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Old 02-27-2007, 08:04 PM   #26
Hebrew Hammer
 
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Dojo: Lava Fitness (The Boxing Club)
Location: San Diego, CA
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

George,
Thats freakin Brilliant my man...I think I found my sensei..the 21 hour commute is going to be a bear!!! Great posts.

Thanks,

Last edited by Hebrew Hammer : 02-27-2007 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 02-28-2007, 06:38 PM   #27
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
... unless you're engaging in martial arts as a business, the student is responsible for keeping their own mind engaged in their practice.

I do think there's a certain responsability for a teacher that sees themself as an educator to present the subject matter in a way that does't put people to sleep, but it's still the student's responsibility to give the interest and attention necessary to stay connected.
Hi again,
I understand, and essentially agree. But I see the teacher/student relationship as a contract, with both parties required to do things to keep the relationship going. On the instructor's side, motivating the student can too easily degenerate to pandering, but I'm talking about something else. Students don't know; that's why they are students. So what we do isn't always what they think we are doing. I am reminded of an old Castaneda quote, "Only a fool would voluntarily seek the path of knowledge. A sensible person must be tricked into it." Aeschylus, I believe, said something similar. This speaks to what you said about not putting people to sleep. Another old saying has it that, "There's a whole lot of difference between making people laugh and keeping them from crying." A similar gulf exists between keeping people awake and not putting them to sleep. I've never had the honor of working with you, but from what I've heard, you are more on the keeping them awake side of things. That is, you aren't just standing up there and handing out information; you are more likely engaging the troops, and leading them to interesting places.
What I was trying to get at in my first post is that the style of teaching is as important as the structure, that a small class is best made use of by an instructor who can amplify and steady and steer the students' enthusiasm. The big-numbers dojos that I have been in suffered not just from infrequency of direct contact with the instructor, but from the hierarchical attitudes and personal isolation that that context tends to favor.

Regards,

Brion Toss
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Old 03-01-2007, 11:28 AM   #28
Aikibu
Dojo: West Wind Dojo Santa Monica California
Location: Malibu, California
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

Quote:
Brion Toss wrote: View Post
Hi again,
What I was trying to get at in my first post is that the style of teaching is as important as the structure, that a small class is best made use of by an instructor who can amplify and steady and steer the students' enthusiasm. The big-numbers dojos that I have been in suffered not just from infrequency of direct contact with the instructor, but from the hierarchical attitudes and personal isolation that that context tends to favor.
An organization with a strong hiarchy should also be able to identify those who have teaching ability from those who don't right? A fair example of this is the US Military which in my experiance emphasizes teaching as an essential leadership skill very early in the soldier/sailor/airman/marine's career.

I know allot of senior sudents who are humble enough to know that while they can convey information... they are not the 'teaching" type.

William Hazen
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Old 03-01-2007, 01:12 PM   #29
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

Yes, but the military also has a bunch of people that are "getting over" as well. Just like any big organization, rank/hierarchy is important for the overall organization or structure, but is not always an indicator of skill, ability, or level of motivation.

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Old 03-01-2007, 09:53 PM   #30
Aikibu
Dojo: West Wind Dojo Santa Monica California
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yes, but the military also has a bunch of people that are "getting over" as well. Just like any big organization, rank/hierarchy is important for the overall organization or structure, but is not always an indicator of skill, ability, or level of motivation.
No doubt...The 80/20 rule applies (as we're currently seeing in the news) during my time in The structure was there to discover, develop, and nurture leaders. In my Ranger Company alone our C.O. retired a 3 Star General. One of my Squad Leaders... Walter Rakow went on to be the RSM another member of my Squad Ralph Borja is still having a distingushed career as one of the top N.C.O.s in the Army a third Jeff Mellinger was last I heard the Senior Enlisted man in Iraq. I could go on and on and no doubt it may not be reflective of the entire organization.My point is the structure of "transmission" is there in large institutional organizations to develop the next generation of teachers and leaders.

The same structural paradigm can be applied to Aikido IMO.

William Hazen

Last edited by Aikibu : 03-01-2007 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 03-02-2007, 09:14 AM   #31
ChrisMoses
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
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Re: Aikido Transmission and Class Size

Quote:
William Hazen wrote: View Post
An organization with a strong hiarchy should also be able to identify those who have teaching ability from those who don't right? A fair example of this is the US Military which in my experiance emphasizes teaching as an essential leadership skill very early in the soldier/sailor/airman/marine's career.
There seems to be the assumption in aikido (and other budo to be fair) that the only real criterion for being a teacher is skill in doing the art. Those of us who have taught (anything) know that being able to do something, and teaching that same thing are very different skill sets. If you look at professional athletics, there are world class athletes, and then there are world class trainers/teachers. It seems that many of the trianers were never as technically proficient as those they train, but they can teach someone with the potential to be better. I'm not proposing we go to that kind of a system, just pointing it out. I think this also demonstrates some of the differences between Eastern and Western teaching models. In the West, it is the teacher's job to teach the pupil. In the East, the students copy the teacher. Just look at the words we choose to describe the roles, "teacher" meaning one who teaches, vs. "sensei" one who has come before. In the koryu (and some gendai arts) there is the understanding that you are not simply learning a new skillset, but rather you are shaping yourself in the image of the ryuha. A living ryuha is more than, "If X, do Y" but a long term re-programming of the way the member IS. Often when I get together with my old aikido friends they ask to see what I'm working on. I never know what to show, so they often ask to see a technique. The problem is that I'm not working on techniques, but I've been primarily re-training how to do the techniques that I already know. I cannot simply show someone a new technique, but rather I would have to go back to the principles of movement and theories of combat that I've been working on, and to really do that in a meaningful way would take months at best, more likely years. I can't really teach someone what I'm doing now, merely show them what I did to learn what I have.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
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