Memorizing (and executing) the teacher's examples
I just had my first aikido lesson and I must say it was quite enjoyable. Becos it has been years since I last practiced some judo and jiu-jitsu, I had real difficulties memorizing and executing the techniques the teacher showed. I wonder how I managed back then... :(
I wonder what strategies you people use with regard to this.
Just practice daily. you and I share a similar background; I also took Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, Karate as well. Aikido is so completely different frome these (already very different) Martial Arts, you're going to find you'll have to 'unlearn' a few skills to develop your Aikido.
So, don't worry about memorizing the techniques; your body will learn them just by practicing. Just relax, enjoy, have fun and listen to your instructor - you'll find yourself snapping off a halfway-descent kokyunage or kaitenage(one of my faves) in no time.
Cheers! And welcome to Aikido, by the way!
When I was beginning, I was feeling a bit discouraged that I really wasn't absorbing anything.
I was talking to my stepmom about my frustations and her advice went along the lines of this:
Think back to the time when you were learning to drive a stick shift. Your mom suffered whiplash. The car stalled several times out of first; the timing of your feet was not quite right for a time.
With time and practice, your feet know what to do. Driving a clutch is no problem.
The same holds true for aikido. Everything is going to be off for a time. After nine months for me, a few things come smoothly, more than a few don't. Just keep going.
There is a certain period of adjustment for becoming more sensitive to the slight movements of aikido and what I call "making the wave" or "riding the wave."
There is a "hard" quality to judo, jujitsu, and karate, but even the most harsh teacher will indicate that there is a soft side to these arts as you progress.
Aikido is an excellent playground for finding how to use the softer side of technique while not giving away strength to an opponent.
Keep an open mind, go slow, and it will get to be fun as you learn to "ride the wave" or "make the wave."
At that point, the details will be more important, until then, just get the general feel and general movements until the "wave" is yours.
1. Stop worrying about it
2. Watch Sensei's feet
3. I find that I pick up less when I watch and think about it at the same time, and I'm generally in real trouble if I get up feeling really confident, like I *know* exactly what I just watched.
4. Expect not to know exactly what to do and keep paying attention when nage does the technique on you.
5. And don't worry about it. That makes it much worse - I know from experience!
I tell beginners at our dojo that being a beginner is a wonderful privilege, and that they should make sure they make the most of it and enjoy it while it lasts. A beginner can't do anything wrong because no one has taught them yet what the 'right way' is supposed to be. They are inevitably and inescapably themselves, and whatever they've managed to see and understand of the sensei's technique is exactly the stuff that they should be showing.
If an instructor is demonstrating I will generally focus on three separate things each time he does the technique.[list=1]
[*]hand - arm movement
[*]hip and shoulder movement
[/list=1] This means the teacher needs to do the technique at least three times. Most instructors show a technique 2-4 times. Sometimes you can also see the technique being done by senior students, to help you fill in the blanks.
By breaking down my observations, I find I'm able to better pick-up on what's going on, than trying to take it in all at once.
This works for me, but your mileage may vary.
It is all about doing it. The physical act of "flesh". Just this last weekend, we were doing weapons work, which I am inexperienced with and haven't practiced much, but I felt completely lost. Just like I did when I first started :D
Occasionally I have a off day anyways, were things just don't "flow".
As a beginner myself, I have the same questions. The advice that my instructor gave me was "Just admit to yourself that you suck. Then the pressure to perform is gone."
The key to the game is trying not to try to hard. I come from a karate background and really feel like I am starting all over again. I guess I really am though.
Train as often as you can. Training is the most important thing.
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