Over-eagerness to improve - Aikido

Mighty.Panda

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I'm a newbie to Aikido that hasn't even started his first class yet so this may sound premature and naive but it's something that I've been thinking about ever since I made contact with the dojo.... They train once a week for 2 hours. Now I'm a very patient person but at the same time I think there is such a thing as being too over cautious and slow. 8 hours a month really doesn't seem like a lot of time to me considering it can take thousands of repetitions of a single technique to even feel comfortable with it.

Given that Aikido is 99% defensive it seems like many aspects of it are completely impossible to practice alone. When I did kickboxing many years ago we had 3 classes per week (2 adults + a childrens course) and I would also attend the children course because it allowed me to practice a little maintenance on my lower level stuff. In addition to this (being a striking martial art) I could practice a lot of my techniques at home away from the club. Given that I was training for 6 hours a week with other people + the fact I could train alone at home, I learned and increased my knowledge and proficiency very quickly.

I'm not looking for any "It's not about belts lectures" because I honestly don't care about that, I partly find ranks childish anyway but I feel such a small amount of time per week would be almost be counter productive to learning such a difficult and intricate style. Am I alone in thinking this?
 

Tony Dismukes

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Personally, I think it's hard to progress very rapidly in any martial art with only one class per week.
 
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Mighty.Panda

Mighty.Panda

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Personally, I think it's hard to progress very rapidly in any martial art with only one class per week.

I'm glad I'm not alone in this. It's something I want to bring up with the sensei (obviously not immediately) but I don't want to be shot down and give off the impression I'm some impatient gun-ho kinda guy because I'm not... I just don't see the harm in practising techniques a couple of times per week.... It'll enter the muscle memory faster and the increased confidence and familiarity always increases comfortability... I just really don't see any negatives to it.
 

PhotonGuy

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I don't see how you can get much out of a class that only meets once a week and I also don't know why a school would only teach their class once a week. My advice if you want to learn Aikido is to find a place that teaches it more than just once a week. Even for a beginner, at least twice a week is what I would recommend.
 

Mephisto

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First, actually go to a class. They may only advertise one class a week and actually meet up more frequently. I only advertise one FMA class a week and its hard enough to get people to regularly show up for that. Ideally I have a group class once a week and do private lessons throughout the week. Once you get to know some of the guys in the class you may meet a friend who will train more often. If you want fast progress you've picked the wrong art. Even most aikido guys will say it takes years (up to 10!) before you can apply the stuff you've learned to reality. I think aikido has its place but it really is an advanced martial art and one should have a solid grappling foundation first in judo,wrestling, jujutsu, or even BJJ before trying to grasp the more esoteric concepts taught in aikido.
 

Hanzou

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This Aikido school doesn't offer other classes beyond 1 per week? That sounds strange. Is this a club within a larger organization? I couldn't imagine a school being able to survive by being open once a week for 2 hours.

If its just once a week for 2 hours, I wouldn't waste my time. There has to be some better options out there.
 

K-man

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First, actually go to a class. They may only advertise one class a week and actually meet up more frequently. I only advertise one FMA class a week and its hard enough to get people to regularly show up for that. Ideally I have a group class once a week and do private lessons throughout the week. Once you get to know some of the guys in the class you may meet a friend who will train more often. If you want fast progress you've picked the wrong art. Even most aikido guys will say it takes years (up to 10!) before you can apply the stuff you've learned to reality. I think aikido has its place but it really is an advanced martial art and one should have a solid grappling foundation first in judo,wrestling, jujutsu, or even BJJ before trying to grasp the more esoteric concepts taught in aikido.
OK. I read the thread 5 mins before I had to leave for my Aikido class and didn't have time to respond. I agree with almost all Mephisto has written. I was going to suggest that there might be an opportunity for private classes. I would delay training with a friend until you have a sound grasp of the concepts of Aikido. The technical term is 'the blind leading the blind' unless your partner is quite experienced in which case he probably won't be too interested in training with a newbie. But Aikido does take time. You can learn a technique in 5 minutes. It took me over seven years to get ikkyo (number one technique) to work against really full on resistance without a strike. I know guys who have trained for 20 years and their stuff doesn't work. Mephisto called it an advanced martial art. I agree totally but think of it more as the martial artist's martial art. So yes, it is not easy to learn and even more difficult to use in real situations but you do get to that point if you persevere, but it does require a really good instructor.

I'm not sure that prior training is of much use when it comes to Aikido. Jujutsu possibly, but BJJ, Judo and Wrestling have totally different principles. You would have to unlearn too much. I came from a hard Karate background to Aikido. I had to unlearn a lot before I could make anything work. It took me 14 months of training (4 hours a week) before my first technique (kote gaeshi) started to work for me.

So back to the OP.

I'm a newbie to Aikido that hasn't even started his first class yet so this may sound premature and naive but it's something that I've been thinking about ever since I made contact with the dojo.... They train once a week for 2 hours. Now I'm a very patient person but at the same time I think there is such a thing as being too over cautious and slow. 8 hours a month really doesn't seem like a lot of time to me considering it can take thousands of repetitions of a single technique to even feel comfortable with it.


Given that Aikido is 99% defensive it seems like many aspects of it are completely impossible to practice alone. When I did kickboxing many years ago we had 3 classes per week (2 adults + a childrens course) and I would also attend the children course because it allowed me to practice a little maintenance on my lower level stuff. In addition to this (being a striking martial art) I could practice a lot of my techniques at home away from the club. Given that I was training for 6 hours a week with other people + the fact I could train alone at home, I learned and increased my knowledge and proficiency very quickly.


I'm not looking for any "It's not about belts lectures" because I honestly don't care about that, I partly find ranks childish anyway but I feel such a small amount of time per week would be almost be counter productive to learning such a difficult and intricate style. Am I alone in thinking this?

Training two hours a week is a bit light on. Wait until you get started to get a better idea and talk to your instructor about your training and what you want to achieve. Now having said that there is a reasonable amount of training you can do at home that establishes the right principles. One of the fundamental concepts of Aikido is to relax completely. That is a lot harder than it sounds, especially when someone is threatening to knock your head off. Another principle is to keep weight underside. Again, easy to say but something that can take a long time to achieve. In class you train it with a compliant partner or else everyone would be just standing around doing nothing. But the exercise that helps you with that concept can be practised at home without a partner. It is called ikkyo undo. You can find it on Youtube but in most instances it is being demonstrated incorrectly.

The following videos I am posting for Mighty.Panda. For non Aikidoka watch at your peril. You will probably find them boring. What I am pointing out that it is easy to find stuff on YouTube that purports to be authentic but really is not quite right and the difference between right and not quite right is the difference between success and failure. So even when you are practising at home, you must be practising it correctly to get any benefit.

For example, I would suggest that few people could make this work and to me it goes against basic Aikido concepts. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oRSwmu03D3w
In this demonstration weight is topside meaning the technique will rely on using strength. Against a non compliant partner there will be a physical clash. What he did get right was the broken timing.
And another ...
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVwydZGn-w
Totally wrong in principle. No sign of relaxed arms, no broken timing and IMHO not worth the effort.
Here's one that is closer.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_uHdOPNuANg
Arms are relaxed on the upward movement and he allows his arms to fall naturally. Still however NQR. There are reasons why the hands should be higher but I'll leave that for now. The major problem here is, just watch the back foot of his student. It should remain totally on the ground as the teacher demonstrates. Why would you put something so blatantly wrong on the net?

I can't find an example of it being practised the way I was taught but this is the closest ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sIRj1A0GExA
We practise this every class and even after years of training many students still don't have it spot on. It looks like a total waste of time but it gives you a fundamental that makes Aikido techniques work.

We we can look at other exercises later if you would like.

Just one small piece of advice. There will be a number of people who know nothing about Aikido offering their opinion. Some of them will be giving good objective advice and others know absolutely zero. Just be careful to separate the wheat from the chaff. ;)
 

Hanzou

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I know enough about Aikido to know that 8 hours a month max isn't enough to learn such a difficult art in a reasonable amount of time.

My advice to him would be to find an Aikido school that meets more often.

I also agree that Bjj and Judo probably wouldn't be good alternatives, though I would personally recommend them over Aikido in general.
 

Tez3

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Ok, advice from an Aikidoka on one hand and on the other someone who doesn't train Aikido, mmm who's advice to take?

Take K-man's advice on board. Mephisto is also correct...take a class first.
 

Hanzou

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Ok, advice from an Aikidoka on one hand and on the other someone who doesn't train Aikido, mmm who's advice to take?

Take K-man's advice on board. Mephisto is also correct...take a class first.

By his own admission, it took K-man 7 years to become competent in Aikido, and I'm sure he took way more than one class per week.

Again, my advice is to find an Aikido school that meets more than 2 hours per week.
 

Tez3

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By his own admission, it took K-man 7 years to become competent in Aikido, and I'm sure he took way more than one class per week.

Again, my advice is to find an Aikido school that meets more than 2 hours per week.

I'd try a class first. You can't judge anything until you've been can you. That's the first thing surely.
 

Mephisto

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I know enough about Aikido to know that 8 hours a month max isn't enough to learn such a difficult art in a reasonable amount of time.

My advice to him would be to find an Aikido school that meets more often.

I also agree that Bjj and Judo probably wouldn't be good alternatives, though I would personally recommend them over Aikido in general.
Gotta ask why you think they wouldn't be good alternatives? If you mention either being a sport I'm gonna gouge out my own eyes, so I don't have to read that crap anymore. Both judo and BJJ favor technique and balance, momentum manipulation over strength just as aikido does. The aiki principals are very alive in these arts, they just don't act as if there's anything magical about it. Of course each style has its own approach to fighting and self defense and within said styles there are many different approaches.
 

Paul_D

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Gotta ask why you think they wouldn't be good alternatives? If you mention either being a sport I'm gonna gouge out my own eyes, so I don't have to read that crap anymore. Both judo and BJJ favor technique and balance, momentum manipulation over strength just as aikido does. The aiki principals are very alive in these arts, they just don't act as if there's anything magical about it. Of course each style has its own approach to fighting and self defense and within said styles there are many different approaches.
If you asked a Judoka is he did self defence he would say no. You seem to think that accepting these things are sport is a bad thing. It isn't. The fact the one thing is a sport and something else is SD doesn't make either inferior or superior to the other, anymore than a hammer is inferior or superior to a screwdriver. They are two different things for doing two different jobs.
 

Tez3

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If you asked a Judoka is he did self defence he would say no. You seem to think that accepting these things are sport is a bad thing. It isn't. The fact the one thing is a sport and something else is SD doesn't make either inferior or superior to the other, anymore than a hammer is inferior or superior to a screwdriver. They are two different things for doing two different jobs.

I rather think that's it's not about whether we accept that a style is a sport or not but rather the sheer amount of posts......in other threads.... concerning this issue that are generated whenever someone suggests that BJJ may not be the style of styles. :)
 

Paul_D

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I rather think that's it's not about whether we accept that a style is a sport or not but rather the sheer amount of posts......in other threads.... concerning this issue that are generated whenever someone suggests that BJJ may not be the style of styles. :)
Oh right, ok. I'll get my coat ;-)
 

Tez3

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Oh right, ok. I'll get my coat ;-)

No, no, stay, us Brits need to stick together lol! You may want to stay away from the 'eye gouging for self defence' threads though :boing2:
 

Hanzou

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Gotta ask why you think they wouldn't be good alternatives? If you mention either being a sport I'm gonna gouge out my own eyes, so I don't have to read that crap anymore. Both judo and BJJ favor technique and balance, momentum manipulation over strength just as aikido does. The aiki principals are very alive in these arts, they just don't act as if there's anything magical about it. Of course each style has its own approach to fighting and self defense and within said styles there are many different approaches.

The type of person who goes for the general Aikido school doesn't strike me as the type of person who would thrive in a Judo or Bjj school. I'm not talking about people who get BBs in Aikido then decide to go to Bjj or Judo, I'm talking about people looking to do Aikido, see no Aikido schools around, and their only options are Judo or Bjj.

Just different mindsets. You get to keep a bit of your ego in Aikido with their turn-based randori. Not so much in Judo and Bjj, where you get your butt kicked constantly by superior students because you're actually fighting them (and losing).
 

K-man

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Gotta ask why you think they wouldn't be good alternatives? If you mention either being a sport I'm gonna gouge out my own eyes, so I don't have to read that crap anymore. Both judo and BJJ favor technique and balance, momentum manipulation over strength just as aikido does. The aiki principals are very alive in these arts, they just don't act as if there's anything magical about it. Of course each style has its own approach to fighting and self defense and within said styles there are many different approaches.
For me it has nothing to do with sport. Both are great martial arts in their own right. BJJ has more ground game and I would have to be convinced that that is what Mighty.Panda really needs. Also BJJ takes a long time to develop proficiency as well. Judo? Well maybe, but there is a lot of grabbing and throwing in judo. Both of these have, from my observation, more of a physical aspect than Aikido. Aikido done properly is much softer. Against a good Aikidoka, you don't know you are in trouble until you are. :)

So returning to the OP. Mighty.Panda has said that he likes the idea of training Aikido and maybe adding a bit to it. One of my Karate students is in a similar situation in that she is waiting to join the police force. They do very little CQ here in police training now as it causes more injuries than work on the street, hence her wanting to learn a few useful bits and pieces first. She also can only fit in one night a week which is why I am using her as an example, and of course, punching the crap out of people is not a great look for the police either. In our lessons we spend a lot of time working from 'sticky hands' and moving from there into locks, holds and some takedowns. Although most of these might be called submission holds, we don't really train that submission is the end point. More that they are simply a transition to a position from which you can deliver your finishing technique because on the street there is no submission. I have tailored her training so she actually is learning the Aikido takedowns because they give her a cuffing position. I don't teach those to any of my other students because I don't want them going to the ground voluntarily. Eventually I hope to get her into my Krav class for a while as a finishing school. ;)

Is one lesson a week ideal? Obviously not, but we work around what we have. How long will it take? How long is a piece of string. When I said it took me six years, that was six years until I felt comfortable using Aikido against trained martial artists without reverting to my karate. In Aikido, it doesn't take long to learn the techniques. It takes time to learn how to apply the techniques. Aikido has its training methodology that a lot of people outside Aikido don't understand and often criticise. At the core of it is being able to apply a technique without reverting to strength and then quickly recognise if a technique is failing so you can immediately switch to another technique. So really it comes back to the instructor. Against untrained guys, big or otherwise, I believe Mighty.Panda should be able to develop sufficient skills in a reasonably short time to meet his needs. The first step is to actually start training.
:asian:
 

K-man

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The type of person who goes for the general Aikido school doesn't strike me as the type of person who would thrive in a Judo or Bjj school. I'm not talking about people who get BBs in Aikido then decide to go to Bjj or Judo, I'm talking about people looking to do Aikido, see no Aikido schools around, and their only options are Judo or Bjj.

Just different mindsets. You get to keep a bit of your ego in Aikido with their turn-based randori. Not so much in Judo and Bjj, where you get your butt kicked constantly by superior students because you're actually fighting them (and losing).
When I started Aikido we were training in a special private class with about eight or so highly trained and highly ranked Karate guys. We had no ego in that class or none of those guys would have been training. Our instructor put us down every time and I can promise you, not one of us wasn't trying to stop him. Three of those guys were also BJJ. For one reason or another, relocation or injury, there are only two of us left in the class and at the moment my main training partner is off for twelve months with a major shoulder reconstruction (mainly caused by his BJJ students). After eight years I can stop my instructor occasionally but still can't do anything to him in the way of technique unless he gives me 90% of it. As for randori? In our class we do very little of it. As I have said before, obviously you have never seen good Aikido based on your comments.
 

Hanzou

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For me it has nothing to do with sport. Both are great martial arts in their own right. BJJ has more ground game and I would have to be convinced that that is what Mighty.Panda really needs. Also BJJ takes a long time to develop proficiency as well. Judo? Well maybe, but there is a lot of grabbing and throwing in judo. Both of these have, from my observation, more of a physical aspect than Aikido. Aikido done properly is much softer. Against a good Aikidoka, you don't know you are in trouble until you are.

Eh, judo and and Bjj take a lot less time to become proficient at than Aikido. About a year's worth of training in Bjj or Judo should yield you some satisfactory results. On the other hand, I've seen black belt Aikidoka not being able to perform their techniques against resisting opponents. And when I say not being able to perform, I mean complete and total shutdown of their ability set.

They have some great ukemi though.
 
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