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Old 01-05-2010, 05:53 PM   #34
David Board
Dojo: Aikido of Reno
Location: Reno/NV
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 74
Re: My Own thoughts on Aikido

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
You just said it yourself: as a beginner, you really have no concept. So...give you a break? What does that even mean? When a beginner in mathematics wants to have a conversation about differential equations -- a subject that he/she lacks the foundational knowledge to understand -- should one "give him/her a break" and have the conversation anyway? Even though it won't be understood and can only lead to confusion? Or is it appropriate instead to direct the beginner towards a beginner's activity, i.e., the acquisition of that foundational knowledge? That, I think, is what Szczepan is trying to do.

(By the way...I don't have any concept either. That's why I'm over here, working on my times tables, rather than trying to chat up the professors about diff eq)

It depends. What's the "fight"? Who's attacking, why are they attacking, how many are they, what are their skills, are they armed, where is this happening? How do you define "work"? Frame the question, then look for the answer. Better still, frame the question, then ask yourself if it really needs answering. Are you in the habit of fighting on a regular basis?

Nope. Not gonna do it. I'm just gonna work on my times tables, and I suggest you do the same. The concepts will come to you when you're ready. You do not need to seek them out.
I am very very bad at multiplication tables and quite good at differential equations. I am even better at matrix algebra. I do however understand multiplication. My understanding began by learning my multiplications tables but even more came from learning were and how multiplication can be used. I didn't learn this in math class. I learned this in physics and biology. I then brought what I learned back to mathematics and applied that learning there. Your data points can come from many sources the key is to weight them properly.

In elementary school I had one teacher that was very good at teaching multiplication tables. Most in the class would role of those 13s like nobodies business (well except me, I'm still stuck trying to remember what 7*6 is ). But I this did when it came to algebra. What helped in algebra was learning that one way of thinking about multiplication was to think of it as adding groups. But that didn't help me understand differentiation; that came from understanding multiplication as rates. Telling someone to go back and do their times tables will not help them achieve an understanding of differential equations. Relating what they do understand to where they want to go will. Suggesting a book that might help, showing them a "cool puzzle" that illustrates the relation and further their understanding will.

In my job I build models (statistical models) and test them against data. Then I rebuild my model and collect more data. I talk to others that are building similar models and add what they have learned to my understanding of my models and what I want to add to my model or how I might adjust my model. When I begin to build a new model, I read about the subject, talk to experts and because I typically build models about things I'm interested in I add in some personal experience (this can be very limited or it can be extensive depends on the subject). Then I collect data and test the data against the model.

My approach to Aikido is similar. I have experts, my Sensei, the sempai and everybody else that is above me in rank and some folks below me that for whatever reason grasp a technique better than I do. I also have several books. To be honest the books are technical manuals, I use them to help me remember what comes after I move off the line or whether the hand goes to the inside or the outside. Sometimes, however, the description in the books provides me insight because the technique is described in different way than my Sensei uses and for what ever reason they work better for my understanding. In the end though, the lectures and books are tested on the mat. That is when I can feel and see why the hand goes to the inside (sometimes, sometimes it's several weeks latter and somethings just haven't come yet.)

I can learn Aikido solely from training. But books and the experience of the sempai and other students provide me with access to years of mat time and data that I don't have. They provide me with additional information and sometime model constructs that I hadn't thought of. You have to weight them properly and knowing how to weight information can be difficult. In the end, what works on the mat is what works. Regardless of the grand theory of Aikido. Whether that theory came from book learnin' or years of practice.

All that being said, I defer to anyone with more mat time than myself on what is going on in Aikido. I'm not one to say "I read Dynamic Shpere and it says..." or "in Takemusa Aikido it shows the technique this way." If anything I might say "Sensei was showing it this way wasn't he?"

Dang if I didn't get wordy. And please don't take this as a post about Aikido because it isn't. I know too little and have tested my models with too few data points to say anything about Aikido. It is a post about how people learn, myself in particular. And where information can come from. I find the written word as helpful as the spoken word and a description can be better than a demonstration.

Last edited by David Board : 01-05-2010 at 05:59 PM.
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