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Old 06-19-2006, 09:08 PM   #51
Hardware
 
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

I found I really started to learn when I first began to teach (under supervision).
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Old 06-19-2006, 10:10 PM   #52
Don
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Probably for the same reason anyone stops learning. They find that the additional perceived energy expenditure in mental, physical, financial and emotional energy is not worth the pay off in their minds. They have found a level that they think gets them along at whatever level of competency they are comfortable with.
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Old 07-04-2006, 02:39 PM   #53
Jess McDonald
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Tongue Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

That's exactly what I was thinking. Teachers are guides not absolutes. This is for all disciplines; martial arts, the sciences, etc.. I've found in teaching (mathematics/chemistry) that repeating the concepts over and over again to others that are not as proficient helped me immensely in understanding the concept in a deeper manner. However, in the same breath, you always must be learning /exceeding in knowledge relative to the ones you are instructing otherwise you run the risk of looking inadequate.
Now concerning the martial arts specifically, I don't see what the problem is with beginner's and up, to 3 ryu, with learning from even static teachers. They are so low level of understanding that they still should be able to pick what they need to learn the basics. But I feel that as a student progresses passed the lower levels of the ryu rank structure and the issues of stagnation have not been satisfactory dealt with, that perhaps the student should move on. That's not a bad thing is it? You know like moving out of mom's place. Find a higher rank black belt to train under or something; even cross train with a new art, whatever to keep your interest.
My sensei has said a couple of times that the goal of the student (me) is to defeat or defend against the teacher (him). And his goal his to one day defend himself from his sensei, Sugawara Sensei. I mean he sounded like if we could defeat him then he needs to step it up and regain superiority. I'm fine with this. I know we shouldn't compete but I only hope I can one day take him for surprise and lay him down to the mat. Though I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Well, good luck and good training to all (even our teachers).
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:53 PM   #54
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

i don't know cuz i learn EVERYTIME i step on the mat!
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Old 07-06-2006, 03:01 AM   #55
David Yap
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Why?

There are some who have lost the stamina to train. Physically, they are in the dojo but spiritually and mentally they are just not there.

I know of one who teaches at a dojo but come to the dojo where I train every other week. He would pay the mat fees to clock in the hours of training. 95% of the time would be spent "teaching" the freshies or just sitting on the mat after taking an ukemi or two. He is 60 and a chain-smoker and a late starter to aikido.

In a way, there is commitment as he took the trouble to travel & to pay the fees.
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Old 07-06-2006, 10:38 AM   #56
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Quote:
David Yap wrote:
There are some who have lost the stamina to train. Physically, they are in the dojo but spiritually and mentally they are just not there.
This is a far easier trap to fall into than most of us would like to admit. I've put on a bit of weight since I started teaching full time. I couldn't figure out why, since I'm on the mat at least twice a week for four hours at a time.

Then I realized.

Teaching means spending a lot of time standing around watching other people do Aikido. It may feel like you're training, but you're not. I talked to my teacher about this and he had two general comments:

1) Go someplace to train where I'm not a teacher. Hard to do. In the Stockton Dojo there are a lot of people who think of me as a teacher. It gets easier as those people get their black belts and the "new" people don't have the experience of me as a teacher. Going to another dojo altogether often means a lot of time spent learning the culture during which I'm not training effectively.

2) Learn to get your training in as part of your teaching. He made it clear that this is something that all teachers must learn to do and that it's different for each of us. But not making the effort means keeping the "teaching bulge" and that's a Bad Thing.

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Old 07-06-2006, 11:55 AM   #57
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Quote:
Going to another dojo altogether often means a lot of time spent learning the culture during which I'm not training effectively.
I'm currious about this statement. How does that (learning the culture) stop you from training effectively? While I may not always enjoy all of what they are training in another dojo, or the way they train, I find there are often still ways to be very effective in that training.

How long does it take to learn the culture? Say if you train there once a week, for two months...do you have enough of a clue then to train effectively? If you make a minor mistake, does it become a huge issue? If so, maybe the place is wrong from start to finish...move on and find a better place for this training.

My primary concern with training anywhere is safety. There are componants of dojo culture that can affect that. But beyond that...just being polite, not doing anything I wouldn't want done to me, basic respect...these things seem to go a long way.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:07 PM   #58
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I'm currious about this statement. How does that (learning the culture) stop you from training effectively? While I may not always enjoy all of what they are training in another dojo, or the way they train, I find there are often still ways to be very effective in that training.
I think it may be a commitment thing. I know that if I moved wholesale it would quickly become a non-issue. As long as I remain a visitor I never really get to adapt.

Also, there is "effective" and there is "effective". Effective as in "learning something" or effective as in "getting a good workout".

I've yet to walk into a new dojo where I didn't learn something. Well, recently anyway. There were a couple some twenty years ago where, well, things didn't go so well. But I've changed and so have a lot of dojos. Learning something is a given.

Getting a good workout on a regular basis is a whole different aminal.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
How long does it take to learn the culture? Say if you train there once a week, for two months...do you have enough of a clue then to train effectively? If you make a minor mistake, does it become a huge issue? If so, maybe the place is wrong from start to finish...move on and find a better place for this training.
"Culture" may be misleading. Of course there are the bits about etiquette and process. But there are often differences in the forms of the techniques. Warm up exercises vary. It's surprising - to me - how much information there is to absorb in a new dojo.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
My primary concern with training anywhere is safety. There are componants of dojo culture that can affect that. But beyond that...just being polite, not doing anything I wouldn't want done to me, basic respect...these things seem to go a long way.
Yes and no.

Being polite is always worthwhile. It's the definition of "polite" that can be a sticking point.

Case in point:

Two dojos I do actually visit:
  1. I used to train there years ago. Too far from my home now to be a regular training place for me. I walk in, struggle for a bit with the changes since I last trained there, but usually manage not to offend anyone and get a good training session in. It really is too far out of my way to make regular visits, but I enjoy the visits I make.

    This one would actually be perfect if it were closer to either home or work. About 15 miles closer to work or 60 miles closer to home.

    .
  2. One close to where I work. Great people. Radically different ideas on etiquette. They would be as lost in my dojo as I am in theirs. Simple things like when to bow, bowing form and class structure are so different that I'm going to get it wrong.

    The head instructor there is understanding (she knows my teacher and apparently likes him) so it's not terrible. If I kept visiting once a week for a couple more months I'd be okay. The problem is I also work and have to teach my own classes.

    The biggest issues I've had is with other yudansha students. A couple of them have shown significant resentment toward me. One, in fact, kind of scared me with his reaction. (He went way rough as nage in a randori after being uke in a randori with me, almost hostile with his ukes. I offended him in some way and I have no idea how.)

You know, I just convinced myself. A lot of it is commitment. I didn't have these problems in new dojos when I didn't have my own classes to teach. That's because I showed up for training more than once a week (or, honestly, sometimes once a month).

All in all, I can see why it's important to learn to *actually* train while teaching. That won't stop me from visiting other dojos and these visits are worthwhile as learning experiences. But I can't count on them to help me get back in shape.

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Old 07-06-2006, 01:17 PM   #59
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Hey, thanks for the reply. As I'm getting older, I've found I can't rely on **aikido** to keep me in shape. I've started yoga one night a week to compensate. It's pretty intense, in a heated room and pretty active, with repetitive "vinyasas" (sp) so that I get a pretty good total body work out. I haven't lost a lot of weight, but I have "reshaped" a good bit, and it seems to help my aikido. You may want to look into that. And all those yudansha issues are non-existant... Everyone pretty much works as hard as they are willing, and since you aren't tossing each other around...much safer!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 07-06-2006, 01:51 PM   #60
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Honestly, Ron, I've never seen any yudansha react as badly as that guy did. It's not that uncommon for them to be skeptical of my rank when they don't know me (as well they should be). I've even experienced minor resentment before. Never anything like that guy, though. There were clearly other yudansha there that night who were disturbed by his behaviour. It wouldn't surprise me to learn he got severely chewed out by his instructor about it.

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Old 07-06-2006, 02:06 PM   #61
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Man, that is a shame. I've actually heard of rolling around on the mat fights breaking out when 'strangers' are training together, but never really witnessed it myself. I hope that his issues got straightened out! What's really bad is that if you or something he thought you did caused the anger, he then took it out on the kohai...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-08-2006, 05:50 PM   #62
Dan Hover
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

I have seen many a shodan who becomes a "teacher" and that is the last time they ever really progress, they may get promoted, open branch schools and even be successful, but they essentially quit at shodan. Predominate fault IMHO is the "concept" of teaching as shown in the US, i.e. instructor demonstrates said waza 3-4 times, and then watches class. Whereas Classically instructor demonstrates both sides of waza i.e. nage AND uke sides. This tends to make the instructor seem more "real" than the former. Thus negating the "I can never be thrown" notion of sempai/sensei status. Secondly, Senior students who are not quite teaching yet, tend to use Juniors as toys, not as dignified partners. Sempai are nage first, and if they wish to stray from what Sensei is showing this is thier "perogative". Again classically, sempai are to be the "loser" in the kata, to demonstrate to kohai how the waza should be applied in the proper circumstances. Kohai tend to get into that groupthink mentality that Sempai are "better" than they, which is a crock. This in turn causes the kohai to think that when they are sempai, that when they reach Shodan or whatever, that they have arrived, thus the circle is complete. I have noticed that this same 1st degree masters, quit going to others classes, and only go to the classes that they themselves teach. Now, I don't know about all of you, but I find I can learn something in the dojo from everyone, whether it be the new and interesting ways a belt can be tied, to how someone has excellent posture that I want to steal from them, or the way they do Shihonage. Or maybe this is just me.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:30 AM   #63
David Yap
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
I have seen many a shodan who becomes a "teacher" and that is the last time they ever really progress, they may get promoted, open branch schools and even be successful, but they essentially quit at shodan.
If you put this to a poll, Dan, you definitely have my "Yes" vote. Having said this, I have added another a point for being a persona non-grata at some of these shodan dojos.

Best training.

David Y
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:59 PM   #64
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
I have seen many a shodan who becomes a "teacher" and that is the last time they ever really progress, they may get promoted, open branch schools and even be successful, but they essentially quit at shodan.
Nothing magic about shodan (or nidan, or sandan, or...)

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
Predominate fault IMHO is the "concept" of teaching as shown in the US, i.e. instructor demonstrates said waza 3-4 times, and then watches class. Whereas Classically instructor demonstrates both sides of waza i.e. nage AND uke sides.
Taking ukemi from students is important. I got a real object lesson in this recently when I was unable to do so for almost a year (knee injury). So many times I wanted to make some point about ukemi clear and couldn't. So many times I wanted to check out a student's technique and couldn't.

Once you get out of the habit of taking ukemi from students, it's hard to get back into it, as well.

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
Kohai tend to get into that groupthink mentality that Sempai are "better" than they, which is a crock. This in turn causes the kohai to think that when they are sempai, that when they reach Shodan or whatever, that they have arrived, thus the circle is complete.
Sempai have more responsibility. Should have more skill (that's what the rank is about, right?). Not "better".

They should be helping the teacher teach. During my recovery from my knee injury I relied heavily on senior students to take falls from other students and help me evaluate those other students' efforts. I relied on senior students to take good ukemi for me when demonstrating techniques. I relied on them to demonstrate good ukemi.

Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
I have noticed that this same 1st degree masters, quit going to others classes, and only go to the classes that they themselves teach.
Here you've hit on the crux of the problem. The aforementioned injury kept me out of training for a while. I kept teaching because there was no one else to do it. I gotta tell you, I started noticing I was struggling with my teaching after a while.

I'm back to training and I can take falls again. Within a month of regaining my fully active status my teaching improved noticeably.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

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Old 07-19-2006, 05:51 AM   #65
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

It seems that part of the problem here may be that it can be difficult for some to figure out how to do research in Aikido. My current Shihan keeps admonishing students to do more research into Aikido, experimentation, development of hypotheses, and testing of these hypotheses, and discussion of research findings with others of a similar rank. I am not sure if it is due to not wanting to seem too boastful, not knowing how to research in Aikido, or wanting to keep findings to themselves. It could just be that because people concentrate so much on the technique rather than the principles behind the technique that they can only see one direction in the execution of a technique. Perhaps it would help to study other martial arts and see how the same technique differs in that other style to discover what principles are used there?

I found that a lot of my own development was significantly delayed when I got good enough to discover the weaknesses in others' techniques. If it became too easy to stop the other person with the application of a counter at a certain point before completion of the technique, I didn't bother going any further. To improve my development, I had to learn to extend the range in which I could counter a technique rather than improving the counter itself. For instance, in Shihonage, I am now trying to extend the range of my counter to the point that I counter just before my shoulders hit the mat when taking Ukemi. Of course, the younger, lower ranked students try to emulate and outdo me. They put me to shame as some are able to do that counter way lower than I can and at higher speeds than I can. But, at least, it keeps me trying to increase my flexibilty and reaction time.

I've been trying to get the students to increase the strength of their attacks as we get more warmed up during practice as well. It is interesting to discover how you can counter a technique at the very last moment before you are thrown or pinned. It allows you to extend the range of resistance and helps in discovering the weaknesses of your own Waza. Certainly, I have changed how I do some of my techniques. However, I find that some instructors resist changing the way they think they have been taught a technique because they are "trying to do Aikido the way of O'Sensei's Aikido." In a number of Waza, I have come around full circle with a better understanding of what I was supposed to be attempting when I first learned the Waza. But, in doing so, I was able to get a better handle on what some other instructors taught and why, as well as understanding better why I was doing what I was doing.

It seems that in order to do research, you have to be able to accept the wide variances there are in the way techniques are taught to discover the strengths of each approach. The more I learn, the more I understand the validity of each variation. Even the variations which I did not see as having merit at first can provide a clue as to improvements in my variation. I sometimes have to eat my words when I have said years ago that some technique should not be done in some way because of some certain weaknesses the approach. If I stick to the principles that are being demonstrated by what I believe is a weak approach to a Waza, it often comes out just as valid and just as strong as any other. Perhaps it is that I have become confident in my own Aikido to accept the validity of other approaches.

Anyway, the answer seems to lie in doing more research and continuously trying to improve the application of what you do know by extending the range in which the Waza can be applied and extending range in which counters can be developed to the Waza. It is difficult to do so when you have too many students and you have to teach a class where you have to stick to basics or Kihon Waza. I am lucky in that I now have a very small dojo with a few students who are getting advanced enough to give me good resistance and do the Waza on me well enough to make it difficult to do a counter at the edges of where a counter can be done. I am learning a lot more about Aikido now than I ever have. Every time I teach, I learn something new. This week, I am researching the concept of Awase to discover the range of importance of Awase. I have learned the importance of Awase not only in movement but in structure and positioning. This is great fun!

Rock
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Old 07-19-2006, 06:44 AM   #66
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Well put, along the side of research, although I have tended to take my research in the opposite way, whereas you tend to look at technique, which IMHO seems to the more difficult one, I took the principles that unite the various shihan route. So recently, I have been painstakingly looking at Nishio Shihan's work, as that to me, is the most different styles that has so many layers to really look at and experiment with. I am looking now more for that "aikido comes from weapons" thread and how it is actually applied vs. abstract Kumi Tachi that really bare little resemblence to tai jutsu. Even more oddly, when I travel back to my original teacher, he wants to see what I have learned in order for him to try to incorporate it into his technique. Essentially, I think, that early on in ones training one needs to be encouraged to try other styles. We pay lip service to this more than people actually do, as it may be the fastest way to improve your understanding of the breadth and scope of the art of aikido, I have found that many a dojo will a) not promote you as you aren't ' X organization' enough or b) never teach because you aren't 'X organization" enough, or you aikido is too different. So it begins to have an impact as you can no longer test these theories in class because you are by proxy a student in another's organization, even though you are a member of that organization.
that being said if you want to be a "real" instructor, you have to do it, just like Rocky says, you have to risk being countered and screwing something up, so that on the opposite end, you can handle the mantle of responsibility of being a dojo leader.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 07-19-2006, 02:16 PM   #67
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

Actually, Dan, I am probably working in the same frame as you. A lot of my research at this point is concentrated on the differences based on movements coming from the Jo and movements coming from the Ken. I now tend to instruct students up to the Yonkyu level strictly in Jo style movements while those Sankyu and up are required to learn the Ken style movements. I am working especially on the differences involving the use of the hip, feet, and timing of various movements. I am beginning to understand where some of what I might consider strange movements that I see in other dojos come from and am trying to put them into perspective so that I can do techniques in whatever style is being used at the dojo that I am visiting. All the variations seem to work quite well as long as you stick to the principles being used within one particular style. The only time it seems to screw up badly is when you mix the different approaches without regard to the principles. For instance, I see some people trying to mix Waza based on Jo movements with movements based on the Ken. When that happens, it seems the Waza totally falls apart in terms of effectiveness. It also shows to me why some instructors demand that you do not visit other dojos or try to pick up things from other styles. Unless you have a really good understanding of your style or your instructor's style, trying to pick up things from other styles is counterproductive. The stuff from other styles doesn't fit into the pattern of principles being taught by that instructor so when you try and use it, the whole practice breaks down. I now try to show and explain the various ways of doing any particular technique and the principles on which those movements are based so that even the lower ranked students have some exposure and understanding of the differences. It makes for a much slower and difficult development of the students but, at the same time, it allows them to visit other dojos and other styles without getting too screwed up. Hopefully, the slow progress at the start will translate into quicker progress as they advance in their knowledge.

Rock

Last edited by Rocky Izumi : 07-19-2006 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 08-16-2006, 01:31 PM   #68
BKimpel
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

I just thought I would say that I think it is pretty cool that this thread that I started 3 years ago is still going, and chalked full of interesting, thoughtful comments.

Coolio.

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:30 PM   #69
Dan Hover
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Re: Why do teachers stop learning?

well, Bruce, after 3 years, the topic is still interesting and points to a larger trend as to the direction of future aikidoka

Dan Hover

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