View Full Version : Techniques of teaching

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09-21-2004, 12:51 PM
I am in the military and stationed in what seems to be a black hole of culture. In the city near where I am stationed there is nothing for aikido and even less for alot of other forms. I have trained in aikido for 6 years but have taken a 2 year break (due to military matters). I have always assisted with teaching new people the basics but unfortunatly have very little experiance teaching groups from a teacher point of view.

Due to the lack of aikido dojo's or instructors I have started an aikido club here on base and am getting approval to practise there , but this also means I will be doing most of the instruction. If anyone has helpful hints or good examples of how to help instill the basics of aikido it would be greatly welcomed.

09-21-2004, 01:10 PM
Good luck on your venture. Teaching is fun and terrifying all at the same time :)

As far as advice I'm going to refrain from technical matters and say simply, be honest. Share what you know and don't pretend to know what you don't.



09-21-2004, 09:47 PM
One way that I try to get the basics across is to equate the movements to every day activities. My students "scoop sand", "open doors", " pick apples", and "cast fishing poles" in their practice. It's much easier to remember and explain when they can equate the moves to things that they have already done.

09-22-2004, 03:16 AM

1.teach fewer techniques for new classes, preferably two or three.
2.make more time for them to repeat those techniques hundreds of times
3.let them find out their mistakes through repetition, encourage them to ask
4.and yes.. teach only what you know

that's my take on teaching a new class, hope it helps


09-22-2004, 03:42 AM
As an add-on to Mike's use easier descriptions, my favourite has always been q basic nikyo - "smother hand, raise pint glass to lips, turn back to bar, put glass back down on bar", seems to stop all the 'which way does my hand go' problems amongst the alcoholically inclined.

Your biggest problem is going to be having a decent uke, try and find someone with previous splatting experience as soon as possible. There's also a Peter H. lurking somewhere on one of the boards who teaches at a military base, you may want to track him down and PM him for tips.

09-22-2004, 09:21 AM
Thanks all for the advice ... to be honest I was expecting to get flamed by folks saying I shouldn't try to teach. The tips that where provided are good and sound and I will try to use them to help my students... 1 problem I am already having is with their feet. I did judo for 15 years and many other martial arts as well so for me my feet have just ... always moved like they should for aikido but trying to teach people that learned boxing or have NO experiance of any type want to do all these crazy things with their feet... any advice on that?

Thanks so much for the help

Larry Feldman
09-22-2004, 09:55 AM
Beginners will tend to watch your hands and ignore your feet.
After you show the technique twice, show it again just showing footwork. Then give them the footwork verbally.
i.e. slide - turn - step, or step - turn - slide

Give them footwork drills to get them more comfortable with the various kinds of footwork you use.

09-22-2004, 10:33 AM
Thats where I find the pitfalls of teaching aikido. They watch your feet but then when they try to imitate your feet they get soo much into the frame of mind .. i must stand like a martial artist... when I have noticed people stand different but in the same general position with their feet (the L stance). what type of drills whould you suggest for helping them with their movements?

09-22-2004, 10:43 AM
Does your style (for lack of a better word) have any type of aikido specific warm ups? Ours has a series of movements and exercises that are done at the beginning of every class. They are to help us learn basic footwork, posture, tai sabaki and whatnot. If you don't have them you may have to dissect some techniques and make some.


09-22-2004, 12:40 PM
Ian: The Peter H you are referring to is in San Angelo TX out of Dojin Aikikai (a non-hombu group split off from Suenaka who split off Ki Society). He does teach a class at the local military base-he's a shodan. I'm not sure if it makes any difference where the class is if you are a good teacher. I recommend focusing on the basics. Your individual teaching style will evolve as you find out what works for you. Some teach from the old school of thought and what I call "monkey see, monkey do". They demonstrate with little explanation and then come around and correct you as you train. Others tend to be more detailed in helping you understand the basics in more depth and why you do what you do and give a lot more feedback while training as well as more explanation. I tend to be of the latter school-different strokes for different folks. Mine works for me.

Peter H.
09-23-2004, 12:15 PM
It really depends on where you teach. If you are in Whichita Falls, TX, then it's Sheppard, right?

The base I taught at was also AETC, which means a high and frequent rotation of students, most not practicing for more than four or five months tops.

It was very infrequent that we went beyond the basics and even less frequently that anyone was ranked.

From a teaching stand point, it was a great experience, as I learned what it takes to move a complete beginner along, and then got the chance to practice it over and over again.

Greg Jennings
09-23-2004, 01:12 PM
Aikido Institute of Texas is in Denton. It's a couple of hours, but it might be a place to go when you feel your own training is in a rut. Dave DeLong is very, very down to earth.

Best regards,

09-23-2004, 03:41 PM
Denton i think is a little closer than that .. otherwise dallas is 2 hours as well ... thanks for the location though if it turns out to be pretty close it might be good to go watch another instructor teach to assist with my own teaching style.

Greg Jennings
09-23-2004, 04:44 PM
The 2 hours was from Mapquest...

http://www.aikidoinstitutetexas.org/ check them out. Dave DeLong is a great guy.

Best regards,