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Old 09-28-2013, 03:52 AM   #1
"Traveler"
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changing aikido styles (rant)

So, I've trained in aikido for 10 years or so at a dojo that was pretty serious about atemi use (ie, you will get hit if you don't pay attention, at least at brown- or black-belt level), and recently moved to a new town where the closest dojo is an aikikai dojo but trains in a very soft, no-atemi style. They are *very* good at taking balance, and at keeping their balance, and I want to learn that, as well as the techniques that they teach that I haven't seen before... but they're also completely oblivious to their openings, both as uke and as nage. I think for their style I'm probably training at about a sankyu level, despite the hakama and black belt, but at the same time I'm constantly having to pull back from hitting even relatively high-up yudansha. And their ukemi is awful - no committed attacks, just grab and ground, and no further attempt to 'get' nage at all. Several times, high level students have let go in the middle of the technique and then been surprised when I enter on them, and at the same time I also frequently have trouble throwing them b/c of the grounding.

Both sides are getting frustrated with each other. Is there room for compromise, or do I give up on this and go to the next-nearest dojo, about an hour away?
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:28 PM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Don't give up. Learn what you can from them and practice what you already know in the back yard. Eventually, you will either move on or you can start your own dojo. I've done 4 different styles now, and each has had its own frustrations.
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Old 09-29-2013, 06:07 PM   #3
Aikiwarrior
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

I was in a similar situation. Started out brand new to aikido in a tough as nails dojo back east in new york city. My wrists would be nearly raw by the end of the week. My forearms started to become tree trunks. The shodans would not let go and would try to hit you if you did not fully follow thru with the technique with intent or keep them at bay with atemi. Then i moved out west. I soon came to learn everywhere is not the same. Just learn what can but never forget what you were taught, Maybe if you stay long enough you can step up and influence changes.

If you want spirituality seek religion, if you seek magic find Houdini. If you want to learn a Martial Art to neutralize danger seek Aikido.
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Another thing to consider is that there are different methods of training to achieve different results. For instance, I will often ignore my own openings as uke when the result that I am trying to achieve is to teach nage to move correctly (and if I go into it much more, I run the risk of talking about IS stuff, which is pointless on here) in order to take my balance. I don't do this because it is a generally good style of ukemi, but because I am trying to teach a particular concept and nage is overly reliant on something else. Maybe that is what is going on here.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:27 PM   #5
Rupert Atkinson
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Stick with it. I too have done several different styles of Aikido and have at times been very annoyed but have learned something from all of them. Sticking with it is worth it in the long run - just don't forget what you have learned.

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Old 10-02-2013, 05:20 AM   #6
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

I see that after 10 years of training you are still excited about hitting somebody. It means you still don’t understand that this aspect is completely useless as an indicator of “martial effectiveness” in cooperative environment.

If you are serious about aikido, you should look for the dojo where they practice seriously weapons (I’m not talking here about Iwama style weapons teaching) otherwise you will never reach high level understanding of aikido. Other criteria such as distance to the dojo are no relevant. If however the distance to the dojo is important to you, it means that your interest to aikido is superficial and we can’t really discuss here more about it.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:21 AM   #7
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Oh, brother...
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
Basia Halliop
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

To me it sounds like it could be a really good opportunity, given that you see certain strengths that they have that you don't. It might be a chance for you to work on those aspects of your aikido. If you train their way, at least for a while, and concentrate your attention on the things that they're better at then you, you might find you can really improve those aspects of your own aikido. And you can keep mentally aware of your and your partner's potential openings even if it isn't appropriate to actually hit them.

On the other hand, if there's another dojo you can get to that seems to you to have those strengths without also having some of the weaknesses you feel you see, that might be even better in the long run. Because in the long term it's hard to fully commit yourself to a dojo and teacher if you feel they're weak in an area that you feel is important.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:38 AM   #9
Basia Halliop
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I see that after 10 years of training you are still excited about hitting somebody. It means you still don't understand that this aspect is completely useless as an indicator of "martial effectiveness" in cooperative environment.
Szczepan, do you mean that it isn't important if people are leaving openings where they can be hit? I understand why hitting people wouldn't be an indicator of martial effectiveness, and also that people sometimes use hitting to cover up errors, but I would have thought that if you and your partner are in a position where they can hit you, that's basically bad? Shouldn't you be trying to get behind them, and to get them off balance, etc?
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I see that after 10 years of training you are still excited about hitting somebody. It means you still don't understand that this aspect is completely useless as an indicator of "martial effectiveness" in cooperative environment.

If you are serious about aikido, you should look for the dojo where they practice seriously weapons (I'm not talking here about Iwama style weapons teaching) otherwise you will never reach high level understanding of aikido. Other criteria such as distance to the dojo are no relevant. If however the distance to the dojo is important to you, it means that your interest to aikido is superficial and we can't really discuss here more about it.
Szczepan, your assumptions, condescension, and judgement are not helpful to OP and are not conducive to an atmosphere of mutual respect. Please stop.

My martial arts blog: The Young Grasshopper
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:48 AM   #11
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Szczepan, do you mean that it isn't important if people are leaving openings where they can be hit? I understand why hitting people wouldn't be an indicator of martial effectiveness, and also that people sometimes use hitting to cover up errors, but I would have thought that if you and your partner are in a position where they can hit you, that's basically bad? Shouldn't you be trying to get behind them, and to get them off balance, etc?
This aspect is simple and complicated at the same time.
Of course the consciousness of the existence of the openings is important, we can use them to hit or counter the attack or the technique. But resuming OP criteria for aikido practice to "we are pretty serious about atemi use" means he is living in some kind of fantasy.

In aikido practice we have predefined uke and nage behavior (even Tomiki fighters can use only predefined attack and 16 predefined techniques). It means that nage knows what attack arrive BEFORE it happens physically. This already is an opening from attacker side. Using this opening to hit or counter is a very easy task, and has nothing to do with martial aspect of the practice. Under such conditions, even a novice is able to hit many times an experienced attacker; it is not a big deal. So ‘being serious about atemi' is IMO not valid criteria to evaluate another dojo.

The examples of the valid criteria: posture, precision in technique execution, position of the nage in comparison to attacker, the correct use of the angles for entering into attacker and when you unbalance him, the correct use of your own body, timing, intent etc…
If somebody is not aware about these criteria, it can be developed correctly by practice of the weapons.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:50 AM   #12
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
Szczepan, your assumptions, condescension, and judgement are not helpful to OP and are not conducive to an atmosphere of mutual respect. Please stop.
Do you have something to say about the topic?

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #13
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

you only know where uke is coming from if you don't do jiyu waza, and if you don't have an uke who tries to get you when you screw up.

As for the distance not being important...!
Must be nice, having all the time in the world and no other obligations.

What I can see is that this ki-style of aikido, while less martially effective, would be of much greater utility in the more common context of the relative or friend who is pushing boundaries, who isn't really trying to hurt you, and whom you don't want to clobber. That's why I'm torn about what to do: I want to learn this, but I don't want my ukemi to get sloppy, either.

Maybe I can sign up for one dojo, and do mat-fee visits at the other sometimes so that I can have my atemi cake and eat it too.
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Old 10-05-2013, 04:25 AM   #14
robin_jet_alt
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
you only know where uke is coming from if you don't do jiyu waza, and if you don't have an uke who tries to get you when you screw up.

As for the distance not being important...!
Must be nice, having all the time in the world and no other obligations.

What I can see is that this ki-style of aikido, while less martially effective, would be of much greater utility in the more common context of the relative or friend who is pushing boundaries, who isn't really trying to hurt you, and whom you don't want to clobber. That's why I'm torn about what to do: I want to learn this, but I don't want my ukemi to get sloppy, either.

Maybe I can sign up for one dojo, and do mat-fee visits at the other sometimes so that I can have my atemi cake and eat it too.
I did that for a while, when I was at a dojo where I felt my ukemi was getting sloppy.
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:00 AM   #15
John Longford
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

You should be pleased that you are struggling. If you or anyone else can immediately adapt to a different style then they didn't learn anything in the first place. I find it take students quite some time to adjust
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:29 AM   #16
OwlMatt
 
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Do you have something to say about the topic?
Robin and Jared have already said what I would have said better than I would have said it. Their advice is soild.

You, on the other hand, come in here telling OP that he is "excited about hitting somebody", that he "[doesn't] understand", and that he is "living in some kind of fantasy", all based on the assumption that he judges the quality of aikido clubs based on how much atemi they do. He, of course, never said that at all; you are just assuming that is true so that you can tell him he is wrong.

And this bit...

Quote:
Other criteria such as distance to the dojo are no relevant. If however the distance to the dojo is important to you, it means that your interest to aikido is superficial and we can't really discuss here more about it.
... is absolutely ridiculous.

You're not helping; you're only muddying the water of what is otherwise a very useful thread, relevant to a lot of aikidoists' experience, including mine.

My martial arts blog: The Young Grasshopper
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:24 PM   #17
Malicat
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

To give a little bit of credit on the side of a misunderstanding, I wouldn't say the distance comment was so much ridiculous as it simply demonstrated a massive misunderstanding of the geographic size of cities in the US versus other countries. Personally I drive about 120 miles one way to get to one class a week (Yes, I drive about 4 hours round trip to attend a 2 hour Aikido class), and 180 miles to get to my other dojo for a Saturday morning class. This is because I live in a very rural community in the US. I think it is safe to say that most of my friends who live in Europe are constantly amazed by this, and they consider 30 miles to be an extremely long commute on any kind of regular basis. If the geographic distance to the dojo was holding you back and you were fretting over a dojo 10 miles away versus one that was 5 miles away, I can see where someone might think you weren't dedicated.

For the OP, while I think the idea of regular attendance at one dojo and mat fees at another might be a good idea, I'd ask you to rethink which one will be getting regular attendance. The closer one is going to be much easier to work into your schedule, but you also need to ponder what kind of habits you are going to be taking home with you. If the instructor that you most want to emulate is farther away, you might want to consider going to that one at least half of your available time. The fact of the matter is, you are going to reflect the style that you spend most of your time training.

--Ashley

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
And this bit...

Quote:
Other criteria such as distance to the dojo are no relevant. If however the distance to the dojo is important to you, it means that your interest to aikido is superficial and we can't really discuss here more about it.

... is absolutely ridiculous.

You're not helping; you're only muddying the water of what is otherwise a very useful thread, relevant to a lot of aikidoists' experience, including mine.
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Old 10-07-2013, 05:48 AM   #18
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
you only know where uke is coming from if you don't do jiyu waza, and if you don't have an uke who tries to get you when you screw up.
I agree that jiyu waza (any attack, any technique) is an excellent practice and we do it a lot at the end of the class.
However....

most of the time, the attack and technique are known in advance because instructor demos it and everybody is simply repeating. So under such conditions, where attacker is giving his body in overcommitted attack, hitting him heavily should be considered as a cheap shot.

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
As for the distance not being important...!
Must be nice, having all the time in the world and no other obligations.
.
Well, once in my life I saw a sensei I wanted to learn from, so I moved from Europe to North America to be able to practice with him. So yes, distance is not important, what is important are you serious about the aikido training.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:27 AM   #19
lbb
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Well, once in my life I saw a sensei I wanted to learn from, so I moved from Europe to North America to be able to practice with him. So yes, distance is not important, what is important are you serious about the aikido training.
...and in North America you lived under a bush and ate manna from heaven, is that right?

Certain people live in the lucky circumstances of great freedom combined with no responsibilities. These people tend to benefit from the efforts of others (parents who let them live at home, a working spouse/partner, a friend who lets them couch-surf indefinitely). For those who have these benefits and
no untidy encumbrances in the form of a spouse or partner, children or elderly parents (and who are additionally blessed with unlimited good health), one could indeed say "seriousness", or lack thereof, is the sole limitation of their aikido training. It's when people in this situation fail to recognize the rarity of their privilege, and judge others as if they were in similar circumstances, that the reasoning becomes absurd.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:14 AM   #20
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
...and in North America you lived under a bush and ate manna from heaven, is that right?

Certain people live in the lucky circumstances of great freedom combined with no responsibilities. These people tend to benefit from the efforts of others (parents who let them live at home, a working spouse/partner, a friend who lets them couch-surf indefinitely). For those who have these benefits and
no untidy encumbrances in the form of a spouse or partner, children or elderly parents (and who are additionally blessed with unlimited good health), one could indeed say "seriousness", or lack thereof, is the sole limitation of their aikido training. It's when people in this situation fail to recognize the rarity of their privilege, and judge others as if they were in similar circumstances, that the reasoning becomes absurd.
Hi Mary,
I see you don't understand the reality of life of the immigrants. That's OK.
Let's go back to the topic.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:35 AM   #21
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Hi Mary,
I see you don't understand the reality of life of the immigrants. That's OK.
Let's go back to the topic.
I understand quite a few things about the reality of life. From your dismissal of the difficulties of others as trivial (when, as near as I can tell, you don't actually know anything about their lives), I'm not so sure you do -- but perhaps I'm mistaken. You said that you moved continents to train - impressive, but perhaps you could tell us more about your circumstances when you did so. How did you finance your move? How did you make a living? Did you have dependents at the time?
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:37 AM   #22
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Sczepan, people with families and jobs can't always just pack up and go wherever they want, and they don't always have the freedom to spend hours driving places. If you don't have a life that gets in the way of your aikido, good for you. But stop telling others who don't have the same privilege that they lack devotion or understanding.

You have done nothing in this thread except claim that people who don't do aikido your way either don't know enough or don't care enough, and that gets old real fast. OP came here for advice, and you have offered nothing but judgment. Once again, please stop.

My martial arts blog: The Young Grasshopper
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:39 AM   #23
oisin bourke
 
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
...and in North America you lived under a bush and ate manna from heaven, is that right?

Certain people live in the lucky circumstances of great freedom combined with no responsibilities. These people tend to benefit from the efforts of others (parents who let them live at home, a working spouse/partner, a friend who lets them couch-surf indefinitely). For those who have these benefits and
no untidy encumbrances in the form of a spouse or partner, children or elderly parents (and who are additionally blessed with unlimited good health), one could indeed say "seriousness", or lack thereof, is the sole limitation of their aikido training. It's when people in this situation fail to recognize the rarity of their privilege, and judge others as if they were in similar circumstances, that the reasoning becomes absurd.
That's a pretty dismissive generalisation, Mary. I moved continents to train too, and I didn't "benefit from the efforts of others" (although I managed with the support of my significant other). I paid my own way and made my choices. If you or anyone else didn't make that move for whatever reason, that's fine, but don't belittle the efforts of those of us that did.
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:04 PM   #24
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
That's a pretty dismissive generalisation, Mary. I moved continents to train too, and I didn't "benefit from the efforts of others" (although I managed with the support of my significant other).
I'm not being dismissive. If you managed with the support of your significant other, how is that not benefiting from his/her efforts?

Quote:
Oisin Bourke wrote: View Post
I paid my own way and made my choices. If you or anyone else didn't make that move for whatever reason, that's fine, but don't belittle the efforts of those of us that did.
Let's just put that shoe back on the foot that it belongs on, shall we? I didn't belittle anything; I responded to someone (not you) who belittled someone while being ignorant of his circumstances. You've got no call to get in a huff. But as far as "belittling your efforts", which I didn't do - would you care to tell me more about how you managed your move?
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Old 10-07-2013, 12:18 PM   #25
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Re: changing aikido styles (rant)

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I'm not being dismissive. If you managed with the support of your significant other, how is that not benefiting from his/her efforts?

Let's just put that shoe back on the foot that it belongs on, shall we? I didn't belittle anything; I responded to someone (not you) who belittled someone while being ignorant of his circumstances. You've got no call to get in a huff. But as far as "belittling your efforts", which I didn't do - would you care to tell me more about how you managed your move?
Well in my case,I managed with emotional support, hardly unusual from a partner, now, is it?. Anyway, I know plenty who did "the move" on their own. In any event, we all managed to get by on our own steam, not by freeloading, as you basically stated.

As for belittling, well, yes, you did. You didn't address Szcepan directly when making this assertion, you decided to take a broad sweep at anyone who had made the effort to move long distances to pursue their training.

And when I called you on this, you accuse me of getting in a huff?
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