It was a pleasure meeting Chris, other members of Hawaii's aikido community, and Dan for the first time this past weekend.
Here are a couple things, expounding on the fine recap Chris provided above, that stuck out for me regarding the workshop:
Dan characterized himself as a coach, vs.a budo sensei, and the contrast in teaching methodologies described above underscores just how apropos this is.
- As Chris pointed out, Dan rationally expanded from the core theory as the workshop progressed. Yet as Dan introduced each new lesson and exercise, regardless of the degree of complexity, he repeatedly highlighted the presence and applications of the core theory. By Dan teaching in this manner, not only did we come away with a set of profound physical tools with which to train our bodies and transform our martial abilities, but we'd also spent two days inherently learning and honing the mental approach needed to fully realize the benefits of these tools -- as individuals.
- Also, despite the relatively small number of participants, the lack of experienced assistants meant that Dan had to coach each of us one on one throughout the workshop, which he enthusiastically set out to do. Furthermore, he was adept at leveraging observations made while working with one of us into teaching points for the benefit of the entire group. By doing so, we learned how to distribute feedback to improve understanding of a given exercise as well as general applications of the core theory and its related principles -- as a team.
Yes, the man sure can coach. Mahalo Dan!