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Old 12-06-2005, 10:08 AM   #12
Charles Bergman
Dojo: Shin Sui Kan/Genoa, Ohio
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10
Re: Poll: How helpful are verbal instructions in learning aikido for you?

Ultimately, an instructor can not teach a student a technique, the student learns the techinque by practice, over time. Eventually, the "light bulb" comes on and the student gets it. However, explaining and showing the techinque are the beginning of instruction.

In his essays on Zen and swordsmanship, Takuan Soho describes the process of learning techinques as starting with "Mushin" (no mind), where the student doesn't know any techniques. The student, overtime, "learns" the techinques, both through oral transmission and physical practice. Eventually, the student transcends thinking about physical technique and returns to the state of Mushin.

But the student cannot start the journey without being "taught" which includes describing not only the physical techinque, but also history, phillosphy, ettiquete, etc. That is, the larger picture, beyond only physical technique (i.e. the mental aspects of training). This is conveyed both through words and example.

Finally, I think in watching old films of O'Sensei and other famous instructors, they are constantly explaining how to perform the techinque, and describing the mechanics. I think the main reason why many Aikido schools outside of Japan try to operate without verbalizing what is happening, is because many of the Japanese instructors when sent to other countries to teach, werent comfortable with the language. As a result, they taught primarily by showing rather than speaking, out of necessity, and not because there was something wrong with talking during class, which is how many foreign students perceived it. As a result, they simply modeled those instructors and don't talk in class, but this doesn't apear to be how they themselves were taught.

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