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Old 03-13-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
Zoe S Toth
Dojo: Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina
Location: Columbia, SC
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 40
Re: New instructor on the block

I'll address the questions relative to their complexity:

First, I've noticed people tend to follow their teacher's lead. Our Sensei is hilarious and often makes a quib or two each class that busts me up. His teacher was the same way. Of course, if your Sensei is rather tacturn I feel you must respect his lead and cautiously introduce laudable material. Or straight up ask him if he feels that is acceptable behaviour in his dojo.

Secondly, I can't claim to be talented in Aikido (I really don't know anyone who can to be fair, although I know of many hard workers.) but can claim natural talent in other matters. Nothing helps me less in art or cuisine when an instructor wastes their breath saying I'm naturally talented. I want feedback on how I am doing. And most of all a bit of praise when I've worked my butt off on something- even if I managed to land flat on my face.

It's also not fair to give talented students MORE attention because they are talented. That is a vicious cycle waiting to happen- what about the less talented kids who work hard? Are they less deserving? Students who roll well from day one, in my experience, are often athletic and/or have previously learned rolling. Ever see a fat, clusmy kid do amazing roles the first day? No. Ever see the slim, athletic kid do a great tuck and roll the first day? Hell yes. Neither ones deserves more attention than the other just for getting different results with the same amount of work.

As for general advice, I have found the black belts I am closest with (Alex, Kevin, Max, & Paul) that aren't Sensei are the ones who open class and ask for requests from time to time. I love to ask them things and they help me so much to understand areas I have trouble with.

Good luck!
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