Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size
Just to take an alternative view, I'd like to suggest that there is a real human need for mass bonding, something that large seminars can satisfy, and small classes can't. Through spectacle, if you will, the larger body of the community experiences/recognizes/ defines itself. This is no small thing. On the other hand, I completely agree that it is a lousy primary tool for the transmission of an art.
As for "technique stealing", I am sure that there is a reason that it came to be a standard expectation. Perhaps because the opposite of it is spoon-feeding, which is also not very effective. There must be a balance between the teacher's level of giving and the student's level of wanting.
I am reminded of something from Alexander's "A Pattern Language", regarding windows. The general perception of picture windows is that they create a vista that connects the viewer with the landscape, unimpeded by distracting panes and mullions. But Alexander contended that a large, single pane actually acts to separate the viewer from the landscape, by creating a definite in here/out there context. A multi-paned window, by contrast, has to be looked through; and the landscape must be drawn in. This requires attention and effort, so when we look, we see more clearly. In regards to Aikido, some of the best classes I've ever had were ones that imparted a point that I didn't get until years later. And interestingly, those same puzzled-out classes made it easier to get the full benefit of spoon-fed information.
So while I am in admiring agreement with Ledyard Sensei's proposals as to organizational structure, I think there is another aspect to teaching: how we get and keep the students' minds most completely engaged.
Last edited by Brion Toss : 02-27-2007 at 05:31 PM.