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Old 11-28-2005, 01:29 PM   #1
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
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Just my thoughts

I have thought a long time and read many articles and posts regarding this subject and I have been reluctant to post my thoughts on this subject as my lack of experience (3rdkyu) may cause people to dismiss the concepts that I present in this post and if that is the case then so be it. I think we all can share and learn no matter the level of the student. I believe that the generally accepted ideology of aikido is what sets it up for its own demise.

First we must define what aikido is.

The most common definition of Aikido is as a gentle harmonious noncompetitive spiritual art. This lack of competitive aikibudo is one reason most budo practitioners believe aikido is only for show. Now when I use the statement competitive aikibudo, I am not referring to the many trophies and medals, which can be won through tournaments. I am referring to the natural instinctive competition brought on by a combat. The concept of one individual being attacked by another individual (or individuals) on the mat with the willingness to engage honestly and freely regardless rank or the outcome; willing to lose yet striving to win at the same time. In all other budo system this competitive combat exists; karate, jkd, kenpo, judo ECT. In arts such as karate when sparring with the sensei or kohai there exists the understanding between you and your training partner that he/she expects you to try and defeat him/her and vice versa. This is competitive combat, even with the pads for protection there exists a do or die mentality. Traditional Aikido as practiced today lacks that do or die mentality, I watch many aikidoka on the mat and through video and they seem to lack that spirit/reality of engagement; the concept of well it's the dojo and he/she is not really going to hurt me exists. We all know of and have seen this; I as many of you am probably guilty of it at times as well. I believe the perceived nature of aikido is at fault, the gentle spiritual ideology of this wonderful art in which we train overshadows the actual budo practice, which is the heart of this great art in which we train. When I trained in karate this lack of do or die mentality did not exist due to the combative nature of the art itself. When engaging in kumite once paired off the fight was on, and lasted until the completion either through knockdown pin or time limit, a level of realism existed during training.

Another reason aikido suffers is its own feudal nature, the samurai class. At the center exists the great leader surrounding himself/herself with his or her disciples. These disciples right or wrong do not question the effectiveness, neither do they test the theory of what they are taught nor are they encouraged to due so. Why? Is it fear, fear of not being a part of the group? Or fear of being excluded from learning the hidden secrets that only the sensei holds? I do not have the answer for you only the individual aikidoka or sensei can answer that for him or herself. We must always be able to test each other regardless of who or where we are in the hierarchy. The Realization that to be effective the art must grow, even if it means challenging the formula that has been handed down. If you were to ask someone to teach you the golf swing, and they told there is only one way to learn the swing, it is my way no other way works as well or is as effective. Would you believe the instructor? Of course you wouldn't, you would think the instructor was egotistical and conceited. Then why is aikido any different? In truth it is not, we only change our perception of the knowledge we are receiving because of the nature of what we are learning.

Of all the martial arts I have seen or been privileged to train in aikido is by far the most enjoyable and versatile. We have the option to be both gentle and excessively hard unlike many martial arts. However the art that I love suffers from its own idolized spirituality. Where budo takes a back seat to aiki, and competitive combat is nonexistent. As an art we must be competitive within our syllabus, we don not need medals or trophies to further our training or to prove that it is effective, just honest committed attacks with the openness to reveal that our initial technique may or may not be as perfect as we believe it to be and that uke has the freedom to go beyond the initial attack. This must be stressed from the highest instructor down to the beginning aikidoka. This attitude in my opinion will strengthen the foundation of aikido not weaken it. Even the founder himself had his aikido challenged. Why not ours?


Thanks
BK
Jhn20:29
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:46 PM   #2
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
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Re: Just my thoughts

Hello Brian,

I'm just curious, have you checked out other dojo, styles or organizations to see how they train? Not ALL aikido dojo fit the description in your message.

Take a look around & see if you can find what you're looking for!

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:11 PM   #3
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

I know of a high ranking person who switched instructors after his teacher put him in the hospital for the third time (and it involved months of recovery). I also personally heard another high ranking teacher talk about how he broke a 5th dan's student's arm in 36 places between the elbow and shoulder with a shihonage. If you really practice at a dojo where the training is realistic to the core, I not only believe you won't like it, I don't think you'll be in this art very long. The nature of these techniques require a controlled atmosphere in order to practice them safely and sanely. I know how to resist techniques and we do that once in a while but making it a dojo method of training is a good way to get a lot of mileage out of your medical insurance. I know where to find a dojo like the one you described but I for one want no part of it.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:16 PM   #4
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Just my thoughts

Why waste your time challenging something that has already been challenged and proven to work? O'Sensei and Takeda Sensei has already proven that this stuff works, plus, all the great Senseis that has come after them. The challenge is to make sure that it works for you as well as it works for them. It already takes on average 5 years to get to the Shodan level, just think how long it will take you if you challenge everything.

On the one of the other points, not all styles, Senseis, or individual dojos put the aiki in front of the budo. I can tell you that from personal experience. Like the previous poster stated, check around and you'll find it.
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:22 PM   #5
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
Hello Brian,

I'm just curious, have you checked out other dojo, styles or organizations to see how they train? Not ALL aikido dojo fit the description in your message.

Take a look around & see if you can find what you're looking for!

Regards,

Brian Vickery
Hey Brian, I apologize my intent was not to vocalize any displeasure with my dojo or my instructor. The system in which I train puts emphasis on this very subject. There are no disposable uke allowed within this system, thats not just coming from my instructor but from the head of our organization. My intent of this post was an observation things that I have seen and witnessed over time. Granted demonstrations are what they are but if you watch closely over and over again you begin to see subtle things that if evident there are evident in free practice. An example is a demonstration I watched in which uke's strike tracked tori's head which allowed technique to happen. It is physically impossible for a committed attack to track its target unless there was no intent to begin with. Yet uke still threw himself. Yes this was just a demo yet I am certain it occurs in free practice as well. Many times you see uke standing waiting while tori is doing something, I am not attempting to point fingers and say that this dojo is better than that dojo, I feel that for this art that I love to grow we need to look at ourselves and our training partners/instructors and test the waters so to speak. No running from 3 mats away arm raised signaling attack rather attack with commitment and regardless of who is on the receiving end of our attack recover to be dangerous and go again. This is how we practice honestly with each other yet this is not a common practice if the truth be told.

Thanks
BK
Jhn20:29
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:25 PM   #6
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote:
Why waste your time challenging something that has already been challenged and proven to work? O'Sensei and Takeda Sensei has already proven that this stuff works, plus, all the great Senseis that has come after them. The challenge is to make sure that it works for you as well as it works for them. It already takes on average 5 years to get to the Shodan level, just think how long it will take you if you challenge everything.

On the one of the other points, not all styles, Senseis, or individual dojos put the aiki in front of the budo. I can tell you that from personal experience. Like the previous poster stated, check around and you'll find it.
See we must challange just as they did the problem is that most dont. Uke does his part tori his part uke falls. There are exceptions the dojo and system I train in but in general this is the case. All you have to do is look around and you will see.

Thanks
BK
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:30 PM   #7
3girls
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Re: Just my thoughts

I knew when I posted this the point would be missed. The horror stories of broken arms and hospital bills. The my dojo is better than your dojo mentality. This is not what I am saying. try reading with an objective frame of mind.
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:54 PM   #8
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
Hey Brian, I apologize my intent was not to vocalize any displeasure with my dojo or my instructor
Hello Brian,

No apology is necessary! I didn't take it as anything negative, I was just honestly curious if you had seen aikido practiced differently than what you had described. There's alot out there is all that I meant.

The people that slam their dojo usually do it anonymously, since you used your full name & dojo, I didn't take it in a bad way at all, I just figured you wanted to discuss what you see as aikido idealogy.

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 02:55 PM   #9
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
I knew when I posted this the point would be missed. The horror stories of broken arms and hospital bills. The my dojo is better than your dojo mentality. This is not what I am saying. try reading with an objective frame of mind.

I think I know what you're talking about. I just think you're not looking at it from an instructor's point of view. Everyone is different and people want different things from the training and they also want to learn it it different ways. You may want something done differently that you believe will help the training overall but that's just you. The training encompasses everyone in the room. We let people practice more in the point of your post but only if they are brown or black belts. By that time, they know enough of the art to have the fundamentals down. They also know how to take care of themselves. At the earlier stages, they tend to get the wrong idea and they get the impression that Aikido is about fighting rather than about stopping fighting.
For sure, there are sloppy attacks out there and things that aren't good from a martial point of view. I'm not arguing for that at all. It's just that people that say they want more realism from aikido need to be in that atmosphere to really appreciate what all that entails. Everything has a direction and a destination. People will take whatever you show them in a dojo and extend it. Then you will be dealing with the "horror stories". That's what I want to stay away from. I have plenty of friends with permanent injuries but I'm still here in one piece years later and I don't have any complaints about how we trained nor do I have any doubts if it worked for me.
Best wishes,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:04 PM   #10
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
No running from 3 mats away arm raised signaling attack...
...Yes, this does look sort of hoeky, but you have to start somewhere, so for 5th & 4th kyu, this kind of training is actually necessary...but that has to change after that!

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
...rather attack with commitment and regardless of who is on the receiving end of our attack recover to be dangerous and go again. This is how we practice honestly with each other yet this is not a common practice if the truth be told.
...by shodan, this should be how a student practices. If practice nevers advances to this level, but stays at the slow, telegraphed shomenuchi attack, then that dojo has a definite problem! It's sad to see, but it does happen out there!

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:25 PM   #11
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
No running from 3 mats away arm raised signaling attack rather attack with commitment and regardless of who is on the receiving end of our attack recover to be dangerous and go again. This is how we practice honestly with each other yet this is not a common practice if the truth be told.
...everybody comes to the art for different reasons, even instructors. I guess the people who are looking for a particular type of practice will support the instructor who is teaching it that way. It may not be what you or I want to practice, but it must be wanted by somebody, or else it wouldn't be existing out there!

...it may be that you will have to keep this belief inside until the day comes when you start teaching. Beleive me, the way you feel about aikido deep down inside is what you will be teaching! At that time people of like thinking will seek you out & support your dojo.

Brian Vickery

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 11-28-2005 at 03:28 PM.

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:44 PM   #12
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
Location: bradenton
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
Hello Brian,

No apology is necessary! I didn't take it as anything negative, I was just honestly curious if you had seen aikido practiced differently than what you had described. There's alot out there is all that I meant.

The people that slam their dojo usually do it anonymously, since you used your full name & dojo, I didn't take it in a bad way at all, I just figured you wanted to discuss what you see as aikido idealogy.

Regards,

Brian Vickery
No problem bro

This is exatly what I would like to discuss. In the end the founder wanted his art to be one of peace and non violence I agree. But in searching for this we should no lose site of the martial aspect of what we train in. I fear that the line between the two is becoming blurred to the point where many feel that aikido is not a real martial art. Now I am not talking about the ufc or any such thing along those lines I see them as more of a tough man competition. But as the heart of all budo.

Thanks
BK Jhn20:29
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:45 PM   #13
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
At the center exists the great leader surrounding himself/herself with his or her disciples. These disciples right or wrong do not question the effectiveness, neither do they test the theory of what they are taught nor are they encouraged to due so. Why? Is it fear, fear of not being a part of the group? Or fear of being excluded from learning the hidden secrets that only the sensei holds?
...I too have seen this type teacher/disciple relationship at seminars and find it VERY odd. The organization that I am in doesn't have this sort of culture, so it not something that I'm used to dealing with! ...it's just down right cultish & creepy to me!

...but then again, there are those who are SPECFICALLY looking for this in their aikido practice ...so to each his own I guess!

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:54 PM   #14
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
Location: bradenton
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Re: Just my thoughts

[quote]
Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
I think I know what you're talking about. I just think you're not looking at it from an instructor's point of view. Everyone is different and people want different things from the training and they also want to learn it it different ways. You may want something done differently that you believe will help the training overall but that's just you. The training encompasses everyone in the room. We let people practice more in the point of your post but only if they are brown or black belts. By that time, they know enough of the art to have the fundamentals down. They also know how to take care of themselves. At the earlier stages, they tend to get the wrong idea and they get the impression that Aikido is about fighting rather than about stopping fighting.
I agree with what you in that training should come at different levels, and all things have a time and a place. The first premise of aikido is avoidence, simply not being there when uke's strike arrives. Creating off ballance effecting ukes center and so on but ultimatly when some one attacks combat has occured wether we want it or not.

Quote:
For sure, there are sloppy attacks out there and things that aren't good from a martial point of view. I'm not arguing for that at all. It's just that people that say they want more realism from aikido need to be in that atmosphere to really appreciate what all that entails. Everything has a direction and a destination. People will take whatever you show them in a dojo and extend it. Then you will be dealing with the "horror stories". That's what I want to stay away from. I have plenty of friends with permanent injuries but I'm still here in one piece years later and I don't have any complaints about how we trained nor do I have any doubts if it worked for me.
Best wishes,
I belive realism can occur with minimal risk for injury. A commited attack does not have to be ballistic as a matter of fact a persise controlled uke is much more dangerous than a ballistic non engaged uke. Yes injury can happen in anything that we train even golf

thanks
Bk
Jhn20:29
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:55 PM   #15
Brian Vickery
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Location: Gilbert, Arizona
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
I fear that the line between the two is becoming blurred to the point where many feel that aikido is not a real martial art.
...I tell you where that blurry lines gets re-establishled really quickly ....go to a seminar & get paired up with one of those students who don't really apply their techniques in a martial way ...and when they attack and you ACTUALLY throw THEM ...there's no gray area anymore! ...*LOL*...and boy, are they pissed!


Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:06 PM   #16
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
Location: bradenton
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Re: Just my thoughts

[quote]
Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
...everybody comes to the art for different reasons, even instructors. I guess the people who are looking for a particular type of practice will support the instructor who is teaching it that way. It may not be what you or I want to practice, but it must be wanted by somebody, or else it wouldn't be existing out there!
Brian,
I agree my reason was after years of karate I looked at what I was doing, and realized there had to be a better way. The art I loved became nothing more than kata's and kickboxing which is great but it is not a martial art. We all have our own path and must make our own aikido.

Quote:
...it may be that you will have to keep this belief inside until the day comes when you start teaching. Beleive me, the way you feel about aikido deep down inside is what you will be teaching! At that time people of like thinking will seek you out & support your dojo.
Brian Vickery

Thats a long ways away my friend, I have a long way to go but I love this art!

Thanks
Bk
Jhn20:29
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:10 PM   #17
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
Location: Gilbert, Arizona
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
Thats a long ways away my friend, I have a long way to go but I love this art!
...it will happen sooner than you think, I guarantee you that!

...time flies when you're having fun!!!

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 11-28-2005 at 04:14 PM.

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:13 PM   #18
3girls
Dojo: WestCoast Aikido
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
...I tell you where that blurry lines gets re-establishled really quickly ....go to a seminar & get paired up with one of those students who don't really apply their techniques in a martial way ...and when they attack and you ACTUALLY throw THEM ...there's no gray area anymore! ...*LOL*...and boy, are they pissed!

Thats funny. You see that is part of the problem though. It should be "wow how did you do that do it again". Not "hey dont do that again".

Thanks
BK
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:19 PM   #19
3girls
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
...it will happen sooner than you think, I guarantee you that!

...time flies when you're having fun!!!
Its funny most people talk about getting shodan they get it and then they leave. I never understood that heck thats when all the real fun stuff begins My system has a kenshushi program begining at 1st kyu, I constantly try and figure a way to get my wife to move to arizona so I could go through the program. I am persistant

Thanks
BK
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:22 PM   #20
Brian Vickery
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
Thats funny. You see that is part of the problem though. It should be "wow how did you do that do it again". Not "hey dont do that again".
...well, that's just goes back to the reason why a particular person starting practicing aikido in the first place ....some people like the 'art' more than the 'martial' ...I like the 'martial' more than the 'art' ...it's only a problem when we come together at a seminar and they get mad for me throwing them! ...but that's not a problem for me!

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:33 PM   #21
Brian Vickery
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
Its funny most people talk about getting shodan they get it and then they leave. I never understood that heck thats when all the real fun stuff begins My system has a kenshushi program begining at 1st kyu, I constantly try and figure a way to get my wife to move to arizona so I could go through the program. I am persistant
...that's a whole other topic, people quitting after shodan! At my dojo about 2 in 100 make it from 5th kyu to shodan ...and of those that are shodans, only about one in 10 make it to nidan! The numbers aren't very reassuring! ...but that's just the way it is!

...and Arizona is great ...and that's coming from someone who spent the first 30 years of my life living in southern California!

Best Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:03 PM   #22
3girls
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Vickery wrote:
...that's a whole other topic, people quitting after shodan! At my dojo about 2 in 100 make it from 5th kyu to shodan ...and of those that are shodans, only about one in 10 make it to nidan! The numbers aren't very reassuring! ...but that's just the way it is!

...and Arizona is great ...and that's coming from someone who spent the first 30 years of my life living in southern California!

Best Regards,

Brian Vickery
Is it possible that what we are talking about here may play a part in that? I have often thought this when people come and go, I understand we all have personal issues at times I recently took some time off to take care of family issues that I needed to address. Many people do not have a martial arts background and aikido is the first stop or they have a minimal background which clouds their judgement as to what is effective and what is not. I know when I first started aikido I walked into a dojo and saw the 3tatami running shomen uchi and did not think that to be overly effective. I tried the dojo out but left after a few months for many of the reasons I mentioned in my post. Maybe we sould conduct exit interviews much like when you leave a job.

Thanks
BK
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:34 AM   #23
Brian Vickery
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
Is it possible that what we are talking about here may play a part in that? I have often thought this when people come and go, I understand we all have personal issues at times I recently took some time off to take care of family issues that I needed to address.
Hello Brian,

Yes, this could be the reason why some people quit, but probably not the number one reason. In fact, there is no one particular reason, they are as varied as the reasons why people came to the dojo in the first place.

The prevalent factor why people leave seems to be that their aikido practice no longer holds a high priority when it comes to allocating time. Everybody I know is VERY busy, nobody has extra time in their lives with careers, families, school, chores, hobbies, etc, ALL needing to be worked into their daily schedules. So priorities must be established, and when your aikido practice starts to slip further down that list, eventually it just falls into the category of those things that you just don't have time to do anymore.

I guess that's just how life works!

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-29-2005, 08:54 AM   #24
Brian Vickery
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Brian Keesler wrote:
...I know when I first started aikido I walked into a dojo and saw the 3tatami running shomen uchi and did not think that to be overly effective.
Hey Brian,

You know, I had the exact OPPOSITE experience when I 1st walked into an aikido dojo.

At the time, I was taking Tae Kwon Do, and while sparring in TKD I realized that if I were involved in a real fight, there was no way to stop that fight unless one of us got beat down to the point of not being able to continue the fight.

I figured that there just HAD to be a better way! There had to be a way to STOP a confrontation without having to resort to beating another preson silly.

I had heard about aikido, so I stopped by the local dojo to just check it out. The techniques they were working on was kata-dori nikyo. As soon as I saw it, the little light bulb in my head lit up, this was EXACTLY what I was looking for! A guy grabs another guy, the guy being grabbed instantly crumples the attacker & pins him to the ground ...end of confrontation!

I joined that dojo the next week, and have been training there for the last 15 years, and I still love it as much today as I did when I 1st started.

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 11-29-2005, 12:00 PM   #25
dj_swim
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Re: Just my thoughts

Quote:
Jorge Garcia wrote:
I also personally heard another high ranking teacher talk about how he broke a 5th dan's student's arm in 36 places between the elbow and shoulder with a shihonage.
Ummm... kay... two things:

1. Please tell me that this is some sort of typo and you meant to say "3" or "6" (both of which are still really horrifying)

2. Please tell me what a shihonage is so I can stay the <censored> away from it.

Thanks!

-Doug
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