Little House In Ise

Doing It Right
October 26, 2007, 10:55
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , , ,

Along with hooking up the electricity, phone and making certain that the garbage didn’t pile up in the alley, finding a reputable dojo and instructor has been one of my must-do chores when moving house. I may need to do it again soon and the thought is a bit daunting.

Part of starting at a new dojo used to include preparing for the inevitable barrage of “That’s wrong” or at best “that’s not how we do X-waza / Y-nage here!” If I had grown comfortable with a technique as done in one school I would soon find that it was “wrong” in the new school. As a young man, I used to argue that the technique wasn’t wrong, it was just different. Eventually, I shut up and just did whatever the sensei did. Though this may seem obvious, it does take time to get past some egos — mine for example.

Getting passed ones own ego is critical to success! Don’t argue, just do. You are learning something new. Follow sensei’s lead. Do what sempai do. Learn the new and restrain your old habits.

Some think that there is a “right way” or at least there a “best way”. A lot of “this vs. that” arguments revolve around the assumption that there is a best way. What may be the “best” for a person of one size or shape may be exactly the wrong thing for people of other sizes. “Right”, on the other hand, should be the way that your sensei just showed you how to do it. Don’t get frustrated if the next time the technique is different! Just learn what your sensei shows you and learn what works for your body. You will progress.


5 Comments so far
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Hello Eric,

I enjoyed reading through your weblog. Congratulations on the black belt! I have recently started learning aikido. Our sensei in fact makes an effort to demonstrate that the same technique can be adapted in different ways for different people.

And what you say about ego is very true. I find one of my hurdles to progress is ignoring the voice of the ego.

Comment by little cricket

Howdy little cricket,

Thank you! Getting there took almost 20 years but I did it. On to whatever the next steps are!

Comment by Eric Holcomb

[…] be, “One true way”, that there is a best or at least correct way to do things? I have been down this path before on this blog and don’t care to repeat my thoughts in that regard, however, what might help is a better of […]

Pingback by What makes a basic technique, basic? « Little House In Ise

Great advice!

When I started beginner level “aikido gakkou” (合気道学校 初級) at Hombu Dojo I was both surprised and frustrated to find that the 2 teachers did several techniques differently. I thought that one of them must have been “right” and one of them “wrong”.

Now I’m slowly learning to accept that there can be different ways to do the techniques, and it’s actually a good thing to be exposed to the different techniques (and different teachers). In the end you’ll be able to take what works for you and build on it.

I see many (higher level) students seemingly ignoring what a teacher is saying/demonstrating in the class and continuing to do things their “old” way. Seems a shame to me. Maybe they’ve already tried it and decided it wasn’t for them?

As for me, I’m trying my best to do it whichever way the teacher on the day does, and see how it feels. After all, I’m only 3級, so in no position to know what’s “right” or “wrong”!

Comment by Andrew

Howdy Andrew,

Everybody gets stuck in ruts. Especially if you have been in the same rut for a long time. “Advanced students” can often be thought of people who are stuck in the same rut for so long they can no longer do anything but what they know. Sorry, I am having a cynical morning it seems.

I hope you continue to enjoy your training and maintain sufficient intellectual and physical flexibility to accept the many very different flavors of Aikido taught at Honbu.

Happy rolling!

Comment by Eric Holcomb

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