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Old 11-22-2002, 03:30 PM   #32
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
good and bad of teach or student

My arena of expertise is in fixing boats and motors, so within the realm of teaching a dozen or more high school students the difference between working for the vocational education program and working for someone in the real working world, I must approach the teaching subject from this school of hard knocks.

I am not a fan of those who try to shorten the learning process, trade scholarly knowledge for experience, nor do I condone experience without the knowledge of being able to find resource of knowledge with manuals and research. So, in the sense of Aikido being a lesson of transmission through experience, I am still a proponent of having the practitioner find a balance between practice and scholarly knowledge.

As far as who is the higher degree of teacher, that is like a game of which general has the most medals and the most stars, when in fact, it is not always those who are crowned with the highest rank who can get the actual job done ... We venerate the teacher as we should our elderly who contain the lessons of many years of living, but then the actual people who get the job done are you and me.

We sometimes miss this segment of life in our American dream to rise to the top of the ladder and be recognized as being knowledgable or venerated. The most friendly, most knowledgable people I have met, not only share their knowledge, but they are quite down to earth.

My approach to teaching students to understand their place within the social system is to not only explain the technical knowledge they need to learn to excell at a job, but to give them a working knowledge of why they are working in the capacity they are working with options to change their situation.

So too, we should be a little more forthcoming in the hierarchy system so that it is understood that we all are equal in the goal of learning Aikido, and we all have different roles to perform as either teachers or students.

Sometimes, the teacher enjoys being the student more than teaching, which is the kind of teacher I, personally, get along with well.

The fact that we have roles of teaching, learning, and have set up a system that contols our roles is just the security of our roles in society to continue to carry particular areas of learning into future generations.

If you start getting a swelled head about becomeing a shihan, well.... in my opinion, it is time to return to the beginning to restart the cycle of learning again.

The basis of order is the basis of a stabil society, and if that means having ten degrees of dans is the way, then go for it.

Just don't forget ... if you really learn one technique really well, you will be able to martially protect yourself. From that one technique, the variations will flow and extend,and what difference will it make if you are shihan, or shoeshine?

I may be getting a little weird on this subject, but your goal as a student is to surpass your teacher in knowledge and performance, as least that is how I have applied teaching to what I know ... whether the student learned this lesson, or not.

It becomes like kicking the bird out of the nest to see if it can fly, only we try to give our pilots a little edge over the instinct of birds.

You gotta laugh at the old adage, if god had wanted people to learn Aikido he would have made them different from you and I?
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