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Old 08-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #36
Walter Martindale
Location: Cambridge, ON
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 759
Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Blocked practice versus Random practice... Blocked practice gives relatively quick initial learning because you're doing lots and lots of repetitions of the same thing, which cuts down on the processing or decision making needed to do the blocked practice.

Random practice gives slower initial learning because more mistakes are made early on, but studies (Joan Vickers of U of Calgary cites many of these in her work) show that the learning is more "robust" in the long run.

Hypothetical example from Aikido: Dojo "A" practices Tachi-Dori by doing 100 repetitions of (say) Shomenuchi Iriminage-Tachi Dori, then 100 repetitions of (say) Yokomenuchi Shihonage-tachi dori, then 100 of a third attack-technique. They do this 3-4 times/week for a month.

Dojo "B" practices 300 Tachi Dori from 100 of each of Shomen, Yokomen, and a third attack, but the nage doesn't know which of the three attacks is coming until the attack is on its way. They do this on the same nights that Dojo "A" is doing their Tachi Dori practice.

Initially, because Dojo "A" does lots of repetitions of the same movement, people at Dojo "A" will learn their respective waza more quickly than at Dojo "B", mums and dads who are paying for their kids lessons (if it's that sort of situation) will be happy because they'll see fast progress.

Dojo "B" on the other hand, will see people making bad choices because they won't recognise the attack until it's too late and they may get lightly bopped on the bean (or Uke will have to pull the strike to avoid hurting Nage), but fairly early on, they'll start making fewer and fewer mistakes in their reading of what's coming and their decision about what to do. Mums and dads paying for the lessons will wonder why their kid is getting such slow progress, and will possibly take their kids over to Dojo "A" because those kids seem to be making so much more initial progress.

Now, take someone from Dojo "A" and put them in "B" for a training session, and they'll start screwing up, because they've not had to figure out "on the fly" what's coming, while put someone from dojo "B" into a training session in "A", and you'll find that the people have a very easy time of it doing the blocked practice.

Also - take people from both dojos a couple of months later without any practice of Tachi Dori in the intervening months, and throw random attacks at them, and the people from Dojo "B" will most likely "do" better than the folks from Dojo "A".

At least that is what studies of decision training in sport show.

So, while taking a basic coaching course won't cover all of this, and it won't necessarily make a wonderful godan into a good 'teacher' it may help him or her understand how better to help the people he or she is meant to be 'teaching'.

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