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Old 06-19-2016, 02:08 PM   #13
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 782
Canada
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Re: Pro's and con's of asking questions.

I tend to agree that a lot of learning in aikido is through kinaesthetic learning - feel something and then attempt to produce it. Trouble is, my nervous system is not the sensei's nervous system, and nor is it my student/athlete's nervous system. We may be physically connected, but we don't have the same perceptions of the same movement.

I know what I do to make a technique work "effortlessly" (but why am I breathing so hard... oh, I'm out of shape and 62 years old, that's why). I know what it feels like for me, when you make a technique work effortlessly, but I don't know what YOU feel when you do that. So I try to guide learning. In my coaching situation, it's "try doing this exercise with the oar handle... good - looks good to me - what difference in feeling do you get when I give the feedback that it looks good... (today it was "I feel more pressure on my feet and my glutes are loaded up when the oar goes in that way."). Take that to aikido and "what feels different to you when you throw me that way because it felt like you nailed it" or "here - what happens if you move your foot here while you move your hands straight down.. Wow, you got it.. made me fly - what did you connect".. And the question asked, depends on the skill being practiced, the person being asked and on the person asking.

Instructors who rely on demonstration and no feedback. Hmm. That depends on the instructor. I've been thrown by one shihan who, when I attempted to hit him, disappeared (not really) and I ended up banging on the floor without really knowing just how I got there. Another instructor went through what he thought was the same movements but felt like a piece of wood. Which instructor do I want to take kinaesthetic learning from?

There has to be a balance between instruction, demonstration, sensation, and 'socratic teaching' - if that's what it's called... (it is, but New Zealand Sport calls it "the New Zealand Coach Approach"). I guess I'll add to my earlier statement - the best instructors know how to balance their delivery and adapt it to the person/group they're leading.
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