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One of the blue gold belts has really come a long way. I hadn't practiced with her in a while and then lately did a couple of sessions with her. I'm impressed by the fact she really has made distinct improvements as there was a point where I did get somewhat exasperated with her apparent lack of progress. I'm not proud of my lack of patience, just realistic about the fact I have limits and will slowly work on them.
I can see why sensei allowed her to grade for her brown belt. I think there are a lot of little things she doesn't get, but I've also realised that sometimes I focus a bit too much on the stuff she doesn't get in spite of numerous attempts to show/teach her, that can be glaringly obvious and entirely miss what she has been improving which is the general overall movement and flow. And that at the end of the day is actually the most important thing.
I have to say that my sensei's great strength is to allow people to learn at their own pace and to create a dojo in which this is possible for people. He clearly saw her progress where I couldn't. He calls it allowing his students to mould the technique and I think he's right. It's often the most effective way in the long run although it seems slow at first sight but it's often the most realistic way too as it enables an organic growth that is deeply rooted and strong. Teaching top down can often result in something that is technically by the book but isn't deeply rooted enough in the person's everyday practice and therefore the aikido is less strong and resilient as a result. Allowing organic growth with very gentle pruning is the easiest way to grow as a student plus allows the gentle evolution of a personal style suited to one's own body and temperment within the broader boundaries of the general dojo style.
I partnered one of the sandans and she taught me that my suwariwaza irimi is the omote version...I hadn't even been aware of that. I'd been cutting the movement down when it was meant to be the ura version. The strange thing is how I can totally not even realise I'm doing something wrong for years!
Must go and watch my aikido DVD again in slow motion.
I went for the advanced class on sunday and had fun for once practising with the canadian chap...he's oh so typically canadian, very unassuming, very nice and actually very efficient and reliable...just so quiet you barely notice he's there most of the time. He's good to practice with. Kind, polite and considerate plus he outranks me so technically i learn from him.