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Abasan
05-09-2009, 05:05 AM
At first, I had the intention of ranting today. After just attending a short 2 hour seminar with Nakao sensei. But I've had a change of heart seeing as the my only motive for the ranting would be to satisfy my own ego. Rather, I would like to share the question above with the rest of you.

I am certain all of us has been to one seminar or rather. Different shihans and sensei's with different background's, physical build, mentality, experience and outlook on aikido and its essence.

So although, you can't run away from basic Kihon Waza.... when some sensei's feel comfortable enough they try to share their own understanding or a tiny fraction of it with the participants, that is my favourite time in seminars. Because a lot of sensei's out there don't do justice to their aikido when they stick to Kihon during seminars. For some of them, their natural aikido is so vastly different to the kihon that they present to the rest of the world. Its like "Huh? Are we looking at the same sensei here? Didn't he use to go around like a gorilla on steroids? Why is he like silk today?"

Perhaps I'm just an impatient guy. Rather than trying to find my own aikido from the Kihon, I sometimes like to steal glimpses into an aikido waza that has had the opportunity to blossom.

Today Nakao sensei just wanted everyone to relax. It was wonderful to practice this way and it hasn't yet cross the threshold of the mystical 'aiki' emptiness that most Aikidoka's shy away from. Yet I was surprised that some people continue to train the way they always train with brute strength. I'm no different then them because I've yet to master 'aiki' being able to form a cohesive power of 10 with uke or 0 and 1, whatever way you wish to look at it. But I'm not stupid, at least I'm trying to learn how to do it. In the rare chance that a visiting sensei is trying to share his idea on aikido, I take it as the ultimate form of stupidity/ignorance and arrogance to ignore it and continue throwing uke like a bull. I mean come on, seriously... why come to a seminar if you're not even going to try? To get a signature on that book we carry on around? For what, to show the next potential mugger that we have a list of signatures from notable Shihans around the world and that means we are a force to reckon with. Yeah, right.

How often do we do this when we see something we don't understand and just dismiss it. We continue to do what we think is right. I'm pretty sure a lot of us here would say we'll try if we can understand what's going on or if it looks right/logical. But how many of us will continue to try even if we don't understand what's going on or if it looks 'wrong'.

When do we cross the line of following the blind?
How can we know which path we are supposed to take?
'Make aikido yours' is not easy. Its not science, its art. Can we take it somewhere in between instead, say aikido is a craft. The master is a craftsman? Actually I think therein lies the answer. A master craftsman can produce day in day out wonderful aikido regardless of his condition, preparedness or obliging ukes. Whilst an artisan would probably rely on his mood, his uke's and the weather of the day.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer. Its not a perfect world, but I wish it was. I guess some of us are not bless with perfect uke's and nage's who are willing to give us what we need to learn. But we live in the real world where such people are rare and yet that's how it is isn't in the real world? No one's going to give you what you want much less the next idiot who comes at you with a knife. Somehow it makes more sense to learn 'aiki' in a non-cooperative environment now. If we can make it work on the doggedly hard ass uke, we can definitely make it work when we are bless with that rare uke.

By the way, did I just rant there? :p

Mark Uttech
05-09-2009, 07:14 AM
Onegaishimasu. How I learned to train at a seminar was by observation and taking notes. What I learned was that a seminar has something to teach in a way of practice. I also learned that you can't "capture" a whole seminar; if you try, you end up with nothing. One sensei taught me the art of 'review'. Another sensei taught me the art of kihon waza as putting a puzzle together; the fun of taking things apart to ponder why they work. One of the best lessons I learned from a seminar was to approach aikido as sudoku; that there was even something reverent about it! Recently I have learned to reflect on more things done for the last time than for the first.

In gassho,

Mark

Nafis Zahir
05-10-2009, 07:55 AM
When I am at a seminar, I try my best to do the technique exactly as it is being shown, even if it is different from the way I learned it. I do this to find the commoness it may have with what I know, or to find how this way may improve what I already know. Also, I watch the Instructor and his movements. I try to understand how I should or should not move. This is because everyone has a different body type and different height from others.

But you must realize that many people go to seminars with no real intention on learning anything. Many people do go in order to just meet the requirements of seminar attendance for their organization, or to please their instructors, or even to just take a nice trip and rub elbows with the "right" person. You should just focus on your training and try to get as much out the seminar as you can. As time goes on, you will see the difference and appreciate the experience a lot more.

SeiserL
05-10-2009, 08:11 AM
With an open mind and a willing body.

Peter Chenier
05-11-2009, 01:29 AM
How do I train in seminars?
I blank out..
I just do..
No thinking :0)
I analyze later..
There is so much information thrown at you I don't think you can absorb it all. The way I look at it is that if over the weekend you have one moment of clarity..then it's all worth while :0)
But then again I've only been at this a couple of years
Cheers
Peter...

Tim Ruijs
05-11-2009, 07:39 AM
Hi
I would have to say that you try and practice with an open mind (and willing body:D ) and do your best to copy the teacher. At higher level you'd try and understand why the teacher selected the exercises and what point he tries to make and practice in that same sense.
Afterwards, you can analyse and think things over (and perhaps even apply in you own teachings).

Phil Van Treese
05-12-2009, 09:03 AM
Work with everyone you can and learn as many different ways to do a technique as possible, then say thank you.

Abasan
05-25-2009, 04:43 AM
Great to see so many of you guys are open about training beyond your comfort zone or with familiar faces. My question was rhetorical in retrospect, so I guess its probably difficult for anyone to answer it directly.

The point I was trying to drive at was how best would you approach a partner who clearly has no intention of following the Seminar Instructors way of doing things. Say without having the luxury of bowing and changing a partner.

I was thinking more about this and I've come to a conclusion. It might be hard to clearly mimic the instructors method unless it was something you're familiar with (the closer to kihon the easier) but trying to glean the principals he was working with and applying it would be best. That way if partner was actively resisting and you can't make it work, you can honestly ask the sensei what you were doing wrong. If it works regardless of cooperation or not then its a worthwhile endeavour, if it doesn't then we'll file it under 'Technique meant for coordination training between nage and uke' or something to that effect.

Nafis Zahir
05-25-2009, 11:06 AM
The point I was trying to drive at was how best would you approach a partner who clearly has no intention of following the Seminar Instructors way of doing things. Say without having the luxury of bowing and changing a partner.



I've been through this before. It use to bother me. But not everyone trains with an open mind. So I don't say anything anymore. All I try to do is do the technique as it is being shown by the Instructor at the time and not the way I learned it. I try my best to do it his way and to try and learn something from it. All you can do is worry about your training and not anyone else.

philippe willaume
05-27-2009, 05:05 AM
The point I was trying to drive at was how best would you approach a partner who clearly has no intention of following the Seminar Instructors way of doing things. Say without having the luxury of bowing and changing a partner.
.
Well you can
Change partner next technique and put that one in the losses category

Quote Brick-top in Snatch and being the appropriate agent of a rightful retribution

Tell your partner, there is no point to resist that hard on the fground that you still don’t really understand what you are doing.

You can as well try that the old and tried but still popular “death by sensei” by asking “Sensei there is something I do not understand, could you show me again with my nice training partner here.”

phil

ruthmc
05-27-2009, 08:34 AM
The point I was trying to drive at was how best would you approach a partner who clearly has no intention of following the Seminar Instructors way of doing things. Say without having the luxury of bowing and changing a partner.
Let it be their problem! You train as you wish to, ideally following what the instructor is showing :)

If your partner does not wish to benefit from the instructor's teaching it is his / her problem ;)

If they try to block you, find the opening and weakness in their attack - there always is one, especially if they are not connected to their centre :D

Ruth

Eva Antonia
05-27-2009, 09:07 AM
Hi,

I go to a lot of seminars, and it is mostly for the pleasure of discovering something new, a different approach, different ways of doing the same, new people, whatever. If it were only for the signatures half or a third of the seminar would do. It is for fun and enlightenment.

But being only 4th kyu, it happens often to me that I really don't grasp the technique the teacher is showing, or simply don't understand the difference between what he shows and what we are always doing. So I hope the partners don't get too frustrated, but normally they are very nice and either try to explain or admit they didn't get it neither.

However, the brilliant thing in seminars is that there is always one or the other, be it minuscule, learning effect, and I never went home from a seminar where I learnt NOTHING - except one Endo seminar, but there I learnt at least that his aikido was much beyond my abilities and took the decision to postpone Endo seminars for some years...

Best regards,

Eva

NagaBaba
05-27-2009, 12:04 PM
Hi,
I never went home from a seminar where I learnt NOTHING - except one Endo seminar, but there I learnt at least that his aikido was much beyond my abilities and took the decision to postpone Endo seminars for some years...

Best regards,

Eva
Hello Eva,
Don't worry, even after many years of practice you will never learn anything from Him :D

Sorry Carsten, couldn't resist :p ;)

franklaubach
06-01-2009, 02:18 AM
:) follow instructions.
do as they do.
absorb.
repeat. repeat.
just do it.

Abasan
06-01-2009, 04:00 AM
Thanks all. I've been thinking about the quality of my training and how this was effecting my mind lately. But since then I managed to pop over to London and had a nice time training with some systema guys. Funnily enough the students there too exhibited the same problems.

The instructor wanted them to work on some drills at slow speed and lo behold you see some guys trying to beat each other to death. It was kind of funny in a sad way. But regardless, I made myself work the way I was asked to. In the end, I learned a lot in a very short time and I think the instructor noticed it as well. We spent some time talking afterwards and I've made a new friend.

All in all, I hear a lot of sense coming from you guys. And its something that I will make a point of remembering when encountering this in the future (which judging by how people are in real life, will be a quite frequent).

The death by sensei trick is very funny too and I think a defacto standard when faced with a macho jock. :P

erikmenzel
06-01-2009, 06:14 AM
I usualy go to a seminar assuming I will learn something but expecting to not conciously know what I have learned until it falls into place during my normal training.

CarrieP
06-11-2009, 11:49 AM
I do my best to copy what the instructor is doing during a seminar. I'm still sharpening my eyes, so this is often easier said than done. So, many times, if I'm working with a senior student on the mat, I will let them "correct" me or "tweak" me to what they percieve the technique to be. I'm hoping in the future, as I continue to train, I will be able to trust my own eyes more.

Additionally, I don't worry what other people are doing, if they are doing what the instructor is doing or not. I just try to train with many different people, and enjoy how different everyone's aikido is.

For example, I trained with a kid the day after he got his black belt. Got to watch his test, too. He was so energetic and fiesty, I could barely keep up with him, and wasn't really able to be thrown the way he wanted to throw me. It was a fun couple of throws though because I could totally feel the energy in his throws that I had seen during his test.

The higher level black belts, especially those who are instructors, often tend to go slower with me (probably match my energy) since it's clear I am learning the basic forms of technique. Which is a "better" way to train in that I am getting a more deliberate sense of how to move.

But being thrown hard by someone when you're not used to being thrown so hard can also have benefits, especially in learning how to take ukemi.