View Full Version : avenues of learning

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Paula Lydon
07-16-2003, 07:38 AM
~~What approach is best for you in learning something like Aikido? Me, I need to physically do things over and over, with some verbal explaination/back-up. I have to understand what I'm trying to accomplish, then doitdoitdoit. How about you? :cool:

Anders Bjonback
08-09-2003, 05:20 PM
I don't know if my current way of learning is very benificial, but I always try to maintain some sort of awareness towards my movement and improve it. I may become a obcessive or nitpicky about it, at which time it may be counter-productive because I'm not trying other forms of movement.

I find it interesting how different that is from studying academics. In studying, I just sit down and go over the same stuff for five or six hours though studying note cards. If I make a mistake, I aknowledge my mistake and simply put the same note card halfway down the deck, and try again for the answer when I get back to it. I just stay at it.

Conversely, instead of aknowleging my mistakes and going on, in aikido, I keep on trying to do it right, or obcess over one particular thing and try to do it right, and come back at it again and again and again. Instead of letting go of a mistake, I almost obcess over it.

In academic study, if I try to obcess over a particular math problem, I'll just end up getting fustrated, but if I let go and come at it from a different angle, I'll do fine. My obcessive personality seems to work fine with aikido, but I think it would also be productive to let go and come at it from a different angle, as what has often happened with many fustrating math problems.

Small classes have always been the best for me in terms of learning in academics, yet in aikido I was surprised to find that large classes are also benificial. Small classes work for me well in aikido because I get more help from the instructer, yet the large evening classes are also very benificial because I work with a variety of people. Being paired up with much more experienced sempai is also very benficial because I can learn from the way they move, and they can show me what I am doing wrong.

There are other parallels I have noticed between aikido and my fustrations with high school pre calculus. In pre cal, I would work and work on the same set of problems, never able to understand them. I would get more and more fustrated. Finally, the day before the test, I would approach the teacher for help one-on-one, and he would say the one, small thing I was missing, and everything would fall into place. Would everything fall into place without my constant, fustrating and mentally strenuous efforts the night before? I think it can be the same with aikido practice. I have to be ready for the teacher's advice before everything falls into place.

In classes where the teacher gives us something to work on in our technique, I usually find myself fustrated. And I find that after working for a few minutes, I notice a mistake in something else, and I start to obcess over it (what I mean by "obcess" is that it's all I think about) and want to work on it instead of what the teacher told us to.

Personalized advice, on the other hand, usually works very well for me, if I am aware enough to work on it. One randori class, the teacher told me to work on my posture, not to slouch as much, and my randori really improved because of that advice. This is why I like smaller classes with more individual attention, or larger classes with more advanced students.

08-09-2003, 06:13 PM
I find that I learn best in a see-do-do-do approach. My bodies follow the visual image better than the auditory description. Besides the visual is faster than the auditory. Eventually, it should just be executed by kinesthetic feel. I look forward to that day.

Until again,


Lan Powers
08-09-2003, 09:03 PM
Very much the repetitive "do,do,do " approach.

But if I am obsessing over some small aspect, it seems to help me to close my ayes when in contact with the uke.... working on the kinesthetic feel as mentioned above.

I am VERY visual oriented, but just "feeling the flow" as it were is often the key bit toward correcting the problem.:freaky:

weird, huh?


08-09-2003, 11:53 PM
I'm a visual person, so I like the hands-on, experience-it method. Books and videos are fun supplements, but actual experience is where I like to go.

If I disagree with something (like a technique), I fully expect it to be explained to me as to why I'm 'incorrect' (Possibly after class). Most times I get reasonable explanations... if I don't, I just let it pass and wait to see if later the explanation becomes relevant.

Finally, plenty of training is good, but it must be compatible with my goals and worthwhile. I hope that isn't read as judgemental, I'll train with anyone.

But there are some folks who like to exhaust your time by talking about conquests, or great epiphanies, or "what aikido training really is", when their actions have little to reflect those accomplishments; I don't avoid folks like this, but I will not actively seek their tutelage.


Anders Bjonback
08-10-2003, 09:10 AM
Dang... how many times did I misspell "obsess" and "obsessive" in my post? I hope I didn't come across as an idiot.

08-10-2003, 11:31 AM
But your meaning came across. There is no such thing as "stupid", so worry not. :)


Paula Lydon
08-10-2003, 01:59 PM
~~Anders...not to worry. You were very clear and open. Thanks! :)

08-11-2003, 02:47 AM
I have to rationalise movements I don't catch on to as " well this looks like a sumo walking so I'll have to step like that..."

And if repetition doesn't drum it into my head, I take time away from it for it to register.

I'm getting better at thinking less and doing more. That was a stumbling block at the beginning- trying to reason my way through everything.

08-11-2003, 05:57 AM
I have to rationalise movements I don't catch on to as " well this looks like a sumo walking so I'll have to step like that..."

And if repetition doesn't drum it into my head, I take time away from it for it to register.

I'm getting better at thinking less and doing more. That was a stumbling block at the beginning- trying to reason my way through everything.
Anna, I agree thinking less/acting more is a good approach, and it doesn't hurt to occasionally ask the "why" questions.

Ask fellow students or sensei(s) to help you understand the reasons for movements. If you know the reasons, you may find the movements stick better in your memory.

You have a helpful approach; we should always seek information and knowledge on what we're doing if 'understanding' eludes us.


Greg Jennings
08-11-2003, 08:00 AM
I'm a very analytical person.

At a macro level, I have a do it, analyze it cycle.

At the micro level, my "do it" cycle, is to do it complete, do it slow in parts, do it complete again.

Likewise, at a micro level, the "analyze it" part of the macro cycle is a deconstruct/reconstruct cycle. I.e., it's a "chunking" thing. I break it down into logical chunks and compare those chunks to similar chunks from other techniques. I try to associate them; see how they are the same and how they are different. Then, I reconstruct the chunks.

I tend to do the "do it" in class and the "analyze it" between classes.

Best Regards,

Ian Moore
08-11-2003, 11:03 AM
I'm still new to Aikido as I've only been training for a couple months now, so this is just how one beginner is attempting it.

So far I've found I'm really not that great at learning a technique through demonstration. Usually when a technique is demonstrated I make like a sponge and try to absorb it. At my dojo, techniques are usually demonstrated a number of times, so once through I'll get the overall feel of it. The next time I'll watch the hands, then the footwork, then the overall feel again. That tends to give me a rough idea of how the technique is performed, but invariably when I get up with a training partner and attempt the technique I'll freeze up somewhere through it and completely forget how to finish.

Sometimes I pause a moment and try to feel what seems the natural way to get from A to B and figure it out that way, but usually a senior student or an instructor will help clarify. Either way, I've found I usually do rather poorly on a technique until I get all the "steps" for that technique sorted out in my head. More often than not, this happens outside of class when I try to explain it to a family member or when I just try to practice that particular technique.

Once I'm confident on how to do the technique, I can practice it in class and work on the finer points like taking uke's balance completely, maintaing my connection, working on posture, etc.

So in short I guess I watch, attempt, mess up, figure out my mistakes, then practice, practice, practice.

08-11-2003, 07:55 PM
i'm tend to go for see-do-do-do approach, but in the process i also use the 'feel' approach, when i become uke, i tried my best to feel where the lock spot is, or where is the pain spot or feel how my body was thrown and the flow of energy when my nage perform throwing techniques.

one difficult thing about this approach is when either uke or nage isn't sincere enough when they did the technique,because when my partner do the technique half-hearted, i can't feel neither follow my body through it. and oftenly i have to fall myself and give correction later on.