Budd Yuhasz wrote:
3) Is the instructor able to reproduce their skills in their students?
Good post Budd. Interestingly I believe Ueshiba failed to produce students of similar or better quality than himself, and having met some of them, I would not believe for a second this is because the students were not diligent enough in their practise.
I think its all quite basic. You start off simply, learning the forms and basic movements and over time you actually get to understand these techniques and why you move a certain way (the principles). These principles have to be learnt by the body before you can then progress (and not the mind). Thus strong foundations are required, though the 'real' aikido is the bit that falls between the gaps.
Basically we're trying to explain something limitless with words (which Ueshiba said was impossible). The best way to teach students is not to tell them all that you know (because they won't really learn anything), but to guide them on a path to their own understanding of the art. A good teacher recognises when a student is ready for new understanding.
I think simple and systematic teaching is essential but the difficulty arises when someone teaches systematically without understanding why that system was created like that in the 1st place; and only sees a set of routines (just like karate kata lost many of their real applications - this is not the fault of the kata, but the fault of poor instructors who were just repeating what their master did without understanding).
Given my finite existence I always have this goal in my mind when teaching 'how can I make them as effective as possible in the shortest possible time, without compromising future development'. With this in mind, I feel there is a tendency to start off with hard, routine trained technique. Once this is incorporated only then can the understanding of why and how to blend occur (otherwise I believe symptoms of weak rather than blending aikido start to occur). This was how it worked in aiki-jitsu, this is how Ueshiba developed, and many many good instructors also went from 'hard' to 'blending' (I hate the word 'soft'!)