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View Full Version : Poll: How good a teacher do you think Morihei Ueshiba was?


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05-04-2003, 01:01 AM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of May 4, 2003:

How good a teacher do you think Morihei Ueshiba was?

I don't do aikido
Superb
Great
Good
Fair
Mediocre
Poor


Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=164).

PeterR
05-04-2003, 01:11 AM
The man inspired and produced some great martial artists when he was in his prime. Even after he began his decline (happens to the best of us) he still inspired.

In my mind inspiration will the well spout of a great teacher.

His teaching style was pretty haphazard so I wont say Superb.

erikmenzel
05-04-2003, 03:50 AM
Teacher in the sense of helping people to learn in didactically sound manners, well then I think he wasn't the greatest, especially if you are using western ideas about teaching and education.

Teacher in the sense as example and inspiration, well he still is for a lot of people so no use in denying that.

I think that great budoka and great teacher not necessarly coincide.

siwilson
05-04-2003, 10:53 AM
The mark of a teacher is his students, and O'Sensei produced many superb budoka!

'Nuff said.

ze'ev erlich
05-05-2003, 04:36 AM
Dear Peter Rehse,

Pardon my question but I truely wish to understand whay do you exactly mean by writing: "Even after he began his decline"?

Thanks.

Ze'ev.

ian
05-05-2003, 08:04 AM
I said he was a poor teacher. Although he may have taught the Uchideschi, people I have spoken to say he didn't really 'teach' at all - He wouldn't say anything negative about the techniques you were doing, and therefore didn't direct people. Also, he didn't teach in a structured way (which some people may argue is better).

Also, it seems he awarded several people 10th Dan in private. Either they are lying or he was being somewhat sycophantic (or maybe just saying what they wanted to hear).

Persoanlly I believe he was a fantastic martial artist who wasn't willing to teach all that he knew (for example striking vital points was not a part of his training though he undoubtedly used them himself in real many real challanges). He also spoke in a traditional form of the Japanese language which was hard for many of the Japanese to understand.

Unfortuantely great martial artists are not always great teachers. I have seen many fantastic aikidoka who have very poor students.

Therefore the real test (of a good teacher) is, did any of his students exceed him? I don't believe they did.

Why was this? I think he created a new martial art aimed towards peace which was less effective than his own capability. I think he hoped to create a peace movement, and he also feared that what he knew would be cause his own destruction, or that of others.

Ian

Ron Tisdale
05-05-2003, 10:47 AM
The swahili word for "to learn" is jifunza, which means to "teach yourself".

I think in the budo of Ueshiba's time, teaching was done by the student copying the role presented by the instructor. Shu, Ha, Ri. This type of instruction seems to be prefered in many traditional societies. Seen in that light, I think Ueshiba was probably a phenomenal instructor.

PeterR
05-05-2003, 09:26 PM
Pardon my question but I truely wish to understand whay do you exactly mean by writing: "Even after he began his decline"?
Nothing bad - just the effects of age which we will all hopefully succumb to eventually.

acot
05-05-2003, 11:35 PM
If I am not mistaken, but did he teach at a University before the the War, and during the war he helped train special ops in hand to hand. Look at his resume' I would have say he was a pretty darn good teacher.

PeterR
05-05-2003, 11:50 PM
He was actually fired from the "Secret Agent School" because his techniques weren't being transmitted fast enough - the place was taken by Shodokan Karate if memory serves.

University before the war?? First I heard that one although his student Kenji Tomiki did and even there it was a pretty select group. It's possible but basically before the war teaching was still done to small groups of people at private dojos.

Any position that Ueshiba M. achieved before the war was based on his reputation as a martial artist - not a teacher.
If I am not mistaken, but did he teach at a University before the the War, and during the war he helped train special ops in hand to hand. Look at his resume' I would have say he was a pretty darn good teacher.

DCP
05-08-2003, 02:28 PM
I find it interesting that people that weren't taught directly by him or witnessed his teaching are attempting to answer this question.

PeterR
05-08-2003, 09:53 PM
Why so strange. There is a lot of information out there from multiple sources - both written and verbal. Some we all have access to, some we don't. Personally I'll take second and even third hand information and evaluate it accordingly. Historians do that all the time.

I think the poll question is more along the lines of what you consider a good teacher and did Ueshiba M. fit the bill.
I find it interesting that people that weren't taught directly by him or witnessed his teaching are attempting to answer this question.

DCP
05-09-2003, 07:48 AM
As a teacher (junior high social studies), I don't really want others evaluating my ability to teach except for the kids that are/were in my classes. They are the ones that have the most experience with the way I teach.

Also, real historians go to the primary sources as often as possible. Continuous interpretations create a "telephone game" effect.

My point can be summed up with a question: If you want to learn about O'Sensei, are you going to buy a book written by Joe Blow Aikidoka, or one of O'Sensei's direct students?

Just a few of my brain-droppings . . .

Mark Balogh
05-09-2003, 08:45 AM
Therefore the real test (of a good teacher) is, did any of his students exceed him? I don't believe they did.

Ian
As far as I am aware, no one was trained like he was trained. In particular, Daito Ryu, Omote ideals and if we are to believe the speculation, Bagua.

The internal aspects of Aikido are not very well taught in my opinion, compared to lets say, Tai Chi.

There is so much lost it just puts a question mark over everything. But then again, O'sensei was the only person who practised Aikido, and people just try and copy that without having gone through his prior training. It's just interpretations, but it's all we have. :(

shadow
05-09-2003, 09:02 AM
im with daniel here.

besides you also forget that what is a bad teacher for some is a fantastic teacher for others. i didnt answer this poll because im not in a position to assess him as a teacher. but look at his students as has been said...... many fine students. you very rarely get good students without a good teacher.

Ron Tisdale
05-09-2003, 10:33 AM
How about doing both? Anything wrong with that?

RT

PeterR
05-09-2003, 08:26 PM
Also, real historians go to the primary sources as often as possible. Continuous interpretations create a "telephone game" effect.
That's right and that is why I said evaluate accordingly. The closer to the source the better, but not always. Sometimes a little distance is a good thing.

As far as primary sources go you are making an assumption and there are others contributing to the board that have more exposure still to people exposed directly to Ueshiba M.. There is also quite a lot of written information by these same students. I know the point you are trying to make and really can't argue with it but I have heard people proclaim with an earnestness that's scary things like.

Ueshiba was the most religious man in Japan

or the best swordsman

or the best .........

Can't help but interject a little realism.

crand32100
03-29-2004, 09:21 PM
I've spoken to a primary source who is a native Japanese speaker (Henry Kono Sensei). He went to O'Sensei's classes for four years. What he said is that O'Sensei would actually stand in front of the class and say emphatically "I'm not going to tell you what I'm doing."

The man changed a lot of people with his new ideas, but it seems he never really revealed the secret to what he was doing. I've also heard Saotome sensei mention that during his entire time with O'sensei he only saw him give technical pointers maybe 5 times.

If you weren't there, you can't really make a good judgement about his teaching, but you can't create such an internationally diverse practice if there is nothing there.

SeiserL
03-29-2004, 09:51 PM
Given the growth of Aikido, O'Sensei must have been a great teacher, even if we don't know what it was he was really teaching.

kironin
03-30-2004, 01:16 AM
Given the growth of Aikido, O'Sensei must have been a great teacher, even if we don't know what it was he was really teaching.
Of course, some of his students turned out to be phenomenal teachers in their own right, each developing a unique extensive pedagogy to train many students and spread the art of aikido outside of Japan

Kenji Tomiki Sensei

Gozo Shioda Sensei

Koichi Tohei Sensei

to name some major ones.

the traditional method of shu ha ri works great when you plan to have only a less than handful of students. Perhaps not so great scaled up to a world scale.

Craig