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Thread: What to do when there are no dojos?

  1. #1
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    Default What to do when there are no dojos?

    Hello everyone, this is my first post so excuse me if Ive put this in the wrong place.

    I have a bit of a dilemma. I have wanted to learn Iaido for many years but sadly of all of the places I have lived I have not had access to a dojo. I will soon be moving back to my hometown of Columbia, SC, and although I may have time to study it, for the first time in many years (I just completed law school), there are no dojos remotely close to me from everything I have seen. There is one Kendo school with practices twice a week which is somewhat close to me but they do not study Iaido.

    I know I am not the only person with this problem in the universe, so what do others do? Normally, I shy away from trying to learn something by yourself, without any instruction it often results in just forming bad habits. However, I will be 28 fairly soon and it seems foolish to just keep waiting for something that may never happen, Im not getting any younger.

    So, should I just by an Iaito and try to teach myself the basics? I have already read a number of books on the subject and plenty of youtube videos...for what its worth.

    Any input?

    Thank you all,
    A

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    Hi, Andres, & welcome to the forum.

    The correct place to post this question is in http://www.e-budo.com/forum/forumdis...ts-Dojo-Finder, & I have moved it there for you.

    PLEASE stop watching YouTube videos & reading books! You need a sensei to teach you how to learn iaido. Trust me that it's not just a matter of picking up an iaito & swinging it. My wife & I have trained in Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu for several decades, & we still have questions. And please wait for your new sensei to tell you when & what type/size iaito to buy. Many dojos have new students train just with a bokken, & then you have the appropriate length & weight to consider.

    Please be patient - it will pay off!

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken-Hawaii; 4th July 2014 at 08:57.
    Ken Goldstein
    --------------------------------
    Judo Kodansha/MJER Iaido Kodansha/Jodo Oku-iri
    Fencing Master/NRA Instructor

    "A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it'll annoy enough people to be worth the effort."

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    I agree with Ken that teaching yourself is not a good idea. If you can't find the specific art you wish to study taught in your area, picking up a different art would be a better idea. In other words, Kendo with a competent teacher is better than Iaido with no teacher. It would surprise me if the Kendo school didn't do any Iai ever; Seitei Iai is within the repertoire of Kendo training, and there is also Kendo Kata, which is related.

    Another option is to brace yourself for a 90+ minute drive (each way) to and from Charlotte, NC a couple of times a month.

    Lastly, you could wait. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, as they say. Exercise regularly to keep fit, and...if it means enough to you...get ready to move your practice to Seattle, San Francisco, or New York someday.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    It would surprise me if the Kendo school didn't do any Iai ever; Seitei Iai is within the repertoire of Kendo training, and there is also Kendo Kata, which is related.
    It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see no iaido training whatsover in a kendo dojo. It would only happen if one of the sensei also trained iaido. Seitei iai is not part of kendo training, it is the standard set of kata used in grading evaluations for people training in iaido under the FIK/ZNKR just as Toho is the evaluation set for people training under ZNIR.

    Kata OTOH is another story, it is a required element for kendo grading and so all dojos train it at least some of the time. That may boil down to a few weeks leading up to grading or quite regular sessions depending on the dojo.
    Neil Gendzwill
    Saskatoon Kendo Club

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    Quote Originally Posted by gendzwil View Post
    It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to see no iaido training whatsover in a kendo dojo. It would only happen if one of the sensei also trained iaido. Seitei iai is not part of kendo training, it is the standard set of kata used in grading evaluations for people training in iaido under the FIK/ZNKR...
    Right, and ZNKR is Zen Nihon KENDO Renmei, so I stand by my statement. Now, maybe it's just because of where I live, but I've never met a senior Kendo exponent who didn't train in at least Zen Ken Iai, and most also do Muso Shinden Ryu or Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu. Maybe that's because so many of them are first-generation Japanese immigrants or second- or third-generation Japanese-Americans; I just don't know.
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    The kendo renmei governs kendo, iaido and jodo. They are separate within that organization. Most kendo sensei in Canada where I live are unqualified to teach iaido. Like in the US many are immigrants or nisei.

    I repeat, iaido is not within the kendo repertoire as you claim. There are definitely those who do both but there is no iaido requirement for kendo dan-i or shogo in any federation I am aware of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens View Post
    I agree with Ken that teaching yourself is not a good idea. If you can't find the specific art you wish to study taught in your area, picking up a different art would be a better idea. In other words, Kendo with a competent teacher is better than Iaido with no teacher. It would surprise me if the Kendo school didn't do any Iai ever; Seitei Iai is within the repertoire of Kendo training, and there is also Kendo Kata, which is related.

    Another option is to brace yourself for a 90+ minute drive (each way) to and from Charlotte, NC a couple of times a month.

    Lastly, you could wait. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, as they say. Exercise regularly to keep fit, and...if it means enough to you...get ready to move your practice to Seattle, San Francisco, or New York someday.

    I might not mind driving to Charlotte for classes but it seems the nearest group that does Iaido is in the Raleigh area so thats 3hrs and change and thats too far to go with any regularity.

    I hear what you guys are saying, Iaido seems so complex that teaching oneself does seem almost impossible, I just fear that I may never get the opportunity.

    Well along the lines of learning a different art I suppose I have two options, Kendo or Aikido. I know Aikido does some weapons training but it seems like it is a very small part of the larger regime. Do you guys think thats a valid assessment? On the other hand, Aikido seems to have much more practical application and I do have a desire to learn some self defense (part of me feels like I have a responsibility now that I am married). Any thoughts on these two?

    Thanks guys. If any Iaido Sensei are looking for a good place to live, Columbia is beautiful this time of year

    A

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    Aikido is interesting and a lot of fun. It is not my 1st (or 2nd or 3rd) choice if self-defence is high on your list of reasons to train. Also the odds your instructor knows much about swordsmanship is slim. Aiki-ken is usually used to help train the empty-handed techniques.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peluche399 View Post
    ...I suppose I have two options, Kendo or Aikido. I know Aikido does some weapons training but it seems like it is a very small part of the larger regime. Do you guys think thats a valid assessment?

    Yes, and in some Aikido dojo it's an even smaller part than at others; lots of variability. Usually what sword and staff work they do is in the context of showing the purported roots of Aikido movement, but it's often reverse-engineered from the Aikido, rather than actually being a precursor.

    Quote Originally Posted by peluche399 View Post
    ...On the other hand, Aikido seems to have much more practical application and I do have a desire to learn some self defense (part of me feels like I have a responsibility now that I am married).
    It can take a long time to develop enough proficiency in any martial art, and especially Aikido, to be "practical" as self defense. The most important part of self defense is avoiding dangerous places and developing situational awareness. Either Kendo or Aikido can help with self defense by exercising the mind/body connection and by developing a sense of timing and distance, so I'd go with the one you think you'd enjoy most. Since you came looking for a sword-related art, I'd suggest Kendo.

    (By way of full disclosure, I only practiced Kendo for a year before moving to an Aikido school that had a really good associated sword and staff art (Seiki Ryu Kenjutsu and Jodo under Kurita Minoru Shihan), so it's not that I have a pro-Kendo/anti-Aikido bias; I just think you'd like Kendo.)
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

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    As a practicing aikidoka, I'll mostly agree with Brian and Neil.

    Kendo with a lot of kata practice is probably closest to what you originally wanted. The level of weapons work in aikido can be anywhere from almost non-existant to very sharp (e.g. Saito, Nishio, Sugino lines, or those that practice Kashima Shin Ryu etc in parallel with aikido) - it might just be worth your time making some enquiries.

    And, just to finish off, we've all heard stories of someone who wanted to study X, but only Y was available. They tried Y and found that the teacher was so great that they never bothered looking for X again.

    Good luck with your search.
    Andrew Smallacombe

    Aikido Kenshinkai

    JKA Tokorozawa

    Now trotting over a bridge near you!

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    Hello Andre,
    Another fellow I know in Kentucky was in your exact position four or five years ago. He found a seminar in Meishi-ha Mugai ryu being conducted, and asked permission to attend. He went to seminars in California and Chicago, and travels semi-regularly to California to train with our head U.S. instructor, Tony Alvarez. He now runs a study group in Kentucky. Here's his web site if you want to contact him and ask him particulars about how he went about learning ... http://mugai-ryu-kentucky.com/

    Youtube is bad because you're never sure what you're seeing. It's possible to learn from books if you already have a background in a similar art, but it is slow and inexact, and not generally worth the effort. Distance learning through periodic training like Jason has done is still slower than having an instructor to train with regularly, but it is much preferable to trying to learn yourself as the feedback and corrections are a necessary part of the learning.

    Good luck!
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    In case you are interested, there is MJER in Cullowhee, NC. Please send PM for contact information.
    Emily Egan
    www.clear-lake-iaido.com

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    I like many others have gone through this situation. I first did Karate, jujitsu, found a Kendo dojo then moved. After that it was hundreds of miles travel not just for my own benefit but to help others that had asked me to teach them.

    No internet! Frantic telephone calls to ask questions about Iaido moves and Kata. If you are really keen? You may have to travel. My travels had me become a Japanese resident. Next month its all the way to Canada for a seminar. That's Budo!
    Hyakutake Colin

    All the best techniques are taught by survivors.


    http://www.hyoho.com

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    Input? Yes: do something else.

    Not trying to be facetious, but holding out for something that won't happen is a lousy excuse for not doing anything! Ever consider other forms of MA? Other kobudo?

    You may not get what you want...but you may get what you need.


    Quote Originally Posted by peluche399 View Post
    Hello everyone, this is my first post so excuse me if Ive put this in the wrong place.

    I have a bit of a dilemma. I have wanted to learn Iaido for many years but sadly of all of the places I have lived I have not had access to a dojo. I will soon be moving back to my hometown of Columbia, SC, and although I may have time to study it, for the first time in many years (I just completed law school), there are no dojos remotely close to me from everything I have seen. There is one Kendo school with practices twice a week which is somewhat close to me but they do not study Iaido.

    I know I am not the only person with this problem in the universe, so what do others do? Normally, I shy away from trying to learn something by yourself, without any instruction it often results in just forming bad habits. However, I will be 28 fairly soon and it seems foolish to just keep waiting for something that may never happen, Im not getting any younger.

    So, should I just by an Iaito and try to teach myself the basics? I have already read a number of books on the subject and plenty of youtube videos...for what its worth.

    Any input?

    Thank you all,
    A
    'Leaves fall.'

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