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A blog written from the point of view of a martial arts beginner, which I am. You can find the full blog at http://yghmartialarts.blogspot.com. Here on AikiWeb, I'll post only those entries which are relevant to aikido.
I'm going to begin here by directing my few readers to a better and more widely-read internet writer than myself. This particular writer happens to have the same parents I have.
My brother recently wrote a wonderful piece on The Inclusive about video games. Specifically, he aired his beef (shared by many of us who grew up on the NES, Sega Genesis, and SNES) with the kind of social games on Facebook and the iPhone that he calls "Villes" (think Farmville, Cityville, etc.). The purpose of these games, says my brother, is not be fun or interesting, but to hook players on a progression of increasingly difficult and expensive rewards. The goal in developing these games, he says, is to get a few gullible people so addicted that they're willing to pay real money for benefits that exist only in the imaginary world of the game.
My brother compares these games to B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning chambers:
This is why these games are free, brightly colored, and cute: if they get enough people in the box, some people will keep hitting the button. If there are time delays constricting how often the button can be pushed, some people will pay for the privilege of hitting the button sooner. Although this sounds like a Dire Metaphor, it is almost literally accurate: pay fifteen in-game-currency units (sold at ten for a real-life dollar) to get the Pig Pen now, rather than waiting to accrue that many units over time.
My brother, mind you, has a much bigger and much more important po
The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.
- Pete Seeger, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy"
I may not know much about the martial arts, but I do know a little something about teaching.
In order to teach material, a teacher must first know the material. He must be able to lead students through it, answer questions about it, and find a way to make it relevant to different students with different points of view. A teacher who doesn't know his material simply can't teach.
There is something worse, though, than a teacher who doesn't know his material: a teacher who doesn't know his material and yet insists on moving forward as if he does. These are the teachers students alternatively laugh and grumble about, and peers whisper about behind their backs. These teachers don't just make fools of themselves, they drag their students down with them.
We've all had these teachers at one time or another, and I've always wondered at their motivations. Can the prospect of owning our ignorance really be so daunting that we're willing to humiliate ourselves and inconvenience others instead? In my own experience as an educator, I've found it's much easier and much less painful for everyone (including myself) if I just say, "I guess