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AikiWeb System 10-19-2003 01:01 AM

AikiWeb Poll for the week of October 19, 2003:

Would you rather be teaching or training in aikido?
  • I don't train in aikido
  • I teach regularly; would rather be teaching
  • I teach regularly; would rather be training
  • I teach irregularly; rather be teaching
  • I teach irregularly; rather be training
  • I don't teach; rather be training
Here are the current results.

ze'ev erlich 10-19-2003 02:51 AM

Something is missing here
Dear Jun,

Thank for always keeping Aikiweb an exciting place to visit.

I do not agree with the poll this time.

I think that no matter what you do, you will eventually teach. It might be at your dojo when you train with a beginner, it might be when you assist people before their exam, etc. I think that many instructors teach and still attend their sensei's classes.

(I hope)

When you join a dojo you train and learn.

After several years you learn train and teach.

If for some misfortune you can not attend your sensei's classes you eventually find yourself teaching and training with your students. Of course you keep on learning in a very different way.

Thank you for reading,

SeiserL 10-19-2003 12:52 PM


BKimpel 10-20-2003 12:54 AM

Yunno…it's funny you ask this question Jun, because I have personally known a few people that quit Aikido just before getting their black belts (1st and 2nd kyu) or just after they reached dan level because they felt if they stayed they would be obligated to teach and they didn't want to (they weren't done training yet).

This kind of falls in the "drop rates and reasons" thread, but it is an interesting phenomenon, and although it exists somewhat in Karate as well -- it is nowhere near as bad as in Aikido. It's interesting that students are expected to teach when they reach dan level in many dojos…something deserving of thought perhaps?

On the other hand I have seen a great number of inexperienced Aikido teachers. Maybe the two sides of the coin (the ones that leave before they "have" to teach when they know they aren't ready, and the ones that do teach even though they aren't ready) are telling us something?

Or not…just thinking out loud :)

ze'ev erlich 10-20-2003 01:47 AM

In many aiki-dojos, new students are supported by the most advanced students in class which means Yudansha in most cases.

I am surprised to read Bruce's post. In my dojo in Kyoto and in my dojo here in Israel members assist me teaching with great pleasure. I never heard of an Aikidoka who quit because he didn't want to teach.

It is very sad if after a long relationship with the sensei and fellow students, one can just leave without talking about it first.

I see in Israel many people who got their shodan and quit their dojo just to open their own Aikido class. Whenever I talk to such people I encourage them to keep on learning and find a sensei whom they can learn from.

I saw a program on National Geography about 8 dan test in Kendo in Kyoto. They showed a 84 years old man who is 7 dan who goes to learn from an older man who is 8th or 9th dan.

How inspiring. How I hope to see such approach in Aikido too.

happysod 10-20-2003 03:45 AM

Jun, I'm upset 'cos I couldn't vote - you missed out "all of the above" - depends on my mood that year...

Alan Lomax 10-20-2003 06:00 AM


Another option I would have liked to see would have been, Teach regularly enjoy training regularly.

As much as I do enjoy teaching I also enjoy the training and the critique of my Sensei. His direct involvement improves my practice and kindles my inspiration for how I will teach. His critique of my training and teaching give me perspective to improve myself. Man do I need improvement.

I do enjoy the feedback of those I train, but honestly that feedback is guarded. I learn from the people I train. By teaching them, any mistakes in my waza are magnified. So I can see for myself certain aspects that leave room for improvement. By enlisting the scrutinizing perceptions of Sensei, many aspects I don't realize myself are pointed out.

Best regards

rcoit 10-20-2003 08:32 AM

To distinquish "train or teach" is improper. I am new to aikido but know some fundamentals -from reading this and other site material, books and heart-felt intuition. It is very clear to me that teaching and learning/training are yin-yang, and can not be seperated. Uke-nage/ sensai-kohai...we blend-students teach without knowing it; sensai learns and vice-versa. The give & take is constant, both explicit and implicit all the time. For those who "prefer" one or the other will need to examine their own experience more carefully to see what they may be missing in what they don't "prefer".

happysod 10-20-2003 08:48 AM

Is there an aikiweb book I've missed here? Must have a title of "how to be a spiritual guru in three easy lessons" or similar...:confused:

Goye 10-20-2003 09:42 AM

teaching and learning
Hi Jun and Aiki-friends!!!


About this poll,.. I think that someone that teaches aikido must never stop learning and must keep improving his/her level.

Depending of the situation the teacher can continue attending regular classes, learning from his own students or other sources,.. or a mix of all!...


paw 10-20-2003 10:20 AM


To distinquish "train or teach" is improper. I am new to aikido but know some fundamentals -from reading this and other site material, books and heart-felt intuition. It is very clear to me that teaching and learning/training are yin-yang, and can not be seperated.
In theory, yes.

In practice, with only so many hours in the day and so many hours in the week, it's not uncommon for an instructor to spend less and less time training. This isn't unique to aikido or martial arts in general. This happens in many, many activities.



Hanna B 10-20-2003 05:50 PM

My goodness, what a question!

I'd say it depends on the teacher I'd train for. With a good enough teacher as many classes a week as I'd like to train, I could skip teaching. But not for anybody.

BKimpel 10-20-2003 06:56 PM

Ze'ev Erlich,

I don't think its that surprising when you consider that (as I have stated before in other threads) we only have so much time outside of our responsibilities (family, work) so many people want to spend that time training and not teaching.

As for being able to teach and train at the same time, I agree with Paul (paw) that it's not uncommon for an instructor to spend less and less time training (see my "Why teachers stop learning thread" It's not for lack of desire (for the most part) though -- it's for lack of time. And while many people counter-argue that they "learn something" every time they teach (and I do not dispute that) the amount that they "learn" while teaching is no where near the amount they learn when their mind and intent are focused strictly on learning and all their time is dedicated to training. Maybe some people can simultaneously learn and teach, but I myself am not that gifted. I need to pour my entire soul and being into to what I do, whether that be learning OR teaching, in order to get any value out of either (but hey, that's just me).

And when you say it is sad for them to leave rather than confront their sensei…there are a couple of factors at play there. One, some sensei's clearly take advantage of having dans around to teach so they can have a life outside of Aikido -- sometimes that is good, sometimes that is bad (most people have encountered both kinds).

Two, most students of Aikido (and Budo in general) feel honor bound to their sensei and would never refuse sensei's request for them to teach (if asked) -- but are torn since they also have lives to lead and its darn hard to juggle relationships, work and Aikido training -- much less Aikido teaching (which requires you to make a regular time commitment without fail). Remember that as a student, when you are away the only person that suffers is you…but when you are the teacher you have yet one more responsibility in a world of responsibilities.

Don't get me wrong, teaching is an excellent tool to help you develop -- but if it goes beyond an occasional development tool (as Jun stated "irregularly" in his poll), then it becomes a responsibility…and not everyone wants that.

I am taking this off topic perhaps though, by and by though I think I will train-only for another 13 years and then think about teaching ;)

akiy 10-20-2003 07:54 PM

Hi everyone,

My! Lots of great thoughts in response to this poll.

Maybe the poll could have been more specifically worded by adding "today" at the end of the poll question?

As for the teaching versus training dichotomy, I think there's a distinct difference between teaching a class and training in someone else's class. Of course, one does not stop learning (hopefully) while teaching!

However, this poll was more designed to ask whether the person answering the poll would rather have been the one who was leading the class (ie teaching) or one who was taking the class (ie training).

-- Jun

PeterR 10-20-2003 08:23 PM

Really tough to answer.

I enjoy teaching - the power, the glory, the the [insert emotive feeling here]. More specifically it gives me a chance to direct training a little bit more toward my interests. The maxim I teach to train is very true in my case.

However, I really do enjoy just fading into the background and being put under someone elses direction even if that person is not a top teacher.

And of course if that person is a top teacher - then I count myself lucky to be there.

BKimpel 10-20-2003 09:16 PM

Jun, are you saying your poll's intent was more of a "how many people in Aikido like being in front of people, and how many don't"? If that was the intent I was way off target, heh heh.

It is interesting to look at the results thus far though. Only 8% said they want to be teaching -- the rest don't. If you consider how many people on this forum keep saying how great teaching is, it's interesting to see the stats on how many people think it's greater when someone else does the teaching :)

Lachlan Kadick 05-16-2004 08:35 PM

Re: Poll: Would you rather be teaching or training in aikido?
I think that teaching and training go hand in hand. I personally enjoy teaching, and then going and practicing in the class after the class I just taught. The training seems to have more significance after teaching, it makes a person realize the mistakes they do as they watch and correct the people they teach. So I guess I just personally think I would rather have both, Teaching and then Training directly after.

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