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Old 09-20-2002, 11:11 AM   #8
kung fu hamster
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 166
Some of my teachers have told me that there is a distinct difference in teaching style from 'old-time' Japanese sensei's and the American sensei's - the American way seems to be to break things down to manageable chunks and show a technique step-by-step. Old time Japanese style is to show the technique a couple of times and then you get to work training, no talking or explanations until you've practiced and they see how much explanation (if any) they have to supply. I also wonder if the old style didn't have an element of withholding 'secret teachings' for the select few who may have been tapped as successor, or top dog, whatever. I am sure this worked well if the object was to restrict the full transmission of teachings to a limited group -which in the beginning I believe O-Sensei was known to do (required introductions and weeding out, etc.). I think this would, in a contrary way, make the students hunger more for 'stealing' the knowledge. Maybe I'm way off base, but I do think you are making a point that the different teaching methodology is what makes it more difficult for you to learn aikido quickly. I whine all the time that I need the techniques 'broken down' for me, because I feel impelled to learn faster and of course it is easier if someone spoon-feeds me the step-by-step Arthur Murray footsteps on the floor. But I think the Japanese system/rationale behind letting one figure a lot of that out for oneself through observation is that it sharpens the awareness, the intuition, and makes the technique more completely yours if you figure out on your own what works for you. And maybe this methodology cuts down on the 'telephone' phenomena where sempai parrot whatever they think was told to them and they 'correct' junior students with adjustments that may not work. Sure takes a lot longer and is a heck of a lot more work, though.
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