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Old 11-07-2005, 09:51 AM   #1
dj_swim
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Ki Symbol Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Hello everyone! I'll be attending my first Aikido class tonight, so I thought I'd drop in here and introduce myself.

I've studied the philosophy of Aikido for some time, but this is the first time I've been close enough to a dojo for it to be practical for me to train in the martial art, which is very exciting to me.

I would have to say that my biggest concerns right now are (in order of priority):

1. Not offending anyone with my lack of knowledge about general dojo etiquette.

2. What to wear? I don't have a gi (is that how you spell it?) yet, so any advice on where to get a nice cheap one to start with would completely rock. Right now I plan on using some black sweatpants and a white long sleeved t-shirt (I know that once I get a uniform it has to be completely white/off-white).

3. Not completely and totally embarrassing myself. This is a lost cause for sure, but I thought I'd throw it out there. I know that one of the joys of being experienced is laughing at beginners (I know, I've done it in other arenas), but I can dream. I laugh harder at myself than anyone else, so I guess I'll benefit as well .

So yeah, if any of you out there have the time, any advice would be much appreciated, otherwise I'm sure that I won't be the first person to make any first-day mistakes.

Thanks!
-Doug
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Old 11-07-2005, 10:02 AM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Hi Doug,

Welcome to AikiWeb.

The best place to get your answers would be, of course, the school you wish to enroll in. Since you're starting tonight, I'd say it should probably be fine to start in T-shirt and sweatpants, but such things vary from dojo to dojo. I'm sure they'll give you pointers on etiquette and such, too. I wouldn't worry too much since I doubt any dojo expects you to know such things before people start...

-- Jun

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Old 11-07-2005, 12:01 PM   #3
James Davis
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Watch the senior students and listen to what you're told to do. In some dojo, not all info will be conveyed by words, so watch carefully how others behave and perform technique. It'll save time by not having to have everything explained to you. If you have questions, go TO sensei; don't call him over! (That's a biggie for me.)

Just be nice and everything should be okay. HAVE FUN!!

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 11-07-2005, 12:41 PM   #4
Qatana
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

I think every one of us totally embarrasses ourselves at least once in every class. I know I do, after three years!
You will learn the etiquette as you go along...don't worry, expect to make mistakes and relax. You have all the time in the world.

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 11-07-2005, 02:11 PM   #5
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Are you in ST Louis? what dojo if so?
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Old 11-07-2005, 03:45 PM   #6
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

In my experience, the #1 key to being welcome in an aikido dojo is to show clearly that you are pleased to be there and excited to learn. People will forgive you any amount of beginner mistakes if you are a happy and eager student. It's the people who come in with a chip on their shoulders and a "show me" attitude that run into friction.

The other thing that I learned very quickly as a beginner is that if you feel even a bit sore, stiff or bruised after class, a hot bath is a great investment--you will feel much better for it the next day. (It doesn't work, in my experience, to save the hot bath for the next morning.)

Mary Kaye
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Old 11-07-2005, 04:39 PM   #7
dj_swim
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Thanks for all the tips! (Especially the one about the bath, and going TO sensei... I can see myself not catching onto that one without being told)

I'm really excited, just have a few hours left!

Kevin: I'm in St. Louis and I'll be going to West End Aikikai. The classes seem like they'll be small, but for me that's a really good thing. I've always learned best in small groups, and when I went to observe I got a really good feeling about everyone there, so I can't wait.

-Doug
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Old 11-07-2005, 09:21 PM   #8
Camille Lore
Dojo: Lehigh Fukasakai
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Hope you had a great class! Enjoy the Aikido.
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Old 11-08-2005, 06:13 AM   #9
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Hi Doug Welcome to the wonderfull world of aikido, one of the few places on earth where you pay people to hurt you (without you having to call them mistress )

How did the first class go? As for embarrasing yourself, i found that it is best to get the first one out of the way as quickly as possible i.e. fall over as soon as you step into the dojo that way you can get on with training without having to worry when it is going to happen

Since I train in a university class aswell as my mian dojo a get to see new students every year. the best advice i can think of is (as was mentioned above) do what the higher grades do (with regards to etiquette)

Most importantly don't be affraid to ask for help, our dojo likes us to kneel when sensei is addressing us, but again, ask your sempai what to do in this situation.

Have fun, enjoy your aikido and train hard
Steve

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-08-2005, 05:00 PM   #10
emma.mason15
Dojo: Shima Arashi Dojo
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

awwwww welcome to the wonderful world of pain ....
everybody has ahad first night nerves .... so we all completly understand .... and if ever you think your training is going bad check out my aikiblogs ..... that should cheer you up!
anyways ... relax and enjoy ....
em x

Dance your cares away .... worry for another day ... let the music play .... down in fraggle rock!

when bored ... do as I do. Poke a patient!
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Old 11-09-2005, 09:36 AM   #11
dj_swim
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Talking Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Alright first class was great, and it took until the conclusion of my second (last night) to really feel the pain... actually, it wasn't until this morning.

I have to say I'm hooked. I've read a LOT of material on the philosophy of Aikido over the past few years, and finally getting the chance to participate in the physical aspect of it is great. It's defnitely as hard as I expected.

"You've gotten very good at falling" is probably the biggest compliment I've gotten in a LONG time. I guess a lot of people come into Aikido not really knowing what it's about so they try to resist when doing ukemi(edited for spelling). Fortunately for me I knew that I was probably going to spend the first five years getting tossed around... so the fact that I've actually been able to practice a few techniques has been a surprise.

I can say for certain that my footwork is horrible (especially on my "off" side, I'm sure you know what I mean), but I think I'm alright at rolling (although the lesson I learned yesterday is that when you do it wrong, not only can you feel it you can hear it, and that's why I'm sore today... instead of a whoosh , it's more like WAP WAP WAP (shoulder, hip, leg))

Okay, I could keep ranting and raving about how great everything is, but I'm sure you all have been there before. (Any tips on how to get used to sitting seiza(sp?), my legs felt like bricks yesterday...)

Anyway, I'm sure that I'll be on here pretty much constantly now that I have something to talk about. I'm going to get my gi today (If I can find a place to do it)!!!

Thanks again for all the advice!

-Doug

Last edited by dj_swim : 11-09-2005 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 11-09-2005, 11:30 AM   #12
James Davis
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Quote:
Doug Wiley wrote:
Alright first class was great, and it took until the conclusion of my second (last night) to really feel the pain... actually, it wasn't until this morning.

I have to say I'm hooked. I've read a LOT of material on the philosophy of Aikido over the past few years, and finally getting the chance to participate in the physical aspect of it is great. It's defnitely as hard as I expected.

"You've gotten very good at falling" is probably the biggest compliment I've gotten in a LONG time. I guess a lot of people come into Aikido not really knowing what it's about so they try to resist when doing ukemi(edited for spelling). Fortunately for me I knew that I was probably going to spend the first five years getting tossed around... so the fact that I've actually been able to practice a few techniques has been a surprise.

I can say for certain that my footwork is horrible (especially on my "off" side, I'm sure you know what I mean), but I think I'm alright at rolling (although the lesson I learned yesterday is that when you do it wrong, not only can you feel it you can hear it, and that's why I'm sore today... instead of a whoosh , it's more like WAP WAP WAP (shoulder, hip, leg))

Okay, I could keep ranting and raving about how great everything is, but I'm sure you all have been there before. (Any tips on how to get used to sitting seiza(sp?), my legs felt like bricks yesterday...)

Anyway, I'm sure that I'll be on here pretty much constantly now that I have something to talk about. I'm going to get my gi today (If I can find a place to do it)!!!

Thanks again for all the advice!

-Doug
Your spelling for ukemi and seiza is fine. To get used to sitting in seiza, sit in seiza MORE. Have fun.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:45 PM   #13
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

'Fortunately for me I knew that I was probably going to spend the first five years getting tossed around... '

Make that 50 years :P

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 11-09-2005, 01:45 PM   #14
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Oops sorry Doug, forgot to check back in on you. West End heh?

I have/had several friends that train/trained there. Been a few years. Irene Wellington Sensei is a great instructor.

Not sure if my freind/Sempai, Duke Creighton is still active or not. Or Tory Munger, both those guys are from my home town in VA and we trained Karate together for many years. If you see these guys tell them I said Hi!

Your in good hands there at West End!

best way to practice/condition for sitting in seiza is well...sitting in seiza! It ain't easy if you are from a traditional western culture! Have fun.

Listen to what they tell you, be patient, don't try to hard, relax and have a good time!
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Old 11-12-2005, 02:55 PM   #15
Camille Lore
Dojo: Lehigh Fukasakai
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Glad to hear you had a good time!
Welcome to the wonderful world of Aikido!
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Old 11-20-2005, 07:11 PM   #16
Ed Shockley
Dojo: aikikai of Philadelphia
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

A very gifted 3rd dan visiting from Japan who saw me struggling to sit in Seiza during a very long series of tests following a vigorous class came over to me during a break and suggested that when my knees start screaming (I'm old), I should rise up to keiza for just a moment and then I can settle down for the next test. Keiza is the sitting on the heels with toes tucked forward that you use in techniques like the nikyo pin which I suspect you've already done. You sound like you have a great attitude and I wish you a great journey. Aikido is a bit like peeling a sweet onion. Each layer reveals another until the magic center (ki) appears invisibly and sends you searching for the next more perfect onion to peel.
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:00 AM   #17
Steve Mullen
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

[quote=Ed Shockley]Aikido is a bit like peeling a sweet onion. QUOTE]

it makes you cry

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:24 AM   #18
dj_swim
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

[quote=Steve Mullen]
Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote:
Aikido is a bit like peeling a sweet onion. QUOTE]

it makes you cry

It hasn't made me cry yet... I had to use the "hot bath" advice for my shoulders a few days ago though.

Does anyone else have a relatively thick gi top that makes really nasty-looking (but not painful) marks on your shoulders when you do a lot of forward rolls? They go away in a couple of days to reveal the bruises...

I must say though, I'm having a great time... still struggling (badly) with the japanese names for the techniques, but I feel like I have shoulders made of rock now and I feel great.

I'm going to my first seminar in December in Louisville I think, so hopefully I'll get to meet some of you!

-Doug
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Old 11-30-2005, 10:23 AM   #19
Ed Shockley
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

The gi should soften when you wash it but I'm sure you've been told don't use hot water or bleach. The first will shrink it and the latter shortens the life of the garment significantly.
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:02 PM   #20
odudog
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

I've never heard about the bleaching problem. Bleach is an acid, so maybe the bleaching problem is from too much bleach? I bleach my gi all the time. Getting rid of all the blood. The knees in my pants have been patched so many times its ridiculous but the jacket is in perfect shape.
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Old 12-03-2005, 08:17 AM   #21
Ed Shockley
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

I probably just stink at laundry but I have been told by several Aikidoka, all long practiced, that some quality of the bleach breaks down the fabric. This is good because it softens the material and of course I love the smell and feel of a bright uniform but could, if it is true, shorten the life. I know nothing of science so think the best thing for me to do is try the experiment again with a new uniform and be careful to use a small amount of bleach. I'll report the results late next year. Then again, it could be the fact that I train 6 or seven days a week that's shortening my uniform life or my body weight (240lbs) on grappling techniques like koshi nage.
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Old 01-20-2006, 11:03 PM   #22
Ed Shockley
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Just came back from a long, pleasant, conversation with Kyota in Baltimore. His store and martial arts supplies, as I'm sure most of you know, are among the best in America. He was selling a judo gi to a young lady who had begun her study of some art. (I arrived during the transaction) He finished by telling her not to wash her gi in bleach. I mentioned this thread and he admonished me at length not to ignore this dictum. Perhaps it is an old wives tale but I have to believe a man like him who is both an accomplished artist and a shihan of martial arts equipment. Maybe it isn't logical science but I feel compelled to respect the experience of this master and swear off bleach on cotton gi every more.
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Old 01-21-2006, 11:18 AM   #23
crbateman
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Bleach burns the fabric (or the stitches) and makes it brittle. This makes it wear out faster. Sooner or later, it will wear out anyway, but it takes longer without bleach. Although repeated use will soften the fabric by itself, a fabric softener sheet in the dryer seems to do no harm. Or you could go down to the stream and pound it on a flat rock...
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:49 AM   #24
Mark Freeman
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Re: Soon to be first day Aikido student...

Hi Doug,

By now you are no longer a brand new beginner, but hopefully you will hang onto the state of mind you had when you first stepped onto the mat!

As for the question to bleach or not to bleach?
I see gi's being offered for sale in a sort of beige 'natural' cotton colour, or bright white. The bright white ones have been 'bleached' before they get stitched together. I have had both kinds and have bleached the colour out of the 'natural' ones, only because I prefer it that way. They will eventually turn white with multiple washes. I personally didn't notice that the bleaching process reduced the life of the gi, as I only use enough to 'take the colour out', an it is in alot of water when I do it, and it's only the once. However if you put too much bleach in it will destroy fabric as it is so corrosive.

I'm sure you will have sorted your kit out by now anyway, and I hope you are still enjoying your practice.
regards,
Mark

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