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dapidmini 08-04-2011 09:22 PM

ineffective technique from sensei?
 
my instructor is a 3rd dan aikikai who got his 3rd dan after more than 10 years which I guess is quite some time in aikikai and he was some kind of a "street" person so he tends to get into some fights. but 95% at the time he was teaching class, he always teaches henka waza. I have no problem in learning something new, but the problem is when I think some of his henka waza isn't effective. I know this because I have been the one he used as uke most of the time. when he's doing the technique, there's an opening for a punch or a kick or elbow strike which doesn't occur as much in kihon waza (that's why I like kihon waza and repect O Sensei so much for his research on human body). in some other times, I deliberately loosen my grip so that he doesn't look bad when performing a technique.

I know I should respect him for teaching. maybe this is just a rant or sharing.. but I would like to know if anyone has had similar experience..

David Yap 08-04-2011 10:05 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
I have met a few of these "instructors" and have had similar experience. Most of them are arm-chair fighters but always bragging "in a real fight, you do this or do that when attacked like this or that..." and they have never fought in a fight or a competition ever in their lives.:D

Janet Rosen 08-04-2011 11:40 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Well, you could ask him.... or of he reads Aikiweb he just might answer you at next class... :-)

Tim Ruijs 08-05-2011 01:45 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Just ask him...

being a teacher myself I can tell you that it is an easy pitfall to explain a technique and execute the technique at the same time. Your attention is not fully there, and your technique is sloppy (-ier). I am trying to learn myself to first explain then show. Perhaps he is in the same situation...
Have you ever noticed the same thing when he shows the technique one on one?

lbb 08-05-2011 07:17 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Another possibility is that the technique is "failing" because sensei believes you can't or won't take ukemi and doesn't want to hurt you. That's been known to happen, although more often it's a case of senior students working with junior students -- usually a 3rd dan can get the point across even with a stubborn student.

Abasan 08-05-2011 08:10 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Be honest and exploit the openings. If the technique is alive, then you can see the result. Take it easy though.

Brian Vickery 08-05-2011 09:12 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289545)
.... but 95% at the time he was teaching class, he always teaches henka waza. I have no problem in learning something new, but the problem is when I think some of his henka waza isn't effective. ..

Think about what's he's teaching for a second ...Henkawaza! If the 1st technique he applies is 100% effective, he has no reason to switch to another technique, it's over at that point. So maybe he's intentionally doing a technique sloppy & loose so that it fails, which necessitates switching to another technique! The real point of Henkawaza has more to do with the TRANSITION from one technique to another rather than the effectiveness of a particular technique! ...Food for thought!

I used to think my sensei's techniques were soft & ineffective, but once I got to shodan that all changed. Once I reached that point in my training he started beating me to a pulp! I totally misinterpreted his light techniques as he being weak, when in fact, I was the weak one. Once I reached to a certain skill level, where I could take really powerful technique, he ramped it up! ...more food for thought!

...just my 2 cents worth!

Shadowfax 08-05-2011 09:56 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Why not ask him about those openings ,and see what he has to say about it? I have found that many times there are very good explanations as to why my teachers might allow openings. Or allow a technique to fail. Sometimes it just plain does not work but if it is happening consistently during a certain set of exercises I would think I might be missing the point and need to ask for clarification.

dapidmini 08-05-2011 10:55 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
@Brian: aikido is a martial art. one of my reason learning martial arts is to be able to defend myself effectively (aside from the fact that I love learning them) when I had to get involved in a fight. I think one opening can decide the result of the fight.. what's the purpose of doing a technique that you know won't work just to change to another technique?

@shadowfax and the others: he constantly tells us NOT to oppose by pointing out the weakness because all of the possible openings can be handled with other ways. so contradicting him is out of the question..

@abasan: in the last technique, he specifically told me (as the uke) to do a kick from the side when in my opinion, the logical reaction in that situation is to do a front kick. of course the nage won't get hit by a kick from the side.. what's the point?

@lbb: the other instructor was a real street guy. he was black belt in jujitsu so I think he would have been able to take the fall. and he had similar experience with this instructor. I'm kinda hoping not to have to describe what happened then. but he did what I did, which is not letting the instructor lose his face by "loosening the grip". and also, I don't mean to sound pompous but if I can't take ukemi from him then nobody in my class can.

Pauliina Lievonen 08-05-2011 10:59 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
I'm nidan and regularly teach at our dojo. If I found myself living somewhere with no dojo, I might even open up my own... and of course my techniques aren't completely lacking in holes yet!

So if I was the teacher in that situation, what I'd like my student to do is: take the ukemi during the demo (because that way the others can get to work), and then tell me "sensei, I think there was a point where I could have stopped you/escaped/etc". Then I'd experiment with the uke to see what was going on. If it turned out that I had made a mistake, that would be a good learning point for me, and a valuable pointer to the rest of the class. And if I had been extra careful with the uke, I'd have a chance to tell them in private, without embarrassing them in front of the whole group.

Actually, since there are usually other yudansha attending the classes that I lead at our dojo, this really happens quite frequently. :)

Sometimes even with all of us there we can't find a solution right then and there. Then it becomes a question to take back to my teacher.

kvaak
Pauliina

Brian Vickery 08-05-2011 11:34 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289583)
@Brian: aikido is a martial art. one of my reason learning martial arts is to be able to defend myself effectively (aside from the fact that I love learning them) when I had to get involved in a fight. I think one opening can decide the result of the fight.. what's the purpose of doing a technique that you know won't work just to change to another technique?

The purpose of henkawaza is to learn how to TRANSITION form one technique to another! Do you understand that concept? You're literally learning HOW TO TRANSITION TO OTHER TECHNIQUES. So, concentrate on learning the transition!

Some things that you do in a dojo are really just skill building excercises, like tai-no-hendo, tai sabaki, ashi sabaki, kokyudosa. They're NOT self defense skills by themselves! But you can't really defend yourself with aikido techniuqes if you don't have these basic skills honed. Get it? Please give this some serious thought, because you're missing the boat here!

So treat those henkawaza sessions as SKILL BUILDING EXERCISES instead of self defense training and you might get something out of those sessions!

And if you're taking aikido purely for learning self defense skills, I'd suggest you switch to some other art, like Krav Maga, to achieve this goal, you're definitely in the wrong place to achieve this!

Good luck with your training!

Shadowfax 08-05-2011 01:00 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Who said anything about contradicting him? I said ASK for clarification. Contradicting your teacher is disrespectful.

Brian Vickery 08-05-2011 01:36 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289583)
@Brian: aikido is a martial art. one of my reason learning martial arts is to be able to defend myself effectively (aside from the fact that I love learning them) when I had to get involved in a fight. I think one opening can decide the result of the fight.. what's the purpose of doing a technique that you know won't work just to change to another technique?

David,

My responses are coming across a bit on the negative side, so I apologize for that, that's not my intention.

But please understand that sometimes an instructor assumes that his students are on the same page as him, and sometimes doesn't fully explain what's he's teaching because he doesn't want to waste precious class time lecturing on what he feels is already understood.

I also have issues when teaching henka waza. It's hard to convey to students why they must let up on uke during the technique. But if they don't, then there's no reason to transition to another technique. I hate having to teach poor/sloppy/loose techniques, but that's pretty much necessary to really get the gist of henka waza.

I also understand that you believe that you'll execute the 1st technique correctly to end the confrontation, so there will be no need to switch to another technique. But you should reconsider this belief, things can get really ugly outside the dojo! These henka waza drills might save your neck one day.

Best regards,

graham christian 08-05-2011 03:56 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Hi David,
What is your view on henka waza? To you what is it?
Secondly when would it usually be used?
Thirdly what do you expect from it?

Regards.G.

dapidmini 08-05-2011 10:02 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
@shadowfax: I'm sorry, I think I used the wrong words. by contradicting I mean to even ask "what if"s like "what if he punches from here?" or something like that.

@Brian: I think you have a good point about learning to transition to other technique. I'll give it some thought.. my sensei thinks of henkawaza as somekind of a specific technique that hasn't been taught by O Sensei. he may also have a good point in that O Sensei may not have an eternity to teach all possible moves for all possible situation.. his henkawaza IS based on basic tai no henko like tenkan, ikkyo undo, etc.. it's just that I'd thought that if he'd make up a henkawaza then he'll come up with something less sloppy variation.

I'm not learning martial arts ONLY for fighting reasons. as I said earlier, I actually like learning them. I know that aikido is not all about fighting, but according to a book I read, it IS still a martial arts developed by O Sensei by researching human anatomy and "perfecting" other martial arts.. so taking account that O Sensei was trained in fights and martial arts (a good one at that), I tend to think that calling a sloppy technique as aikido is a disgrace to His name and invention (Aikido).

@Graham: I think I have the same view on henkawaza that I think my sensei has. I think henkawaza is a variation of Aikido technique based on Aikido taisabaki.. but I think they still are not supposed to have many openings.

Garth Jones 08-06-2011 06:12 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Henka means 'change' so henka waza is 'changing technique.' Generally this is taught, as Brian said, as transitions between techniques. Nage starts doing ikkyo, say, and switches to something else, kotegaeshi perhaps, mid-stream. Learning how to do those transitions is critical, IMO, to developing smoothness, seeing the relationship between the various techniques, and to respond correctly if uke changes their game or finds an opening.

When I am teaching I generally don't mind if a student points out (politely, without breaking my nose :-)) an opening or doesn't fall if I don't have their balance, etc. Often I will leave an opening deliberately to demonstrate what to do when the technique isn't going well, but sometimes I just mess up. That's all right - we all do. I think it's important for my students to learn the sensitivity to tell when things are going well or not, and how to correct any problems as they are happening. That's much better than just stopping, resetting, and starting again.

Usually those corrections start with fixing posture but sometimes it involves switching to another technique (henka waza). In many classes when we do basic practice, we are applying a specific technique to one attack. That's a very artificial situation. O'Sensei said that ultimately there is no technique, only correct movement.

Dan Rubin 08-06-2011 10:17 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289620)
I think henkawaza is a variation of Aikido technique based on Aikido taisabaki.. but I think they still are not supposed to have many openings.

I don't think the OP is talking about henka waza. I think he's talking about variations on kihon waza. Perhaps his instructor is calling them "henkei" waza.

Lyle Laizure 08-06-2011 08:37 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289545)
my instructor is a 3rd dan aikikai who got his 3rd dan after more than 10 years which I guess is quite some time in aikikai and he was some kind of a "street" person so he tends to get into some fights. but 95% at the time he was teaching class, he always teaches henka waza. I have no problem in learning something new, but the problem is when I think some of his henka waza isn't effective. I know this because I have been the one he used as uke most of the time. when he's doing the technique, there's an opening for a punch or a kick or elbow strike which doesn't occur as much in kihon waza (that's why I like kihon waza and repect O Sensei so much for his research on human body). in some other times, I deliberately loosen my grip so that he doesn't look bad when performing a technique.

From your post it seems that you know better than your sensei. Why not start a dojo of your own?

graham christian 08-06-2011 10:19 PM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289620)
@shadowfax: I'm sorry, I think I used the wrong words. by contradicting I mean to even ask "what if"s like "what if he punches from here?" or something like that.

@Brian: I think you have a good point about learning to transition to other technique. I'll give it some thought.. my sensei thinks of henkawaza as somekind of a specific technique that hasn't been taught by O Sensei. he may also have a good point in that O Sensei may not have an eternity to teach all possible moves for all possible situation.. his henkawaza IS based on basic tai no henko like tenkan, ikkyo undo, etc.. it's just that I'd thought that if he'd make up a henkawaza then he'll come up with something less sloppy variation.

I'm not learning martial arts ONLY for fighting reasons. as I said earlier, I actually like learning them. I know that aikido is not all about fighting, but according to a book I read, it IS still a martial arts developed by O Sensei by researching human anatomy and "perfecting" other martial arts.. so taking account that O Sensei was trained in fights and martial arts (a good one at that), I tend to think that calling a sloppy technique as aikido is a disgrace to His name and invention (Aikido).

@Graham: I think I have the same view on henkawaza that I think my sensei has. I think henkawaza is a variation of Aikido technique based on Aikido taisabaki.. but I think they still are not supposed to have many openings.

David.
By your response to Brian I think you do need to give it some thought for I suspect you hadn't realized it's all about transition, change.

I asked the questions when and why so you could look at the purposes of doing such.

Firstly let me point out one major fact that hasn't been alluded to and which sort of fits with your 'complaint' or observation. Any technique you care to mention has more than one part to it. The first part of the technique done correctly will not only lead the opponent but will put you not only 'in control' but also safe from any counter. Therefore in truth the first part of any technique removes all danger.

Thus we come to the reason to change. Usually the most obvious reason is that there is more than one attacker. If after starting one motion, one technique, you become aware that you are putting yourself in danger with regards to another person who is trying to get you then you would naturally change what you are doing to align yourself with the second person.

So it's not in actual fact a matter of if you get stuck on one then you change to another as many think.

Knowing the purpose for doing it can then get you understanding and aligned in yourself and you can focus on doing it as such and thus just be aware of when another seems to be doing it incorrectly but not get stuck there complaining and wondering what it's all about.

Regards.G.

lbb 08-07-2011 06:43 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289583)
and also, I don't mean to sound pompous but if I can't take ukemi from him then nobody in my class can.

Why would you think that that was impossible? It's quite common that an instructor will end up with a batch of beginners, none of whom has decent ukemi. If you're the best of a bad lot, that doesn't make you good.

Shadowfax 08-07-2011 09:17 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Just out of curiosity. How long have you been training?

dusterio 08-09-2011 04:10 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
If you don't like something about your current dojo including your instructor's style - why not just change the dojo? :)

Naturally some students prefer one instructor and others prefer another one. It's easier to change the instructor rather than fight with the "system".

sakumeikan 08-09-2011 05:03 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

David Santana wrote: (Post 289545)
my instructor is a 3rd dan aikikai who got his 3rd dan after more than 10 years which I guess is quite some time in aikikai and he was some kind of a "street" person so he tends to get into some fights. but 95% at the time he was teaching class, he always teaches henka waza. I have no problem in learning something new, but the problem is when I think some of his henka waza isn't effective. I know this because I have been the one he used as uke most of the time. when he's doing the technique, there's an opening for a punch or a kick or elbow strike which doesn't occur as much in kihon waza (that's why I like kihon waza and repect O Sensei so much for his research on human body). in some other times, I deliberately loosen my grip so that he doesn't look bad when performing a technique.

I know I should respect him for teaching. maybe this is just a rant or sharing.. but I would like to know if anyone has had similar experience..

Dear David,
I mean no disrespect to your instructor when I say that sandan does not mean your instructor has mastered Henka Waza.There may well be flaws in his waza.If indeed you see openings in your Senseis waza, surely it would have been better to quietly ask him /exchange views with him rather than post this type of blog .
Frankly I think you show little respect for your instructor and lack courage when you fail to discuss this issue with your instructor.
As a senior?in your dojo, in my opinion you should have more respect to your Sensei.I believe you have undermined your Sensei.
Joe.

Tim Ruijs 08-09-2011 05:55 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
It might be too big a step to 'confront' your teacher. He is clearly struggling with his experience with/view of his teacher. First question yourself, then the other. So it is wise to get informed the best you can and prepare well. He merely vents his experience, does not really judge his teacher, only questions him.
Would he in front of the class confront his teacher, this would be a challenge and he would possibly undermine him. But...I agree the best is to talk about with his teacher, one-on-one. Builds character...

Janet Rosen 08-09-2011 10:23 AM

Re: ineffective technique from sensei?
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 289875)
Frankly I think you show little respect for your instructor and lack courage when you fail to discuss this issue with your instructor.
As a senior?in your dojo, in my opinion you should have more respect to your Sensei.I believe you have undermined your Sensei.
Joe.

My point in my reply early on in the thread was that he wasn't posting anonomously, which makes it a very passive-aggressive exercise as opposed to either 1. posting anonomously in a sincere request for advice or 2. asking his teacher directly... and that for all he knows his teacher is reading aikiweb....


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