Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the
world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to
over 16,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a
wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history,
humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.
If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced
features available, you will need to register first. Registration is
absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!
Generally when one is injured it is considered bad form not to go training anyway and at least watch. The curious thing about my position is that I actually still have a job to do even when I'm off the mat: I'm still the assistant instructor, I'm still responsible for the seniors progress. I find myself circumambulating the mat issuing instructiors and corrections, calling people to the edge of the mat so that brief demonstrations can be made and waving sticks at people.
I find that I'm a perfectionist, which I kinda knew already. I thought though that I would confine my perfectionism to myself not have the courage to demand it in other people but no, I demand perfection. I find it suprisingly easy to achieve: all you have to do is encourage the student to the point where they demand perfection of themselves; if you build in this positive, can do, atmosphere into training the rest is easy and I find I can stop things and be frank about what's going wrong and what needs to be done without it impacting on morale too much.
Actually I think the frank honesty is good it gives confidence that anything positive that's said is meant. The core of it though is to communicate to the student that they can do it and that they are expected to be able to do it and then keep your demands small so that the student is always thinking "Yep, I can do that, yep I can make that correction."
I find myself getting into these formulaic instructions: "Good, we're almost there. Next time........." "Alright, we're looking good, I want you to do this............" "Nope, do it again, we're almost there. Once more, lets get it nailed." "Not bad, next time nail it, take your time, get it spot on."
"No, not quite, almost, but not quite. Do it again. I'm nit picking here but we can do this." "Don't worry about getting it wrong, worry about getting it right." "This isn't about ability, this is about hard work." And then throw in a ton of praise when they do well and some humour too.
Then I remind them that I am an annoying nit picking perfectionist and that I am unrealistic and demanding and then I tell them to do it again. That way they can feel that they're probably doing things just fine and it's me being an arse; which is true. There are guys looking to take 6th kyu and they're good enough for it. Do I care? No. They're going to do better than 6th kyu in the future so they may as well do it now. I want them at 4th kyu level when they take 6th kyu, hell I want them at dan grade level when they take 6th kyu.
The rewarding thing in all this is seeing the change. A guy comes in the dojo and he's kinda shy and unsure of himself but three or four months later you can see the confidence coming through in him and you see the change in his attitude and outlook and that glow when I say "Well you're performing like 4th kyus at the moment, well done" which, in my humble opinion, is often true by the end of the night. It's all built on instilling the right attitude though.