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Old 08-27-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
Dave Plaza
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When does it begin to make sense?

Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

When we train, it's pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:05 PM   #2
Larry Feldman
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

There is no set answer as to when it connects for you. It is tied to frequency of attendance, and how quickly you learn this particular activity. For many people it can take awhile to 'gel'. If you like the practice, just practice, and don't worry about when it all connects, it will. Most of the people who stick with the practice and advance are the tortoise, not the hare.

Personally I try to give beginners more reps and less techniques, and keep them training on a much smaller set of techniques, so they see progress sooner.

You will still get progress with the 'larger variety' of techniques approach, but it will take a little longer to get there. I would think you should see some recognition of movements and comfort in techniques in about 3 months, but that is a general guideline that I have seen with the high variety of techniques approach.

It is much like adding a single sheet of paper to the stack, any one sheet appears to make no difference, but after a year you can see the stack.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:10 PM   #3
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

When we train, it's pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave
First off, welcome to aikido! Your description is probably the same discription of most beginning aikidoka. Like you, I pick up on things rather quickly and I thought it would be the same in aikido... but I was wrong! Aikido is a very detail oriented, intricate, internal art. It isn't quite as easy as some other styles where the techniques don't have so many minute details. You WILL have those "Aha!" moments and something will click, but there is NOT a moment where EVERYTHING will click. Take it easy and enjoy the ride. I too am a beginner (been training for a year and a half) and there are some other people who are newer like us on the forum as well (along with some really great experienced people). So, at least know that you aren't alone in the way you feel at the moment.

Best of luck and keep training.

~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 08-27-2010, 05:30 PM   #4
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Welcome to Aikiweb Dave. My suggestion to you is after class (or before class) have someone experienced to show you a particular technique that you have a problem or question with. I know it is hard to remember a lot of techniques in one class but if you pick one technique, learn the basic flow/movement because you will surely recognize the movement present on other techniques.
For me, there not just one aha moment where everything clicks. I have a lot of aha moments sometimes on just one technique. Good Luck.

Plus Ki
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:41 PM   #5
Nick P.
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Feldman Sensei,

I visited your dojo, once, way back in '00; I was the Canadian looking for a new dojo to call home during my brief stay in Atlanta. I wanted to thank you for the warm welcome you extended to me during my training with you. Domo.

Quote:
Larry Feldman wrote: View Post
It is much like adding a single sheet of paper to the stack, any one sheet appears to make no difference, but after a year you can see the stack.
Great analogy, and one I plan to share.

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Old 08-27-2010, 05:54 PM   #6
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

It takes about a year.

I always tell beginners not to feel bad if they are confused a lot for the first year. Then one day there will be an experience of things starting to feel natural.

That was what I was told when I was a beginner and it turned out to be true. Just relax and enjoy the process.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:31 PM   #7
raul rodrigo
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Been training 14 years.It should happen any day now.
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Old 08-27-2010, 08:35 PM   #8
Larry Feldman
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Nick - Glad you enjoyed the visit.

Dave - At least you are not bored from the monotony of practice!
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:12 PM   #9
phitruong
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

it will make sense once you went pass the sensen no sen state into the no nonsense state.
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:51 PM   #10
Rob Watson
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Been training 14 years.It should happen any day now.
I've been at it since 1992 and I'm still looking for 'it' to happen ... some of us are slower than others (well, me anyway).

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 08-27-2010, 11:45 PM   #11
Rayleen Dehmke
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Hi Dave!

I so can relate to how you're feeling, I've been at it about 6 months. Sometimes I feel really stupid and get frustrated, that's when I know I need to 'bring it', get focussed which is easier said than done some days. Other times I have a great practice, and feel confident that I'm moving forwards. Right now I am working on staying calm and relaxed, when I do that the training is good.

Something that my sensei brought up tonight is- learn to love criticism, it makes us better

I don't think there is any 'aha' moment, it's a gradual process. Enjoy the journey!
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:14 PM   #12
odudog
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

I would recommend not trying to learn an entire technique for there are too many moving parts. You're too new to the game to do that. Instead, try to learn one particular movement within a technique or techniques. This is much easier and you will be surprised on how much practice is needed just to get one particular movement correct.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:38 PM   #13
Brian Gillaspie
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Just keep training and try not to get frustrated which is easier said than done. I've been training for a little over 6 years and most training days feel ok, some days feel good, and some days feel like I can't do anything right. Of course my bad days after 6 years are probably better than what I thought were good days during my first couple of months of aikido. I guess the good thing about having those bad days is that it keeps you humble and you realize how much more you have to learn.....plus if you get Aikido all figured out in 6 months then I don't know what you would do the rest of your life
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:06 PM   #14
Shadowfax
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away…
This may sound a bit odd. But... stop trying. The less you try to make it happen the easier it is.

Just train. Feel the techniques and the movement.

I think I was training for about a year when things started to make sense. And at that its never been any big moment of ,"Oh I understand Aikido now", its been a series of small, and occasionally a big, ah ha moments. The funny thing is I am really noticing that, the more I begin to understand it ,the more I realize I don't understand it at all....Which is what makes aikido just so fascinating.

Enjoy each stage of the journey and don't get to wrapped up in the destination.
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Old 08-30-2010, 05:28 AM   #15
SeiserL
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

IMHO, "making sense" usually means that you have a mental concept of what you are doing. "Not making sense" may mean you body and mind are not moving in same direction or working from the same model.

Someone once said that where ever the head goes the body follows. Its hard to move your body in a circle if your head is still thinking in a straight line.

You may want to read more about the concepts and principles about how and why we do what we do.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:34 AM   #16
Shadowfax
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Someone once said that where ever the head goes the body follows. Its hard to move your body in a circle if your head is still thinking in a straight line.
Whoever said that never rode a runaway draft horse.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:12 PM   #17
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Sensei keeps saying that Aikido is the application of a number of principles. Try to find the principle behind the technique, and you will find the link between all of them.
I've been training for four years, and I'm still struggling. Okay, I did improve in some techniques, but others still make me go .
All newbies wait for the moment of enlightenment. Kensho Furuya Sensei said that training is the enlightenment.
Stop being so hard on yourself. Train for the fun of it, and you will improve.
You will never tame a bird by chasing it. You need to sit still and let it come to you.
Now, go train.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:38 AM   #18
fisher6000
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

I felt like I was actively getting worse for many months too. I think that's fairly normal.

In addition to being detail-rich, aikido is also a partnered exercise, and every person is really different. What works great with one person will sink you with another, and these days I think training is about figuring out how to navigate that constant stream of variables (height, weight, skill level, intensity of attack, flexibility, ukemi skills and on and on and on) with increasing integrity.

It takes a long time to make sense of that much information, which is all unfolding in this profoundly relative and shifting context. It's not like there is such a thing as an "ideal" iriminage that you can perfect in a vacuum, like a suburi. There is only this interaction, which is limited in its ability to tell you anything about what iriminage is because it's so specific to you and your partner.

Thinking in terms of principles and not getting hung up on details helped me get through this. Weapons work helps too because there are suburi, and because a lot of the principles of body movement are laid out in a way that lets you focus and perfect.

Finding a sense of humor about it helped me most of all. Like you, I am a fast learner with my body and got really frustrated by aikido. Figuring out how to laugh at myself made a huge difference, kept me from quitting.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:48 AM   #19
Maarten De Queecker
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
Hi folks, first post here, lurked around for a while and this looks like a great forum packed full with cool informative people

I've been practicing aikido 3 times a week for about 1/1.5 hour a time for the last 4 nearly 5 months now. I've already decided that I love everything about aikido, which helps me battle through my occasional bouts of frustration.

I get frustrated because, I've always been pretty successful at any other physical activity I've partaken in, whether that is football, boxing, etc. I've always been ahead of the pack. I understand that aikido, is more than just a physical activity and that it is a marriage of many different facets, and it was probably the spiritual outlook that led me to get involved in the first place.

I just can't get the hang of it. As much as I try, in fact the further I try I seen to get further away… Sometimes when we are training I get so confused I get worried that people might think that I am a little stupid.

My question is, is there a point when something will click, like some big "aha" moment and everything will start to make sense, or is it more of a gradual feeling that things are becoming more cohesive. As it stands I feel like I'm at square one.

When we train, it's pretty fast, last night we went through about 10 techniques in the 1.5 hour session, the next time I see these same techniques maybe 2 months down the line. My Sensei, who I have nothing but admiration for, which stems simply from the fact he lets me attack him from time to time and effortlessly, painlessly, and beautifully negates my attacks, (and seems like a good guy) says that he teaches this way rather than a methodical pounding of techniques because eventually I will reap the rewards and my aikido will become more spontaneous and flowing.

I just wanted some feedback from the experience wielded on this community, as to when on the aikido journey the way begins to become clear.

Thanks and hello everyone.

Dave
I had that moment only recently. Recently being after I've been training for 2-3 years. I definately had my frustrations too (I always managed to see what I should be doing but my body just didn't want to play along), but I managed to put them aside and learn from every single person I train with. Once you get that frustration out of the way, you'll be able to train in a much more relaxed way.

There's definately an "aha!"-moment, but you have to be patient for it ("patient" really being the key word here). Just keep training and it'll come.

Last edited by Maarten De Queecker : 09-03-2010 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:30 AM   #20
lbb
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

It's like learning to roll a kayak. First you don't got it. Then you got it. Then you don't got it. Then you got it again. Then you lose it again. Then you got it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

(of course, the "it" keeps changing, whether you realize it or not, and the context changes as well. kinda a microcosm of life in general I guess)
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:53 PM   #21
Dave Plaza
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Thanks everyone for taking the time to give feedback, it's much appreciated

What I mostly take from all your words, is not to get too hung up on my progress and just enjoy the training... which I definately do.

I did however skip my Wednesday and Thursday training this week because I've been at it non-stop and I thought a bit of time away might do me some good... My life does seem to be consumed by aikido at this juncture, that I usually run through moves with ghosts every night before I sleep. (ghosts as in dreamt up people )

I think missing the training was a mistake though, I miss it far too much.

Thanks everyone
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:25 PM   #22
Shadowfax
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Dave Plaza wrote: View Post
.

I did however skip my Wednesday and Thursday training this week because I've been at it non-stop and I thought a bit of time away might do me some good... My life does seem to be consumed by aikido at this juncture, that I usually run through moves with ghosts every night before I sleep. (ghosts as in dreamt up people )

I think missing the training was a mistake though, I miss it far too much.
Dave, I train with the ghost people too. You sound a bit like me.

In the past year I have missed only 3 classes. ( I train 3 days/5.5 hours a week) And in the past 8 months none. The thought of missing a class is just unthinkable to me. Heck when there was no class due to the 4th of July holiday I felt really out of sorts all week until the next class.

Just relax and allow yourself to progress at whatever rate seems best for you and just enjoy the training as you guessed. There is no time limit on learning aikido.
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:38 AM   #23
Anita Dacanay
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

For me, I reached a crisis about one year into training. I thought, "Man, I really stink at this. Maybe I should just forget about it." Then I thought about what I would say to my kids. "Why did you quit Aikido?" they would ask. I realized that "Because it was too hard" was not an answer I was willing to give them. That's just ego junk anyway. Honestly, when do you "get" Aikido? When do you stop needing to train? I am sure I will never reach that point and that is okay with me. It's all about the (often bumpy) journey.
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Old 09-05-2010, 05:27 PM   #24
Dave Plaza
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Dave, I train with the ghost people too. You sound a bit like me.
I'm so glad that somebody else does this, thought I was losing it a little

Quote:
Anita Dacanay wrote: View Post
For me, I reached a crisis about one year into training. I thought, "Man, I really stink at this. Maybe I should just forget about it." Then I thought about what I would say to my kids. "Why did you quit Aikido?" they would ask. I realized that "Because it was too hard" was not an answer I was willing to give them. That's just ego junk anyway. Honestly, when do you "get" Aikido? When do you stop needing to train? I am sure I will never reach that point and that is okay with me. It's all about the (often bumpy) journey.
How long have you been learning now?

Thanks

Dave
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Old 09-05-2010, 07:02 PM   #25
danielajames
 
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Re: When does it begin to make sense?

Hindsight is a great measure of progress. With a relatively limitless continuum forward its going to be a while before you might think you are getting somewhere.
looking back is a good guide though,
- how am I doing compared to new students who have just walked in,
- how have i progressed in kokyu dosa (aiki without the busywork of technique)
- how is my ukemi going
these might be interesting questions to ask one self

dan

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ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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