After reading the 'Aikido Strikes' in the Techniques Forum one question came up to me.
What are the teaching methods to teach intent to the students?
Do you feel some that specific technical choices can condition the attitude of your aikido students?
Just one example. A yokomenuchi strike. Nage steps back with ushiro tenkan and the do shihonage.
Could the more common beginner mistakes about this technique (for example: to step back too much and too soon, pulling uke instead that absorbing his attack) discourage uke from performin full intent (we are talking about lucidity, intent, not really speed or force) honest / self committed attacks?
[this post's too much for my poor language skills :D ]
What do you think guys?
I think the method of teaching, as well as the personality of the teacher, has everything to do on what the student becomes later in his practice. There's a saying in the military, there are no crews, only bad leaders. What you teach in your class, come back at you when the students get creative and are ready to make their own decitions. Most commonly the student follows his teacher's foot steps, and adds thoughts of his own to the teachings you taught him.
If you teach bad, the thoughts of your students can become corrupt your influence. I've seen in action and it breaks my heart everytime.
Aikido is also a reflection of life. What we teach in the dojo, reflects to the outside world. O-Sensei used to say that dojo is a place to practice life. That tells us that as well as good or bad teachings are reflected.
Although the students might be adults, we might as well be teaching children. From day one, they will absorb what you teach (just like a child from his mother and father).
At least this is what I think.
I think one of the great pleasures, but also worries, of teaching is that some small comment on a technique in aikido can last with a student for years.
As far as intent goes, I'd agree with the previous post. However I know myself that I still change my aikido, sometimes quite radically, as I understand it more.
It is good to get the basic techniques within aikido, whatever way someone teaches. Once you know the 'techniques' you can then start thinking of the important things that actually make the techniques effective (timing, distance, not forcing, responsiveness etc) and perfecting these. Also, it allows you to make radical changes to your aikido once you understand certain concepts and the techniques are natural. However when students first start all they want to know is 'where do I put my hand?'.
With some forms of aiki-jitsu and many other martial arts there is a three stage learning process:
1. learn the mechanics of the techniques (where your hands go). This usually includes lots of atmeis etc - very jujitsu like.
2. learn to flow with your partner and develop distancing etc.
3. once the skills are innate, stop thinking about techniques and distancing etc, but learn to respond naturally, instinctively and responsively with your attacker.
Obviously it isn't usally as straight forward as this, but I think with aikido some of the most important things are quite subtle, but are hard for beginners to understand until they have the simple mechanics of the technique. Unlike many other martial arts, it is not just about control of your own body to enforce something on your partner, but also about being able to control the response of your partner.
Re: Teaching Intent?
Assuming you are speaking solely about beginners. First model the behavior you want. Second, show in individual instances just how the yokomenuchi can be done slowly with the proper level of committment to the attack. Third, show the beginner how to fall safely from the throw.
Nage needs to be clear that while their partner is striking yokomen at a steady and committed pace, they need to move at the same speed, not faster or slower. Thus as Uke increases their speed of attack, Nage increases proportionally their speed of defense.
Intention In General.
Oftentimes I ask my students to reflect on what they are thinking during practice. When they are being Uke, is their intention to frustrate their partner or is it to give a good committed attack that helps Nage learn?
When they are Nage, is their intention to fling their partner to the ground with great force, or to perform and effective technique which guides Uke's force?
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