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Old 07-14-2007, 12:49 AM   #3
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Re: What was Tokimune Sensei thinking?

In some degree I do agree with the sentiment that students should not be spoon-fed everything. It makes them lazy.

I don't like to use the term "stealing" but rather think of it as forcing students to do research. This seems to be highly lacking these days. Often students expect everything to be handed to them. This reduces the need to students to do their own research, limiting the level to which they might achieve understanding. Without that individual research, students are limited to the knowledge of their instructor and cannot grow the art beyond what the instructor knew. If the student does his or her own research, it provides the opportunity for the student to excel beyond the level of his or her instructor.

I believe it is more an issue of degree. At what point do you expect the student start doing their own research and on what basis? While it would be nice to train the students to begin their own research right from the beginning, it is also good to give the student a strong set of fundamentals with which to begin the research. To achieve this correctly takes a balance between spoon feeding and forcing to do research.

Like in my academic world, I believe it is much more efficient and effective to start by providing the fundamental knowledge clearly at the beginning, then teaching them how to think and do research, based on those fundamentals. You provide the students with examples of how the fundamental knowledge is applied and a behavioural model for the research. Certainly, this will not produce the greatest percentage of researchers, in academics nor in Budo. It will, however, provide those researchers with a better basis and a head start in doing the research.

I see it much like the difference between Ph.D. training through the traditional United States academic model versus the traditional Continental academic model. The US model tends to push for a high level of basic training and knowledge while the Continental approach pushes to teach the students how to discover. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses. To blend these two approaches in the academic world is up to the professor. In Budo, to blend these two approaches is up to the chief instructor.

At the same time, it is also a matter of the character and abilities of the student. Some students, whether academic or budo, are natural researchers. Others are natural sponges. Both can benefit from learning in their own way. The important thing is for the right student to be matched with the right type of instructor. This, of course, leads to the requisite variety argument. We need instructors who will spoon feed students up to a point, and we need instructors who will force his or her students to do their own research up to a point.

But, research is important or Aikido will stagnate and not grow. Without growth future death of the system is ensured. Students do need to be pushed to do their own research. If we are too circumspect too early, too many will give up before starting real research. If we are too detailed, too many will be lazy and not do any research at all. It is a balance and each instructor must make a decision on where that balance is most optimal.

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