Aikido Center of Jacksonville
Dojo Newsletter May 2011

New Members
Please welcome Thomas to the adult class. Train hard!

Student Promotions
Our warmest congratulations to Gavin and Vanessa for passing their 9th kyu test, and to Brady and Gracie for passing 10th kyu. In the adult class, our congratulations to Rey for passing 6th kyu, Justin for 5th kyu, and Maggie and Ryan for 2nd kyu. Great job!

Movie Night
As always, our kids movie night was a great success, and lots of fun to boot. We saw Guliver's Travels, and feasted on pizza and popcorn. To the parents, how did you enjoy your night off?

Peter Bernath Seminar
A reminder that our seminar with Peter Bernath Sensei is scheduled for Saturday, September 10th. Bernath Sensei is the chief instructor at Florida Aikikai, and is an Aikikai Shihan, or master instructor.

Please make plans to attend.

Train For Free
Help us grow the school! When you refer a student, you train free for the month.

Our student promotion applies to family members as well as friends, and can be combined with our family and quarterly discounts.


A Message From Dee
Dee SenseiRecently, I've been thinking back to my first several years of training. During that time, I would try to work with as many high ranking Aikidoka as I could. I knew I could learn a lot, and also test my ukemi with them.

I remember one time years ago, I asked a high ranking practitioner (now Shihan) to train with me in the morning class at New York Aikikai. At the time he was a 5th dan while I was a 4th kyu. After we paired off, I asked him to correct me if he saw anything wrong with my technique. I remember what he told me: "Dee, I'm just here to train."

I think that because so many of my partners before him were eager to help me, (even when I did not ask for help), that he would be the same. He, however, thought differently. He knew, (as do many of the students at New York Aikikai know), that learning through trial and error is the way to train in Aikido.

And so we trained. He didn't judge me, and he didn't speak out in the middle of class. If I wasn't doing the technique quite right, he wouldn't move, but that was the only feedback he gave me. I think back to that time and realize that he really helped me by not helping me. I thank him for that, to this day.

I can't help but compare that formative experience I had, with what I sometimes observe on the mat now. I've noticed that students, (and sometimes me), who have experience are a little too eager to speak up when someone is not doing the technique quite right. And so we correct them. It may be our pride. Or it may be that we are earnestly trying to help our partner improve.

But speaking from experience, I can tell you that it is liberating to try the technique, without preconception, and allow your body to adjust to the movement. It is a form of discovery. I think we cheat our partners when we stop and correct them -- especially if you are a student yourself.

I have therefore made a decision. I would prefer that discussions regarding technique be made after class, or over a beer, or better yet, addressed to the instructor who is leading the training. I think when we train, we should respect each others time, and give our partners the space to learn at their own speed. Feedback should be nonverbal. As I continue to develop my Aikido, I hope I will allow my fellow students the same chance to learn that I experienced.

Besides, if you don't, I will get on to you.

Editor's Note: I've written a companion piece to Sensei's excellent article on our blog. I would also recommend reading our etiguette guide for good, general guidelines to correct behavior on the mat.

2011 Summer Seminar - Great times
Summer Seminar 2011 Our 2011 Summer Seminar was held on Saturday May 14th, and was a lot of fun. Several out of town yudansha visited us, and were gracious enough to teach individual classes. We would like to thank Grady Lane and Ted Powers, along with Joey Turner, for sharing their Aikido with us. And of course thanks to all who participated.

Sensei also wants to thank our talented chefs, Jerry and Chris, for helping with the cookout. We hope the seminar starts the summer off right for everyone. Enjoy yourself during the warmer months, but don't forget to train!

Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011 Summer Seminar 2011

We welcome your feedback, comments, and questions regarding our newsletter.  You can post your thoughts on our blog.  You can also follow us on Twitter, or join our Facebook group.