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Old 02-16-2004, 05:59 PM   #1
Tom Wolowiec
Dojo: none yet
Location: Auburn, WA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
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Low Dans?

Hi, I'm new here. I'm planning to switch to Aikido from TKD soon (TKD just isn't for me, although I might return to it later in life), and I used the dojo search on this website to find dojos in my area. I got a list of about 5 or so that are reasonably close, but the thing is, the sensei in those dojos are low dans. Lowest is 1, highest is 4. Is that normal in Aikido? I mean, in TKD, a 1st degree doesn't know enough to teach. A 4th just barely. Thanks in advance.

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 02-16-2004, 06:23 PM   #2
Steven
 
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Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
Location: Orangevale, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Hi Tom,

This is really dependent on the school. At mine, and where I was taught, we train our students to be instructors, not black belts. So we end up with non-yudansha, who teach on a regular basis. Whereas, there are a lot of yudansha who just train, have high rank, but rarely teach.

You will also find that some low ranked yudansha have in reality, been practicing and teaching longer than the higher ranked yudansha.

Don't let the dan rank be the deciding factor. Visit each of the schools, see which one feels best for you, and go with it.

... Cheers ...
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Old 02-16-2004, 06:39 PM   #3
Tom Wolowiec
Dojo: none yet
Location: Auburn, WA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
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Thanks, I'll check them out when I have some time.

I also have another question, though. What is "Icho Ryu" style? I googled it and found lots of Aikijutsu stuff. Does that mean the style is actually Aikijutsu instead of Aikido? And what are the differences, anyway?

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:11 PM   #4
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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Quote:
What is "Icho Ryu" style?
never heard of it

As far as Dan grades, aikido doesn't grade as quickly as TKD, and you will see a lot of folks out there with many years of experience with relatively low grades. Don't judge an aikido teacher by their rank, watch them teach a class and see how they handle the curriculum. Watch their students to see ho well they are doing, and how polite they are to someone watching the class. Notice the atmosphere of the dojo; is it a place you want to be? is it a place that you would feel comfortable? Also, in aikido, you will see a lot of reference to the teachers lineage and it is usually not grandiose but more subdued.

There are few dojos a bit of a distance that might be of interest:

Dojo Aikido Eastside (single)



Distance: 21 miles (North of auburn, WA)

Address: 13410 SE 32nd St; Bellevue, WA 98005 (Map)

Country: United States

Instructors: George S. Ledyard, 5th dan

Phone: (206) 570-9377

Fax: (425) 868-5143

Schedule: Daily except Sundays (Adults and kids)

E-mail: aikigeorge@aikieast.com

URL: http://www.aikieast.com

Affiliation: ASU

Puget Sound Aikikai (single)



Distance: 21 miles (North of auburn, WA)

Address: 400 Dexter Ave. N.; Seattle, WA 98109 (Map)

Country: United States

Instructors: Malory Graham, 2nd dan

Phone: (206) 341-9801

E-mail: psa@scn.org

URL: http://www.scn.org/~psa

Affiliation: USAF

I've had opportunity to practice with Malory and she's very nice and has good aikido, and Ledyard Sensei posts on this site and I think many folks out here in cyberland know him.

best,
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:32 PM   #5
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
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Posts: 351
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Hi,

Malory Graham is now Yondan (4th).

Jeanne
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:49 PM   #6
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Dojo Aikido Eastside (single)

Address: 13410 SE 32nd St; Bellevue, WA 98005 (Map) Instructors: George S. Ledyard, 5th dan

Phone: (206) 570-9377

Fax: (425) 868-5143

Schedule: Daily except Sundays (Adults and kids)

E-mail: aikigeorge@aikieast.com

URL: http://www.aikieast.com

Affiliation: ASU
I can personally recommend this dojo having trained there and with George long before he set it up. George is an excellent teacher who can not only tell you how to do something, but arrange training so that you feel it. He doing a RANDORI seminar here in Florida in March that I'm quite looking forward to.

BTW, I agree with the things said about DAN above, but fwiw, George is 6 DAN.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 02-16-2004, 08:28 PM   #7
Tom Wolowiec
Dojo: none yet
Location: Auburn, WA
Join Date: Feb 2004
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That would be like a half an hour drive...

But, I 'spose it'd be worth it.

I'll switch at the end of May, that's when my TKD contract ends, and I'll let you know how it's going.

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 02-16-2004, 09:19 PM   #8
PeterR
 
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
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Japan
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Quote:
Tom Wolowiec wrote:
That would be like a half an hour drive...

But, I 'spose it'd be worth it.

I'll switch at the end of May, that's when my TKD contract ends, and I'll let you know how it's going.
Personally I travel almost two hours each way once a week to train with the best I can find. If George Ledyard is it - that's what I would do - BUT - I would also seriously consider something a little closer. Perhaps do both - or reserve Mr. Ledyard for seminars.

If you really enjoy Aikido you will probably find yourself gravitating towards Mr. Ledyard but as a beginner that drive would be, just one more excuse, not to go.

As to high Dan versus low Dan. I've chosen Nidan over Godan in the past because of personal fit into the Dojo. A person that's been practicing 8-10 years is going to be able to teach a beginner more than enough.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-16-2004, 10:09 PM   #9
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 352
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Go see George.
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Old 02-17-2004, 01:48 AM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Thanks!

You folks are sweet But I agree with Peter... unless someone is already a serious, motivated student it's unlikely that they will travel more than around twenty minutes to half an hour for class.

I met a very nice lady named Sherry this past weekend who has a club down in the Auburn, Kent area with a small number of students, at a community center i believe but I am not sure how to get hold of her. There are also some folks down in Tacoma who are probably closer at rush hour than I am. Feel free to e-mail me: aikigeorge@aikieast.com and I can put you in touch with some of them.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-17-2004, 01:58 AM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Auburn Dojo

I found a dojo In Auburn for you to check out... Todd Shewman is in charge according to the website. I may have met him but can't remember for sure. Anyway, a Nidan in Yoshinkai style Aikido should be quite competent to teach you the basics.

Auburn Dojo

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-17-2004, 06:44 AM   #12
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: New York
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 322
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I actually disagree with Peter and George. I think that once he starts, if he really loves it, a half hour is no big deal.

I started Aikido almost a year and a half ago at a dojo that is 40 minutes from my home. I attend class there 4 or 5 times a week, PLUS I now go to our sister dojo in Woodstock at least once a week and that dojo is an hour away.

So I think it depends on the student....if he gets obsessed and addicted right away like I did, and he feels at home in his dojo, the long drive won't dissuade him at all.

I think his best bet is to visit every dojo he could conceivably drive to a few times a week, and join the one he feels most at home in.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 02-17-2004, 07:26 AM   #13
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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I agree with Karen!

My dojo is made up entirely with beginners (the dojo has been open 15 months) and my highest ranking student just passed fourth kyu. Out of the 8 students, 2 drive over 1/2 an hour to get to me (and there are other choices closer), and one drives about 50 minutes.

Visit the various dojos within the 25 mile radius (or even further if you wish) and check them all out. Go with whom you feel most comfortable. Your choice of a teacher should be what appeals to you most, and not what we tell you (other than the obvious making sure that they have proper credentials, which is not necessarily contingent upon rank).

Jeanne, please suggest to Mallory that she update her listing to reflect her 4th Dan!
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Old 02-17-2004, 09:59 AM   #14
Kevin Masters
Dojo: Woodstock Aikido
Location: Mount Tremper, NY
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 85
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Hey Karen. That's FATHER dojo to you!

hahahahah

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Old 02-17-2004, 01:15 PM   #15
Tom Wolowiec
Dojo: none yet
Location: Auburn, WA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
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Re: Auburn Dojo

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I found a dojo In Auburn for you to check out... Todd Shewman is in charge according to the website. I may have met him but can't remember for sure. Anyway, a Nidan in Yoshinkai style Aikido should be quite competent to teach you the basics.

Auburn Dojo
That's the one I was looking at before I came here.

It'll be hard to balance college, a part time job, and Aikido, so I probably won't be able to go 6 times a week anyway.

Thanks for the advice, I'll check out some Dojo's then, and see which one I like.

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 02-17-2004, 01:49 PM   #16
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: New York
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 322
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Ha, Kevin, right.

So would that make NY Aikikai my grandfather dojo???

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 02-17-2004, 01:53 PM   #17
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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best wishes Tom; check back later and tell us where you joined and how you are enjoying it.
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Old 02-17-2004, 02:25 PM   #18
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
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Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
Ha, Kevin, right.

So would that make NY Aikikai my grandfather dojo???
Well, then NY Aikikai would be our father dojo and Woodstock our sister dojo. Then Karen, that you make you our Nephew dojo.


Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 02-17-2004, 11:31 PM   #19
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Comittment

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
I actually disagree with Peter and George. I think that once he starts, if he really loves it, a half hour is no big deal.

I started Aikido almost a year and a half ago at a dojo that is 40 minutes from my home. I attend class there 4 or 5 times a week, PLUS I now go to our sister dojo in Woodstock at least once a week and that dojo is an hour away.

So I think it depends on the student....if he gets obsessed and addicted right away like I did, and he feels at home in his dojo, the long drive won't dissuade him at all.

I think his best bet is to visit every dojo he could conceivably drive to a few times a week, and join the one he feels most at home in.
Yes, it depends on the student. For years I went across the bridge at rush hour to get to Mary Heiny Sensei's dojo. I also trained with Bookman Sensei half time as well. It took me over an hour to drive what normally was 20 minutes at off times. That doesn'r negate my point. The number of people who are like us is quite small. I have close to 100 students now if you count kids, adults, and defensive tactics students. Over the fifteen years we have been open 90% of them have travelled from within a 20 minute travel time. If there is another dojo that is closer to them, they will go there. This is true even when they have already been training with you. A new place opens that ius more convenient and they'll leave to train there. There are exceptions... some people want to train with a specific teacher or do a particular style and they will go out of their way but most people will not.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 02-18-2004, 10:48 AM   #20
akiy
 
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Re: Comittment

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Yes, it depends on the student. For years I went across the bridge at rush hour to get to Mary Heiny Sensei's dojo. I also trained with Bookman Sensei half time as well. It took me over an hour to drive what normally was 20 minutes at off times. That doesn'r negate my point. The number of people who are like us is quite small.
Here's a poll that I took about a year back:

"How long does it take to get to your aikido dojo from home?"

http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=153

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
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Old 02-18-2004, 01:43 PM   #21
Ted Marr
Location: Providence, RI
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Take a look at the discussion thing a while back on "how long did/does it take to reach 1st dan". If you take into account that most people have trained at least 5 years, and more often something like 8-10 years to get to 1st dan, the question of whether they are qualified to teach is less relavant. And I totally agree with the idea that you should visit the dojos rather than make a choice based solely on rank. Referring again to the "how long does it take" discussion, not all ranks are created equal with respect to training time required.

Best of luck in your new art
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:24 PM   #22
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
Location: New York
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 322
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Quote:
Anne Marie Giri (giriasis) wrote:
Well, then NY Aikikai would be our father dojo and Woodstock our sister dojo. Then Karen, that you make you our Nephew dojo.

So, would that make you my Aiki Aunt?

Tee hee.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 02-18-2004, 02:36 PM   #23
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
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Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
So, would that make you my Aiki Aunt?

Tee hee.
Yes, my little Aiki Neice.

In regards to the poster's question. I started at my dojo because they had a branch dojo at my university. I could walk to class. I was already hooked to aikido though as I had already been training in aikido for 6 months prior to starting at Florida Aikikai. The reason for the switch was that I moved away from my old school. I ended up switching from Juko-kai (you know them as the combat ki folks) to my present school.

Eventually, I started going to our main dojo which is about a 30 minute drive. I've been training for 4.5 years and have been with my current dojo for 4 of those years.

One of the other women in our dojo would travel 2.5 hours by bus to get to our dojo and there was one closer to her on the way. This was when she first started. Needless to say, she's still around.

Last edited by giriasis : 02-18-2004 at 02:39 PM.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 02-18-2004, 05:24 PM   #24
Fausto
Dojo: Bu Iku Kai Mexico
Location: Queretaro Mexico
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 81
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I used to travel 8 hours per week by train to go to the dojo (2 classes of 2 hours each) and i had a dojo which was 15 minutes far from my home!... why I did that cos i felt more comfortable with the other dojo.... so go to the dojo you fell more comfortable... as far as the Dan issue well my last Sensei was a San-Dan but his technique felt like a Go-Dan!!!... so my advice is to watch a couple of lessons then attend class in the dojo you liked best and feel Sensei's technique if you are happy with his technique stay there if you're not... go to another dojo.
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