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Old 09-06-2002, 02:59 PM   #14
Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Mesa, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 199
Caveat Lector....

Edward wrote:
I think aikido is the martial art where you find so much theory, and so much less practical applications. I have been to classes where teachers (usually non-Japanese) spend half of the class explaining the mechanics and the physics behind a particular movement, contradicting themselves almost in every sentence.
I don't know why this response infuriates me so much. Maybe it's the racial preference, or just the closed-minded attitude. I believe that explanation of what one does shows control not only of the body, but also of the intent, what one means to do. I understand that there are those instructors "out there" who contradict in action what they are saying. To ascribe that as a problem to those "usually non-Japanese" or to those who "spend half the class explaining" raises my hackles.
Edward wrote:
I think the traditional Japanese got it better. Most of the Japanese teachers (not the ones teaching abroad) do not teach anything really, they just perform. And it is the student's responsibility to steal the teacher's technique, or what they consider to be the teacher's technique. This is considered to be the Path or the Way of the student to realise himself and his own understanding of the style through this process. This is at least how I understand it.
This is what, in my previous post, I attribute to the motives of a feudal society. This is not education in a pure sense, the act of educing. It is indentured servitude given sufferage under the tenets of social Darwinism. This has produced wonderful, beautiful things, that in some respects only exist because of who the Japanese were and are. But it squashes creative insight, stratifies understanding rather than unifying it, and eventually feeds upon itself.
Edward wrote:
I can see the difference at our own dojo where the Thai teachers will come and insist on the placement of one foot or hand, or even the direction of one toe, whereas the Japanese just walk around nodding in approval, even if the students are not following exactly their instructions, as long as the technique seems to work for them. And their interference would be limited to demonstrating on the student himself the correct way of doing the technique without getting into lengthy theoretical explanations.
You imply that the Japanese instructors think you are getting it. That is dangerous ground. The concepts of harmony within the group and individual expression are vastly different from the way most Westerners think, even if they are outwardly very cogent. I am not saying they have ulterior motives, just that what you are perceiving and what may actually be happening might not be the same thing.

I hope that my responses do not ruffle feathers unduly, but I have done my best to stick to the topic at hand without allowing my emotions to unbalance my words.

Jim Vance
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