View Full Version : Training with your spouse

Russ Qureshi
28th July 2000, 17:40
I was recently on the aikiweb and spyed a topic starter on training with a partner/spouse. I beleive the topic would benefit from a broader forum like e-budo. So, who has stories, opinions and/or advice on training with your spouse?



29th July 2000, 08:58
Welcome to E-budo, Russ!

I assume you are speaking of training in the dojo?:look: There have been discussions on this topic and this would probably be better in the Members' Lounge, but since you ask. As long as things are strictly business in the dojo, I don't think this is a problem, but it would be a good, no a very good idea not to train with each other, except at home. The instructor should be made aware and no discussion or outward appearances of a relationship should be intimated in any way. Problems come up with boy/girlfriend situations often so it would be looked at in the same way. Steps should be taken to make sure they do not workout with each other. Leave that for home.

An opinion, and would John wish to move this to the lounge?:idea:

29th July 2000, 12:21
Interesting question! Mark, please allow me to respectfully disagree with you. My girlfriend and I have been training together in Aikido and swordsmanship for the past three years, and we have not experienced any detrimental effects. I believe that a far more common problem is when both partners do not train. I have seen plenty of cases where people have had to contend with a partner or spouse who is jealous of their time spent training. I look forward to hearing others' experiences on this subject.

Russ Qureshi
29th July 2000, 15:39
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the heads up on using the proper forum.

I think it's interesting that you would have a partnership (married or otherwise) take special precautions not to train together. I don't understand your reasoning.... I most definitely agree with Kolschey. The interpersonal conflict will most likely arise from not training (being in the dojo) together. My wife, April, and I have been training aikido for the last seven years together, we've tested together from yonkyu, (and very recently nidan) and aside from a wink and a smile we rarely ever communicate in any unacceptable way on the mat. We're not constantly correcting each others technique, we've learned over the last little while that silent observation is much more revealing (as with most partners). When our chief instructor's sensei comes from Japan for his yearly seminar (Suganuma Sensei) he has commented that this type of relationship is an anomoly but very good if it works.

There would very definitely be problems with how much time each of us spends training and helping the dojo if we didn't both do it. As April is as passionate about aikido as I am I consider us very lucky!


Tonya Easton
7th August 2000, 02:24
Oh boy I love this topic!

I think I can effectively speak from both sides of this spectrum. My husband and I have been together over 10 years, I did not participate in the martial arts until a few years ago.

During my "pre-arts" period of time I can say that I had a much more difficult time with the acceptance of the time contraints, hard disciplinic attitude and even a jealosy towards what I did not fully understand. I spent along time with my debate in regards to whether I should participate or not. I was determined that if it was strictly for a "can't beat 'em join 'em" kind of attitude, then I wanted nothing to do with it. I had to do alot of inner searching to determine my own personal reasons for wanting to train. In addition there was the added fact that as long as we both trained, and he had over 15 years headstart on me, I would never be able to reach the status of equal with him. Trust me that was a big hang up! Fortunately one I was able to overcome.
My "post-arts" period has been much more enjoyable. Not only do I have a better understanding of why he thinks like he does etc... but I also have found alot of self fulfilment. I have no problem treating him with the respect he has earned on the dojo floor and at any time we are involved with or discussing martial arts. Plus I have the added advantage of a live in Sensei, ( or he states " Uke" depending on whos point of view"). Who else can you interrupt in the middle of a T.V. show and say," You know that waza I was working.... Punch...".

We also have an understanding that once away from the arts we are once again equals. I do not have to worry about retailiation if we have a marital...."miscommunication" :)

I believe that both parties have to respect each other to be able to effectively accomplish this partnership. I for one feel very fortunate.

7th August 2000, 10:44
You can disagree with me all you want. This is a personal decision, but one in which should be made with the attitude that husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships do not fall over into the dojo. I agree with Russ, but I have seen too often, in the dojo relationships, which should be left at the door. If you can do this than I have no problem with it. It is nice to have someone at home with whom to practice, ask questions, etc. Unfortunately, many do not leave it at the door and problems do arise from this. Admittedly, most of it is with boyfriend/girlfriend realtionships, but it does happen with the wife/husband as well. Not everyone can keep it above board and have good "in house," or in dojo randori. I still feel the instructor should be aware, and to prevent even the most innocent improprieties from happening, a couple should always work with others. Besides, working out with the same person will not develope variations on the conditioned response one gets by working out with different, be they taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, etc. At home, of course, you can do all the "randori" you want:laugh:

So, with the above provisos, I haven't a problem, that is how I feel on the topic, in general, but obviously there will probably not be problems with mature, sensitive adults who know better.

BTW: Go to a judo shiai sometime and keep an eye out for groupies:look:

Tonya Easton
7th August 2000, 13:58

I agree with the working out with others part. My husband is over 6 foot tall and when I exclusively worked out with him for long periods of time, I tended to strike to strange places on a shorter person!
It did however, teach me to look where I punch and not just rely on muscle memory.

7th August 2000, 15:22
I'm sorry to say that I suffered from an in dojo problem with a girlfriend, not a spouse, though. It's unfortunate the way things work between people, but the problems we had were much more mine than hers (at least in coping with the training).

All in all, it was nice to have the common connection between the two of us, but having endured the entire experience, I have reached the following conclusions:
1) The best thing for couples is to have independent activities, especially if the parties involved are competitive.
2) The only time an 'in-dojo' relationship works (in my opinion), is when one of the parties involved is significantly more experienced than the other so that there can be no competition.

Again, I reached these unfortunate conclusions largely because of my competitive nature and its clash with my better-half; it doesn't have to be this way. Also, I will add, these problems arose in a karate dojo, which might have affected them (I always kept my Aikido to myself - it was my refuge from problems elsewhere).


7th August 2000, 16:08

Interesting that you should mention "groupies". I have found that they are not so much a product of romantic relationships as of friendships/personal preferences. One of our instructors mentioned that people who have good ukemi will never lack for a partner. Conversely, I have seen that people who are stiff and unyielding, overly harsh or muscular in their technique, or try to train at a level of intensity beyond their ukemi, are often going to find themselves less favoured for partner practices. In some cases, this results in smaller pools of individuals being inclined to work among themselves. Another situation in which the "groupie" effect takes place is at seminars. In some cases, this is a situation in which senior students or instructors may be taking the opportunity to spend time with friends or former teachers and students whom they have not seen for some time, In other cases, however, I have seen students from one dojo work almost exclusively among themselves, thus greatly defeating one of the greatest opportunities for growth that such an occasion provides. I have no explaination for such behavior, though I find it disheartening.
As for the competetive aspect, my girlfriend and I train in Aikido and Japanese swordsmanship. Within those arts, there is a slightly competetive aspect, but it is greatly moderated by the structure of the training, which emphasises cooperation in cases where one of the participants is running into serious difficulties. Perhaps this has signifigant bearing on our mutual practice. On the other hand, a gentleman I knew who was an avid Kendo practioner was married to a woman who also practiced Kendo, as well as being skilled in naginata. I don't remember this ever having an adverse effect on our Kendo practices, even when both were training simultaneously.

Tony Peters
7th August 2000, 20:31
I agree that this topic should be in the Members lounge however since it is here I would like to contribute. My wife and I practice SMR Jodo together. We each have our idiosycracies I grasp the physics of the techniques much easie than she does however she usually graspes the body mechanics much faster that I do. I have to unlearn all the Aikiweapons that I've learned, which (the aikiweapon that is) has only succeeded in causing me grief. I can almost always see the problems in techniques where as she can feel the problem. This has made for "interesting" discussions when we train on our own outside of class. however we have "worked out" that problem to some extent. In class we are equals...to the point that Sensei will not teach one of us something new if the other is not present. Though I have learned the sword side of some katas before her from watching. We enjoy our time in class together stumbling with everything and looking foolish. Our Dojo is very family oriented thre is another wife and a child who trains with us so we are likely in a special situation. Still when I was training in Aikido I never ran across any couples who had training problems that had to do with off mat problems; though have seen Divorce effect their training frequency. That couple eventually returned to training (though rearely with each other).

[Edited by Tony Peters on 08-07-2000 at 03:35 PM]

8th August 2000, 03:26
I practice aikido with my wife quite few years.There were up and down, sometimes for a few months we didn't practice together, but finaly, WE learned enough tolerance and respect to each other (ex:right to make a mistakes) to be able to practice in very constructif way.I think it is aikido all about, to put ppl together.