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Old 01-23-2001, 10:56 AM   #5
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
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Ki Symbol Teaching

Tigua -
When teaching, especially in your early forays, it is best to stick with the fundamentals. If you are responsible to a class of mainly beginners, then they need to learn what you did as a beginner.

At our dojo here in St. Louis, I have chosen to relate each of the basic techniques to specific Aiki-Taiso. This allows the newer students the opportunity to understand that the Aiki-Taiso are important, and also helps the more advanced students to come to a deeper appreciation of the underlying principles of a give technique.

As to discovering a new technique, my surefire method for validating this is whether or not everyone else in the class can execute the same technique. Sometimes I have "discovered" something which only I can make work. This may be too idiosyncratic for anyone else, so consequently I re-examine what it is I am doing. This re-examination oftentimes tells me that I am relying too much on my size (6'2" 180 lbs) and not enough on the principles. Occasionally, I have stumbled on to something which I then share with other instructors to get their feedback.

As to your on-going training, allow your students to throw you around more than you throw them around. Then when you go to seminars and other dojos you will find that you are able to improve you skills by paying attention to what is important. I say this because it is in taking ukemi from our students that we can feel if they are learning what we think we are teaching.

Good luck!

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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