Ignatius Teo wrote:
The corollary of that is, how long and to what level would it take for someone to know enough to be able to teach this knowledge effectively to students of differing abilities. I feel that not enough is being done to pass on the ability to teach (as opposed to simply passing on technical knowledge).
I think there are a number of factors. One of them is "who you know that really knows". In my career I've seen that some rare people (sons, sons of friends or high-placed officials, etc.) get shown how to do things pretty early on. I.e., the "good" treatment involves showing the favored few how to do things right off the bat. The fact that so many of us had to work for tidbits of information is "The Way", it's just a sign that we didn't get the Star Treatment.
In serious traditional arts, you get shown the valuable starting methods of ki and kokyu things *before* you're allowed to start working on forms and techniques... everyone knows that going back and trying to correct fixed incorrect habits is very difficult. To me this whole idea of "it will come when it is time" bespeaks enormous naivete and misunderstanding of the situation.
The other factor is the idea that you gradually work this into your practice a little at a time, you change the class emphasis a bit and focus so everyone is doing a little bit longer Aiki-Taiso and so on. That is a HUGE misunderstanding. It just won't happen. Almost everyone has the idea that once they grasp the general idea, they're about 80% there and it will just take some buffing and polishing to finish it up. In actuality, you have to begin to deliberately move this new way at home, at work, in supplemental exercises (anyone who thinks you become skilled in ki and kokyu from going to 3 2-hour classes a week is in dreamland). If you think about the original uchideshi, etc., and how much time they spent per day, it should ring a bell. They didn't put in all that work just for "longer hours"... they worked at the basic skills for many more hours than most "Aikidoists" do in order to get those ki and kokyu skills. How many people do you know that even do the simple stuff like 500-1000 bokken swings per day? Dang few, I'd bet.
In reality, most of Aikido (and other arts, too), particularly in the West, has experienced dabblers teaching new dabblers. I hate to be cynical, but then again I wouldn't want to change my basic personality, either.