Re: Poll: How helpful are verbal instructions in learning aikido for you?
Yeah, I know what you mean about needing to hear the same thing again later on.
I suprised the heck out of an ikkyu student (myself, too) by doing an escape-from-a-grab move that had been defeating both of us--suddenly it was effortless and smooth. He asked me what I'd done, and I had to say shamefacedly, "You know how sensei keeps saying, 'Let partner have your hand'? For the last two years I was *pretending* to let you have my hand, but you know, if you actually do it, it actually works...."
If verbal instructions "only work for a time" then the end of that time has not yet come for me, nor for several of my sempai up to shodan. Silent practice is important too, but for me verbal instruction primes the pump.
I have trained in a school which strongly emphasizes watch-and-copy, and I learned very slowly and, in my judgement, very superficially there. Her regular students clearly thrived on the style, so this is going to vary from student to student, but it was extremely difficult for me to "get" what she was teaching. Now when I visit there, I have a large repetoire of previous explanations to fall back on, and I do better--though probably I grasp even less of the specifics of her style, since I am interpreting them through a misfit verbal "lens".
Maybe I will grow out of this, but I'm not holding my breath.