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Old 08-17-2005, 02:52 PM   #1
"Waode"
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Loyalty Issues

I have trained with the same sensei for a number of years. He is a great guy (like an uncle to me) and very skilled in what he does. I feel that I have learned a great deal from him and I could still learn a great deal from him.

BUT . . . . . . . . :

*After multiple seminars and visiting other dojo I seriously wonder if our dojo's brand/style/flavor of aikido is congruent to the national org. and hombu. Kihon is WAY different, names of arts differ, attack dynamics are different. Yudansha exams are done by the national org and I worry that I (and others) won't be doing things the way the Shihan or testing committee wants come test time.

*There is another dojo in the same org that is actually a little closer to my home. This dojo has a very respected sensei in the national org. with truly awesome skill. The students at the dojo are very welcoming and always treat me like one of their own. Their "flavor" of aikido is also very congruent with my own personal taste.

You're probably thinking, "This is a no-brainer. This kid ought to go with the closer dojo with the highly respected sensei (and awesome skill)."

The center of my problem is my sense of loyalty to my sensei. He introduced me to aikido, dealt with my s**t for years, and is truly a great guy. I feel I could be considered disloyal by changing sensei and dojo. Heck, I feel somewhat ashamed writing an anonymous post on this topic!

I know that ultimately the decision is mine to make. I was just hoping that a few folks would offer some outside perspective.

Thanks.
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:11 PM   #2
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Quote:
You're probably thinking, "This is a no-brainer. This kid ought to go with the closer dojo with the highly respected sensei (and awesome skill)."
I'm actually thinking nothing of the sort. Organizations don't really mean that much, the way kihon waza looks doesn't even mean that much necessarily, what is important is the quality of practice. How you determine that is another question. And if your dojo is still part of an organization then presumably what your sensei is doing is ok with that organization. Has no one ever tested for shodan from your dojo before?

I really can't say one way or another from what you wrote, I think you should think very carefully about which dojo you want to continue in. Sorry to be of so little help...
kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:34 PM   #3
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

The base of aikido as a Budo is Teacher --- student transmission. If it isn't important to you so move to other dojo. However you will never learn about Budo this way.
Organisations have nothing to do with aikido.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-17-2005, 03:55 PM   #4
sharonbader
Dojo: Vancouver West Aikikai
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Re: Loyalty Issues

can you drop in at the other dojo?
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:32 PM   #5
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

I was taught that loyalty is very important. I wouldn't throw away a good thing if I had it.

You'll get through the tests with a little help from your friends!

Cheers,

Conrad
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:40 PM   #6
James Davis
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

I train at an independent, non-affiliated, dojo. My sensei has many times over the years stated that he has no problem with his students leaving and learning as many new and different things as they can. My sensei has had a hand in changing my life for the better, and I respect him a great deal.
My advice to you is to not abandon your sensei completely. Whether it's readily apparent or not, he's probably formed a connection with you. Also, don't put too much stock in the importance of organizations. Don't even place too much imprtance on the skill level of the other instructor! Ask yourself if your sensei is holding anything back when he teaches you...

Due to the fact that I haven't jumped through the requisite hoops of their organizations, some other sensei may not recognize my rank; I don't give a rat's rear end. If I'm good enough to meet Sensei Williams' standards, I know I've earned those certificates I worked so hard for. My sensei keeps nothing from me. I, in turn, share everything with my students on the nights when I teach.

Don't keep anything from your sensei. Ask him about it.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:57 PM   #7
Scott Josephus
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Re: Loyalty Issues

My suggestion is to talk with your Sensei about your concerns. This shows you want his input and respect him enough to be honest with him. There is no reason that I can see why you can't continue to train with your Sensei, but also learn from other Senseis . . . They can be equally good, but in different ways. Nor do I (and I would imagine, your Sensei), see this as "disloyal" . . . you simply want to expand your knowledge of Aikido.

My Sensei teaches us a great deal, but I have been to seminars, as have some of my fellow dojomates (and some of them even to seminars outside of our organization), which allows us to learn variations or things done slightly differently, and when we have questions, we can always ask our Sensei, things such as . . . "This [technique] was done differently . . . why do you prefer this way or this variation? The answers you get can get you thinking about techniques in a new way, or a new light.

Remember, ultimately, there is no technique . . . only Aikido.
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Old 08-17-2005, 04:58 PM   #8
Lan Powers
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Re: Loyalty Issues

What would be the problem with training at both schools? Maintain your connection with your Sensei as well as gain extra mat-time training at the other school.....would there be a problem between the two instructors, or you and either of them? If it was approached in this manner, I doubt that "they" would mind. After all, more time on the mat is that much to the good.
Blending....in a differant way.
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 08-17-2005, 05:21 PM   #9
"Waode"
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Re: Loyalty Issues

It was only a couple of hours ago that I posted the start of this thread and I am pleasantly surprised by the number and quality of responses so far.

Obviously, there are other factors, but mentioning too much can kill the anonimity (sp?).

There is no problem with me training at both dojos as far as the 2 sensei are concerned- they get along rather well. A major obstacle is 90% of the sessions are during the same days/times.

I appreciate the responses so far and hope some other folks chime in a bit so I can add more information to the debate in my skull.
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:03 PM   #10
Nick P.
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

I agree with Scott; talk to your sensei, and see where it leads.
Maybe your "new" sensei will ask you "What do you hope to get out of learning under me?".

The answer you give might enlighten you both.

Regardless of the answer, there is no reason to abandon your former teacher. You could simply replace one of your regular classes with one of the new ones for an evaluation period.

And though I do not fully understand the first part of Szczepan's statement about Budo/Teacher/Student, I completely agree with his statement on aikido and federations; that being said, ranks do have to come from somewhere....or you could simply refuse to test ever again.

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Old 08-17-2005, 09:55 PM   #11
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Quote:
Nick Pittson wrote:
And though I do not fully understand the first part of Szczepan's statement about Budo/Teacher/Student, I completely agree with his statement on aikido and federations; that being said, ranks do have to come from somewhere....or you could simply refuse to test ever again.
Well, Nick, it is rather personal thing, depends how you understand your training.
In my opinion, aikido training goes farther then simply learning technical skills. Of course, one can stop at this level and be very happy, in fact, probably most of aikido folks practice that way.

But aikido is a system and isn’t limited to a heap of technical tricks. Certainly, to learn full dimension of aikido as a Budo, one needs personal transmission from his Master.
Normally, Master got it from his Master…etc ….that received it from Founder. Of course, not all instructors got this kind of transmission, that’s why I call him Master.

Now, if one practice that way, only a link to his Master is important. Without that, practice has no sense. This is very serious thing, link become so strong, that one can be part of “family”. And it can be stronger that links to his own family.
I’m not sure that my explanations are clear, but hey, I do my best!

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:39 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

The first instructor one lands with is not necessarily A Master, or The Master, or The Right Master (TM).
And sometimes an instructor and/or a student changes over time and the fit is no longer right.
And sometimes a dojo culture is not condusive to a particular student' s growth.
There is loyalty and then there is undermining one's training....I cannot speak to how much any of this may apply to the original poster's situation. In general, I agree w/ not burning bridges unneccessarily.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:47 PM   #13
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Well, I really don't know what to say what others haven't already said. Just good luck with your decision, I hope everything goes well for you and your teachers. Since you have a good relationship with your teacher, I would ask permission to train with the other one. If it is economically feasable I would maybe split it half/half or make some kind of compromise. But really, I feel for your situation...good luck. And remember, you have to do what you need to to grow where you want. You have control over that (sometimes).
Osu!
~adam

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:58 PM   #14
MikeE
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Everyone questions their faith in their particular brand of Aikido (or any art) at one time or another. Some leave and go to another style, some stick it out and persevere. It's all Aikido. And at some point you should be developing your own aikido (not that you don't need a sensei) but it should become a more personal expression of yourself. If you feel this other dojo has something to offer, train there. If you are worried about expression of technique from one dojo to another, travel more. Everywhere you go it will be different, but also the same, if it adheres to aiki principles.

You have been training "for a number of years" sooooo IMHO, find your Aikido don't look to someone else to hand it to you. At some point you must become responsible for your own training.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:36 PM   #15
"Anonymous Aikijitsu Guy"
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Re: Loyalty Issues

If I may add someting....I too am pondering this very issue. I am with an independant group who has broken ties with a national federation. When this all occured I was very confused, hurt and angered at the situation. However this would be the second time that my Sensei has basically been ousted from an orginazation. I am not sure what this says, but I am concerned at the trend. My other issue is I would like to train under someone in an Aikijujitsu orginazation who I personally respect but my Sensei does not. So mentioning this would mean my immediate expulsion from my dojo!

I guess I am confused and would like advised too. I also am writing this annonymously due to obvious reasons. Do I train with my current orginazation and miss out on a great opportunity, or do I actually go to another master and beginunder him. This is my dilema and I am not sure what to do anymore, I just know I love training and would hate to mess up an opportunity.

Any help would be appreciated!!!!
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Old 08-18-2005, 02:50 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

We are talking for the most part here about modern people who are training part time in aikido for some form of personal development. Neither of the folks posting anonomously describe themselves as other terms (for instance, in an uchideshi situation, or in a more traditional close relationship with someone who is transmitting a koryu art). A dojo is not a gym or club, and I am not advocating flitting from dojo to dojo. However there are times an individual realizes that something is no longer the right "fit", and in terms of how most American dojo are structured, I cannot really see loyalty to the instructor as ever taking precedence over how/where one wants one's training to develop.
Yes, local aikido "politics" and/or how senior you are in terms of dojo responsibilities may be considerations. But rank, well, yknow...is rank why you train? If the thing you want to pursue, from a different teacher, is that different, well ought you not be willing to be a beginner anew?

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-18-2005, 03:00 PM   #17
"Anonymous Aikijitsu Guy"
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Re: Loyalty Issues

I have no problem with starting over. Rank is not any concern to me, as I could care less about a belt that helps hold my pants up. My dilemma is do I drop my current training and go with a new master. I consider myself loyal, however I see a trend that is not too comforting with my sensei as far as adjoining to orginazations and then being ousted from them!!!!

I guess I see this new opportunity as an exciting turn in my martial path, and I just hope I choose wisely!!!!
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Old 08-21-2005, 11:10 AM   #18
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

We left an organazation that my Sensei had been with for 25 years. It has been a very positive move for us. Sometimes, however,legitimacy issues come up for me.....am I doing the real thing?
It especially happens when I spend too much time reading this board because alot of peole think theirs is the only way.
When I just show up and train,everything is fine...I do believe in being loyal and hope someday to repay what has been passed on to me.
Mir
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:59 AM   #19
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Loyalty is one of the seven virtues of bushido. So it is an important aspect, however, courage is another virtue. Aikido is about independence, making your own judgements and decisions. It takes courage to do so. If you have practised with good intent at your 'old' dojo, you will find years from now that much you have learned is still present in some form or another.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:22 PM   #20
"Utaz"
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:
Loyalty is one of the seven virtues of bushido.
Not surprising. Betrayals were the norm in the warring days; loyalty would be a good tag line then.

Quote:
So it is an important aspect, however, courage is another virtue. Aikido is about independence, making your own judgements and decisions. It takes courage to do so. If you have practised with good intent at your 'old' dojo, you will find years from now that much you have learned is still present in some form or another.
Having the courage and good intention to defy a tyrannic and ruthless daimyo equate to betrayal and would lead to one and ones entire family/clan to death then. As for independence, making own judgments and decisions, present aikido politics would tell you otherwise. Good intent and courage may halt your advancement (ranking) in aikido especially when your instructor happens to the top gruffer in the organization - my advice: think before you act.
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Old 08-24-2005, 04:11 AM   #21
Hanna B
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Quote:
I have trained with the same sensei for a number of years. He is a great guy (like an uncle to me) and very skilled in what he does. I feel that I have learned a great deal from him and I could still learn a great deal from him.

BUT . . . . . . . . :

*After multiple seminars and visiting other dojo I seriously wonder if our dojo's brand/style/flavor of aikido is congruent to the national org. and hombu. Kihon is WAY different, names of arts differ, attack dynamics are different. Yudansha exams are done by the national org and I worry that I (and others) won't be doing things the way the Shihan or testing committee wants come test time.
If you are talking Aikikai, there is not one particular way of doing technique that is congruent with Hombu while other ways are not. There are very different ways of training within the Aikikai. Students of different Japanese Shihan differ quite a lot.

Are there many countries where a national testing committé gives dan rank? I only know of Sweden and France, but my info could very well be outdated here. If indeed you are in Sweden, if you choose to take rank for a shihan IMO your style of aikido should be somewhat similar to the shihans in question. Some teachers are more open to stylistic variation than others, but if your teachers's line of aikido don't have a regularly visiting shihan probably the national grading committée is a better choice. They are used to judge aikido from quite different styles within the Aikikai; that is their task, and different "styles" within the Aikikai is represented in the committee.

That a certain way of doing aikido is less common in the country in question and the names of techniques differ, doesn't mean it is bad or not accepted. For instance, there is one aikido teacher in Sweden whose main inspiration is late Akira Tohei sensei - probably misspelled, I am referring to the Tohei sensei who lived in the US, not the Tohei sensei of ki-aikido. In this teacher had stayed in the US his style wouldn't be so uncommon, but here he is the only one. I am convinced this will be no problem for his students regarding gaining dan ranks.

I am in no way involved with the aikido politics - in fact I don't train any more, but I still consider myself fairly informed in these matters. If you are from Sweden and would like some more informal info, feel free to send me an email through Aikiweb. Still, I think it would be good if you could talk to your teachers regarding your concern about gradings, and his style and terminology being different from others. If he is worthy of your trust, he should have some good explanation for the differences - like explaining his aikido lineage (who was his teachers, and who were their teachers).
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:14 AM   #22
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Quote:
Having the courage and good intention to defy a tyrannic and ruthless daimyo equate to betrayal and would lead to one and ones entire family/clan to death then.
One must get to know their adversaries well, before (or even at all) encountering them. For this is a situation set in war. And you what they say about love and war... but then again you reflect this yourself by your statement below: think before you act

Quote:
Good intent and courage may halt your advancement (ranking) in aikido especially when your instructor happens to the top gruffer in the organization - my advice: think before you act.
It is always wise to try and get the full picture of things before acting. Then if you feel you have to walk a different path, so be it. Some will respect you for it, some won't, others won't even care.
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Old 08-26-2005, 07:08 AM   #23
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Loyalty Issues

It is often difficult when dojos of similar styles are close together. Few remain friendly and strangely, in the UK I saw people switch both ways - sometimes one guy came this way, sometimes others went away - certain dojos appeal to certain people I guess. As for me, I was happy to train in both and for the most part just kept my mouth shut.

If I were you I'd continue as is but shift slightly to the new teacher over time. I suspect that is what you will do anyway,

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Old 08-26-2005, 11:05 PM   #24
David Yap
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Re: Loyalty Issues

Hi all,

There a good post from Dr. Peter Goldsbury regarding "loyalty" related problems faced by Aikikai students in Malaysia in the E-Budo forum that is worth viewing.

Best training

David Y
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Old 08-27-2005, 03:53 AM   #25
Hanna B
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Re: Loyalty Issues

David, could you possibly link to the thread?
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