Re: The Only Things I Really Teach Are How to Breath And How To Walk
In my class, which is mostly principle-based anyhow, we spend a lot of time on partner practice exercises for natural movement, structure and connection. But they mostly derive from or involve aikido basic technique.
I think you have to dive into practice or new students will not feel they are learning what they as beginners feel they are there to learn. I have always favored an integrated approach.
In aiki-weapons, many instructors dive right into teaching the kata. Because I am myself not a kinesthetic learner, I tend to like to start by teaching holding the jo or bokken, then drilling on the basic movements - footwork, thrusts, shomen cuts, etc - doing repetitions moving across the dojo using the mirror - before starting to teach the kata. Unlike many who teach the kata as a whole, I like to only teach newbies a few steps at a time.