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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 820,687

In General The Teacher's Mind and the Student's Mind Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #233 New 06-15-2008 11:14 PM
...or should I say: "Sensei-shin" and "Deshi-shin"?

Sensei will occasionally troubleshoot a fellow-student's technique by asking me to demonstrate it for them on his behalf. I find this at times a somewhat dubious honour --- dubious only in that I am not yet at the place where I can always explain what it is I am doing correctly in contrast with what the other student is doing differently.

Case in point: Yesterday afternoon, Jeremy, Lisa and I were practicing test techniques and during one of Lisa's turns as nage, Sensei told her, "No, that's not right," and asked me to show her how I do it. I did the technique as best as I knew it and at the end Sensei said, "That's correct, but can you explain to Lisa what was wrong?" At which point, I could not, so Sensei continued to clarify for us.

It was then that I realized clearly for the first time that I have been and continue to view techniques from a completely "student" perspective. Never have I, while watching either Lisa, nor any other student, been able to pick up on errors in movement or timing that weren't obvious ones. Subtle discrepancies in technique are still quite beyond me. I find myself viewing other students with what I can only describe as a passively observant mind --- one which sees without, for the most part, a critical judgment towards what they are seeing. When I view Sensei, Kawahara Shihan or any other Yudansha practitioner performing technique, my mind towards what I see changes into one that consciously absorbs the images for the purposes of emulating.

Contrast this with the teacher's mind: a Sensei, used to having to correct his or her students' techniques constantly must view technique with a much more critical way of seeing --- they, after having done this for years must have developed a way to discern the nuances at each step of person's movement and timing; tell-tale signs of whether or not a technique is being performed well or not --- seemingly minor details to the outside observer, but those which have drastic implications for the success of a technique. Jon and I will be watching YouTube videos, for example, of Aikido practitioners and I can guarantee that 99.9% of the time he will be picking up on aspects of their technique that I'd completely missed.

Amusingly, (at least to me) having a student's mind in and of itself is to me sensory-overload enough as it is right now. Yet I know that eventually, over time and years (possibly decades) of more practice --- without even being completely aware of it --- my student mind will transition in such a way as to condense what I know now into knowledge that is more easily referenced...perhaps in the blink of an eye, I too will one day be able to discern these subtle differences. For now I can only taste hints of these things to come in how my practice has evolved more and more away from simple mechanics towards understanding the feel and flow of energy...who knows. The process continues to intrigue me nonetheless.
Views: 3025 | Comments: 3

RSS Feed 3 Responses to "The Teacher's Mind and the Student's Mind"
#3 07-18-2008 12:14 PM
jducusin Says:
I would hope that all of us, at each stage of the way in our journey through practicing Aikido, would ideally retain a student's mind and be open to increasing their knowledge of the art; I'm just drawing attention to the fact that the experience of having to relay this knowledge to someone new to the art gives you different ways of understanding what you are practicing and what you are seeing. Thanks for the comment! Happy practicing.
#2 07-18-2008 12:13 PM
jducusin Says:
I don't know if it would be correct to say that we "have" to learn how to teach, per se --- what I'm saying is that there is a great deal of value in both having a student's mind (ie. "emptying your cup") and later on, when it is appropriate, a teacher's mind (ie. having a deeper understanding of what you know by way of learning how best to articulate that knowledge). (continued in next comment...)
#1 06-16-2008 02:33 PM
scarey Says:
I totally relate to what you're talking about. Essentially, we have to learn how to teach :-).

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