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Old 05-05-2004, 08:06 PM   #1
Suru
Location: Miami, FL
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Less Strict Dojos

Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty? I realize that is not exactly the most traditional way of conducting class, but I'm on a medication that takes away much of my stamina and makes me thirsty. I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do. Note that I'm not looking for some anarchist dojo where anything goes, just one in which I can rest when I need to rest and drink water when I need to. I need the med to be healthy. I need Aiki to be healthy. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.

Drew
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:28 PM   #2
Aristeia
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

I would have thought most any dojo would allow this, if you have explained the situation to the sensei Most sensei are happy to make such allowances if there is a valid reason.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-05-2004, 08:47 PM   #3
akiy
 
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Off the top of my head, I don't think I've ever been to an aikido dojo that doesn't allow for such things. And, frankly, if I did come across a dojo that didn't, I doubt I'd be going back...

-- Jun

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Old 05-05-2004, 09:12 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Suru wrote:
Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty?
I would not train in a dojo where I was expected to surrender my adult ability to take responsibility for my health and my training. YMMV, just my two cents...
where I train currently is within the Aikikai umbrella; I believe it's more a matter of individual chief instructors and not a style or affiliation issue.

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:31 PM   #5
Largo
Dojo: Aikikai Dobunkan/ Icho Ryu Aikijujutsu
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

yeah, any good dojo will let you do that. If you are just about to collapse, you aren't listening, learning, or helping anyone or yourself. There's nothing to be gained if you are in that state
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Old 05-06-2004, 12:50 AM   #6
batemanb
 
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

When I was living in Japan it was imperative to take water breaks given that I was sweating off up to 2 kilos in weight in each class through the summer. When doing the level of training that we do regardless of location, water breaks are an important part of general safety and well being. In our dojo here in the UK, many of the seniors bring a bottle of water or some other sports drink (my fav is Lucozade Sport), we notify the sensei as a courtesy, but are free to step off the mat and take a periodic swig to top up fluid.

I've not come across a dojo that will not let you take a water break, or sit out the odd technique, as Jun says, if I did come across one, I wouldn't go back.

rgds


Bryan

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Old 05-06-2004, 04:22 AM   #7
Ian Williams
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I would not train in a dojo where I was expected to surrender my adult ability to take responsibility for my health and my training. YMMV, just my two cents...
where I train currently is within the Aikikai umbrella; I believe it's more a matter of individual chief instructors and not a style or affiliation issue.
Well said Janet..

If I'm tired and becoming a danger to myself and others, I'll get off the mat and have a drink.
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Old 05-06-2004, 06:59 AM   #8
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Yoshinkan dojo are the same to my knowledge. You always notify the teacher if you are leaving the mat, but most dojo are not run like the senshusei course

My own teacher makes allowances for my knee problem (which is steadily improving).

Ron

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Old 05-06-2004, 07:45 AM   #9
jimbaker
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Listen to these people, Drew.

Parenthetically, making people depend on you for rest and water during "lessons" is the how Cult leaders find followers. Most adults will object and leave; those who accept are more likely to be good Cult material.

Jim Baker
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Old 05-06-2004, 07:53 AM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Got to throw in my complete agreement here. I have never trained (except for the military) anyplace that did not take into account the needs, injuries, or medical conditions of their students.

In the words of the wisest Monty Python, "Run away. Run away. Run away."

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 05-06-2004, 08:55 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Suru wrote:
Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty? I realize that is not exactly the most traditional way of conducting class, but I'm on a medication that takes away much of my stamina and makes me thirsty. I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do. Note that I'm not looking for some anarchist dojo where anything goes, just one in which I can rest when I need to rest and drink water when I need to. I need the med to be healthy. I need Aiki to be healthy. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.

Drew
Hello Drew,

I live in Japan and in the Aikikai Hombu each class lasts for around 50-55 minutes, and it is not usually accepted to take a break.

However, (1) if you were in my own dojo and you told me that because of your physical condition you needed to take breaks, water etc, this would not be a problem.

However, (2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.

So you need a teacher who recognizes your physical condition, but is also capable of making you go beyond your limitations, as you perceive them.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-06-2004, 12:19 PM   #12
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Suru wrote:
I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do.
Don't know of an ASU dojo in Miami that I'd recommend, but there are a ton of dojo in Miami. From personal experience, I would recommend Miami Aikikai. From my meager acquaintance with them,I think both Elliot and Gus would accomodate you. I've certainly enjoyed training with them.

Also, I just attended a Mary Heiny seminar put together by sandan Troy Ferguson and he made a good impression as well. Nice students, nice atmosphere for training. PM me for details.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 05-06-2004, 12:58 PM   #13
dekodo
Dojo: AikiSpirit Dojo - Miami
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Drew,

I see you are in Miami. Where do you study now?

You are welcome to visit and train with us at Miami Budokai any time you wish (corner of Bird & 826). I can assure you we offer a safe and friendly environment to learn and explore aikido and enregy. please email me at darren@flaikido.com
Also, as Don suggested, check out Troy Ferguson, great enregy there. Also Juan Alberto at the aikido Center of Miami.

Regards,

DK
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Old 05-06-2004, 12:59 PM   #14
dekodo
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

oops...

have not posted in a while...I have to update my profile!
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Old 05-06-2004, 05:27 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
However, (2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.,
Peter, I have to respectfully disagree when it comes to physical issues. I think that a good instructor may know my emotional boundaries (fears, etc) and push the envelope just a bit. But there is no instructor good enough to know by looking what my knee feels like or what my heart rate is.

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-06-2004, 06:43 PM   #16
Aristeia
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Absent any further comment from Drew I don't think we should neccessarily be assuming that this is a "bad dojo". Drew doesn't say how long he has been training but it may be he's a beginner who has observed the formal atmosphere in the dojo and the fact that no one else takes rests or water breaks and made some assumptions. This could well be easily resolved with a conversation with the sensei.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-06-2004, 08:23 PM   #17
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Peter, I have to respectfully disagree when it comes to physical issues. I think that a good instructor may know my emotional boundaries (fears, etc) and push the envelope just a bit. But there is no instructor good enough to know by looking what my knee feels like or what my heart rate is.
Well, we will have to disagree then.

I am not saying that the instructor has to be a doctor or nurse; I am saying that training in aikido, like in any martial art, requires a teacher, the more proficient the better.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 05-06-2004, 08:37 PM   #18
Suru
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

The dojos I've tried in Miami are both high quality, excellent dojos. The instructors are superb and kind, warm people. They just run a really tight ship, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to this style. I'm a yonkyu. I have done most of my training at a dojo in Tallahassee. The Sensei there teaches in what I believe for the most part to be a traditional manner, but he allows students to leave the mat for water or take a break by sitting on the edge of the mat. We still train seriously (but cheerfully) and benefit greatly from it. My problem is that I don't need to sit out one technique and get one drink of water. I need to do this many times per class, depending on how vigorous the training is that day. I assure you all it's not because I'm lazy. I may be somewhat out of shape, which I'm working on, but my main problem is the potent side effects of my medication. I may be returning to Tallahassee, and if I do, I'll certainly return to my old dojo. In this thread, I'm doing a bit of dojo searching but at the same time I'm trying to get a feel for the standards of dojo strictness. Every time I take my own personal break in any dojo, I feel like some kind of petty criminal and I'm hoping to find that I'm not suppossed to feel that way. Thanks to your posts, I feel better about it already. I look forward to more discussion on this matter.

Drew
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Old 05-06-2004, 10:07 PM   #19
akiy
 
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Hi Drew,

Have you made the reasons why you need to take your water breaks known to the instructor(s) at the dojo?

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Old 05-06-2004, 10:41 PM   #20
Suru
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Quote:
akiy wrote:
Hi Drew,

Have you made the reasons why you need to take your water breaks known to the instructor(s) at the dojo?

-- Jun
Hey Jun,

Yes I actually did explain my situation to one of the sensei. I wanted to come into class late, figuring I could handle half a class. Unfortunately she, like many sensei, did not like this idea. I figured she would not enjoy my asking her multiple times during class for breaks. She might let me, but like I said before I'd feel like I was a petty criminal, i.e. I would fear becoming the dojo pariah. I would rather train at a dojo at which everybody gets to take a break whenever he/she wants to. Even the most empathic and nurturing person finds it difficult to perceive another's fatigue. The important thing is that I enjoy doing Aikido techniques and only when I'm totally exhausted would I take a break. The main problem is I get exhausted often, not just once a class. My current plan is to keep exercising and practicing waza with my lady friend and possibly return to the dojo in Tally one day.

Drew
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Old 05-07-2004, 01:53 PM   #21
dekodo
Dojo: AikiSpirit Dojo - Miami
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Drew,

I feel terrible with the experiences you have had in the area, but I cannot say I am surprised. When looking for a school in Miami I experienced a similar response to questions I was asking. Finding the right group of people is never easy. If you are still interested in checking out a school, please contact me. Even If you just want to come over and watch. I've got a class tonight and another one tomorrow. It would be great to train with you.

DK
darren@flaikido.com
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Old 05-07-2004, 02:27 PM   #22
giriasis
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Drew,

I train at Florida Aikikai with Peter Bernath. We're USAF-East. Please don't let association differences deter you. You will be more than welcome to join us on the mat at our dojo. If you're willing to drive up to Ft. Lauderdale, you are more than welcome to train with us. Peter is very considerate to people's health conditions. We have folks who have bad knees and are not required to sit in seiza or do suwari waza. We have one man who is in his 60s and isn't pushed to do breakfalls. For most of my training with him I was overweight and had to sit out a lot. No problems, and in fact I was encouraged to pace myself and sit out if I need to. And the great majority of people are patient with you. Most recently, sensei had allowed me to show up late. In my past job there was no way I could make to to class by 6:00 but could by 6:30-6:45 (classes are an hour and half) and sensei much preferred that I show up and train than not train just because I was late. Additionally, if you talk to Peter he should allow you to drink water (we usually don't take water breaks) if you keep a bottle at the edge of the mat and talk to him indicating your medical condition.

Last edited by giriasis : 05-07-2004 at 02:30 PM.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 05-07-2004, 05:01 PM   #23
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Instructor awareness of any health problems is imperative. Peter's point of pushing students is necessary to help students press their limits and advance; however, not to the risk of one's health.

I had one student who was diabetic and I was not aware of it. His exercise on the mat exacerbated his diabetes and one night he seemed distracted or confused. One of my students grabbed me and made me aware of his condition deteriorating and his diabetes. Unfortunately, it was not early enough to offset a call to the paramedics since he basically started going into a severe reaction. He ended up having to quit aikido.

In Texas, it is very hot, especially where I am. I have standing orders for people to get water and take a break if they feel a need to. Sometimes it gets over a 100 degrees in the dojo and heat exhaustion is a risk. However, I don't expect students to run off the mat every 5 minutes. We also try to take a water break at the end of one hour for 5 minutes to ensure no one gets sick. I also always try to accomodate health problems in any way I can. Having knee problems myself, I understand the limitations problems can place on students. Common sense is the key to preventing a serious problem.
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Old 05-07-2004, 07:35 PM   #24
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

I get dizzy easily, and one of my teachers can spend a whole hour focussing on ukemi. I let people know when I have to stop, for the evening or for a short time ( I always try to come back after a short break). But I know if I don't, I have to run off the map to get sick, and I know noone wants me to have to do this. So I do what I need to do to take care of myself, and I don't feel that anyone holds it against me. (Maybe they're just afraid they'll be training with me when it gets bad...)

Jeanne
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:05 PM   #25
Tyson Geisendorff
Dojo: Dragonfly Dojo
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Re: Less Strict Dojos

Hello all,

I have been reading Drew's posts with interest. My wife and I are moving to Miami shortly. With Drew's comments in mind, can anyone provide Dojo recommendations?
Tyson
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