Executive Pagan

If Eddie Izzard can be an executive transvestite, I can be an executive pagan.

Aikido & Shinto Links

O-Sensei Shinto shrine Aikido

I have recently begun studying Aikido, which I have wanted to do for years. The following links are to sites that I have found useful, informative or interesting.

Aikido and Shinto do not *have* to go together, particularly in the US, but for me they very much do, so I have included my favorite Shinto sites as well (in a separate section).

Aikido

Shinto

All images on this page are either public domain or under a Creative Commons license and are provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

4 Responses to “Aikido & Shinto Links”

  1. I’ve been interested in Aikido myself and have some martial arts (very little) training.

    What are some things one should look for when trying to find an Aikido instructor or school?

  2. executivepagan said

    Hm… that’s a good question! I’ll offer what advice I can, and hopefully my other aikidoka readers will chime in as well (they’ve both been at this a good bit longer than I have, and I expect will have deeper insights…)

    I personally had two main criteria: the atmosphere at the dojo, and kid/family classes. Since there’s only one dojo in my area that offers family classes, my choices were somewhat limited… but if I had not liked the “vibe” I would have just (disappointedly) looked for some other sport/activity for us to do together. Fortunately, we have a *wonderful* dojo, and so that was not an issue.

    Speaking in general terms, I would suggest a couple of things:

    1. Look for a dojo that is focused exclusively, or at least primarily, on aikido, rather than a school that offers a bunch of different arts – those tend to be “belt mills”, in my experience and that of other martial artists I know.

    2. Independent dojos can be good (see the next point below) but my prejudice is towards a dojo that’s affiliated with one of the national organizations that are related to or descended from Hombu Dojo/Aikikai Foundation in Japan. The ones that I know of personally are USAF and AAA, though there are others.

    3. That said, the most important thing for your own aikido experience is going to be your relationship to your sensei and fellow students. I strongly suggest visiting *all* the schools in your area for at least one training session, and if possible talk to the sensei and some of the students afterwards. If you don’t feel welcome and at home, or if you’re pressured to sign up right away, that’s a good red flag.

  3. Excellent. I’ll keep those things in mind. Thank you.

  4. executivepagan said

    Not at all! A couple of additional thoughts… I mentioned this conversation to one of my sensei last night, and she pointed out an additional reason to look for a dojo affiliated with one of the major organizations: accreditation. (I’ll speak about the USAF here because that’s what I know, but I’m sure AAA and the other groups are the same.) Permission to teach is not automatically granted at certain ranks, it must be specially conferred by the senior leadership; this offers at least some guarantee that the teacher knows what he’s doing.

    Also, if you train with an independent dojo, and later have to move, or the school folds or something else happens, then whatever ranking you earned will not travel with you. You’ll still have the knowledge and experience you gained, of course, but if you start over at another school then you will be starting over as far as ranking is concerned.

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