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Old 03-02-2007, 09:14 AM   #31
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 931
Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

William Hazen wrote: View Post
An organization with a strong hiarchy should also be able to identify those who have teaching ability from those who don't right? A fair example of this is the US Military which in my experiance emphasizes teaching as an essential leadership skill very early in the soldier/sailor/airman/marine's career.
There seems to be the assumption in aikido (and other budo to be fair) that the only real criterion for being a teacher is skill in doing the art. Those of us who have taught (anything) know that being able to do something, and teaching that same thing are very different skill sets. If you look at professional athletics, there are world class athletes, and then there are world class trainers/teachers. It seems that many of the trianers were never as technically proficient as those they train, but they can teach someone with the potential to be better. I'm not proposing we go to that kind of a system, just pointing it out. I think this also demonstrates some of the differences between Eastern and Western teaching models. In the West, it is the teacher's job to teach the pupil. In the East, the students copy the teacher. Just look at the words we choose to describe the roles, "teacher" meaning one who teaches, vs. "sensei" one who has come before. In the koryu (and some gendai arts) there is the understanding that you are not simply learning a new skillset, but rather you are shaping yourself in the image of the ryuha. A living ryuha is more than, "If X, do Y" but a long term re-programming of the way the member IS. Often when I get together with my old aikido friends they ask to see what I'm working on. I never know what to show, so they often ask to see a technique. The problem is that I'm not working on techniques, but I've been primarily re-training how to do the techniques that I already know. I cannot simply show someone a new technique, but rather I would have to go back to the principles of movement and theories of combat that I've been working on, and to really do that in a meaningful way would take months at best, more likely years. I can't really teach someone what I'm doing now, merely show them what I did to learn what I have.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
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