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Old 10-16-2004, 01:57 AM   #29
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 571
Re: When Can an Instructor Stop Training?

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the thoughts and the replies. It certainly seems that you've been thinking about this for awhile.

Tim Rohr wrote:
Michael and Daren, I agree that there is a difference between training and learning, and understand how you both applied that to your high ranking instructors. However, I would counter by saying that there is learning that can specifically only be gained by training, and not just by taking ukemi, but by taking part in a class. More on that in a minute, but would you agree?
*I* would agree. My response, however, was that I had the highest respect for a few, top teachers who do not train in classes. They do take part, sometimes being the second or third instructor on the mat under anothers class, but they do not train as a regular student.

I also stated that I firmly believed that they could take part in a class and out-do anyone on the mat in terms of physical stamina, ukemi and basically anything else you could throw at them.

Tim Rohr wrote:
Bryan - ultimately, I agree with you of course, recognizing that this is a personal journey for each of us. However, it is only through asking these sorts of questions and judging the worth of different paths that we find for ourselves the best way. So I ask the question to think about our instructors, but I also ask the question because it is a question that should be considered individually as we move up in rank and take steps toward being an instructor.
Perhaps the question as one becomes an instructor is two-fold.

1. What can we do during our mat time (I purposely don't say training here) to improve our own Aikido

2. What can we do during our mat time to improve the Aikido of our students.

I personally have found that I learn more, and my Aikido improves when I am instructing or even perceived as an instructor while on the mats. This might be more a solidifying of existing ideas and concepts while instructing rather than learning something new. Or it might be finding new things based on questions from people who have different thoughts and backgrounds.

For my own training and while training with my students (under another instructor) I am probably looking for different things in the techniques than they are. This is true when a 3rd kyu trains with a white belt or a black belt trains with a third kyu.

This isn't neccessarily a bad thing, but just something to point out. At my level, it probably isn't important because there are tons of things I can learn by working with these other various levels.

With this idea in mind, however, training with peers or people of higher levels would seem to give the most opportunity for focused training on things that I am working on right now. For me, training in seminars and under other people who have the same or greater experience as me would be valuable.

In my example of the top Yoshinkan instructors...well...they have no one better than them and I don't know how the work out the peer thing. Maybe this is why they stopped "training" but continue learning from observation and teaching and questions.

Tim Rohr wrote:
But I think that there is another way of looking at the question, that there is a benefit to an instructor not only taking ukemi, but also in sitting in and participating in another's class. I think there is a great benefit to actually being a student in another's class, in dropping out of the instructor role, in training the mind to stop thinking of the training in terms of answers (that they must be ready to provide), but in terms of questions (that they must be willing to pose).

I think that is a fundamental difference in the mindset of these instructors who stop training and the students that follow them.
I'm going to refer this back to my previous comment about training in another class of someone who is a peer or ranked above me.

Tim Rohr wrote:
The matter at hand is not *how much* one should train. Such a line is inherently arbitrary and nebulous, with 10 different practitioners having 10 different levels of acceptability. No, the matter at hand is whether or not an instructor must continue to train at all. Now, the amount of training is very quantifiable, and the question becomes emminently more simple.
This is a cop-out. I've been told by many instructors that it is better to do a technique once, properly with total focus than to do it 100 times without commitment and spirit.

If this is true, then teaching a technique that *one* time is training and there is no longer a discussion.

Tim Rohr wrote:
I suppose that my personal position on that question is that a person who instructs *must* continue to train. Once a week, once a month... but done so that when that instructor steps on the mat as a student, the student mindset is at the fore. They might very well be the *senior* student on the mat, but they put themselves in the hands of the instructor of the day.
Hmm...I'm think I'm seeing the difference between learning and training, which you were very right in differentiating, being blurred here.

I don't believe that an instructor necessarily loses the mindset of the student. In fact, I believe that the better instructors are those who are always looking forward for what's around that next technique and helping you to see it too. That isn't necessarily done through training.

One of the instructors I was talking about sometimes had classes where he would throw out questions to the students asking what they thought of this or that, or how that came about or what made this technique effective. Invariably he would throw something out there that he didn't have a firm answer to himself. We'd give him different thoughts and he refute them pretty solidly. When no one had any more ideas we'd ask for the answer. His response was sometimes "I don't know. I haven't figured that one out myself yet".

Anyway...another long post. In thinking this over and reviewing the answers and discussions that have come up I would have to say that you stop training when training as a regular student when that training doesn't benefit you or your students anymore.

However, you shouldn't stop looking for answers and you definately shouldn't stop finding interesting and new things in hopefully every class you are part of.

For most of us...this will probably be a few days after we're dead.


Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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