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Old 06-25-2004, 09:39 AM   #1
A D
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
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Question First day.

Hello everyone,

I've been researching Aikido for some time now and have never trained under any martial arts before. Aikido catches my eyes and seems best fit for me.

I found around 3 dojos that are 20-35 minutes away from my house and all are in the same price range. I can name them if that can help:

*Aikido of South Florida (shortest)

*Florida Aikikai

*Miami Aikikai (most traffic, longest)

Now I have yet to visit these dojos but I will visit Aikido of South Florida on Monday.

First question: Do you guys suggest any of dojos? Are any of them notable?

Now my next question: What am I to expect on the first day? Is there anything I should know? If it helps, I'm 6'1 and 15 years old.

I just can't imagine a person of my build and stature doing ukemi? But of course I'll practice.

Thanks a lot, answer will help!

-Alex de la Paz
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:45 AM   #2
Qatana
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
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Re: First day.

Hi Alex

I can;t tell you which dojo to choose, you gotta visit all of them and feel which suits you best. However I can tell you we have a beginner who is at least 6' 7" and his ukemi is coming along fine. My Sensei is 6'3" and his ukemi is just beautiful...

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:50 AM   #3
A D
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
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Re: First day.

I said that as a joke, thanks for replying! I know size has very little to do with techniques but I'm kind of clumsy, hope that doesn't get in the way!

Either way, thanks a lot, your reply is appreciated!
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Old 06-25-2004, 01:54 PM   #4
Jack Simpson
Dojo: Western Maryland Aikikai - Frederick, Maryland
Location: hangin' with the tengu in the "mountains" of Maryland
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 91
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Re: First day.

As stated previously, it's the best to visit all the dojos first. Since it's only 3, take your time with it and do this, and be sure to take along a list of questions, if you don't already have them in mind. I know Peter and Penny Bernath at the Florida Aikikai and can highly recommend the dojo. However, the other two listed also are good traditional schools from the looks of the web pages (South Florida seems to be Iwama Ryu, and Miami Aikikai is Aikikai, USAF ER). But again, it's what's best for you (and the commute ).

Jack
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Old 06-25-2004, 02:22 PM   #5
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Re: First day.

Quote:
Jack Simpson wrote:
As stated previously, it's the best to visit all the dojos first. Since it's only 3, take your time with it and do this, and be sure to take along a list of questions, if you don't already have them in mind. I know Peter and Penny Bernath at the Florida Aikikai and can highly recommend the dojo. However, the other two listed also are good traditional schools from the looks of the web pages (South Florida seems to be Iwama Ryu, and Miami Aikikai is Aikikai, USAF ER). But again, it's what's best for you (and the commute ).

Jack
Hi, Alex.

I guess you're down in Hollywood or Davie. Stephanie (Aikido of South Florida) is solid. I just had a couple of her students come into my class and they have a good foundation for training. She also brings over Pat Hendricks every year for a seminar around March and Hendricks is terrific.

I trained with Peter and Penny at Florida Aikikai for three years and I agree with what's written above. Beyond their own expertise, the dojo is filled with experienced people to train with. They sponsor several seminars a year; a big one in November with Yamada, Shibata, Sugano, and--until his death--Kanai. They also have an anual weekend seminar with a Canadian 6 DAN, Claude Berthiume that's excellent.

Elliot Rifkin and Gustavo Ramos at Miami Aikikai also run a solid dojo. I like them both and like training with them both.

I run classes three times a week up in Lauderdale, but the times are tough for most folk, 12-1:30 M-W-F. Should your work allow, you're most welcome. It's a beginners level class, save for the new addition of Stephanie's old students. Good luck.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 06-25-2004, 03:32 PM   #6
p00kiethebear
 
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Dojo: Tonbo Dojo
Location: Bainbridge Island WA
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Re: First day.

Well the first thing they do at the begining class in EVERY dojo is something i like to call "hazing day"

First half hour, you sit in horse stance and look straight forward and concentrate on your center. Any moment you're not concentrating on your center, or that it looks like you legs are weakening, one of the sempai gets to whack you with a bamboo sword as hard as they can. (in zen monostaries they call this the "stick of compassion") trust me, this will help you find your center REALLY fast.

Then we move on to "irimi" (entering) practice. This is where sensei and all the sempai get bamboo swords and swing them at you as hard as they can for an hour. You have to learn to dodge all of their strikes. Every time one of them hits you, they start the clock over and you have to go for another hour. My advice to you is to try to enter behind the people with the swords.

Next we start learning ukemi. Sensei will walk you out into the parking lot and have you attack him for another hour while he throws you onto the ground as hard as he can and the sempai all sit and laugh. The concrete ground is an especially good motivational tool that will help you learn to take falls more safely.

the fourth and most important phase is the "beer" phase.

This is the party after class where the sempai open up cold ones for everyone (Except you because you're 15, you'll get stuck with warm milk probably) and have a good laugh at the days events. And constantly remind you of embarressing moments you had during the day. Like the time your gi pants fell off and you had to take a koshinage in your underwear (don't worry, at least one of the sempai had a camera and got a picture of it)

Yours in humor,

Nathan

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:19 PM   #7
A D
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
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Re: First day.

Quote:
Nathan Gidney wrote:
Well the first thing they do at the begining class in EVERY dojo is something i like to call "hazing day"

First half hour, you sit in horse stance and look straight forward and concentrate on your center. Any moment you're not concentrating on your center, or that it looks like you legs are weakening, one of the sempai gets to whack you with a bamboo sword as hard as they can. (in zen monostaries they call this the "stick of compassion") trust me, this will help you find your center REALLY fast.

Then we move on to "irimi" (entering) practice. This is where sensei and all the sempai get bamboo swords and swing them at you as hard as they can for an hour. You have to learn to dodge all of their strikes. Every time one of them hits you, they start the clock over and you have to go for another hour. My advice to you is to try to enter behind the people with the swords.

Next we start learning ukemi. Sensei will walk you out into the parking lot and have you attack him for another hour while he throws you onto the ground as hard as he can and the sempai all sit and laugh. The concrete ground is an especially good motivational tool that will help you learn to take falls more safely.

the fourth and most important phase is the "beer" phase.

This is the party after class where the sempai open up cold ones for everyone (Except you because you're 15, you'll get stuck with warm milk probably) and have a good laugh at the days events. And constantly remind you of embarressing moments you had during the day. Like the time your gi pants fell off and you had to take a koshinage in your underwear (don't worry, at least one of the sempai had a camera and got a picture of it)

Yours in humor,

Nathan

Heh, I really would actually like to the "horse" thing you spoke of as well as the "irimi". I tend to learn better after damage like that! lol

Thanks.
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:21 PM   #8
A D
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
United_States
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Re: First day.

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Hi, Alex.

I guess you're down in Hollywood or Davie. Stephanie (Aikido of South Florida) is solid. I just had a couple of her students come into my class and they have a good foundation for training. She also brings over Pat Hendricks every year for a seminar around March and Hendricks is terrific.

I trained with Peter and Penny at Florida Aikikai for three years and I agree with what's written above. Beyond their own expertise, the dojo is filled with experienced people to train with. They sponsor several seminars a year; a big one in November with Yamada, Shibata, Sugano, and--until his death--Kanai. They also have an anual weekend seminar with a Canadian 6 DAN, Claude Berthiume that's excellent.

Elliot Rifkin and Gustavo Ramos at Miami Aikikai also run a solid dojo. I like them both and like training with them both.

I run classes three times a week up in Lauderdale, but the times are tough for most folk, 12-1:30 M-W-F. Should your work allow, you're most welcome. It's a beginners level class, save for the new addition of Stephanie's old students. Good luck.
I live in Pembroke Pines, Silver Lakes, it's still quite a long drive but I think its worth it! Thanks for your help. I'll end up stoping by all three dojos. Florida Akikai sounds like my best bet.

Would you happen to know how they condition begineers there? I'd rather be prepared. Thanks a lot.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:23 PM   #9
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
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Re: First day.

Quote:
Alex de la Paz wrote:
Would you happen to know how they condition begineers there? I'd rather be prepared. Thanks a lot.
Peter has never hazed anyone that I saw. He usually sets beginners off with a black belt to learn stances and rolling.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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