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Old 03-26-2004, 08:35 PM   #1
Big Dave
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Connecticut
Location: Hartford, Connecticut
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Seminars- OK for Beginners?

Hi all, my question is this - at what point is it appropriate for a student to start attending seminars? For example, I have been training now for four months. Would attending a seminar be a waste of time and money at this point? Or would they be able to accommodate my status as such? If not now, when? Thoughts?
Thanks,
Dave
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:01 PM   #2
p00kiethebear
 
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Some seminars are for black belts only.

But yes, infact it's probably good that you're going as a beginer. I went to a seminar when i was only about 4 months in to aikido and afterwards felt like i had improved 100 times better.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:39 PM   #3
thatoldfool
 
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I agree. I would draw the line at total beginners that can't roll yet, but as long as you can roll, I think you're ok to attend. Usually it's too crowded to take breakfalls anyway...

"Best to be like water,
Which benefits the ten thousand things
And does not contend."
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Old 03-27-2004, 06:15 AM   #4
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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i went to my first seminar just a little later than that. I have two pieces of advice:

(1) Let your training partners know that you are inexperienced and they should proceed accordingly. One of my sempai got macho at his first seminar and cracked a rib.

(2) If you get so tired that you can't safely take ukemi, sit quietly at the back. There was a definite gap between when I learned to roll and when I could roll while exhausted (in fact, I'm not sure I'm there yet).

I had a great time at my first one, so I'd encourage you to do it, just take care of yourself.

Mary Kaye
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Old 03-27-2004, 06:50 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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third kyu seems to be the time to 'get serious' about your training and attend seminars with 'shoshin' ( beginner's mind)

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 03-27-2004, 10:47 AM   #6
Joanne Arnest
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I went to my first seminar when I had been training for barely a month (I've been training now for about 6 months), though it was also free for me, as a student at the college, and a waste of money wasn't an issue. I will say that I don't think I got as much out of it as I did at the seminar I attended the end of January (again, free for me). I feel like I learned a lot from that one.
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Old 03-27-2004, 11:01 AM   #7
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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I went very early after starting. I think it is essential that you can do some basic ukemi and as others have cautioned let your partners know you are a beginner.
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Old 03-27-2004, 11:41 AM   #8
David Edwards
 
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Straight away! As soon as possible! It's always good to learn from other teachers, often a higher grade than your own, and practice with other Aikidoka with different person styles than the ppl with whom you are used to practicing. And of course, you'll make new friends over time as you meet more and more Aikidoka from other dojos. Well, that's the way I see it, anyway. Ask your Sensei's opinion

It's a kind of magic
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Old 03-27-2004, 08:07 PM   #9
Noel
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Most instructors I've seen at seminars are quite accomodating if they know what level you are at. Knowing the basics of rolling and falling are where I draw my personal safety line, though.

Harvey Konigsberg just did a wonderful session in Syracuse last month where he was exposing the deeper parts of some fundamentals. It worked great because the advanced people could work on subtleties, while the beginners felt comfortable because they were doing basic techniques.
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:50 AM   #10
p00kiethebear
 
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Also.

Work with as many black belts as you can. Hakama wearers will often try to work with eachother and not people in the kyu ranks.

You may find it necessary to literaly GRAB them and shout "O NEGAISHIMASU" before they even get a chance to stand up. Don't be afraid to. Obviously you can't always do this. BUT DON'T LET THE BLACK BELTS RUN AWAY FROM YOU. It will be great learning for both you AND them. No one is too good to be your uke, no one. always remember that.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:38 AM   #11
dan guthrie
Dojo: Aikido of SLO
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I've only got 7 months under my "belt" and I went to Doshu a few weeks ago as a spectator. I'm glad I didn't get out on the mat and I would suggest going to at least one seminar as a spectator before getting out on the mat.

Now I know what will be expected and I can gauge my level with other aikidoka. I learned a lot just by watching: some dojo chos move like Fred Astaire and some like Fred Flintstone (no one acted like Freddy Kruger).

If your sensei advises you to participate, you're probably a lot better than I am so go for it. If you aren't sure, being a spectator is absolutely wonderful.
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Old 03-28-2004, 02:40 PM   #12
David Edwards
 
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Nathan: Absolutely! I agree wholeheartedly. I'm a kyu grade, and I always manage to work my way into the midst of as much black stuff as I can. As my own Sensei advised me long ago to do so, I never fear to just touch someone and say "Onegaishimasu", even if it's some 5th dan I haven't met before (Don't think there are any in the country now, but you get the idea).

Dan: It's the ones who move like Freddie Mercury to watch out for

Last edited by David Edwards : 03-28-2004 at 02:46 PM.

It's a kind of magic
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Old 03-28-2004, 07:04 PM   #13
Ian Williams
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everytime a shodan or higher puts a joint lock on me (Jujitsu), I wish I was practicing with a mon belt again...

*youch*

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
Adelaide, South Australia

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure
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Old 03-28-2004, 09:34 PM   #14
barnibis
 
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terrible loss for all aikidoka

im not sure if this was mentioned earlier in this thread, but there is the issue of connection with O-Sensei.

i have trained for three years, and am only a kyu rank. But i had always believed that Seminars provide an opportunity to train under Shihan that have trained under O-sensei himself.

i remember telling many of my Kohai, that those Shihan that have trained directly under O-sensei probably won't last my generation. (i'm 28)

These notions were realized with a terrible loss this weekend.

i feel so emtpy inside, and i just had to reply to this thead when i saw it, i hadn't even read all of the posts.

For those who have committed themselves to Aikido, i would say, attend seminars as much as you can. Even if only to watch. Because the opportunity to learn under these first generation Shihan is fleeting. And we are reminded of this each time we lose such a Shihan.

i don't know what else more to say except my dedication has definately increased. i promise i will not let Sensei's attention and time go to waste, i will take his teachings and make myself the best Aikidoka i can be. Thank you Sensei, it was a privledge, and an honor.

o..
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Old 03-29-2004, 04:13 AM   #15
justinm
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Otto - what terrible loss? I can't find any news that this could be about?

Justin

Justin McCarthy
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Old 03-29-2004, 06:18 AM   #16
justinm
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I have now seen the sad news about Mitsunari Kanai Sensei, in a separate thread.

Justin.

Justin McCarthy
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:07 AM   #17
David Edwards
 
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Re: terrible loss for all aikidoka

Quote:
otto lam (barnibis) wrote:
im not sure if this was mentioned earlier in this thread, but there is the issue of connection with O-Sensei.

i have trained for three years, and am only a kyu rank. But i had always believed that Seminars provide an opportunity to train under Shihan that have trained under O-sensei himself.
This is why I also look forward especially to, for example, Ken Cottier Shihan's vistits to our dojo... sometimes, I even find I can learn as much from talking to him (Well, really, listening to him mainly) in the bar / restaurant after the class...

It's a kind of magic
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Old 03-29-2004, 07:57 AM   #18
SeiserL
 
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I often have the pleasure and privilege to train with beginners and always learn something myself. Please, join in.

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 03-29-2004, 08:19 AM   #19
DanielR
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This past Saturday at Yamada sensei's seminar at LBI Aikikai I saw several participants who couldn't have had more than several months of experience. I'm sure it was a day well spent for them. I noticed Yamada sensei instructing some of them personally several times, and he explained the techniques in great detail. Most of the more advanced participants also seemed very careful and willing to help.

Daniel
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Old 03-29-2004, 01:23 PM   #20
Paul Melsness
Dojo: Ottawa Aikikai
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I attended my first seminar after only 2 weeks into my Aikido training. What a wonderful experience! It was with Ikeda Sensei, and it gave me a small glimpse of what is possible.

My sensei has always encouraged us to attend as many seminars as possible.

Peace,

Paul
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Old 04-01-2004, 08:22 PM   #21
Big Dave
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Connecticut
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thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies and encouragement. I have decided to "go for it" and will attend the Cherry Blossom Seminar 2004 in Washington DC with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan and Kenji Koyama Shihan. I'll give you all a report on Monday when I get back.

Dave
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:51 PM   #22
Big Dave
Dojo: Shobu Aikido Connecticut
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Got back last night after a long drive from Washington. The seminar was terrific. I did the Cherry Blossom Seminar 2004 in Washington DC with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan and Kenji Koyama Shihan from Tokyo. It would have been well worth the trip just to watch these masters demonstrate their craft. Sensei Kenji Koyama was 78 years old and did a brilliant demonstration of the use of Ki. The people at the seminar were also very friendly and encouraging to me. There were several other white belts as well. All in all a great weekend.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #23
David Board
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Re: Seminars- OK for Beginners?

After reading, this thread I feel encouraged to ask my sensei if I am ready to attend my first seminar. It would be with Mary Heiny. Who is visiting our Dojo next week. It seems that it would be a rare chance to learn from someone that trained with O'sensei.

However, I'm fairly nervous. I feel that I might detract from other participants ability to fully engage in the seminar when paired with me. I've been training for 4 months and am comfortable, not skilled but comfortable, with forward and back rolls (no break falls gotta roll before you can fly). I am sure that I will learn a ton. However, I have reservations that my presence will detract from older more experience students learning. While I'm comfortable with a handful of techniques most are confusing at best and some will be completely new. When I practice these techniques I still often find myself pausing and having to recall what is next. In class, I find other students paired with me focused on teaching me and not on their own technique. This seems unfair to ask in a seminar.
Does anyone have suggestions? Am I ready to attend a seminar (my Sensei is a better person to ask and I will today)? But more importantly how do I make sure that my presence doesn't interfere with another students learning?
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:01 PM   #24
jss
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Re: Seminars- OK for Beginners?

Quote:
David Board wrote: View Post
In class, I find other students paired with me focused on teaching me and not on their own technique. This seems unfair to ask in a seminar.
Some people at the seminar will think it's cool someone with only 4 months of training is attending a seminar. Others will be bothered by your lack of experience, because it will 'limit' them in their training. Ignore these people, it's not your problem, it's theirs. If they're good enough to be 'limited' by you, they're good enough to remember what was shown and try it at home with a more experienced uke.
And by the way, the people who don't like to train with non-black belts at seminars, are quite often the people that don't perform the technique as it was shown at the seminar, but as they perform it all the time at their own dojo. So no big loss there.
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:10 PM   #25
Janet Rosen
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Re: Seminars- OK for Beginners?

Definitely ATTEND! Especially as it is YOUR home dojo - your sensei and seniors should help make it be a comfortable experience for you.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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