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Old 05-27-2012, 05:52 AM   #1
Steve Pilling
Dojo: Munich Aikido Iaido Club
Location: Munich
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 15
Germany
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switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Hi

I have been practising aikido basically in an "aikikai" form for the past year and a half (now at 4th Kyu- "unofficial"-no affiliation).

My dojo in Munich will sadly be closing soon as we don´t have enough members.

So I have an opportunity now to decide how to go forward with my aikido.

It is important to me that the aikido that I am practicing is reasonably effective. No I have no intention of getting into bar fights but aikido just seems to make less sense to me if it is done in less effective form. I don´t see why we cant get other benefits of aikido, e.g. stress reduction, without sacrificing martiality. Don´t get me wrong I don´t think you have to be smashing your uke on the ground all the time at all but my goal (after enough practice) is to have a realistic defence against realistic attacks.

So I am considering whether to try training at a yoshinkan dojo. What will the differences in training be? big difference or not much? What will be likely advantages/disadvantages of going this route. There are also other dojos including aikikai affiliated ones that I am looking at.

Any tips from the more experienced aikidokas?
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:37 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Steve Pilling wrote: View Post
Hi

I have been practising aikido basically in an "aikikai" form for the past year and a half (now at 4th Kyu- "unofficial"-no affiliation).

My dojo in Munich will sadly be closing soon as we don´t have enough members.

So I have an opportunity now to decide how to go forward with my aikido.

It is important to me that the aikido that I am practicing is reasonably effective. No I have no intention of getting into bar fights but aikido just seems to make less sense to me if it is done in less effective form. I don´t see why we cant get other benefits of aikido, e.g. stress reduction, without sacrificing martiality. Don´t get me wrong I don´t think you have to be smashing your uke on the ground all the time at all but my goal (after enough practice) is to have a realistic defence against realistic attacks.

So I am considering whether to try training at a yoshinkan dojo. What will the differences in training be? big difference or not much? What will be likely advantages/disadvantages of going this route. There are also other dojos including aikikai affiliated ones that I am looking at.

Any tips from the more experienced aikidokas?
Generally speaking Yoshinkan has more emphasis on martiallity and self defence than the majority of Aikikai style dojo and in lieu of Shodokan (which I know and love) that would be my choice.

Yoshinkan does have a strong emphasis in basics including quite rigid step by step moves that can be quite maddening to learn if you have background in any other style. With my background I feel that transitioning to Yoshinkan would be more than a little tough although when I invited Yoshinkan teachers to my club in Himeji everyone felt right at home.

With good teachers in can be just as difficult to transition to a different Aikikai type club - it really depends on how close the teachers are related.

So here's the thing - I will be leaving the Far East for a new position in the next 2-3 months and one of two possible places in Munich. Please let me know how your search goes. I am looking for insight.

Peter R.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:55 AM   #3
Steve Pilling
Dojo: Munich Aikido Iaido Club
Location: Munich
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Germany
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Generally speaking Yoshinkan has more emphasis on martiallity and self defence than the majority of Aikikai style dojo and in lieu of Shodokan (which I know and love) that would be my choice.

Yoshinkan does have a strong emphasis in basics including quite rigid step by step moves that can be quite maddening to learn if you have background in any other style. With my background I feel that transitioning to Yoshinkan would be more than a little tough although when I invited Yoshinkan teachers to my club in Himeji everyone felt right at home.

With good teachers in can be just as difficult to transition to a different Aikikai type club - it really depends on how close the teachers are related.

So here's the thing - I will be leaving the Far East for a new position in the next 2-3 months and one of two possible places in Munich. Please let me know how your search goes. I am looking for insight.

Peter R.
thanks for the comments and good luck with the new position- Munich is a great place and you could do worse than come here.

A part of me finds a strong emphasis on basics to be a good thing but then of course it is nice also to have some variety in training as well.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:06 AM   #4
PeterR
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Steve Pilling wrote: View Post
thanks for the comments and good luck with the new position- Munich is a great place and you could do worse than come here.

A part of me finds a strong emphasis on basics to be a good thing but then of course it is nice also to have some variety in training as well.
Well let's just say they are more structured - I never had the impression that there was a lack of variety.

Anyway no matter what the style - it all boils down to who's running the class.

Cheers

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
Basia Halliop
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Canada
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

My impression is that the quality of training from individual dojos and teachers is often more important than the differences between organizations.

I would do more research about the specific dojos and teachers you're considering from both organizations, visit and watch a few classes, perhaps try a class, and make decisions based on what you find.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
Chris Li
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Steve Pilling wrote: View Post
Hi

I have been practising aikido basically in an "aikikai" form for the past year and a half (now at 4th Kyu- "unofficial"-no affiliation).

My dojo in Munich will sadly be closing soon as we don�t have enough members.

So I have an opportunity now to decide how to go forward with my aikido.

It is important to me that the aikido that I am practicing is reasonably effective. No I have no intention of getting into bar fights but aikido just seems to make less sense to me if it is done in less effective form. I don�t see why we cant get other benefits of aikido, e.g. stress reduction, without sacrificing martiality. Don�t get me wrong I don�t think you have to be smashing your uke on the ground all the time at all but my goal (after enough practice) is to have a realistic defence against realistic attacks.

So I am considering whether to try training at a yoshinkan dojo. What will the differences in training be? big difference or not much? What will be likely advantages/disadvantages of going this route. There are also other dojos including aikikai affiliated ones that I am looking at.

Any tips from the more experienced aikidokas?
Try them all and see which one you like, it's really the only way.

Best,

Chris

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Old 05-27-2012, 09:16 PM   #7
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 533
Australia
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
My impression is that the quality of training from individual dojos and teachers is often more important than the differences between organizations.

I would do more research about the specific dojos and teachers you're considering from both organizations, visit and watch a few classes, perhaps try a class, and make decisions based on what you find.
I completely agree with this. I have changed style 3 times now, and each time it has been for the individual teachers, not because I liked one style over another. In general, I think Peter is correct. You will get a lot more structure and precision in Yoshinkan. The downside is that, depending on the teacher, this can lead to being overly rigid and tense. Not all Yoshinkan teachers are like that though, and if you find a good one it would be worth trying.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:35 AM   #8
Mario Tobias
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 252
Philippines
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

IMHO part of one's search is the search for an excellent and competent teacher. This is one of the most difficult things to do since we don't initially know what to look for in a teacher. Teacher's competency should be the primary consideration, organization affiliation should be secondary. My 2 cents.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:47 AM   #9
Steve Pilling
Dojo: Munich Aikido Iaido Club
Location: Munich
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 15
Germany
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

thanks for the comments- i will going along to try as it seems that individual teachers are more important than the flavour of the aikido- I wanted to make sure that there wasn´t some big disadvantage that hadn´t occurred to me- just had some nagging doubts that i was overlooking something

Also i want to maximise my chances of finding the best style that suits me early in the dojo search rather than touring them all. I love the non-competitiveness of aikido but this of course brings big challenges in keeping the training realistic. Some training approaches seem to me to be more tai-chi like to me. I have nothing against tai-chi- (i did a couple of courses) but as i said i want the main focus to be on making aikido effective at least in my early learning phase.

There is another (aikikai) school that looks interesting that also does daito-ryu which interests me also to try.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #10
aikispike
Dojo: Yoshinkan
Location: Toronto
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 93
Canada
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Steve,

It sounds like the Yoshinkan style matches your interest in general, but as mentioned, it is the teacher that is most important. I don't know who teaches in Munich, but Nagano Sensei and Stephan Otto are both excellent teachers - if one of them happens to be the dojo you are investigating.

Michael Kimeda

--
Michael Kimeda
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:38 PM   #11
Steve Pilling
Dojo: Munich Aikido Iaido Club
Location: Munich
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 15
Germany
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Michael Kimeda wrote: View Post
Steve,

It sounds like the Yoshinkan style matches your interest in general, but as mentioned, it is the teacher that is most important. I don't know who teaches in Munich, but Nagano Sensei and Stephan Otto are both excellent teachers - if one of them happens to be the dojo you are investigating.

Michael Kimeda
thanks thats good to know as they are both teaching in the dojo i have been looking at.

Aikido Yoshinkan e.V.

Lothstr.62
80335 München
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Old 05-28-2012, 01:42 PM   #12
aikispike
Dojo: Yoshinkan
Location: Toronto
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Canada
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Steve Pilling wrote: View Post
thanks thats good to know as they are both teaching in the dojo i have been looking at.

Aikido Yoshinkan e.V.

Lothstr.62
80335 München
hahaha. that is fantastic. Please tell them that Spike says hello.

--
Michael Kimeda
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:43 AM   #13
JJF
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Quote:
Steve Pilling wrote: View Post
Also i want to maximise my chances of finding the best style that suits me early in the dojo search rather than touring them all.
Well.. searching for the fast way to the goal is not a concept I look for in Aikido.. sorry... just joking

Lot's of good advice in the previous mails. Taking a tour of the dojo's and choose the one where you like the atmosphere the best is a very good idea. Never judge a dojo on the affiliation, rank of the instructor, number of students or 'lineage-desciptions'. It comes down to what it feels like to get on the mat, and how they treat you - compared to what you search for.

You might even learn something new about your priorities if you open yourself up and try some dojo's that you would have otherwise passed by.

Hope you find a great place.

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:36 PM   #14
Adam Huss
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Steve,

sorry to hear about your dojo closing...I've been through that myself and its never fun (the dojo I went to from age 9 to 24 closed when I was away as an uchi deshi, found out when I got back home). I really don't want to give to much of my personal preferences on 'style this' and 'style that.' One thing I would recommend, though, would be to give whatever place you try a good solid look. Sometimes people will pop into a prospective dojo and catch on a 'bad' or 'slow' night and take that as the overarching experience. It may be better to try a couple places out for a week or two to get a better scope of experience.

I will say that I come from an independent aikido federation with both aikikai and Yoshinkan based teachers. With that experience, if I had my own dojo, I would probably teach students nothing but the Yoshinkan kihon dosa; solo, partnered, and prac app to new students for several months before getting into detailed waza or worry about fluidity. Oh, and ukemi. Lots of ukemi. With that, I doubt I would have any students, lol. I guess my point is, please be patient when checking out these new schools....if, as you alluded to having some concern, the Yoshinkan school seems a little frustratingly different I would advise that their careful, precise, approach to movement pay dividends for aikidoka of any style who practice it. Good luck!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:57 PM   #15
PeterR
 
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Re: switch to yoshinkan or stay with aikikai??

Difficult yes but also an opportunity. As opposed to a complete novice you have more of an idea what you are looking for. You may just find something more suited to yourself and your goals.

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
Steve,

sorry to hear about your dojo closing...I've been through that myself and its never fun (the dojo I went to from age 9 to 24 closed when I was away as an uchi deshi, found out when I got back home). I really don't want to give to much of my personal preferences on 'style this' and 'style that.' One thing I would recommend, though, would be to give whatever place you try a good solid look. Sometimes people will pop into a prospective dojo and catch on a 'bad' or 'slow' night and take that as the overarching experience. It may be better to try a couple places out for a week or two to get a better scope of experience.

I will say that I come from an independent aikido federation with both aikikai and Yoshinkan based teachers. With that experience, if I had my own dojo, I would probably teach students nothing but the Yoshinkan kihon dosa; solo, partnered, and prac app to new students for several months before getting into detailed waza or worry about fluidity. Oh, and ukemi. Lots of ukemi. With that, I doubt I would have any students, lol. I guess my point is, please be patient when checking out these new schools....if, as you alluded to having some concern, the Yoshinkan school seems a little frustratingly different I would advise that their careful, precise, approach to movement pay dividends for aikidoka of any style who practice it. Good luck!

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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