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I was one of the hundreds that travelled to Cardiff to attend the Doshu 2010 course.
It was a great privilege to train under Doshu, and despite the cramped mat conditions we all tried our best and enjoyed ourselves.
Then Sunday morning my regular class with Sensei Derrick (white rose aikikai) getting folks ready for the course and grading next Sunday so a lot of 5th Kyu basics, it's good to go back to basics.
At the beginning and end of class, Sensei McAuley always looks into his students eyes before he makes his bow, to end or start class.
He tells us this is from his teacher (Asoh Sensei) and is a form of communication from the heart.
I had a similar experience of this at the weekend on the Uk Shinwakai course, where a couple of visiting Japanese students were training, there were obvious verbal communication problems, although the language barrier became a non-issue during the training, i received the technique (was thrown) the technique was good i rose and smiled, she smiled, after a while we changed roles, we could both 'feel' the techniques work and also when they didn't, we worked together to correct the technique........not a word was spoken
Heart to heart communication, what a wonderful art O'sensei left us.
Last night Sensei had me and Dave (my Sempai) teaching the class, Dave is much better at teaching than i am. I'm hoping that improvement and confidence will develop with experience.
2 Issues gave me pause for thought....
1) How often should Sensei, interrupt a students practice to make corrections, obviously wrong arm / leg / technique, should be corrected straight away, but should you allow the students to 'feel' their mistakes and make their own corrections, without Sensei constantly jumping in ?
2) I noticed, (not for the first time) the difference between what Sensei has demonstrated and what the students are actually doing, students (and i'll add myself here too) fall back into 'perceived' patterns of movement rather than what has been shown, last night for example Sensei taught a slight variation of Sankyo - yet students were not picking up on these changes..........i wonder why this happens?
These points are now making me think of my own techniques and making sure that i don't fall into 'routine patterns of habit'
and also how many mistakes i'm making before Sensei comes over to correct me................................