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Old 09-26-2014, 09:34 AM   #1
sheasbys
Location: Katy, TX
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
United_States
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Switching Arts

Hi everyone,

Politics, ah how I hate getting involved in politics and the petty jockeying for "rank" and deciding who is "in" and who is "out." Seriously? What a childish thing to do. This very phenomenon, however, has led me to this particular place and junction.

A little history

I have a long tradition in Ju Jitsu, although it is not a pure line at all. While growing up in South Africa I trained in a style (it will remain unnamed to protect the innocent) whose roots were from the UK and a great deal of the emphasis was placed on competition. I systematically progressed through the style (I cannot in good conscience call it an art) attaining a fairly high rank only to find out that this is not worth the paper it is written on. Comment from the organization about this is nonexistent and is dubious at best. I now find myself in "No mans land" so to speak where my rank is not accepted by any other group. There is a great deal of disillusionment with the group I have faithfully served for years to the point that I am ready to move disciplines.

The fork in the road

I recently moved back to the USA, permanently, and sought out others in Ju Jitsu circles to see how, if at all, my dilemma could be resolved. One respected group did some research and suggested, rather strongly I might add, that I should distance myself from this group. On consultation with the better known Ju Jitsu organizations, the consensus is that I will have to start over. There are some groups, less known and suspicious at best, who will gladly accept me and give me equivalent rank for a fee - an option that is not even an option. Starting over is the only way to have credibility.

Philosophical junction

So I have resigned myself to the fact that I will have to start over, so does it have to be Ju Jitsu? For quite some time now, especially as my kids get older and want to "train" with dad, I have had some philosophical issues with the brutality of the techniques that are taught within Ju Jitsu. That is not to say that they have no merit in certain circumstances yet I have to ask if these are appropriate and right for me and ultimately to those I teach. The reality is that even though my teaching style is one of living at peace with mankind by all means possible, the techniques do not reflect this. Furthermore if any student should encounter an assailant, as unlikely as this may be, they will resort to the techniques they have learnt without conscious effort. The result may be one of too much force used and regrets after the fact.

Throughout my 30+ years of Ju Jitsu training I have had occasion to train from time to time in "Aiki Jutsu" and "Aikido" and I truly liked the spirit of Aikido and it flows with my personal beliefs and ideology.

Heart of my question

I really enjoy reading the comments on this forum and have been reading them for some time now so a big thank you in advance to the advice I am certain to receive. It is a matter of honor for me not to continue to espouse the credentials I have received because they were dubiously given and the organization will not respond to any requests on my part concerning this. I am not hung up on rank although disappointed that what I have received seems fraudulent. So I am resigned to starting over and am OK with it. It is not as big of a jump to move from Ju Jitsu to Aikido as it would be from some other disciplines. My choice is to move to Aikido but there are a few practical questions to resolve and for which I need your help and counsel:

1. I am committed to my current students. Fortunately my senior students understand the current situation and are in agreement with this upcoming change. However, they do not want to move to a new dojo, the closest one is 45 minutes away from our current location, and if possible they would like to train under my guidance. Considering my years in Ju Jitsu what is the likelihood of opening a satellite dojo? I guess that would be up to each sensei but is it even a practice that is done? My guess would be that I would need to spend an amount of one on one training with the sensei that may take me and my small group of practitioner under his/her wing and tutelage.
2. I have read about a few different styles (the ones I am aware of are Aikikai, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, Yoshinkan, Ki Society). Who should I approach and why?

Closing Remarks

The decision is made now it is all about working out the details which is what I hope to gain from all of you.

Sincerely,
Stephen
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:10 AM   #2
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,803
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Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Stephen Sheasby wrote: View Post
1. I am committed to my current students. Fortunately my senior students understand the current situation and are in agreement with this upcoming change. However, they do not want to move to a new dojo, the closest one is 45 minutes away from our current location, and if possible they would like to train under my guidance. Considering my years in Ju Jitsu what is the likelihood of opening a satellite dojo? I guess that would be up to each sensei but is it even a practice that is done? My guess would be that I would need to spend an amount of one on one training with the sensei that may take me and my small group of practitioner under his/her wing and tutelage.
I've never heard of anyone operating a "satellite dojo" or affiliate dojo with no prior experience. For someone to operate under the aegis of another teacher, they'd certainly want to feel confident that their representative could teach what they want taught, the way that they want it taught -- they're representing the brand, so to speak. It seems to me that a would-be teacher would need to get some mileage and establish a strong relationship with a teacher before the teacher would extend that level of trust.

Quote:
Stephen Sheasby wrote: View Post
2. I have read about a few different styles (the ones I am aware of are Aikikai, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, Yoshinkan, Ki Society). Who should I approach and why?
I don't think there's much point in considering styles in the abstract. If you're into martial arts it can be fun, but I don't think it helps you to make a decision. Find out what is being taught in the area where you're willing to travel to train, visit the dojos, see what they're actually doing, and decide where you want to train.
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:18 AM   #3
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,799
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Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Stephen Sheasby wrote: View Post

1. I am committed to my current students. Fortunately my senior students understand the current situation and are in agreement with this upcoming change. However, they do not want to move to a new dojo, the closest one is 45 minutes away from our current location, and if possible they would like to train under my guidance. Considering my years in Ju Jitsu what is the likelihood of opening a satellite dojo? I guess that would be up to each sensei but is it even a practice that is done? My guess would be that I would need to spend an amount of one on one training with the sensei that may take me and my small group of practitioner under his/her wing and tutelage.
2. I have read about a few different styles (the ones I am aware of are Aikikai, Aikido Schools of Ueshiba, Yoshinkan, Ki Society). Who should I approach and why?
1. go study aikido by yourself for a number of years then come back and discuss. and might want to encourage your students to do the same. to learn aikido, it's better to practice in dojo with more folks. one on one doesn't let you learn as well. there is a concept call shoshin. leave your jujutsu at the door.

2. go and talk to those schools and see which connects to you

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 09-26-2014, 05:19 PM   #4
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 537
Australia
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Re: Switching Arts

If you have senior students, then they must be quite happy with what you are teaching. My suggestion is, if they want to continue, keep teaching them Jiu Jitsu, but be open with them about where it comes from and do not try to teach them aikido for a few years, until your teacher is happy with you doing so. As Mary said, that could take quite a long time.

As the the style, I would rather learn from a good teacher in a style that I don't like so much in the abstract than from a bad teacher in a style I am interested in. Just check out what dojos are available and see which one you like.
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Old 09-26-2014, 07:53 PM   #5
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 988
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Re: Switching Arts

You might want to explain your dilemma to the chief instructors at the local aikido schools, and see what they have to say. While it's unlikely that any will allow you to "cross grade" directly to your current (questionable) rank, it might be possible to progress through the aikido ranks more quickly than a raw beginner would.

I suspect that setting up as a formal satellite dojo would be pretty much out of the question until you've established your ability to teach *aikido* to your supervising instructor's satisfaction. However, it might be possible for you and your students to become a less formal study group, with your supervising instructor visiting on a regular basis to check on your progress. (He will probably expect to be paid for this.)

Any arrangement of this kind is likely to require a balancing commitment on your part, though. You, and probably your senior students, should plan on making that 45 minute drive on a very regular basis. (Incidentally, plenty of people do not see a 45 minute drive to a good dojo as particularly onerous. )

Katherine
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Old 09-26-2014, 09:52 PM   #6
sheasbys
Location: Katy, TX
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
United_States
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Re: Switching Arts

Thank you for the comments so far. I am not a total stranger to the principle of Aikido and many of the techniques taught so I do not feel out of my depth in making this transition.

The process of visiting dojo in the area has begun while at the same time I am no longer following the curriculum I cut me teeth on. I will begin bringing in techniques more frequently from my foray into Aikijutsu some years back.

Thank you Karen for your suggestion of an informal study group. This is what I meant when I spoke of a satellite dojo. The next year will be a formative one for me and my small dojo.

Thanks for the comments.
Stephen
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:08 AM   #7
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,803
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Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Any arrangement of this kind is likely to require a balancing commitment on your part, though. You, and probably your senior students, should plan on making that 45 minute drive on a very regular basis. (Incidentally, plenty of people do not see a 45 minute drive to a good dojo as particularly onerous. )
That's about my daily dojo commute. Sure would be nice if the dojo were right down the road, but it isn't. In fact, when I was living a lot closer to my (then) dojo, it still took about 45 minutes because it was by public transit.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:43 AM   #8
kewms
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 988
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Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That's about my daily dojo commute. Sure would be nice if the dojo were right down the road, but it isn't. In fact, when I was living a lot closer to my (then) dojo, it still took about 45 minutes because it was by public transit.
Mine is about an hour there, during rush hour, but only 25-30 minutes back. Several are closer, none of them a good fit.

Katherine
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Old 09-27-2014, 12:20 PM   #9
allowedcloud
Location: cincinnati
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 72
United_States
Online
Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Mine is about an hour there, during rush hour, but only 25-30 minutes back. Several are closer, none of them a good fit.

Katherine
My dojo commute is in fact around 3 hours one way - which can get closer to 4 during heavy traffic.
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Old 09-27-2014, 04:54 PM   #10
sheasbys
Location: Katy, TX
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5
United_States
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Re: Switching Arts

I begin visiting Dojo on Monday and the time for travel to an from is not for me but rather a few of my current junior / beginner students. I will do what it takes and time is not the issue for me.

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 09-27-2014, 05:35 PM   #11
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: South Korea, Yongin
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United Kingdom
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Re: Switching Arts

Over the years I have come across a few people 'changing arts' to Aikido. They enter thinking they have a lot of knowledge and yet, it is immediately apparent to all present that the newcomer has almost no skill whatsoever. Quite often, lots of experience in a bad school leaves you with very little.

I remember one guy from Wing Chun - he had great skill and picked things up so quickly it was amazing. And likewise a guy who had done Silat - in fact - he was better than the lot of us. Another from TaiChi has no skill at all - but he looked good doing his own stuff. The worst were those from Judo or Karate. Some just could not learn Aikido at all. That was in the West. In Japan my experience was quite different. Experienced Japanese Judoka or Karateka could change arts - after a while they could 'forget' and learn new Aikido habits well. Westerners have much more difficulty methinks.

I kind of liken Aikido to table tennis. If you learn table tennis as a kid you can play tennis and badminton easily. It's the fine ball motor control skills that are key. But if you learn tennis or badminton - when you start table tennis you will be a complete beginner. It is as though table tennis has some core elements. I think Aikido to be the same - it contains core elements. Wing Chun too. Therefore, those that learn Aikido well (or Wing Chun) can quite easily go and learn other arts. Of course - it may be a combination of the art and the person together - but I have noticed it many times.

Has anyone else noticed this?

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Old 09-27-2014, 08:01 PM   #12
Dave Gallagher
Dojo: Shobukan Dojo, St.Louis
Location: St.Louis
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 110
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Re: Switching Arts

When people want to learn Aikido they want to learn from a real Aikido sensei. If you want to teach your stuff go ahead just don't call it Aikido.
If you want to learn Aikido drive the 45 mins and learn from a real sensei.
I know two people who drive a three hour round trip twice a week to learn Karate from the best Shotokan sensei in their state. The 45 mins for you is nothing.

It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak.
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Old 09-29-2014, 09:17 AM   #13
Larry Feldman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
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Re: Switching Arts

Take your time evaluating the various styles and instructors.
Maybe one will consider teaching at your place one day a week, or sending over an instructor.
You have been in the martial arts long enough to figure out what is best for you 'martially' and 'business-wise'. But don't be afraid to test drive for awhile.

Larry
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Old 10-01-2014, 08:18 PM   #14
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
Location: VA
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 383
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Re: Switching Arts

There is nothing wrong with you going to learn at the Aikido dojo, then teaching what you learned there to your students. Just be honest with your students with what you are doing. You will eventually work through it. This is exactly the process that my sensei did when he started my dojo back about 34 years ago.
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Old 10-02-2014, 02:47 AM   #15
Malicat
Dojo: Suenaka-Ha Aikido of Bloomington
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Re: Switching Arts

Quote:
Joshua Landin wrote: View Post
My dojo commute is in fact around 3 hours one way - which can get closer to 4 during heavy traffic.
Joshua,

Our dojo is only about 2 1/2 hours away from Cincinnati! You should come visit!

--Ashley
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Old 10-08-2014, 01:48 PM   #16
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
Location: NY
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Re: Switching Arts

Hi Stephen,

Someone in Austin who's definitely worth contacting is Eric Pearson.

http://www.austincenterformartialart...artaikido.html

Eric has a blog at http://tomikiaikido.blogspot.com/

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Old 10-09-2014, 02:27 PM   #17
Larry Feldman
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Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
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Re: Switching Arts

The Houston to Austin commute is about 3 1/2 hours. I did it for 10 years, once a month to study with Mark Leidig, who you can find teaching at Austin Communtiy College. I was Shodan at the time, for most people who don't know Aikido it is not a good solution.

There are options in Houston, much more so now then when I left in '94.
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