepts and then goes forward will get you a long way-everything else just using the obstacle as an excuse.
best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:10 PM   #5
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
Location: chicago
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 328
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

how far are you from aikido shimboku dojo in Lake-in-the-hills? that's also in mchenry i believe
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:39 PM   #6
Nick P.
 
Nick P.'s Avatar
Dojo: Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal
Location: Montreal
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 639
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Hello John,

Roadmap to training

On foot? Walk or jog. (seriously)
Bicycle? Ride.
Car? Drive.

Go.
Enroll in classes.
Buy a gi.

Attend all the classes you can for 6 months.
Attend all the classes you can for 1 year.
Attend all the classes you can for 3 years.
Attend all the classes you can for 5 years.
Attend all the classes you can for 10 years.
etc.

Life will get in the way of your training in more ways that you can imagine, so while the getting is good, get to training. Life will also give you many training opportunities you had not foreseen, so be ready for them.

Like Jorge said, obstacles become excuses.
You want it, go and get it.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...ighlight=focus

&

Change how you think, begin to do...
http://br.truveo.com/Kick-Out-the-Ladder/id/2381745747

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:47 PM   #7
Garth Jones
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 143
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

John, Jorge is right - don't focus on quantifying the problems. If the McHenry dojo is really only 15-20 minutes away, that's not far at all - I drive that much (across town) to work every day and I consider myself lucky to have a short commute.

Also, if money is an issue, talk to the instructors at the dojos you visit. I think that you will find most will be willing to cut you a break if it makes the difference between you training or not.

Another thought - if you are planning to go off to college, try to find a school with an aikido dojo on campus or near by.

Good luck,
Garth
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:48 PM   #8
Randy Sexton
Dojo: Aikido of Lake Keowee
Location: South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 187
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Great answer and very inspiring response from Jorge Garcia.
That answer is Aikido!

Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 01:55 PM   #9
Larry Cuvin
 
Larry Cuvin's Avatar
Dojo: Oregon Ki Society
Location: Tigard, Oregon
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 269
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Hi John,
I applaud your enthusiasm to study aikido but please do a reality check of what you can and cannot do now. You are 18 and have plenty of time to master the art if you so desire. Meanwhile, you need to think of your future: how are you going to feed and support yourself?
Just to give you and idea of what the art entails: my direct instructor is 6th dan and been doing ki aikido for more than 30 years. He is still learning from our head instructor who's 8th dan and been doing ki aikido for over 40 years. None of our instructors are getting paid (non-profit organization). They have good jobs outside of aikido.
The point is, set your self up properly so you can enjoy the training. Go to school and finish something that you can fall back to. You can even go to school where a dojo of your choice is close by so you can start your training at the same time. The Japan trip can wait. There are very good instructors here in the US.
Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck

Plus Ki
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 02:31 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,942
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Gee, you'd rather dream about doing it every day than go out and do it twice a week? Isn't that kind of silly?

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 02:32 PM   #11
Chris Covington
 
Chris Covington's Avatar
Location: Baltimore, MD
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 73
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

"I've found that the closest dojos are in McHenry, about 15 - 20 minutes away and the other dojo is in Harvard which is 35-45 minutes away."

If you really want to do it, 30 min or an hour commute isn't that bad at all. I travel every Sat. for an hour and a half one-way from Baltimore to DC to train with my sword teacher. Another student drives for about 2.5- 3 hours one way from Richmond to DC.

"and would like to spend at least 2-4 hours a day and at least 3-4 days a week studying aikido"

Keep in mind many aikido teachers do not do aikido for a living so it is rare to find a club open 5 days a week.

"I'm just really passionate about learning aikido..."

It sounds like you are passionate about the IDEA of learning aikido and not learning aikido since it sounds like you haven't actually started training.

"Does anyone know of any ways to go to Japan without a lot of money, to learn aikido"

Japan?!? It sounds like you don't even want to commute 45 min away to train (in something you don't actually know if you like doing yet) and you're talking about moving to the other side of the globe? There will be many more hardships then a 45 min commute if you move to Japan.

Here is what I'd do. Call the teacher at the closest dojo and find out more about the classes, dojo affiliation, teacher ranks, prices, etc. If the dojo checks out (good affiliation, decently ranked teacher, classes you can afford) ask to come by and watch. Watch three or four classes to see if you like it. If everything checks out, join the dojo and train, if it doesn't go to the next closest dojo and repeat those steps.

Budo can become very expensive, between lessons, travel expenses (gas for your car), trips if you go to Japan or to seminars, the proper equipment, etc. It is also something you can burn out of quickly if you dive in head first. I know I've spent countless hours training and traveling to train, 10s of thousands of dollars (trips to Tokyo and all over the US, seminars, lessons, books, renting my current dojo space, etc.). In the past 23 years of doing budo I've seen hundreds of very excited people drop out after a few months either burnt out from over training, or because the training wasn't what they expected it to be.

Chris Covington
Daito-ryu aikijujutsu
Kashima Shinden Jikishinkage-ryu kenjutsu
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Here is an essay I wrote for my students a while back.
Best wishes,
Jorge

_________________________________________

"Once you agree upon the price you and your family must pay for success, it enables you to ignore the minor hurts, the opponent's pressure, and the temporary failures." Vince Lombardy, legendary NFL Football Coach

"While you cannot pay the price, there is a price to pay."
T. Austin-Sparks, Christian mystic and Deeper Life writer

(Aikido Wisdom from non Aikido sources - The cost of commitment)

What is the price I have paid to practice Aikido? That is a question this format does not have near enough room to answer. I wandered into Aikido accidentally. My son was trying out a karate class and afterwards, we saw an Aikido class next door to the karate class and were fascinated and have been doing Aikido ever since.

What did that that "happenstance" cost me? In financial terms, many thousands of dollars. Apart from paying dues for me and my children for so many years, we spent money for travel and hotel for the seminars we attended as we traveled all over the U.S. What was the financial cost? Who knows? Along the way, there were uniforms, books, DVD's and so many other things. The meals we have eaten and paid for others just in recent years could equal that amount as well. How about the gas? I once drove 40 miles a day to train between 17 and 20 days a month and I did that for 5 years. Even now, I do a tremendous amount of driving 7 days a week to get to and from my two dojos. Over the years, that cost really adds up. A few years ago, I was going to teach twice a month at a new dojo in a city about 120 miles from here. I did that for almost two years. The mileage I have spent has certainly been enormous.

Outside though of financial cost, there has been a terrific cost in time. At the time of this writing, I have been doing Aikido for almost 15 years and I must admit that I have missed most of the prime time television shows since the early 90's since most of that time, I was either at Aikido practice or I was doing something I had to do because I had been to practice on a previous night. Television shows like Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Steve Harvey and George Lopez were all seen by me the for the first time when they were in reruns years later and I didn't even know I had missed them! Please keep in mind that I am not referencing a "missing my favorite TV show" problem. I am using the TV show illustration to give you a sense of the time frame. This was a tremendous time commitment.

Of course, there is the emotional commitment. Years ago, I ran into a bad political situation where I was in a dojo where I fell out of favor with one of my Sensei's and he did everything he could to drive me out of this art. I had to make a decision if this was really worth it. I decided though that Aikido was mine and I wasn't going to let anyone take it away from me. Since then, as a leader, I have had other difficult problems in relational situations with the students that have occasionally made me wonder why I do this. I have more crazy stories that I care to tell. Emotionally, my heart and soul have been through the ringer and back!

Then there are of course all the injuries and physical pains of a 30,40, and now 50 year old man doing extreme physical exercise. How many times have I been hurting and unable to get out of bed in the morning? How many times have I been hardly able to walk the next day? How many times has my family asked me where I got all those bruises from?

When I started all this, I had no idea! Why did I do it?

I did it because it was there. I came across this fascinating martial art called Aikido and I wanted to try it. The harder I tried to do it, the more difficult it became. The art then challenged me and I don't like to be challenged so I fought back but the art kept beating me. Then I started liking the challenge and I started looking forward to meeting the challenge every day to see if I could get an upper hand on it.

Why am I still here? I am here because of a vision of beauty. I saw this wonderful, beautiful movement being shown by my instructor. I wanted to move like that. There I was, a pitiful example of a human being dreaming of moving like a dancer! Who would have known that I was indeed someday, going to be able to dance the dance!

Why have I continued? I have continued because I realized that this was something that was helping me to work on myself. I realized that Aikido practice was "my time" to find my higher self, the better me and that almost any sacrifice was going to be worth it for me to improve myself by means of this art. I realized something really important. I realized that Aikido was a hidden jewel, a great secret treasure that could give me the discipline I lacked for the power to change. It dawned on me one day that this was something I should never quit - not unless I was giving up on myself but as long as I saw myself in the game of life with a chance to win, I had to keep doing this.

How have I made it this far? I have made it this far because of my instructors, classmates and friends. It was because of their patience and help that somehow, I was able to find my own Aikido until it became a part of my life. Has there been sacrifice? Yes, yes and again yes! Were the sacrifices worth it? A million more times - yes!

Usually, when a new student wants to quit, they start rationalizing all kinds of reasons why they should not continue. When they decide to give it up, they come and give me one of those. I recently had one such note and here is a revised portion of my response to it.
" Robert...I think though that you really want to quit so you probably should. If low cost, few tolls, good health, close proximity and times that match your job are the goals, then I think there is no doubt that there is no need for you to continue. Problems and situations aren't generally the reason I have ever seen anyone stop practicing. Everyone has the same problems. It's just that we all have a different priority that we balance against our need to do martial arts. My need is great and almost any sacrifice is ok for me. For other people, they have various kinds of priorities that are important to them and they have a different balance to meet that is just as legitimate so quitting won't make you a bad person, just one with different needs and priorities at this time in your life."

My student was weighing the balance of whether or not to continue under the paradigm of problems and financial cost rather than the real issue of priorities. Regardless of the problems and the cost, if the priority is great enough, then the financial cost and the difficulty become secondary issues. For anything worthwhile we do in life, there will be a price to pay. If we view it in the long term, there is no way to pay that price but viewed in smaller segments, the price can indeed be paid one day at a time.

Would I have gone ahead when I was starting if someone had told me all that was ahead? No, I don't think so. Think about every really difficult thing in your life that you have endured that you made it through somehow. Could you do that again? No, but did you make it once? Yes, you did. How did you make it? You made it somehow - that's how but you made it one day at a time.

The point is that we can't focus on the price, we have to focus on the prize. Sometimes, it is a short term goal that keeps you going like doing well on your next Aikido exam or maybe getting your weight down to a desired goal. Perhaps for some, it is learning some new ukemi (way receiving the technique) or a proficiency in something you couldn't do before but one way or another, you have to go forward. It is in going forward and doing your best every time you come to the dojo that the days, weeks and years pass and one day, you are in a new place you never thought that you would be.

At some point though, you do have to realistically count the cost and make the decision to do this seriously and to go all the way. That way is the road to discovering yourself and your potential in order to reach new levels of competency and even mastery. For Aikido instructors, we must be the ones to inspire and lead so we can show what a person can do in and with this art. If the vision is high enough and great enough, we can launch a new generation of Aikidoists into the future.

When people start questioning whether to continue in Aikido or not, they are often looking at things from the wrong perspective but when they find out what this is really all about and what it can do for them, then it becomes a journey of adventure, challenge and a journey toward victory over all their weaknesses. Yes, there is a price to pay. Don't be surprised when you start paying it, but pay it and move on. You will soon leave far behind all those who aren't willing to sacrifice and you will find yourself climbing with the very few that will make it to the summit of the mountain.

Don't give up on yourself! Believe in yourself! You can make it!

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 06:06 PM   #13
John.Minker
Location: Richmond, IL
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 9
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Thank you all for your awe-inspiring advice. I'm going to start focusing on what I want to do and how I'm going to accomplish that instead of "whats going to stop me from doing what I want to do". All of you are right too about Japan. I know I don't need to go there anytime soon, but I'm gonna throw it on my list of places to visit eventually.

Thank you all for the advice again, made me realize that some of the comments I made weren't the brightest, I guess I'm just overly-enthusiastic about finally attempting to learn aikido.

I'm going to watch an aikido class tonight and talk to the sensei there. I'm very excited and looking forward to it, and I'll be sure to let you all know how it went.

Thank you again .

John
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 07:05 PM   #14
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,805
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Enthusiasm is great, but I agree with the others: make the first step before you start planning what the second, third, hundredth or thousandth step will be.

Also, re all the "spiritual" stuff: this always looms large in the movies, but in real life aikido is a physical art, not an esoteric or spiritual practice. Some people claim that their practice of aikido is an esoteric practice, but that's true in the same sense that some people practice walking meditation: there's nothing inherently spiritual in the physical act. Furthermore, your teacher isn't going to be a wise elderly Asian monk. He or she is going to be a contemporary American...or a person of another nationality, but in any case (and this would definitely include a Japanese instructor), he/she is very unlikely to be qualified to teach spiritual or esoteric practices. You won't get any "spiritual training", and any "spiritual harmony" you achieve is entirely up to you -- no one is going to teach it to you in an aikido dojo.
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-01-2009, 07:15 PM   #15
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 567
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Hello John,

I wouldn't get too down on yourself. You are just a young guy trying to figure things out.

Here's my advice (some of it is fundamental; some is a little crazy).

Don't let the opinions of others stop you from achieving your dreams. You are an adult now, so no more focusing how other people's decisions affected you in the past. You make your own decisions now. Make a commitment to train in every class you can and then do it. There will never be an absolutely perfect time, so stop waiting for it. Give an honest effort and you will continue to improve.

I don't know what your future plans are, but if you are serious about pursuing aikido here is an idea.

Join the dojo that is 15 - 20 minutes from your home. Train both days every week. If you show interest and commitment your instructor will probably allow you to train in the "advanced" class before long.

Get a decent job. Live frugally and save money for the next 6 months to a year. Then become an uchi deshi (live-in student) at an out of town dojo.

I suggest looking into Patrick Cassidy at Aikido Montreux. I was an uchi deshi with him several years ago while he was still in the US. He is technically precise, does a lot of weapons training, and is very serious about the spiritual aspects of aikido.

Yes. It is in Switzerland. You will have to pay for airfare and a monthly fee, probably $200 - $300. If you make the commitment to be an uchi deshi for 6 - 8 months or even a year, if you can pull it off, you will improve rapidly and have an experience you will remember forever.

I strongly recomend looking into it.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 05:18 AM   #16
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
Location: Reading, UK
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 393
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Hi John,

All the very best to you in your Aikido journey

Every journey starts with one small step, and you visiting your local dojo is that first step. Seminars, Summer Camps and Japan are all much further along the path, and if you keep on taking each one of those small steps you will get to all of those destinations

My parents were not happy about me studying Aikido either, so I had to wait until I'd left home and gone to University before I began my Aikido journey. When I got my nose broken as a result of a collision between myself and another student getting thrown into each other, my mother wasn't sympathetic, saying that if I did these 'dangerous martial arts' then that's what I could expect

When I finally achieved my shodan (first black belt) after 9 years of training, my mother finally began to be proud of me

So, don't automatically expect support from your family and friends (it's nice to have, but it isn't essential). You are 18 and this is your life, your decisions, and your path.

Please enjoy the journey - that is the most important thing of all. Rank and the approval of others are simply milestone markers along the way, small carved rocks which you see briefly before they recede, allowing you to experience the wonders all around you on the land in between.

Let us know how you got on at the dojo,

Ruth
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:08 AM   #17
Karo
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 62
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Also, re all the "spiritual" stuff: this always looms large in the movies, but in real life aikido is a physical art, not an esoteric or spiritual practice. Some people claim that their practice of aikido is an esoteric practice, but that's true in the same sense that some people practice walking meditation: there's nothing inherently spiritual in the physical act. (...) You won't get any "spiritual training", and any "spiritual harmony" you achieve is entirely up to you -- no one is going to teach it to you in an aikido dojo.
Perhaps you're speaking about direct instruction on the subject of spirituality, which I agree does not often appear. But the "spiritual training/harmony" are taught in the dojo, very much so: in every technique, in every ukemi, in trying again despite failure, even in making it to class on time. The perspective on things that you have to adapt in order to learn aikido changes deeply how you perceive the rest of your life, too.

If you're willing, you can learn perseverance (finally getting the forward roll right after countless tries), patience (you know it's taken some time to learn the forward roll, so you don't get frustrated when you can't do the backward roll on the first try), and humility and compassion (watching other people progress much quicker than you at forward rolls, but perhaps have a harder time with staying on their knees for kneeling techniques).

Also, the training itself is a wonderful meditation: for an hour or two you focus only on that which is in front of you, leaving all your worldly cares behind. People have a hard time in yoga or Buddhist meditations because their mind doesn't want to quiet down without focus, that's why there's the advice to always focus on your breath. In aikido (especially when there isn't much talking), the focus is there: movement. You just keep doing the technique, left, right, left, right, change, each time trying to get one more detail better than last time.

And, John, it's quite enough to start training just two times a week. Get used to it. See if you like it. You can always train more at home, especially things like rolls, falls, knee-walking, etc. Different people learn in different ways; but it's often useful to take things slowly at the beginning. Good luck, and let us know what you decided!
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 07:49 AM   #18
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,805
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Quote:
Karolina Owczarzak wrote: View Post
Perhaps you're speaking about direct instruction on the subject of spirituality, which I agree does not often appear. But the "spiritual training/harmony" are taught in the dojo, very much so: in every technique, in every ukemi, in trying again despite failure, even in making it to class on time.
I disagree strongly with this statement. So-called "spiritual harmony" and the other virtues you mention may be learned through these actions. The act of training may be performed as a kind of meditation, by those who know how to do so. But these things are not taught in the average dojo. The difference between what can be learned in the course of a practice, by someone who has eyes to see and ears to hear and whose mind and heart are ready for that kind of learning, and what is actually taught, is significant -- particularly when dealing with a beginner's expectations of what happens in the dojo.

FWIW, I did once train with a sensei (not aikido) who was qualified to teach esoteric practices, and who did spend part of our instruction time on meditation techniques. It was a great experience, but it's really uncommon, and I don't really expect to have an opportunity like that again. There is a world of difference between being taught meditation techniques in this way, and the fifteen-second (if that) cursory "mokuso" that begins and ends the typical martial arts class.

Last edited by lbb : 06-02-2009 at 07:53 AM. Reason: Wanted to qualify what I said
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 08:44 AM   #19
Randy Sexton
Dojo: Aikido of Lake Keowee
Location: South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 187
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Thanks to Jorge Garcia for sharing his wonderful essay. It is inspiring to be encouraged to count the cost but to persevere.

By the way John, I train twice weekly religiously and sometimes squeeze in a third. I have read many books on Aikido. Watched various DVD. Practiced with my Bokken and Jo at home. The result is my wife and I have noticed the changes in my health, my calmness, my desire for cooperation rather than competition.
When it is my day to train she hands my gear to me, gives me a kiss and says "have fun" because she knows I will be a better person for it.

For what it's worth,
Doc

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 08:53 AM   #20
Karo
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 62
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I disagree strongly with this statement. So-called "spiritual harmony" and the other virtues you mention may be learned through these actions. The act of training may be performed as a kind of meditation, by those who know how to do so. But these things are not taught in the average dojo. The difference between what can be learned in the course of a practice, by someone who has eyes to see and ears to hear and whose mind and heart are ready for that kind of learning, and what is actually taught, is significant -- particularly when dealing with a beginner's expectations of what happens in the dojo.
Mary, I think we just have a slightly different interpretations of the term "teach".

To me, "teaching" is not limited to explicit instruction, but extends to, for instance, teaching by example, as well as teaching certain things by demanding other things. In extreme cases, the teacher might not even be aware what they're in fact teaching the students (and it's a mark of a good teacher to be aware of all such potential results). For instance, they might think they're only teaching carpentry, when in fact they are also teaching self-reliance and the love of nature.

In short, my view is that we teach others that come into contact with us all the time, whether we want it or not, whether we're aware of it or not.

If I see my Sensei or a senior student being patient and supportive towards a fumbling beginner, and as a result I see the beginner improve quickly, that Sensei or senior student has taught me about the value of patience and support towards others. If, when I'm late for class, they expect me to sit at the edge of the mat and wait until I'm allowed to join (instead of just jumping in casually into whatever's going on, potentially disrupting an exercise), they have taught me the value of order and consideration for other people.

Another issue of contention might be what exactly comes under the heading of "spiritual training". I took this to understand philosophical (moral? ethical?) values such as patience, perseverance, compassion, and perhaps in the further view, developing your own individual understanding of your place in the world.

Karo
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 08:56 AM   #21
John.Minker
Location: Richmond, IL
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 9
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Last night went very well. I went to the dojo thinking I would just be watching the class to see if I like it, but instead the highest ranked sensei there asked if I wanted to take part in the class for free. I quickly said yes and was very excited at that point. They even had a uniform they lent me. During the rest of the class I learned some techniques, such as icchyo and nicchyo. Those were the only two I could remember by name. I also learned about etiquette and posture . Everyone there was incredibly nice and helpful and it was a great experience. I look forward to going there again tomorrow night.

Thank you all for the advice that has now began my aikido journey.

-John
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 09:22 AM   #22
Karo
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 62
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Great to hear you enjoyed your first class, John! It gets even better later on
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 09:47 AM   #23
lifeafter2am
Dojo: Shindai Aikikai
Location: Orlando
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 153
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Glad to hear you enjoyed your first class! Keep at it, and enjoy your Aikido journey!

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 11:02 AM   #24
Nick P.
 
Nick P.'s Avatar
Dojo: Sukagawa Aikido Club of Montreal
Location: Montreal
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 639
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

Quote:
John Minker wrote: View Post

Thank you all for the advice that has now began my aikido journey.

-John
Don't thank us yet, the bill for services rendered is in the mail and should arrive shortly....

Good luck.

  Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2009, 03:34 PM   #25
ninjaqutie
 
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,003
United_States
Offline
Re: Looking for advice on ways to start my dream

I say go and look at both, but just out of convenience (since that seems important to you), take a look at the one closest first. You can always get some training under your belt while you are there. As you find a job or go to college (whatever your plans are) you may end up moving and finding another dojo. My husband and I travel a half hour to get to our dojo of choice. It isn't the closest to us, but we really liked the place. Since you are short on cash, maybe training at the closest would be best (provided you like the place). We drive an hour (total) four days a week and I can tell you that we fill up on gas often because of it.

Also, like the others mentioned, be upfront with them about your price limitations. Don't be rediculous and say "I want to spend $10 a month" though. They may allow you a price cut if you get there earlier or stay later to help prepare and clean up for class. Also, many dojo's seem to offer scholarships now, so you may want to ask about that.

If worse comes to worse and you can't do aikido, try out another style for a while. You may find out that there is another style that equally draws your attention.

Good luck.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The age old question...too old to start? ChibaFan General 31 11-21-2006 09:01 AM
Starting Up a Dojo akiy General 19 05-10-2005 06:41 PM
Secret of Aikido Revealed in a Dream Choku Tsuki Humor 8 05-14-2004 05:15 PM
An Aikido dream (sorta) DaveO Spiritual 8 07-01-2003 07:13 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:47 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate