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Old 05-14-2004, 09:30 AM   #5
Chuck Clark
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
Re: Article: Live Movement and Dead Movement by Chuck Clark

Hello Charles,

The sooner a student can get a "picture" (intellectually and emotionally) of what the riai (essence or "what is this about?, why does this work?, etc.) of the technique the better. If the student is already well grounded in the fundamentals of posture, movement, etc., then the body begins to do its best to make things "fit".

In my experience in judo, aikido, and Shinto Muso Ryu (as taught in the lineage I belong to...) the "picture" is given more detail as you progress. For example, if a student asks a question about strategy or some such thing that isn't really necessary to the picture at that time, my teachers would say, "You will get that information later, it's not important to you just now." Trust in the teacher develops as you find out that the system works.

Intellectual understanding is part of the human learning "toolbox". Why ignore part of the tools possible to do the job better? Look into the teaching method of Shushaku Chiba, founder of the Hokushin Itto-ryu. He used a rational teaching method that was made up of a similar method that I use and you are describing in the late Edo period. He had the largest sword dojo in Tokyo area and many peoople remarked that his students became skillful quicker than the more "traditional" methods.

Of course, talking should follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) and be appropriate to the lesson needed at the time. I believe in students giving short, quiet verbal "feedback" to each other during practice when appropriate. Not "teaching" each other, but feedback. The teacher is the only one teaching in the dojo.

How can someone have the correct "intent" if they don't have some idea of what I call "the job order" is? How can we learn to recognize intent if the uke, for example, has the intent to move toward tori and offer their arm as a "handle" so technique can be done "to them"? Or, another example, it is better to understand why you are drawing your sword and making a movement as close as possible to what you've just seen your teacher do than to just imitate without knowing what the "job order" is.

Sorry for the length, but this is important, I think. As in all things, appropriate balance in the application of this method is necessary. Inexperienced instructors usually go overboard and then learn as they go to give just the right amount of verbage in each situation with each student. It sounds to me like your intuition is serving you well.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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