Tim Rohr wrote:
Daren, you ask what I think the purpose of the martial arts is. I would say that the simplest way that I could phrase that answer is that the arts are a vehicle for self improvement, though there is obviously much more a blowhard like myself could say about it. Until I understand better where you intended to take the conversation, I will leave it at that.
Tim...not too concerned in taking the conversation much further. Purpose of question was to see where you set your threshold of acceptability. You've dodged this by focussing on those that just teach and never train.
As others have pointed out, you may lead a class but still have a student mindset and still be training. It isn't necessary to get physical to sharpen the mind.
Tim Rohr wrote:
You also questioned whether Shaolin Monks have forums where they talk about how we aikidoists are lazy for only going to the dojo x number of times a week. My first answer would be yes. Not that they have these forums, but that they have answered for themselves that simply going to the dojo 3 or 4 times a week was not enough for them, else they would not have chosen such an immersive life of training.
However, that misses the point. 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.
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.
I have known dojos to say that if you teach at all during the week, you must train in at least one class during the week. I do not think that is asking too much, though, as I said, this is more nebulous and individual. I don't think that the question was worried about how much the person trains in a week or month, just that they *do*.
Tim...this was actually a joke! perhaps I should have made it more blatant with a
. My point (that you seem to have missed
)in using shaolin monks is that they represent an extreme end of the martial arts spectrum. What they do or don't do doesn't necessarily set a standard for the rest of us normal MAs. Lets see how many of these guys can juggle wives, kids, injuries, jobs, poor weather, writing lucid and meaningful posts when working and life in general and maintain their rigid training schedule...suddenly spinning back kicks on poles is nothing compared to the above list.
The point of it was to highlight that setting any level of acceptable training is indeed 'arbitrary and nebulous'. We agree on this it seems. Further to this...everyone is different, one mans training goals may differ to anothers. You've made the point that we are talking about 'experienced' aikidoka. Let them be the judge of what is right for them.
I tend to agree that if you continue to instruct you should be open. I don't think this means you have to go to someone elses classes - just that you keep thinking about aikido in your everyday life and don't roll up weekly to trot out your formulaic lesson.
For me my instructor mindset goes as far as ensuring that the training environment is conducive to learning and that a lesson plan is present. Every week I teach a seniors class where the majority are dan grades, many have experience of other arts and we are all learning together.
I am not the instructor who must be obeyed ..I just happen to be the most senior student present and leading the others so we progress together. again using my standard role model Pierre Chassang...while working with groups of instructors he often requests us not to continually kneel in breaks. His reasoning is that this is unnecessary for his old knees, but as he views us all as equal in being students of aikido who instruct, if we kneel then politeness forces him to do the same.
I have been taught to used Aikido as a vehicle in pursuit of spiritual development as well as physical. As such I feel that achievement of this does not sit with being told that I must attend x lessons in a given period.
I'll train when I want to train. Anyone that doesn't agree is of no matter to me personally.
Personally I'd train every day - I often go to classes with other instructors, some are several grades below me, some are much higher...I welcome the chance to just practice without having to consider the audience but study of Tore / Uke shows me others may have their own opinion which is valid for them.
My aikido is my aikido. Yours is yours.