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Old 07-24-2011, 06:03 PM   #20
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 386
Re: Keep in mind that everybody is trying their best

First of all, it is an important premise to consider, and I am impressed by the sincerity of the comments, and the examples. The different types of students, the different ways of teaching.

I was writing about one of my teachers on another thread, and I remember the first time he corrected me personally.

When I first started at his dojo many years ago there were not many students. I had come from college women's judo classes and although I had a start on learning ukemi, the different attacks instead of just the one collar and one sleeve grab I was used to, and the fact that I was totally confused by the couple months of Aikido available before I graduated.... So when I got to NY Aikikai there was a lot I couldn't figure out. However, there were many helpful people.

Yamada sensei would walk down the line to make sure everyone was doing okay. He stopped to help as I couldn't figure out what to do next.

"Move your foot" he suggested. I couldn't even figure out which foot, so he bent over, picked up my foot and moved it for me.

Fortunately Aikido was so fascinating that I kept attending, there were great people keeping the training at a high level, and , yes, I know all about the flying part that Eva mentioned, that's why I kept coming back to class...

Years later I had an opportunity to teach when I moved back with my parents and as a proofreader could commute to NY once a week. I remember when Yamada Sensei had a seminar for those of us from Connecticut, since it was a neighboring state. Same mat as where he had said "This foot" and moved it for me.

Well, he was trying not to embarrass me and since I had lived in Japan for a year and a half, he mischievously said to me so that my partner couldn't understand but I could "Nannen keiko shimashita?"

The exercise was the basic tenkan turn and his question was,
"How many years have you been practicing?"

I may not be great at ishin denshin, but in the case of Yamada Sensei I didn't need ishin denshin. He walked up and told me.

I am studying all the posts on this very important topic, I just wanted to offer something others might find both serious and amusing.

Once he knew I had a YMCA class he wanted to make sure I did the best I could to improve myself. Being a teacher is a responsibility. That was years ago, but I sometimes ask myself what I did in the case of the various types of students. It turned out I was rather tough on my assistants (anyone who had any seniority among my students) and at the same time encouraging the newer people not to be embarrassed if they made mistakes. I told the latter that I had made mistakes they couldn't even think of making and the only excuse for quitting was if I had bored them with some of the repititious stuff.

Oh well, sorry about telling too many stories. I think all the comments on this thread are very worthwhile. Thanks everyone.
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