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Old 12-21-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hello everybody.

I'm a new comer here and new to Aikido, you can read my introduction here: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19089

I'm heading to my first Aikido class tomorrow night, and i have load of questions and things to talk about.

First i want to ask about dojo, i'm heading to this local one, rather small, approximately 30 people usually. Is it good for newbie like i to practice in small dojo? I know it depends a lot about the instructors and sensei there, but which one is better, small, thigh knit group or lot of people?

Then i have a question about exercise and practice times, these guys have practice for adults five days a week, twice in my town and three days at their home town, which is loated an hour drive away.. How many days i should pratice with them in a week? I though about at least three days/week.. I have to concider that i dont have friends here to practice with outside the dojo, selfpratice helps, but its not worth the real thing. I also have other time consuming things to do, mainly my music, im a drummer and a musician, our band is rehearsing for our third full length abum at the time and it needs lot of work. (I have my personal technical preparation going on, few months of active training before recordings)

And then about other exercise, besides of my drumming and taking walks few times a week, i've been sitting on my ass for a long time. I do some freestyle swordfighting at summers if i find partners for it, go fishing, hike in nature and stuff like that, but it's long since i've done any "real" exercise... What would you recommend? Weight training is out of question, because it has a major hit on my drumming speeds.(drumming requires so small and fast motorics and reflexes, that even small amount of training slows me down, i know this from experience.)

When i should buy myself a Gi and hakama? I think i'll do this as soon as i decide if i stay in the dojo i'm going to check out.. Just want to know more experienced opinion about this.

As i've mentioned, i love sword practice, i've practiced the most with this type of things some LARP people use, you know, soft enough to make full contact all the time without any fear of injuries. (I've made my own, even went so far i made them with authentic measurements and balaning.) I've also praticed with wooden swords of various sizes and even done some simple one hand sword fighting with live blades. (slow and careful ofcourse.)

I know some Aikidokas dont like to give much emphasis on weapons training, i want to know what do you think about it, is it ok for my Aikido training if i do sword practice beside it? I hope i havent caught many bad habits.. I know how hard it is to "unlearn" things... I've had to do that with my drumming, more than ten years of bad grip, it was horrible to unlearn that, took me almost two years. I know this can happen with any MA's too...

Oh, and then theres this, i'm in decent shape, reagardless of my laziness, drumming, cycling and walks keep me in a ok shape, so i dont think that's going to be a problem, but, my problem is i have never been very flexible(also because of lack of training but anyway.) and flexibility plays a big role with any form of Budo. And when i can kid, i injured my left hip once, it healed, but my left leg flexes even less than my right.. I hope i can overcome this.. I have been stretching like crazy for last few days, and it hurts like hell.

I read a lot of talk about when should newbies be introduced to weapons traning, i called one of the instrutors and asked if they do it or not, he said yes, not all the time, but yes. With bokken and bo usually.. I know weapons training is normally not the main thing in Aikido, but i wish my previous experience with it will give me a nice start. Too bad i didnt ask the instructor when i'm allowed to practice with bokken. Some have said that there's nothing more dangerous than un experienced Aikidoka with a weapon.. I agree, i've seen this with my friends etc. As i mentioned in my introdution, my older brother is Aikidoka too, and has a long experience with sports fencing, he was the one originally introduced me to Aikido and taught me some basics.. He also taught me a lot about sword techniques, thanks to him, my swordwork is not only random bashing. With him i also noticed how good it feels to pratice with a experienced partner. Even when getting beaten up more or less.

Yea, i think thats it for now, i'll ask more about things later. Yea, i'll be heading to my first class tomorrow, wish me luck.

Arigatou gozaimashita, in advance for your advice.

Lari
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:20 PM   #2
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 903
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hi,

In my opinion:

Nothing is wrong with a small dojo. Teacher and quality instruction is important. However, consider branching out, going to seminars, see your Shihan and experience as much high level Aikido as possible. When training, IMO, seek out the highest ranked people you can as partners. There is a lot to be said about training with newbies, you can learn a lot from them, but starting out, IMO you need to learn as much quality as possible.

As far as how often as you should train...as often as humanly possible. Three days is a good start. Again in my opinion.

Buy a gi and hakama whenever your Sensei tells you to. Every teacher's preference is different.

As for self at home practice. This is my opinion, and some people disagree, but I'm against kyu ranks doing a lot of at home practice. My reasoning, a newbie doesn't know the "correct" form, only under the eyes of a seasoned instructor can they acquire the skills of good form. It takes years sometimes under the watchful instruction of your teacher to have good form at all. So doing repetitive kata or foot work with bad form will only ingrain bad form. Basically I believe it causes a lot of bad habits that your Sensei only has to correct later. Don't make their job harder. IMO, again.

Do whatever weapon's training your Sensei recommends. Some federations put a bokken in their student's hand on day one to help reinforce form. Some federations believe that weapons work is for black belts only, thus it is for refining what you already know. Ask your Sensei what he wants from you.

Also in my opinion the best exercise you can do to help your Aikido...is more Aikido.

Peace man!

MM
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:31 PM   #3
Dave de Vos
 
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Dojo: Shoryukai, Breda (aikikai) & Aiki-Budocentrum Breda (yoseikan)
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Netherlands
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hi Lari,

I'm a newbie too (about 30 hours of training), so I can only tell you a bit about the weapons training in my dojo. I have different teachers on different training days. One lets us train about 5% to 10% of the time on weapons training. The other teacher really likes weapons training. He lets us train about 15% of the time with weapons.

Training with bokken or jo is usually solo or paired training of kata-like move sequences. The teacher shows us a move or sequence of moves and then we practice it for a few minutes. The teacher walks around to correct us here and there. Then he shows the next move. I've never seen a free style weapons fight in our dojo (I think that would be quite dangerous, especially with newbies).

The first teacher lets us practise regularly with tanto to enhance or illustrate empty hand techniques.

Beginners train the same moves as experiences students. But when more experienced students (wearing hakama) happen to train together I see them improvising more and practicing variations of the technique demonstrated by the teacher.

I bought my gi after 2 lessons, but some other newbies have not bought one after training for 10 lessons. I also bought a bokken, jo and tanto with my gi, but the teacher has spare weapons for newbies too, so we don't have to buy them so soon. I just wanted to have my own.

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 12-21-2010 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:35 PM   #4
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hei Maggie.

Thanks for your input. Some good advice you gave...

The instructors in my local dojo seem to be quite experienced by rank, dont know anmything else yet. Well, i'll find out tomorrow and then return here with ton of new questions.

How did the old saying about fool asking more quiestions than ten masters can answer?
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:41 PM   #5
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hello Dave.

Your experiences seem to strengthen my vision about weapon training. And this type of 5% - 15% time for weapons, rest bare handed seems to be the case in the dojo i'm heading to...

At least that was the impression i got after calling one of their instructors.

I asked about the equipment, because i think it's proper to have decent clothing as soon as i decide if i stay. And it's part of the tradition + a decent gi can take a lot of beating, unlike usual clothes..
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Old 12-21-2010, 09:23 PM   #6
Amassus
 
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Not to discourage you...but...hold off on buying anything, gi or weapons until you give aikido a fair go.

I have seen people arrive at the dojo, become fanatical about practice, they buy the gear and then one month later disappear.

Don't be one of these guys. Take your time, continue to ask questions of your dojo and yourself. I didn't buy a gi until I was asked to test for my first rank, so there ya go.

My opinion.
Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:56 AM   #7
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
Dean Suter wrote: View Post
Not to discourage you...but...hold off on buying anything, gi or weapons until you give aikido a fair go.

I have seen people arrive at the dojo, become fanatical about practice, they buy the gear and then one month later disappear.

Don't be one of these guys. Take your time, continue to ask questions of your dojo and yourself. I didn't buy a gi until I was asked to test for my first rank, so there ya go.

My opinion.
Dean.
Hello there Dean.

I see, after borwsing this forum and few others for last couple of days it seems apparent that in many dojo's there's quie a few quitters.. Doesnt surprise considering the nature of Aikido.

But i think i'll love it, as i said before i am more and less familiar to Aikido, thanks to my brother, bless that guy.

I think i'll hold my horses and look around/talk with sensei first. It would be terrible waste to buy gear and all that and then just walk out. Which i dont believe im going to do. I love this art, and i'm ready to dedicate a lot of time for learning it.

Hmm, i wonder if some of the quitters go because it takes so long to learn? Todays western culture is so saturated with "i want it all here now!" I think it's hard for many people to start practicing skills which take a lifetime to master. It's funny, the learning curve and dedication it takes reminds me muh of drumming. Micromanaging the tehnique, countless training hours and infinite possibilities to get better with something. This is why i think i'll stick to it easily than most, i know what it takes to "learn to walk again."
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:18 AM   #8
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hello Lari,

I remember when I started aikido. Man, those were the days.

If your dojo has 30 people in class, that is not a small dojo!

Train as much as you possibly can. If you don't mind the drive, definitely train five days per week.

Weapons, especially the Japanese sword, are crucial to understanding aikido. Every aikidoist should train weapons from day one, beginning with suburi (solo practice movements). If your dojo doesn't train them, I highly recommend studying Iwama weapons. It is the only truly integrated weapons style. Buy these videos from Aikido Journal.

If you can't wait to get your aikido fix, check out my good friend's website. It's loaded with info.

http://aikidostudent.com

Get a gi right away. Wait on the hakama; some schools don't allow them until black belt.

You are intelligent to ask about additional conditioning. For something that fits your needs get Amped Warm-Up. These guys know what they are talking about. Doing a program like this five days per week is probably going to generate more benefits than anything but a well structured strength training program.

And be careful over doing it with stretching… You're going to hurt yourself!

Oh. And keep us up to date on your training and progress.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:09 AM   #9
grondahl
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
Location: Stockholm
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 550
Sweden
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Nishio seems even more integrated in my view, even though I´m an Iwama stylist. And since there is almost no Iwama-style aikido in Finland (I´m aware of one or maybe two clubs) I think it´s better to learn the style of aikiken that the local dojo does (it´s probably Kobayashi, Nishio or Yamaguchi-line aikido).

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I highly recommend studying Iwama weapons. It is the only truly integrated weapons style.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:14 AM   #10
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
Hello Lari,

I remember when I started aikido. Man, those were the days.

If your dojo has 30 people in class, that is not a small dojo!

Train as much as you possibly can. If you don't mind the drive, definitely train five days per week.
Hei there Michael.

Not even a small one? Then what is a small dojo? Master and apprentice?

I'd really like to practice many times/week, at start i think i'm not able to do more than three days/week. I need to get regional ticket thingy to use buses cheap, most of their training goes on in next town, only two times a week in here.

And at start it's damn important to get the basics to the backbone and practice as much as possible. Some experienced sensei here said that tougher the start, better the student learns. And also somebody mentioned that tough starters often get over the magical 1 - 3 months time.

Quote:
Weapons, especially the Japanese sword, are crucial to understanding aikido. Every aikidoist should train weapons from day one, beginning with suburi (solo practice movements). If your dojo doesn't train them, I highly recommend studying Iwama weapons. It is the only truly integrated weapons style. Buy these videos from Aikido Journal.
This! Am i right that the very basic stance/posture is exactly the same as with say a bokken, but just without the weapon? Suburi? Those seven very very basic movements?
Thanks for the link, i'll check it out.

Quote:
If you can't wait to get your aikido fix, check out my good friend's website. It's loaded with info.

http://aikidostudent.com
I'll heck this one too.... Damn, my bookmark list just keeps growing.

Quote:
Get a gi right away. Wait on the hakama; some schools don't allow them until black belt.
You say right away? I thought so too... Normal clothes are just not made for budo training. I thought that i just might buy the hakama right away and then wear it when sensei agrees. This is rather strange that some dojos use it only when black belt is earned. Gives hakam artificial status symbol value. I read the story about O Sensei, that he got really mad if a student showed up without hakama. I dunno, i wish i could wear it as soon as possible, i like that kind of clothing.

Quote:
You are intelligent to ask about additional conditioning. For something that fits your needs get Amped Warm-Up. These guys know what they are talking about. Doing a program like this five days per week is probably going to generate more benefits than anything but a well structured strength training program.
Arigatou, even more to bookmark. Yea, i thought i will adopt some kind of general exercise to back up Aikido, my drumming & walks/yling keep me in deent shape but better stamina/endurance and strength is never bad, specially when there's a good use for it.

Quote:
And be careful over doing it with stretching… You're going to hurt yourself!

Oh. And keep us up to date on your training and progress.
I will, much is good, too much is too much.

Prepare to hear me ramble non-stop.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:19 AM   #11
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Nishio seems even more integrated in my view, even though I´m an Iwama stylist. And since there is almost no Iwama-style aikido in Finland (I´m aware of one or maybe two clubs) I think it´s better to learn the style of aikiken that the local dojo does (it´s probably Kobayashi, Nishio or Yamaguchi-line aikido).
Hmm, ok. I think those schools are probably in south, too far for me to participate at the moment...

Asahi's Aikido is based on Hikitsuchi sensei's style.. Says so in their website.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:23 AM   #12
grondahl
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
Location: Stockholm
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 550
Sweden
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

But the stance varies between styles. Some styles do not use hanmi.

Quote:
Lari Hammarberg wrote: View Post
This! Am i right that the very basic stance/posture is exactly the same as with say a bokken.
In Scandinavia most dojos let people wear hakama around third kyu.

Quote:
You say right away? I thought so too... Normal clothes are just not made for budo training. I thought that i just might buy the hakama right away and then wear it when sensei agrees. This is rather strange that some dojos use it only when black belt is earned. Gives hakam artificial status symbol value. I read the story about O Sensei, that he got really mad if a student showed up without hakama. I dunno, i wish i could wear it as soon as possible, i like that kind of clothing.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:29 AM   #13
grondahl
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
Location: Stockholm
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 550
Sweden
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

The bukiwaza of Shingu-style aikido does differ from Iwama-style from what I have seen. I would stay of suburi until you get instruction in the correct form from your local dojo.

Quote:
Lari Hammarberg wrote: View Post
Hmm, ok. I think those schools are probably in south, too far for me to participate at the moment...

Asahi's Aikido is based on Hikitsuchi sensei's style.. Says so in their website.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:54 AM   #14
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
The bukiwaza of Shingu-style aikido does differ from Iwama-style from what I have seen. I would stay of suburi until you get instruction in the correct form from your local dojo.
Will do! I'll talk with sensei about all of it. I think its great there is so much diversity with different styles, stuff to learn for next ~1000 years.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:45 AM   #15
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,803
United_States
Online
Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

My thoughts:

1. The size of the dojo doesn't really matter, unless you have so few people that it can't be sustained. 30 people isn't really a small dojo if those 30 people are training regularly.

2. The question of how many times to train isn't really worth considering before you've even taken your first class. Start training and see how you like it, how your body reacts, and what your schedule can accommodate.

3. Improving your fitness with supplemental activities is a good idea, but do it systematically. If you are also training in aikido, you won't have unlimited time for fitness. I made a general recommendation in another thread (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...480#post270480) for what I think is a good approach for a sedentary person to become fit. The most important thing for optimal results is to exercise consistently and systematically.

4. Don't worry about buying a gi or hakama yet. Buy a gi if and when you are sure you will continue practicing, and buy a hakama when your sensei tells you to. Gis are expensive, hakama more so, and in many dojos beginners do not wear hakama, so if you just show up in one it could be embarrassing.

5. If you train with weapons in aikido, it's probably safest to simply forget whatever you know about LARP swordplay or anything you've done previously with wooden swords. Weapons training is not a game and the weapons you use, while wooden, are not toys. Failure to practice properly can result in serious or even fatal injury. This means no improvising, no freelancing, no Star Wars lightsaber moves, and no "winging it". If you are allowed to train with weapons in aikido, you will need to do exactly as instructed.

6. Everyone who trains in aikido has physical limitations. "Stretching like crazy" will not help you to overcome yours, and if it "hurts like hell", it's almost certainly causing more problems than it's solving. Begin your training, learn your body's limitations, and seek long-term solutions or effective workaround for them -- NOT short-term crash programs to try and fix them fast.

Best of luck, and tell us how you liked your first class!
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #16
Walter Martindale
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
Location: Cambridge, ON
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Canada
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

I'll second a lot of what Mary said.
30 people is not that small a dojo - two of the last three dojo I've been at consider it a good day if more than three people show up.

My first (judo) gi was second hand. You may be able to find a used gi somewhere (ask your sensei if someone has joined, bought all the stuff and then quit shortly after) and maybe the sensei can put you in touch with them to see if you can buy their (lightly used) equipment. If you can do that you'll save a bunch of money. If you then find that Aikido isn't for you after a few months, clean the stuff really well and consign it to the dojo for someone else to buy (or put a notice up at the dojo offering it for sale).

Stretching and aerobic/basic endurance exercise can supplement aikido training. Swimming encourages upper body flexibility, but as in all things, work into all new exercise programs gradually. If you're inflexible now, you're not going to do the splits tomorrow. Stretching is a gradual thing...
HTH
Walter
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #17
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Thanks Mary and Walter.

I think i'm well set now for a start with your advice in mind.

And about the weapons, i know they are WEAPONS which can be destructive if used by untrained hands. And i also understand how important the teaching from an experienced sensei is.

Arigatou.

Just a short hour to wait...
I'll come back to you later tonight.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:58 AM   #18
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hi! Good luck at your first class. I consider myself a beginner (only 2 years on the mat) in aikido, but I did train 8 years in a previous style. Some things I have learned over the years:

1.) Just show up and train. Everything else will take care of itself given enough time.

2.) Listen to your body. It often knows more then your brain.

3.) Don't push yourself too hard in the beginning. A lot of things are going to be new to you and you may end up sore. If you over do it, you may get injured... and then have to take time off of class.

4.) I see nothing wrong with getting a gi. Our dojo gives out loners for the new people, but they are more then welcome to come in with their own gi if it is plain white. Ask your teacher if they sell gi's, as they may want you to purchase from them. You may get a cheaper rate and you are supporting your dojo! My previous dojo wouldn't let anyone buy a gi till they trained at least a month.

5.) Don't worry about a hakama. The subject will be brought up by your teacher I am sure. If you walk into the dojo and everyone seems to be wearing a hakama, that may be an indicator that everyone in that dojo wears one. OR, it may mean you happen to be training with advanced students that day.

6.) Don't worry about buying weapons right away, unless instructed to do so. Most dojo's have loners and you are still testing things out. No need to drop $100 bucks or more on everything to find out that you didn't need to or find out you aren't as intrigued with aikido as you thought. I just bought my own bokken after two years of training and it was $67 bucks (there are cheaper ones and there are ones that cost several hundreds depending on what you want and how much you want to spend). Also, chances are what you are going to be asked to do in a weapons class is going to contradict how you were using a sword before. This even changes from dojo to dojo in aikido.

7.) 30 people is actually a decent sized dojo. Is that the average class size or the total number of students? That makes a difference. Our dojo has a decent membership, but we don't have too many people on the mats at a time. Our average class size is anywhere from 5 to 8 people.

8.) Large student populations are great as far as being able to train with different people. Each person has their own aikido. It is nice to get this type of exposure. Small numbers mean you may get more attention from the instructor though.

9.) If you feel hopelessly lost and move your left foot when someone says to move your right, that is normal. You are asking your body to do "strange things" that it doesn't yet know how to do. Give it time and try to be patient. Too many people expect to pick up aikido in a few classes and this isn't the case. In my opinion, it is one of the hardest martial arts to learn because it is so simplistic in its intricate movements. Everything moves in a three dimensional plane instead of punching on a straight line for example.

10.) Don't be shy! After a technique is demonstrated, run over to a high ranker and ask to train with them. More often then not, they are the safest people to train with. They should be looking out for your best interests and if you throw them too hard, they will be able to take it. A beginner working with another beginner should be avoided.

11.) Figure out what you need to get your body through the day or week. By this I mean, you may have to up the amount of food you eat, how much water you need to drink to stay hydrated and you may have to increase your sleep time.

12.) I could go on and on about things such as heating pads, hot showers, icy hot and tiger balm becomming your best friend, etc, etc. The most important thing for you to do is go in there with an open mind, give everything you have and just have fun. For several months, you are being asked to drink water out of a fire hose. Even if you get a drop or two of that water with each class, that is enough for now. Being soaked to the bones and overwhelmed by the water pressure is just part of the game.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!

Last edited by ninjaqutie : 12-22-2010 at 10:00 AM.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:14 AM   #19
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Heii thanks.

I'll take it easy at start. =)

They have about 30 regular members at the moment.. Not everybody comes to my town to practise as far as i know. But plenty people anyway.

I'm a bit nervous, i think i'll have to sit and meditate for a moment. Half an hour to go.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:17 PM   #20
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Hello everybody, i just came back from my first class.

I can say im totally hooked, i love it, this is simply most amazing and fun thing i've done for a long time. You got yourselves an inexpreiened but very enthusiastic Aikidoka now. I definitely will stay and pratice more.

Two hours went like five minutes, i would have been ready for anothier two hours right away!

Too bad only three guys + me showed up. They said it's because many have their holidaystuff going on etc. And it seems, that those who practice in my town, dont always go to the dojo's main place/practice. And it also seems, that the higher ranking/more experienced sensei's dont always come here.. I got an impression that normally in my town there's these guys + some others and at least one more experienced person. The highest ranking sensei is present at main trainings every time.

So my plan with practice times is this, i go to all pratice hours at my town and at least twice/week to main practice. I need to get a local buslicence thing to travel i guess..

About weapons practice, starts after students reach 4th - 2nd kyu, they didnt mention the exact kyu after weapon stuff starts. But i dont mind, i have plenty of things to learn before even touching a bokken.

These gyus taught me some of the very basic things, posture, few things about basic movement, sitting in seiza, then we went on to do some falling techniques, for me just your usual front and back rolls(i didnt quite get the mae kaiten ukemi yet never have been good rolling bakways..), Sankyo, Ikkyo, and two other things, names escape my memory atm.

As i said, there were only four of us this time, two guys who have been in for last two months and a older guy who have been in dojo for last couple of years, it was fun and the older guy seemed to know what he was talking about

I'll have next practice at next tuesday in the bigger place, sensei + few experienced instructors are going to show up there too.

Bad thing was, i was stiff as a board and i really dont have an idea about anything, its so new and theres endless amount of stuff to learn. I guess it's like that for every newbie. But i love this art, even when this was just a little sneak peek, im eager for more!
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:33 PM   #21
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Come on guys, share with me your knowledge and experience, any hints and tips are welcome. I see you guys and gals have read my thread 269 times, come and talk.

I have to say i'm very peasantly surprised about warm welcome here and dojo, really nice and friendly attitude and everybody seems to be eager to help. I guess it has to do with un-competitive phiosophy at work.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:58 PM   #22
Michael Varin
Dojo: Aikido of Fresno
Join Date: May 2005
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
Lari Hammarberg wrote:
Bad thing was, i was stiff as a board and i really dont have an idea about anything, its so new and theres endless amount of stuff to learn. I guess it's like that for every newbie. But i love this art, even when this was just a little sneak peek, im eager for more!
The stiffness obviously isn't desirable, but it is not uncommon. Try to move in a relaxed and fluid manner, and just keep gently reminding yourself of this every time you feel stiff.

As far as not having an idea about anything, that's really not bad. I continuously felt confused for most of my first two years, but I was making steady progress. As long as you are absorbing the teachings, I think being confused can be sort of beneficial.

You wanted tips, so here you go. Keep a journal of what you did in class… techniques, experiences, thoughts, insights, that sort of thing. This is the one thing I regret not doing from the beginning.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:12 PM   #23
Lari Hammarberg
Dojo: Aikidoseura Asahi Lappeenranta Finland
Location: Imatra South Karelia
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 78
Finland
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Quote:
The stiffness obviously isn't desirable, but it is not uncommon. Try to move in a relaxed and fluid manner, and just keep gently reminding yourself of this every time you feel stiff.
Hello there Michael.

I think it's just because i was a bit nervous, this kind of thing seems to go hand in hand with all new and exciting stuff i do. (just like playing gigs. ) At the end of the class i was way more relaxed and warmed up.

Mainly my problem is that my back seems to freeze every time i do ukemi... (or try to, my back roll doesn't yet exist. )

About the fluid movement by the way, it seems that most of Aikido has to do with "natural" and "flowing" movements without un necessary force used by nage and so on.. When i was a kid, i used to do lot of running in forests, lake shores'(only on the stones, without touhing ground or water) and dodging trees etc. while jumping and running at full speed at the time. Then i was able to do that any time really relaxed and never hurt myself. I think it's that sort of fluid and naturally flowing movement which should be implemented when doing tehniques. Not the running itself, but all the legmovements and such.. I dont know if this is right, but all seems to be about natural flow of movement.

Quote:
As far as not having an idea about anything, that's really not bad. I continuously felt confused for most of my first two years, but I was making steady progress. As long as you are absorbing the teachings, I think being confused can be sort of beneficial.
Yea, i guess it's all normal. Guys at dojo said it was just like that to them too. And well, i'm eager to ask for help and guidance as you can notice. I think it's ok to not know a damn thing about anything, that's what senior student and sensei are for, these guys at least seem to be very helpful with just anything i want to know. Just like most people here.

Quote:
You wanted tips, so here you go. Keep a journal of what you did in class… techniques, experiences, thoughts, insights, that sort of thing. This is the one thing I regret not doing from the beginning.
Keep 'em coming, i dont know how to absorb all this info, but i'm hungry for more. And that's great idea about starting to keep journal. I'll do it.... I've never had journal about muh anything before.

Arigatou, Michael sensei and all the others. It feels nice to have this many teahers.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:00 AM   #24
ninjaqutie
 
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Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Glad you enjoyed your first class.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:38 AM   #25
Walter Martindale
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Location: Cambridge, ON
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Re: Hello, i'm a newbie here and i have questions.

Stiff, jerky movements are characteristic of someone learning something brand new. It is difficult to relax and you are thinking about each movement rather than "doing" each movement because it is different from what you have done before.

That goes for almost all of the movements you will do in Aikido - at the start. As you gain some months and then years of practice, everything will be smoother and easier to do and you won't feel as stiff. You'll be able to respond to your partner's movements without bringing the response to the level of "move my arm here and my leg there" it will be "Hmm, that was an ikkyo (ikkajo)" instead of "here comes his hand what do I do, you want my left hand here and my left foot... " well, you get the picture.

Or - that's the theory and what generally happens, anyway.

Patience, deliberate practice (as defined in motor learning) and time... Stick with it and remember how clumsy you felt when you started so that you can be patient with beginners when you are a "senior"..

With respect to feeling confused? Well... I'm about a year into being a "Nidan" (2nd deg. black belt) in the "aikikai" style, and I still get confused, almost every practice - I think when that goes away, I've either stopped learning or am about to attend my funeral.
Cheers,
Walter

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 12-23-2010 at 12:42 AM.
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