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Old 10-30-2009, 12:39 PM   #18
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Matthew Middleton wrote: View Post
I defer to the sensei when they correct my movements, but I do like to get feedback from my partner if they feel there's something I need to adjust.

How many times during a class do you get that kind of specific attention from your sensei? How many times in a class do you serve as uke for your sensei? How many times in a class does your sensei serve as uke for you? What is it about feedback from a partner that you do not like?

Some of the best feedback that I receive is when my teacher is an uke for me. That obviously does not happen very often. Even serving as uke for my sensei only happens (typically) less than five times in a 2.5 hr. class. I realized a number of years ago that I had to be personally responsible for being my own best teacher. That meant that I had to become much more sensitive to what happening both inside me and with my partner. Teaching this ability has a directly positive impact upon my students.

I hosted Ushiro Sensei at my dojo this past weekend. I received a lot of comments from attendees about how they were amazed at the nature and quality of feedback that my students were able to provide and how helpful that was to them.

Dan Harden said something very powerful and true at the instructor's seminar that he ran. He said that you do not know what you do not know. That means that just going through the motions will not necessarily help you. Learning how to receive and give proper feedback is a critical part of a learning process, regardless of the venue.

Over the years, I have had to learn to drop my ego and learn from everybody, including rank beginners. You never know when superb feedback will be given. To me, always being open to it and actively soliciting it is important in my training.

In the end, I respect your desire to practice how you see fit. I am just interested in becoming a better teacher in that I can teach my students how to be their own best teachers.

Marc Abrams
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