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First Class
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Greetings All, Something I was thinking about the other day when I thought about my first class and first seminar a few years ago that I thought I'd ask the Shidoshi; what was your first ever class/training session like that you attended as a student, mu kyu. Then, what was the first class that you eventually taught? How many people? What did you train on? Was your teacher present? Setting and environment? Compare and contrast the two? All thoughts, comments are appreciated. "Just keep going." ~ Nagato Sensei (29 OCT 2010)

Posted on: 2011/7/29 13:44
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Re: First Class
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I vaguely remember my first class. I have no recollection of the first class I taught. I clearly remember my first class in Japan. I can tell you the date, and approximate time, but not the exact State I was in when I kissed my wife for the first time 31 years ago!

Some things are more life changing than others.

Marty

Posted on: 2011/7/29 15:46
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Re: First Class
Kutaki Postmaster
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My first class as a student: 1986, a church hall in Hove, Sussex, UK, on summer leave from a brief spell in the army. Rolling on hard parquet floor, up and down the hall, everyone in outdoor tabi, Japanese, not the copies that flooded the market later. Techniques that I would later know as oni kudaki and musha dori with my overly compliant best mate who had found the club, known at the time as Bujinkan South Coast. Standing in jumonji and being kicked with zempo geri at the point where the arms cross and then doing it back to my partner, up and down the hall. My first experience of jodan uke, failing again and again to hit the incoming arm, flailing wide of the mark every time.

My first teaching experience of running my own class? In about one month's time! It will not be a memory as such, as it will be very fresh, but I can report back if anyone is interested. I am setting it up to get more training for myself, rather than from any strong desire to teach (see another current thread on this topic).

Posted on: 2011/7/29 19:17
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Re: First Class
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From Dingle, Co Kerry
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First class:
1989 Dublin - two shidoshi Billy Doolin and Mark Guest (still active!) did Ichimonji no Kata and rolling on a wooden church hall floor. There were about 4 others (including my current teacher Alex Meehan!)

First class teaching:
2008 Dublin - 2 years after receiving godan - I taught the same thing. There were about 4 new people there and now 3 of them train with Alex because I moved location.

How does it feel? I'm still as in awe at Soke's budo and am very happy I've immersed in it for so long and still feel like a mu-kyu!

Posted on: 2011/7/29 21:21
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- keeping going.
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Re: First Class
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My first exposure ever to actual training was at Chris Weakley's dojo in Columbus GA back in 1989 or '90. I was new to the area and remember looking through the window of the first 'Ninja dojo' I had ever seen. I didn't expect it to be legit, but then I saw the pictures on the wall of heroes I had only read about, Stephen Hayes, Bud Malmstrom, Jack Hoban...and of course Masaaki Hatsumi! I couldn't believe it was the real thing, practically across the street from where we were staying!

The first class was very relaxed and upbeat, and I liked Mr. Weakley right away. We started with some ukemi and then worked on some form of muso dori coming from a rear shoulder grab, and then a simple (?) sword-evasion exercise. I knew from the first beat that if I was ever going to study martial arts, this was it. It was one of those rare times when the reality exceeded my hopes and expectations. I didn't realize until then that there were instructors elsewhere in the US than Dayton OH! I often regret not having written to the Shadows of Iga when I was younger and reading the Hayes books for the first time, as it turns out there was one for a while on Cape Cod where I grew up.

Then again, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and all that.

I didn't live in GA for long enough to settle in as one of Chris' regular students, but have very fond memories of the times I trained with him. A couple of years later, back in Boston, I met my current and true instructor, and the rest is my own little personal history.

EDIT: Sorry, I realize now that this question was intended for Shidoshi. I am not a teacher or Shidoshi myself.

Posted on: 2011/7/30 2:37
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Re: First Class
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Oops sorry, I am not a shidoshi either, apologies for posting.

Posted on: 2011/7/30 8:08
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Re: First Class
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From Savannah, GA
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No no no, don't apologize. I should retract my first statement partially, I think hearing about everyone's beginning is great stuff that we should all share, I was just particularly interested in those who teach now. More so because so of the fundamentals I try to train my Soldiers on when handling their weapons (balance, angling etc..).

I apologize, I ask a question and didn't even explain myself first! My first class, back in summer of 2009 in the garage of my current Shidoshi. The most vivid thing I remember is that I caught a shuto to the neck and was nearly knocked unconscious within the first 5 minutes. Took me a couple minutes for it to register "This guy really f***ing hit me!" A few techniques later and also being corrected on how I stand, being unbalanced etc...I knew it was the real deal after the first class.

I was hooked immediately, driving 1.5 hours every week to class, went to Japan in 2010 as Nana Kyu (used my free R&R leave while deployed to Afghanistan for the free plane ticket), there I trained with Nagato, Noguchi, Seno, several Gaijin Shihan and of course Soke.

What a ride it has been, and I'm loving every minute of it!

~Bufu Ikkan

Posted on: 2011/7/31 14:42
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Re: First Class
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Jarod, my first class was when our karate teacher went to a ninjutsu seminar and came back to show what had been taught. All of us saw how much more effective and 'real' ninjutsu was than the karate we had been doing and so the whole class switched to ninjutsu. Our teacher of course knew no more then we and so it was a few years of trial and error training while bringing in sho-dan level instructors to teach us. That was in 1983 and almost no one had skills in the US. We struggled along this was until 1987 when our instructor met Charles Daniel, he started to give us seminars about twice a year and finally we started to learn. That also started my trips to Japan. There were no questions about the effectiveness of this art!!!
I first began to teach in 1989 after Sensei had made me shidoshi-ho and it was more just a training group with all of us learning together. Teaching this art is a journey in itself if you do it right and by that I mean if you focus is on the student. It is very easy to let yourself fall into the trap of "look what I can do", or "I can kick your a**", letting your ego take over. That happens to many and in EVERY case it is a big mistake. The focus must always be on the growth of yourself and of those you teach.

Posted on: 2011/7/31 22:48
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Re: First Class
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My first class was with Peter King (who is still my teacher) way back in late 1987. Doron was at the club that night, i think he had done a course at the weekend. Peter suggested I come a watch for a couple of weeks and I started after that.

I cant remember what we done on my first proper class, but training was a lot harder physically back then, lots of bruises

The first time I saw Soke was at the first UK Tai Kai that Peter organised and we all helped out at. Soke just blew me out of the water, as he still continues to do to this day.

My first trip was to Japan in 1990, for the DKMS that was held at Ishizuka Sensei's dojo in Kashiwa. Anyone remember that one?

I started teaching at my own club in 2006, cant remember what I done, but must have been Kihon based. Like most other people, I teach in order to better understand what we are learning, but I'm still happy to admit I'm often scratching my head and have more questions than answers

Posted on: 2011/8/1 8:55
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Re: First Class
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From Savannah, GA
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Papa-San,

You couldn't be more correct, the ego problem is something I encounter often as there are many self-proclaimed MMA practitioners in my area (young military folk mainly) that are blind to the real essence of taijutsu and combat and only focus on strength, speed and sloppy technique requiring great amounts of energy. I see this all the time, it is very disappointing, but I remain quiet, to each his own I suppose, I don't think its my place to correct someone else on what they do or what they train in.

uncleninj,

Soke blew you out of the water eh? Tell me about it! When I actually saw him in person, after just over a year of studying budo and then I am standing in the Hombu watching him and the Shihan...it was like being a kid and watching a magician for the first time. I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to meet and train under him and the Japanese Shihan as I will be for years to come.

Posted on: 2011/8/1 14:53
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~Dwight D. Eisenhower
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