Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?
I've been lucky enough to train at Sato Sensei's dojo once in the past, and my organization has been invited to their seminars, and I can say they definitely emphasize the impoartance of understanding what one is teaching. Dave Lowry makes a good observation about karate elbow strikes: whether the hand attached to the striking elbow should be open or closed. Many karate teachers were caught off guard by such a question and came up with something plausible 'on the spot.' There is a specific purpose for these minute details, and it is important for a quality teacher to have had access to this kind of detail and tutelage. Being in an organization that has Yoshinkan influence taught to our teacher from Gozo Shioda and Takashi Kushida, we are really able to break down technique into minute detail (for those unfamiliar with Yoshinkan, its basic techniques have very specific ways of execution).
As important, is a teacher who can adequately apply Budo training to daily life, as this is budo's most practical application....and I don't mean self defense.
We have a saying (stolen from somewhere, of course), that is taught in our instructor meetings and classes. I don't remember the Japanese translation, but the english version is "beware of four-inch knowledge." This references the approximately four-inch distance between the ear and mouth. The warning being to beware a teacher attempting instruction of something he or she has just hear/barely learned themselves. I hope that any teacher I commit myself to will have taken the time, made the sacrifice, and put forth the effort to teach from a deep well of knowledge, vice shallow understanding.
These are things I find important in the creation of a "good teacher" and I feel it important that extra time, and special emphasis, be a part of prospective teacher's aikido experience. Time on the mat is always of critical importance, but if I expected people to give me their money, responsibility for their body, and devotion of their time....I would hope to have something equally significant to give back. I have had limited exposure to this kind of training; short time as uchideshi, kenshu class (like senshusei...sorta), monthly instructor classess, and seminars when I can manage it. This has been limited and inconsistent (due to military and family obligations). If I was willing to make more of a sacrafice, I could devote more time to 'plussing up' to the level commensurate with what I consider appropriate an instructor. As it stands, I consider myself a fun training partner to have...and one can certainly derive knowledge from throwing me around...but I certainly consider myself a far cry from what I expect of a Teacher.