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 > Columns

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!

Comment
 
Column Tools
Toto, We're Not in Kansas Any More
by The Mirror
05-11-2008
Toto, We're Not in Kansas Any More

This month's "The Mirror" column is written by Katherine Derbyshire.
Last year, thanks to my husband's job change, I found myself packing to move from Boston -- where I'd lived most of my adult life -- to Seattle, where I'd spent less than a week. This naturally entailed changing dojos, but I figured that would be the easy part. Seattle has a large and diverse aikido community, including one dojo highly recommended by my Boston teacher. I figured my future aikido practice was pretty well set.

At least in the short term, I was right. When you move 2500 miles, even within the US, everything changes, from the procedure for registering your car to the local brands at the grocery store. The familiar rituals of the dojo created a much needed island of stability and calm. I might not know where to get my haircut, but at least I could still do ikkyo!

Or could I?

I was somewhat shocked to discover that no, actually, I couldn't reliably get ikkyo to work. Not that it always worked before, but back in Boston I did have a reasonably good success rate.

At first, I attributed problems to tension and poor timing, both normal side effects of being off the mat for over a month because of the move. I've had long layoffs before, so I figured I just needed to work through it. The frustration kicked in after a few months, when I still wasn't having as much success as I might have liked.

Now, at my level I don't expect my technique to work all the time. I know I still have plenty of things to work on. Even so, it seemed like I was moving backward instead of forward. Not only were near-beginners making helpful suggestions, but their suggestions actually worked.

My teacher in Boston once said something like, "Most people know what their bad habits are, and know they need to work on them. Where they get in trouble is with the things they think they're doing right, and try to do more often." Now I knew what he meant. More than I realized, I'd been depending on assumptions about how an attack would evolve and what sort of ukemi to expect. In Boston, those assumptions were accurate. In Seattle, they were not.

With that understanding came the beginnings of an answer. I had visited other dojos before, and was fairly confident that the way things were done in Boston wasn't "wrong" in the context of the kind of aikido I want to do. And I had my teacher's assurance that the way things were done in Seattle wasn't "wrong" either. But they were, undeniably, different. Recognition of the differences was helped along when I discovered that I confused the Seattle people, too. While I had openings that I hadn't realized were there, so did they. While they declined to move when I failed to connect, so did I. I've come to see these differences as a kind of local "accent:" confusing to the unwary, but ultimately not part of the underlying "language" known as aikido.

The solution, then, and the challenge I'm still working on, was to find the common principles they both share, under the somewhat different vocabularies that the two teachers use. Relax. Connect. Extend. How often have we all heard those words? This was a chance for me to think about what they really mean, and how my understanding of them was incomplete.

A second important discovery came when I looked around and realized that I was mostly practicing with black belts and a sprinkling of brown belts. (In ASU dojos, most students wear hakamas and rank isn't immediately obvious.) Classes at Boston tended to be larger, with a relatively larger number of junior students. In Seattle, the classes I was attending were smaller, and weighted toward more experienced students. As I got to know the school better, I learned that the people who frustrated me the most were also the most senior, as is the natural order of things in most places. A better evaluation of my level within the dojo reminded me to be gentle with myself and give myself more credit for the things I do know.

Over the last year, it's become clear that, despite the comforting surface similarity, the practice here really is different. Not better or worse, not right or wrong, but different. The first step toward accepting the change has been to recognize that it took place.
"The Mirror" is a collaborative column written by a group of women who describe themselves as:

We comprise mothers, spouses, scientists, artists, teachers, healers, and yes, of course, writers. We range in age from 30s through 50s, we are kyu ranked and yudansha and from various parts of the United States and styles of aikido. What we have in common is a love for budo that keeps it an integral part of our busy lives, both curiosity about and a commonsense approach to life and aikido, and an inveterate tendency to write about these explorations.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf themirror_2008_05.pdf (158.8 KB, 3 views)
Old 07-03-2011, 09:19 PM   #2
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 537
Australia
Offline
Re: Toto, We're Not in Kansas Any More

Thank you for sharing. I have found exactly the same thing when I move, and what's worse is that it happens every time. I was just starting to get the hang of a new dojo when I moved again and ended up right where I started.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 03:47 AM   #3
Tim Ruijs
 
Tim Ruijs's Avatar
Dojo: Makato/Netherlands
Location: Netherlands - Leusden
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 395
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Toto, We're Not in Kansas Any More

Thanx.
During my first years in Aikido I have changed teachers (and style) and recognise much of what you mention. However, I do feel I came out better in the end. I too started to learn to look to common parts, instead of the differerence. Somehow people are more inclined/sensitive to notice differences...
Great to see that you have also settled in Aikido in the your new city.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

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



Comment


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

Posting Rules
You may not post new columns
You may not post comment
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
Column Column Starter Category Comments Last Post
Larry Reynosa Sensei in Kansas City, 8/24-8/25 AikiWeb System Seminars 3 07-21-2007 01:13 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:50 PM.



Column powered by GARS 2.1.5 ©2005-2006

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