The last few trips I have taken to visit family around Canada, I have always been so glad that I packed my gi. Since beginning my aikido training, about seven years ago, I’ve always been welcomed to train in a dojo I visit. In November I visited Big Rock Dojo in Calgary, and arrived during a great seminar over the weekend. I got more training than I had hoped for!
The benefits of visiting other dojos include everything from new perspective on techniques you thought you understood (ha!), new friends & connections, a different training environment & etiquette, and a better sense of how your training style fits in with the overall aikido network.
I think the key to gaining these benefits is humility, humility, humility. I try to mimic senior students of the dojos I visit, in order to show proper respect for how things are done. It’s amazing how the manners and etiquette of our dojo transfer to any other place I go. I know how to practice with people and generally what to expect, even if the language of instruction is different.
When I return to White Pines, I am motivated and inspired to continue my training. My hope for our dojo is that we can host some aikidoka (students) visiting from other dojos around the world, so that we can learn from them and inspire them in their own training.
Next time you go on a trip, pack that gi, even if it takes up too much space! It will be worth it if you get a chance to make new friends, as inevitably you will by making the effort to visit and train somewhere new.
– Rebecca Sargent is an intermediate student at White Pines, and a member of the WPAA board.