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Old 10-18-2005, 09:26 PM   #6
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Connecticut
Location: East Haven, CT
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,402
Re: Kinesthetic Learning

I disagree with the fundamental idea that there are separate means of learning. The categories that you've mentioned are artificial constructs that are in reality parts of the the whole learning system.
Mel Levine wrote a decent book "a mind at a time" than explores the whole learning system.

However, the general categories are not terrible. For instance, math is an artificial construct too, but I find it really helps me plan my finances. Imperial evidence suggests to me that people do specifically favor certain modalities. I have folks that can't understand anything unless they have it done to them and get to do it themselves. I have folks who can't get themselves to even attempt a movement which is counter-intuitive to their normal way of doing things unless I can explain it to them and help them feel safe about it. I have folks that just really want to watch me do the technique to someone else and then want me to watch them try. If I can figure out how to best help someone get started exploring aikido, any general guideline(s) for how to try to most effectively communicate with them is appreciated. Lets face it, teaching is a completely different skill from aikido martial ability.

What frustrates me is when someone explains to me that a good dojo only has the kind of learning they like. O-sensei wanted to spread aikido to everyone. I doubt he meant just the kinesthetic folks who are emotionally strong enough to put up with arrogant and short-sighted sempai.

At this point, I have a stronger sense of how things are supposed to feel, and how little effort you are supposed to be putting in to create the overall feeling - while not being overly evasive. I can't really teach that in any modality. I use the modalities to get people through the learning of the form so that they can experience what I really care about transmitting to them in the assimilation part(s) of class. In summary, I think learning modalities are good for getting out of the way of the real learning.

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