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Old 04-01-2004, 09:54 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
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Re: Teaching, & its impact on me

Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
I have noticed that since I started teaching, I spend much more time thinking about aikido while off the mat than I did when only training. I think this is because I have to really study what I am doing much more deeply than I did before, in order to be able to explain it to others. Perhaps this is why teaching can be so beneficial to one's own aikido.
I would agree
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
A downside (?) is that my aikido is becoming much more personal to me and this is colouring what I teach.
I and, I believe, my sensei would say this is a definite upside.

Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
I think that, as a junior instructor in my organisation, this is leading me to teach my own view of aikido rather than 'the basics'. I study Yoshinkan Aikido, where 'the basics' are very clearly defined and not very open to interpretation.
I do come from a different tradition however where we are encouraged at an early stage to begin developing our aikido for us.

Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
That is to say I am not changing the basics but spend a lot more time studying the principles behind the techniques, rather than the techniques themselves.
I would argue that the principles are indeed the real basics, but again I come from a different tradition.
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
For instance, this week I introduced the 31 jo kata. Jo is not even in the Yoshinkan syllabus. Another example - there are no ai-hanmi techniques in our grading syllabus, but I think there should be, they are a great tool for learning to blend, and are just good fun. So I do a lot of these.
I often teach things I learned in tai chi, fencing, or even medieval armored fighting if they are relevant to what we're doing that day. I don't see drawing from your past experiences as bad as long as you can relate it effectively to the aikido you are doing.
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
As a result, some of my beginners are getting a broad experience, but do not know all the techniques needed for their first grading.
Good for them. Be up front with them. I tell my students that I don't train or teach for testing. I train because it enriches me and my life. When my sensei feels I've learned enough to grade he'll tell me. I teach the same way. When the students have learned what they need to know they can test. In our org. it is possible to learn what you need for the first two gradings in the four month span between gradings, my first teacher taught like this when I started aikido. I found this to be a dry and lifeless way to learn. He eventually gave it up for a more long term approach and that's when class became really fun.

Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
I admit, sometimes I do go off on one, and on Tuesday I was talking about how the first movement in Shomenuchi ikkajo feels to me. I glanced at the line of students and saw one of them look at another with a puzzled frown on her face. Kind of a "where has this guy gone?" look.
Ok, so after you tell them...show them. Relate the experience then structure the next few activities or the whole class to help the students understand what you're talking about.
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Then it was how to interest and encourage the class.
Be interesting and encouraging Seriously though I'd say it's more important to be honest. If you are teaching in a way that just isn't "you" the students will know it. Open up and give of yourself, to me that is much more important than what technique is being taught.
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Now my biggest challenge seems to be focusing on their aikido, not mine.
Why can't you do both at the same time? If your aikido grows then by extension so does theirs.

If you are worried you're not imparting the basic techs. enough you could do what I've done in my class. I've got a "Basics" night and an "Intermediate" night. Basics night is usually straight technique broken down into small easily digestible pieces. Intermediate night gives me and students a chance to play around with stuff at a different level.
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
How do you differentiate between what aikido in its 'pure sense' is, and what it means to you. Can you even try?
Our dojo's highest ranking sempai (yondan) is a wonderful teacher. She often explains that you can only teach your understanding. So even if I can see that what she is doing is far beyond what I'm capable of I can't teach it because I don't yet understand it. I have to teach from the place where I am...as my understaning changes so does my teaching. Therefore, for me anyway, what aikido means to me is what aikido is in it's pure sense...I don't think that made any sense
Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Breadth of experience seems good to me, but it doesn't half make life more difficult...
Or interesting

I think that often things like this function like a zen koan. It's important to think about this stuff but it's not so important to come up with a concrete answer. Besides any answer you come up with will change as the question changes over the years

Good luck,

Bronson

Last edited by Bronson : 04-01-2004 at 10:01 AM.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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