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Old 11-21-2011, 11:42 AM   #46
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: A Primer on Aikido, Aiki and IS

I've been asked to explain what I mean by the Japanese having a poor teaching model for this. One friend of mine cautioned me that it appears racist.
We have too many Japanese and too many foreigners who spent decades in Japan who say the same thing for it to be racist. There are very well known Japanese teachers who admit it. This is the result of cultural norms. As one fellow-who got his under grad and grad degrees in Japan some decades ago- once opined "In six years of higher education do you know how many questions were asked in a Japanese classroom? Zero!"

As an educational model that had to make the leap from a closely held family method of transmission to a twice a week ...or (international) twice a year seminar leaves much to be desired. I think it is a bit much to assume that any one teacher will have the where with all to make both the cultural leap, the generational leap, and the change in teaching model all at the same time.

This particular work needs to be taught in detail, questions answered as a students intuition kicks in, and language to de definitive, both in metaphor and in anatomical detail. I have watched Japanese teachers struggle with that portion over and over. Add to this that the knowledge has to first be there. I know of sixteen Aikido Shihan learning this material...two are Japanese, oddly the Japanese have trouble....even with each other, much less conveying it to Westerners.
So instead of demonstrate and ask no questions this material can be demonstrated, discussed in detail anatomically and with metaphor to know how to effect the mind/ body. Yet, outside of Ueshiba, I have never read it, heard it, or seen it displayed in the same Aikido. I don't think there is a Japanese aikido teacher alive who can cover those bases. I have seen some good exponants, but they suffer for lack of good teaching models and specific language. Example: at two recent seminars, Ikeda was teaching and people on the floor were using my descriptions to help each other actually do...what he was doing. All they got was "Move inside." That doesn't nearly cut it. As one American Shihan said at another get together when the Japanese teacher sat down. "I will now explain what he did...and how to do it!"

We are no longer doing the koryu family style one to one model in small settings in the village where you absorbed it. As Ueshiba said "Maintain six direction awareness before and after technique. This is taught in practice." isn't. Why? Because he didn't teach it well and it got mistranslated and no one in post war aikido cared to know what the hell it meant anyway.
So unless you are a genius or get a lot of one-on-one instruction; stealing technique and mimicing is a piss poor way to go. Sure it may work, but it is just as likely to fail.

Last edited by DH : 11-21-2011 at 11:48 AM.
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