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Rumpf's Blog Blog Tools Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 04-14-2005 08:45 AM
Robert Rumpf
Thoughts that I don't want to forget.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 143 (Private: 73)
Comments: 19
Views: 187,514

In General How he'd teach Aikido Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #110 New 05-08-2007 05:02 PM
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
If I had sufficient skill, here's how I would teach aikido. All comments are welcome.

Stage 1: Ki and kokyu ryoku
Goal: Develop and condition internal body skills
Means: aiki taiso and breathing exercises
Explanantion: Think Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, Rob John, Akuzawa.

Stage 2: Applying internal body skills
Goal: Applying the skills of Stage 1
Means: ki tests
Explanantion: Stuff like grounding a push, push/pull someone with the rowing exercise, tenkan from a wrist grab, etc.

Stage 3: Aikido kata
Goal: Learning the martial/aikido principles inherent in Stage 2
Means: Basic aikido curriculum
This is not about techniques! Aihanmi katate dori irimi nage is not a technique. The katate dori is the starting position. The irimi nage is a throwing principle: unbalance partner to the rear and cut him down. Ironically, if you fail to unbalance your partner at first contact (as learned in the Stage 2) there is little use for the actual irimi nage...

Stage 4: Aikido waza
Goal: Learning the applications of the principles/ideas
Means: More dynamic and free practice of the basic aikido curriculum
Use your understanding of the principles of Stage 3 to create techniques in a more dynamic environment. Irimi nage may not look like the standard irimi nage, but the principle needs to be present. This Stage still uses the uke-tori type of interaction.

Stage 5: Randori
Goal: Learning how to use aikido waza in a dynamic, alive, resisting environment
Means: Let people play around with aikido waza (think la pushing hands)
Two people playing around, trying to apply Aikido waza on each other.

Stage 6: Kumite
Goal: Learn how to fighting
Means: Sparring, free fighting
If you want to learn how to fight, then practice fighting. Basically, anything goes here, as long as the contents of Stages1-5 are present. And you're still friends afterwards.

Some more remarks:
You start out at Stage 1 and Stage 2. As long as you have not developped some basic internal body skills, progressing to Stage 3 or further will only destroy the progress you made in the previous Stages. This applies to all stages: the later ones build on the previous ones. But it is also true that later stages will shed new light on previous ones.

Students should do the Stage 1 exercises at home. In this regard Aikido is like learning to play a musical instrument. If you only practice while in class, you will not make significant progress.

As I was writing this down, I noticed some resemblance to http://www.aunkai.net/eng/bujyutu/index.html. Other influences are present as well.
Here are some questions:
  • What are the criteria for passing between stages? Years? Testing? General evaluation?
  • Roughly how long would someone spend at each stage?
  • Who would be judged able to teach this program (or stages of it)?
  • How do you judge the genuineness/effectiveness of each portion of the instruction?
  • Are there different instructors for each stage, or the same one for all?
  • How does weapons training enter into this (if at all)?
  • What about multiple attackers?
  • Does this require that the class be split into (at least) five sections that are relatively synchronous?
  • How do you market a martial art that doesn't teach anything remotely martial until Stage 3 or later?
  • How do you restrain people so that they only learn at the stage you think they should (stop the Stage 1ers from trying techniques)?

I think part of the issue of martial arts training is that the personality types and interests of the people in martial arts (and for that matter, people in general) lend themselves to some stages, and not to others. Most people don't want to do things that far outside their past actions, even though these activities are often precisely the ones that would benefit them the most.

Hence, when Mike Sigman and Rob John visited Aikido of Northern Virginia and demonstrated their body-strength building exercises, Jimmy (as a highly skilled technician) immediately appreciated what they were doing and what it could contribute to shaking loose some of his established paradigms (as a highly skilled technician).

However, there were others who were still mainly interested in technique (as they had much left to learn there) who dismissed the work that Sigman and John did as "just yoga" and were disinterested in learning more. They, in my opinion, haven't come to the end of their road in the technique direction.

By the time that a person in martial arts (or life) realizes that they need something besides or beyond what they are getting from their instructor (not typically the instructor's fault or problem - many people to satisfy with diverse needs) or personal training, they are often already committed to their training path, or view the instructor as the source of their hang-ups.

In reality, it is the mutual accommodation that allows for them to succeed, communicate, and learn that so often leads to the formation of personal (and institutional) blind spots.

All of this seems to be true of any relationship.

It seems then that people either positively embrace their training with their eyes open to its (and their) limitations, reject their current training in search of something new, or attempt to meld their current training with other focuses. This melding causes stress in both directions, and like a romantic affair, inevitable puts strain on resources as well as leading to an inevitable establishment of a hierarchy.

This is where being an iconoclast seems to really benefit a training regime. By being in a constant state of rejection and not blending, you manage to reject also the established patterns of the style, dojo, and instructors.. at least if you're good at being an iconoclast. However, this comes at a price: the risk of being (as Galeone said) "a pariah."

Not only that, I would also add that I think it puts one in danger of developing a serious personality disorder (if that doesn't already seem to be the case) in that the truth is sometimes seen as false, and vice versa, due to the rejection of authority..

When you reject everything, who do you accept? In addition, you become stuck with your own blind-spots.. as you are unable to take feedback, these inevitably become more entrenched.

I think that this is in some ways the soul of budo, and in some ways the opposite of Aikido, since love finds ways to embrace all things.

I think I need to revise the prior sentence, but I think my meaning is clear.
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