Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Visit Another Dojo?

When I first started aikido I remember Bob telling us that we should attend seminars and visit other dojo's ocassionally. The reason is that there is a wide experience to be had if you get out of your "little pond".

For me, I tend to use the experiences to help focus my training. Sometimes when you see a new instructor they have very different ways of doing things or may show you a technique or throw that you've never seen before. A lot of times I find myself paying even more attention to what is going on because of the unfamiliar environment. I also try to make more of an effort to cover myself when it is my turn to take ukemi. There are some people who are willing to actually hit you for an atemi expecting you to block it. There are others whose attack is less comitted and will stop the atemi before it connects. This keeps you on your toes.

Despite visits to other dojo's I have most of my "aha" moments right here in the classes I take locally. I'm not looking for secrets, techniques, or a quick fix. I'm just trying to immerse myself in a wider experience.

What I've seen when I visit these places is that usually a senior student will grab me to sort of check me out. Once they figure out that you're not a maniac they allow you to work with others. I'm proud to say that in visits to other dojos in the past I was allowed to work with their 6 month beginners. I can think of no higher honor than to be trusted with their newer students.

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