Thread: Resistance?
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:11 AM   #43
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: Resistance?

Tom McIntire wrote: View Post
I'd like to throw in my two cents on the issue of uke teaching nage. In our dojo it is generally discouraged for an aikidoka to "teach" his/her partner on the mat. We call it shadow teaching and there are several reasons for this position. First, there is already a teacher (Sensei) on the mat. To presume that the Sensei cannot attend to those who need help is the height of disrespect and arrogance.

Secondly, constant instruction from uke can be confusing to nage especially if they are junior and want to be respectful. But, everyone learns differently if nage is thinking about his/her center and uke is telling him/her to change his/her feet then the training process is disrupted and the learning curve becomes steeper. Even a Sensei who is constantly interrupting his/her students to correct them can cause frustration and prevent learning.

Third, if uke feels free to discuss the technique with nage and the whole dojo is doing the same training grinds to a halt. I've seen classes where everyone is talking and no one is training. What a waste that is.

So, in our dojo we suggest that training continue with a minimum of talking. If nage is completely lost uke can guide nage through the technique but, ideally, without discussing nage's failings. Other than that nage is charged with discovering the technique as it is appropriate to his/her physical capabilities.

The uke as the teacher is a model that predates gendai budo. I think that is the height of arrogance and disrespect of the students to assume that the sensei is the only teacher in the room. What you are describing is a situation where 50% of the time (uke) is pretty much wasted. Talk about the heights of arrogance, the idea that someone junior to you cannot point out areas of your own failing! Sounds like a set-up for the creation of idols and the worshiping of them.

In my dojo, people should be assisting themselves and those around them in helping everyone to improve. This can be done without being negative, but encouraging. I spend a lot of time and energy in helping students to be their best teachers. They develop the abilities to critically analyze what they and their partners are doing, and they learn how to effectively communicate that through words and actions. This is how I train and how I teach. I wish you the best of luck with your teaching model.

Marc Abrams
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