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Gregg
10-26-2006, 09:05 PM
My sensei is a very long winded fellow. We practice two nights a week and for the last practices he has talked about an hour and a half those class sessions, this is a on going for the past number of years that I have practiced with him. :freaky: He has been asked to keep his speeches of aikido short and to help the class with technique.
But yet his speeches continue. Help ? :hypno: :crazy:

acot
10-26-2006, 11:41 PM
Start asking questions... Technique questions... Raise your hand and just ask. I'm sure he won't beat anyone up over it. It might prompt a longer speach, but maybe getting him in the act of demostrating could spark on the class.

Bronson
10-27-2006, 02:16 AM
His school his rules. If you don't like it the dojo search here on AikiWeb shows approx. 8 different instructors within about 30 miles of Ogden.

Bronson

kironin
10-27-2006, 02:19 AM
unfortunately, some people like to hear themselves talk way too much.

for it to go on so long must mean he likes it so much he is not going to change unless the students stop enabling his behavior and simply walk out on him.

an empty dojo is about the only cure for this.

but what happens instead is that you get a self selected group of students willing to put up with it either because they like the idea of practicing more than actually practicing or they love aikido but have nowhere else to go.

as might be said of the Pastor of a church, " I'd rather see a sermon, than hear a sermon."

Peter Goldsbury
10-27-2006, 06:00 AM
My sensei is a very long winded fellow. We practice two nights a week and for the last practices he has talked about an hour and a half those class sessions, this is a on going for the past number of years that I have practiced with him. :freaky: He has been asked to keep his speeches of aikido short and to help the class with technique.
But yet his speeches continue. Help ? :hypno: :crazy:

What does he talk about? Is it important? What about his waza? Are they OK? I mean, is the talking a substitute or cover-up for lack of technical ability?

Morihei Ueshiba was famous for giving long talks that very few understood, but he always backed up his lectures with spectacular waza.

There is a certain aikido shihan (Aikikai) who is renowned for his long lectures. I suppose it is good seiza practice for the students (he always stands). He usually teaches kihon waza, and the general purpose of the talks is to explain why kihon waza are so important. However, his classes have never been subjected to a peer review. Nevertheless, his waza can be spectacular.

Gernot Hassenpflug
10-27-2006, 06:49 AM
Ask your teacher to join Aikiweb and start posting. Maybe he has some good ideas and would like to interact with others, and just hasn't found an outlet for his enthusiasm.

DonMagee
10-27-2006, 07:50 AM
I had a judo instructor like this, he was lack on training, would interupt you to correct your technique and then spend 15 minutes talking about it, etc. We wouldn't randori for more then a minute before he would stop us to lecture . We couldn't do more than 10 fit ins without a lecture, we couldn't bow without a lecture, etc.

Eventually he had no good students, only white belts. Those students came to compete and also eventually left for more serious training. One day long after I left he complained to a friend of mine about how he can never get any students to stay long enough. My friend told him why this was happening and he got mad at him. Told him it was disrespectful and back in his day blah blah.

After about a 6 month break I came back and tried to train with him again, this time he had more new students who again, wanted to learn judo and compete. But he kept talking, I wasn't working up a sweat and it was wasting my time to give up a bjj class each weak for this, so I stopped going after a month. All his students wanted to know where I was because I was the guy who was pushing them and working them out hard. Sadly most have found out where I train and have left, so again, his talking has cost him students. But he can't see past his own greatness.

Ron Tisdale
10-27-2006, 09:16 AM
I left a dojo because of similar issues. But I maintain a good relationship with the instructor...he introduced me to yoshinkan aikido, and I respect and love him for that. Sometimes the student just grows in a different way.

Be nice, state any issues in an honest, caring manner. If he doesn't want to change...you change. But keep the relationship. It usually benefits everyone that way.

Best,
Ron

PS...when I say keep the relationship, I'm serious...that instructor will be at my parent's house for dinner next week.

Don_Modesto
10-27-2006, 04:17 PM
Yes. A shame.

There've been several solid players I've known whose classes I refused to attend a second time for their pronounced logorrhea.

dojo:train
café (locker room?):talk

Ketsan
10-28-2006, 07:25 PM
I had a judo instructor like this, he was lack on training, would interupt you to correct your technique and then spend 15 minutes talking about it, etc. We wouldn't randori for more then a minute before he would stop us to lecture . We couldn't do more than 10 fit ins without a lecture, we couldn't bow without a lecture, etc.

Eventually he had no good students, only white belts. Those students came to compete and also eventually left for more serious training. One day long after I left he complained to a friend of mine about how he can never get any students to stay long enough. My friend told him why this was happening and he got mad at him. Told him it was disrespectful and back in his day blah blah.

After about a 6 month break I came back and tried to train with him again, this time he had more new students who again, wanted to learn judo and compete. But he kept talking, I wasn't working up a sweat and it was wasting my time to give up a bjj class each weak for this, so I stopped going after a month. All his students wanted to know where I was because I was the guy who was pushing them and working them out hard. Sadly most have found out where I train and have left, so again, his talking has cost him students. But he can't see past his own greatness.

I know of an instructor like that. 20 minute lectures on either how good he is, how bad other instructors are or a talk about the good old days with such and such shihan.

DonMagee
10-28-2006, 10:10 PM
I know of an instructor like that. 20 minute lectures on either how good he is, how bad other instructors are or a talk about the good old days with such and such shihan.

Yea, the saddest part was he would spend a good deal of the classes time trying to show me how judo can beat bjj and how much better then me he was.

Of course he is better than I am, he better be being that he has done judo longer then I've been alive and outweights me by almost 100 pounds.

Aristeia
10-29-2006, 07:25 PM
yeah, if I ever find time to make into a judo dojo again I may try and keep my bjj under wraps - alot of judo instructors I've met are keen to have that discussion as soon as they find out. I haven't found that to be the case when they find I do Aikido, which is interesting.

Mike Hamer
10-31-2006, 12:34 PM
My Sensei usually saves his speeches for the end of each class, and even then they aren't very long winded.

Alec Corper
10-31-2006, 02:33 PM
Try ear plugs

Ron Tisdale
10-31-2006, 02:38 PM
It's not my ears that suffer...it's my knees!

:) B.
R

Alec Corper
10-31-2006, 02:42 PM
Ah Glasshopper, I hear them creaking :D

mriehle
10-31-2006, 03:27 PM
I guess my perspective would summed up in my experience years ago when I started training. The dojo I was at was being visited by Koichi Tohei Sensei. He frequently just took over classes. I didn't even remember the name of the head instructor of the dojo until my dad reminded me recently (sorry Naluai Sensei, you actually are a very good teacher).

There were nominally two, one-hour classes in a row. Tohei would sometimes spend two hours lecturing. I learned a lot from those lectures. There are still things he said all those years ago (circa 1974-1976) that pop up from time to time in my training in "aha!" moments ("Oh, yeah, that's what he meant by that!").

Other times he wouldn't say two word the whole class.

I think balance is key.

Now that I teach, I realize that I tend to be heavy on lecturing. I *do*, though, sometimes make an effort to just shut up and demonstrate technique. I also try to keep my lectures focused on real issues. It requires a conscious effort because I'm an essentially verbal person. But I find the effort is worthwhile.

One trick I discovered is to demonstrate at the same time I'm lecturing. It requires that you be able to do the techniques without much thought, but it's an interesting exercise. You also have to be okay with making a mistake in front of your class. When I first started to try to do this I learned all about a half-dozen unconsious mistakes I make in my techniques on a regular basis. Actually, it still happens, just the mistakes have changed.

Maybe your instructor needs to come to this understanding. A lot of essentially verbal people have trouble understanding that others are not that way. That being said, it's not really your responsibility to help him to achieve that understanding. It would be polite of you to say something to him about the problem, but ultimately you have to do what's right for your training.

Rocky Izumi
11-23-2006, 05:13 PM
A number of the Shihan I had an opportunity to practice with and talk with at leisure and in private, just before they died said virtually the same thing to me. To paraphrase: "The only thing I regret is not explaining things enough." They tried to teach by showing in many different ways but they found that the majority of students never understood the lessons or their purpose.

I try and explain things a lot more these days. Yes, it means that sometimes physical practice is postponed for a while so that I can try and explain things. I used to use our drinking sessions or after practice in the Dojo to do these things but now that I am in a rented dojo, people have to leave and often, you can't go around demonstrating something in a bar without getting kicked out. Yes, I've been kicked out of bars for "acting funny" and creating a disturbance while demonstrating something during one of our drinking sessions. But, the rum shops around here have started to get used to us doing strange things so it is getting better. They still don't like it when I use a pool cue as a Ken or Jo.

I don't want to have those same regrets when I die. I do have pity on the students' knees and often ask them to stand and come closer so that they can see better. Or, I ask them to sit in Anza to save their knees. But, I have come to realise that if my job is to speed up their learning by passing on what I have discovered through observation of my teachers or from talking and listening to them, then I need to talk some to explain things. I have observed that often, until the students get to about Sandan or Yondan, they don't understand by just observing. I also have found that many students, even at the higher levels these days, don't experiment and research enough to understand lessons through observation. They simply keep repeating what they learned previously and think that repetition of what they learned before is going to advance their knowledge. (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over - and expecting different results.) To do this experimentation and research is difficult these days as we often use rented Dojos and there is not the time nor the partners with whom you can do different things to experiment and research. As Shihan-Dai (the chief instructor), I am lucky in that I can use Dojo time and my students to do my research. But the students are not so lucky. They have to try and find a friend who has the time and inclination and go to a beach to practice and research. So, yes, I do talk too much but it not because I want to but because I have to. The talks I give are probably more difficult for me since I have to sit in Seiza as well and my knees are no better than that of my students who are allowed to sit in Anza. Standing around is no better since my muscles get cold and tight. Just showing through practice would be easier for me but not as productive. Anyway, I just get frustrated by watching the students make the same mistake over and over, reinforcing their bad habits, because they didn't get the lesson.

Peter Ralls
11-24-2006, 05:29 AM
I find it interesting that people who instruct are supporting the concept of spending a very large percentage of class time being spent in lectures by the teacher rather than training. I do not really think that anyone is going to be able to develop any skill in aikido or any other physical discipline by spending most of their time listening to lectures.

I have trained with instructors that talked so much that I was frustrated by the lack of time to actually train. I found that those instructors attracted students who preferred to listen, talk and conceptualize about aikido rather than practice it. The students that actually wanted to train usually left. Needless to say, the level of the students who stayed was very low, though the teacher's level was quite high.

On the other hand, I have spent some time at honbu dojo, where the majority of the the teachers never give explanations at all. My own feeling is that some explanation is necessary, as the concepts and philosophy of aikido need to be communicated, but that it should take up less than ten percent of class time, preferably much less.

My own experience with the instructors that spend huge amounts of class time talking is that they are self indulgent people full of their own self importance, and that they are much more interested in fulfilling their ego needs than they are in responding to the needs of their students, even though some of these instructors are very good aikidoists themselves.

My advice to someone who is frustrated by their teacher talking so much that they can't train, is to find another teacher. If you are not happy with the teaching you are receiving, it's not going to get any better as time goes by.

mriehle
11-25-2006, 09:57 AM
I find it interesting that people who instruct are supporting the concept of spending a very large percentage of class time being spent in lectures by the teacher rather than training.

I think it's a question of defining "very large". I support the idea that lectures are a part of teaching. So is actually training. Some lectures are longer than others. Some people need more lecturing than others.

Balance is key.

I have trained with instructors that talked so much that I was frustrated by the lack of time to actually train.

That seems to me the exact definition of too much lecturing.

My own experience with the instructors that spend huge amounts of class time talking is that they are self indulgent people full of their own self importance, and that they are much more interested in fulfilling their ego needs than they are in responding to the needs of their students, even though some of these instructors are very good aikidoists themselves.

Or they are inexperienced at teaching. Being good at Aikido doesn't automatically make you good at teaching. I believe all yudansha should be required to spend some time teaching, but I don't expect them all to be good at it.

I know when I first started teaching I probably talked way too much. I may have already mentioned my essentially verbal nature. It took a while to hit a balance where I explained enough, but didn't spend half the class time lecturing.

It also helps to be able to lecture effectively. Explanations which fail to communicate the point you're trying to make are a waste of time by definition. I know that many of my lectures in my early days of teaching came under this heading.

My advice to someone who is frustrated by their teacher talking so much that they can't train, is to find another teacher. If you are not happy with the teaching you are receiving, it's not going to get any better as time goes by.

I wouldn't be quite so definite about it. But if the guy has been teaching for a few years and he's always been like this, well, it isn't likely to change. If he or she is a green teacher, say something. If it still doesn't change, move on.

DonMagee
11-25-2006, 03:48 PM
Who wins the judo competition? The man who spends all day doing fit ins and randori, or the guy who listens to his sensei talk about how his instructor told him to turn like a steering wheel while doing Osoto gari?

Rocky Izumi
11-26-2006, 06:23 PM
The one who paid attention in class, so he didn't use a steering wheel motion but a push-pull for the Kuzushi. :D

Rock

DonMagee
11-27-2006, 06:50 AM
I'll tell my old sensei to pay more attention in class.

Tony Wagstaffe
11-27-2006, 09:28 AM
Find another Sensei? All talk and no do... waste of time and money!
Alternatively ask him/her to lecture in the pub after a hard satisfying practice! ;) :)

mriehle
11-27-2006, 11:47 AM
For those of you advocating the no talking approach, here's another perspective.

I've had teachers over the years who never explained anything. In fact, my Judo instructor was kind of the classic example of this. In three months of training with him I learned - well, nothing, really. Most of the Judo I've actually learned I learned from my dad in various living room sessions. Even my falls come more from my Aikido training than Judo.

What's more, part of the reason I didn't stick with Judo is that I never had a clue the whole time when I was doing it right or wrong. It was never clear whether a successful throw was because I got it right or because my partner got it wrong. Or when I got thrown; was it my mistake or was it just superior Judo from my partner? And if it was just a stupid mistake on my part, what was the mistake? And how do I go about fixing it next time?

Oh, and, by the way, how are these techniques supposed to work? A little explanation would have gone a long way toward keeping me in Judo.

As I may have already mentioned, I believe balance is key. All talking and no doing results in a great theoretical knowledge with no practical ability. All doing and no talking leads to sloppy technique which *might* work until someone comes along who has had a better teacher.

If you actively compete, the latter approach appears to work itself out; sloppy technique loses matches. If you are a person who can learn from the physical interaction of competition you'll tend to clean up your techniques. IME, however, what actually happens is that people who otherwise could have learned something just drop out. For what, fundamentally, amounts to the same reason that people with teachers who talk too much drop out: they aren't learning anything. Even people who can learn simply from competition and sparring will tend to learn faster when they have some things explained to them.

The best teachers know when to speak up and when to shut up.

DonMagee
11-27-2006, 02:05 PM
I'm the kind of person that learns best though doing. I learned to program though doing, I learned to play guitar though doing, etc. Then after I've learned, I refine by going and getting educated. The best way I can be taught is by giving me a quick overview of my goals, some examples of how to accomplish them, and then let me practice it. After a good while of practice, give me a suggestion. Then repeat.

Don't waste time on the finer details. Don't stop me every other minute to point out a flaw. And don't change up what we are doing ever 10 minutes. It just bored/discourages/annoys me.

To me the perfect class is a series of techniques show that have the same basic movement. Maybe you want to work on entering, or footwork, or kuzushi. So pick 2 or 3 techniques with the same movement. Demo one, let us train it for like 10 minutes. Don't stop us to suggest solutions, just walk by and suggest them. No need to stop and bow, or stop the class to show everyone. At the end of the 10 minutes, then you can show everyone the common pitfall they all fell into. Then move on to the new technique and have them switch partners. This should fill 45 minutes or so if you did 3 techniques. At this point, it's time for free play. Now is the time to engage on a individual level and refine the 3 techniques for those who need it, or allow randori for those who need that.

In my judo class, this would be warmups (lots of cardio to get muscles warm, pushups, crunches, then falls and stretches) , then 45-50 minutes of uchikomi (I perfer 10 fit-ins with 1 throw, switch sides) with 15-25 minutes of randori (broken into 3 minute segments switching partners with 1 minute breaks). Finally, end with a summary and demonstration of key points you want to reinforce. BJJ would be similar, but with less drilling and more conditioning and sparing.

Contrasted with my old judo class.
First warmups (although very light usually no cardio, cold stretching), followed by break fall practice, a conversation on how everything was going with us, who did what in competition, who might be ready for a belt rank, and other chatter, followed by a technique demo or mat work (ground only randori). Usually during randori or the uchikomi for the technique the entire class would be stopped within 2 minutes to explain how to fix a problem he noticed on a single student. Tipically the explanation would take 5 to 7 minutes. At this point we would begin the uchikomi or mat work again, and again be stopped within 1-2 minutes. After 2 or 3 rounds of this, we would have a throw line. Each person would throw, then be verbally corrected. Typically this required 1-5 minutes per person until you got to throw. I would usually suffer injury due to cooling down. After the throw line, we would move to either a new technique and repeat the process, or if time was short (usually it was) we would be brought out 2 at a time for randori, the rest sitting waiting for their turn. Randori would last only a minute or two tops when we would be stopped and either scolded for not using the technique of the day, using a throw that the other student has never been shown, or commenting on our poor technique and how we are not ready for tournaments. Finally we would line up to bow out and he would chatter about something or another for the last 5-10 minutes of class.

Needless to say I did the one for a year with no noticeable gains, did the other for a few months over the summer and came back to clean house on the old school's students. Most of the promising ones now train where I train. I didn't go back to steal his students. I went back to see if there was anything I might have been missing by going from training with a high dan grade Olympic to training with a bjj brown belt (and also now cross training with a judo shodan).

I found that while the guy was very good at judo, and could clean house with me even at his age, his teaching methods did not build fitness or technique, and his best students were good not because of skill, but because of the physical strength they acquired in their careers (such as firefighting). This solidified my belief that training methods are even more important then the style you are training.

More recently I've decided to actively peruse rank in judo. Hopefuly when I open my own club in years down the line I will remember this lesson and make sure my students don't simply listen, but do as well. I think the best way to balance this is to teach your students to not stop while you are talking. Tell them what to do, but at the same time tell them to keep doing the randori or uchikomi. Most of the time there is little need to stop them to make your point, and if they keep practicing and sparing, it will work itself out.

Dirk Hanss
11-29-2006, 04:17 AM
Ask your teacher to join Aikiweb and start posting. Maybe he has some good ideas and would like to interact with others, and just hasn't found an outlet for his enthusiasm.
O yeah Gernot,
and then he would get new ideas in Aikiweb, he wants to share with his students - or needs to point out some of the nonsense he read here ;)

There is nothing to say about long lectures as long as the students hav enough time to practice. If a Honbu dojo teacher talks for hours, his student will take, what he says and add other classes or move schedule. When they get advanced, they might not go there on a daily basis, but from time to time to get inspired.

But if a dojo offers only classes two days a week and one of them is mostly lecture, that is certainly not sufficient for the students, regardless of his quality of waza and lecture.

So either you talk to him and make him start with one hour of practice and then an extra lecture class, maybe after changing with some water, wiine, beer, soft drinks or even in a quite corner of a pub or restaurant, or you better look for another dojo. If you can afford it, both could be a good combination, at least for a while.

Best regards


Dirk

James Davis
11-29-2006, 12:05 PM
Perhaps these stories that sensei tells are designed to make us sit in seiza for a longer period of time? ;)

mriehle
12-04-2006, 12:24 PM
I'm the kind of person that learns best though doing. I learned to program though doing, I learned to play guitar though doing, etc. Then after I've learned, I refine by going and getting educated. The best way I can be taught is by giving me a quick overview of my goals, some examples of how to accomplish them, and then let me practice it. After a good while of practice, give me a suggestion. Then repeat.

It's good to understand your own mode of learning. In fact, it may be critical. It's best to find a teacher who teaches in a manner compatible with your personal learning mode. Always. You can and probably will learn from someone else, but not as well.

This solidified my belief that training methods are even more important then the style you are training.

This may be the single most important point made in Aikiweb in months, IMO.

I think the best way to balance this is to teach your students to not stop while you are talking. Tell them what to do, but at the same time tell them to keep doing the randori or uchikomi. Most of the time there is little need to stop them to make your point, and if they keep practicing and sparing, it will work itself out.

I don't think "best" is the word I would use, but it certainly is high on the list.

Another way that I have a great deal of respect for is to explain while demonstrating. Demonstration without explanation or explanation without demonstration will often leave students feeling disconnected. Demonstrate and explain, send them off to practice. After ten or so minutes, stop and refine the explanation, then send them off to practice. Repeat as needed (it's not uncommon, IME, for the second time around for practice to go 20 minutes or more without a need for interruption).

Yet another is to have a theme in classes. Some classes are about find details, others are about simple practice, others are about randori and jiyu waza. Stick to the theme. One thing I like about this approach is that sometimes the issue with talking is students talking too much, especially in the kids' classes. For simple practice classes I can say "Practice with no talking. Practice is movement, not discussion."

Yet another is to divide up the class according to the themes and stick to a strict schedule. This one, IME, helps the most with teachers who are inclined to talk too much (oh, you know, like me :D ). By exercising a little personal discipline to not interrupt and talk during practice time I can make lecture time more effective (and, BTW, less boring).

DonMagee
12-04-2006, 03:27 PM
I fall prey to being that student talker. I like to talk while warming up, or while sparing. It leads to lack luster performance during a very important part of my training. I have to constantly remind myself to shutup and work harder. If I can talk, i'm not working hard enough.

mriehle
12-04-2006, 03:41 PM
Part of the problem with students talking is that - at least in Aikido - sometimes some talking is necessary. But it's just a little too easy to go from the "necessary" to the "chatter". :D

DonMagee
12-04-2006, 04:14 PM
The silly part of this is I just realized when I teach here at the college (I teach computer classes) that I lecture more then I do labs. In fact out of the 3 hour class, 2 hours in lecture. I'm going to change that next semester.

kironin
12-05-2006, 01:12 PM
The silly part of this is I just realized when I teach here at the college (I teach computer classes) that I lecture more then I do labs. In fact out of the 3 hour class, 2 hours in lecture. I'm going to change that next semester.


quote from your students, "woo-hoo! yeah!"

:D

CNYMike
12-07-2006, 01:04 AM
My sensei is a very long winded fellow. We practice two nights a week and for the last practices he has talked about an hour and a half those class sessions, this is a on going for the past number of years that I have practiced with him. :freaky: He has been asked to keep his speeches of aikido short and to help the class with technique.
But yet his speeches continue. Help ? :hypno: :crazy:


That's just the way he is -- it's his style. Learn to love it. If you can sit cross-legged, do it. Instead of it going nuts over it, think of it as running inside joke with him. No, you're not doing techniques, but think of how much less sweaty and stinky your gi will be when you get home. :D There are instructors who runn off at the mouth an some who barely say five words; that's true in all the arts, not just Aikido. Don't sweat it.

DonMagee
12-07-2006, 07:01 AM
That's just the way he is -- it's his style. Learn to love it. If you can sit cross-legged, do it. Instead of it going nuts over it, think of it as running inside joke with him. No, you're not doing techniques, but think of how much less sweaty and stinky your gi will be when you get home. :D There are instructors who runn off at the mouth an some who barely say five words; that's true in all the arts, not just Aikido. Don't sweat it.

Except that 5-10 years to proficiency is now 10-20 years :-)

David Yap
12-07-2006, 11:29 AM
Except that 5-10 years to proficiency is now 10-20 years :-)

Then again, it could be the other way round - 10~20 years to proficiency is now 5~10 years :D

Most might said, "Practice makes perfect". The truth is "Perfect practice makes prefect". No point spending 10~20 years perfecting a bad habit/belief. Ultimately the teacher is in ones self. I would rather have a teacher who would explain in perfect sense than one who physically teach absolute nonsense that wouldn't work at all in a real situation.

Are you having quality time in the dojo? To each his own.

Best training.

David Y

CNYMike
12-07-2006, 11:50 AM
Except that 5-10 years to proficiency is now 10-20 years :-)

Well, it all depends on the teacher and what's being covered. I've never had an instructor in anything I do who runs off at the mouth during the whole class, but sometimes you do have to stop and explain concepts and underlying principles. Especially when you talk about things like Filipino Kali or Jun Fan Gung Fu/JKD, there's a lot of ground to cover, and in Kali, concepts and principles are as important as the techniques, perhaps moreso. Because when you understand the principles, you can come up with your own techniques!

The Aikido classes I go to are pretty "physical" -- no class eating lectures around here. But the opposite extreme of having nothing explained doesn't help. It may be good to ingraine something into your muscle memory, but not so good for understanding what you're doing.

DonMagee
12-07-2006, 12:32 PM
Then again, it could be the other way round - 10~20 years to proficiency is now 5~10 years :D

Most might said, "Practice makes perfect". The truth is "Perfect practice makes prefect". No point spending 10~20 years perfecting a bad habit/belief. Ultimately the teacher is in ones self. I would rather have a teacher who would explain in perfect sense than one who physically teach absolute nonsense that wouldn't work at all in a real situation.

Are you having quality time in the dojo? To each his own.

Best training.

David Y

I think a little sparing can point out bad technique faster than a lecture. I do agree that mat time with improper form is a waste of time.

JAMJTX
12-09-2006, 01:42 PM
I tend to be one of those teachers. My students are under orders to cut me off.

I tend to teach technique, theory and history in class. The history includes who's who in our lineage so I sometimes go off on a tangent .. I rememeber when Sensei x showed me this technique..."

It does give them a little breather and they learn some history about our arts. But too long is not good. I have told them to say we need to get back to practice.

What we are trying to do is spend more time outside of class - like going to lunch afterwards on Saturday, and use that time for the history, theory and philosophy, etc. Maybe your teacher can try this approach.

Or he can just plan on lecture classes for those interested. They can stay for an hour after class sometimes.

mriehle
12-11-2006, 12:19 PM
I think a little sparing can point out bad technique faster than a lecture. I do agree that mat time with improper form is a waste of time.

Hmm...

Yes and no.

It's certainly true that you'll know when you get it wrong, but it doesn't follow that you'll learn how to fix it. Part of learning martial arts is learning how to learn.

When I started, I almost never had a clue why a technique I was doing didn't work. I had no realistic way to examine the process and determine the mistake. At that point, sparring alone would have done nothing but discourage me from training.

Now, when I do jiyu waza and something doesn't work, I can usually work out what the mistake is on my own. It still helps, though, to have a teacher to tell me about mistakes that he sees that I might miss. Jiyu waza is not sparring, but it's as close to it as you'll see in my school, especially when reversals are allowed (which is where the fun really begins :D ).

Knowing that you made a mistake is not always - or even usually - enough to know how to correct it. If you don't know how to correct your mistake, you won't learn from your mistakes, you'll just keep making them over and over again.

Amusing sidenote: I just introduced one of my nikyu junior students to jiyu waza with reversals. He enjoyed it immensely and did better than I expected him to. I expected him to do well, but he did better than that. All the gokyu students are now eager to try it. :cool: They aren't ready, though. :(

Aiki LV
01-09-2007, 02:19 PM
Sorry not much you can do as far as I can tell. I've had Sensei that liked to talk as well. My first Sensei would do a fair amount of talking, but I didn't mind at all I always got something from it. He was interesting to listen to. The other Sensei well.......he would just repeat the same thing over and over and over till you just could not take it anymore. He was not very articulate, so instead of being able to explain something in a different way he would just repeat himself. Eventually everyone would get tired and just nod their head whether they understood what he was saying or not. Hang in there try to pick out the good stuff and hang on to what they say it might come to make sense later.

mriehle
01-09-2007, 03:25 PM
It does give them a little breather

This is a point I missed before and which no one has actually addressed. Sometimes the lecture is to allow students to rest.

Especially in the summer I sometimes look at the people in the class and realize they are all very near to exhaustion. With 20 minutes left in class. I need to continue to teach them in a productive way but they are not physically capable of continuing at the pace I'd originally set. There is definitely a relationship between this happening and the experience of the people I'm teaching.

I have some "stock lectures" for these situations. They're generally about five minutes long. This gives everyone a chance to catch their breath (one of the stock lectures is about breathing correctly during practice so you don't get exhausted) and then we move on to something less strenuous.

Killing your students really hampers the learning process.

Rocky Izumi
09-12-2007, 12:07 AM
I guess I might be accused of talking too much during my lessons but that is very confusing to me. I have always thought of time in the Dojo with the Sensei is time for learning from the Sensei, not for practice. My parents always taught me that time with the Sensei is to watch, listen, and learn from Sensei, whether it was in regular school or in martial arts school or in any other art or learning. Practice, I was to do on my own or with my friends outside or in the Dojo during the time that was not with Sensei. Otherwise, I was told, I was wasting Sensei's time. Practice is homework, not school work. The time spent practicing in the Dojo when Sensei was there was to demonstrate what you have practiced so that Sensei can comment on what you are doing right or wrong or to give you some more tips on improvement.

However, I have amended that idea because I understand that not everyone has the ability nor the inclination to get together with another student to practice. So, I give my students some more time to practice in class and demonstrate to me in class. However, I still expect my students to practice outside those times I am teaching so that they do not waste my time when I am trying to teach them new things, not practicing old things.

If the only time you practice and do your cardio and stretching is when Sensei is teaching, how do you ever expect to improve or learn anything new? In the old days, my Senseis would come into class expecting everyone to be warmed up and stretched out and practiced so that they could demonstrate some new things and revise some old things, check during a short practice to see if most people got on the right track, then move on to something else new. Often, if something old was done, it was done to see if the students grasped more of the nuances of the technique than before. My Senseis expected everyone to do their research and practice outside their time. Often, they would show a technique once to show you possibilities, then expected you to practice it later to discover how to do what they did and to figure out how it fit with everything else they did. When I was young, I remember my father's or mother's budo lessons would only last about five or ten minutes then I would be sent off to go and practice what I was taught. They would come back in an hour or so to see if I had practiced what they taught, then correct something for a couple minutes, then I would be sent off to practice by myself again.

Are we all getting so lazy that we expect no homework?

Rock

Chuck Clark
09-12-2007, 12:44 AM
Rocky, keep talking... anyone with any sense will listen.

SeiserL
09-12-2007, 07:57 AM
IAre we all getting so lazy that we expect no homework?
IMHO, yes.
We are getting so lazy that instead of "stealing" a technique to make it our own, we are expecting it to be given to us with all the practice necessary to have it already mastered, instant mastery and immediate gratification.
This is one of the reasons there is a large decline in skill.

Robert Gardner
09-12-2007, 08:28 AM
I am unfortunately quite verbose on the Tatami.

This is mostly because I suffer with a considerable lack of self-esteem and confidence. I learn by having my mistakes pointed out and my technique corrected, so I'm also always asking "what did I do wrong there, what do I need to improve here etc". Sometimes its hard to tell the two apart. No doubt once I'm a little more comfortable in the Dojo, wearing my Gi and so forth this will ease off, but at the moment, with me still being a little nervous, I chatter (though not when Sensei is talking).

Robert Gardner
09-12-2007, 08:34 AM
Also, while I'm here, I also believe in balance. I find it easier to learn if a technique is explained to me, and named. We do this because X, don't do that otherwise Y, its called Z. It breaks down into these movements blah blah blah.

Again, maybe this is just how I learn.

Jess McDonald
09-12-2007, 09:43 PM
Talking is all good as long as it's content is meaningful.

Rocky Izumi
10-01-2007, 09:56 PM
Talking is all good as long as it's content is meaningful.

The trouble with trying to find meaningfulness is that I have noticed that sometimes what my Senseis have told me does not have meaning until I am ready for it, five, ten, twenty or thirty years down the road. I have also noticed that my Senseis will sometimes keep repeating the same thing over and over "in different ways, of course" until I feel like yelling -- "Stop! I heard you the first time!" But, just as I start to think that, I realize that I might have heard but I didn't listen. Or I might have listened but I didn't understand. Or I might have understood but I still hadn't embodied that understanding. Or I might have embodied that understanding but I understood the wrong thing. Oops. Looks like I have to start all over again. "What was that you said Sensei?"

Obviously, if the Sensei figures something is worth spending time on, it is because that learning was meaningful to him or her in his or her progression. Unfortunately, we can never really judge meaningfulness to us until our lives are over. That little blip when you started up your net browser is meaningless to you until the virus eats up your hard drive. That little temporary focus problem you had with your eyes is meaningless until you get the full-blown stroke. That little momentary silence of the crickets is meaningless until . . . .

Rock

mjhacker
10-02-2007, 11:41 AM
Rocky, keep talking... anyone with any sense will listen.

Well, I'M listening, so there goes that theory.

MM
10-02-2007, 12:43 PM
LOL! Hmmm ... so if I listen long enough, will it start to make sense? Or am I just senseless in thinking that? If I had enough cents(pun), I could actually pay attention. Maybe I'd learn more that way. ;) It'd be sensible. Wonder if that's why they're called sense-a? and the big kahuna is O-sense-a? You'd think by now, I'd be sensing that I'd used enough variations, but then again, I'm not much for common sense. Although I have a tingling sensation that I'd probably get thwacked by now if someone were here to stop my senseless ramblings.

Sense-rely,
Mark

Pierre Kewcharoen
10-30-2007, 10:23 AM
YES! Less talky and more ronduri! :D

Don't forget the time added to put on/takeoff a gi. And the extra time to put on/fold a hakama!

Shannon Frye
11-01-2007, 09:26 AM
I've had teachers over the years who never explained anything. ...

A little explanation would have gone a long way toward keeping me in Judo.



I agree. Before leaving a yahoo group, hosted by Fuyura, I caused him to get his "hakama in a bunch" when I suggested that teaching styles from older historical Japan might not be compatible with modern day American students. My goodness, he went off. He posted that he hates the internet, cause anyone can say whatever sh*t they want to - and that type of sh*t should be flushed away, as should the people saying it. He went a bit extreme with it.

I think a saying I heard once holds true "Be friendly, not social." Wanting something explained is a characteristic of the American culture. I think it's ok to explain, just not to talk it to death. Ya gotta find that balance.

Shannon
:triangle: :circle: :triangle:

Avery Jenkins
11-01-2007, 11:27 AM
You guys are reminding me of how lucky I've got it. My first sensei talked very little, and would generally correct you by grinding you into the mat until you discovered your error. Effective, but painful.

My current sensei will wander over, watch a few throws, and give me some instruction about what I'm doing wrong, watch me do it, then wander off. Never too much, never too little. I find this approach to be the most effective, and when teaching a class, I try to replicate it.

As far as talking goes, for the most part, I try to keep my mouth shut. But there is another student at the dojo who started about the same time as I. He and I have trained together for, literally, hundreds of hours. I can throw the guy with my eyes closed, and he me. So, naturally, when we end up paired up with one another, there's a certain amount of yapping that goes on, ranging from how's your wife to a little friendly trash-talking. We shut up when Sensei wanders around, though.

Nick P.
11-01-2007, 12:03 PM
Izumi Sensei,

With all due respect, the obvious challenges to training while not in the presence of one's sensei are, for most of us, space (padded floor or not), scheduling and finding like-minded students to train with.

I for one am about to build a 10-tatami "dojo" in my basement, for all the reasons you listed (this project has been in the works for nearly a year, so am I quite delighted to read I am not all that far off-base in my thinking of having extra time/space to train), but I suspect the vast majority of students will not have the same resources (space, money, partners or time or all of those). Even with my home dojo project I might find difficult to get my fellow students to join me as scheduling is always a challenge. In that case I will be focusing on ukemi and shikko.

Perhaps it is a cultural issue? I suspect your average north-american student thinks the only truely worthwhile learning is to be done while in the presence of one's (martial arts or other) teacher, for fear of making grave mistakes and keeping those as habits (not a view I support, just saying...)? Equally, your average north-american sensei clings too closely to controlling what their students do.

I do know what I have been taught, however:
Mat/dojo time is practice time. Talking can be any other time, and though I value everything every teacher I have had, and still have, I value training under them even more.

Thank you.

Rocky Izumi
11-01-2007, 01:53 PM
Nick,

On the web, I am just the Rock. I am not your Sensei so don't call me that. Be relaxed. On the web, we are all equal and our opinions are all equal.

My opinion, however, is that what you say is true only if you are into practicing techniques rather than principles and only those techniques listed in the testing syllabii. If you see the other techniques such as Tsuki, Shomen Uchi, Morote Tori, etc. as Aikido techniques that should be practiced, they don't all have to be practiced on another person. Second, one can practice in the mind only and in form only to fix certain parts of one's techniques. I remember our present Doshu once saying that we should be doing at least 500 Furikaburi each day. Kawahara Shihan often says we don't do enough Tai No Henka and Shikko practice by ourselves. These practices do not involve the need for another person.

If you go beyond the practice of techniques to the practice of principles, you can practice anywhere at any time with anyone or no one. You can practice extension opening swinging doors. You can practice posture in walking. You can practice Suri Ashi anywhere but especially on Montreal's icy sidewalks in winter while wearing slippery dress shoes.

I remember walking behind Tohei Akira Shihan one day during one of his seminars in Texas. I called the other Yudansha to me as we walked to lunch to look at the bottom of Sensei's leather bottom dress shoes while he walked. You could see the full imprint of his feet in the thick leather of the sole. Most amazing was how you could see each toe was grabbing the ground with each step he took. And, you could see how there were two circular patches on the bottom, one at the ball of the feet and one at the heel where he would be spinning to turn. Every step that Tohei Shihan took was a step in his practice of Aikido.

I like to think each time a take a swig from the bottle of beer, I am practicing the pronation motion of my arm in Aikido practice. :rolleyes:

Maybe I will be able to get out your way some time.

Rock

Nick P.
11-02-2007, 10:11 AM
Rock,

Thank you for the clarification on the sensei title; I chose to use it in this context as I have learned much by reading your posts, and would one day like to learn more from you directly.

On that note...

I see what you mean concerning the difference between techniques and principles; in the examples you gave of your own outside-of-class practicing, which were you practicing? Personaly, at this stage of my training ( 10 yrs), I guess I am gradually shifting from techniques to exploring the principles behind them. I suspect the home-work changes in focus as time goes by.

As for Montreal streets in winter: If you want to look good, wear dress shoes. If you don't want to suffer frostbite and fall on your butt, wear winter boots! ;)

I have been taught that kokyuho is like kampai (sp?); somehow the wider grip on a pint seems more natural than a narrow grip on a bottle. Hah! Technique vs. principles once again!

If ever you get to Montreal, please do look me up.
Best,
-Nick

Rocky Izumi
11-03-2007, 12:54 PM
Still practice all that I can, even the ones that look stupid at times when done in public. Try and do Sankaku Irimi, Tenshin, Tenkai, Tenkan exercises every day and do to some point. Always use Sankaku Irimi movement when moving through crowds quickly so I can slip between people and keep moving. Still open doors with extension but am more careful now after smashing a few doors with fast hinges. Still practice certain motions to pick up things that I drop on the floor. Still use the wrist flexibility exercises to keep myself awake when driving for long distances (no I don't take both hands off the steering wheel but use the roof of the car or the door. Still practice Shin Kokyu a to increase blood flow when getting tired when writing. Still practice Suri Ashi on icy Regina streets with cowboy boots. Still go around hitting trees or walls with Tsuki and breaking rocks with Shuto when I am bored while waiting for people.

One of the best exercises I liked was to use a 70 lb heavy bag suspended from about 2.5 metres at body height and get it swinging before practicing Sankaku Irimi, Tenshin, Tenkai, Tenkan on the bag as if it were a person moving towards me. Good aerobic exercise and teaches you to move real quickly and with little wasted movement. No place to hang the bag where I am presently living. It is good to use as a punching bag as well. :p

For exercise for holding centre and staying connected with centre of opponent, get a 1 inch hemp rope and hang it from about 2.5 metres. Make a knot at the bottom about same height as your throat. Get the rope swinging. Take Bokuto and stand in Chudan No Kamae. Do Tsuki on the knot by moving your whole body forward, not just your arms and sword. As you get better, increase the distance from the knot to where you are standing at fighting distance from the knot. Then, increase your fighting distance (Maai). You should not cut the rope to make it the right height since you will want to have another knot at about hip height. Do the same exercise with Tsuki of a Jo. You can also do this like me where I just use pine cones hanging from trees on a very windy day.

Another good centering exercise I like to do is to take those bamboo gardening stakes that are about 1/8 inch in diametre stick it in the ground, then split it lengthwise using a Bokuto. It is better with live green bamboo like we used to use in Hong Kong and Barbados but I don't think you will find those here in Canada. I just use gardening stakes now. If you get good, you can split an 1/8 inch stake four ways. I even succeeded doing one into seven splits once in Hong Kong.

I also go over a lot of techniques in my head as I lie down and try to sleep. I'm an insomniac so I get a lot of mental boxing practice. I make up my own imaginary partner and work out some of the movement in my mind and test out theories and principles in my mind this way. Then, when I go to the Dojo, I get to test out my mental boxing findings out on a real person.

Lot more exercises available. Come up with some yourself, then tell us about it.

Rock