View Full Version : Sensei on vacation! Heh heh heh.....

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09-02-2004, 10:18 AM
'Lo all!
Yup - our Sensei went away on vacation for a couple of weeks; and she left me to teach on those days I'm in. Woohoo!
LOL - When the cat's away.... (insert nasty evil chuckle here.) evileyes :D

Y'know sumpthin'; IMHO everyone should teach as they progress; especially in a format like this; thrust into the front of the group. It's a wonderful reality check - especially if you're like me and have an ego that needs kickin' now and then.
I've had the pleasure of running the class for the past couple of sessions and let me tell you; it's tough! :)
I mean; I'm an experienced instructor in other areas; including other fighting systems but the circumstances in those areas are radically different to aikido - different enough to weird me right out from time to time. :D
For instance; my first 'all by my onesey' class was small; with two students. Nice, informal; easy and personal. Last night's was quite a bit harder - three regular students; (one a 5th kyu; two beginners) plus two newcomers - a father-and-son pair. Plus a walk-in observer - I needed to make time to wander over there and answer questions, etc. - doing the sales job. ;)
Whoo - talk about sweating!
I'm very, very lucky - in our dojo; we're blessed with terrific people. Outside of one seriously annoying 3rd kyu with a major attitude; everyone in the dojo are hard workers; great to practice with; nice, friendly etc. I was particularly lucky to have the 5th kyu there; his ukemi is coming along well and helped me enormously in explaining the technique. Also; he was able to step in and work with the regulars while I got the newcomers going. (With me keeping an eye on that side of the mats; of course.)
I've been going over my performance; and I've identified one major mistake I made in last night's class: Hoping to avoid getting rattled by dividing my time too much; I integrated the newcomers into the rest of the group.
Whoops. Major whoops at that. They got buried by info; big time. Ah well; it's a learning process. :D
One thing absolutely terrifies me: (Well, not 'terrifies' really; 'concerns' would be a better word. Not a lot of things terrify me. Rosanne Arnold - for instance - coming towards me with a bottle of champagne and fuzzy pink handcuffs would definitely terrify me. This isn't quite in that same league.)

....ahem. :rolleyes:

Anyway; the thing that...concerns me is the day down the road when I decide to open my own dojo. My aikido skills - doing and teaching - will be much better by then; but starting a new group from scratch without the help of an experienced uke will be a nightmare. A fun nightmare; that is. :)
Anyhoo; just thought I'd tell yez about it - it was tons o'fun; a harder challenge than anything I've done in aikido recently and hopefully; my students learned something.
I'll tell ya though - I'm one of those types that if I didn't try to keep the ego in firm check; I'd probably run out and start my own club right away. It's great to get opportunities like this that give your ego a slap upside the head now and then. ;D

09-02-2004, 11:29 AM
Sounds like you did fine David. As you get more experience teaching, remember to keep a beginner's mind. I recall Saotome sensei saying at a seminar that he is just a beginner and he's been doing aikido for over 40 years. It keeps you humble and helps you learn what you are doing and allows you to be better at communicating it with your students. Your nervousness will go away the more you teach. Generally, it helps to remember that you know more than they do about the topic so you can always offer something of value.

09-03-2004, 03:55 AM
Hi John. :)
Yes; the evening went fine as far as I could see. I thought it interesting that I was nervous (a bit) since I've been teaching for over 20 years now. I didn't expect to be given my history; but hey - a new arena to teach in; a new set of butterflies. :D
You're absolutely right in keeping a beginner's mind; IMO if anyone loses that; they've decided they know enough and stop learning; which to me is an indication of how much someone doesn't know. It's why I tend to avoid anyone that gives themselves the title 'Master' or promotes themselves at their own dojo - ego is the single biggest block to learning; particularly for a teacher; which is why I try to keep such a close check on my own. :)


Lyle Laizure
09-03-2004, 12:48 PM
Hey Dave,

Your story sounds so familiar. It will only get better so long as we keep learning.

09-04-2004, 08:48 PM
Hi Dave!
Sounds like the first time I had to stupervise a group of co-workers..
As you progress, you become more comfortable in your own role which is YOU.
Don't expect to be anyone other than your self.
Since you are in Ontario, go up to U of Guelph and watch Taylor Sensei teach Iaido. Do you think he is a copy of Kanai Sensei,?
We each have our own individual style that develops out of our individual personality, experiences.
Relax, you'll do just fine, and recall rule#1
it's really OK to laugh at yourself.
Bruce Hammell