Aikido FAQ For Noobs - Ask questions here

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by aikiwolfie, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Excellent! Keep us updated on how it goes. :)
  2. sakumeikan

    sakumeikan Valued Member

    steven Seagal

    Hi, I guess there is no accounting for taste.One mans meat is definitely some other guys poison--
    Cheers, Joe.
  3. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    That true... although my favorite Seagal movie was "Executive Decision" where his character gets killed off in the first 10 minutes of the film.
  4. sakumeikan

    sakumeikan Valued Member

    10 min maximum

    Hi Rebel,
    I guess the script writers of Executive Decision thought that if they kept Steven in the picture any longer than 10 mins it would have bombed at the box office.Now Mr Seagal co produces most of his movies himself thus ensuring he lasts the duration of the picture. Cheers, Joe
  5. ModernPrimitive

    ModernPrimitive New Member

    I have a whole bunch of questions. Like, a lot of questions. Take into consideration that I am a complete beginner. Also known as a noob. A lot of the forum that I've browsed has left me a bit lost as there is a lot of terminology that I am not yet familiar with. When answering, if you could explain any specific terms that would be highly helpful. Onto the interrogation.

    What sort of questions should I ask my potential instructor when trying to determine if I want to study at a particular dojo? (In general, not regarding specific goals or styles)

    The dojo I was looking at are affiliated with the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba. Is this a respectable organization? Does their affiliation with that organization mean anything?

    A lot of people posting here seem to be really down on the idea of ki. I understand that men especially tend to lean more towards to the martial aspect rather than the art aspect of martial arts but is the idea of ki really so looked down up on Aikido? Ki is a large part of such arts as Tai Chi, does that make it somehow illegitimate?

    What are the major styles of Aikido and what defines them from each other? Is there a standard style (where the word Aikido implies that style in particular without defining)? Is there an 'original' style of Aikido these days (the first style) and if so what is it called?

    I wrote another post for this question but I will ask it again here. What sort of exercises or training can I do to prepare myself for classes? What muscle groups are used most? What should my focus be in exercising (strength, endurance, flexibility,ect)?

    I know this question has been asked before but I have seen so many varied and vague answers that I will ask again anyway. What style of Aikido is most practical in self defense? Specifically, as a woman in a large, crime heavy city, what style would be the most effective in defending from assault?

    How large of a role does the philosophy of Aikido play in modern dojos? What can I do to pursue this philosophy on my own? Any resources (books preferably) you would recommend?

    Any other recommended reading? I gather Angry White Pyjamas is a common one, what other books might be considered staple?

    With the strain Aikido apparently places on joints is there anyway to prepare for this?

    This is a more general martial arts question and one of semantics. A lot of martial arts end in ryu, do, or jutsu. What do these mean? Are there differences between them? I assume do comes from budo but I don't know what defines it from, say, ryu.

    Lastly (I hope), would training in another martial art, specifically Thai Kickboxing or Karate (style undecided), totally screw up my training in Aikido? I understand that it has been recommended that you develop a base in one martial art before starting another but I would like to train while I still can and starting multiple within a short time would help me better determine what I want to pursue as my main form.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  6. Gustav Collares

    Gustav Collares Proud Aikidoka

    Being a rookie myself I can only help you with this question:

    1) Best Aikido Style as self-defense? Probably Yoshinkan Aikido. You´ll see a lot of people talking about their harsh methods and training, though. Also, Yoshinkan dojos are somewhat hard to come by.
  7. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I'm sure everybody will be as helpful as possible. You might want to check out the glossary thread for some help on terminology. And remember some terminology will change between schools and organisations.

    Check out the beginners section of MAP. There are some very useful threads there on this very subject.

    Can't say. I haven't heard anything bad about them. But I have no experience of this group. I think one of my fellow mods might have encountered them. drop AikiMac a PM if you can.

    It's not so much people look down on the concept of Ki. It's more the case that they disagree with the definition and dislike the use of vague terminology and the attachment of mystical connotations and exaggerated claims. The concept of Ki has been abused extensively in Aikido and other martial arts by teachers who wish to defraud students.

    I would never tell you not to study Ki. Only to keep yourself well grounded and remember that no honest uke is going to fall for you simply because you point a finger or wave a hand unless they are being deliberately and obviously compliant in their practice.

    Uke incidentally is your training partner you perform techniques on.

    There are 5 major groups. This thing that separates them the most is politics sadly. There are however differences in technique application, approach to training and possibly even the philosophy.

    1. Aikiai
      The Aikikai isn't a style of Aikido as such. It's the umbrella organisation those who are still affiliated to the Ueshiba family are a part of.
    2. Shin shin toitsu Aikido (Ki Aikido/Ki Society)
      Possibly the softest form of Aikido. Many modern Ki Aikido practitioners have lost all martial effectiveness in their art.
    3. Iwama Ryu
      This is widely considered to be the purest form of Aikido in the sense it is the closest form of Aikido to what O Sensei actually taught.
    4. Yoshinkan
      This is renowned as a very hard and effective interpretation of Aikido.
    5. Shodokan/Tomiki Aikido
      Notably the only form of Aikido with proper competitions.

    If you're training properly? All of your muscle groups will be used. They will all hurt. Focus on suppleness and stamina to begin with. Being stronger is useful but not overly important.

    Possibly Iwama Ryu or Yoshinkan. However with that said. A martial art doesn't protect you. You do. It's more useful to be aware of your surroundings and your situation than it is to be able to kick someone's head in.

    The trouble with the philosophy surrounding Aikido is that a lot of it is a myth or overstated. It's something that has been perpetuated to fill the pages of a book. One of our most informative and experienced members put it something like this.

    You should form your own philosophy where training meets real life.

    I never really liked Angry White Pyjamas and I don't read books much. I'm pretty sure we had a thread of good Aikido books.

    Develop supple joints and don't over do it. If you need to tap out. Then tap out.

    Ryu is generally taken to mean "school". Do, is generally taken to mean "the way" or "method". "jutsu" is think is generally taken to mean "system". I'm sure some more knowledgeable person will correct me.

    The general consensus on MAP seems to be that you should get a base in one art before branching out. If you're undecided or simply wish to experiment then go for it. It's your training at the end of the day and ultimately it's you that has to choose.
  8. ModernPrimitive

    ModernPrimitive New Member

    Wow, lots of information. As I have read more I have picked up more terminology and ideas. I will continue to skim the forums.

    As far as it goes, I am not worried about training being rough. If I'm going to pursue a martial art I expect to have to work my hardest. There is no point in not giving my all.

    The philosophy thing is still of interest to me. I am interested in studying many philosophies and it seems that many martial arts have a philosophy that accompanies them. Training the body is nice but training the mind and spirit is something entirely different. I suppose it sounds a little silly. Just a side interest of mine.

    I will look around and see what styles are taught in my area. Unfortunately the dojos I've looked at simply call it Aikido without sticking a style name on there. Even in a capital city like mine I'm afraid I will not find too much variety.

    In the end, I suppose I just hope that I can get out of a class what I put into it.

    Thanks for all the great info.
  9. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    The trouble with the philosophies that accompany martial arts is they are formed through the experiences of another individual or even over generations. Many people today read about the philosophy in a book and then instantly try to adopt that approach at the very beginning of their training. Which I would argue is the wrong way to go about studying martial arts.

    From a philosophical point of view, the training is supposed to forge your mind and body as a black smith would beat the impurities out of a sword. If you approach an art with a received wisdom it's a bit like buying a cheap mass-produced blade that's been cast rather than beaten. It's just a copy of a copy and has no significance as one of millions of identical copies.
  10. ModernPrimitive

    ModernPrimitive New Member

    I guess I need to type more when I respond to avoid misunderstandings.

    I want to continue to develop my own philosophy. By the study and practice of other philosophies I learn more about myself and the world around me. The philosophies surrounding martial arts are practiced through the art itself. To understand what was going through the mind of the man who founded that art I read and learn and question and study. Then, as I practice that art myself I learn what works for me, what parts of that philosophy are reflected in my practice and which are not, what will leave a mark upon my soul and be carried with me and what will be left in the tomes I found them in. I do not read Kant and immediately become a Kantian, or Borges, or Uesiba, or anybody for that matter. I simply take their words and ideas into consideration. If they strike some resounding chord then so be it. If they go in one ear and out the other, fine. I'm not a spineless sponge, just a curious student.
  11. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Damn right and well said.
  12. Arfus

    Arfus Valued Member

    Some dumb questions coming up!

    If i get cornered by a rapist with a knife. Will i be able to take him down?

    If a random guy unarmed comes after me because his girlfriend was hitting on me. Will i be able to take him down.

    If a drunk person tried to beat me up. will i be able to take him down?

    With the proper training ofcourse. How long will it take to be able to take down a person without knowledge of any martial arts?

    Thanks. I`m a newb
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2011
  13. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    The answer to every question is. It depends on you and much effort, blood, sweat and tears you put into your training. If you train hard for say, 6 to 7 hours every single day of the year? You might be a reasonably skilled 1st dan by the end of the year.

    More realistically with 2 to 3 training sessions of 2 hours each of hard training it will take you 3 years or more to become a reasonably skilled 1st dan. Assuming you're any good.
  14. luckybreak91

    luckybreak91 Valued Member

    On the last page somebody said "Aikiai
    The Aikikai isn't a style of Aikido as such. It's the umbrella organisation those who are still affiliated to the Ueshiba family are a part of." I have been thinking of taking lessons at the New York Aikikai. What style of Aikido is taught there. Also I wish to know what are the diffirences in how Aikido's philosophy is taught in the different schools.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  15. luckybreak91

    luckybreak91 Valued Member

    I have one final question. I read about the Senshusei course In Japan. I was wondering if there is anything like that in the United States. I am more interested in any that are in New York but if you know of any in the country I would like to hear about it. Thank you for your assistance.
  16. OwlMAtt

    OwlMAtt Armed and Scrupulous

    According to one of my instructors, the word aikikai, in Japanese, is a generic term for an aikido club. We Westerners usually use the word to refer to the Aikikai Federation.

    The Aikikai Federation is an overarching organization, of which many different organizations, each with its own style (or even multiple styles in the case of large organizations like America's USAF), are members.

    New York Aikikai is a USAF club headed by Yamada Sensei, who has his own distinctive style. Most of my aikido friends would call NYA a "Yamada dojo" that teaches "Yamada style aikido", but none of that is official. In fact, a rank given at NYA would be honored by the big USAF club in Chicago (a "Tohei dojo" teaching "Tohei aikido") and probably even by my ASU club (which teaches "ASU aikido"). All of these clubs are members of the Aikikai Federation, and therefore on paper all teach the same aikido, but you'll find noticeable differences in how techniques are taught and vastly different weapons curricula.

    I have an instructor who used to train at a Yamada club; I get the impression that Yamada's aikido is a little more practical, a little more athletic, and a little less weapons-focused than the ASU stuff we do at my club.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  17. OwlMAtt

    OwlMAtt Armed and Scrupulous

    The Senshusei course is a function of the Yoshinkan Hombu dojo in Japan. Yoshinkan is an organization separate from the Aikikai Federation. You can find a list of Yoshinkan clubs here:
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  18. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    Aikikai is a style. At least in the USA, all Federation schools use the same curriculum. No two people do aikido exactly the same, sure, but that doesn't make it not a style. To me, anyway.

    As to differences amongst the styles, start with this thread, and then come back with informed questions.

    I have never heard of a course like the "Angry White Pajamas" in the USA, but in this thread posts #10 and #32 point to schools with uchi-deshi programs. And, the AAA flagship school in Chicago has a program for training people to be professional aikido instructors.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  19. luckybreak91

    luckybreak91 Valued Member

    Thank you.
  20. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    Aikikai is not a style. It's a global umbrella organisation headed by the Ueshiba family. For example, Iwama Aikido was still strictly speaking part of the Aikikai until relatively recently. Not entirely sure how that all worked out.

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