Thread: Mute Sempai
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Old 07-18-2000, 09:15 AM   #16
BC
Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 432
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I'm more of the belief that it is good to be able to use more than just kinesthetics to learn/teach. Yes, many people learn more by feeling a technique, but I believe that it is more helpful to occasionally communicate verbally or visually. I can remember many occasions when one of my instructors caught an error in my technique, and had me watch him and my partner doing it correctly which led to a breakthrough for me in understanding a certain point or aspect of a technique. The same goes for verbal communication as well.

Just last night I practiced with a sempai that I have avoided for several months because the last time I practiced with him, he did nothing but just "shut me down" during one class, without saying a word. In fact, he wouldn't even make eye contact with me. I literally couldn't even get a technique started - he wouldn't let me move. Last night, however, when he shut me down again, he would at least offer up a point or two if I still couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. For me this was much more helpful than just plain stonewalling me, and I actually came away from our practice together having learned something - which was not my previous experience with him. Yes, I probably would have eventually figured out what I was doing wrong if he hadn't communicated it to me verbally, but it could have taken a while and class time is limited, and neither of us would have gottern much practice in actual techniques. I think you really have to strike a balanced and flexible approach when practicing with different partners - at least I found this to be true when I was an instructor in another martial art years ago.

By the way, I also disagree with the learning to walk analogy. As a father of a nine month old who is on the verge of walking, I can assure you that no one that age is even remotely capable of understanding any detailed auditory instructions in learning to walk. Their main source of learning such an activity is limited to kinesthetic and visual resources, because they just haven't developed their verbal communications skills at that age.

IMHO

-BC
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