Mark Freeman wrote:
Hi Don, good post #89, thanks.
Could you explain a little about the 'I method' I have no idea what it is and would like to.
My own teachers history mirrors much of what you are writing about. He started in the mid 50's with a japanese teacher whose english was poor, but his aikido was good, he taught and learnt in the 'old style'. Later on in his aikido career he spent some years with Tohei who as we know developed his own teaching methods, which further informed my teachers methods. He then left Tohei and while teaching Tohei's methods, further developed his own teaching, as he put it 'for the western mind'. So to put it bluntly while he totally respects his original teachers he doesn't teach exactly the same way that they did. He says himself that he took many years to learn some of the concepts which can now be passed on in a shorter space of time. I for one am grateful for this progress as it fits in well with my own understanding of the learning process.
I have spent a number of years working in the corporate training environment, which I came to through learning an effective training model, which majors on understanding how people learn, and how to 'model' excellence in any field. I was happy to discover that the way my aikido teacher was teaching conformed to the best current known methods for ideal learning. This involves the best environment for learning, and most useful 'attitude' for learning amongst others, all dished up with a sense of humour, as people learn more when they are open relaxed and smiling.
Modern day 'coaches' in business do not have to be experts in the field that the coachee is in, they just have to be great at 'coaching'. Anyone aware of 'The Inner game' approach will recognise this. However in aikido itself it really does help to have at least a 'good' level of understanding before you try to attempt to teach it. Conversely, understanding of aikido really starts once you attempt to teach it to others. Well, that's my experience anyway.
Just accepting what has gone before as 'gospel' and sticking ridgidly to it is a path to atrophy. We must be looking to ourselves to develop what we learn from our teachers to make our 'teaching' our own in the same way that we develop our 'own' aikido. Of course some teachers will be 'better' than others, but at the end of the day it is up to the student to do the learning, and part of that learning is knowing when you are in a position to question the teacher. A good reason why all teachers should remain students.
In a nutshell the I-Method is:
* Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps.
* Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty.
* Integrate: Have the students incorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring.
There are a few good articles on the web about this:
A goggle search on the I-method (inquiry method or inquiry education) will show that it is successfully in math, science, and any other area that requires critical thinking and a deeper understanding than memorization. It works in kids and adults equally well.
To explore further, is what tohei did still aikido? Is what tomiki did still aikido? They broke from the general consensus of the aikiki they broke from the standard training methods. Is it no longer aikido? It's not the founders aikido.