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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.
I had three primary teachers when I started Aikido: Mel M., Peter C., and Don R.. They rotated through the role of teacher fairly regularly, but Mel ended up being the one who taught most often. He was a high school teacher, which meant he was particularly able in making Aikido accessible to my fellow students and me. Looking back, I realize he had a rather scattered approach to training, always incorporating something new he'd read or seen about Aikido into our practice. As a result, classes with Mel often had an experimental feel to them. I did very much enjoy Mel and his training methods, however - especially his constant searching for new knowledge, for new ways of approaching Aikido training.
Peter was markedly different in his teaching style. He moved stiffly, I remember, and his technique was uncomfortable to take as a consequence. He was also less easy than Mel in the role of teacher. His training style was very consistent, however, and so we were able to learn the basics of Aikido movement and technique from him quite quickly. He wasn't inventive or adventurous like Mel, but he did offer a structure in training that greatly facilitated the development of our Aikido.
Don only taught once, maybe twice a week (and sometimes less) even though he was the chief instructor of the dojo. I most appreciated Don's eagerness to practice hard. Although we trained very vigorously with him, there was never a sense that he was wanting to hurt us or that he had something to prove. Don just wanted to have strong technique and that meant throwing powerfully. As a guy in his early twenties, this kind of training was just what I was looking for. Even though I got slammed into the mat a lot by Don, I never felt afraid or ill-used by him. We were just training hard as martial artists should.