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Old 03-14-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
Neil Mick
Dojo: Aikido of Santa Cruz
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 225
Re: Teachingsyllabus

Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
whilst I understand that your objectives are to modulate a University level course in basic kinesthetic movement within the paradigm of martial arts vis a vis Aikido, there seems to be an inordinate amount of time dedicated to learning to fall.
Well, IMO: falling is one of the most important things for a beginner to learn. Also, from a beginner's perspective, it's the most practical skill that one can take away from the mat.

IMO, the bulk of your curriculum can be dealt with in a 1hr lesson, with the remaining time over the next 4 or so months, spent on bringing all of the foundational principles together in a handful of techniques, to some level of basic competency - perhaps to 5th kyu?
Yes, that's my criteria for evaluation as well...5th kyu requirements. Some of the other MA university Sensei's (for other MA's besides aikido) award their students belts as part of the class, but I don't. I imagine that this has to do more with whether or not they run a dojo of their own, outside the university (I don't).

FWIW, my introductory lesson for all first-timers will cover the basics of ashi-sabaki, tai-sabaki and ma-ai, and the rationale for those in relation to attacks (striking and grabbing). Already within the first 2, we would have covered irimi/tenkan as part of the rationale of footwork and body movement as well as the basics of grabbing and striking.
Within the first two weeks, I'd have covered all aspects of falling, and just beginning nomenclature of attacks. By week 4, I expect my students to understand tai-sabaki (basic irimi and tenkan); all the basic attacks; and have practiced a few techniques, a few times.

By the end, I expect that we each have covered comparable topics, if we are both using a 5th kyu test as the criteria for evaluation (OTOH, there's a lot of diversity in 5th kyu, dep. upon dojo, and affiliation).

These basic concepts culminate in 2 variations of katate kokyu nage tachiwaza which require the participant to perform a basic mae and ushiro ukemi. At the same time, they also learn the one basic rule of breaking someone's balance - and how their own balance plays a role in effecting a technique.
Hmm...a little different than mine. Here are the required techniques they need to demonstrate, by the class's end (not counting the take-home exam, of course):

*shomen-uchi ikkyo
*tsuki kotegaeshi
*shomen-uchi irimi-nage
*katate-dori shiho-nage (4-corner throw)
* ryote-dori Tenchi-nage (heaven-earth throw)

*Understanding of basic attack forms, when they are called out (see attack terms, above)
*Ukemi (forward and backward rolls)
*Irimi and tenkan
*kokyoho (seated breath throw)

I tend to focus a lot more on the "warm up" exercises in the first lesson as the foundational basis for the techniques and movement that follow.
Yes, me too. Warm-ups are almost as important as the criteria, IMO.

So, by the end of the first 1hr lesson, participants would have a basic knowledge of stepping, pivoting, moving off the line of attack, front and back ukemi, and 2 throws. In the remaining months that follow, if they stay that long, the time is spent on exercises focusing on developing body connection. I find that the better "connected" the student is, the less need there is to specifically teach ukemi of the falling down variety. Which in turn allows for a greater emphasis on the finer points of technique and technical variations.

Thanks for sharing your perspectives. Part of the difference in our perspectives, I think: is in expectations beyond the class. As with a lot of "regular" dojo settings, a part of the aim of your beginning class is to act as a "feeder" to increase your membership.

I do not have a dojo to "feed" students: I train in another city (where I live); and there are no dojo's close (walking distance) to the college (also, it's a commuter-college, with not much of a campus-life). So, while I always get a few returning students every semester: the aims are different. I would like my students to have a solid foundation of ukemi, so that they can find a new dojo on their own and "fit in" with any style of aikido.

But thanks for the feedback, Ignatius. I'm always curious to hear about beginner's courses, and this exchange provides food for thought.

Last edited by Neil Mick : 03-14-2007 at 11:50 AM.