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Mato-san 02-22-2006 08:31 AM

Perfection of waza
 
I have a concern or, better said an interest in how people approach their aikido in terms of perfection.
My approach to anything I am learning is to perfect, then move on, I have done it in music, what ever I am doing, If I apply this to aikido I have this self disipline that does not allow myself to apply myself totally into new turf until I have concoured the existing turf. Other teachers and learners choose to collect a broad foundation and polish it later.I am a bit of a perfectionist and have conflicts of interest when dealing with my high regarded sensei.
My thread is to ask how you approach their aikido. Some like different learning styles, mine is one of a perfectionist, not to say aquiring solid foundation and polishing later is any worse or different. Just want opinions, a poll. This applys to all areas of learning.

Mato-san 02-22-2006 08:38 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
My sensei often says this is time to move on to your next level, I explain I am not comfortable with this one, to which he replies this is what you will be practising today. Don`t argue with sensei. I know my waza is smooth. But not perfect as if it were perfect I would know it, I would feel no pressure it would be like second nature to perform it. I am a full blown perfectionist. Sorry about the rave.

Dirk Hanss 02-22-2006 09:04 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Hi Mathew,
this is good old Asian learning style. Two years cleaning the soil, 2 years different kamae and tai sabaki, then 2 years ikkyo, and so on.

In fact if you want to be perfect, you will never finish the cleaning session.

It is a good attitude, not to try the third step, before you have done the first one. I think you just should trust your sensei. even if it might not be the best for you, but for the dynamic of the whole class, you can tell him your concerns and then do, what he decides. One lesson for you might be to defeat your exaggerated perfectionism.

Regards Dirk

roosvelt 02-22-2006 09:26 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Mathew McDowell wrote:

My approach to anything I am learning is to perfect, then move on, I have done it in music,


Good, where can I get your record? I'm looking forward to listening to some perfect music.

justin 02-22-2006 09:36 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
I think perfection is something we all strive for but hardly ever achieve if you can master every bit before moving on I take my hat off to you

Josh Reyer 02-22-2006 09:52 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
I approach it like how I learned Japanese.

About two weeks into my first year Japanese class, we started learning katakana. We were taught each character, and then had to practice reading and writing them in constuctions such as:
スミス
ミシシッピ
タイプライター

It was tough. I never felt like I had a handle on it, and reading one word took an eternity. Then suddenly we started learning hiragana. Aaah! New curvy characters! Some that look very similar! It was horrible. But then we'd have to read a sentence like this.
テニスしますか?
ゴルフできますか?

Yes! Katakana, my old friend! How familiar and easy you are! Actually, I didn't have a perfect handle on katakana, but compared to hiragana I had obviously progressed in it.

Then came kanji. I was okay when we were just dealing with the characters I had learned in two years of high school Chinese, but then the boom dropped and we had sentences like this:
東京に行きますか?
渡辺です。よろしくお願いします

Ah, hiragana! My old friend! How simple you are to read and write! How phonetic you are! And while at that time I still wasn't completely comfortable with hiragana, I'd obviously made progress.

Similar things could be said with many aspects of the language. In school (particularly when I took 2nd year Japanese in an intensive 10-week course), there was never time to master any particular thing before moving on to the next. The mastery of the basics came with the struggles of trying the higher levels. Not to be confused with foundation with the basics. I had a good foundation of the basics relatively early; but mastery of them came much later.

I think this is even more true of aikido. The respected sensei saying, "I'm just now figuring out shoumenuchi ikkyou" is something of a cliché, attributed, IIRC, even to the Founder. You always practice the basics, you build up that foundation, but mastery may be elusive for a long time.

So for me the goal is to learn the grammar (the whole catalog of techniques), and the slang (henka), and the colloquialisms (ouyouwaza) along the way. A smattering of different dialects would be cool, too. And as I keep practicing, eventually I'll reach fluency. Not that I will stop learning once I reach fluency. There'll still be new vocabulary to pick up, and people are always coming up with new slang and colloquialisms!

Mato-san 02-22-2006 09:52 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Dirk I understand , good points, but you are attacking my form of learning, and yes sensei always knows best, I guess he would like me to push through the ranking system faster, i am not concerned with ranking and believe me the knowledge that I am absorbing is second to none. But I am simply saying, asking how do you approach your aikido. Perfection to me in aikido is just comfort, not actual perfection, that is a bad word. And Roosvelt you are always looking for a bite!.Are you a musician I would be happy to cut throat with you?

roosvelt 02-22-2006 10:33 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Mathew McDowell wrote:

And Roosvelt you are always looking for a bite!.Are you a musician I would be happy to cut throat with you?

No, thanks. I have people nice enough to try to cut my throat in my day job. I don't need some cyber pal who wants to cut my throat. Thanks for the offer though.

How often do you practice Aikido? How long each day? Perfection? My #$@?

Dirk Hanss 02-22-2006 04:47 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Mathew McDowell wrote:
Dirk I understand , good points, but you are attacking my form of learning, and yes sensei always knows best, I guess he would like me to push through the ranking system faster, i am not concerned with ranking and believe me the knowledge that I am absorbing is second to none. But I am simply saying, asking how do you approach your aikido. Perfection to me in aikido is just comfort, not actual perfection, that is a bad word. And Roosvelt you are always looking for a bite!.Are you a musician I would be happy to cut throat with you?

I am sorry, if you feel attacked. Yes, I was somewhat ironical, but it was only to highlighht the point, I was to make. As I do not know your skills, I cannot judge.

Regarding your sensei: not every sensei knows the best. But if you do not find a compromise you both can accept, the solution left is to change dojo. And until I know better, I give priority to the sensei. Grading is not only nourishing your ego, but also a chance to measure progress and a chance to get access to higher level training. Maybe there are other motivations of your sensei, but again I cannot judge.

Cheers Dirk

Lan Powers 02-22-2006 05:43 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Or dojo approaches more of a broad sweep of the basics (for a spell) followed by more advanced applications of those same basic movements.
For instance, first tai-sabaki. Then Ikyo in the basic grabbing forms (katatetori, katatori etc)
Then with motion. Then as henka-waza......finally oyo-waza (all from the ikyo root-technique).

When you then return to doing the basic grabbing attack Ikyo, you will find your mai-ai, your posture, your connection are all considerably improved by applying them in a more advanced form.
Even rank newbies see this jump in comprehension.
Advanced (like henka-waza) won't work without the basic movements being correct.
Sometimes we have approached this *escalation* of technique during a single class period, sometimes over days, but usually it does seem to be a cyclical repetition that re-inforces the core techniques.

And of course, we spend MANY hours introducing the new-comers to Ikyo as well....:)
Never too much of the basics, since that supports all the rest of your structures, if you will.

Lan

crbateman 02-22-2006 06:31 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Perfection is something that can be aspired to, but not achieved. There is always room for improvement, and little reason to avoid it.

Michael O'Brien 02-22-2006 06:54 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Mathew,
There has been some good advice shared already and mine may not be as good as or any better than what you have already received so take it or leave it as you will.

I feel your Aikido technique will always be something you will be refining (or perfecting if you will) your entire life. My Sensei has been studying over 12 years now and he is constantly talking about something new he discovered by refining his technique or something new that he learned at a seminar we attended.

With that in mind you'll never progress past learning 1 technique because for the rest of your life you can refine and tweak little points of that 1 technique.

Perhaps if you could find a way to change the way you look at your training so that Aikido is not a "sheet of music to be learned and mastered". It is a journey you are taking and you are merely along for the ride to enjoy the scenery.

Don't know if that helps or even makes sense but it is just my take on it.

SeiserL 02-22-2006 07:21 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
IMHO, its prgress not perfection.
Polish, polish, polish.
Maybe next time around I'll start sooner and figure some of this out.
In the mean time, relax, breath, and enjoy.

nekobaka 02-22-2006 07:36 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Last night my sensei told me that my ukemi was putting me in a weak position, and i should try to be in control of my posture even when I'm taking ukemi, also that I should be looking for all the places I can reverse the technique. Also nage/tori can't tell what they are doing wrong if I don't do this. I have never heard this before so it was kind of an eye opener. I have mixed feelings today because I never think much about ukemi aside from protecting myself and I know it's going to be a difficult habit to break, at the same time, my sensei almost never says anything so it's nice to finally get some wisdom from him.

on the other hand I practice at another dojo too. the sensei there almost never strays from basic technique and we do work towards perfection of basics. he definitely won't move unless you are doing it right. the first dojo is very fast and like I said sensei never instructs. the second dojo is slow and sensei does a lot of instruction. sometimes I feel like I'm not getting much out of the first, but it's probably necessary. also it's very near my house.

Mato-san 02-22-2006 09:25 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Josh, you learned katakana first?
I did hiragana first. My Japanese studies consist of 2 hours a week at the local city council, and what ever I pick up at home from wife and family.Not intense study.
Yes alot of characters are similar in katakana vs hiragana. Or even in katakana itself eg.
ン and ソ or ツ and シ very similar but different. And on perfectionism katakana and hiragana being a solid foundation, before you move on don`t you agree you should perfect and comprehend these foundations before attempting to tackle more advanced stages? Just an opinion? I know my Japanese skills are poor but they get better everyday, and I am very young I have a lifetime to improve in all aspects of my new lifestyle.I am just happy to be here Thanks everyone for your thoughts "perfection" is a bad word my intention was to say rather "perform with absolute self confidence and knowledge that you have absorbed this level in total".

Mato-san 02-22-2006 09:31 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Dirk don`t get me wrong I adore the instuction i get and the dojo I train at, I would never consider training elsewhere unless I really had to. My thread was never to much about my Sensei`s teaching style but about my learning style. And yes "perfect" is a bad word.

roosvelt 02-23-2006 09:01 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Mathew McDowell wrote:

my intention was to say rather "perform with absolute self confidence and knowledge that you have absorbed this level in total".

Even I only train twice a week, I do some type of solo forms (shiho-nage, kote-gaeshi, ikkyo, irimi-nage ...) every day to enforce my body memory.

It give me confidence to perform with uke in class. And I can pay more attention to uke instead of remembering my steps. Since I can do a move consistently (right or wrong), Sensei can pick up my mistake easily.

If you only do Aikido in class, I don't think it's enough.

nathansnow 02-23-2006 10:15 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Clark Bateman wrote:
Perfection is something that can be aspired to, but not achieved. There is always room for improvement, and little reason to avoid it.

Well said Clark!

A senior student at my dojo told me once that trying to be perfect all the time is great, but you're never going to be. He has been practicing for more than 15 years and said that now he's pretty happy when he does 4 out of 50 techniques perfect! :crazy:

I would say don't hold yourself back from learning new things. You have the rest of your life to work on the details!!

Enjoy :D ,

Qatana 02-23-2006 11:47 AM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
My Sensei has been training for 40 years and I'm sure he doesn't think he's ever done anything Perfect. And every time he does something he thinks is at least Noteworthy, his sensei is usually off the mat...

Josh Reyer 02-23-2006 02:17 PM

Re: Perfection of waza
 
Quote:

Mathew McDowell wrote:
Josh, you learned katakana first?

Yup. Since it was only a couple weeks into the course, we didn't have a very huge vocabulary of Japanese words. So the first things we learned were a) our names, b) place names, and c) loan words.

Quote:

And on perfectionism katakana and hiragana being a solid foundation, before you move on don`t you agree you should perfect and comprehend these foundations before attempting to tackle more advanced stages? Just an opinion?
To be frank, I don't agree. As I tried to explain in my post, we didn't perfect our foundations by the time we moved on. We thought we barely had a handle on each particular syllabary. And yet, it worked. I read hiragana and katakana (and a good deal of kanji) without conscious thought now. Our breakneck pace still allowed me to gain fluency. And indeed, some of the things I learned in school never really gelled until I placed myself in the much more demanding environment of living and working in Japan itself.

You improve by challenging yourself. You want to activate as much of the brain as possible, stretch it, take it to the limit. Then, when you come back to the foundation, you find yourself more capable than you thought. The neurological pathways are opened up.


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