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Robert Jackson
05-18-2004, 11:11 PM
Well I was talking to a fellow Aikidokan after class tonight and we some how (Gee I wonder) got on the subject: What is Sensei Riggs teaching us? Well after quite a bit of thought we came to the conclusion that he's not teaching us Aikido. But rather he is teaching us how to learn and pick up the sublties of aikido. This is of course being done through Aikido. However in my opinion is more valuable then just learning Aikido. It will allow us to venture out into seminars and give us and extra push to catching the little sublities other people might not catch. So my question: Is your Sensei teaching you Aikido or is he/she teaching you how to learn Aikido, and which do you think is more valuable? Can you even have one with out the other?

Robert.

JJF
05-19-2004, 01:51 AM
I allways think of it this way: each sensei teaches me his interpretation of what aikido is - both in the major aspect of things and in the fine details. After a while I hope I will become proficient enough to start building my own interpretation. I think a teacher should allways be true to his own understanding of aikido, and thus it is aikido which he is teaching.

Hope this seem relevant to you.

PeterR
05-19-2004, 02:16 AM
Shu Ha Ri

He is teaching you Aikido

ian
05-19-2004, 07:26 AM
I think initially people learn techniques - only when this is done do people start to learn aikido. The techniques are like the writing paper which aikido is written on.

crand32100
05-19-2004, 08:20 AM
I gave up coming to class to be taught probably 5 years ago. I decided that if I want to get better at this, I have to create this for myself. I take what the teacher says and see if I can make it my own. Many times, what works for them does not work for me. The teachers that I'm most compatible with do not teach a lot of specific mechanical things. I think it's more important to find the principles that tie all of the techniques together than it is to overdo it with too many thoughts. Listening to a really technical instruction tends to get me thinking all about what I'm doing to the other guy. The funny thing is that I seem to improve much more when I don't get drawn into the other guy and focus on my own mental and physical integrity while doing the movements. Saotome sensei says that the difference between Chineese martial arts and Japaneese martial arts is that the Chineese like to make very eloborate systems for fighting. It's amazing that one's body can even remember so many movements. Japaneese arts are based in simplicity. They strive to eliminate as many unnecessary movements as possible. When a teacher gets up and talks and talks and talks I start to feel more like they are teaching a very complicated Chineese system, when it's something that was intended to be a lot simpler. Rather than trying to fill my head up, it's more like my goal is to shave things off that aren't needed. I like to keep this in the back of my mind whenever I'm listening to an instruction.

SeiserL
05-19-2004, 08:49 AM
IMHO, a lot of people are only teaching and learning the technqiues of Aikido, they do not learn how to learn, or the principles, or the application of those principles in a larger scale outside the Dojo mats. And people have the right to only teach or learn to their own needs, wants, and level of competence.

I am most fortunate to have a Sensei (Phong Sensei of Tenshinkai Aikido) who does it all, mostly by example.

MaryKaye
05-19-2004, 09:53 AM
What strikes me about my teachers lately is that they're teaching me three things:

(1) How to do some aikido, which I thought was the point when I started;
(2) How to learn aikido--I realized how much they'd taught me about that when I tried visiting other dojo and had to "start from scratch" on certain techniques. My ability to do so was far better than when I was a beginner, and I could see the specific things they'd done to improve it.
(3) How to teach aikido. This is a constant theme, though usually a subtle one. They'll ask me to evaluate another student's form; they'll teach me how to lead a terrified newbie uke through a move in the most effective way. And I see my seniors being challenged to do more than that, up to and including leading their own classes.

I didn't know 2 and 3 were part of the package, but I find myself deeply interested in all three.

("Teachers" throughout this because we don't have a single person who's identifiably the sensei of the dojo. I do four classes a week from four different instructors, and lean a great deal from them all.)

Mary Kaye

p00kiethebear
05-19-2004, 10:55 AM
hmmm

"I am not teaching you martial technique, I'm teaching you the way of non violence" - O Sensei

John Boswell
05-19-2004, 11:21 AM
Robert said:
"So my question: Is your Sensei teaching you Aikido or is he/she teaching you how to learn Aikido, and which do you think is more valuable? Can you even have one with out the other?"

I am of the opinion that it is very easy to "teach" aikido and not the learning of it. That's the 'monkey see-monkey do' principle. Those who studied under O'Sensei, I believe, not only got the training in how, but many were of sufficient intellect that they were able to make it their own and picked up different ways of passing it on.

Pity I missed that conversation, Robert, because I tend to side with Mary Kaye on this one.
I think we're getting all three: how to do, how to learn, and how to teach. One thing I appreciate from Sensei is that he treats everyone as equals on the mat, despite rank... and simply adjusts his speed, timing, power to the uke before him. He could easily toss any one of us around like he does Lan, but he knows where we are and what we can do.

Being that no two people are the same, especially in our class where we have just about every variety of size and shape of person (me being the 'good looking' person) we're lucky to train to adjust on the fly and still work on the basic principles nessecary to each and every technique.

By the way, we're not just a lot of "kiss-a**es" in Midland. If anything, we're Aikido-nerds. 90% of us are reading books, studing videos, dvd's, hit the forums... read, read, read. Some more than others, but our study of aikido doesn't stop when we step off the mat. I feel very lucky to study in such a group.

Domo artigato! :D

Robert Jackson
05-19-2004, 05:51 PM
I (me being the 'good looking' person)

Bos... If you're the 'good looking' person we are one extremly ugly group...

Gareth Hinds
05-24-2004, 11:23 AM
I think what my sensei is really trying to teach me is makoto - sincerity.

Vincent Munoz
01-27-2005, 07:49 AM
I've been teaching aikido.

In order to be called aikido, the principles must always be present. If you cannot find any of its principle in a technique, I cannot call it aikido. That's how I criticize the people who uses the name Combat Aikido. They should not use the name Aikido because the meaning of Aikido compared to Combat is very opposite.

The continues movement, graceful footworks, no blocks, no collision, body-foot-hand-ki coordination, moving outside the line of attack and most importantly is how an aikidoka defend himself. It is very easy to hurt or kill people. You don't need aikido to do that. The difficult is how you defend yourself in such a way that you're not hurting your aggressor.

Going back to your subject. Your sensei is teaching you the right things. Aikido doesn't only mean technique.

Understand first deeply what aikido is and everything will be easy.

bong

Adam Alexander
01-27-2005, 09:10 AM
I think "Aikido" must be defined before you can have a discussion about it. So far, it seems like the word is being used differently by different people.

To me, "Aikido" could be defined as a group of hand-to-hand combat rooted movements that utilize a number of physical principals to exploit another's intincts.

If you agree with that definition, then you're learning Aikido and some additional lessons from your instructor. If you're finding lessons within the techniques, then maybe you could say that Aikido is teaching you life lessons.

I've always thought that it was rather egotistical for an instructor to teach more than samurai philosophy and technique on the mat. I believe it's that ego that causes instructors to have difficulty with classes.

How do you define "Aikido?"

Bronson
01-27-2005, 09:44 AM
How do you define "Aikido?"

The Dao that can be named is not the Dao and upon being named is no longer the Dao....or something like that anyway ;)

Bronson

Nick P.
01-27-2005, 10:23 AM
How do you define "Aikido?"

Anything from http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html

"If you have not
Linked yourself
To true emptiness,
You will never understand
The Art of Peace."

or

"The Art of Peace does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love."

Obtained from
http://www-cse.ucsd.edu/users/paloma/Aikido/artpeace.html

Mary Eastland
01-27-2005, 10:32 AM
Thanks Jun for the doka of this day....I really like the reminder.

By his example my Sensei teaches me that if I go to class no matter how I feel emotionaly I will feel better after.class ;o)

I have also learned and forget and learned and forgot again and again that if I can keep my center or lose my center and then get it back I am much safer and more comfortable in the crazy world we live in.

For those lessons and thousands more I am most grateful to my sensei.
Mary

Qatana
01-27-2005, 12:00 PM
I have also learned and forget and learned and forgot again and again that if I can keep my center or lose my center and then get it back I am much safer and more comfortable in the crazy world we live in.

Yes!

Tim Heckman
01-27-2005, 12:10 PM
My sensei would probably say she is teaching the way of harmony with energy, and leave it at that. ;)

Adam Alexander
01-27-2005, 05:41 PM
Regarding the responses to my question "how do you define Aikido": I can appreciate your perspectives on Aikido's philosophy. However, the style that I practice doesn't seem to get so deep into that stuff. Does that mean that this style does not meet your definition of Aikido?

Narda
01-28-2005, 01:20 PM
While I am a guest in this House of Aikido, and a newcomer to martial arts, I can say that what my teacher teaches, and what I am learning, are two very different things.

Nick P.
01-28-2005, 02:45 PM
Jean,

For what it is worth, the style I am learning does not talk much about the philosophy either.
Lately, I have been asking myself: "WWOSD?" (What-Would-O-Sensei-Do)?
I am "qualified" or "enlightened" enough to do so? Probably not, but I am enjoying the exercise none the less, and the conclusions I make are my own....and I reserve the right to change them.

So, with that in mind, and combined with what I believe/ have learned: as long as your style of Aikido does not try and cripple your partner, I am more than comfortable with saying "yes, that is Aikido".

I would, personally, tend to say that your definition very accurately describes the physical interaction, but that overall Aikido is a little (or a lot) more than that...but again I can accept that definition just fine.

What is interesting to note is that we may not take the same path to it, but we do arrive at the same conclusion (don't we?).

Adam Alexander
01-28-2005, 04:23 PM
What is interesting to note is that we may not take the same path to it, but we do arrive at the same conclusion (don't we?).

Agreed.

raul rodrigo
01-28-2005, 05:44 PM
Kumagai Shihan once said to me: "I am not teaching you waza (technique) for the sake of technique. There is something underneath the waza that we cannot get to any other way, something very deep. So we do the waza over and over again and little by little we see it." Just exactly what lies underneath waza he was reluctant to say, perhaps because words will always fail to reach it.

Sue Hammerich
01-29-2005, 12:51 PM
Interesting that this thread should be revisited just now; I just emailed my Sensei with something like this.
I work in health care, seeing people with injuries of the upper extremity. I sent a progress note to a MD, advocating for some aspects of this person's care that I thought could use some extra looking at. The MD called me on the phone, very angry. Frankly, I was initially intimidated.But my sensei talks about this kind of thing; grounding in the face of anger and responding with a calm center. To be sure, I had all my ducks in a row in the original note, and provided the necessary findings to support my thesis. I grounded, cantered, and discussed this situation, and by the end of the call, the MD felt that I was right, and reconsidered his earlier response. Because of what Sensei Steve Steger has brought to my leaning,and the gift of his teaching, a patient will get the treatment she deserves. I've only been able to train for a very short time, but he has made a difference in the lives of others.

Mary Eastland
01-29-2005, 03:08 PM
Sue:
wow....that was good to read...thank you
Mir

villrg0a
06-12-2005, 05:32 AM
I think this is a good thread and should not die just like that... :)

To answer the question, the dojo must have a good teaching system, a qualified and knowledgeable instructor who cannot only dance but sing as well. A good system w/out the two is nothing, they should all come together, just like pepper and salt, salt and pepper. An instructor who can teach by showing moves may not be able to communicate with the majority of the students. However, if he can explain each moves slowly and clearly and has a good teaching system then....he's doing good IMHO.

I know somebody in our area who claims he teaches and has been jumping from one dojo to another and carries another dojo's patch on his chest. He talks a lot about principles, and footworks, etc. and criticizes other styles of aikido other than what he is practicing. Problem is, he can show the moves very fast, ahhh but cant explain it.

Kevin Leavitt
06-12-2005, 06:48 AM
I know somebody in our area who claims he teaches and has been jumping from one dojo to another and carries another dojo's patch on his chest. He talks a lot about principles, and footworks, etc. and criticizes other styles of aikido other than what he is practicing. Problem is, he can show the moves very fast, ahhh but cant explain it.

Getting your mind and your body to be able to do the things you can talk about or theorize about is very difficult! (I can't do it). It's that whole tacit knowledge thing I learned about in my Knowledge Management class in grad school!

I knew more about martial arts at 30 than I do know at 40. How can that be?

batemanb
06-12-2005, 01:26 PM
I knew more about martial arts at 30 than I do know at 40. How can that be?

It comes with getting old mate, forgetfulness is just something you'll have to get used to ;) :D.

aikigirl10
06-12-2005, 06:02 PM
All i can say is that, i started doing aikido when i was eight , and at that time , all i was worried about was doing "karate" , it was much later when i realized , this is alot more than just a martial art. Now i see aikido in a new perspective , and i try to take in every aspect of the martial art. So, for me i started learning "how to do aikido" on my own, but i guess if your sensei is starting that now , then you're just ahead of the game . ;)

Just stating how i went through it.
-paige

wendyrowe
06-13-2005, 08:08 AM
My sensei is teaching me how to do aikido, how to learn to do aikido, and how to think about the essence of aikido to be able to apply it in all situations. At least, that's the theory; how well I do at all of the above is purely up to me.