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Old 11-19-2003, 07:07 PM   #1
Kieun
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multiple senseis

What is the ettiquette in the aikido world for studying under multiple senseis? I know that if I were learning different arts under different teachers it may not be as much of an issue (assuming that they were all aware of it and fine with it), but if studying the same art under multiple teachers are often frowned upon. I guess it's the master-disciple thing. But in aikido, and to an even greater degree, Judo, since the curriculums are more...consistent (in the sense that altho the flavors may differ, you're still gonna be getting the same thing), I've seen people who train in multiple dojos. Is this accepted? Encourgaed? Discourgaed? Experiences?

**The caveat here is that one should get a good foundation in one art/one teacher, but once you've got that.....
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Old 11-19-2003, 08:07 PM   #2
Thalib
 
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When you're in another sensei's dojo, respect them by doing what the sensei is instructing. Don't bring what you have learned in one dojo into another. It is just courtesy. Also, you have to keep an open mind what the other sensei has to teach, "empty your cup" - Oh no! Not this again -

It is just like when you're going to a seminar with a different lineage than your main instructor's, especially if it's a seminar with multiple shihans. You have your foundation, like you have said Kim-san, but a seminar is not a place where you show off what you have learned. One enters the seminar like as if one knows nothing. This will keep one's open mind and one will receive the lessons better.

Then again, this beginner's mind/spirit is(shoshin) essential wether or not one is studying with another sensei.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:50 PM   #3
Nafis Zahir
 
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Some teachers don't mind, and some really hate it and will make you choose or throw you out. Trust me. I have seen it done before. The ones that don't like it are control freaks and also think that their style of aikido is the only right way. Other teachers don't mind, because they want you to learn as much as you can and develope "your" aikido. But as Iriawan stated, you should respect what the instructor is doing and not take anything else to his class.

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Old 11-19-2003, 10:01 PM   #4
BKimpel
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That reminds me of something I read about practicing Aikido in Japan (can't remember who said it or where I read it).

Someone said that if you didn't have a patch on your sleeve (indicating that you "belonged" to one particular dojo/style) you were frowned upon after your initial visit. Assumingly along the lines that, "if you tried my Aikido, why would you not join my club and tell others about that choice?" (i.e. display the patch).

But if you had someone else's patch on your sleeve you could train anywhere you wanted, again assumingly because the sensei liked the challenge of converting you (or even just having other sensei's students coming to him/her to learn -- a little ego boost).

I wonder if that still holds true?

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 11-19-2003, 10:55 PM   #5
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Bruce Kimpel (BKimpel) wrote:
That reminds me of something I read about practicing Aikido in Japan (can't remember who said it or where I read it).

Someone said that if you didn't have a patch on your sleeve (indicating that you "belonged" to one particular dojo/style) you were frowned upon after your initial visit. Assumingly along the lines that, "if you tried my Aikido, why would you not join my club and tell others about that choice?" (i.e. display the patch).

But if you had someone else's patch on your sleeve you could train anywhere you wanted, again assumingly because the sensei liked the challenge of converting you (or even just having other sensei's students coming to him/her to learn -- a little ego boost).

I wonder if that still holds true?
I don't think that I've ever seen Aikido folks wear patches in Japan, except maybe in some of the university clubs, not even when I first trained there over twenty years ago.

Last time that I lived in Japan I trained regularly at three different dojo. Nobody minded in particular.

Some dojo expect you to follow their style, some expect you to experiment and bring in new approaches. Pretty much like any other type of activity, I suppose.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-19-2003, 11:08 PM   #6
PeterR
 
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Hey Chris;

I wear a patch - which we recieve after biting the head off a live chicken.

For a little bit extra you can get dogi with Shodokan embroidered on the front. Our belts all have Shodokan written on them.

But we were always a little differnt.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-19-2003, 11:26 PM   #7
Kelly Allen
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IMO The dojos who don't mind their students training with other Senseis, know they have nothing to fear, and that their students have everything to gain.

Kelly
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Old 11-20-2003, 12:03 AM   #8
faramos
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Well, it not that difficult to ask a student or sensei from another dojo what the ettiquiette is. Often times they're more than happy to let you know how, why, and what their practices are. Sure, there are instructors that do find inter-dojo training to be unhealthy, and at the same time there are many that welcome the idea. No one is ever going to learn everything about Aikido from one person. At the same time, we only get better when we develop a specific way of training.

When it comes right down to it, you'll rarely find a dojo that doesn't have at least one familiar technique or manner. And almost everyone, everywhere, in any Aikido dojo is welcome to watch a session in progress. So I doubt there's ever any major objection to visiting other dojos or observing a class, rather, if it is a question of training, it means that we're inclined to take the initiative and ask if we can. There's nothing wrong with asking.
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Old 11-20-2003, 12:09 AM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Hey Chris;

I wear a patch - which we recieve after biting the head off a live chicken.

For a little bit extra you can get dogi with Shodokan embroidered on the front. Our belts all have Shodokan written on them.

But we were always a little differnt.
Ah well, I tried to stay away from the Shodokan guys in Japan .

The Yoshinkan, Daito-ryu and Aikikai guys that I trained with didn't really wear any kind of insignia, although some of the Karate folks did. Some people had stuff on their belts and some didn't - I never got around to it myself.

Anyway, I've always found people more prickly about dojo-hopping in the US then they ever were in Japan.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-20-2003, 12:47 AM   #10
Paul Klembeck
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IMHO, Aikido is a physical art and physical arts must be practiced with a discipline that requires repeating activities over and over in the same way (except for constant improvement) to finally acheive mastery.

The implication of this belief is a need to pick a core method. Once you have chosen your centerpoint/touchstone, you must practice it more than any other. By all means see what other people do, but always refer those insights back to your core practice.

Random practice of varied approaches only leads to sloppy, not quite anything technique. Your body won't learn that way, although you can play many intellectual mind games with yourself.

As to what your core choice should be, probably doesn't matter a lot, except for it's speaking to you.

Paul
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Old 11-20-2003, 01:18 AM   #11
batemanb
 
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When I lived in, and now visit Japan, I train in two different dojo's, with the odd visit to Hombu.

In one dojo, they have no patches, but some of the members have started having the dojo name embroidered on their sleeve and/or belt. In the other dojo, members wear a patch on the left chest, at first I didn't, but was quietly asked to do so by one of the teachers. At Hombu, the only people wearing them were like me, coming in from other dojo's to practice.

Here in the UK, my association has a patch, although I don't yet have one.

As for training with multiple Sensei's, it has been encouraged in every dojo that I have belonged to and trained in, both here and in Japan.

Regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 11-20-2003, 08:10 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, I have teo concerns about training under multiple teachers.

The first, somewhat implies you may not be getting what you want from your teacher and are looking around. Some teachers feel this is rude, so you may want to talk to them, or just keep it to yourself. But then it may always be on your mind and take away from your training.

The second, since each teacher has a style and emphasis in training, unless you have a good foundation from which to work, it may be confusing and impeed your progress. This is one reason to study under one teacher before really branching out.

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 11-20-2003, 09:03 AM   #13
Abasan
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Imagine you were a student of a particular kenjutsu school/ryu.

From what i understand (limited because its through books), each school/ryu have different styles based on their particular technique, ability or approach towards ending an encounter.

Although generally holding the sword and stances are similar looking, each ryu would have their own main stance, or particular weight distribution, or height of kamae, that sort of thing. all of which influences the way you cut with the sword and when.

If you were learning from one sensei and have not yet mastered your ryu, and then you started toying with other ryus, i bet you'll get in a heap of trouble.

maybe in aikido theres less trouble, cause everything looks the same, you can't really tell what aspect is concentrated on by your sensei and why, and the end result of an encounter is not death or dismemberment.

Just my thoughts. Although myself, i like practising with many different ppl just for the feel of it.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 11-20-2003, 10:27 AM   #14
Nick P.
 
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What about different Senseis in the SAME dojo?

Do you even bother to choose which you will most closely follow?

IMO, even if you only had one Sensei (or even Shihan) for your entire training life, you could always learn more from them and improve your technique. So does that mean that the one time a month you go to another Sensei will "undo" or "contaminate" your foundation? Probably not. 50/50 with each? Likely things will get confused (who knows, maybe that's where the true learning begins.)

I guess the real question is; what do you want from your Aikido + your Sensei + yourself. I think it's fairly obvious that the answer is very, very personal.

I would agree that if so much training elsewhere in a manner too different from what you are being taught gives you a "unstable" foundation (more likely in the first,what,4 to 8 years?) it would be best for you and your Sensei to stick with only one for a little while longer.

My 2 cents.

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Old 11-20-2003, 11:46 AM   #15
Kieun
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Thanks folks for all the replies. I agree that one should study from one teacher to get the foundation (been my experience in Chinese arts). But my question stemmed from a purely logistical reason/hypothetical. i.e. What if you had a school you went to that was your weekend school and another that was your weekday school (closer to work)? I guess it all depends on the teacher and school so it's best to simply ask. I just wanted to get a general feel for how such a practice of multiple dojos/senseis was considered in the aikido community.
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Old 11-20-2003, 05:19 PM   #16
Jeanne Shepard
 
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For myself, Seattle is a great Aikido city, and I have alot of friends at all the different dojos. I like to visit them for their Friday night classes, then go out after.

Its more of a social thing.

Jeanne
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Old 11-21-2003, 01:01 AM   #17
batemanb
 
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Quote:
Nick Pittson (Nick P.) wrote:
What about different Senseis in the SAME dojo?
In Tokyo, the Renmei that I belonged to had 4 dojo's within easy reach of each other. Each dojo had a dojo cho and 2 or 3 other teachers. There is a teaching rota each month where each would get a slot, some more than others, but the teaching was very evenly spread out. Kaicho would teach once a month at our hombu dojo and on special sessions. Matsuda Sensei would come down from Hombu once a month, others would also come once a month.

Seminars were arranged very regularly with high level Hombu Shihan and everyone encouraged to go.

Every Sensei would teach differently, but ultimately, they were all teaching Aikido.

Having said all that, most people followed the Dojo cho of the dojo that they joined the Renmei through. So whilst we were all encouraged to study with everyone, we still paid allegiance to our individual Sensei.

Regards

Bryan

Last edited by batemanb : 11-21-2003 at 01:05 AM.

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