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Old 12-23-2003, 02:55 PM   #1
Ian Upstone
Location: Sussex
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 80
Cross training within aikido

Hello everyone.

First-time poster here!

I train in Yoshinkan aikido, and I'm lucky enough to have a sensei who recommends training at other aikido dojos with as many teachers as possible, regardless of affiliation or stylistic differences, as after all they all came from the same man at various stages of his life.

As a result I have a little bit of experience in other, later, 'styles' of aikido, and I feel it has broadened my understanding somewhat.

It is also somewhat humbling when you have to start from 'square one' as it were, which is difficult both technically as well as (if I'm being brutally honest) from a pride point of view.

I also became especially aware (and then paranoid) of habits I had previously developed in my regular dojo, i.e shouting "Osu!"; keeping hips square; blocking (and applying!) atemi that are not taught at a particular dojo. The list goes on...

I didn't start looking around until I had a fairly good grasp of the basics in my dojo as I felt that before then it would confuse rather than help me, but I'm certainly glad I did now. Although my experiences of other dojo are very limited and I continue at the same dojo, my aikido and my understanding of aikido has definitely improved.

I also feel (maybe incorrectly!) that starting in an earlier style and then visiting later, "post-war" styles in the historical order is easier than perhaps the other way around.

I'd love to hear others views and anecdotes - both good and bad, about training in other dojos. I'm sure there are some great stories and strong opinions about this.

Thank you!
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Old 12-23-2003, 03:37 PM   #2
Eric Joyce
Dojo: Budoshingikan
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 179
Hey Ian,

I do Yoshinkai aikido and I have done the same thing you have. I think doing the Yoshinkai, IMHO, helped me to understand the basics and how to move properly. I first started in Aikikai and we didn't do a lot of basic movements like we did in Yoshinkai. I never knew if I was balanced correctly, did I have the correct maai, etc. It was just observe, then do. It works for some, but it didn't work for me. When I did Yoshinkai, it was like starting over...but it helped me considerably. Now when I do practice at an Aikikai dojo, I understand the technique much better. So, you aren't alone my man. Have a great holiday

Eric Joyce
Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu
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Old 12-23-2003, 09:46 PM   #3
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
Is yoshinkai the same as yoshinkan? This may sound stupid, but An honest question from the outer edges of Texas.



Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 12-24-2003, 03:47 AM   #4
Ian Upstone
Location: Sussex
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 80
Thanks for your post Eric. Nice to hear I'm not the only one. So far, positive 1, negative 0!

Lan, as far as I know, Yoshinkan and Yoshinkai aikido are one and the same. Yoshinkai aikido groups (normally their association name) train in Yoshinkan aikido.

'Kan' means 'large building/hall', and 'Kai' means 'meeting' or in this context 'association'.

Anyway, if I'm horribly wrong here someone please set the record straight!

Thanks and Happy holidays!
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Old 12-24-2003, 11:45 AM   #5
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
Yep, I agree, cross-training within aikido is only going to benefit. Even if its confusing at first. I train in Yoshinkan as well, and have had the oportunity to train with folks like John Stevens, Donovan Waite, Ikeda Sensei, and Kirisawa Sensei. In fact, I'm in Boulder right now, and just had two classes last night at the Boulder Aikikai. First time back on the mat in a while, but it was sooooo much fun! Even though the thin air had me gasping for the entire second class...

I recomend seeking out good instruction where ever you find it.


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 12-25-2003, 12:10 AM   #6
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
While our dojo is closed during a move I've been training in a different style. I'm more of a beginner, I think, than most of the people posting to this thread. I've been confused much of the time, but hey, I'm confused a lot at my home dojo too. It's been fascinating to compare and contrast the styles and teaching strategies. (It was also a change from training mostly with adults--I'm 40--to training mostly with teens, and that has been an education in itself.)

Last night I was taught what I found to be a completely unfamiliar and rather alien throw. I went home and tried to write it up for my notebook, and with a soundless "click" it turned into a throw I'd done for my fifth kyu tests. Every single detail was different; but all the same parts were there, in the same order, essentially doing the same things. Very cool moment, worth a good deal of confusion.

The real trick will be not to end up with a mixture of the two bokken styles. The open-hand difference can be passed off as stylistic variation, but either school would have a fit at the other's bokken work. I had no idea there was such a range of possibilities. It would be easy to spend a month or two being hopelessly bad at both of them due to mixing them up. Which won't be the end of the world, but I'd like to avoid it if I can.

Mary Kaye
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