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Old 06-10-2004, 08:55 AM   #1
John Boswell
 
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Training outside the dojo ?

There are a ton of things we touch on in classes that I would like to spend more time on, but often we work whatever technique just a bit and move on. Over time, I get better of course, but there are days when we touch on something that I would just assume spend all day working on.

Do any of you train outside the dojo with fellow aikidoka? Is this not a good idea, for fear of developing bad habits... or is it worth the time to get as much training in as possible outside the dojo?

Just fishing for other thoughts on this.

Domo!

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Old 06-10-2004, 09:11 AM   #2
gamma80
Dojo: Avon Kempo & Aikido Academy
Location: Avon, CT
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Training outside the dojo with others is a great idea in my opinion for a few reasons: 1) You get a better level of practice with an uke/nage combination versus trying to practice by yourself (great for golf, not so great for Aikido). 2) If you get stuck on something your partner may know the proper form and help to correct you. 3) You can concentrate on the tecniques that you specifically want to improve upon.
The issue to be careful of is not being sure of a technique, if neither of you is sure make a note and ask your Sensei during the next class to clarify how it should be done, don't guess and practice incorrectly. Don't try and "teach" each other, only practice what you know for sure, leave the gray areas for the dojo.

Chris
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Old 09-16-2004, 12:49 PM   #3
Aikidoiain
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Nearly all of my training has been outside the dojo, sparring with fellow Martial Artists from various styles.

We would role play real life scenarios and "reality test" various techniques.

I found it to be a rich source of experience for preparing the mind and body for real confrontations. I did join a Hapkido club briefly and got a yellow belt, but left due to ill health. Soon I intend to join an Aikido dojo for formal lessons - after around 25 years training outside a dojo!

I've already mentioned my real life experiences in that post.

Now, at the age of 41 my formal training is about to begin. A slightly unorthodox journey to say the least!


Iain.
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Old 09-16-2004, 03:44 PM   #4
thomas_dixon
Location: Florida, USA
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

It really depends, some things you can practice outside a dojo, others you should definiately have a supervisor near, as if you do the technique improperly, severe injury can occur. Just be careful and use common sense, everything should be fine.
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Old 09-16-2004, 05:51 PM   #5
mj
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Teaching yourself martial arts is like representing yourself in court.

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Old 09-17-2004, 12:34 AM   #6
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Whenever you get the chance. Training outside of the dojo provides you with more time to experiement and as you mentioned you can spend time on things you are really interested in. Myself and a few others do this regularly.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 09-17-2004, 04:38 AM   #7
kroh
Location: Rhode Island
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

A few of the guys in my dojo train regularly in one of their back yards. It is usually a brutal affair that turns into less technique and more let's see if I can knock the other guy down. My own training outside the dojo sometimes bumps me into some Aikido friends. The training we do is usually a fair trade of ideas, safe and easy going so we can learn each others skills. Although... One day my school ran a little seminar as a fund raiser in my friends Aikido School. Filipino Kali. The head instructor Put the beat down on my cranium and the matches turned into stick grappling... ;-)

They were soft sticks but man... Aikido Guy can hit!!!
Thanks All...
WalT
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:22 AM   #8
Matt Molloy
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Quote:
mark johnston wrote:
Teaching yourself martial arts is like representing yourself in court.
To extend this a tad, Teaching yourself martial arts could well wind up with you representing yourself in court.

"They say that a man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client! Well as God is my witness, I am that fool!"

Gomez Addams. The Addams Family Movie.

He didn't do too well either.

Cheers,

Matt.
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Old 09-17-2004, 07:37 AM   #9
kroh
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

One of my trainers in the Army was one of those people who never went to an actual school, but had some boxing from the Army as well as A LOT of backyard time with some people who did train at "sanctioned" schools. Through constant sparring and semi-full contact matches he garnered an impressive repetoir that was surprisingly effective. He had spent years back-yarding it though and as a result had become very proficient in what he did. Very interesting...

Regards
WalT
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Old 09-17-2004, 08:39 AM   #10
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

On the formal/informal structure thing I'm ambivalent. I do think that the people who are saying you can't teach yourself ma are slightly mistaken. I'm also in total disagreement with those who say you shouldn't train outside the dojo.

The more formal option of the dojo, association etc. provides a nice and easy one-size fits all way of measuring your progress while maintaining a consistent standard. You have your teachers to measure progress and the structure of the organisation to maintain standards, all well and good (ok, I'm ignoring politics at this point).

Then there's the other option, informal training. Yes, you can do it, but it's actually a much harder road in my opinion as you must determine what you are using as your yard-stick for proficiency - open competitions? a war zone? your mates down the pub? Secondly, who do you listen to when training? We all have faults and most of us will happily enhance our faults through training if you don't get an outside check on them now and again. Finally, what are your goals, how do you measure success?

With regards to informal training outside your dojo, I treat this the same way I treat my cats. As long as you don't bring anything disgusting back into the dojo that I (or anyone else) has to deal with, train away and have fun.
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:18 AM   #11
Matt Molloy
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I wouldn't say for a moment that informal training can't turn out some formidable fighters. Just because they are formidable fighters, are they martial artists? Hmmm. I would find this difficult.

Personally, I define an artist as someone who takes a skill to its ultimate level. Any skill, from painting to tea making to (for this board) fighting. By this argument I would say that most of us are not yet martial artists but are fighters striving to become martial artists, indeed the true martial artist wouldn't need to fight at all. (D*mn that sounds familiar.)

I would agree with Ian that it is possible to become a martial artist-and a formidable one-via the informal road and that it is harder but I would add that there is a greater chance of self delusion (witness the amount of McDojos that have been started by those who have apparently tested their "art" on the street) and of getting stuck in a rut. (A good teacher regularly pushes you out of your comfort zone.)

I think that I'd have to agree with Ian with the caveat that just because informal training can turn out a good martial artist it doesn't necessarily mean that one can be that person. That person would IMHO be truely exceptional.

I hope that this makes sense.

Cheers,

Matt.
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Old 09-17-2004, 09:28 AM   #12
Kevin Masters
Dojo: Woodstock Aikido
Location: Mount Tremper, NY
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I don't do much outside-dojo training. Sometimes my son and I go over some stuff. He's kind of a tricky uke because he's 7 and turns into a turtle at the first sign of techniqe happening to him.

I think it would be a great way to practice for your tests if you have a fairly good idea how the techniques are done and just want to polish them.

Kev.
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Old 09-17-2004, 06:43 PM   #13
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

When i first started training I would practise ukemi at home because im lucky enoungth to have a fairly long living room to roll in. This gave me an invaluable advantage in ukemi over the other novices who only trained in ukemi at class's. Myself and a friend who had started training at the same time would also try and remember techniques from that weeks class and practise them. We always got them wrong, of course, but i wasnt expecting to get them right, it did however give us both a good attitude to training and physical conditioning e.g." If you knock me down i'll get back up and then its my turn to knock you down, ok? " Which I am very glad I developed as early as possible in my aikido training. I used to do a lot of bokken suburi and some jo suburi at home and although I am terrible at both I soon got bored, its just not the same as dojo training.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 09-18-2004, 02:01 AM   #14
thomas_dixon
Location: Florida, USA
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

The only negative about training at home would be developing bad habits with techniques.I just remembered this so i figured i'd post it..my old Tang Soo Do sensei said it:

"Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:05 PM   #15
Aikidoiain
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

To mj,

My training outside the dojo has always been under the instruction of at least a 1st Dan, or Kung Fu expert.

Yes it's true that when I was a teenager, I did try to teach myself Karate from a book, but that was pointless. I wouldn't recommend teaching yourself Martial Arts.

Just thought I'd clarify that for you.

Iain.
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:30 PM   #16
PeterR
 
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
Do any of you train outside the dojo with fellow aikidoka? Is this not a good idea, for fear of developing bad habits... or is it worth the time to get as much training in as possible outside the dojo?
It's a great idea. Work on what you know, explore a little. Training among friends with similar interest and experience gives you a chance to go in directions that interest you particularly and work on your own specific problems.

This is a far cry from pseudo -sensei trying to teach. It's a mutual training environment.

In my group I've got three students that decided they have mornings free and they want to practice more Aikido. Two of them are no-kyus with no previous Budo experience. They have my full encouragement even if the other one can not come. The other has significant MA training - him I would never dare tell he couldn't train.

I have a similar arrangement up at my work for certain evenings - the practice does not have a dojo structure with the formal dojo setting being the connecting factor. Those that take part in the former should come to the latter.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-12-2004, 08:22 PM   #17
The Molinjir
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I do quite a bit of practice outside the dojo with a 2nd dan Kenpo blackbelt who is my friend, but he mostly helps me work on non-aikido technique (more punches, kicks, and even just sword sparring). It really helps me, as it usually makes me more effective as an uke, the sword work helps my wrists and forearms, and even the occasional correction on my technique.


I think training with someone who is inexperienced is useless, as well as being dangerous.

~Molinjir
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Old 12-12-2004, 08:46 PM   #18
PeterR
 
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Quote:
Paul Weichselbaum wrote:
I think training with someone who is inexperienced is useless, as well as being dangerous.
Disagree a little bit or more to the point what level is inexperienced.

A couple of guys getting together to put a little extra work in for something they learned in class can only be good.

I can see problems when you have raw beginners wanting to make it real but frankly I've never known any that were so stupid.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:41 PM   #19
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I would be careful about training outside the dojo, mainly because if you forget something or you get sidetracked or come up with a new theory that doesn't match what your instructor teaches, it might take awhile to get back on track.

I'd also worry about ego in this time. If you want to "make the technique work" but can't and have no one to ask for advice then its possible that people will get hurt. I think most people who train understand that there is a danger of this involved, but if you forget in the heat of the frustrating moment...

For test training, for working out with stuff that you did the day before or two days before, for trying to work on a concept that you understand in your head but your body doesn't get...then go for it. I would, however, suggest that any revelations you get be discussed with your instructor at the earliest available opportunity.

Of course, I've been told that if you have enough energy to do extra mat time then you're not putting enough into the "official mat time". But that's a different discussion <g>.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 12-13-2004, 05:20 AM   #20
Aikidoiain
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I agree with Peter Rehse.

When I joined the Aikikai dojo just down the street, I was able to take advantage of some extra training with one of the higher ranked kyu students. This allowed us both to work on any basics I had trouble with, and for me to show him some Tomiki stuff - such as how to deal with knife attacks. We both benefited from this.

Sadly, I've been off ill for some time now, but I was shown some basic bokken cuts I could practice in my flat. Right now, my main priority is to get well, so I can return to the dojo.


Iain.
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Old 12-13-2004, 06:13 AM   #21
MaylandL
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I regularly train at two dojos, both are aikikai. They have different emphases on training and techniques that provides a more rounded training regime. My sensei encourages everyone to train in other dojos since he recognises that he does not know everything and that students can only benefit from having a different perspective.

Also I am about to start training with some karate people who are interested is sharing some ideas and techniques. Looking forward to it.

Mayland
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Old 12-13-2004, 03:56 PM   #22
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

There is only so much dojo time since the instructor only has so much time. If you want to get good, how can you do so without extra practice? Training so hard you can't practice any more? If your wrists are broken, work on your feet. Dojo time isn't for you to wear yourself out. It is for you to get instruction so that you can go off on your own or with a friend(s) and go practice. If you are wearing yourself out during dojo time, you aren't paying attention intently enough. It is time for you to be corrected by your instructor and learn the finer points. So you are practicing something incorrectly? The instructor will correct you the next time you are in the dojo. It can't be that everything is incorrect! You must be getting something correct that you are practicing. I can't waste my time on people who only want to chunk people around during dojo time and don't want to be corrected. You can do that chunking outside of dojo time on your own time -- not on my time.

With that out of the way, I can now say that there are a lot of people who can't afford any more practice time than allotted for dojo time due to conflicts with family and work. I understand that there has to be some chunking time built into the dojo routine. I need it myself even just for the fun. So, it is chunky time again!!!! Gotta go and chunk some people. Bye y'all.

Rock
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Old 12-13-2004, 05:12 PM   #23
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

Fumio Toyoda Shihan reportedly said that students who remain on the mat after class to train pay honor to their instructor. It happens routinely in our dojo, and it is not at all uncommon for a few students to get together at one home or another, on a Sunday to work on something they wish to polish, or something that may be eluding them.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-13-2004, 05:22 PM   #24
senseimike
 
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

We have a group that gets together from time to time for additional training. Most of us are yudansha or ikkyu and this is an opportunity for us to practice some of the more advanced techniques. There are also a few of us who operate our own dojos and don't get the chance to train with people of equal rank. I think it's a great idea and suggest it to anyone who can get it done safely and productively.

Mike Taylor
Godan
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
www.risingstaraikido.com
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Old 12-14-2004, 11:01 AM   #25
Nickyd30
Dojo: Tanworth-in-Arden
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Re: Training outside the dojo ?

I have only been training since late October, so am a complete novice, however I agree with many points here.
Since starting training, I now regularly attend at least three classes a week, each at different dojos, sometimes more than this, each class focuses on different points, the more advanced classes give me a chance to try harder techniques, as well as ensure my basic techniques are perfect, whereas the more beginner classes, going over basic things, I have the confidence in my ability to test the techniques on higher ranking aikidoka.
Outside of lessons, I spend a lot of time working on my own, either practicing the weapons work, as obviously this can be practiced alone quite easily, or practicing the very basics, to help ensure my movements are flowing.
The three sensei I work with regularly all know about my practice both at other dojos and at home, alone or with other aikidoka, and all have supported me with this, I have also had several comments about my improvements, as I am now more flowing in basic movements thanks to the many hours of practice put in.
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