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Old 08-14-2005, 07:34 PM   #1
Mike.Ordway
Dojo: Massena Martial Arts
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Training more Advanced techniques.

Do you think it is good to only do techniques that are at your skill level over and over again or do you think it is better to do a mixture of "your level" techniques and more advanced techniques that might be a little tougher for you to do? Also what is the situation in your dojo on this matter.

---Mike



Aikido training going on 3 months. YAY!

Rokkyu
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Old 08-14-2005, 08:45 PM   #2
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Mike. I like to focus attention on basics. However, well established basics will help with advanced techniques. I periodically teach advanced techniques to even beginners as part of reinforcement of the basics.
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Old 08-14-2005, 10:31 PM   #3
Aristeia
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

I'm starting to change my mind on this one. Initially one of the things I really liked about Aikido was that all ranks train together. But through my cross training I'm really starting to appreciate the value of focusing on experience appropriate techniques. But there's two major issues with that in an Aikido setting as far as I can see.
1. Most Aikido clubs don't have enough people on the mat to divide the group into ranks. Or the groups would be small enough that you end up training with the same uke way too much to be healthy.
2. Aikido as a hands on art is hard to do by yourself. It's even worse to do with someone as clueless as you. In otherwords, the best training you get is training with seniors who can physically guide you through what you've just been showing. If you divide the class (which is kind of what the original question implies) you lose the ability to grab someone senior to your self and suck all the knowledge out of them.

So if you're avoiding splitting the class as a general rule, and you need to teach for all levels, then it's ineveitable that beginners will be doing some advanced stuff from time to time. I personally think the right mix is to
a. Split the class occasionally - I often do it at the end of class, let the seniors get together and really toss each other around and let the juniors consolodate what they've been doing
b. Within an individual technique point out what boradstokes the juniors should be trying to accomplish and what fine detail the seniors should be looking to add.

MTCW

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-14-2005, 10:33 PM   #4
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Trying to do advanced really highlights flaws in basics......
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 08-15-2005, 06:53 AM   #5
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
Dojo: Shi Zen Ryu
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

This reminds me of the story about the tengu, the mythological creatures who are expert swordsmen. When you go into the woods at night and if you are lucky, they will appear to teach you. The way in which they do this is attacking you over and over again in same manner and just before you get it, they change the form of the attack. By confusing you and never allowing you to really understand the form (ji), they try to teach you the principle (ri) that is underlying all the differents forms.

It is my experience that training advanced techniques may be a bit like the tengu's lessons. Even if the form is above my skill level, and the entire process may be utterly confusing, I feel that I learn a lot about the principle that is underlying advanced and basic techniques alike.

It is also my experience that the longer I do aikido, the more even the most basic techniques are way above my skill level.
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Old 08-15-2005, 08:17 AM   #6
aikigirl10
Dojo: Aikido of Ashland
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

You have to challenge yourself in order to make progress. How could you learn something advanced if you never try it. You cant advance in aikido by just doing Ikkyo all the time. Yeah , you can improve Ikkyo but you never learn anything else.
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:07 AM   #7
James Davis
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Having a familiarity with basic and advanced techniques increases your options when dealing with "difficult" uke. Some uke try to "block" technique when the same technique is practiced repeatedly. I try to show our newer students that it's not a big deal if a problematic training partner tries to block their technique; there are plenty of other ways to direct the uke's energy. Many times, uke's actions lead them to a technique that practically presents ITSELF!
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:26 AM   #8
Sonja2012
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

So far people seem to agree that training more advanced techniques is or at least can be a good thing and I would totally agree, too.

Apart from my own experience with training in an advanced class from ikkyu on (I learned hell of a lot) I also had an interesting experience with my beginerīs class a couple of weeks back:

They had had about 6 weeks of beginnerīs course back then and as one of the course aims was listed as "getting a glance at more advanced aikido" I decided to do some weapons work with them So far they had done mainly ikkyo, shihonage and simple forms of nikkyo and kote gaeshi, all from grabs to the hands. The bokken work we did was very "simple" (e.g. ikkyo against a shomen strike with the bokken), but it was completely different nevertheless and I could tell that most of them found it a real challenge.
Afterwards I wondered if it was such a good idea after all.

The week after that I returned to the stuff that they all knew already - shihonage, ikkyo, etc - and to my surprise I found that they had all improved a great deal. I think doing really complicated stuff sometimes helps by getting you all confused and clueless, and when you go back to what you know, it then feels more simple and you see it more clearly. At least that is how I feel.

Regards,
Sonja
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Old 08-15-2005, 02:10 PM   #9
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Quote:
Ilja Pfeijffer wrote:
It is also my experience that the longer I do aikido, the more even the most basic techniques are way above my skill level.


My experience is like Sonja's - it seems to do people good to do some confusing stuff from time to time.

For me the biggest insights that have happened in the last months have been in our beginner's classes, otoh.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:45 PM   #10
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Techniques that are labeled advanced in some dojos are labeled as basic in others.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:19 AM   #11
Paul Kerr
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

I don't believe there are any such things as advanced techiques per se, only increasing levels of skill. What makes any techique advanced is the incorporation of more refined levels of maai, kuzushi, awase etc. In other words, understanding makes a techique more advanced. The way you execute and conceptualise ikkyo, for example, after 3 months of training is very different after 15 years. Taking ukemi from a high level practitioner doing a "simple" kokyu-nage is a very different experience from receiving the same technique for a mudansha.

Last edited by Paul Kerr : 08-16-2005 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:30 AM   #12
Sonja2012
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Quote:
Paul Kerr wrote:
I don't believe there are any such things as advanced techiques per se, only increasing levels of skill.
Good point.

I also agree with Lyle: e.g., in our organisation tenchi nage and kokyo nage are techniques introduced at ikkyu level, and they get tested at the shodan test - I believe that other organisations introduce them much earlier on (test-wise), so some seem to think that they are "more advanced" or "more difficult" and others donīt.

Also, one would think that short techniques are easier, as one doesnīt have to memorize so many different steps etc, but often they seem to be the real challenge (at least to me) as they depend so much on maai, timing and accurateness.

I guess my point is: what exactly qualifies a technique as advanced or difficult?
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:37 AM   #13
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Same direction as Paul and Sonja,

I was told, one of the most advanced technique is ikkyo. It is one of the first being taught and many aikidoka failed ther first shodan test because of not adequate ikkyo.

In all techniques you first learn the principle move and then go step by step to the intricacies.

And prcticing should always go somewhat beyond you already can. Otherwise you won't learn or improve.

The major difference between teaching ideas is, that some teach only a few techniques until students reach sufficient level and then add variations, while others add them much earlier, but accuracy will come somewhat later.

I was told that "Westerners" would get bored and step out, if they would only practice ikkyo, shihonage and kotegaeshi only on katatedori aihanmi and gyakuhanmi for more than a year, implying that for many Asian fellows it could be normal.

Cheers Dirk
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:17 AM   #14
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

I would like to join previous posters, and ask - "What is an advanced technique?"

With the exception of some variations And techniques that are more dangerous to Uke and require more control from Tori, most of the techniques I consider advanced are actually simpler to perform, but require better mae (position and timing), sensitivity etc.

Ikkyo is a very good example of a technique one starts to learn early, since it is so complicated it require eternity to master.


Amir
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:12 AM   #15
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Sometimes the required ukemi does imply that a technique is more "advanced", like koshinage or techniques that require uke to fall with both arms tied up. The more trust you need between partners can be a big factor.
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:43 AM   #16
kokyu
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote:
I would like to join previous posters, and ask - "What is an advanced technique?"

Ikkyo is a very good example of a technique one starts to learn early, since it is so complicated it require eternity to master.
Amir
I have heard at least one high-ranking sensei saying that the basic techniques done at high speed, with good control, are the real advanced techniques. If I remember correctly, Endo Sensei (8th dan) practiced only ikkyo for months, just to try to understand it. So, I tend to agree with Amir and some of the other posters that we can consider basic techniques as advanced techniques.

If I am not mistaken, in any sport, a good foundation in the basics is important. A fellow Aikido practioner was talking about how a famous English soccer team came to his country for a friendly match. However, the people who came to view their training sessions were disappointed because they did not get to see any fancy techniques. It was all basics, basics and more basics. And that was because basics were so important. It can get boring, but a weak foundation will show clearly when one tries to do more "fancy" or "less common" techniques.

In three of the dojos I have trained in, people below 3-4th kyu are restricted to the beginner's classes where basic techniques are emphasized. Hardly any advanced techniques are taught in those classes. I think this ensures that students have a good grounding in the fundamentals. In one of those dojos, the Sensei would always encourage higher ranks to join the beginner's class, not only to help out, but also to continue to polish one's basics.

So, to answer Mike's original question, I think it's important to stick to a smaller set of techniques - i.e. those which are closer to one's "level" until one has progressed beyond a certain rank. This ensures good "kihon".
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:08 AM   #17
akiy
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
I have heard at least one high-ranking sensei saying that the basic techniques done at high speed, with good control, are the real advanced techniques.
A friend of mine says, "There are really no so-called 'advanced' techniques. 'Advanced' techniques are basic techniques done well." Relatedly, I've heard (and used) the saying, "Simple does not mean easy."

Also, I remember Saotome sensei saying, "So many people come up to be asking for the secrets of aikido. Secrets, secrets, secrets! I tell them that they have already learned the secrets of aikido -- in the first week of their training..."
Quote:
If I remember correctly, Endo Sensei (8th dan) practiced only ikkyo for months, just to try to understand it.
Yup. As far as the contention written above that just doing a single technique like ikkyo doesn't let one learn anything but the ikkyo technique, I can't say I agree with such a statement, either. Endo sensei in a recently published interview ("Do" #144), says in his practice (in which he tried to learn how to take strength out of his techniques):

Quote:
Seishiro Endo sensei wrote:
First, I went and continued as tori (nage) for shomenuchi ikkyo. At any of the practice halls I went to, I just did ikkyo. This went on for more than half a year. After tat, I would be tori continuously for a single technique for 30 minutes or an hour.

The best experience I had was at a seminar in France. More than 300 participants came to my seminar in France. There, I went and continuously threw each and every participant with a single technique. Of course, this means about a thousand throws for each technique, since I went to each participant.

What I noticed through this sort of keiko was that, although when I started I felt a bit awkward, the more times did this, I slowly was able to get into a rhythm and enter into flowing movements. I found myself almost forgetting what technique I was doing. I faced my partner, and when my partner moved, I would naturally engage as of course. Then, I was able to see myself clearly, thinking if this was mushin and if this was what it felt like to release my strength -- almost like in a trance.
Translation above from the original Japanese is mine.

-- Jun

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Old 08-16-2005, 09:27 AM   #18
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Just now my training is rather limited, due to keeping an eye on one knee (was injured) and time constraints. I am also currently focusing on changing the nature of my technique and movement to reach a higher level of technique. So I've been focusing a lot on basic classes. I typically train in the Wednesday basic and regular class, and on Saturdays, basic, regular and advanced (3 hours, no air conditioning, whew!).

I've found that my approach to the basic class to work on as many fine details (breathing, ma ai, zanshin, strict form, as little overt strength as possible, etc) has paid off huge dividends. In the advanced classes the pace and the level of my partners often precludes being able to have a really sharp focus on so many things. But in the basic and regular classes, I can really slow down the technique, focus on a lot of details, and really grow my practice. A combination of doing the technique very slowly, and at normal speed only occationally, seems to really help long term in better kuzushi at the moment of contact.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:42 AM   #19
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

<invader:zim>Advanced and secret techniques!!! Tell me ALL!! Give me the prize!!! </invader:zim>

Hum... I agree a lot with Saotome sensei with his "all secrets of Aikido in the first week of training". Certainly the best part of class for me now are the first bit (base practices) and the last one (randori). *shrugs* Then again, I am weird.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:31 PM   #20
Lan Powers
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

weirdo

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 08-17-2005, 02:08 AM   #21
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: Training more Advanced techniques.

Lan,

This is the nicest thing anyone said to me on the board. Thank you.

*grins evilly*

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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