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Old 06-07-2011, 12:38 PM   #1
Terry Eagan
Location: Tampa
Join Date: Jul 2006
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On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Hi there --

I am new here but have been training on and off (mostly off) the past few years but I wanted to pose a question.

I practiced pretty regularly for three years and worked my way to Sankyu (in ASU) and was only a few classes from Nikyu when I stopped training. I can't specify one reason I stopped but I think I just burned out, I lost my interest, and classes seemed to drag interminably. After about a year, I went back and the same thing happened. I just didn't have it in me. I figured that was the end of my Aikido training and forgot about it.

My wife and I started a family and now that my son is a year old I've gotten the proverbial itch. I went back to my first class on Sunday and had a blast. I am thinking I am back in it. My body reacted pretty well (I am a runner so the cardio aspect wasn't a problem), the rolls felt natural and the techniques, while rusty, seemed to come back. So, the question is, how long does it take to return to one's old form after a sabbatical? What should I work on or observe? Lastly, how to avoid burnout?

I am especially keen to hear from people who've been in similar situations.
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Old 06-07-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
hughrbeyer
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I was off the mat a year or two before finding my current sensei. Enthusiastically rolled, took breakfalls, you name it. Gave myself a set of shin splints the likes of which I have never experienced before or since... I was hobbling around like a little old man for over a week.
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Old 06-07-2011, 01:23 PM   #3
Cliff Judge
Dojo: Aikido Shobukan Dojo
Location: Columbia, MD
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Quote:
Terry Eagan wrote: View Post
So, the question is, how long does it take to return to one's old form after a sabbatical?
Luckily, you never return your old form.
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:43 PM   #4
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

As to the burning out - something you have to keep in mind is that plateaus are a normal part of the learning process, and it's not possible to be as much in love with an activity all the time.

The longtimers are the ones who had the patience and the stamina to keep going when the going was ...boring. The fun times will return, but sometimes you just have to stick to it and keep at your routine of training for a while to get over a blah patch.

Pauliina
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:28 AM   #5
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I was off for 2 years due to illness. Coming back, the main issue was loss of fitness and flexibility.

On the plus point, lost of strength was good and I get to look at things from a fresh perspective.

Awareness has changed too. Now when you are working with a more fragile condition, you have to learn to move better. So studying to be a better uke is very important.

I won't recommend losing 2 years like that. I'm envious of my peers who continued to advance and their exposure to different teachers and knowledge. But in the end, its up to us to travel our own path.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:55 AM   #6
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I spent 13 years doing other stuff. I was ranked gokyu, but with that length of time and that minor rank I basically started over.

But you? I don't think you have much to worry about. Just remember that training will bring highs and lows and plateaus. When things get rough, just keep at it and remember that it's natural and will end.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:17 AM   #7
lbb
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

One thing to keep in mind is that your "old form" (taken literally) may not be a good fit for your new dojo, which may do things very differently than your old dojo. Whatever you did before, whatever you remember from your previous training, put it away somewhere and approach your training with beginner's mind.
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Old 06-13-2011, 04:20 AM   #8
carina reinhardt
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 428
Spain
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Hi Terry,
I wanted to reply to you in the other thread Training 20+ Years (or longer) question , but somehow I'm not allowed to do so.

Here my reply in that thread:

Hi Terry,
I did not pass through your actual experience, because I began with aikido when my youngest son was already ten. But there is a time for everything in life and my advice is that you should enjoy these precious years with your son, time flies away and and one day you'll realize like me now that my 3 children are going away to study and you will have plenty of time to train.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:29 AM   #9
Devilred
 
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I started aikido at 2003 and continued for 6 years with at least 2 dojo sessions per week. After that I gave a year break and then started again at my old dojo. For me it took a month, 8-12 lessons, to do both routine and complex moves almost fluent that I did not give a break. After a few months I had to give an other break. The second recovery period seemed shorter, like 4-10 lessons. Everyone is different, for me it was like that. I hope this helps you.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:20 AM   #10
mathewjgano
 
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Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Quote:
Terry Eagan wrote: View Post
Hi there --

I am new here but have been training on and off (mostly off) the past few years but I wanted to pose a question.

I practiced pretty regularly for three years and worked my way to Sankyu (in ASU) and was only a few classes from Nikyu when I stopped training. I can't specify one reason I stopped but I think I just burned out, I lost my interest, and classes seemed to drag interminably. After about a year, I went back and the same thing happened. I just didn't have it in me. I figured that was the end of my Aikido training and forgot about it.

My wife and I started a family and now that my son is a year old I've gotten the proverbial itch. I went back to my first class on Sunday and had a blast. I am thinking I am back in it. My body reacted pretty well (I am a runner so the cardio aspect wasn't a problem), the rolls felt natural and the techniques, while rusty, seemed to come back. So, the question is, how long does it take to return to one's old form after a sabbatical? What should I work on or observe? Lastly, how to avoid burnout?

I am especially keen to hear from people who've been in similar situations.
Hi Terry,
I can relate to that. I trained for a few years about a decade ago. I'm still struggling to create a regular training schedule though so I don't have much problem burning out yet. The only thing I can think of for that is to have a very clear sense of what you want to get from of your training. For me, whenever my goals are clear, my actions tend to be too. Although in my case, when my goals aren't clear, I'm probably as wishy washy as it gets.
I wonder if one source of difficulty for some people is the idea that they have to have a fixed regiment or nothing at all. If you're training for some level of mastery you probably should have a strict regiment, but if it's to train more as a hobby I'd suggest establishing some kind of upper and lower threshold you're willing to bounce between...for example, maybe one month you're able to train twice a week or more, but the next it's once a week.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:54 PM   #11
Lyle Laizure
 
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Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Quote:
Terry Eagan wrote: View Post
Lastly, how to avoid burnout?
You don't. There will be times you are simply burnt out. During that time practice won't see particularly fun or enjoyable but you keep going. Good luck.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:48 AM   #12
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

"how to avoid burnout?"

1. mental toughness and having a firm decision to just do it when you dont feel like attending class. you need to overcome the mental to drive the physical.

2. Always have the mindset that you can learn anything new every training class. I'm attending almost everyday recently and have practiced 22years in total, there is unlimited amount of knowledge to be uncovered. I've just touched the tip of the iceberg. I dont feel burned out even with daily training.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
Aikironin21
Dojo: Aikido of Solano
Location: Vacaville California
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I have never burned out in training. I have had dojo, where I trained, close down, leaving me to either travel or train what I can on my own. I always made training part of my routine, practicing kata style, or as one of my previous sensei had said "training with O'Sensei." I had done this before training in Kenpo when I started playing football in high school and not having time to go to Kenpo class.

When I returned to training in a dojo after being gone I just stepped right in. I also had hands on experience from work though. My timing was a little off, but I was moving too fast, so slowing down was easy.

The weirdest part about returning after being gone for so long, or not promoting, is people with higher rank than you but less experience, trying to teach you technique because they think you are new. Especially if you have trained at different dojo and they haven't. I once had a 3kyu ask a Sensei to help me fix my technique since I was doing something different than he was. Sensei explained to him I wasn't doing it wrong, just different. It took weeks of this till Sensei's wife got tired of hearing my fellow kyu ranks trying to teach me techniques and fix my form, till she explained that I had been training in Aikido for over ten years, and with them since they opened.

I am actually glad to hear there are others out there, like me, who have been training for nearly two decades and still working through the kyu ranks. I wish had the desire to promote when I first started. I was just looking for knowledge and didn't even know I would be around this long.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:52 AM   #14
glowerpower
Dojo: NYC
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I was very into training for about 8 years, trying to get about 2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. Pretty obsessed. Then, I moved to the city with all it's craziness and kind of dropped off the map with Aikido and most anything physical. Really bummed me out that I dropped the ball, but things happen.

Ten years of unadvised living have passed and I'm now trying to get back into form. It's an incredible mess. My stamina is shot. I remember all the techniques, posture, awareness, etc.; but my muscle memory is dismal (except with ukemi, I guess once you get burned by fire, you learn be careful). I find myself panting, shaking, heart racing, just to get through an hour. Outside of the dojo, I limp and shuffle a lot.

It's a strong lesson in being humble, as I know had a good amount of ego tied into my practice when I was younger. The only difference between me and a person new to Aikido is that I still know it in my head, but my body has a huge hill to climb. I figure it'll be good for me, but I really wish I hadn't waited this long.

Last edited by glowerpower : 11-04-2011 at 10:54 AM.

Head up, mouth shut.
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Old 01-15-2012, 03:55 PM   #15
Dave Plaza
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 33
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Hey there Terry,

I have been training for nearly 2 years now, and I've felt that burn-out feeling twice. To me, the burn-out is when you learn, you see, I found that if you stick with it, the feeling passes and you come back stronger. Next time you feel that way, just remember you're gonna come out the other side all the better for it.

Dave
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:21 PM   #16
NekVTAikido
Location: Wolcott Vermont
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

I've stopped/started a couple times and had periods of inconsistent training. Saving grace for me has been doing other practices (Buddhist meditation, argentine tango) during those gaps. Coming back to the mat, it's been easier to have beginners mind, and to be focused on posture, relaxation, body positioning and timing, and thereby not getting caught up in simple athleticism or over-focus on powering through my current concept of a technique. Therefore I feel the breaks have been beneficial to my training. YMMV of course
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:05 PM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Quote:
Terry Eagan wrote: View Post
Hi there --

I am new here but have been training on and off (mostly off) the past few years but I wanted to pose a question.

I practiced pretty regularly for three years and worked my way to Sankyu (in ASU) and was only a few classes from Nikyu when I stopped training. I can't specify one reason I stopped but I think I just burned out, I lost my interest, and classes seemed to drag interminably. After about a year, I went back and the same thing happened. I just didn't have it in me. I figured that was the end of my Aikido training and forgot about it.

My wife and I started a family and now that my son is a year old I've gotten the proverbial itch. I went back to my first class on Sunday and had a blast. I am thinking I am back in it. My body reacted pretty well (I am a runner so the cardio aspect wasn't a problem), the rolls felt natural and the techniques, while rusty, seemed to come back. So, the question is, how long does it take to return to one's old form after a sabbatical? What should I work on or observe? Lastly, how to avoid burnout?

I am especially keen to hear from people who've been in similar situations.
I think for people who have this issue the question is really about why you do it? It's hard work, frustrating a lot of the time when you are really trying to improve, will require you to change if you are serious, etc Why would you do this? If you find it to be mildly interesting, fun to do, cool to hang with the folks from the dojo, etc you probably won't stay in it.

It is almost cliché to lose people around Brown belt level (somewhere between 3rd kyu and 1st kyu). There's a moment when you realize that, if you stay, you are going to change. That's precisely when folks bail. Often they are unaware that this is even a factor. They usually have other stories they tell themselves. This is true in Aikido and its true in other practices. Pema Chodren talked about this first crisis being when your training REALLY starts. But it's most often when people choose to disappear.

Aikido is a practice that is totally at odds with the rest of our culture in many ways. It requires a lot of effort when the emphasis is on how to make things easier for ourselves. It requires a lot of time in, when our culture is geared towards instant gratification. There's no One Minute Aikidoka... It requires a consistent and substantial time commitment when everyone feels like time is the thing they have the least of. So, if you aren't passionate about doing the art, perhaps it isn't for you... Seriously, if it takes a lot of effort to keep yourself motivated, you may be better off doing something else you love, that you can't wait to do, that makes you resent other activities which interfere.

Personally, and I realize that I am not in any way average, Aikido was, from my first moment on the mat, the single coolest thing I have ever done. I have never been bored; I have never lost my motivation. I think about it when I am not at the dojo, I am never more content than when I am on the mat. I find the most arcane things endlessly fascinating, things that regular people could care less about. I am excited about my Aikido every day when I wake up and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to share what I have learned so far with others while I continue to seek out those amazing teachers who can help me get better.

If this isn't how you feel about the art, then it seems to me that, rather than push yourself to stay in it, as if some slogging along in Aikido has some essential merit, I think it might be better to find something you really can be passionate about. Find something you absolutely love and do that. If you aren't striving for excellence in this art, I actually see little reason to do it. We only go around once in this particular lifetime... whether we get another shot later is open to question. Why spend time doing anything you aren't absolutely excited about?

Is there some great benefit to doing something like Aikido half heartedly? We've had this discussion before on the forums... If becoming excellent at ones practice isn't your motivation, it isn't Budo. I know many people feel "it's all good"... but personally, I don't see it. What is the benefit of being satisfied with being mediocre? Mediocre Aikido lacks martial capability and it is shallow on a spiritual level. Is that really of any great benefit to anyone? The essential benefit of any path of personal development, which I believe Aikido is intended to be, is in the striving. It is the doing of it, the drive to grow, to improve, the impulse towards mastery that makes it all worthwhile. If the art isn't speaking to you on that level, find something that does! Life is too short to mess about, I think. Pick a "path with heart" and pursue it whole heartedly. It doesn't have to be Aikido... it could be anything. But be passionate, care deeply, love what you do. Otherwise, what's it all for?

That's my take on it. Burn out shouldn't be an issue of you really love what you do. And if you don't love it, why do it?

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #18
BAP
Dojo: Union University Aikido
Location: Jackson, TN
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: On Stopping/Starting/Stopping

Quote:
That's my take on it. Burn out shouldn't be an issue of you really love what you do. And if you don't love it, why do it?
George,

I agree with your general view and approach to training. There are various times and seasons which most everyone tends to go through. You might call it a plateau time during which your training tends to level out and you don't feel like you are advancing as quickly as in the past or as fast as you think you should. Myself I haven't been training long enough to have addressed that issue ( currently a 2d Kyu). I enjoy my time doing aikido though I began cross training also in BJJ a year or so ago, I suppose if your standard is focus on one art exclusively then I may be falling short though I think that both arts are at least somewhat complimentary and the study of one does not hurt the developments of the fundamentals in the other art.

Striving for mediocrity isn't much of a goal for anything. If its worth putting forth the effort to study and showing up for, and paying your dues then you should try to be the best you can. Everyone's best can be different, or at least he result of those efforts, but still the level of desire can be the same or at least close. Do what you love and love what you do. If you do that then you can find some satisfaction in life.

Blair Presson
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