View Full Version : Article: Thoughts on Teaching by Chuck Clark
04-15-2002, 09:31 AM
Discuss the article, "Thoughts on Teaching" by Chuck Clark here.
Article URL: http://www.aikiweb.com/teaching/clark1.html
04-15-2002, 11:31 AM
Well, Chuck has an interesting swing of thoughts in the direction I would like to see more of us walk towards.
The difficulty of understanding the old ways, finding the feel of a technique while seeking its underlying subtleties while looking for adaptations to continue the future effectiveness of Aikido?
Because something does not work for us in particular situations should we change it, relearn it, or find new avenues?
There is a wealth of information in the old ways of those who have come before us in the last fifty years of western Aikido, and an almost endless supply of MA study before that. Still, as I look at the old style, try to understand what it is based upon when executed with body, mind, and spirit in harmony. I find a new wealth of questions as well as answers that fit withing many of the Chi/Ki categories that we sometimes miss in western methodology to teaching, but then we are just finding scientific ways to measure and understand them?
Understanding the positive and negative ki flow of the body relevant to a particular execution of a technique with hand open or closed, this way or that, feet rooted or not, and a whole host of positive and negative energy being exchanged brings and entirely new light to some of the old useless techniques?
Teaching is so complicated, that we basically go through twelve grades of school to absorb information. How can we expect to learn that much quicker with even the teachers still learning as they teach? (Not presupposing that one person could not be a master of any one discipline, but even the masters still continue to learn and grow.)
I guess it all comes back around to always being the beginner, even when you are the teacher, humble.
I see most teachers still having the most fun when they disappear into the class ... they smile and laugh a lot more. The old, with the new, and find out why it always works.
There is no one way to do things. The means of teaching Aikido which was employed by O'Sensei has some universal merit, but we must also be mindful that it was used to teach Japanese students at that time in that place. Today's Japan is very different, and today's US is very different, as different again as is today's EU and UK, etc.
In my journey, I have attempted a few times to teach concepts (because Americans always ask Why, and because I wanted them to have their answer so they could let go and take in the experiential knowing.) Sometimes it helped, sometimes it hindered (as they got too far into their heads, started TRYing instead of just DOing.) What I eventually came to (and of course this may not work for anyone but me at that time and place in my life either,) was to stick to the traditions, as they serve several purposes at once, and spice it up with some variations... but to NOT try to reinvent the wheel.
Sorry, in advance, if this candor offends that offshoot, but reinventing the wheel is how we ended up with Tamiki Ryu and their notion that one can be an instructor in 2 years, a 6th Dan in 6-7 years... while the rest of us are very clear that we're just getting our feet and understandings wet at the latter time.
One time Reynosa Sensei came to visit the TenShin Dojo. I was practicing with him and he took about 5-10 seconds to provide a verbal suggestion, while we were practicing. It was a slight bump, an impetus to get me rolling on the right track/direction. From that point on, it was still up to me to take it in, learn experientially, let my BODY learn/feel what worked and how. The mind wants to get all hung up in the Why. The body just learns what does and does not work, and this is a much deeper, more innate understanding, IMO.
07-07-2011, 04:44 AM
Thank you Jun for a very interesting and thoughtful view. Thinking about the teaching methods of my teacher he sure can "feel" how each individual student learns.
He has a instinctive and natural gift to understand everybody and most of all detecting the ego of everybody and lower it from the beginning and another thing is that he understands that most of us come from an 8 hours job and like to relax our mind and train hard our body, and the most important point in his teaching is that he never let us do any technique in the last 10 minutes of the class, so we never will finish with a bad feeling and the thought that we were not able to do the technique right. The last 10 or 15 minutes of the class are always with an exercise that requires a good physical shape, we sweat a lot, but we have fun too.
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