I'm a university aikido student. I started out in the Elementary range and maybe i'm a tiny tiiiiny bit more advanced now, but esentially i think i'm in the same boat as the folks you teach. I want to respond to Brad's comment, that your idea is "the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard." I think it's an extraordinarily useful and practical thing you're doing, challenging your students to engage aikido on a cerebral level as well as a physical or even metaphysical one.
The statement that "Aikido is not about pencil pushing in a classroom" seems like an oversimplistic reduction of what's actually going on here. I know for instance in the UKA that certain dan exams require essays on aikido in addition to a physical exam. From what I hear those essays have motivated people to investigate the inside of their training and discover a new depth. From the folks i've trained with it seems that these essays have yeilded fabulous personal results for them, and a rewarding gain for the community.
Neil, I will try to think up some questions for you and email them, if you'd like. An idea for you right now is to have your students each suggest a question for next semester at the bottom of their essay. Maybe the winner gets an extra koshinage, haha. Seriously though, that might be a good way to further engage their aikiminds, and also would give you a good view of the kinds of ideas that your instuction has been bringing about for them. It would give you get a good bead on where their experience is taking them.
Last edited by Josh Bisker : 03-14-2004 at 10:53 AM.