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Old 11-04-2009, 09:23 AM   #51
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
Location: Boston
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 121
Re: Discouragement, Failure, Fear! (Newbie Anxiety)

Eventually those class hours will pay off and everything will come together. It can take a long time, it was more than a year for me, until it started to come together. Learning Aikido is like learning a language, there is a lot of repetition, and eventually it will sink in. There is a very steep learning curve in Aikido and I'm sure it does discourage a number of people. I see tremendous improvement in students over a short period of time and I'm sure you are improving as well yet you don't see it. Ask your Sensei or your fellow students if they have seen improvement and what in? I remember I was feeling unhappy about a test I had taken and asked my Sensei about it. He told me about a number of things that I had done well, such as when uke grabbed me with the wrong attack but I still did the technique. Aikido practice is always a struggle. People don't understand what we are doing and why we do it? It does get much more fun as the years progress. That is the payoff, it continues to be increasingly fascinating to me. Once you've really got your rolls down, you can do just about anything.
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Old 11-04-2009, 10:26 AM   #52
George S. Ledyard
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: Discouragement, Failure, Fear! (Newbie Anxiety)

Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Thanks for that! I'll definitely keep that in mind for future use.

My suggestion would be to create something similar to what you did with the Beginner's Program. Why not create an Intermediate Program based upon what you did with the Beginner's one? Do you think that would work? If not, why?

Actually, I think the more yu could break it down, the better instruction would work. The problem is logistics.

Everyone wants to train at night. There are kids classes we have broken down that start at 4 pm and go to 6 pm. That leaves 6 pm to 9 pm. There sre simply not enough class spaces to break down by levels and content ( ie. sword class, or jo class) If you spit off an internal conditioning component that's another block. If you keep that within regular class then the classes need to be longer to get in enough kihon waza.

Anyway, in theory, it works well to have people at similar levels training together. It keeps the material level appropriate and it makes the classes smaller.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:37 AM   #53
Shadowfax's Avatar
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 942
Re: Discouragement, Failure, Fear! (Newbie Anxiety)

I'm kinda glad the dojo I train at is small. We only have Children's, Basics, and advanced classes. The advanced students train in basics as well as the advanced classes. I learn an awful lot by training with more advances students I sure would miss being able to work with them. Now I guess I might be closer to intermediate and I get to join in the advanced classes, so I get the benefits of working with the really new beginners as well as the really advanced black belts and everything in between. For me that's great.

If I only worked with people at my own skill level I'd have less chance to feel things as they should feel when done well. For my learning style this is pretty important.

There are days when I feel pretty awkward while trying to piece together a new set of movements but I still would far rather be working them out with someone who can show me how it is supposed to feel than working it out with someone equally as clueless as I am.
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:41 AM   #54
Dan O'Day
Dan O'Day's Avatar
Location: Redmond, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 34
Re: Discouragement, Failure, Fear! (Newbie Anxiety)

Great questions and thoughts, Doug. My experiences as a newbie to aikido were similar. Though I must say I did welcome the "not knowing anything" aspect.

I began training at 40 years old and found it was incredibly refreshing to begin doing something I had absolutely no prior knowledge of. Very refreshing. And it remains to this day.

Of course I can only speak for myself and in doing so I have realized - some current and some in retrospect - that aikido is many things and one of them is the process of "unlearning" unnatural methods of movement and relearning that which I was born knowing.

I recall being absolutely mesmerized at my first dojo...watching Linda Holiday sensei and many others move on the mat. Seeing this incredibly efficient yet somehow strange - to me - way of doing everything from a simple tenkan turn to an elaborate kata with weapon.

It took me awhile to realize the only reason the movements looked so weird was that I was so conditioned to seeing and using movements that were/are inherently alien to the human body.

So then...aghhh! This meant I had to accept that to move forward in aikido I would need to literally start over in doing things that were seemingly at the most rudimentary foundations of my daily existance. How I walked, how I held my torso, how I positioned my shoulders, my arms, how I distributed weight, and most importantly where I realized the basis of my movements were emanating from.

Tall order, that's for sure but once I realized learning these things would be greatly facilitated by the fact they were natural...it became much easier. I still struggle here and there and have many years of conditioned movements to overcome but of course it is the process which is rewarding and not some ethereal destination.

Hang in there. It gets better and better. And...if I can do this, anybody can.
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