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Old 05-17-2007, 04:00 PM   #1
Jon Shickel
Dojo: Elkton Ki-Aikido
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Observing a technique

Hi all,

When an technique is demostated in class, what points do you look at when you observe?

I'm fairly new to Aikido and pretty much starting over after returning from an injury. I see an technique and think I "got" it, then try to do it and ... nothing. Maybe get as far as grabbing the wrist :

I figure as I get some technique down well, I'll be able to compare/contrast to them. In the mean time, what do observe in watching a technique demonstation?
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Old 05-17-2007, 04:09 PM   #2
James Davis
 
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Re: Observing a technique

My advice is to try and see everything!

Really though, try looking at the feet. Footwork is a big deal.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:38 PM   #3
miratim
Dojo: Albuquerque Aikido Kokikai
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Re: Observing a technique

When I started, I had real trouble picking up anything that was going on when watching a technique. I'm more of a tactile/kinesthetic learner vs. visual, so it wasn't until I felt the technique or got my own body moved around in the right position that I could approximate the external pieces.

So knowing that my visual side wasn't too capable initially, I would just try to watch one part, and rotate which part that was each time. So I would look at just the feet, and then when the technique was shown again, I would look at just the hands, etc.

Like you said, you'll be able to compare and contrast things soon enough. You'll start seeing common movements across different techniques, and eventually techniques that you've never seen before will be mostly made up of things you've done before.

But you might want to try and figure out what kind of learning you are. This is a highly unscientific but maybe useful starting point if you are interested in this sort of thing:

http://www.chaminade.org/inspire/learnstl.htm

Might help you recognize whether you pick up more about a technique from watching it, hearing an explanation, or feeling it, and let you aim for the way that gives you the most bang for the buck.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:42 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
James Davis, Jr. wrote: View Post
Really though, try looking at the feet. Footwork is a big deal.
Gotta second that. First, its the feet.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:25 PM   #5
Jon Shickel
Dojo: Elkton Ki-Aikido
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Re: Observing a technique

I think I probably learn new material best by writing. I go home and write some notes and draw little pictures to help me sort it out in my mind (well, if I don't fall asleep first. Classes are pretty late for me. ) Maybe not an ideal learning style for this sort of thing.

I'll keep an special eye on the feet. Everything is so flowing, it's hard for me to break it into parts. Maybe I shouldn't try to, but I really need to at this level. And there is both Uke and Nage to pay attention to, and their interaction, and .... oh well, I'll keep plugging away.

Thanks to all!
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:19 PM   #6
Nick P.
 
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
James Davis, Jr. wrote: View Post
My advice is to try and see everything!

Really though, try looking at the feet. Footwork is a big deal.
Agreed, followed by what side (omote or ura) is the nage going to.

You might also like watching the technique that night after class relaxing with a beer; go here
http://www.aikikai.nl/technieken.html

and see if you can find the ones you did that night; once you do, watch if a few times. Don't get too caught up on the names of the techniques (i.e. they might not be called exactly the same where you train).

*edit* Ooh! My post count is like a Magnum handgun!

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Old 05-17-2007, 09:54 PM   #7
bkedelen
 
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Re: Observing a technique

In my experience, the development of the seeing eye is not done by looking at some aspect of the technique specifically, but rather attempting to see each technique as if for the first time.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:35 AM   #8
xuzen
 
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
Jon Shickel wrote: View Post
Hi all,

When an technique is demostated in class, what points do you look at when you observe?

I'm fairly new to Aikido and pretty much starting over after returning from an injury. I see an technique and think I "got" it, then try to do it and ... nothing. Maybe get as far as grabbing the wrist :

I figure as I get some technique down well, I'll be able to compare/contrast to them. In the mean time, what do observe in watching a technique demonstation?
I am a lousy observer...
I learn best by being uke to my teacher.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:23 AM   #9
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Observing a technique

What I tell my students:

1) look at the feet - what is the footwork pattern?
2) look at what the arms are doing?
if you get another repetition:
3) look at what the relative timing is of the feet and hands

Most people at the beginning cannot see the whole, they need to break it down into pieces. I still use this method myself on those rare occasions when I see something that I have never seen before.

People often don't know how to look. At seminars I don't know how often I get up there with my partner and initiate the attack only to have them do something TOTALLY different from what the teacher had demonstrated or the uke attacks with a completely different attack than what was just shown. You wonder if you were actually looking at the same thing.

At least get the footwork. The footwork moves the body and the handwork comes from the body movement so if you get the footwork you have a good chance of getting the rest, even if the teacher didn't do many repetitions.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:26 AM   #10
CatSienna
 
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Re: Observing a technique

I check the footwork...I'd agree that it's one of the most important aspects and often overlooked by beginners, or at least beginners like myself .

when I'm uke for any demonstration by the instructpr I have often have no idea what the technique is...all I know is I end up on the mat.
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:34 AM   #11
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Observing a technique

Our annual Shochugeiko training will happen next week for five days and the main subject will be: "How to watch - What to watch"

I notice that, often, most people are watching the effect of the technique, the end result (the photo op...) instead of components that make up the conditions that cause the effect to happen. Things listed above are important, even if you can only pay attention to one at a time, other things will join the first one thing and finally you'll see it all and it will be "one thing."

It's similar to ballet students learning to watch choreography and be able to model that reasonably well quickly and then become closer with every repitition. It's a process that must be worked on until it becomes a valuable tool for learning.

Often in koryu training the teacher will demonstrate a kata and then the student follows the movements of the teacher once or twice... and then the teacher expects the student to replicate that kata in a rudimentary manner. If they can't then they're not ready to learn that kata.

It is important that we learn to watch and be particular about what we watch at different levels.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:58 AM   #12
ChrisMoses
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
I notice that, often, most people are watching the effect of the technique, the end result (the photo op...) instead of components that make up the conditions that cause the effect to happen.
Man, Chuck beat me to it. I'm reading along thinking of what I'll say, and there it is...

Well, I'll just add a bit then.

While it's important to see what happens to uke, don't get caught in that motion, try to see what nage did to affect uke in that way. Often people mistake the effect for the cause. Sometimes a very small movement on nage's part can cause a very large movement from uke, and vice versa.

And to steal a comment from an iaido instructor and friend, don't get caught by postures or moments of stillness. The essence of the techniques are not static, try to watch how someone moves from static position A to static position B, that's where the real meat of this stuff lives. In Iai you see this a lot. You will naturally end up in the right static posture if you move from A to B correctly, but simply having the right static posture does not mean that you are doing something correctly, you're just posing.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:44 PM   #13
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Observing a technique

With your permission (hell, I'm gonna use it anyway... ;-)

Very important to understand cycles... from 0 to 100 ... static posture filled with potential to finish of the cycle, watch (even imagine the feeling or remember the feeling as you've experienced similar stuff) the effect of the cycle that just happened and the "tools" (hands, feet, etc.) and the connections that were involved to affect the uke side of the pair.

Thanks Chris.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:24 PM   #14
Karol Kowalczyk
 
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Re: Observing a technique

I'm a beginner, and I found it helped a lot to watch footwork, at the beginning I used to try to see where and what hands were doing, but the hands situation kind of 'saw' itself after I started looking at feet more.

That, and seeing which direction nage and uke start facing in, and then which direction they go in, and how they end up facing. If you know what I mean (I'm not a beginner at the English language, but reading that last sentence again...)
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:51 PM   #15
dps
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Re: Observing a technique

Watch the footwork first. Then try to replicate the footwork while keeping your hands in front and centered to your body. You can do some pretty good techniques with the footwork without moving the hands and arms. Then watch the hand and wrist movements while keeping the arms as still as possible. Then watch the arm movements.

David
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Old 05-19-2007, 09:42 AM   #16
Mark Headleand
 
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Re: Observing a technique

This topic was mentioned on a recent seminar I attended, the gist of what was said was something like;
  1. Watch the feet first for the ashi sabaki
  2. Then watch the relationship between the two centres, how tori moves their body as a whole in accordance with ukes movement. (tai sabaki)
  3. Then come the hands, (te sabaki)
  4. and if you're lucky enough to get another repetition of the technique, try not to focus on any one specific thing, but get a feel for how everything fits together, or at least how to co-ordinate the first three points.
Then all you've got to do is remember it and not get confused with something you've done before.
Or think that what was just shown is something that you already know...
Regards,

Mark
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Old 05-19-2007, 11:01 AM   #17
Qatana
 
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote: View Post
It's similar to ballet students learning to watch choreography and be able to model that reasonably well quickly and then become closer with every repitition. It's a process that must be worked on until it becomes a valuable tool for learning.

.
Yes and a little no to this. Whe I started ballet I couldn't sight read to save my life. However, every step in ballet has a name and we got those names and steps drilled into us in every class. And at least my teachers, when drilling us, verbalised as well as demonstrated how to do each step. It took me about two years to be able to pick up a combination and perform it immediately afterward,and as Iam an auditory/kinesthetic learner it was much easier when i knoew the names of the steps and didn't even have to see some of the combination to learn it.
It is also a muscle that has to be exercised regularly- I hadn't danced in nearly ten years when I started training and had to learn sight reading all over again.
So I am one of those people who, at seminars, does have trouble duplicating a technique right off the bat, but as soon as I have felt and been told how it is correctly done I can do a reasonable reproduction.
Now I get surprised whe watching a particularly complicated technique and the body just picks it up.

Q
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Old 05-20-2007, 04:04 AM   #18
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: Observing a technique

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
What I tell my students:

1) look at the feet - what is the footwork pattern?
2) look at what the arms are doing?
if you get another repetition:
3) look at what the relative timing is of the feet and hands

Most people at the beginning cannot see the whole, they need to break it down into pieces. I still use this method myself on those rare occasions when I see something that I have never seen before.

At least get the footwork. The footwork moves the body and the handwork comes from the body movement so if you get the footwork you have a good chance of getting the rest, even if the teacher didn't do many repetitions.
I think the way of watching changes as you progress. Just like moving, it takes time to learn.

For a beginner, I would recomend to look at the edges: Feet and palms. Pay attention at first to Uke attack, and then to Nage reaction - and in that reaction, focus on his feet (steps) and hands and the relationship between them.

As a beginner, emulating the hand and feet movements, are the first step for learning a technique. As you progress, you will sowly redirect your attention towards the center, but you should not start this way. Just like we do not learn to move from the center out, but rather start learning how to move our edges (hands \ feet) and use them to move the center, and then reverse the process into correct movement (flowing from the center outwards).

A good teacher will assist you by breaking the technique to easy to learn stages and not only perform the technique as one (the latter is the correct execution, but difficult to learn).

Amir
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