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Old 03-27-2005, 12:30 AM   #1
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Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of March 27, 2005:

How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Critically important
  • Very important
  • Somewhat important
  • Not very important
  • Not at all important
Here are the current results.
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:26 AM   #2
wendyrowe
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

For a beginner, I can't see any reason why it would be important to learning the techniques. But it would be very important if the beginner has any doubts about the teacher's skill or is still looking for the right (best fit for the student) aikido.
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Old 03-27-2005, 02:02 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

As somebody who made it a point to check out other styles early on, I can say that I did not learn other techniques, but I did learn the very valuable lesson that there is no "one true way." I've also met too many yudansha who have never stepped outside their dojo to explore that reality.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:47 PM   #4
Jerry Miller
 
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles oth

While it would serve a purpose to see or experience another style I do not think that it would be helpful early on. Once you have a foundation then it would be helpful.

Jerry Miller
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Old 03-27-2005, 05:56 PM   #5
kironin
 
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

I said not at all important.

but I am assuming the beginner already shopped around before picking a school, is happy with their training, and the training is good in whatever style it is.


the poll was not about yudansha, which is another matter altogether.

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Old 03-27-2005, 06:14 PM   #6
Hanna B
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

For a beginner, I'd say not at all important. For experienced folks... that is another discussion.
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Old 03-27-2005, 07:06 PM   #7
PeterR
 
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

My view has changed over time. I now think it is vitally important for a beginner to explore and find what suits them best. Once they do it helps to concentrate on only one for a time.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:15 PM   #8
Charles Hill
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Interestingly, I think that Craig and Peter are saying the same thing. And I agree with both of them.

Charles
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:30 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

I agree that for a beginning student there needs to be a home dojo/style where a particular teaching style and "muscle memory" gets instilled, what Jerry calls the foundation.
The aikido-l seminar I attended early in my training was physically confusing and I really couldn't take away anything practical. I recall writing in my review of it that a main lesson for me was that I needed to go home and hunker down and train where I train! However the experience of seeing and to some extent participating in other styles for a couple days was an eye/brain opener I've neve regretted and it has informed my awareness and my training to this day.
So I guess it's semantics: how much "exposure" constitutes "experience"?

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-28-2005, 03:06 AM   #10
ruthmc
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

I think it's very important that beginning students should at least be aware that there are other styles out there, and to experience them can mean anything from getting on the tatami to train, to watching a class, a video, or reading a book.

Probably not a good idea to regularly train in two different styles when first starting out though

At my first dojo, I gradually became aware that there were other styles in Aikido by hearing the senior students and instructor bad-mouthing them. This stopped me from exploring more widely at first as I (unfortunately) believed the seniors. As soon as I plucked up the courage to try other styles, I discovered that I could learn something from all of them and that the One True Way stuff was indeed garbage

Ruth
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Old 03-28-2005, 06:13 AM   #11
Tim Heckman
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles oth

I'm a beginner (1.5 years) in an an Aikido World Alliance dojo (previously Aikido Association of America). I recently attended a seminar for the USAF Western region, and did feel that it helped me considerably.
The styles are similar, so it wasn't terribly confusing, except for some weapons work. Many times I thought, "we" don't do things quite like that, only to realize a few minutes or days later that it was "Tim" that didn't do things quite like that "yet". So it was helpful to get much the same feedback that I'm already receiving, but from a different viewpoint.
I also managed to go through a full case of beginner's terror, informed by over a year of aikido practice. But I practiced through it, even taking quite a few breakfalls from one of Chiba sensei's deschi. Back at my own dojo, I've been even more excited and joyful in my practice.
Finally, it's just good to experience friendliness and trade stories with different people. All in all, it was a very good experience and I would certainly do it again. I would add, however, that I feel my experience refers to attending the occasional seminar, or seeing different dojos while travelling. I do not know if regularly attending two dojos as a beginner would be helpful or not.

"Shut up and train."-- Fumio Toyoda
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:16 AM   #12
Eszter Tanacs
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Cool Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

I think people cannot be early enough to learn that there are other styles and other martial arts out there as well. Maybe at first it is confusing but at least they learn there is no such thing as 'best', only 'good'. Tolerance is very important. I've seen so many people who never left their dojo, acquired some grade and thought they were the best in the whole world while never even being close to real teachers. Also, if you realize there are loads of styles, you can choose one that fits you...
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:19 AM   #13
ian
 
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

I think to deepen their understanding in aikido a practitioner should try or have some understanding of other 'styles'. I put 'critically important' - partly because I think you must get to a point in training when you can question what you are being taught; but to do so effectively you must experience the benefits and drawbacks of the alternatives to what you are being taught. Too many students just say exactly what their sensei says, with no true understanding from testing this with their own experience.
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Old 03-30-2005, 08:15 AM   #14
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Quote:
Eszter Tanacs wrote:
I think people cannot be early enough to learn that there are other styles and other martial arts out there as well. Maybe at first it is confusing but at least they learn there is no such thing as 'best', only 'good'. Tolerance is very important. I've seen so many people who never left their dojo, acquired some grade and thought they were the best in the whole world while never even being close to real teachers. Also, if you realize there are loads of styles, you can choose one that fits you...
Who does not know there are other martial arts besides aikido ?
Maybe 10 years ago or more I could believe one could not be aware there was was more than one style of aikido before starting at some school, I certainly did not when I started, but nowadays all one has to do is Google "aikido". The lists starts with aikidofaq.com, aikiweb.com, aikidoonline.com, etc.... Not shopping around these days if you have multiple choices is just being lazy.

Tolerance and humility are both the effect of the quality of instruction in the student's home dojo and the student's receptiveness to such. You shouldn't have to leave your dojo for that. Especially not as a beginner.

and it's beginners we are talking about, not someone in the mid to upper kyu ranks. When I was sankyu, I attended an Iwama Ryu seminar with Saito Sensei. I enjoyed it a great deal, but it did not change my mind about the correctness of the path I was already on. This was before aikiweb.com or aikidofaq.com or many of the videos you can find out there now. My Sensei went to the seminar also and that is probably why I went since I was not at all confident about my technique at that point. Going to that seminar helped my confidence and value more what I was learning at my home dojo. So that was a good thing for me to experience after a couple of years of training 4 times a week.

As a teacher, my experience has been that many beginners especially those that have never done any other martial art to a significant extent can be really hurt by being thrown in to cross-style situations. The confusion can erode their confidence in learning aikido at all. Physical injury is highly possible given the differences in ukemi (what little they know at this point), my own experience in cross-styles training and Ellis Amdur's essays would really give me pause in suggesting to a beginner that it's a good thing or important for their training at that point to attend other style seminars or dojos.

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Old 03-30-2005, 08:28 AM   #15
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think to deepen their understanding in aikido a practitioner should try or have some understanding of other 'styles'. I put 'critically important' - partly because I think you must get to a point in training when you can question what you are being taught; but to do so effectively you must experience the benefits and drawbacks of the alternatives to what you are being taught. Too many students just say exactly what their sensei says, with no true understanding from testing this with their own experience.
I don't disagree except I would want to know what you qualify as a beginner. IMO, it's critically important to the development of someone at 2nd or 1st kyu to experience other styles. Someone who has trained for several years is not IMO a "beginner" except in the sense of a lifetime of training that we are all beginners.

Any sensei that lets a student parrot what they say needs to be bopped on the head. :-)

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Old 03-30-2005, 04:34 PM   #16
Eszter Tanacs
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Quote:
Craig Hocker wrote:
Who does not know there are other martial arts besides aikido ?
I see you're from Houston, you don't have an idea what's going on in poorer countries like Hungary. People here are too poor to regularly get to seminars of even European high-grade sensei not to mention Japanese ones. Very few people get to learn Aikido with a proper sensei for a longer period. Result is, what most students here have is second-(third-, fourth-...) hand knowledge. Shodans/nidans form clubs and teach people. To hide their own incompetence, they don't encourage people attending other trainings. There are of course exceptions as always.

It is also a question of money. If you have your own students, you have a place to practise because 20 people can hire a hall easier than 2. if you have students, they pay for the trainings so you can go to seminars to foreign countries and/or invite teachers. The price of development for these guys is to keep their students in ignorance as long as they can. Many students have no idea what Aikido (or any other martial art) is like but they think their 'art' is the best, the only good one. I heard one guy exclaim he did 'jitsu' which is THE original Japanese martial art.
Oh and I saw trainings where the teacher actually teaches both the tori and uke what to do as if it was a dance. I'd prefer to make these beginners attend other classes, because people are patient with beginners and not so hard on them. What if these guys get higher grades and attend a seminar? What happens to them if their pair makes a move that was not taught in their 'dance'? I can tell you: I saw that happen too, the guy very nearly broke his spine.

As for the internet, there's a bit of difference between reading about let's say Yoshinkan Aikido and training with Gozo Shioda. (I know he's dead but that was the first name I remembered :-) ).

I think any club/art/style where beginners are hurt isn't worth considering. Whatever style it is, they have beginners and probably their own methods of teaching them as well which doesn't necessarily include hurting them.
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Old 03-31-2005, 02:20 AM   #17
ian
 
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Yep Craig - maybe not an absolute begginer. To be honest I don't think people really start to learn aikido until they are no longer learning 'techniques'. I suppose there has to be some firm basis to allow this basis to be deconstructed and rebuilt again!

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 03-31-2005, 06:06 AM   #18
bogglefreak20
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

As a beginner in Ki Aikido I have plenty of work in one style as it is... Later on I may try something else, complementary to what I do now. Not promising anything though.

Beatus Qui Venit In Nomine Domini!
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Old 03-31-2005, 05:10 PM   #19
Eddie deGuzman
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Blush! Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

As others have said, searching for a dojo or having doubts about the teacher's skill would be good reasons for checking out other dojo/styles. And there are those out there proclaiming their style is the "one true way", etc.

In my own case, I started learning karate-doh and aikido 20 years ago. After some time, I felt reasonably comfortable with karate-doh, but never felt comfortable in aikido. Actually, I never felt like I knew what I was doing. Ten years later I found myself in Japan, in an aikido dojo where a friend of mine studies. From the very first technique, I couldn't move an inch. It rocked my martial arts brain. I had studied aikido for 10 years, but it wasn't aikido, just a facade of aikido.

Having studied for some time in Japan now, I have more of an idea what was missing and why I couldn't move. But how does someone who knows nothing ascertain what is "real" aikido and what is "dancing"?

When I first started studying, there was no Internet, not even e-mail, and I had never heard of aikido. It was what they were doing next to the karate-doh space and I joined them. I have recently done the google search for aikido, and I am utterly amazed at the amount of information out there. People should by all means use it and shop around for a dojo/teacher/style that suits them. Knowledge is power.
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Old 04-10-2005, 07:54 PM   #20
Berney Fulcher
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Re: Poll: How important is it for beginners in aikido to experience aikido styles other than their own?

Hmm, interesting responses. I know that for me, after starting a year ago and gaining some confidence in my ukemi, I now try to attend other dojo's when I am traveling out of town. It's given me some very interesting experiences. But I think the main thing it did for me was to reduce my head size a few notches. Invariably working at the home dojo you know what is expected and "how things are done". Visiting other places really gave me a sense that there is a lot of stuff out there that I am barely tapping into at the present time. I always seem to come home a lot more humbled than when I left
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