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Old 03-15-2004, 02:20 PM   #1
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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what's the smallest space you've ever trained in?

Hi all,

How small a space have you managed to practice in, and how did you modify (if at all) your training to fit into the space?

Asking because I inadvertantly put my dojo into a smaller space than I had expected and am trying to figure out the best way of working with what we've got.

best, Rachel
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Old 03-15-2004, 04:32 PM   #2
Ian Williams
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 136
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We train in a part of an old converted house. Our dojo is basically an L shaped wide hallway.

We learn quite early that it's bad form to do a take down into the corner of a wall

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 03-15-2004, 04:55 PM   #3
ikkitosennomusha
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Well Rachel,

Instead of talking about the crappy conditons I have trained it, lets focus on you. To figure out the best way to work with what you've got, you may need to briefly describe what you have. Such as, the room area measurement, mat measurement, any odd nooks or crannys, that sort of thing.

Is it a case of being too small of being too small with crappy mats? Just let us know you situation, some of us may be able to offer advice and yet again, there may be nothing you can do to rectify the situation. In any case, I feel for you as I know how that is!

Brad Medling
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Old 03-15-2004, 05:14 PM   #4
Nacho_mx
Dojo: Federación Mexicana de Aikido
Location: Mexico City
Join Date: Mar 2002
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It would help to know how many square meters (or feet) of mat space do you have and what´s the maximum number of practitioners you would like to accommodate per session. I figured (and this is a totally unscientific approach) the minimum area for a confortable coupled practice (breakfalls and all) to be 9 square meters. Thus a regular area of say 36 square meters may confortably accommodate 8 adult practitioners (10 children) plus the instructor. Going back to your original question, for a recent seminar with Fujita sensei we managed to pack 120 practitioners in a 180 square meter area...we figured the best approach was to sit half of them, taking turns so everybody had equal practice time.
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Old 03-15-2004, 06:43 PM   #5
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
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I don't know how big a standard one car garage is, but I trained in one once. It was OK, but there weren't more than 3-4 students besides Sensei.

Actually, it was kind of fun, especially in the summer, with the door rolled up...

Jeanne
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Old 03-15-2004, 07:19 PM   #6
JohnnyBA
Dojo: American Aikido Institute
Location: Chicago, IL
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I currently train on 100 square feet of mat space (10ft by 10ft). With low cielings. Bokken and jo work is extremely limited, but I get by. sometimes 4 people at a time. Nothing I can do about it....
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Old 03-15-2004, 09:34 PM   #7
Steven
 
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Hi Rachel,

When I setup in my garage, it is approximately 320 sqft. I've had up to 8 people training at one time without any problems. It takes great discipline to be aware of where your neighbors are. I've also trained in space approximately 220 sgft with 6 people.

My current space is 704 sqft and I've had up to 35 people training. Again, discipline is the order of the day. And yes, we do take ukemi. Mat space management is alway a fun challenge.
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Old 03-15-2004, 10:14 PM   #8
PeterR
 
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Smallest was 4 tatami with a huge recently discharged US marine. Needless to say it was all suwariwaza techniques. Ah the taste of straw at 4am - there's a story there but I wont tell.

But as far as regular training - nothing too small to talk of.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-16-2004, 12:52 AM   #9
batemanb
 
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Smallest was 4 tatami with a huge recently discharged US marine. Needless to say it was all suwariwaza techniques. Ah the taste of straw at 4am - there's a story there but I wont tell.
I'm sure there's a few quips in there too, but we keep this place clean

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 03-16-2004, 01:05 AM   #10
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Bryan Bateman (batemanb) wrote:
I'm sure there's a few quips in there too, but we keep this place clean
You are a truely evil man.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:21 AM   #11
JJF
 
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Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
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Not entirely relevant but here goes: I'm currently writing my master thesis, and is therefore on leave from job and sits at home. When I need a short break I either check out aikiweb (major time sink...) or I pick up either my jo or my bokken and practice a few Kata's. My office however is about 4 x 3 meters, and the ceiling is sloped on from about the middle and outwards, so I have to 'adapt' my training quite a bit.... Probably not worth much as practice, but it's a nice way to clear my mind....

Apart from that, our dojo is not very large - about 11 x 11 meters or so with two concrete pillars dividing it up. Yesterday we were almost 20 people on the mat, and we had loads of fun. Needs a great deal of care though - not to throw uke into someone else...

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-16-2004, 03:25 AM   #12
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Boy, my space isn't as horrid as what you folks have dealt with! Gives me great hope.

I've got a decent size mat, but it is long and narrow, and has wall abutting on one side (making that part of the mat less usable) and viewing area on the other (have to watch for visitors not to kick them in the face). The measurements are 5 meters by 8 meters plus an extra two tatami at the far end next to the tokonoma that has yet to be properly installed. The biggest problem is the wall. Yesterday I held my first class and was dumbstruck by the configuration and realized that unless we did lots of pins, actual throws along the short side would be impossible and we'd have to do line throws along the long side, but might only be able to get one line in instead of two. My current students are all at the point where they have enough control over their rolls whereas not to bash into the walls, but new students are going to have trouble with this.

Can't believe I made such a big mistake on my vision for this space, and wish I'd listened to my student who kept telling me "meters, not feet" with the mat.
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Old 03-16-2004, 06:15 AM   #13
Olaf
Dojo: Aikido Dojo Rodgau
Location: Rodgau
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Germany
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Well,

my first own space was 4 x 8 meters, and we had 4-6, sometimes 8 people training. We even did a seminar with my Sensei with about 15 people. Rolling is very limited, but not impossible. Of course you have to work in groups if you want to roll (two groups length-wise).

Now we have a space about 10,5 x 9-11 meters, with two columns dividing it into two sections of 5x9 and 5x11 meters. This gives enough room to actually train with about 20 people and still being able to roll. More would fit for a seminar, but rolling is then limited to group work.

If you are interested, you can find pics on our website (go to multimedia, photos, dojos for the current dojo, and to seminars, May2002 Germany, first 3 pics for the old dojo.)

Oh, and weapons work was done in the garden in front of the old dojo, now it's in the dojo.

Have fun training...

Olaf
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Old 03-16-2004, 08:02 AM   #14
cbrf4zr2
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I guess I wont complain about the 40' x 40' space that we have to train on.

************************
...then again, that's just me.
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Old 03-16-2004, 08:04 AM   #15
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Lucky fellow! Where's Caledonia?
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Old 03-16-2004, 08:51 AM   #16
Bronson
 
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Hey Rachel,

You've been to my sensei's dojo, it's got that same long narrow thing going on. It was definitely and adjustment from our last place that was more of a big square, but everybody was able to work it out because they had to. I don't think it's really that big of a deal. New folks won't know the difference anyway, for them it will be perfectly normal. Because of our dojo's long narrowness when the classes are large we often work in groups of 3 or 4 or have a line at each end.

It does make me appreciate the place I teach at in Kalamazoo which has a 30' x 60' mat area on top of tires (and a sauna for those cold Michigan nights ) We didn't start out that big though, I think when I started there the mat area was something like 18' x 12' with one corner cut off to make a walkway.

Bronson

"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 03-16-2004, 08:55 AM   #17
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Thanks Bronson; my students are less aghast than I am by it. I was shocked at my stupidity and thought I'd worked out the space arrangements so neatly. Actually, I am thinking of cutting down a couple of my zebra mats to take them to the edge of the space, as the dojo is almost 19 feet wide, and so we can get in a bit more space if we want to. I'll post that as a separate thread, in case anyone has ever torn apart their tatami mats. Bronson, when are you coming for a visit to the dojo?
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Old 03-16-2004, 09:01 AM   #18
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Actually, I am thinking of cutting down a couple of my zebra mats to take them to the edge of the space, as the dojo is almost 19 feet wide, and so we can get in a bit more space if we want to.
Our mats run all the way to walls and we don't really have any problem. I just try to have uke start as close to the wall as possible to allow nage more room (unless the technique is going to take uke back where they came from...but you get the idea)
Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Bronson, when are you coming for a visit to the dojo?
Oh sure put me on the spot Actually I've been trying to recruit a few students for a road trip. Can't say when it would be as we all have work, family, school, training, etc. schedules to contend with but I'm trying to get one going. What are you class times and days?

Bronson

"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 03-16-2004, 09:04 AM   #19
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Currently it is Monday and Wednesday mornings, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday afternoons. We'd love to have you folks over. I enjoyed my experience at your dojo and would like to be able to reciprocate!

Take care, Rachel
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Old 03-16-2004, 11:35 AM   #20
cbrf4zr2
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Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
Lucky fellow! Where's Caledonia?
Suburb of Grand Rapids. We're having a seminar at our place this Saturday. Details are in the seminars section over on the left side of the screen there. The Dojo is in not in Caledonia, but that's where I am.

************************
...then again, that's just me.
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Old 03-19-2004, 11:43 PM   #21
ryujin
 
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Dojo: Renshinkan
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I've trained in a space that was about two feet by four feet because it was the only warm spot on the mat. It was the only space that got any sun during the winter. Of course in Arizona that winter was about three days long. : )

Carl Bilodeau
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō
Renshinkan

"Yield to temptation — it may not pass your way again." - Robert Heinlein
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:24 AM   #22
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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I currently train on rougly 32 square metres, in an L-shaped room with walls around the entire mat. This is not aikido, though. Aikido techniques in general take slightly more space. But we have to think all the time about where to stand when we start the technique, to use the space efficiently.

My old university dojo had 40 square metres, in a big room. The start of first term was crowded, especially as newbies don't understand in the beginning of techniques which direction they are going to throw. Later we were never more than 8 students, mostly just three of five, and one of them thought I should get more tatami. I shook my head - hey, you don't know what crowded is... I usually laid them out as 8*5 metres, but when we were many I adjusted to 10*4. 4 metres without walls works for taking throws, got to think about what you're doing though.

I used to train at a place where we had 32 square metres (350 square feet) laid out as 8*4, later improving to 40 (430). A little space between mat and walls, though, which helped. When we were more than eight people, we usually did techniques with throws as what I am taught to call kakari geiko: one person is tori, and the others stand in a line to get thrown. That I can recommend.

At crowded seminars, the teacher sometimes had us working in groups of three instead of in pairs. In a regular class where the students are fairly new, though, I think you loose a lot of tempo by this.

Last edited by Hanna B : 03-20-2004 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 03-22-2004, 01:27 AM   #23
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Edward Frederick (cbrf4zr2) wrote:
Suburb of Grand Rapids. We're having a seminar at our place this Saturday.
Hey, are you training at the Toyoda Center with Feyen(sp?) sensei? I've been up there a couple of times. Great dojo...large mat space and nice folks.

Every so often Dave and Rebecca come down to Kalamazoo to my class, I wish my schedule would allow me to get up there to visit you guys more.

Bronson

"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 03-22-2004, 08:07 AM   #24
cbrf4zr2
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
Hey, are you training at the Toyoda Center with Feyen(sp?) sensei? I've been up there a couple of times. Great dojo...large mat space and nice folks.

Every so often Dave and Rebecca come down to Kalamazoo to my class, I wish my schedule would allow me to get up there to visit you guys more.

Bronson
No - I don't. I train at the other (original) AAA dojo in town. Politics and ego caused a large rift 2-1/2 years ago. I used to train with most of them.

************************
...then again, that's just me.
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Old 03-22-2004, 08:30 AM   #25
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Edward Frederick (cbrf4zr2) wrote:
No - I don't. I train at the other (original) AAA dojo in town. Politics and ego caused a large rift 2-1/2 years ago. I used to train with most of them.
Oops, my bad

Do you guys have a website with directions and class schedule? On the off chance my schedule lets up in the near ever I'd be interested in swinging by if that's ok.

Bronson

Last edited by Bronson : 03-22-2004 at 08:32 AM.

"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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