View Single Post
Old 05-25-2016, 01:34 AM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,243
Re: Looking for Aiki (in all the wrong places)

I teach a class of graduate students on how to write their master's theses in English and this involves distinguishing between various types of discourse. I have in mind the general distinction between activities like narrating or reporting, and describing objects and processes. One of the activities is describing complex objects and the schema I use has the following general headings: function; size; number of parts; logical relationship of the parts; how it is used; variations.

So, when they describe / explain a complex object like a bicycle, it is very clear to my students that explaining why they ride their bicycles to and from school is quite different from explaining how to ride one. Explaining why involves discussions concerning the environment, lack of suitable public transport, getting suitable physical exercise, whereas explaining how necessitates describing a complex process, with a beginning and end, and involving concepts like keeping balance, working against gravity using gears, types of contact with the ground.

One of my students is good at judo and so he used similar distinctions in describing how to execute complex psycho-physical movements such as waza or ukemi. He has no problem in distinguishing why one would do ukemi and how one would do it.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
  Reply With Quote