Peter A Goldsbury
Did he understand your question? Was the description enough to show him what to look for? I notice that you have put "on the inside" and "on the outside" in double quotes. There is obviously a reason for this, but if you have to do this here, in this forum, how did you signal the unusual nature of the phrase when you were teaching him?
Years ago, Fred Newcomb, a senior yudansha of the New England Aikikai, used precisely the same phrases to make his point, when describing something else. He then added, "It is all the same anyway," and no one had a clue what he meant, least of all the white-belted students he was teaching.
In the instance I referred to, the student didn't know what I was asking initially. What I was attempting to do was get him to recognize a feeling or sensation and connect it with the concept of "inside" and "outside". Once I accomplished that he then knew, at least on some level, what I was referring to when I did it. The trick was then to design a training exercise which would allow him to do it himself.
I am a big exponent of "body centered" terminology. If one can develop a set of terms that students understand by "feeling" what they mean, then they can be useful. You need to use the terms consistently as well, so that over time the students develop an increasingly precise understanding of what was meant.
This is one of the reasons that, when one finds a teacher whom one wishes to learn from, one needs to get as much exposure to them as possible yo their instruction. My students have internalized my descriptive terminology to the point at which I use it merely to remind them (the seniors anyway) of what they already know they should be doing.
But when I teach outside at other dojos, I need to spend time simply teaching these principles and that can include working with people to get them to recognize that certain things are going on of which they might have previously been unaware. If I get regular exposure to the students, over time I see them start to redirect their practice and make a jump. If I don't see them more than once every few years, this really doesn't happen because, terminology has to be included alongside the hands-on so that they can "feel' what I am doing.
But it's still important I think to have the terminology... it points the attention towards what you are teaching. The whole train and you will get it idea is bogus, I think. If that were true, there would be a lot more excellent people out there. Some folks do learn that way but most, in my experience do not. So the development of descriptive terminology is important.
I got the "inside" and "outside" terminology from Ushiro Sensei at the first Expo. Once I had worked out what he meant, it changed my Aikido entirely.