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Old 08-09-2010, 08:54 AM   #27
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 64
Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

As a product of the "Aikido" system of instruction (Im 2nd Dan graded through K. Igarashi Sensei/Hombu Dojo and both teach and train ), the university teacher education path, and also of the Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP where I am one course short of Level 5), in the Olympic discipline of speed skating ( There are five levels from introduction to international coaching, although the system has gone through some major changes recently), I would offer these points and background on coaching certification in Canada and aikido instruction (although aikido instructors are not required to take these courses) :

1) The NCCP system was developed to give "coaches" in all sports a grounding in physiology, growth and development, psychology, injury prevention and management, team management, ethics, liability, gender issues and logistics of the role of a coach.
2) The five levels progress from a weekend course to the final level which consisted ( when I took them) of 20 modules which usually took one to two weekend each plus and assignment that can take up to 3 to 4 months to complete)
3) In both Canada and I believe Britain the insurance and liability aspect are important when a person works within a "sport/recreation" system, and all coaches are required to have their basic introduction level. This is even now being introduced into the school coaching system in my district
4) In most sport/recreation systems coaches must also go through a police record check for criminal activity
5) That just because someone is certified does not mean they are a good coach/instructor and I have seen many many examples of poor methodology as a trainer of coaches, a coaching certification evaluator, as well as a course conductor trainer tot prove this
6) The "traditional" system under which aikido is delivered ( in most cases) is vastly different in manner from the "western approach". Neophyte wrestlers for example would never train with national level athletes. This sometimes works against the principles that are taught in the NCCP, but if we followed this "western" approach would we still be doing aikido or lose the underlying principles/community/tradition of the art?
7) John Burns point about "ensuring best practice" is important

" they (coaching courses) are not about aikido ability or style or teaching ability. They are there so you understand how to warm people up safely, they touch on child protection issues and lesson planning etc, all of these are completely and utterly independent of any aikido style, federation or association"

8) Walter Martindale stated,

" A lot of people hear the word "coach" and think of the "rah-rah" person giving the pep talk to the team at half-time. A coach is someone who, unlike an instructor, guides discovery by helping people learn how to do things, rather than telling them or showing them how to do things ". ( This sounds like Aikido to me)

9) Many instructors/sensei's when confronted with the term "coach" will automatically take umbrage. It's like a red flag to a bull in that they feel that the term "coach" in inappropriate, disrespectful and strays away from what aikido is .

10) As with any teaching or coaching , in Aikido one learns by doing and seriously studying and examining what you do. There are many examples in the world of aikido, from new instructors to Shihans, that exemplify excellent methods of instruction and these people have not taken one coaching course in the lives; but Aikido is their lives and they have put in their 10,000 hours so to speak.

I've been a bit long winded, and rambling here. but the bottom line in that a good teacher is a good teacher and a bad one. I believe that in this modern world of liability and "good practice" a grounding in basic principles of pedagogy would, in my mind benefit all instructors in any discipline.

Andrew Barron
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