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Old 05-12-2013, 01:09 PM   #18
Stephen Fasen
Dojo: Shindai Aikikai, Orlando FL
Location: Windermere, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Re: Teaching Aikido, an Aiki perspective

Once again Takahashi Sensei has put things into words few are as adept at using. I marvel at his ability to encapsulate and open things to view.

There are teachers who claim their thrones, those who's voice comes at a time and place that resonates with our need, those who prove their worth. In the end we all bear responsibility for our learning. If interest prompts investigation we may act to gather and assimilate, hopefully developing understanding, by which we may recognize context and worth. Application however is a process of expression. How well we learn to express requires self-awareness. Self-awareness is first recognized in the mirror of life around us. The teacher may be the one who holds up that mirror. A true teachers knows not just where and for whom to hold the mirror, but when. We are fortunate to find the good ones.

As was implied in many of the threads, it is difficult to enlighten the student while trapped in the mirror you are meant to offer. Teaching is not an inevitability of knowledge or experience. That is why we see some in Aikido who are demonstrators, some who are instructors, and a few who are teachers. The teachers show others how THEY can accomplish, not how accomplished the "teacher" is. They show the student to be affective with what they have to the limit and limitless nature of themselves.

Affective expression is influenced by time and the existence of resistance, the need for clarification, which results in what we might refer to as experience. Whether experience results in wisdom is subject to the limitations of the individual to learn from that experience and externalize it. Are we the center of the universe if we do not recognize a universe? A good teacher also illuminates the field for expression while maintaining the continuity of exchange. Waza is a tool for articulation and illumination, but unto itself it is not Aiki.

Semantics aside, because we will not alleviate this attribute of our human communication, not everyone should teach. It is not an entitlement of experience, it is not a reward of rank, it is not an inherent ability. Teaching is a responsibility based in accountability, the nobility of which is only found in selflessness. Good teachers work at it through what they see reflected in their students. The students are a gift; the primary debt exists from the top down. This is fundamental. As teachers we need to develop language, but we do not need to use the same words. It is the limitless pallet of expression that is the foundation of our art. The human and physical principles of our art holds it together through common understanding, not the limited of the pallet of language that we use to try to describe it with. The words are important, like using the most affective brush in painting. But good teachers lead with a pallet of expressiveness that has no chromatic limits, so that the student can learn to see the limitless personal potential of walking a life long path.

The students will leave. They will pass. They will surpass. Their only failure will be the limit of mindless emulation. One of my teachers says, "If I can do, you can do", this is great encouragement, but limiting within the limitations of his ability to use language. His example, like the words of Takahashi Shihan, hold no such restrictions. Perhaps it would be better to say that " I have shown you the door, the door is open, I have been honored to show you a way to walk to it…go thru it. Find your paths, open more doors, and some day if you can… open them for others".
Hope to god your students talk back.
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