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Old 05-13-2014, 06:03 PM   #1
Kaya
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 9
Canada
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Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Hello everyone!

My name is Kaya. I live in Toronto Canada and I'm as new as Ai Ki Do as one can possibly be!

I'm still trying to decide on which dojo to join and I'll be looking for some advise on that, so in case someone from Toronto is reads this post I would really appreciate some advise.

I've been trying to get into Ai Ki Do since I was a kid but something always got in the way. First there was no Ai Ki Do in Soviet times Ukraine (go figure), then moving form country to country, travelling, switching jobs, getting ridiculous injuries that held me back, the list goes on. Long story short, by now I've recovered and settled down enough to finally give it a go and finding aikiweb has been a great inspiration! (I've been an unregistered lurker here for a wile)

A bit about me - I'm an artist, designer and geek. I love hiking and off-roading, and being artsy I love plein air painting at my hikes.

That's it for now. I'm glad to be here and I'm glad to meet you all
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:14 AM   #2
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Dojo: Ikashi Dojo, Port au Prince
Location: Port au Prince
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 284
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Quote:
Karyna Gergel wrote: View Post
Hello everyone!

My name is Kaya. I live in Toronto Canada and I'm as new as Ai Ki Do as one can possibly be!

I'm still trying to decide on which dojo to join and I'll be looking for some advise on that, so in case someone from Toronto is reads this post I would really appreciate some advise.

I've been trying to get into Ai Ki Do since I was a kid but something always got in the way. First there was no Ai Ki Do in Soviet times Ukraine (go figure), then moving form country to country, travelling, switching jobs, getting ridiculous injuries that held me back, the list goes on. Long story short, by now I've recovered and settled down enough to finally give it a go and finding aikiweb has been a great inspiration! (I've been an unregistered lurker here for a wile)

A bit about me - I'm an artist, designer and geek. I love hiking and off-roading, and being artsy I love plein air painting at my hikes.

That's it for now. I'm glad to be here and I'm glad to meet you all
Hi Kaya, welcome to the Aikiweb. A few years ago, I spent some time in Toronto, and I have fond memories of this beautiful city. You seem like a very interresting person. I can 't help you locate a god dojo - I was not into Aikido at the time I travelled to Toronto -, but I wish you the best in your way to harmony, and we will all do our best to help you if you need it.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:28 PM   #3
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
Location: chicago
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 328
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

hi, kaya

welcome to aikido!

luckily for you, there is some great aikido all over canada.

here's my pick for you: http://www.torontoaikikai.com/n_instructors.htm
great aikido from one of the top students of the late mitsunari kanai, shihan.

practice hard
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:05 PM   #4
Adam Huss
 
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Location: Ohio
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Welcome to the website and aikido!

A good dojo I know about is here:
http://www.aikido.ca/

The instructor has over 35 years experience and brought Yoshinkan aikido to North America after being a direct student to Gozo Shioda and Kushida. But check out a few different places (for more than just one class), and see what you think!

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:04 PM   #5
Kaya
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 9
Canada
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Hi guys! Thank you for the welcome and advise!

There do seem to be a good Aikikai and Yoshinkan schools in Toronto.

Both are quite inconvenient for me but are well worth the drive! (this city is huge and traffic is always bad lol)

You both recommended the dojos I've researched online and heard good things about. I'm very confused however about the style difference and which is better for the start. I am a firm believer in learning and practising various styles. Weather it applies to my painting or any other things I do, I've always benefited from going wide. But first one must go deep to get some solid basics and I really don't know which path to take. But I guess I better read up some more and maybe start this discussion in a more appropriate for it place, rather then the intro thread
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:11 PM   #6
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 530
Australia
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Any stylistic comparison needs to be very general, because there is a huge range in training methods etc. within each style. The best way would be for you to go and look for yourself.

Having said that, I can give you a little bit of background on each.

Yoshinkan:

Founded by Gozo Shioda with permission and support from Morihei Ueshiba (the founder of Aikido) before WWII. This was not a matter of breaking away from an established organisation because there was no organisation at the time to break away from. It was just a matter of an instructor setting up his own dojo. Of course, organisational politics being what they are, a greater and greater rift formed between Yoshinkan and other organisations. Yoshinkan was not greatly influenced by post-war aikido as taught by Ueshiba, and is a continuation of the technique learned by Shioda before the war. After the death of Shioda, the organisation fractured into many factions, and for a while it was led by Kyoichi Inoue (whom I have met and have enormous respect for), and Shioda's son. I have no idea what is going on with the organisation at the moment.

The trade mark of Yoshinkan aikido is its rigid forms and strong technique. You will need to learn very gook ukemi and REALLY look after your neck, because they are known to throw hard. One of the real advantages of learning Yoshinkan aikido is that it gives you a very solid grounding in basic forms, shapes, and angles, which are very important later in your aikido career. The main criticism of Yoshinkan is that its practitioners often don't progress beyond the early rigidity and don't see it as merely a step along the way to improving their aikido. (This is something that Inoue sensei stressed to me when I met him.)

When looking at the Yoshinkan dojo, see if the senior practitioners are overly rigid when practicing with each other. (Of course, they will be rigid when practicing with novices because that is what the novices need to learn.) Also have a look to see if you would be comfortable taking the falls, given your neck issues, and have a talk to the teacher to see what he has to say about everything I have talked about.

Aikikai (Zimmerman):

Aikikai was set up by Morihei Ueshiba (although 99% of the actual organisation at the time was probably due to his son, Kisshomaru as well as Koichi Tohei) after the war. It has become the mainstream aikido institution. It encompasses many styles and other organisations around the world, all of which have their own particular flavour.

One of the main criticisms of Aikikai aikido, although it will not be true for all dojos, is that it was watered down its technique to make it palatable to the masses. For some, it has become more like a dance, or a philosophy than a martial art.

The dojo you are looking at follows the aikido taught by Mitsunari Kani, who was sent by Ueshiba and the Aikikai to teach aikido on the east coast of North America, and he particularly focused on Boston and Toronto.

I have not come into contact with Kanai sensei (before he passed away), nor any of his students. However, from what I have seen on youtube, I am very impressed. It looks to me like Zimmerman really knows what he is teaching. However, much like Yoshinkan, it looks like they would require good ukemi and that would be something to consider given your neck injury.

If you visit Mr Zimmerman, I would ask him how he feels about aikido as a martial art, rather than just a form of exercise etc., although from his videos, it certainly looks like he takes martiality quite seriously. I would also consider how comfortable you are with the falls.

I hope this helps.

Robin

Last edited by robin_jet_alt : 05-14-2014 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:43 PM   #7
Kaya
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 9
Canada
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Wow! Thank you Robin! That's great and really helpful write-up!

To be honest I have been worried about hearing a lot that Aikikai is being more watered down. I do realize and really agree with you though that it really depends on the teacher. I guess more then anything I should research Mr Zimmerman rather then the styles Working on Ki is also very important to me. When I was a child I was taught various energetic practices and some qigong and using energy (or since we'r here then lets just call it Ki) has been a great part of my recoveries and daily life. I think it's extremely important in martial arts practice and would love a teacher who really practices and teaches it but without turning it into philosophy or dance as you said.

Regarding my injuries and ukemi... well... lets just say I'm the type who after being told I won't ever do something goes out to prove them wrong. I have *tried (for the lack of a better word) various ukemi and managed them without major discomfort or without re-awakening old injuries. If the form is kept right and practiced I should be fine. Although I am for sure going to have to strengthen my neck and various joints that had injuries, and I will have to take it easy in the beginning but with time I'll be able to take a hard fall
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:14 AM   #8
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 530
Australia
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Well there is plenty of footage of both Zimmerman and Kanai on youtube.

Kanai:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IT6CnUBYtE

Zimmerman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5Ke1OySldE

Feel free to have a look for yourself.

I have to say that the more I see of Mr Zimmerman, the more impressed I am. He does a lot of things right.

It might pay to have a talk with both teachers about their stance on Ki. Having said that, I find that a lot of the time, people who talk about it a lot, don't really get it, whereas some who do get it, really don't like to talk about it.
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:25 AM   #9
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 530
Australia
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Just to complete my last post, there is also footage of Kimeda and Gagliano (the Yoshinkan instructors) on Youtube.

Kimeda:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loEdBe-119c

Gagliano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1KuWO_gzWE

Note the wide, rigid stance, but also the skillful use of angles (more so in the case of Kimeda than Gagliano).

Personally, Mr Zimmerman's aikido seems right up my alley, but that is a personal preference, and it always pays to check out the dojo in person. Both dojos seem to be excellent, and I would be happy to train at either.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:10 AM   #10
Kaya
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 9
Canada
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Thank you Robin! You'r amazing! Now seeing them side by side it really makes sense.
I do like Zimmerman's aikido more. I can also see the benefits of Kimeda's style especially for the beginning but if I started that way I would still want to progress to a softer/less rigid style later on so I'm beginning to lean towards Aikikai. You've been really helpful! Again thank you so much!
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:02 AM   #11
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,777
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

I think that "this style is better than that style" is an unresolvable philosophical argument of the "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" type, and it should play no role in a beginner's choice of school. Don't waste your time on it. This is not a philosophical decision. You've got two real-life dojos that have been recommended to you. Go, observe, talk to the people, make a decision and don't get all fretted on choosing the "best" school in the world. If you wanted to learn to ski, would your quest for the "best" lead you to insist on private lessons with Bode Miller? There are many schools where you can have a good aikido learning experience; don't get stuck on distinctions that will mean nothing to you as a beginner. Choose the school, from what's available, that appears to be the better choice for you, and never mind what someone else says is the "best" style.
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:35 AM   #12
NagaBaba
 
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Location: Wild, deep, deadly North
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Re: Hi there! - a newbie from Toronto :)

Hi Karyna,
I respect a lot Yoshinkan teaching, they have excellent methodology, particularly for basics.

Personally I’d recommend B.Zimmerman dojo, I had opportunity to practice with him personally on many seminars and his aikido is excellent by any means and he is a very good teacher. I also visited many times his dojo, you will find there a fantastic group of folks with high level aikido skills and great friendship.
And don’t worry about ukemi, they will teach how to fly in very secured way

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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