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Old 08-04-2009, 08:13 AM   #1
Courtney McLeary
Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
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What can I expect?

Alrighty! Hello everyone. Ok so for the past few months I have been thinking about what martial art I would like to do.

I became very interested by aikido. I saw that there were a few different styles but I really don't understand. I was thinking of doing aikikai.

Anyway what are some basic things I can expect?
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:20 AM   #2
Guilty Spark
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Slow progression
ridicule from many other martial art students
very little self defense applications for a while
sore thighs and wrist
Skin taken off the top of your feet which burns like hell int he shower
improvement to your cardio
better sense of balance
better flexibility
better situational awareness
dealing with stressful encounters and situations in a more relaxed manner
meeting and training awesome people and making great friends
possibly seeing the world in a different light and treating people a lot better

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:33 AM   #3
Courtney McLeary
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Grant Wagar wrote: View Post
ridicule from many other martial art students
Skin taken off the top of your feet which burns like hell int he shower
Ridicule from people in the same art or people from other arts?

How does the skin get taken off?!
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:43 AM   #4
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: What can I expect?

You will encounter lots of technical terms in Japanese, be required to learn forward and backward rolls safely. Sometimes you might think that you have two left feet (maybe right). Once you get into the groove of thing, it is awesome.

Plus Ki
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
phitruong
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
Ridicule from people in the same art or people from other arts?

How does the skin get taken off?!
riducule question, answer: YES

skin: wear sock with rubber sole or non-slip sole
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:15 AM   #6
Courtney McLeary
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Re: What can I expect?

oo the Japanese terms shouldn't be too much of a problem for me. I've been studying for like three years, Japanese I have. <--- Weird sentence structure lol.

What type of socks have rubber soles? Like do they have a name?


I thought about doing karate and tae kwon do as well but I remember them wanting me to do sompetitions and stuff and I'm really not much for competitions like that. Is there anything like that Aikido.

Last edited by Courtney McLeary : 08-04-2009 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:56 AM   #7
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: What can I expect?

The skin can be taken off your feet from doing mat work or knee walking. Not all dojo's allow socks. You can't wear them in my dojo. However, you can wear tape. If you get mat burn, I suggest taping it up for a while to allow it to heal. Otherwise you will just keep peeling the scab off until you learn to do things right.

Emotions are different for everyone. I actually have a blog that talks about my journey. Feel free to check it out on the blog section of this site. You may experience: frustration, joy, sadness, pain, the feeling of being totally lost, the AHA moments, moments where you swear someone else is controlling your body, moments of where you think you understand.... only to find out you don't, friendship, trust, moments where students may try to "put you in your place" (happened to me when a student came back from a long break), lots of sore muscles & joints, discovering that your feet aren't so pretty anymore (they get rough and calloused despite lotioning), later on you will experience compassion when you help the new guy or girl, you may be nervous when you test for the first time... or every time, you will begin to understand/ be aware of your own body more, gain more balance, may gain higher self esteem, may pull you out of "your shell" if you are an introvert, will expose you to different people from all walks of life, put a new perspective on things (you will be a little fish in a big sea) and so much more.

Seriously, I could sit and just keep writing and writing.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:11 AM   #8
maynard
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Re: What can I expect?

Every dojo is different. Go watch some classes and talk to the folks at some of the local aikido dojos. I've never had the skin taken off of my feet. Seiza and suwari waza can take a while to get your body stretched/strengthened. The hardest thing for most folks to get reasonably good at in the beginning is ukemi, the rolls etc.

Good luck.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:14 AM   #9
Guilty Spark
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Courtney,
Many martial arts students feel a need to critique other martial arts in order for them to feel better about what their doing.

Aikido receives a lot of flak for a few reasons.
1. It takes a while to become proficient in to the point where you can use it to defend yourself
2. Many schools have a touchy feely peace and love take energy and give energy approach which doesn't translate well to every day people.
3. A huge drawback to Aikido is that some (many?) schools while training don't really train against someone who is actively trying to resist your technique, especially at lower levels. This translates to being fake to many people.

That said there are examples (including on this board) of aikido students using aikido to defend themselves against criminals, against attackers on the street, in combat and other martial ways.

My personal views on the matter is that I enjoy Aikido and I don't care what other people think or about Aikido- I've made it work that's enough for me.

I'm a nobody in the Aikido world but for what it's worth I suggest you go try some classes out and if you have fun, give er.

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:28 AM   #10
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Some style of aikido has some form of competition (most don't at least not in sparring type). Once a year, we have Shinsakai which is a form of competition between teams so to speak. You and your partner compete against another team and the judges have certain criteria that they look for. Tomiki, Yoshinkan, Aikikai and others may have some form of competition.

Plus Ki
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:48 AM   #11
CarrieP
 
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Re: What can I expect?

I definitely suggest checking out several dojos in your area, aikido and other arts. We can talk and talk here, but there's nothing quite like observing a class to know what you're getting into.

That being said, I have a couple questions about your background so I can best answer your question. It will also help you when you check out other dojos, so you know what you are looking for.

Do you have any martial arts background? How about physical fitness? Do you run? Do yoga? Soccer?

How much time do you think you can commit to training right now, realistically? How much can you spend, per month?

I can tell you that I've only been doing aikido for a little less than two years, and it's one of the best things that I've ever done. I've improved my fitness and flexibility, learned how to become less frustrated or at least to work through frustration, how to find my body's limits, push to them, but not through them, and I've met some great people who are now good friends.

It's also one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, and there are days I feel like I'm not making much progress. But I would do pretty much anything to keep training.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
Courtney McLeary
Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Carolyn Parkinson wrote: View Post
I definitely suggest checking out several dojos in your area, aikido and other arts. We can talk and talk here, but there's nothing quite like observing a class to know what you're getting into.

That being said, I have a couple questions about your background so I can best answer your question. It will also help you when you check out other dojos, so you know what you are looking for.

Do you have any martial arts background? How about physical fitness? Do you run? Do yoga? Soccer?

How much time do you think you can commit to training right now, realistically? How much can you spend, per month?

I can tell you that I've only been doing aikido for a little less than two years, and it's one of the best things that I've ever done. I've improved my fitness and flexibility, learned how to become less frustrated or at least to work through frustration, how to find my body's limits, push to them, but not through them, and I've met some great people who are now good friends.

It's also one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, and there are days I feel like I'm not making much progress. But I would do pretty much anything to keep training.
I did Tae Kwon Doe for a very short time. I moved and became quite busy.

I'm not really that physically fit. Just about the only thing I really do is ddr and weights.

right about now I could realistically train just about everyday. My days aren't that busy. Once I start school though I'm not to sure how much I could train.

I don't really plan to start aikido till maybe January to allow myself time to get into shape.

Last edited by Courtney McLeary : 08-04-2009 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:06 AM   #13
tim evans
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
I did Tae Kwon Doe for a very short time. I moved and became quite busy.

I'm not really that physically fit. Just about the only thing I really do is ddr and weights.

right about now I could realistically train just about everyday. My days aren't that busy. Once I start school though I'm not to sure how much I could train.
Being a taekwondo refugee as well the ajustment period for your stances may take some time in tkd we have our weight on the back leg aikido is on the front leg, the mistake that I am making is trying to rush it and relax the rolls aren,t bad once you learn the mechanics also aikidi is way more technical than tkd in that your interacting with a training partner(uke) but overall I enjoy it I,m hooked
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:35 PM   #14
RED
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
Ridicule from people in the same art or people from other arts?

How does the skin get taken off?!
Personally I never experienced ridicule from anyone in my own dojo... I have received ridicule from alpa male meat heads that wish they were MMA heroes-- they make fn of our "skirts"(hakama)

As for the skin, just moisturize well and this won't be an issue
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:10 PM   #15
Courtney McLeary
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Re: What can I expect?

I know a few people that do mma. They think I should take up a "more offensive" art. Like mma, judo, muay thai, tkd (again), karate.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:45 PM   #16
RED
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
I know a few people that do mma. They think I should take up a "more offensive" art. Like mma, judo, muay thai, tkd (again), karate.
Exactly, they never think aikido is effective if they never tried it. The dudes I've dealt with at least never understand the concept of a non-competitive martial art. Sometimes people do things because they need to, love to or have to. Not because they want to beat some one else, or be better than some one else, or want to be revered.

That's pride. Pride does not take joy in doing, it takes joy in doing better. That's not really what O' Sensei wanted for aikido.

The reason it is not an "offensive" art is due to the founder's ideals. He believed that when some one attacks or lashes out it is a serious sign that that person is not in control. Aikidoka have to maintain control of themselves, be composed and never lash out or attack. They stay in control of their attackers.
It is a martial style that pulls their attackers into their own territory where they can be manipulated and controlled so the attack can be neutralized. The defending army has the advantage mentality.

Last edited by RED : 08-04-2009 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #17
Courtney McLeary
Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
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Re: What can I expect?

That really does seem to fit me. I'm not really one for competitions like that where it's beat someone up and prove you're better. the reason I settled on wanting to do aikido a little while ago was because I liked the philosophy.

Last edited by Courtney McLeary : 08-04-2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:03 AM   #18
Abasan
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
That really does seem to fit me. I'm not really one for competitions like that where it's beat someone up and prove you're better. the reason I settled on wanting to do aikido a little while ago was because I liked the philosophy.
Since you must understand a bit of the philosophy in order say you like it, I assume you've read a fair bit about what Aikido is all about. What I guess you meant by what to expect in Aikido is probably how training is going to be like and where all the things fit in to the philosophy of mutual love.

First of, although Osensei believed very much in the spirit of love and peace, and he doesn't condone fighting nor contention, he never fails to emphasise that Aikido is Budo. And Budo is an art designed to kill.

Of course aikido has all the similar techniques of jujitsu, aikijutsu and other arts, Chinese, Malay whatever. That just happens to be the way it is when it comes to throwing people around, there's only so many ways you can do it.

Initially, expect to have a steep learning curve. You'll be excited by learning all sort of body movements. Irimi, tenkan, ukemi etc. If you concentrate, you'll soon be aware of things like maai (space,timing), awase (blending), musubi (connection) and other subtle things.
Depending on who's teaching, you may also learn to do things with your body differently, using center, relaxation, extension and focused power. Achieving understanding of this will really open up your eyes and show you one of the little things that make Aikido a bit different then other martial arts.

Later on you'll be learning all sorts of different techniques. And that'll be fun to show off as well... This still doesn't jive with the philosophy of love. Yeah you don't really kill people with these techniques, but how can it be even be remotely described as love?

Still later on, you may encounter seniors and masters who seem to do their techniques/waza effortlessly. Whilst most other people still rely on strength, speed and mechanics, these special group of people seem to just make their partners lose balance at will. You have now seen a bit of aiki at work. From there on, your journey starts.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:14 AM   #19
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: What can I expect?

I'd check out this guy;
http://www.popkinbrognaselfdefense.com/
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Old 08-05-2009, 02:15 AM   #20
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: What can I expect?

I highly recommend reading "Horsemanship Through Life" by Mark Rashid. In it, Rashid, a horse trainer (and someone who is used to be competent and in charge) takes up Aikido, and (among other things) is reminded what it is like to be an absolute beginner again. It's a great book for anyone thinking of practicing Aikido - even better if you're a horse person.

Also, as Ashley suggested, check out her blog, and mine, and some of the others. There are several relative newbies blogging (myself included), and sharing lots of newbie experiences.

I love what Grant wrote. Utter frustration, and utter joy. Give it a try, and see what you think.

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:17 AM   #21
justin
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Re: What can I expect?

I don't really plan to start aikido till maybe January to allow myself time to get into shape.[/quote]

Our dojo is a university student based with some non students, you would be very surprised how many fit young lads and ladies that come through the door leaving the mat totally wiped out after a session. Aikido challenges your mind as well your body put the two together and under pressure at the same time you soon be out of puff and they all comment on how parts of there body are aching that they never knew they had

Enjoy the beginning some of my fondest memories to date are from the early years.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:32 AM   #22
Shadowfax
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Linda Eskin wrote: View Post
I highly recommend reading "Horsemanship Through Life" by Mark Rashid. In it, Rashid, a horse trainer (and someone who is used to be competent and in charge) takes up Aikido, and (among other things) is reminded what it is like to be an absolute beginner again. It's a great book for anyone thinking of practicing Aikido - even better if you're a horse person.
.
This book and several others by Mark, as well as seeing him in person were a large part of what led me to Aikido. Definitely worth reading even if you are not an equestrian.

What to expect?

Well Guilty Spark made a great list. To that I add

Hard work
lots of sore muscles in the beginning
You are gonna sweat... a lot!
leaving the dojo feeling better than when you entered it... in spit of the above.

Go try it. Don't worry about style right now. The advice I was given: Visit multiple dojos, watch, observe the students and teachers. Go more than once to get a good overall picture. Go where you feel the most comfortable. And just plain go.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:16 AM   #23
Courtney McLeary
Location: Jersey City, New Jersey
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
Since you must understand a bit of the philosophy in order say you like it, I assume you've read a fair bit about what Aikido is all about. What I guess you meant by what to expect in Aikido is probably how training is going to be like and where all the things fit in to the philosophy of mutual love.

First of, although Osensei believed very much in the spirit of love and peace, and he doesn't condone fighting nor contention, he never fails to emphasise that Aikido is Budo. And Budo is an art designed to kill.

Of course aikido has all the similar techniques of jujitsu, aikijutsu and other arts, Chinese, Malay whatever. That just happens to be the way it is when it comes to throwing people around, there's only so many ways you can do it.

Initially, expect to have a steep learning curve. You'll be excited by learning all sort of body movements. Irimi, tenkan, ukemi etc. If you concentrate, you'll soon be aware of things like maai (space,timing), awase (blending), musubi (connection) and other subtle things.
Depending on who's teaching, you may also learn to do things with your body differently, using center, relaxation, extension and focused power. Achieving understanding of this will really open up your eyes and show you one of the little things that make Aikido a bit different then other martial arts.

Later on you'll be learning all sorts of different techniques. And that'll be fun to show off as well... This still doesn't jive with the philosophy of love. Yeah you don't really kill people with these techniques, but how can it be even be remotely described as love?

Still later on, you may encounter seniors and masters who seem to do their techniques/waza effortlessly. Whilst most other people still rely on strength, speed and mechanics, these special group of people seem to just make their partners lose balance at will. You have now seen a bit of aiki at work. From there on, your journey starts.
I've read a bit about Aikido over the past few months.

Thank you everyone for your information and book recomendations. I look forward to reading.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:25 AM   #24
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Linda Eskin wrote: View Post
I highly recommend reading "Horsemanship Through Life" by Mark Rashid. In it, Rashid, a horse trainer (and someone who is used to be competent and in charge) takes up Aikido, and (among other things) is reminded what it is like to be an absolute beginner again. It's a great book for anyone thinking of practicing Aikido - even better if you're a horse person.
HAH! I know what this poor guy feels like then and I may just have to pick up this book! I went from being a big fish in a small pond in my old dojo to being a guppy in the ocean. I feel like Dori from finding nemo. I am lost and confused constandly. HAHA. In my old dojo, I was considered a "star pupil" (take that however you want.. haha) by several of my instructors. I just seemed to pick up aikijitsu almost efortlessly. I also retained what I learned a lot easier. To go from that to being a hopeless, lost beginner again has been both a frustrating, yet humbling experience for me. Aikido is much more intricate then my old style. If you did TKD in the past, you may have a similar problem like I did and aikijitsu is a lot closer related then TKD is.

Another piece of advice, if you have several different aikido dojo's, go try to watch a class at all of them. They might be different styles or you may just click with one instructor better then another. Before I joined my dojo, we watched one other teacher first. My husband just wasn't quite happy. When we went to watch the other class, as soon as my husband stepped foot in the dojo he got that big goofy smile on his face and I knew he was happy. By the end of the class we watched his smile somehow seemed to gotten even bigger (not sure how that was possible... but it happened!). When we walked out, I asked him "When do you want to start?"

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:32 AM   #25
CarrieP
 
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Re: What can I expect?

Quote:
Courtney McLeary wrote: View Post
I did Tae Kwon Doe for a very short time. I moved and became quite busy.

I'm not really that physically fit. Just about the only thing I really do is ddr and weights.

right about now I could realistically train just about everyday. My days aren't that busy. Once I start school though I'm not to sure how much I could train.

I don't really plan to start aikido till maybe January to allow myself time to get into shape.
I started aikido with little-to-no fitness to start, and no previous martial arts experience. I trained with one other woman in class for about a year, and since then, have been the only woman in class. The group I train with have been extremely warm and supportive. They try to help me along without pushing me to do things I'm not ready for (like, say, breakfalls).

The first 2-3 months of training was definitely very hard, but I kept at it, and just showed up between 2-3 times a week. I was very sore after every class. But it did get a lot better after that (though there are still days I am sore, it's usually a "good" sore, if that makes sense.)

I would suggest starting to train, at least a few days, sooner rather than later. "Getting in shape" may mean you can run for farther and can lift certain types of weights, but it's not really going to prepare your body for the types of movement you do in aikido.

If you really want to do some conditioning on the site while you are training, great, but, IMHO, the best way to get your body ready to do aikido is to just do aikido.

Last edited by CarrieP : 08-05-2009 at 11:35 AM.
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