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Old 11-15-2002, 01:40 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 24
question about how to behave....

Hello all, I am new to aikido, altho I have been doing other martial arts (primarily Chinese arts) for some time. I really enjoy aikido and hope to continue to do it, but have some questions regarding how I should...act during class. Here's the issue - the etiquette in a dojo setting is great and I have to problems with that, but I have found that when I am working with my partners, my body seems to take on some unconscious behavior. Certain things like ukemi I am already familiar with (altho by no means as good as it can be) but when I perform some techniques or attack, my body naturally reverts to some old modes of movement from my old arts. I am consciously trying to minimize this since I want to learn with an empty cup, but it's tougher than I thought. I have discovered that I have to pretend to know nothing so my movements are not biased (but for some reason I feel like I am being a fake and feel bad doing that) or I start to move as before (which i don't want to do since I don't want seem like I'm "testing" aikido or the dojo). I figure with time I'll ease into it and the old and new movements will get integrated and melded in me...somehow. But has anyone else experienced anything similar? Thank you.
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Old 11-15-2002, 02:08 PM   #2
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 432
Yep. I practiced a couple of chinese martial arts for a combined sixteen years before starting in aikido. I think you're on the right track. I wouldn't worry too much about it, as I think time will eventually take care of it. Pretty soon you'll start to notice more similarities than differences. Have fun and good luck!


Robert Cronin
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Old 11-15-2002, 02:13 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 97
I suggest pratice the new method diligently until become somewhat proficient at it, and then decide for yourself which is better, or more comfortable for you. If you train at an Aikido dojo do whats appropriate there, and if you want to integrate your old techniques into what you are learning or vice versa, then train like that on your own time.
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Old 11-16-2002, 12:20 AM   #4
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
You could also ask your sensei and fellow students to please be patient with you and ask them ahead of time to forgive you if some previously learned movement pops out. Usually if people know what's going on they will be more than happy to be patient.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 11-16-2002, 11:38 AM   #5
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Yep too. I came to Aikido after years in the "bashing" arts. My body would stutter as if to say, "What do you mean let them grab me, take the fall, and I really can't hit back?" It was funny. Still is. You shoudl see my posture change when I pick up the wooden knives (FMA). Stick with it. Train slowly so you can stay more conscious. Relax, breathe, and enjoy yourself.

Until agaian,


Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 11-16-2002, 09:15 PM   #6
Location: Bangkok
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 803
I don't think you have a problem, in the countrary, maybe your dojo partners will benefit from your experience as many aikidoists don't know how to strike properly.

I came to aikido from judo, which makes things more complicated, because of the similarities. Every time I do a throwing technique (mostly the many varieties of kokyu nage), my hip unconsciously protrudes, which makes all my throws look and feel almost like a koshi nage. All my partners were complaining about it, and I was developing a koshi complex untill I saw Yamada Shihan in a recent seminar and delightfully noticed that he too uses so much koshi in his techniques. Eversince, I don't care, I just do it...
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Old 11-17-2002, 10:09 AM   #7
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
I don't think you have a problem, in the countrary, maybe your dojo partners will benefit from your experience
Yep, we have a few from quite a hard Kung Fu style in our dojo. I think other martial artists bring a lot to aikido. Discussing points with other people in aikido will certainly deepen your and their understanding and appreciation of martial arts and aikido. I think much of the beauty of aikido is not fully understood until you realise exactly what other people can do.

Main thing with chinese martial arts is the stationary posture (on the whole). In aikido we tend to move the centre line, rather than block things from it - much slower at first, but often more effective against powerful opponents or weapons.

As Edward suggests though, don't forget everything! Your aikido is your aikido!

(In fact we also have a fencer, who is very fast when it comes to weapon work, but tends to keep the same foot forward!)

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Old 11-18-2002, 09:01 AM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 24
Thanks folks for your replies. My main concern was that I didn't want to seem like I was there with a full cup. I've seen such people come to my kung fu school and their behavior didn't reflect well on that person. Anyway, our dojo will be having testing today and altho I am oh so low on the totem pole, they asked everyone to be there so I'll be there and participate and watch. I think it'll be interesting and educational.

Indidentally, do any of you any suggestions on what I can do as solo practice? I am practicing the footwork and going through the motions of the techniques on my own, but since aikido requires a good deal of kinesthetic feedback, I am not sure if this is enough. What're your solo workout methods?

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Old 11-18-2002, 09:34 AM   #9
Marty's Avatar
Dojo: Southside dojo
Location: Kalamazoo Mi, USA
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 30
I also came to aikido form another martial art, TKD. When I started I told the instructors that I trained for 6yrs in a striking art. I worked hard at attacking in the way that was expected. Lots of times I failed in that regard but everyone could tell that I was trying. So to my mind as long as your intent is correct, that you are there to learn and not challenge then I believe that will show. In the dojo that I train at now there are lots of people form other styles and backgrounds and most (all that stay for a time) come with the attitude that this is different and I want to learn. Those that come to show that they are better or that they already know more then we could teach leave quickly; after all they already know all we can teach, right?

As far as solo practice I try mindfulness. To me a big part of aikido is being aware of the people and things around me. So I try to be observant, listen to what people say and what they mean. I try to remain open and excepting. Finally I try to stay RELAXED at all times. As far as movements the style of aikido that I practice has sets of movements called Aiki-tiso that we practice. These movements make up the core of our techniques. I practice these all the time. And finally I image doing paired work feeling what uke would do and how I would respond.

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Old 11-18-2002, 11:21 AM   #10
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Sounds like you've got the right attitude, so wouldn't worry too much - if you really want to see a "full cup", go and watch a course where several aikido styles are trying to train together...

Solo practice? Jo & bokken kata are good fun and the old "imaginary enemy" can help in foot movement (although mine started cheating so I stoped using him). Someone I trained with used to use ankle weights on their wrists to get the feeling of a "dead weight uke" for this purpose, don't know about this one, but they swore it worked.
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