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Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 03:38 PM
From another thread in this forum:

Event:
" Internal training, Aiki, and empowering Aikido"
A private workshop for teachers only with Dan Harden
Date: Tentative --summer 2009
Location: Massachusetts (several locations in central Mass are being considered and will be finalized by mid April).[/B]

This is an interesting thought, a "teachers only" workshop. Don't get me wrong about it, since all I have is a few random thoughts (I have no thoughts particularly for or against the idea), but it strikes me that this is a potentially interesting topic, the idea of "teachers only" at a workshop like this, so I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion, mulling over, etc.

There are a number of problems that I've encountered over the years, in terms of teaching people what little I know about these body skills, but the real problem is that to learn these skills takes a certain unavoidable amount of persistent practice and 'how-to' knowledge is required. I.e., while I think that there are some shortcuts (if you have enough of the right information), it's still a hard row to hoe. Different levels and approaches are going to factor into the long-term results.

Often, in my experience, a person who has trained in a particular discipline and has developed a certain perspective/understanding actually has a tougher time learning these skills than some neophyte who is starting with a clean slate. And that's at a "beginner level" for both of them.... a teacher with preconceptions, heavily patterned body-movement, etc., can be a long way from being able to learn at an "advanced level", in my thinking. So that's a point worth talking about in relation to the fact that everyone has to begin somewhere, regardless of whether they're a teacher or not.

Another point might be in regard to the various ways in which the total body skills are approached and taught within a given art. Let me try to shoot from the hip with an example. Ueshiba had certain "internal" body skills and he had a certain way that he trained them. His preferred method was a "relaxed" approach, although of course that doesn't mean that he never used any strength, etc. Tohei had an approach which was roughly similar to Ueshiba's (in my personal opinion), but I don't think that they had exactly the same skills, since Tohei got his skills from places other than just Ueshiba. A White Crane practitioner, a Taiji (Tai Chi) practitioner, a Hun Gar practitioner, or a Karate practitioner can all have the same general core principles of "internal" skills, but they will all vary probably a lot in the way they use and express these skills. How do these various approaches factor in when teaching to "teachers" in a given art?

So "advanced" can be an indeterminate category when you begin trying to define it at a general level. Is, for example, an "advanced" White Crane practitioner going to adequately teach the basic body skills in a way that is fully compatible with Ueshiba's Aikido? This is probably worth mulling over and discussing, as well.

There's probably a lot more questions worth everyone talking about, but that's just a couple of them that pop to mind. And don't get me wrong.... my opinion is that it's a good thing to get these skills started in the wider martial-arts community and there are going to be a number of "here's my take on things" ideas that crop up. But overall (IMO) it's better to let things grow as they will for a while, so I'm all for people doing what they can to further the arts. I.e., I think discussions are healthy, but I also think that only encouragement is needed in terms of people acquiring good skills.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

DH
03-26-2009, 06:06 PM
I'm out the door- so just a quick reply of one of the many reasons I am doing this.

Teachers are in the best position to create a study group within their own schools once they feel it is appropriate for them or their students to start working.
This eliminates all the frustrations many here who are in Aikido have expressed over and over-including two I know who threw their hands up in frustration with ignorant teachers and walked away from the art entirely. How many times have we read:
"How do I go back to my dojo under so and so teacher in such and such method and try to change their mind?"
I am eliminating that.
The Aikido teachers I have been working with? Most seem to want to start back home from day one, others want to wait till they get it just a little bit of knowledge and then go head long into it. One is traveling -literally around the world-bringing it back into the art as a focus.
None...let me say that again
NONE...are interested in holding back from their own people and most have already been sharing what they know.
Change is immediate when you are in the driver's seat in the dojo. It seems all want to get to work on improving their own aikido and that of their students. From what I am hearing their students are loving it.
So...I am continuing to take a different approach...I am going after their teachers. So far, every, single, one who has felt this wants it back in the art. Concurrently I am teaching students of the art as well. Thus we are changing Aikido from the top down and the bottom up.
It's a decision that AIkido teachers of substantial experience are making all on their own.

Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 06:24 PM
Teachers are in the best position to create a study group within their own schools once they feel it is appropriate for them or their students to start working.
This eliminates all the frustrations many here who are in Aikido have expressed over and over
"How do I go back to my dojo under so and so teacher in such and such method and try to change their mind?"
I am eliminating that. Hi Dan:

Well, I don't argue with any of that. Once people understand the rationale it's pretty sure that they would be "for it". My question was more along the lines of "regardless if they see the logic, how can they suddenly 'teach it' ?". I.e., even a good workshop is not enough to get beyond the requisite training and experience. If we're not careful, we get down to the position that "teachers are special and a weekend workshop will suffice for them while for a lowly student, it will take the teacher years to convey what he was able to grasp in a weekend". (Yes, I realize that I come across as somewhat of an egalitarian, but that's just one of my many failings).

The Aikido teachers I have been working with? Most seem to want to start back home from day one, others want to wait till they get it just a little bit of knowledge and then go head long into it. One is traveling -literally around the world- bringing it back into the art as a focus.
None...let me say that again
NONE...are interested in holding back from their own people and most have already been sharing what they know. Er, um... "holding back" is more something I attribute to the "rhythm method" of contraception than I do to martial arts' hiding-of-method. ;)

Change is immediate when you are in the driver's seat in the dojo. It seems all want to get to work on improving their own aikido and that of their students, from what I am hearing their students are loving it.
So...I am continuing to take a different approach...I am going after their teachers......and then the students. Thus changing aikido from the top down and the bottom up. Well, Dan, all I'm putting forward are some items of discussion. I see your perspective and while I don't entirely agree with it, I do see a reason to debate the merits of the position. My position is more along the lines of how I don't understand how a "teachers only" forum will make any "teacher" capable of understanding and transmitting the practices forward. In my humble opinion, I think it takes some mastery of the skills before one is capable of transmitting the skills. Hmmmmm.... actually, I think that's the traditional view as well.

On the other hand.... what if we had a discussion about how to transmit data forward more quickly than the traditionalists did? How would we do that?

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
03-26-2009, 06:30 PM
You are starting with the erroneous assumption that they have any interest in teaching it. Not that I blame you:D
But hey...its not accurate in what I have seen so far. In fact from what I have been hearing these guys have been honest and self depricating in front of their own students. Suprisingly I am meeting some real quality people who care about their students. Yeah them!!

Teachers set the class
The idea is that ...they... don't have to fight with a senior if they want to go back and PRACTICE (key operative word here) it during dojo mat time. Much like everyone else (seminar attendees) is doing anywhere they can or are allowed.
Cheers
Dan

DH
03-26-2009, 06:35 PM
Jun
Since this is all about my idea of teaching teachers- and Mke and I are bringing up and addressing some good points...can we just put this into my Seminar thread?
Thanks
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 06:42 PM
Well, my argument is not so much about the teacher's good intentions, etc., but more along the lines of how a "teacher" can necessarily assimilate the knowledge and skills in such a way that they can honestly be differentiated from a, say, "beginner". I.e., I'm not sure why a "for teachers only" workshop is an important criterion as an approach to a workshop.

Please bear in mind that my view, after many years of experience in these body skills, is that there are many variations in level and approach to teaching, learning, etc., of the skills and that there are facets that should be discussed before everyone leaps willy-nilly into the idea that there is only one method of training "internal arts" and that if they get some general idea of what "it" is, they can begin teaching it. In my opinion, a little more caution should be used. But then again, each to his own. I've only met very few people in my lifetime that are convinced that they don't know most of what there is to know. Sort of like envisioning the satisfied smile of a Christian who holding four aces in a poker game.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 06:45 PM
Jun
Since this is all about my idea of teaching teachers- and Mke and I are bringing up and addressing some good points...can we just put this into my Seminar thread?
Thanks
DanActually, I'd prefer not to muck up the original thread with a peripheral discussion about related, but not quite on point, thoughts (Is that a first for Aiki-Web or what???? ;) ).

Best.

Mike

DH
03-26-2009, 06:46 PM
Well, my argument is not so much about the teacher's good intentions, etc., but more along the lines of how a "teacher" can necessarily assimilate the knowledge and skills in such a way that they can honestly be differentiated from a, say, "beginner". I.e., I'm not sure why a "for teachers only" workshop is an important criterion as an approach to a workshop.

Please bear in mind that my view, after many years of experience in these body skills, is that there are many variations in level and approach to teaching, learning, etc., of the skills and that there are facets that should be discussed before everyone leaps willy-nilly into the idea that there is only one method of training "internal arts" and that if they get some general idea of what "it" is, they can begin teaching it. In my opinion, a little more caution should be used. But then again, each to his own. I've only met very few people in my lifetime that are convinced that they don't know most of what there is to know. Sort of like envisioning the satisfied smile of a Christian who holding four aces in a poker game.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Well I agree with that.
What makes you think any of it applies?
Is there an expert here?
Is there someone or some teacher claiming to even teach something as an authority? Even the little thay know they are only practicing.
Where do those cautions apply to anything or anyone I have written about?
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 07:02 PM
Well I agree with that.
What makes you think any of it applies?
Is there an expert here?
Is there someone or some teacher claiming to even teach something as an authority? Even the little thay know they are only practicing.
Where do those cautions apply to anything or anyone I have written about?
Cheers
Dan A good point, but one which diverges from the question of how a "teacher" would be exempt from a "beginner's" training in the internal skills, so I've started a separate thread with which to discuss the issue that you've raised.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Tom H.
03-26-2009, 08:33 PM
Mike,

FWIW, I have seen teachers visit Dan's dojo while I have been there, and none that I've met have reacted with the attitudes you describe. More commonly we hear, "I don't know this" (see also: WTF) and "Now I have to start over" and "I have to get this". The honest humility of the people, regardless of status, that I have met still gets to me. Personally, I believe that hard work and self-assessment are necessary for progress, and people "in it" for other reasons will gravitate to other places.

I think this an exciting experiment, especially in the context of the ongoing opening-up, and I'm eager to see how this seminar for teachers will compare with the two follow-on events. Similarly, I'm rooting for--and encourage people to meet--both Ark and you, because I believe cross-fertilization of concepts and methodologies is a good thing.

Tom

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 08:41 PM
Mike,

FWIW, I have seen teachers visit Dan's dojo while I have been there, and none that I've met have reacted with the attitudes you describe. Hi Tom:

Well, hold on a moment. Let me say once again that I'm not talking in the least about personalities and how most people feel, etc. My point is more a discussion (or trying to start one) about the efficacy and/or practicality of the thought that a "teacher" is somehow different from a "beginner". It's got little to do with "attitude" or personality, but more about "is it feasible". Let's leave out all tangents that have to do with people and personality and discuss whether the term "for teachers only" should go by without discussion... there are a lot of ramifications.

Best.

Mike

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 09:30 PM
Here, let me try it in a different way. Is it feasible to differentiate someone who is a "teacher" (but never had any/much in the way of "internal" skills) from a "beginner/student" who never had any/much in the way of "internal" skills? That's my central question.

If someone being a "teacher" is somehow able to learn "internal" skills quicker than someone who is a "student", then I'm missing something and would like someone to explain it to me. If, on the other hand, these skills take a while to learn, as is my opinion, then I'm unclear what being a "teacher" has to do with it. Anyway you look at it, there's a discussion here that needs to be had, if for no other reason than to be clear with everyone.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Tom H.
03-26-2009, 10:10 PM
Mike,

Aha. I just read your second reply, and I see your argument. Maybe I can clear something up, so I just threw away most of the draft I was working on.

Short answer: I've seen Dan work with teachers, and they don't get treated or trained any different. Everyone has to be evaluated as a human with a brain, spine, and several limbs they use in some habitual or trained fashion.

Based on that, I wouldn't expect anything different in a seminar. Dan's answer in #2 is more than I could say because I'm not a budo guy in budo. I can only witness that I haven't seen teachers put on an advanced track or anything. More like the opposite, really :) *ducks*

That's about all I've got for this thread. There are always concerns with a seminar (e.g. too open, too closed, too abstract, too practical, etc), but I think Dan has his wits about him, and like I said, I'm hopeful that all three seminars will go well, including this one limited event.

Tom

eyrie
03-26-2009, 10:12 PM
FWIW, I have seen teachers visit Dan's dojo while I have been there, and none that I've met have reacted with the attitudes you describe. More commonly we hear, "I don't know this" (see also: WTF) and "Now I have to start over" and "I have to get this". This is precisely what Mike is asking... what's the difference between a teacher that doesn't know any of this stuff and a beginner that doesn't know any of this stuff? IOW, why the need for segregation and exclusion if neither said "teachers" nor beginners know this stuff?

Mike Sigman
03-26-2009, 10:49 PM
Short answer: I've seen Dan work with teachers, and they don't get treated or trained any different. Everyone has to be evaluated as a human with a brain, spine, and several limbs they use in some habitual or trained fashion.

Based on that, I wouldn't expect anything different in a seminar. Exactly. And, as I tried to make clear in the first place, I hope everything from everyone succeeds and my question was simply an academic one (although it's a question based on years of experience). I personally think that it's important for all of these questions and answers to be openly placed before the community as a whole. Granted 90+ percent of most martial-arts practitioners are not purists, but for the ones who are purists these questions and times are crucial ones. People should be engaged.

Incidentally, to end on a positive note, I did an "advanced" workshop at the Itten Dojo in Pennsylvania last weekend as part of my own experimentation about what works when, how to explain things, how to condense subject matter, etc., and I went in prepared to do a lot of remedial things because in my experience most people don't really practice after the first "beginner" workshop. I was surprised at the level of accomplishment and I don't mind giving a compliment when one is due.

So sure, there can be some "advanced" material, but to me that implies that a certain amount of basics have been ingrained into someone so that they can make the next step... AND there is a necessary implication that their body has developed enough to be able to do further things. A lot of the "advanced" material, as I would look at it, has to do with having trained enough to be able to physically do certain things. I.e., these skills are not really a lot about "how to do" certain things... they're also heavily invested in the body being developed in certain ways. Most people won't put in the time, so it's not just knowledge that is a factor in why these skills are so easily lost. ;)

Best.

Mike

jss
03-27-2009, 04:25 AM
The purpose of a teachers only workshop would imo not be in the covering of more advance topics or in having the teachers learn enough in one weekend so that they can teach it to their own students.
If aikido is to be changed, having teachers at the forefront of the change is a good thing, since they decide what is trained at their dojo. Even better if there are several teachers that know each other, can help each other, etc.
So the main benefit for this teachers workshop would be social one, not a technical one. Everyone (students, but especially teachers) will need to put in a lot of work, but it's easier to do the work when there is a group of teachers supporting this change.
If such a movement within aikido is not created, the people who become interested in the internal skills will just quit. The unfortunate consequence (for the teachers in this movemebt) is that they will be in an awkward position: they'll keep teaching aikido, but they won't be any better in internal skills that one their students that puts in the same amount of work. But I wholeheratedly agree with Dan: change from the top down and the bottom up is the best course of action.

jss
03-27-2009, 05:16 AM
Too late to edit:
The 10^6 $ question with regards to aikido and internal skills is probably: how to get the skills into the aikido of both the students and the teachers without the end result becoming something that looks a lot like aikido with internal skills, but in the end is not.

MM
03-27-2009, 06:25 AM
Well, I don't argue with any of that. Once people understand the rationale it's pretty sure that they would be "for it". My question was more along the lines of "regardless if they see the logic, how can they suddenly 'teach it' ?". I.e., even a good workshop is not enough to get beyond the requisite training and experience.

(snip)

My position is more along the lines of how I don't understand how a "teachers only" forum will make any "teacher" capable of understanding and transmitting the practices forward. In my humble opinion, I think it takes some mastery of the skills before one is capable of transmitting the skills. Hmmmmm.... actually, I think that's the traditional view as well.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Well, my argument is not so much about the teacher's good intentions, etc., but more along the lines of how a "teacher" can necessarily assimilate the knowledge and skills in such a way that they can honestly be differentiated from a, say, "beginner". I.e., I'm not sure why a "for teachers only" workshop is an important criterion as an approach to a workshop.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike,
Hello. I think from personal experience, I can probably give some insight into this part of the discussion.

In one aspect, you're correct. The teachers won't come away as anything but beginners. There will be no differentiation there.

But, there is a logic to sharing the knowledge that they've learned. I know from personal experience that it can be done. I did it. From a distance. And I'm currently still doing it.

There are two people who started training with me from day one. Neither had trained with Dan, you, or Ark. But we're progressing. Not as quickly as if we were training hands-on every week, but progressing none the less. And I've shown them and worked with both of them on what I was shown and told. Did they get as much progression as if they had been working directly with one of the three? No. But when they did get to train with Dan, the progression that they had accomplished was noticeable.

So, yeah, it can work. It is slower. It also requires at least one person to continue hands-on training every so often. The longer the period between hands-on, the slower the training progresses. So, if you only get hands-on every 6 months, you're going to be progressing slower than someone getting hands-on every 3 months. And that person will be slower progressing from someone getting hands-on every month. (This all assumes that these people are doing the solo training and putting in the work between hands-on.)

I guess I'm a living example that distance training can work. And that distance training can be shared with other people with some progression being made by all.

And yes, while it is slower, that doesn't mean it is snail slow. Everyone has to work on solo and paired training exercises. It doesn't matter if you're getting hands-on training once a week, if you don't do the work, you don't progress.

So, in this instance, if everyone (person there and person at a distance) is doing the work, slow means that while the distance training person might be ready to learn something new, that won't happen until the next hands-on training session. That could be a month to 5 months away, while the person who is there every week will learn it the next week when they show up.

I guess the last thing is that by having a teachers only, then those teachers have the control over their classes so they can set the training schedule. It's kind of hard for students to set a training schedule. So, my take on the seminar isn't that it's got something "advanced" in the schedule, but that it's geared toward teachers only.

That way, teachers can come back and set up training schedules at their schools. Then, when another seminar comes up, maybe one of the students makes it. That student comes back and shares what he/she has learned. The hard part (besides putting in the work on the exercises) is for the teacher to be humble enough to accept corrections and learn from a student who has just returned. But, hey, we all know that teachers should be able to learn from everyone, right? :)

Mark

Mark Jakabcsin
03-27-2009, 07:54 AM
This is precisely what Mike is asking... what's the difference between a teacher that doesn't know any of this stuff and a beginner that doesn't know any of this stuff? IOW, why the need for segregation and exclusion if neither said "teachers" nor beginners know this stuff?

I think Dan answered this question rather well at the beginning of the thread. The difference IS when the teachers (Aikido not internal) return home and go to their normal training class they have the ability to work on the internal skills or not. The teacher, Aikido not internal, decide what is covered during each class and how best to integrate/train the material or not.

This is different from a student, Aikido not internal, that attends a sees areas that he/she wants to study, explore and train. When the student is at the home training facility they do not get to decide what to cover during class they have to go with the flow of the teacher, Aikido not internal. Since the student is new to the skills it is unlikely the student can share with the teacher, Aikido not internal, the need to learn, study or practice this material. Hence very little follow on training is accomplished.

My understanding of the label teacher simply shows the person has the decision making ability at his home dojo to train the material of his choice. It has nothing to do with who can learn faster or whether more advanced material will be covered (doubtful).

At least that was/is my understanding from Dan's early posts on this thread and it makes perfect sense to me.

Take care,

Mark J.

jss
03-27-2009, 08:23 AM
The teacher, Aikido not internal, decide what is covered during each class and how best to integrate/train the material or not.
Anyone care to discuss the details of this?
How to radically change what is being trained, without alienating your current students? What if some students have no interest whatsoever in this new stuff?
How long to work on the basics before training techniques again? How to change the exams to reflect the change in curriculum?
If Aikiai affiliated, how to keep friends with the Aikikai and their representatives, when they find out you've been doing stuff similar to Ki aikido?
Etc.

thisisnotreal
03-27-2009, 08:23 AM
Teachers are very, very experienced students.
They have spent a long time practicing.
And noticing things that happen in their bodies.
They will readily cling to new paradigms in movement. They will see their power leakages quicker. They will see how close they came, but missed certain connections. They will find patterns that they habitually avoid because…something lead them that way. They will learn to seek the ‘feel’ of this bodysuit easier..for they are likely more attuned to their own bodies (i.e. the *tool* of the martial artist)

They will see their kinaesthetic solutions (i.e. their own movement patterns) as 1 among other possibilities. And will quickly be able to extrapolate.

They will see how this foundation can graft onto their own base…

That’s why it will be special for (earnest) teachers…

Josh

Mike Sigman
03-27-2009, 09:03 AM
Teachers are very, very experienced students.
They have spent a long time practicing.
And noticing things that happen in their bodies.
They will readily cling to new paradigms in movement. They will see their power leakages quicker. They will see how close they came, but missed certain connections. They will find patterns that they habitually avoid because…something lead them that way. They will learn to seek the ‘feel' of this bodysuit easier..for they are likely more attuned to their own bodies (i.e. the *tool* of the martial artist)

They will see their kinaesthetic solutions (i.e. their own movement patterns) as 1 among other possibilities. And will quickly be able to extrapolate.

They will see how this foundation can graft onto their own base…

That's why it will be special for (earnest) teachers…

Well, I appreciate everyone's input; I was simply curious about the rationale and wasn't looking for so much of a right answer or a wrong answer as I was looking for a glimmer of what the perspective might be.

Often when I start a workshop I walk around through the class and I have everyone push my chest hard enough to push me away from them. As they do this, I can evaluate pretty well how they use strength, jin, kokyu, whatever, and how well their body is developed.... all this in relation to a very basic skill level, though, since it doesn't require any advanced skills. So I get to feel how well someone's prior training, if any, has prepared them to do a completely simple task.

Frankly, after years of doing this and evaluating, my opinion is that *from my perspective* it's too early to treat "teachers" and differently than "students". Now note that I said "from my perspective", because I'm not gainsaying any different approach; each to his own and happily so. However, I'd make the suggestion that if someone is going to categorized teachers differently than students, maybe it's just best to have a series of workshops that only have the same teachers in it all 3 times. That might be more productive. I dunno. Anyway these early approaches are made there is no perfect solution.

I heard about another solution from a Japanese Aikido teacher who simply seems to feel (I got this second-hand but from a good source) that it might be smarter to simply step around a lot of the older generation of practitioners and then to work with the upcoming generation with these skills because the older generation has such difficulty in changing their Aikido and really doesn't have a lot of interest in really doing it. Heck, they've already got all their belts and their status in-hand, so there's not a lot of motivation for many of the older generation to explore these new-fangled old-fangled things. ;) So that's a different approach.

My questions are more out of curiosity and I think that all of these related topics, being discussed out in the open, will create an archive and a window into various approaches and perspectives.

Best.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-27-2009, 09:44 AM
The purpose of a teachers only workshop would imo not be in the covering of more advance topics or in having the teachers learn enough in one weekend so that they can teach it to their own students.
If aikido is to be changed, having teachers at the forefront of the change is a good thing, since they decide what is trained at their dojo. Even better if there are several teachers that know each other, can help each other, etc.
So the main benefit for this teachers workshop would be social one, not a technical one. Everyone (students, but especially teachers) will need to put in a lot of work, but it's easier to do the work when there is a group of teachers supporting this change.
If such a movement within aikido is not created, the people who become interested in the internal skills will just quit. The unfortunate consequence (for the teachers in this movemebt) is that they will be in an awkward position: they'll keep teaching aikido, but they won't be any better in internal skills that one their students that puts in the same amount of work. But I wholeheratedly agree with Dan: change from the top down and the bottom up is the best course of action.That's a well-reasoned post, Joep. Perhaps the worrisome problem I see that can happen in most dojos, regardless of the approach, is that without an established and skilled teacher that has these skills already, the situation will arise very often where someone who is only a "student" in the internal skills is going to wind up "teaching" others how to do things... and he/she may simply not know enough to give correct advice. Like I said, though, there is no easy answer. I think it helps everyone, though, for there to be public discussions about the things that can go wrong so that people can take heed.

Best.

Mike

gdandscompserv
03-27-2009, 10:59 AM
Bottom line is; cuz that's how Dan has decided to approach sharing his knowledge. I'm just glad he's sharing.:D

DH
03-27-2009, 11:02 AM
Well, I appreciate everyone's input; I was simply curious about the rationale and wasn't looking for so much of a right answer or a wrong answer as I was looking for a glimmer of what the perspective might be.

I am the one doing it.
I answered it immediately for you.

I heard about another solution from a Japanese Aikido teacher who simply seems to feel (I got this second-hand but from a good source) that it might be smarter to simply step around a lot of the older generation of practitioners and then to work with the upcoming generation with these skills because the older generation has such difficulty in changing their Aikido and really doesn't have a lot of interest in really doing it. Heck, they've already got all their belts and their status in-hand, so there's not a lot of motivation for many of the older generation to explore these new-fangled old-fangled things. ;) So that's a different approach.

My questions are more out of curiosity and I think that all of these related topics, being discussed out in the open, will create an archive and a window into various approaches and perspectives.
Fair enough, but you offered a whole lot of conjecture for someone just being curious.

Well instead of hearing second hand from someone you know......
I am actively training with teachers with decades of experience in the art and I am hearing, feeling, seeing, and watching the results, and getting a fairly lengthy observable behavior pattern……first hand.
This is old news already-I just haven't spoken of it in any detail.
I don't recognize any of the behavioral patterns and questionable motivations being raised here- in anyone I have met or know. These men have proven to be better than that.

Fellas look
I addressed the question "Why teachers?" with a direct response in my second post. In short, there is no difference in teaching a teacher or a student. But teachers have the power to allow the practice of these basics in their own dojo on their return home and set the schedule to PRACTICE these things at home. And....host follow up training in their own dojo's with me or others. Or the teachers later bringing other students to me to train WITH THEM PRESENT. Which they are already doing.
In other words: They have the authority to make things happen on their own turf that students lack.
These teachers are as uninterested in the panoply of every negative aspersion and presumption imaginable being made about them here (all spelled out in a matter of hours since I posted the seminar!! how cute ;) ) from someone who neither knows them or anything about them as I am.
As for me and casting aspersons at me-what else is new.
For the record I am THEE guy who didn't even want to teach or do public seminars again ..and was chastized for that here in every imaginable way. I had closed my door to the public eleven years ago and steadfastly refused to do these things ever again until a few years ago when Ellis got me drunk one night......Now I have opened my door and have been sharing with the aikido community.
Offer to help- and this thread is a great example some of the nonsense you get for your efforts: Now I supposedly think I am expert, or these teachers think they are experts, or they are going to teach stuff they don't know instead of being honest (which they have been openly) or they will mislead students, or lord it over them and every other possible negative imagining folks can think of.
Whatever.
As I said "This is old news already."
For me and teachers who have been coming here- we are working hard, forging an understanding and getting this information out there for students, and it has been working out rather neatly.
Good luck in your training.
Cheers
Dan

David Orange
03-27-2009, 11:04 AM
My point is more a discussion (or trying to start one) about the efficacy and/or practicality of the thought that a "teacher" is somehow different from a "beginner".

It sounds like Dan's just trying to get existing teachers on board with the idea so that their dojos can be open to the idea--bypassing the situation where a student learns something but can't bring it back to his dojo. If you get the teacher interested, his students are bound to follow.

FWIW

David

David Orange
03-27-2009, 11:11 AM
Here, let me try it in a different way. Is it feasible to differentiate someone who is a "teacher" (but never had any/much in the way of "internal" skills) from a "beginner/student" who never had any/much in the way of "internal" skills? That's my central question.

I agree very strongly with you that people who are already teachers may have very complicated internal orientations of both mind and body to produce a very particular body arrangement that works well for them within the bounds of their arts, but which may strongly conflict with the IS ways. People often make very complicated mental adjustments to get good in an art, including internalization of all kinds of dogma and compulsive tonus. I agree that they may find it much harder to relearn, depending on their particular experience, than a pure beginner.

BUT, if you can get that teacher in and let him feel the difference in effect with IS methods, at least it opens his mind to what he is definitely missing and he may make it much easier for his students.

On the other hand, assuming that a teacher is "in the driver's seat" in his own dojo is not necessarily a great bet. Much of a teacher's mental orientation is adjustment to the peculiarities (to say the least) of whatever organization he ""BELONGS"" to. In many ways, the teacher of an art is under greater strictures from his organization than the beginner is under from the teacher. So if you get teachers in, they could be just like the beginner and say, "If only my organization would let me do this in my dojo...."

I think it's a good idea to try it, though.

David

Mike Sigman
03-27-2009, 11:13 AM
These teachers are as uninterested in the panoply of every negative aspersion and presumption imaginable being made about them here (all spelled out in a matter of hours since I posted the seminar!! how cute ;) ) from someone who neither knows them or anything about them as I am.
??? Mind quoting where someone has made a "negative aspersion" about someone?

Once again, I see a thread with some very good clinical questions and discussions being shoved down the drain by someone trying to make it into a personal discussion, which it wasn't before.

The central question about exacly HOW a generic "teacher" is able to manifest skills in a teaching/guiding mode had not been answered, even though I've looked back at post #2 several times. Maybe I see a *theory* that it's going to be done, but I don't see functionally any real explanation other than the assertion.

I seriously don't care what you do, Dan. You had a public notice of a workshop for teachers only posted and I asked a clinical question, which took some people a few more posts to understand that it was an academic question. Ask them to explain to you what I actually asked and then maybe let's try again.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
03-27-2009, 11:23 AM
It sounds like Dan's just trying to get existing teachers on board with the idea so that their dojos can be open to the idea--bypassing the situation where a student learns something but can't bring it back to his dojo. If you get the teacher interested, his students are bound to follow.
OK, I can accept a "get teachers on board" idea, although from actual experience I think I could point out some things that will crop up along those lines.

My original question was a good one and it resolves down to the question of whether there is a credible reason to have a "teacher" and a "student" differentiation for people just learning these skills. However, at this point I'm not even clear what it is that Dan is teaching, so maybe I'm presuming too much.

Since Dan's taken it immediately to the personal-attack stage, I'm out of it.

Best.

Mike

DH
03-27-2009, 11:50 AM
It sounds like Dan's just trying to get existing teachers on board with the idea so that their dojos can be open to the idea--bypassing the situation where a student learns something but can't bring it back to his dojo. If you get the teacher interested, his students are bound to follow.
Hi Dave, long time....
Yes. As a business or information dissemination model it has the best chance of reaching a broader market. Now, since it is physical skill, it won't matter unless everyone does the work right? And you can't really fake it as the comparative information and exposure to it is out there.
So that leads to your next response


I agree very strongly with you that people who are already teachers may have very complicated internal orientations of both mind and body to produce a very particular body arrangement that works well for them within the bounds of their arts, but which may strongly conflict with the IS ways. People often make very complicated mental adjustments to get good in an art, including internalization of all kinds of dogma and compulsive tonus. I agree that they may find it much harder to relearn, depending on their particular experience, than a pure beginner.

BUT, if you can get that teacher in and let him feel the difference in effect with IS methods, at least it opens his mind to what he is definitely missing and he may make it much easier for his students.

On the other hand, assuming that a teacher is "in the driver's seat" in his own dojo is not necessarily a great bet. Much of a teacher's mental orientation is adjustment to the peculiarities (to say the least) of whatever organization he ""BELONGS"" to. In many ways, the teacher of an art is under greater strictures from his organization than the beginner is under from the teacher. So if you get teachers in, they could be just like the beginner and say, "If only my organization would let me do this in my dojo...."

I think it's a good idea to try it, though.

David
Good points, fair questions. So we take it out for a spin right?
I have been. For a very long time, This isn't new to me. This is a second go round at bat. I did this stuff before, teaching teachers and then teaching them and their students. SSDD. I just stopped....ten or eleven years ago. Did it work then? Yes.
I have recently opened the door and started again. Is it working so far? Yes.

As an acedemic question- people can speculate and ponder, that's fine. For me it is -personal- in the sense that I have done it in the past, and am doing it again now and have very real relationships with people involved. I have hard won lessons learned from failures and embarrasment in going down that road. But I have more shining positive experiences and relationships that were well worth the time than negative ones. Were it an "academic" discussion of the approach, effectiveness, and follow up, potential problems and how best to resolve them... a smart move is to ask those with years of experience actually doing it, with a student base to include teachers and those teachers students to answer the question-were they interested.

The "idea" of successfully teaching teachers is one question. "What" you are teaching is another. I think taking the approach demonstrated here and framing the discussion this way was not exactly putting the best foot forward in illiciting a nuetral response from those most able to address it.
Good to hear from you again. I thought you were coming up???
Cheers
Dan

Fred Little
03-27-2009, 01:22 PM
Teachers are very, very experienced students.
They have spent a long time practicing.
And noticing things that happen in their bodies.
They will readily cling to new paradigms in movement. They will see their power leakages quicker. They will see how close they came, but missed certain connections. They will find patterns that they habitually avoid because…something lead them that way. They will learn to seek the ‘feel' of this bodysuit easier..for they are likely more attuned to their own bodies (i.e. the *tool* of the martial artist)

They will see their kinaesthetic solutions (i.e. their own movement patterns) as 1 among other possibilities. And will quickly be able to extrapolate.

They will see how this foundation can graft onto their own base…

That's why it will be special for (earnest) teachers…

Josh

Josh,

Based on my own experience as a student and as a teacher, I would disagree.When confronted with new ways of doing things, or training things that are radically different from my ingrained body patterns, I find that my past experience is a burden as much or more than it is a benefit.

With regard to sword work, for example, I have some deeply ingrained habits from too much Saito-style suburi that are utterly dysfunctional from the perspective of any koryu that teaches functional use of the sword. I could give a long list of other examples, but that one will suffice for now.

But when it comes to physical skills, I've never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, so maybe that's just me.

Even if we stipulate that an instructor might have an enhanced ability to recognize the benefits of a new way of training, that doesn't necessarily translate into more rapid progress, even with practice, simply because of the basic work of removing the old bad habit. Without practice -- and my personal experience tells me instructors who are actively teaching may have limitations in that area too -- the problem is compounded.

Just my .02

FL

David Orange
03-27-2009, 01:29 PM
I thought you were coming up???

I still want to. Looks like one of your 2009 seminars may be my best chance soon. I sent you an e-mail at the address on the other thread. Hope to hear from you.

David

DH
03-28-2009, 09:44 AM
I asked a clinical question, which took some people a few more posts to understand that it was an academic question. Ask them to explain to you what I actually asked and then maybe let's try again.

Regards,
Mike Sigman
I really don't need to ask others to explain your posts. They are usually transparent.
Since you brought it up- the blizzard of emails I received from readers here pretty much summed up my take on it as well,
If you had some neutral academic approach you were shooting for- it by and large missed its goals. If that really was your intent, no harm no foul. But perhaps it's you who should try again.
Dan

rob_liberti
03-29-2009, 05:47 PM
This post in a related thread sums it up best:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=227275&postcount=10

As for my thoughts about an internal skills seminar for teachers; well, some teachers got to be teachers due to a lot of dedicated work, and have decades of both self disciple as well as beginner's mind. If you have those skills, and have taken care of your body fairly well, I'm thinking you might just learn a bit faster than the average beginner. It doesn't hurt to have some students who are willing to push on you after every class as well. Good luck. :) -Rob

DH
03-29-2009, 06:23 PM
Hi Rob
While that may or may not always be true-it still doesn't address the main point-and where I think Mike and I dissagree.
a) Why assume teachers have to be treated differently?
My sole purpose (and again that's just my view of what I have been doing placed within in the broader context of Mikes excellent points) was to allow the teachers a chance to start and then go back and...........practice! Not teach, not pretend, but just practice like anyone else who has been attending these shindigs.
Meaning?
b)For all the discussion of teachers and students being the same?
My rebuttal is....yeah they are. Since students are going back to practice? Why can't teachers do the same thing? Instead of looking at just the negative-consider that teachers have the capacity to be honest and tell students they do not know the material and just want to practice it and THEN have the authority to set time aside and bring Ark, Mike, Ushiro, etc etc to come in an offer other approaches
.
It really is a no brainer. I guess I would look at the discussion more favorably had it also included both positive and negative possibitlies and the discussion was not slanted toward negative presumptions that teachers would always "do the bad thing."
Cheers
Dan

DH
03-29-2009, 06:36 PM
TO further my point about teachers being able to create opportunites for students to start practicing these things see post # 48 here
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14556&page=2
By Mike Sigman-himself outlining the problem in a reply to Ron Tisdale:

I, along with a lot of other people who have posted on the subject, agree with that. If you get your eyes opened and you suddenly start trying to practice these things in a dojo where the teacher and other students don't know these things, you either need to quit bother (sic) trying to do them or you need to quit the dojo. You're doomed, if you're trying to learn.

I went and looked at a local dojo as a potential place to workout/exercise and after watching the way everyone moved, I knew it would be a waste of time and frustrating to join. Peer pressure would eventually cause friction because I "wasn't doing it the way Sensei showed us", etc. Conformity will kill you.

YMMV

Mike

Which as Rob related -I was already addressing behind the scenes by teaching Aikido teachers. I just wasn't talking about it much. I really didn't know how it would go.
So here now-a year after Mikes post-I responded to the issue here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15931
A partial quote:
Lets review the posts on aikiweb. Students have been writing in here for a few years now talking about the frustrations of not being able to practice this new training when they wanted to. Some even quit or took a break from Aikido to get this.
"Fair enough." I said.
How about if I can help fix that?
How about teaching the teachers who control those classes. Could I get them interested enough, so that students could actually train aiki in an aikido dojo? Well, I have been quietly testing that out for a few years now. I took a chance that really might have blown up in my face. We could be talking about some real negative experiences here couldn't we?
Good news
It is working out rather well. The teachers love it-many of whom have been searching for this kind of material most of their careers and not getting it. The students are enjoying the fact that there teachers are letting them practice it and I can say I helped.
Hey, I'm just trying to do the best I can manage with time allowed.
I can't wait to meet some of the guys who have been writing me. I think we will have a great time sweating together and raising a few later.
Mikes post gave options of
1. Quiting the training
2. Quiting aikido
3. Being frustrated and not joining an Aikido dojo
My "idea" may resolve all three and bring this into aikido in the smoothest way possible. I say "may resolve." Who really knows. But I think it's worth the effort. I have done it before in Gojo and judo dojos.


Cheers
Dan

Ron Tisdale
03-29-2009, 06:57 PM
Cheers Dan, keep at it! It wil be appreciated.

Mike, I owe you an appology, I wasn't able to come up to Itten. It's been kind of crazy latey. I'll pm later on to explain.

Best,
Ron

DH
03-30-2009, 10:19 AM
Cheers Dan, keep at it! It wil be appreciated.

Mike, I owe you an appology, I wasn't able to come up to Itten. It's been kind of crazy latey. I'll pm later on to explain.

Best,
Ron

Hi Bud
Well I hope it continues to be productive. FWIW, I am in no way advocating for me. As you know personally from training with my people here I demand they go out and train with others including Ark, Mike, ICMA teachers, DR teachers and the like whenever they cn manage it. I am trying to get people to "think" and continue to go out and experience a much broader view of these things.

I just don't want to stand by and watch aikido people quit Aikido because they cannot find it there or after exposure to the possibilities of an Aikido with aiki not be allowed to train or practice it in their home dojo. There has been enough of that already with the old "effectiveness" issues to the point that enrollment is down. We can fix that in a fairly profound way by re-introducing power and aiki into the art where it is missing that may last into the next generation.
Look forward to getting together again some day Ron.
Dan

DH
03-30-2009, 11:16 AM
This post in a related thread sums it up best:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=227275&postcount=10

As for my thoughts about an internal skills seminar for teachers; well, some teachers got to be teachers due to a lot of dedicated work, and have decades of both self disciple as well as beginner's mind. If you have those skills, and have taken care of your body fairly well, I'm thinking you might just learn a bit faster than the average beginner. It doesn't hurt to have some students who are willing to push on you after every class as well. Good luck. :) -Rob
I re-read this post just this morning. I don't think I gave it just consideration. Not all teachers or people with rank are there just because they hung out the longest. Some are there because of the reasons you outline; natural talent, self discipline,a continual beginners mind to which I would add; tenacity, determination, sincerity and....maybe an ability to teach! Which brings me right back to that turning point I had about opening the door again-that now well known dinner with a friend who got me to re-think all my ideas about teachers, and budo, and helping.
Good on ya Rob
Dan

Aikibu
03-30-2009, 01:06 PM
Well I get the what and why of what you're trying to do Mr Hardin just perfectly... and I am going to do my best to get there (unemployed and broke or not)...

I would love to share my experiance of it with all the West Coast Shoji Nishio Adherents and since I feel it will make our Aikido better for having been exposed to it perhaps it will lead to bigger and better things in the future like getting one of your senior students or you out here someday. :)

William Hazen

DH
03-30-2009, 01:30 PM
Well I get the what and why of what you're trying to do Mr Hardin just perfectly... and I am going to do my best to get there (unemployed and broke or not)...

I would love to share my experiance of it with all the West Coast Shoji Nishio Adherents and since I feel it will make our Aikido better for having been exposed to it perhaps it will lead to bigger and better things in the future like getting one of your senior students or you out here someday. :)

William Hazen
Hi William
I answered this in the seminar thread
Dan