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delliott
01-20-2011, 08:09 AM
I have been thinking about something and wanted to get some others opinions.

Here is the scenario. You are training with another person. They don't really understand the technique you're working on, but you understand the technique. Sensei is busy working with others. Do you help them politely with the technique or wait for Sensei to help.

Since I am no aikido expert, I personally would wait for Sensei to come over and work with us, but that is just my opinion. Any thoughts?

guest1234567
01-20-2011, 08:24 AM
It depends how your Sensei like it, ask him or her

Mary Eastland
01-20-2011, 08:24 AM
I keep training. Our classes are small so Ron can see what is going on...he may have some ideas that the other student needs to work on that I don't know about.
When I am teaching I like students to just train and let me make corrections.
Mary

Gorgeous George
01-20-2011, 08:31 AM
Some teachers will not like it: 'Are you teaching on my mat...?'.
Others rely on you to help others out with little things. I train at two places with these contrasting attitudes...

Can be a bit of a bastard when somebody who's been training for less time than you, and who's just passed 5th kyu (unconvincingly), tells you 'You're not doing it right'...'Let baby have his bottle.' - but now i'm digressing, and making this about me.

delliott
01-20-2011, 08:35 AM
I will definitely ask my Sensei, actually I should have put that in my original post, but I just wanted to know what it is like in the larger aikido community.

lbb
01-20-2011, 08:54 AM
I'd say it depends on the situation. Did your partner ask you for an explanation? Is this something that your sensei normally expects senior students to do? Are you a senior student?

Also, you may "understand the technique" (or think you do), but you may not understand what your sensei is trying to teach. He/she may be trying to teach a very different application than the one you have in mind, or he/she may be using a teaching progression and not the full technique, or he/she may not be trying to teach "the technique" as such at all but something not technique-specific, such as kokyu. So, again, it all depends on the situation.

Eva Antonia
01-20-2011, 09:06 AM
Hello,

in our dojo in Brussels we always correct each other, and we also ask each other. The teacher cannot have a look at all of us at the same time! But from time to time it happens that we give each other wrong advice, and sometimes the teacher just hears or sees it and shows how to do it correctly (never says "you explained this wrong"...but still it's very awkward). And sometimes we can help each other without committing too many errors, which is fine.

I don't have a problem to take advice from a newbie; people can sometimes observe very well even if they cannot yet perform a technique, and I also commit lots of errors that are invisible to me but not to the others. And on the other hand I've also met lots of higher kyu grades asking quite humbly the inferior ones why this or that doesn't work as they wish to. Obviously, the better someone becomes, the more seldom this is.

Best regards,

Eva

Larry Cuvin
01-20-2011, 09:28 AM
If you've been shown a technique by your sensei to work on, then by all means. You might be surprised by what you and your partner would learn (from each others point of view). Your sensei would probably come around to assist if he needs to correct something or if you have a question. I find it sometimes that explorations on techniques when trying to understand it deeper gives you an opportunity to undestand why or why not a technique work.

My 2 cents.

Janet Rosen
01-20-2011, 12:08 PM
Some dojo the expectation is seniors partner with juniors explicitly in order to provide some guidance. Others prefer that the person leading class does all the correcting and teaching. So best to verify your dojo's norm.
Personally I am happy to receive meaningful feedback from ANY partner ("you had my balance but gave it back to me right when you...") so long as it's not stopping to lecture.

Amir Krause
01-20-2011, 03:36 PM
Follow the "dojo ettique"

There are no obvious right or wrongs here, except acting against the expectations of the Sensei and dojo members.

So, follow the local ettique

In the dojo I train at, this would mean assist, unless youare a total beginner. If not sure, ask another more senior question, if need be, a yundasha or sensei.

As one of the more vetran Yundasha, I practicly teach the person I train with about 70%of the time.

Amir

Sean C.
01-21-2011, 12:35 PM
I have been thinking about something and wanted to get some others opinions.

Here is the scenario. You are training with another person. They don't really understand the technique you're working on, but you understand the technique. Sensei is busy working with others. Do you help them politely with the technique or wait for Sensei to help.

Since I am no aikido expert, I personally would wait for Sensei to come over and work with us, but that is just my opinion. Any thoughts?

Hi all. first post here. I just started training aikido last week..and one guy, another white belt, I was paired with started "teaching" me..except he didn't have a good handle on the technique himself:straightf a senior instructor stepped in and finally told him "stop talking and just do it". had the same guy last night. this time, being slightly more familiar with the waza we were working, I was actually assisting HIM with getting it right. it's my first aikido, but not my first MA training. It's obvious at my dojo who knows what they're doing, and I follow them, regardless of who I'm paired with.

Randall Lim
01-21-2011, 07:39 PM
I have been thinking about something and wanted to get some others opinions.

Here is the scenario. You are training with another person. They don't really understand the technique you're working on, but you understand the technique. Sensei is busy working with others. Do you help them politely with the technique or wait for Sensei to help.

Since I am no aikido expert, I personally would wait for Sensei to come over and work with us, but that is just my opinion. Any thoughts?

I may be no Aikido expert, but if I understand the technique even a little better than my partner, I would subtly guide him to the best of my ability until Sensei comes to us. Instead of wasting precious time waiting for Sensei to approach us.

And if ever my guidance contradicts what Sensei says or does, I would make it clear to my partner to do what Sensei says or does. I would also correct my technique accordingly.

Confusing the beginner is my greatest concern.

I have come across a Sensei who was not happy with me guiding my junior partner. So I simply kept mum throughout all the mistakes my partner committed, waiting, hoping for that Sensei to come to us.

I never trained with that Sensei again.

sakumeikan
01-22-2011, 06:16 PM
I may be no Aikido expert, but if I understand the technique even a little better than my partner, I would subtly guide him to the best of my ability until Sensei comes to us. Instead of wasting precious time waiting for Sensei to approach us.

And if ever my guidance contradicts what Sensei says or does, I would make it clear to my partner to do what Sensei says or does. I would also correct my technique accordingly.

Confusing the beginner is my greatest concern.

I have come across a Sensei who was not happy with me guiding my junior partner. So I simply kept mum throughout all the mistakes my partner committed, waiting, hoping for that Sensei to come to us.

I never trained with that Sensei again.
Dear Randall,
Maybe you were making more mistakes than the newby?You may well think you know better but maybe you do not?If you are a beginner you should concentrate on your own waza. Let the teacher do his job.

Randall Lim
01-23-2011, 11:09 PM
Dear Randall,
Maybe you were making more mistakes than the newby?You may well think you know better but maybe you do not?If you are a beginner you should concentrate on your own waza. Let the teacher do his job.

Yeah.... Maybe.....:(

amoeba
01-27-2011, 08:14 AM
Well, for me it depends. If it's a complete beginner who doesn't know how to execute the technique, I try to guide him through it. If it's someone of intermediate level, it depends on how good I know them and also on the situation - seminar or home dojo, teacher etc...
If it's someone my level or above, he'd have to do something very wrong (like doing the wrong technique...) or ask me, otherwise I'll keep my opinion to myself.

Being corrected is fine with me, happens all the time, especially with big guys... and in the end, when it works, it's fine! Of course, you also get the people who just like correcting everybody... then it's just "smile, nod and ignore"!:D

gates
01-28-2011, 05:31 AM
As has been discussed in other threads there are a couple of things to consider:
Dojo etiquette
Kohai/Sempai, Sempai/Kohai relationship
A differentiation between offering feedback and giving advice

Do you help them politely with the technique or wait for Sensei to help.

Me, personally (assuming I am Sempai in the situation) I would politely help them with the technique. Before I say anything I will just do the technique slowly and deliberately so that my partner has a chance to see what is happening. Often this is enough.

I think people generally respond better to being shown in a physical way than they do being told in a verbal way (not everybody). The last resort verbally is explaining the technique.

Standing around on the mat waiting for help would not be considered good form.

If I am the kohai then its a little tricker, offering feedback may not go down so well, so need to proceed with caution. Generally just do the technique and if they want your advice then they will ask for it.

Ultimately we are all in it together, to help each other out, as somebody stated occasionally we may lead people in a direction other than the one intended by Sensei. A good instructor will pick these things up either immediately or at some future point in time, no need to stress or get upset or defensive about it.

Regards
keith (2nd kyu)

Marie Noelle Fequiere
01-28-2011, 12:39 PM
At the beginning of an exercise, Sensei always wants kohais to pair up with sempais, because he expects the more advanced students to help the novice ones. He will even be irritated to find the novice doing something wrong and the sempai not correcting. So it all depends on the head instructor. Like another member of the forum likes to say: his dojo, his rule.;)

Marie Noelle Fequiere
01-28-2011, 12:50 PM
And I forgot to add: of course, being corrected by a kohai is a rather humbling experience, I know because it's happened to me. But what can I say? Kohai was respectful, and I was indeed messing up. That's one of the many lessons that you learn when practicing a martial art.
If you notice Sempai messing up and you are not sure how they will react, don't say anything and pray for Sensei to pass by. I know that some sempais do not react well in this kind of situations.
And you'd better be sure that it's no you who is messing up!;)

Hanna B
01-29-2011, 04:29 PM
I have been thinking about something and wanted to get some others opinions.

Here is the scenario. You are training with another person. They don't really understand the technique you're working on, but you understand the technique. Sensei is busy working with others. Do you help them politely with the technique or wait for Sensei to help.

Since I am no aikido expert, I personally would wait for Sensei to come over and work with us, but that is just my opinion. Any thoughts?

As has already been said, it depends a lot on the culture/etiquette of the dojo in question. But if you ask me for my preference, I don't offer much help unless asked for. But if asked for, yes of course.

If the other person is a beginner who knows xe hasn't understood, I'd offer help even if xe doesn't ask. Otherwise, probably not. Or I would do it in a less obvious fashion. I could slow my techniques down, and do them in a way to show specific points. Either the other person gets it, or not. If xe thinks I've understood the technique, xe will be checking what I'm doing. If xe's not interested, my talking will probably not yield much good anyhow.

I have been training with advanced people who used their turn of doing their technique to point out specific points in the technique. One after the other, so I could try it, then when I got it the next point, then yet another one. A truly brilliant way of teaching the person you're training with! Much less intrusive than if the guy would have taught me while I was trying to do the technique. I'll try to remember to use it myself, but I can't say that I have. It should be possible to use it both with talking, and without.

graham christian
01-30-2011, 11:19 AM
I insist they help each other. To me it's a matter of sharing responsibility. It's also part of teaching a student to be a teacher and the responsibilities involved.
The only time not to help so to speak is when the person needs do carry on, to work their way through it. This point is usually when the person says I hear you and I'm trying to do it but it's not happening. Time for repetitive disciplined practice. Thus this is also help actually.
Regards.G.

George S. Ledyard
01-30-2011, 01:46 PM
My point if view is colored by my own experience Because I started relatively early, back in 1976, I have always been senior to most of the folks I trained with. Add to that my size, which even in my youngest days was over 200 lbs. So, my "habit" is to help. I never saw much of an alternative. I had no interest in tanking for my partner, neither person learns anything from that. On the other hand, standing there while my partner flounders around doing things I know have absolutely no hope of succeeding didn't make sense to me either. Sometimes I know my "help" wasn't necessarily appreciated. On the other hand shutting my partner down for the duration of the technique was NEVER appreciated.

This would not be quite such an issue if people had a "process" they used in training. 20 years ago or so, I had the realization that half of the folks I trained with had no "process" for moving from the technique that clearly wasn't working towards something that might.

I was training at Chicago Winter camp back in the nineties...got paired with an old friend from my DC days. Since I knew he came from the same background I did, I figured we could go at it just as we did back in DC. The technique was munetsuki kotegaeshi. So I attacked and nailed him in the ribs as he attempted his tenkan. I attacked again and nailed him once again. I thought maybe he was just off due to travel or some such. But I nailed him five times in a row.

I looked at him and asked, "Doesn't that hurt?" He replied, "Yes!" whereupon I suggested he try something different. He was doing the same thing over and over while failing miserably each time. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to have a different result. Yet here he was doing just that. When I realized that he simply had no mental process for evaluating what he had just done and moving his next attempt towards something that worked better.

After that experience, I started looking at how my various partners approached their training process. It turned out that most actually expected me to make the adjustment when their stuff didn't work. Obviously I was attacking outside their capacity zone and I was expected to adjust my attacks so that they could achieve success. That's when I first realized just how big a problem collusion was in Aikido. We have largely developed and taught a style of ukemi that is designed to make the techniques work rather than the other way around. (The folks who didn't do this tended to train with way to much muscle and tension... but we've discussed that elsewhere a number of times).

The lack of principle based instruction leaves the student with little or no idea of what actually makes a technique work. Without that, how can anyone "reverse engineer" from a failed attempt and have some idea what to adjust on the next attempt. The training process is really like an algorithm. Each repetition is an approximation that gets you closer and closer to some unattainable "perfect technique". But if you have no idea why something is really working, you are stuck with blindly try to duplicate something you thought you saw (often not what you thought), or thought you heard (often not what was meant), or thought you felt (quite often not what was done).

I went to a seminar with an eminent Shihan. There were tons of great folks on the mat from all over the country. The entire seminar consisted of the Shihan showing a technique and the participants doing that technique exactly as they knew how to do when they walked in while the Shihan stood for ten minutes and watched the clock. There was no instruction that I could see...

This is how we can have forty or fifty years of Aikido training and so few great Aikido practitioners. This is why we see people make no substantive change in their Aikido over ten or fifteen years. This whole idea that we should "just train" and it will all become clear...that's a total myth and is given the lie simply by looking at the results of 40 to 50 years of Aikido in America. If that method worked we'd have a lot of folks who were really excellent and certainly hardly anyone would be putting in ten or more years with no real change in their skill level.

I think it is crucially important that we start to understand that 20,000 repetitions of a mistake is now a deeply ingrained mistake. And a lack of a conceptual framework, a principle based understanding of what one is trying for, makes progress merely the 50 million monkeys typing randomly with one eventually typing Shakespeare. The operative reality here is that the other 49+ million were typing gibberish.

Have some people managed to get some skill training this way? Of course. I think that the folks who did so were either extremely intuitive or manged to develop their own analytical framework which served to guide their progress. Just look at the students of the Founder... vastly different levels of skill and sophistication amongst a group of folks who all were on the mat at the same time with the same teacher(s). Chiba Sensei told me once that he thought Saotome Sensei was a creative genius. While a compliment, certainly, I do not think he saw it wholly from that standpoint. I think he was also acknowledging the difficulty of being a teacher who was able to learn things in a manner that most students cannot duplicate. Chiba Sensei himself is one of the most organized teachers I have ever encountered. Measured by his ability to pass on what he knows to a number of students, I would say that he has been very successful in doing so. He is therefore, in that sense, a great "teacher".

On the other hand, the geniuses, the intuitive learners, the ones who could "see" a movement and get it, translate what they saw in to their own bodies on the first or second try, they've had a tough time passing on what they know because their students have normal learning styles.

You know how many great Aikido practitioners turn out to have engineering or technical backgrounds? Saotome Sensei, who is your creative genius, fantastically talented artistic type, turned out to have majored in college in product design and that was his first job. Tom Read, has a deep math and science background, which is evident in his new book on his Aikibojitsu practice. It's like reading the Tao of Physics or the Dancing Wuli Masters. Ushiro Sensei is an engineer with multiple patents under his name.

I think this analytical talent makes it possible for someone to develop his own understanding of the principles operating in our techniques. But whether or not they use that understanding to create a principle based structure that others can use and understand is another story.

I think we have to do two things... first of all, we need to get out and train with people who offer organized, principle based instruction. It can be with teachers from within Aikido or from folks outside. Personally, I do both.

Second, we need to take that framework and teach our students how to use that framework to create a process for their training. I am always asking a student, "why did that not work?" They have to tell me why they though it went wrong. If they can tell me what really was missing, then we have to examine why they didn't do it since they obviously were aware that they needed to. Often we discover that something deeper is going on. That what they need to do is very simple but under pressure they can't do it. This is part of how the Aikido practice can be "transformative".

If they can't tell me, then I tell them. I show them what went wrong, then get them to do it with that element fixed. This is all done so that the student, over time, develops the ability to become his or her own teacher. When a student can self correct or at least has a sense of how to move closer to what he or she is trying for with each repetition, then we can talk about the "perfect world" in which no one needs to help his partner because each student knows how to help himself.

To my mind, that is what every teacher should be doing. It's not about teaching technique. It's about teaching how to learn. We need to teach how to process what we see, how to process what we do, encourage our students to question, and give them encouragement and support in looking far and wide for anyone who can help them get better. In short, it is really the teachers job to make himself unnecessary to the process of his student's progress.

So, I figure that, until that happens, folks who know something, should be willing to pass it on if it seems to help their partner; especially when the alternative is sitting there looking at each other with nothing happening. That's a waste of everyone's time.

graham christian
01-30-2011, 02:32 PM
George. May I say --- Very well put.
Regards. G.

nuxie
01-31-2011, 10:22 PM
I say let them work it out themselves. the first step in aikido is to learn how to move yourself. Most people including myself are very rigid and are focusing on step by step things. If you don't let them feel their mistakes then they wont understand what you are trying to tell them when they do it wrong. There are 4 people I train with so we do communicate and ask questions on a regular basis. I am vertically challenged so I have to adjust how I do things. In the beginning I had to make the mistakes. I still have trouble with shihonage techniques. Even though I have discussed it until there is nothing to talk about, and practiced until most of my hair has fallen out. One of the things I appreciate most is that they just physically correct me.. If I have the wrong grip they move my hand around etc. In a larger class I would just go with the flow. If they are doing fast paced class just let it go because they will eventually be paired up with a higher ranking person and be corrected. Just silently adjust them and move on. Smaller class I would stop the person and turn to look at the sensei as he does the technique and then continue.

terry johnson
02-08-2011, 08:34 PM
Some teachers will not like it: 'Are you teaching on my mat...?'.
Others rely on you to help others out with little things. I train at two places with these contrasting attitudes...

Can be a bit of a bastard when somebody who's been training for less time than you, and who's just passed 5th kyu (unconvincingly), tells you 'You're not doing it right'...'Let baby have his bottle.' - but now i'm digressing, and making this about me.

I always think, if he/she is doing it wrong it won't work and when I do it it will
They will then learn, by having said nothing!!

Larry Feldman
02-09-2011, 09:58 AM
Amen George.

The traditional approach of 'monkey see, monkey do' might be fine in another culture, but it is just not that interesting as a student. It is the difference between memorization vs. understanding. But it seems to be the vehicle for instruction that came over from Japan - it doesn't mean that it is the only way, the preferred way, or the best way.

lbb
02-10-2011, 07:22 AM
The traditional approach of 'monkey see, monkey do' might be fine in another culture, but it is just not that interesting as a student. It is the difference between memorization vs. understanding.

I disagree with this as a blanket statement. When used by an instructor who does not understand the technique himself/herself, "monkey see, monkey do" isn't the most effective teaching technique -- that's where it fails. But look at the typical Western model of "learning", where the student insists that the instructor prove the worth/truth of what he/she is saying before the student will give it a try. It all sounds very bold and independent and un-sheep-like, doesn't it? The only problem is that if the new student gets the explanation demanded, he/she lacks the experience and knowledge to understand it. The student has thus set an insurmountable barrier to learning that only serves to confirm his/her comfortable prejudices.

Sometimes -- a great deal of the time, in fact, where physical skills are involved -- you just have to get some miles under the tires before you can understand the theory behind what you're doing. It may not be "interesting", but that's just the drill if you want to learn rather than be entertained.

delliott
02-10-2011, 09:26 PM
Thank you everyone for the comments on my post. Very good conversation!

Alberto_Italiano
02-11-2011, 06:45 AM
Our approach is totally anarchic: we are 4 persons (3 with boxing background) and we routinely train in aikido without any sensei (and without any hope, or interest actually, for a belt).

Now, I know this would spell anathema to nearly 99.99% of aikidokas (for good reasons, and also for less noble reasons).
Yet, in such setting, everybody can teach everybody - injuries don't occur (I have seen them occur in a dojo instead - broken tendons of a uke's bicep put into Ikkyo by a 2nd dan - right under my eyes).

Certainly it is not something most would feel comfortable with (it is an approach that only persons with a boxing background may understand, I think, because they are more aware that in a fight you can't be picky).

The outcome is unusual - you aren't styilish in the least, yet you are quite effective at times. Accomplished aikidokas consider you rough (they say that), and yet find you quite interesting because you have a way of fighting that they normally can't experience in overcontrolled envrionments (and they say that too) - as a Sensei said "you don't succed with him because he is not schooled into the bad habit of accommodating you".

Basically, training with others always teaches you something - by the mere act of training.