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Old 06-03-2005, 07:44 PM   #7
Dojo: Sand Drift Aikikai, Cocoa Florida
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 824
Re: Beginners with delusions of grandeur...

Tarik Ghbeish wrote:
What are your goals when you train with such a new person?

To make the technique work when they try to resist?

To work together to understand the technique better?

To learn together or just get your own learning out of the training and leave them to get theirs?
When I work with a newbie/beginner in aikido my goal is to see to it that they learn the technique. That they learn to take good ukemi and not let themselves get hurt. That they learn how the technique work and why it works the way it does. My sensei encourages the most senior to help out the juniors. He's "scolded" me for not saying enough to my junior partners.

You mention a strong lead? What is a strong lead? Power? What kind of power?
What is a good strong lead? do I explain this. In doing proper technique I show the uke where to go. A good strong lead comes from proper technique. Part of doing proper technique is moving from my center and not muscling my techniques. Moving from my center is the "power" behind my technique. But I don't think of it as power, but rather as being centered. By "strong" I mean confident and self-assured so that the beginner/ newbie feels secure and comfortable enough that they end up following me to where I want to take them. If they don't go where I want them to, then I'm not doing the technique correctly.

Your post seems to reject soft as not strong, yet the strongest leads I have ever experienced have been soft.. so soft, that yes, I could not feel them until I relaxed enough to feel what was happening to my body.
Actually, that's my point. A person can be soft and strong at the same time. I'm talking about people (I'm one of those people, btw) being TOO SOFT to the point that they SACRIFICE THE ESSENCE OF THEIR TECHNIQUE (i.e. you start doing the technique improperly and ineffectively) However, my discovery with working with newbies if they can't feel where you are going they are not going there. If a person acts afraid to throw them, they will be afraid to fall. If they have previous martial arts experience they automatically conclude your technique is not "effective." I'm not talking about muscling, cranking and being abusive to a partner. Hardly, in the least. Actually, quite the opposite.

What I am advocating is to not patronize the beginner (or the person you think not capable of taking the ukemi) by going "too easy" or "too soft" as per my definiton above. You're essentially doing them no favor by not throwing them effectively. First, if they have any knowledge of martial arts then they will resist, spin out, counter, etc. Or second, a beginner will be too afraid to move or put themselves in some weird awkward position.

My problem, that fortunately my partners have been generous enough to explain and instruct and share.
I explain, instruct AND share all the time. You're contrary impression most likely came from my example. I guess it sounded like I was advocating to thrash your parnter. But, I'm not. You see each time I explained or instructed this particular newbie (but not a martial art newbie) he consistently CORRECTED what I told him. He would stop me and point to another couple and tell me that was how we were supposed to do it. THAT is incredibly disrespectful. He did THAT 10 times while we were partnered together. Unfortunately, no sharing could happened in this particular situation as each time I told him something he IGNORED IT and then TOLD ME TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. I would just try to train then he'd interrupt my training. I've never experience such behavior before.

I don't advocate thrashing, but I do advocate speaking up to your partner, whatever the rank, and let them know they have crossed the line with you. This particular partner did. I did not throw him hard or roughly. I asked him what his aikido experience was as he was acting like he was ranked as if he really was not an aikido newbie. He said did have any aikido experience. I told him I've been doing this 6 years and asked him to please be quite so I could train. Then we went back to training, but silently this time. No thrasing, no retributional excessive hard throwing. Nothing like that. That path leads to nastiness and egotistic escalation. You really misinterpreted what I was saying, but thanks for asking for clarification.

But I had to be open to learning first.

I'd ask my partner, what is your goal in this training? To stop me? To make it more difficult to learn, or easier? If they persisted in trying to educate me in a path I KNEW to be wrong (and I could only know with the authority of having explored it for many years), then I might choose simply to throw them, yes softly, yes effectively, and wait for them to be ready to listen and learn.

If they're open to learning at that moment, they probably wouldn't be correcting me when they should be paying attention to what does and does not work in the technique.

So yes, if I were training with them, and they were insistant on not following the practice, I'd probably just be throwing (softly as I could manage) and concentrating on what *I* could get out of it.
Usually, this is what I do. I was trying to get out of it what I could, but this time this partner was rather persistent. Now, after he's been here after a few months, he HAS become a partner to share with and he does listen to me. I know he will eventually turn into a really great training partner.

Anne Marie Giri
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