Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 16,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
Well, we had a visitor from another CAF dojo in Saskatoon show up for practice last night. It was interesting to see how this yudansha was doing his aikido. It was, in some respects, rather different than the way I do things. We were practicing yokomenuchi shihonage (omote and ura) last night so my observations are only about this technique. I usually begin the cut down at the end of shihonage with hands, head, hips and feet all in a line -- just as when holding and cutting with a sword. This fellow, though, using only one hand, would bring uke's hand over his head and with a strong, casting-forward action, cut uke's arm down to the mat. Didn't really see any sword-like cutting motion at all in his form, so I'm not sure about the rationale behind this style of execution of shihonage...
The visitor had been a professional coach for many years and I think it was hard for him not to fall into that role with my students. A couple of times when I was offering instruction to one of my students (with whom he was working), he chimed in and offered his own advice! Raised my eyebrows, I can tell you. He wasn't going overboard with the shadow teaching thing, and I didn't want to embarrass him, so I waited until the end of class to privately encourage him not to assume an unappointed teaching role in someone else's dojo. He's a very decent fellow and didn't get all up-in-arms when I explained to him why I didn't appreciate shadow teaching in my dojo. He recognized the validity of what I was saying and apologized.
It really surprises me how often other visiting yudansha feel free to shadow teach. I would never offer any instruction to anyone in a dojo I was visiting unless explicitly given such freedom to do so by the dojo instructor. Its just proper etiquette, isn't it? I certainly think so.