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Old 11-11-2004, 01:25 PM   #26
akiy
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Keiko may stop when I step off the mat, but shugyo certainly doesn't...

-- Jun

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Old 11-11-2004, 02:13 PM   #27
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
the Shihan has earned a level of respect and probably no longer does things like sweep the floor.
Uh, the Shihan where I train participates fully in the cleaning...I've seen him sweep, vacum, wash, build...A to Z. I don't think he's ever asked me to do something he wouldn't do that very moment himself. I think its that way most places I;ve been to. Could be wrong there, I don't know...

RT

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:03 PM   #28
aikidoc
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Demetrio. I never said anything about humbling anyone although in some cases a notch or two down with the ego would do some people a whole lot of good. My point was there is no structure or issues of power when it comes to cleaning. It is a shared endeavor because we all want to train in a clean and safe environment. Tradition perhaps. Good common sense-absolutely. It helps build community and as has been pointed out before commaraderie among the participants.
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:07 PM   #29
aikidoc
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

p.s. You may be interpreting "humbling" as putting people down or in their place. I, on the other hand, view this as dispensing with ego. I have humbling experiences every time I practice with a shihan-but I do not feel put down.
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:50 PM   #30
maikerus
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

I don't think cleaning the dojo is part of training. It is however, part of being a productive member of the dojo group.

I spent 11 months as senshusei helping to clean the dojo every morning before training and never once did I consider it training. It was simply part of the package of being a senshusei and a good way to make sure that the dojo stayed clean - since we did have an emotional committment to the dojo and our instructors, we wanted the place to be clean.

I don't even think that having uchideshi clean a dojo is part of training for them. It is simply something else that they do and is in their "job description" as uchideshi.

I can imagine how some would use cleaning as a way of humbling students, but that has never been my experience. I would hope that students would naturally want to help when they see others helping.

Again, I don't think it's part of training, but it is part of being part of the group.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 11-11-2004, 05:50 PM   #31
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Understood, thanks for your posts.

Regards.

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Old 11-11-2004, 06:40 PM   #32
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
p.s. You may be interpreting "humbling" as putting people down or in their place. I, on the other hand, view this as dispensing with ego. I have humbling experiences every time I practice with a shihan-but I do not feel put down.
Yes, this is exactly the point. This has always been part of practice and not just in dojos. In a Zendo one finds the same thing but it is spelled out more. The jobs which we in the West would consider the most menial actualy are assigned to the advanced students as part of their practice. The guy who cooks for the group at Sesshin is always an advanced student. The guy who gets to clean the toilets is usually senior to the folks who are sweeping the grounds.

I know various folks have stated that although they did the chores around the dojo they didn't feel that cleaning was part of the training. I would simply point out that in any Japanese system of training, everything is considered training.

It's instructive to realize that many Westren students wouldn't bat an eye at going through all sorts of trials and tribulations on the mat with their teacher and their sempai but have back-off at the idea of cleaning.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:47 PM   #33
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

I always liked it as a form of meditation after training.
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:50 PM   #34
Marc Kupper
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
Is cleaning the dojo part of training? Why? What is the goal of this training? Is it idealistic to think that it is anything other than being sanitary? Does this ideal translate into American sensibilities?
For me, Aikido is about taking care of my environment.

It's also one of my rituals that helps transition from the outside world (work, family, etc.) to what's happening on the mat. It's more for sanity than sanitary reasons.

Lately, I've made a little game of it; clean with zanshin, use of center, etc.

> Does this ideal translate into American sensibilities?
What are American sensibilities?
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:22 PM   #35
Charles Hill
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

[quote=Demetrio Cereijo]
But cleaning the dojo as a way to humbling people, or as a part of the training, needs more ellaboration to be justifiable imho. [quote]

I think that Demetrio`s questions are very important. Too often people just accept things without examining them. And then when they get called out on them, people get defensive.

In my opinion, cleaning has several benefits.

1. It produces this, "We are all in it together." feeling. There is nothing like the rush of 4th, 5th, and 6th dan students running for brooms and vacumn cleaners after the Doshu`s 6:30 am class at Honbu.

2. There is a "You don`t have to like it, you just have to do it." part of it. This helps students develop an obedient, passive attitude. (sunao in Japanese) This is important because, we are practicing a "martial way" to change ourselves. We come to a dojo because we can`t do it on our own. Thus, we need to trust our teacher and submit to the teaching.

3. To be Budo and not just Bujutsu, we need to take what we learn during martial practice and apply it to things in our daily lives. Cleaning the dojo is a good bridge between martial technique practice and daily life. We can explore things like "what is the best way to hold a broom?" "what is the best system for a group of people to clean together without getting in each other`s way and still be able to clean effectively?"

One day at the Aikikai Honbu, I got a rather sharp lesson in how to clean with a rag by Tamura Shihan. I listened carefully and tried to do it the way he showed. Later that day during a class he taught, he spent a long time with me working on various techniques. I think it was because I showed him that I was open and eager to get what he had to teach.

Charles Hill
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:08 PM   #36
Magma
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Training is where you find it.

Cleaning. Treatment of our belts (not leaving them on the ground).

Training is an effort at self-improvement, so perhaps the easiest place to find non-keiko training is anywhere there is a choice given us dealing with self-improvement. One choice has us working a bit harder and learning from it, the other has us not working nearly as much but gives us an escape from the situation.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people who claim to value their training always choose the easier way, the exit from the situation rather than working a little bit and learning, when presented with this sort of choice.

Could it be that people do not learn from these opportunities (cleaning, treatment of their belts) because they do not see them as opportunities? And, if so, then what sort of student does this person make who does not look for ways to learn? Who takes the easy way out?

I agree with George Ledyard: training is in everything. Something doesn't necessarily have to be hard to be worthwhile, of course, but very often the choice is exactly as I laid it out: easy exit from the situation, or a little work that facilitates learning.

You decide.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:32 PM   #37
maikerus
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I would simply point out that in any Japanese system of training, everything is considered training.
George,

I think we'd have to go back and define training for me to agree with you on this.

I think maybe Jun's differentiation between training and Shugyo would be more appropriate for things like sleeping in front of the master's door in case they get up in the night and always have an ashtray ready for when they feel like flicking their ash.

I'm trying to remember some of the conversations (or one sided discussions <wry grin>) I've had with some of my senior Japanese instructors and my impression is that the reason you do so much more than just train on the mats is out of respect and a wish to be looked upon favourably (in the sense that you will be shown and learn more) as opposed to it being an aspect of training. It falls back into the sempai/kohai relationship that came up a few threads ago.

I could be wrong, and I agree it is a part of the life experience...but I still wouldn't call it training per say.

This is probably just a semantic thing, but I don't want people to think of cleaning as "wax on/wax off". It is more than that and much different. Perhaps a different type of training?

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:47 PM   #38
xuzen
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
Is cleaning the dojo part of training? Why? What is the goal of this training? Is it idealistic to think that it is anything other than being sanitary? Does this ideal translate into American sensibilities?
Hi all aikidokas,

Does the word volunteerism and altruism ring a bell in this case? Does the word humility apply in this context? Or maybe community service? Cleaning the dojo is so much like community service, you volunteer your service as part of a collective you are in for a greater good - e.g. less smelly dojo, ha ha ha

Other Goals of this avtivity -
1) less smelly dojo
2) more hygienic mats to roll on
3) A sore butt to prove how serious you are to your dojo mates and sensei.
4) Strong forearm to grab uke better
5) et cetera.

Regards
Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:51 PM   #39
PeterR
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

I also wouldn't call it training per se. More of a contribution to the group/dojo. Cleaning is something everyone can do.

We have a limited number of brooms so there always is a wrestling match to get your broom from the senior student. Those senior enough never to be left with a broom will have something else found for them to do to contribute to the overall functioning of the dojo.

At Himeji there are no brooms just the contract cleaners - I don't think our training suffers.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-11-2004, 09:55 PM   #40
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

[quote=Charles Hill][quote=Demetrio Cereijo]
But cleaning the dojo as a way to humbling people, or as a part of the training, needs more ellaboration to be justifiable imho.
Quote:

One day at the Aikikai Honbu, I got a rather sharp lesson in how to clean with a rag by Tamura Shihan. I listened carefully and tried to do it the way he showed. Later that day during a class he taught, he spent a long time with me working on various techniques. I think it was because I showed him that I was open and eager to get what he had to teach.

Charles Hill
One thing about the Japanese Senseis, even if they criticize you, it's because they think you are worth teaching. If they think you are a putz they won't say anything. You are not worth their notice. Tamura Sensei's cleaning instruction was a way to check you out and he found you worth investing in because of your attitude.

The folks that object to "being humbled" by cleaning would have resented such an intrusion since it was itself fairly humbling to be shown how to dust properly. They would have missed the point with Tamura Sensei and not earned his later attention as you did.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:04 PM   #41
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

When using a push broom in cleaning the dojo, remember to keep the front foot in front and straight ahead. Do not point the front foot at an angle from the direction you are moving. Also keep knees pointed ahead. Try to use as much of your foot movement to push the broom rather than your arms but when pushing the broom do not just push the broom along the floor but sweep using a motion that matches arms swing and feet. Make sure to move feet first but end feet movement with arm movement. Remember to keep back straight, head up and stay in hanmi.

When sweeping with the brush type of broom make sure to move feet first, then swing arm. Learn to use long smooth strokes that start after feet start but end with the feet. Do some with front foot pointed in direction of movement and maintaining hanmi. Do others with front foot at right angles and back foot pointed away from direction of movement in Tenshin movement. Control your weight balance between the legs. Remember to keep head up, back straight and stay in hanmi. When turning, remember to turn head first.

When washing floor with cloth, either push cloth along floor without knees on floor but keep head up and back arched. If washing floor with cloth with knees on floor, make sure to move in shikko. Remember to keep head up and back straight. When turning, remember to turn head first.

Rock
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:05 PM   #42
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
I also wouldn't call it training per se. More of a contribution to the group/dojo. Cleaning is something everyone can do.

We have a limited number of brooms so there always is a wrestling match to get your broom from the senior student. Those senior enough never to be left with a broom will have something else found for them to do to contribute to the overall functioning of the dojo.

At Himeji there are no brooms just the contract cleaners - I don't think our training suffers.
I'm not saying that this is a necessary thing. I am saying that resitance to it indicates something.

But all of these "conventions" like cleaning, not letting your seniors sweep when you don't have a broom, all of that is part of the training. It was meant to shape you as a person. It didn't evolve by accident and the Japanese are the true masters of making everyday things part of your spiritual development. Yes, it is simply something that someone has to do and it can be done by contract cleaners if the money is available... but all of these things people have mentioned like building group cohesiveness, creating an investment in the space itself by the students, helping to avoid an inflated sense of self importance, etc is all meant to have its effect on the characters of the participants so we were always told it was just part of the training. Pretty much everything that invloved the dojo or Sensei was considered part of the training.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:32 PM   #43
PeterR
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Hi George;

Don't misunderstand me - I'm all for shoji at the end of class. At Himeji we might not sweep, but windows are closed, doors to the mirrors are shut, equipment gathered. At Honbu we sweep.

It doesn't improve our humility nor improve our Aikido (at least in the physical sense) but it does provide a service and hence attachment to the group.

With 15 brooms sweeping 80 tatami, besides some of the larger dust bunnies, all you get is a redistribution of dust. The deshi still vacums once everyone is gone, not to mention the mopping. A cleaner dojo hardly.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-11-2004, 10:34 PM   #44
Chris Li
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
Tim Rohr wrote:
Training is where you find it.

Cleaning. Treatment of our belts (not leaving them on the ground).
There's that belt thing again...

In Japan we all helped clean the dojo. OTOH, nobody thought anything about leaving a belt on the ground. The one is not necessarily linked to the other.

As for cleaning, I trained in several Aikido dojo and more than one koryu dojo in Japan, and none of them thought of it as spiritual training. It was just politeness. Is wiping your shoes on a doormat in New York before you go into somebody's house a spiritual experience? Maybe if you're from a different culture you might blow it up into that, for most people in the US it would just be standard manners.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with instilling a certain set of manners as part of the training - a practice which probably started because the students were usually young kids and in need of that kind of thing (that's why Japanese elementary school students are made to spend time cleaning the schools). OTOH, I don't think that it's necessary to get over-emotional about the spiritual profundity of the thing.

In Japan or Hawaii, you take off your shoes before you go in the house. In New York you don't. In some dojo you clean and in some you don't - if I go somewhere that they clean than I do too. When in Rome...

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-11-2004, 10:46 PM   #45
PeterR
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Good post Charles - sometimes a broom is just a broom.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-12-2004, 06:45 AM   #46
Jill N
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Hi all:

The other function of cleaning the mats is to inspect them for damage and blood spots (especially if you share the dojo.) There have been several occasions where I have cleaned up blood (fresh, and old) at the dojo which we share with many other groups. On a couple of occasions, the "bleeder" from the preceeding class watched as I cleaned up his blood with an antibacterial wipe, commenting to me that it isn't necessary because he hasn't got AIDS. Unbelievable! I told him I would stop the class to clean up my own blood for the protection and reassurance of everyone on the mat. It is best to assume that blood carries organisms than to make a judgement on whose blood we should clean up and whose is OK to leave. BTW- one of the two occasions, his instructor heard the exchange and ordered him to take the wipes from me and clean it up himself. All the groups generally get along very well. It only takes a few with bad attitude to cause potential problems.

Regarding my own group, I used to clean just as much as the rest, but they won't let me now. One grabs the mop, another grabs the Ki symbol to set up and there I am, standing watching. I really appreciate it.

e ya later
Jill
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:23 AM   #47
jxa127
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Jill,

We stop to clean up blood right away too. The bloodstains on the mat tend to discourage new students. ;-)

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:46 AM   #48
Magma
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

In this thread now we have had aikido compared to acting and cleaning the dojo compared to wiping your shoes before entering someone's house. Let me answer those points from my perspective.

Acting is not an art inherently focused on developing the whole person. The overwhelming majority of people do not train in acting so that they are better people, they train so that they become better actors. For the few who treat it is a true, internalizable art, I think you *would* see the sort of investment in their workspace as we are discussing as arising from cleaning. I think that this sort of actor would be invested in every part of the production that they could help out with - set design, set construction, cleaning, etc. Of course, acting does not have the martial tradition backing it up where the focus *is* specifically on developing the whole person, and I think that this is why you don't see the emphasis like you do in aikido.

Also, you are not constantly rolling on stage where others have rolled; you are not having your face pressed into the floor of the set where others feet have been. For a number of reasons, then, a comparison to acting is a poor one.

As for wiping your shoes before you enter someone's house, again, unless that person or that place were a part of your growth as a person, then it is not a valid comparison. If the person *were* such a person as integrally important to your development as a person, or if the place were integrally a part, then I think that you would a bit more ceremony wiping (or removing) your shoes before entering.

It's all about opportunities.

Tim
It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:57 AM   #49
PeterR
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

Quote:
Tim Rohr wrote:
The overwhelming majority of people do not train in acting so that they are better people, they train so that they become better actors.
This is probably true but I think the same thing can be said for most people doing Aikido.

I train in Aikido so I can become better at Aikido.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 11-12-2004, 08:30 AM   #50
Qatana
 
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Re: Is cleaning the dojo part of training?

[quote=Tim Rohr].

Acting is not an art inherently focused on developing the whole person. .

Theater Arts may not be focussed on developing the WHole Person but the individual can get as much spiritual value from practicing them as from aikido. We work with "identity" in our dojo, becoming a "different " person than the person we were when we entered the dojo, when we started any technique. Theater arts are about creating a different identity each time you step on the stage.
The discipline of a Ballet class is just as beneficial, and much more strenuous btw, than/as in aikido.So is the discipline of dog training, for that matter.Well, maybe not quite so strenuous...



"Also, you are not constantly rolling on stage where others have rolled; you are not having your face pressed into the floor of the set where others feet have been. For a number of reasons, then, a comparison to acting is a poor one."


So in dance i have rolled around on a stage with my face and other bodily parts pressed into the floor. In more than one performance. And believe it or not, we get blood on the stage,too.And rosin. Nothing like a face full of nice sticky, burning rosin to contribute to a dance performance.We have it on the dojo floor, it gets on the mats, i'm Happy to wash them periodically!

Q
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