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Old 12-05-2011, 04:48 PM   #56
Carl Thompson
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Location: Kasama
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 472
Re: The Founder's Teaching Ability

Sacha Cloetens wrote: View Post

It seems the teaching methodology indeed did change after te war, according to Doshu Kisshomaru.

"You mentioned earlier that O-Sensei in his later years would demonstrate his technique in front of his students and that the students learned Aikido by watching and being attracted to his movements rather than O-Sensei teaching them. Was O-Sensei's teaching method like that from the beginning?

No. At first he taught techniques point by point although it didn't seem that he was attached to a specific teaching goal. But he emphasized that you have to do things exactly, one by one, so you won't make mistakes. Recently, there has been a tendency for Aikido training to become too soft and flowing and some beginners lightly bypass hard training. That's not the way it should be. If you are going to practice you must practice basics earnestly. This he told me frequently even in his later years… exactly, not changing anything… if you don't reach the level of softness beyond technique by getting the basics down perfectly, you won't develop true strength. If, from the beginning, you practice a "tofu-like(bean-curd) soft style, you will be vulnerable to an attack. So it's necessary to do solid training in the beginning. Over time, through this kind of solid training your technique will become effective. A soft effectiveness will emerge"

I recall hearing the comparison with tofu before, but I don't think I'd ever read that interview in full. Thanks very much for sharing the link.

To me this echoes a common view that the founder moved more towards demonstrating, lecturing and observing towards the end. It seems Kisshomaru Sensei suggests that his father wasn't so concerned about transmitting his art later on and that the onus fell more on the students (stealing taken to a higher level). One thing was that at this point he had a cadre of instructors who had gone through the more rigorous approach already. How did he expect those instructors to teach when he observed them?

I also mentioned earlier the possible effect of the founder's religious experience. Kagura mai (a kind of spiritual dance) featured as part of his demonstrations in later years. The founder bound his Omoto training with the physical aspects of his art. One question I had earlier was whether this impaired his teaching ability.

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