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-   -   What do you REALLY want to teach? (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15261)

aikiSteve 10-16-2008 02:43 PM

What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
I've been training for maybe 15 years now, but I'm relatively new to teaching Aikido classes. I find myself thinking through what I want to teach on my drive to the dojo. Often times I have these grand ideas tying techniques together or every once in a while I'll have some philosophical idea that can be explained through Aikido movement etc.

Then I get into class and realize that half of the students are just learning how to fall. More often than not my wonderful ideas get thrown out the window and I change my class to adapt to the students.

I'm curious... those of you that have been teaching for a long time, if you had the students ready to learn what you had to offer...what is it that you really want to teach?

Obviously describing it in words won't do it justice, even so, it'd be fun to hear what's going on in your head.

Marie Noelle Fequiere 10-16-2008 03:36 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
In order to be a good teacher, you have to adapt to your students. You are new in teaching Aikido, so most of your students are probable new to Aikido. Try not to drown them with advanced ideas and concepts. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. They might feel lost, and some might even quit. For the moment, most of them probably want to have fun and/or defend themselves. Give them just that at the beginning, and as they improve, they will have a hunch that there is more to Aikido, and they will start asking questions. Or for those who don't seem to see the bigger picture, you will guide them gently and progressively.
Patience is a martial art virtue.
Congratulations for your achievements in the art, and take it easy. Let experience guide you.
Arigato

gdandscompserv 10-16-2008 07:08 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
There's so much to learn in the fundamentals. Do not worry about grand techniques and stuff. I'm still fascinated by ikkyo after many years. If you tire of teaching them how to fall, you can always teach them how not to fall.
Dan, where are you?:D

aikiSteve 10-16-2008 10:25 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Ricky, what I'd love to hear are the times you had plans to teach something deeper but realized your words would be lost.

Take Ikkyo as an example. You could easily teach an entire class on why the Ikkyo blending concept is so much more powerful than a block. But if the ukes are giving such a weak attack that nage could stand there and not even get hit. Well... you have to take a step back and say. "Let's work on your shomunchi first".

So if you can think of one, I want to hear a story about a class you meant to teach, but never did.

btw, I fell off a 6 foot ladder last summer. It was the most spectacular SPLAT ever. Talk about a perfect way to teach how not to do something! No roll. No slap. No Kiai. Just a flail, a yelp and a splat. Granted I didn't get hurt. I guess that's something. ;-)

ChrisHein 10-17-2008 01:33 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
I too have had my big plans fly out the window.

I have a really regular group these days. So I usually know who's going to be in class when, and what they need to work on. So usually, unless there is something I'm really interested in working on, I work around what they need.

If it's time for one of them to get a better Ikkyo, or improve their ukemi, then that's what we work on. Adapting to their needs usually forces me to deal with the stuff I might not want to look at, which is great for me as well.

For example I used to hate juji nage, my teacher didn't teach it much, and it was one of my weaker techniques. However when it came time for one of my students to develop a juji nage, mine got better too.

Marc Abrams 10-17-2008 11:11 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Steve:

I have developed a teaching methodology that revolves around a weekly blog that I post on my website. I teach from the perspective that technique/waza is the end product of a lot of variables and principles. This way, lofty ideas can be expressed in the most basic of manners for even beginners. I look at training as creating the exterior at the same time that the interior is being expanded. Please feel free to visit my website for ideas.

Best of luck

Marc Abrams

www.aasbk.com

odudog 10-17-2008 11:38 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
If you are at public dojo, then you will always have this problem. You will never be able to teach the advanced stuff if you continously tailor the class towards the beginners. Unless the technique is too advanced for the majority of the students, then I think you should go ahead and teach what you had planned. Always teach the concepts of what you had planned, you are just planting seeds for those that just won't get it at that time. This is what my Sensei does and eventually I understand what he said much much later. I follow his lead on this when I teach class. At worst, you will just split the class between those who will understand it and they get the lesson plan and those who won't.

Ron Tisdale 10-17-2008 12:16 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
My experience when I did a lot of assistant instructing as a small dojo. Previously posted in my blog:

Quote:

Last nights practise was really gratifying. In the midst of being very disappointed with myself about how I've handled two different situations (one work related, one personal) I taught one of the best classes I've ever had. Ohama Sensei has been out this last week due to a friend (someone we used to train with) being back in town for a few days. So I asked if I could take thursdays class.

I had spent a fair amount of time preparing to teach two hours of basics for the new students we've been getting. One of my worries is that we have not prepared them in the way we were prepared. The classes are often more oriented at this point to the seniors because we've had very few new people joining. Now that they are, it will give all of us a good opportunity to review the basics more. That said, none of the new people showed up last night, so I scrapped the entire class (it was going to be sankajo), and flew by the seat of my pants.

After warmups, breakfalls and basic movements with partner, I taught Utada Sensei's jo kumi kata from tsune no kamae. Its a short kata, but with some nice powerfull direct attacks and uke's part is pretty aggressive. Star number one: nobody got smacked by accident. Joe and I performed the kata, then I taught uke to everyone in a line, then shite. Then we paired up and walked through the kata together, then I let one side be shite for a while. Once they were comfortable with their roles, shite and uke switched. Once both were comfortable with both roles, we went to switching each time. I had some problems conveying some points about the kata:

The blocks here are close to the body. The strikes target mostly the ribs, and the jo is held alongside the body so the arms and wrists aren't getting jarred absorbing the power of the blows. A lot of people want to hold the jo out away from themselves, which changes the ma-ai, and inteferes with performing the next movement. When you hold the jo next to your body to block the side strikes, the kata "cleans right up", and its no problem aborbing the energy of a powerfull strike.

The opening sequence is where uke grasps the end of the jo with the left hand, and steps in striking vertically up under the jaw, then thrusts straight in to the face. Shite's first movement is a simple evasion by xsteping back and turning the stance hand palm up, which brings the back end of the jo to the non-stance hand. A lot of people had trouble getting the evasion down, or tried to block the first strike under the chin, rather than just evading it. Shite actually only blocks the thrust **after** evading the strike under the chin.

shite's last xstep back to avoid the shuffle side strike of uke often had people turning the jo (held across the body) end over end. For some reason, when people step back they just naturally seem to switch the position of the jo. When I first learned the kata, I did exactly the same thing. The actual movement is to step back and block in one movement, without moving the jo. This sets up the honte strike to uke's face that ends the kata. If you reverse the jo there is an opening for uke's strike, and shite has to lift the back hand before striking, which gives uke time to block. With the hand already up, the strike is way too fast to for uke to block. The look in uke's eyes when they hear the whistle of the jo is priceless! Not to mention focusing on that peice of wood about an inch from your face...

Uke is very aggressive in this kata, actually pushing shite back. With the initial movement of hips, hands and knees moving first on the xstep and shuffle strikes, uke can generate a lot of power...shite needs to do very clean, simple movement to evade and block, which sets uke up for the powerfull honte strike at the end.

While we were practising the kata, Ohama Sensei came in with our friend and they watched the practise. He gave me some really great suggestions on how to address the problems above, and low and behold, everyone seemed to really improve. Then he asked if we could do some freestyle for our friend, who hasn't seen us train for a long time.

What we did was to form a line, senior person in front, and then they handle attacks from each person in the line, one after the other, both sides. Sometimes we have uke use any attack, but this time I limited it to one type of attack, all the way through the line, both sides. We did shomen, yokomen, tsuki, ryote mochi, ushiro off of front strike, and gamen tsuki. When I saw people start to do the same technique over and over, I stepped in and took a turn as shite, stressing that from each of the attacks, all of the basic techniques (ikkajo, nikajo, sankajo, shiho, irimi, etc.) are available, plus the usual host of aiki-nage and kokyu-nage. It was a really good workout! We ended the class with about 10 minutes of kokyu-ho dosa, a really nice way to settle down after a lot of freestyle. Our friend said she was really impressed by the improvement since she'd left us.

Ohama Sensei seems to be able to walk in, toss out his lesson plan, and teach fantastic classes right off the cuff. I never thought I'd be able to do this, but paying attention is slowly paying off. I also thought that my disappointment in myself would ruin the class and my technique. But for some reason, all thoughts about the conflicts disappeared during warmups, and I did some of the best technique I've ever done. Go figure. Now if I can just get a handle on the rest of my life...
Best,
Ron

Mark Uttech 10-17-2008 12:22 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Onegaishimasu. Only one bit of advice comes to mind: "Simplify, simplify, simplify!" For yourself as well as your students.

In gassho,

Mark

aikiSteve 11-01-2008 01:38 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Great story Ron. Makes you kind of wonder about the classes Ohama Sensei planned to teach, but couldn't because something else came up.

Marc, I've started reading your blog, keep writing.

I thought of another class I'd like to teach. A whole class on Kokyudosa. That went out the window, very quickly. I came to the conclusion that I need another 20-30 years of practice before I'm ready for that.

Steve

Kevin Leavitt 11-01-2008 07:39 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
In my Jiujitsu class, after a year of training with the same core group of guys we finally reached the point where we can get together and train hard. We can warm up, go through drills, and have a very "advanced" and rigorous workout without having to slow down to teach beginners the basics.

It is nice to be able to train this way. It does not happen that often.

That said, I love working with beginners and teaching them the basics and being an uke for them to learn. It is all a part of the process...developing new trainng partners.

I like the idea of the blog. I wonder how many teachers actually follow a curriculum vice just winging it based on "feel" and their latest thought process for exploratory learning.

Marc Abrams 11-02-2008 02:13 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Quote:

Kevin Leavitt wrote: (Post 218949)
In my Jiujitsu class, after a year of training with the same core group of guys we finally reached the point where we can get together and train hard. We can warm up, go through drills, and have a very "advanced" and rigorous workout without having to slow down to teach beginners the basics.

It is nice to be able to train this way. It does not happen that often.

That said, I love working with beginners and teaching them the basics and being an uke for them to learn. It is all a part of the process...developing new trainng partners.

I like the idea of the blog. I wonder how many teachers actually follow a curriculum vice just winging it based on "feel" and their latest thought process for exploratory learning.

Kevin:

I would honestly say that it is a combo of both. I do not go into a class knowing what attack or techniques I am going to teach. A lot of that depends upon the composition of the students. I find that the blog serves as a structure from which the attack and techniques can emerge from. It has been my experience that this is a helpful process for my students. It is a work in progress (then again so is my life!) that is always looking to evolve. I am looking to become more efficient and effective in teaching an art that needs both strong external and internal components in order to really work (my opinion).

Marc Abrams

Jonathan 11-02-2008 07:18 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
I have a basic set of principles and skills around which every class revolves. With this fundamental structure in place I can teach a wide variety of things and still maintain continuity in what is taught. I don't carefully plan each little thing I'm going to do in advance of each class. Like others, I see who shows up and go from there. Typically, if there is a wide range of skill represented in the students who attend a class, I will set different training for each level of skill. Sometimes there are three of four separate groups doing different levels of training in a single class. Keeps me hopping! It also ensures that everyone gets skill-appropriate training rather than senior students constantly accommodating the needs of the new or junior student. With training ordered this way, I never come to class thinking I'm going to proceed along one line of training only to find my intentions foiled by the inability of a junior student.

Phil Van Treese 05-11-2009 03:25 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Sometimes, instead of me teaching my class, I will have the students get a partner and show me what they have learned---from the beginning. I will call out techniques and they do them. I am, sometimes, surprised at what they have forgotten. Therefore, I know where I have to go. Sort of like an "inventory." It works quite well. For example I will have them show me 5-6 different entries for Irimi Nage, Shiho Nage etc!!! It does get interesting. It also makes them aware of what they have to work on. It's a good tool for learning and understanding. Try it sometime. YOU might be surprised.

Tim Ruijs 05-12-2009 04:53 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Hi
My teacher thaught me it is important that each student takes an interest in the lesson. Off course each at their own level. Not everybody might be able to incorporate all the principles in each technique. For instance you might notice that ma-ai is a problem for most in a particular lesson. You'll have to think about what exercises might improve that. This process makes you a better teacher and improves your understanding of Aikido. And, your students improve their sens of ma-ai (in this example).

I always start with kino nagare exercises and check how the students perform. Next I decide what aspect to work on and how.
As the lesson progresses I adapt when/where necessary.

The scariest part has been *not* to prepare the lesson and react to the group as the lesson progresses.

Don_Modesto 05-12-2009 07:52 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Quote:

Phil Van Treese wrote: (Post 229885)
Sometimes, instead of me teaching my class, I will have the students get a partner and show me what they have learned---from the beginning. I will call out techniques and they do them. I am, sometimes, surprised at what they have forgotten. Therefore, I know where I have to go. Sort of like an "inventory." It works quite well. For example I will have them show me 5-6 different entries for Irimi Nage, Shiho Nage etc!!! It does get interesting. It also makes them aware of what they have to work on. It's a good tool for learning and understanding. Try it sometime. YOU might be surprised.

I like this very much.

Phil, you doing any seminars these days? Really enjoyed that one you did on chokes years ago (before I moved away from the Tampa Bay area...)

Phil Van Treese 05-12-2009 10:03 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Hello, Don. How are you doing?? I have been doing 4-5 seminars a year from ground work and the applications to normal tachi waza, take downs, reversals, chokes etc. I have a seminar to teach in Caracas, Venezuela in September. I have been trying to get the school here to have another one but I keep getting blown off. I go to Miami a lot and I always take my gi with me. I've worked a couple of times and really enjoyed it. I would love to do another seminar like the one we did here and I don't care if I have to go 1/2 way around the world to do it. This is my passion as you can tell. Good to hear from you and glad you're still on the mat. Talk to you later.

Lan Powers 05-12-2009 02:31 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
I really like the "inventory" idea :)
Lan

Phil Van Treese 05-13-2009 11:07 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Hey Tim--Spreekt u de Friesland dialect van het Nederlands? Ik ga terug naar Berlin in de 3 weken te leren een seminar. Kan interessant zijn. En dan zal ik gedurende een week in Utrecht te zien mij vriend Anton Geesink. Tot ziens.

Tim Ruijs 05-14-2009 01:51 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Phil, you surprised me :) Not too many people speak/write Dutch.
But no, I do not speak 'Fries'. That's an entire language by itself. Spoken only in the north, not many Dutch even understand it:D
It is a some mixture of German, Swedish and off course Dutch.
One of my pupils is from the north, but when he starts speaking that tongue, I am really :confused:

Hope you enjoy your stay in Europe ;)

Carsten Möllering 05-14-2009 07:50 AM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Hi

I'm also doing Aikido for about 15 years now and I am teaching on an regular base for 3,5 years. I am one of four teachers in our Dojo.

Quote:

Steve Nelson wrote: (Post 218220)
Often times I have these grand ideas tying techniques together or every once in a while I'll have some philosophical idea that can be explained through Aikido movement etc.

I teach the main advanced class and I myself learn a lot by teaching my - what you call - "grand ideas".
And this way of teaching is highly appreciated by the students very much.
We all together get a lot out of it.

Quote:

Then I get into class and realize that half of the students are just learning how to fall. More often than not my wonderful ideas get thrown out the window and I change my class to adapt to the students
Because of that we have structured our classes: So we have beginners (2 per week), basics (2 per week) and advanced (2 per week) classes.
Basics and beginner is sometimes not strictly separated. But to take part in the advanced classes you have to be abel at least to do frontrolls. So everyone can take ukemi and can practice with the others.
Since I do Aikido there has always been this structure of practice. Everybody knows what to expect in a class. And everyone can choose where to take part.
And because the seniors always take part in the beginners training and the basic Training is suitable for both groups, there is only a distinction of topics of the classes and not a separation of the members of the dojo.

Quote:

I'm curious... those of you that have been teaching for a long time, if you had the students ready to learn what you had to offer...what is it that you really want to teach?
When I started to teach, I simply tried to teach what I was taught by my then teacher.
In the meantime some things happened: New teacher too far away to see him every month; nidan grading and intensiv preparation before that over one year; I got to know the Aikido of Endo Sensei ...
My Aikido changed and developed. I found a lot.

Now I try to teach the things I found on my way with my teacher and with our shihan, the things which are important to me. I wouldn't call It grand Ideas but "my understanding of ..."

best wishes
Carsten

Don_Modesto 05-14-2009 01:00 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Quote:

Phil Van Treese wrote: (Post 229933)
Hello, Don. How are you doing?? I have been doing 4-5 seminars a year from ground work and the applications to normal tachi waza, take downs, reversals, chokes etc. I have a seminar to teach in Caracas, Venezuela in September. I have been trying to get the school here to have another one but I keep getting blown off. I go to Miami a lot and I always take my gi with me. I've worked a couple of times and really enjoyed it. I would love to do another seminar like the one we did here and I don't care if I have to go 1/2 way around the world to do it. This is my passion as you can tell. Good to hear from you and glad you're still on the mat. Talk to you later.

:)

Phil Van Treese 05-14-2009 03:19 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Fries (Friesland) is a mixture of Dutch, Danish, German and some Swedish. It's extremely hard to speak and even fewer speak it outside of Friesland---Groningen in my case. I guess that's why English was so easy for me to learn. Oh well. Talk to you later.

Phil Van Treese 05-14-2009 03:22 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Well, Don--I think the next time I go to Miami, I am going to try and find Stephanie Yap's dojo and pay a mat fee. Sometimes it's great to be a student again instead of teaching.

erikmenzel 05-29-2009 05:00 PM

Re: What do you REALLY want to teach?
 
Quote:

Phil Van Treese wrote: (Post 230095)
Fries (Friesland) is a mixture of Dutch, Danish, German and some Swedish. It's extremely hard to speak and even fewer speak it outside of Friesland---Groningen in my case. I guess that's why English was so easy for me to learn. Oh well. Talk to you later.

I realy dont understand why people always claim Frysian would be difficult to speak. It isnt (my 2.5 year old girl speaks it) , and most of the time not being able to understand it grows from an unwillingness to try.:crazy:

It is the same with learning Aikido. If you arent willing to try it and arent willing to let go of your preconceptions then learning will be hindered and progress will be a struggle


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