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Old 01-11-2011, 05:19 PM   #28
Aiki1's Avatar
Dojo: ACE Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 346
Re: What Is Your Responsibility in Training?

"When the teacher has to address the group on issues that are simple beginner issues, it means that the teacher cannot take the class forward and do the things he or she might be capable of teaching."

I certainly understand this, and have surely had my own frustrating teaching experiences in the past. At a practical level, my "solution" was to pre-screen individuals if I was going to be specifically teaching advanced material.

But lately, to some degree my perspective has changed and I've been thinking that perhaps Buddhist teachings have it right when they address the notion that attachment itself causes "suffering."

(I'm also reminded of the saying: "An interesting thing about life is, for every truth that is real for one person, somewhere in the Universe the exact opposite is likely to be just as true for someone else. And that somewhere may be very close at hand.")

Perhaps you have actually pointed to, in a round-about way, a deeper issue - instructors' attachments, not students' performance.

Maybe it really is better to be in the moment with what is, than to be attached to one's hopes, desires, and needs, and thereby miss the incredible opportunities present in what is actually happening, at whatever "level."

I have found that in the most simple teachings, the deepest, most profound truths really are revealed. I personally find this to be the case in literal, real-time training the most.

Skill in Aikido doesn't ultimately come through technical complexity, but from simple, basic, repeatable experiences that bring understanding and accessible knowledge that can be applied throughout the art. I see this developing more and more rapidly in beginners all the time now that I am beginning to understand it better.

Nor is it achieved solely through external training, as some are beginning to see. It is reached, first, internally, then with learning the seasoned skill of being able to externalize it properly.

I'm really not saying that "advanced training" is meaningless nor am I dismissing it, at all - simply that it isn't the essence of the art, nor ultimately the most important thing instrumental it's effective application, both martial and otherwise.

Perhaps the deepest truths can be taught, and learned, in the simplest form and most practical manner, and, along with a recognition and acceptance of where a student is at in that moment (a general notion fundamental to Aikido in the first place) this should, or could, be the most important priority, at any level. In that, I think the insight, understanding, attitude, and humility of the instructor are of paramount importance.

In light of this, in response to Eva Roben:

".as a 3rd kyu with no special abilities and a slow learning rhythm I read through this and come to the conviction that I would certainly be one of the persons whose attendance at high level seminars would not really be desirable."

I find this conclusion sad. However:

"At the seminar there were LOTS of people like myself, and he did NOT get angry with us."

Glad to hear this.

"So, maybe from the point of high level aikidoka it is not so nice to have a lot of beginners swirling around during a good seminar, but still for us it is a necessary experience we are getting something out, be it limited, and I think we should be encouraged to go to those seminars."


Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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