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Old 05-16-2009, 01:52 PM   #1
Joseph Madden
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Talk or not to talk?

During any class at my dojo, there are those who believe that a student can only learn a technique if they are lectured to/at. Then there are those who say nothing and expect the junior ranked student to get it through osmosis. Then there are those who use a combination of a little talk and a little action (my preferred method). We all know the different ways people learn (auditory,visual etc).

I use the same method with everybody. I find students (or most students, myself included) learn more efficiently this way.

What has been your experience? And what method do you prefer?

OSU
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
Anidan
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

I'd like to argue that for real comprehension of techniques, both talk and show is necessary.

I teach adults in tertiary education and 6 months ago I came back to aikido after a 7 year break. I have seen students in both situations completely confounded by only one method of teaching.

Just talking often doesn't articulate the 'feel' of a technique. But it can guide you where to move so you can feel it. Or indicate the moment something should/can happen. Respectively, straight demonstration only can leave a rank amatuer at a total loss. A student learning shiho nage can see the position of nage's shoulder in the throw and think that's how it works when really it's got nothing to do with it. Without sempai saying "hey, don't push your shoulder into uke's armpit" a bad habit will be reinforced.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that some things can't be verbalised and have to be felt, but somethings can't be seen or if they're felt they're not comprehended as 'the moment' of capturing uke's centre if there's no verbal communication to highlight it.

Go gentle

Anidan )O(
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:54 AM   #3
justin
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

most of my experiences to date have been with instructors who show and talk for myself sometimes I can pick up an important point from what they say such as keep your elbows down and sometimes it is from something they do and not mention, so I do favour the 50/50 approach. Our summer camp has visiting instructors from overseas who sometimes do not speak english so you have to watch what they do like a hawk.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:56 AM   #4
seank
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

My experience both as student and teacher is that a certain amount of verbalisation is implied and needed, but the real challenge is to focus people on experiencing the waza rather trying to just talk through it.

Lecturing, over-stating even proselytising can put students off-side, and it would be something I would personally try to avoid.

Having said that, I believe that sometimes talking through a technique or having to explain it in details allows you to crystalise the technique in your own mind whilst giving your students/dojo mates another perspective of the technique.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:52 AM   #5
Amir Krause
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Different people learn in different ways, each person needs something specific and slightly different from his friend.

Further, each teacher teaches differently, each is better at different things, each uses different language and refers to different things.

There is not a single true answer.
Amir
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Old 05-17-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Onegaishimasu. The "monkey see/monkey do" method seems to work well with all ages. That method also has the benefit of strengthening the intuition.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:57 PM   #7
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

A little talking is good. A lot of practice is better.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:36 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

See other do, understand because of talk/explanation, do myself.
Repeat until exhausted.

PS: I grew up as an auditory learner, so the external to internal dialogue helps me see/feel/do the finer points I would never see if someone did not have the compassion to point them out to me. Guess I am just not that bright.

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 05-18-2009, 08:45 AM   #9
ruthmc
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

A little bit of both is good

Plus with unranked students sometimes gently placing the offending limb into the correct position for them

New students can be easily overwhelmed by too much talk and too much demonstration. They often learn best by being walked through the technique a few times, with adjustment to the feet position and arms as required.

Middle ranking students respond well to short explanations and metaphors.

High ranking students seem to prefer to see the technique demonstrated, with minimal talk to distract them.

IME

Ruth
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:27 AM   #10
philippe willaume
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
See other do, understand because of talk/explanation, do myself.
Repeat until exhausted.

PS: I grew up as an auditory learner, so the external to internal dialogue helps me see/feel/do the finer points I would never see if someone did not have the compassion to point them out to me. Guess I am just not that bright.
if it is a club, can I join?
I really think that the mokey see/monkey do was more due to language barrier than being a cunning teachning method.
it is hard enough when someone explains it to me, albeit in that imperfect language that is english, but I really do not need my guess work on top of that.

phil

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In the Land of Windsor where phlip phlop live.
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Old 05-18-2009, 05:18 PM   #11
Spinmaster
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Both are definitely necessary. Obviously you can't talk too much, or you aren't training at all. But I find that if a technique is first broken down and explained, it is much easier to put together and replicate.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:30 PM   #12
Blake Evans
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

For me (learning not teaching) my Sensei normally demonstrates at speed with a high ranking member, then slowly whilst explaining each section.

From there newbies are paired off with higher ranking members (we have a good ration of about 20% newbies and the rest are mostly dan of some sort)

Sensei then walks around and watches each person, and stops us and explains and demonstrates on a one on one level where needed.

Of all the marital arts i have done this seems the best teaching method (also you develop a good relationship with Sensai very quickly )
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:28 PM   #13
BC
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

" "

Robert Cronin
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:51 PM   #14
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Quote:
Blake Evans wrote: View Post
Of all the marital arts i have done this seems the best teaching method (also you develop a good relationship with Sensai very quickly )


Made my day! Thanks!

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:43 PM   #15
Buck
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

It is what you say, and if it is said right, spot on, then there doesn't need to be a whole lot of explanation, just enough. Be that either delivered verbally or non-verbally, or both. That is where teaching is an art.

Last edited by Buck : 05-19-2009 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:44 AM   #16
Mark Uttech
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Onegaishimasu. It's been said that some of the old teachers taught by taking ukemi. Taking ukemi teaches the nage side of the technique and the ukemi side. There may be no better way to teach katate-tori shihonage.

In gassho

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:58 PM   #17
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

During class, I'l talk about the technique if the teacher requests me to. Otherwise I mostly stay quite. Almost everything I have every said uninvited was wrong. I don't mind if people tell me what I'm doing wrong and how to fix as long as they can do it while we train. Unless they are the teacher I may or may not pay any attention of course.

I just reread an article on Shadow Teaching from Aikido Today Magazine. Good article, but I had the hard copy, so no link. It lists the evils of someone beside the teacher trying to teach on the mat.

Mark
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:36 PM   #18
SeiserL
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
I just reread an article on Shadow Teaching from Aikido Today Magazine. Good article, but I had the hard copy, so no link. It lists the evils of someone beside the teacher trying to teach on the mat.
Osu,
Agreed Mark.
There should be only one teacher at a time.
OTOH, a little feedback (not instruction) can be useful.

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 05-21-2009, 05:20 PM   #19
Blake Evans
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Osu,
Agreed Mark.
There should be only one teacher at a time.
OTOH, a little feedback (not instruction) can be useful.
i hade a case of that last night, i was doing sankyo and was "corrected" by my training partner (not Sensei) then when Sensei came over to see how I was doing he said it was wrong... i was doing it right the first time

but its hard as the new guy, not much you can say when someone tells you your doing it wrong...
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:08 PM   #20
Sy Labthavikul
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

I feel dialogue and feedback is important to training, but I agree with most of whats being said here: if you're not instructing the class, you have no business trying to instruct. Seems pretty obvious, haha. If my training partner is having a lot of trouble with the technique or doing something blatantly wrong, whats worked for me has been to say something like "Something feels strange... let me ask Sensei" and try to catch the instructor's attention. If its little things, then I'll give feedback, but always worded as feedback: "I don't feel like you have my balance here" or "I can still see you" or something along those lines. I always phrase things as stuff I notice or feel, never "you should" phrases, commands, instructions, or even hints as to what the other person should do, thats up to them to figure out for themselves, or to realize they need additional instruction from Sensei.


---------------------------------
train as if the tengu will never visit, execute as if they already have
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Old 05-21-2009, 06:22 PM   #21
Keith Larman
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Just depends...

Some days I like explanation.

Some days I like to just watch and emulate.

Whatever sensei does is fine with me. It seems to me that over all these years he's done a pretty good job of giving me what I needed at each step of the way. It may not have been what I thought I needed, but in retrospect, well, it worked out for me.

So when I teach, sometimes I explain a lot. And sometimes I don't explain at all. And sometimes it's somewhere in between.

There are times when I want them to figure it out for themselves rather than them picking up my personal take on it. Sometimes the students can get complacent and expect everything to be handed to them on a glorious silver plater. You're up there explaining and realize that they're all in "reception only" mode. Just accepting what they're hearing with no real effort on their part. So you need to challenge them to get up and go get it themselves. Sometimes the process of figuring it out is more important than what they've figured out.

No answers...

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Old 05-22-2009, 04:56 AM   #22
ruthmc
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

I think when your fellow student is really stuck it's ok to give them a hint.. often it is just one small element they need to correct which makes the difference between technique failure and success.

Obviously if the student gets up and draws a complete blank on the technique, Sensei needs to step in asap and go through it again with that student

'Fine-tuning' is also best left to Sensei, if the student has basically 'got' the technique but just needs some polishing

Ruth
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:30 PM   #23
erikmenzel
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

I am realy a dumb learner. Telling me 20 times wont work, I cannt learn from oral explanation. Show me, push me in the right direction, kick me in the nuts (preferably almost instead of realy) or be a helpfull uke will help me but words are wasted on me. I will politely say thank you after you told me something and continue blundering like I did before.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:55 PM   #24
dalen7
 
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Here is my thoughts from the experience I have had.

As a beginner I have been, and have seen people, frustrated with everyone and their brothers explanation of how to do Aikido.

Right when they think they figure it out, then the next guy ranked above them confuses them...[not on purpose of course.]

There is a reason this happens, of course, once you do Aikido more [or experience anything along these lines in life] you realize what is going on.]

For the most part people are trying to translate what worked for them, yet sometimes pass it off as a 'do it this way'...I remember many a times I would get frustrated, [especially not knowing the language], when someone would show me and tell me something opposite than Sensei.

My theory was, can you truly put me down, otherwise, it just was messing with me and what I tried to understand from the teacher.
But some insisted on their way, and with an individual like that it is quite hard to practice with - but it is good, as it gives me the variety I need to grow myself...both in the art, but most importantly internally as I check my ego.

Today, I gave my first "lesson", as it were to someone to try to help them better understand the fundamental concepts of why Aikido moves may work or are not working. They have had a similar frustration as I have, as well as coming in trying to use strength and is more stiff, so to speak.

The best way I tried to explain it, is how my Sensei told me, as well as my higher up sempai, and that Aikido is about 'possibilities' If you box it, your not getting what Aikido is about and what actually makes the move work. - In that, I made it clear that whatever someone else teaches, that is fine, and including myself and what I teach, it is important to him to focus on what Sensei is saying...if something is contradictory sounding, stick with the master when in doubt, so to speak.

In a way I think this helps...and as we become more open minded and not so strict in how the technique is done, as long as the main principles are applied with control throughout the technique, etc. - then its all fine.

So as far as talking, etc. I talk all the time, and I truly dont speak the language...lol - but you have to feel what that person needs. Sometimes showing it is good - bottom line, you cant just say it [not typically] its a mix of using the pointer/word that you are used to, and then applying the technique to show them from what angle your coming at so they can understand your lingo, etc.

Feeling how the technique works is a must, in my opinion. A lot of times that may include breaking it up in pieces and getting them used to the sense of control throughout the move.

Anyway, no better way than to get out and practice and try to explain it to someone and see how it goes. Recently our Sensei has had us training with & teaching the younger students in the first half hour of the class... Quite amusing and fun for the most part...though there are some kids you sense that the parents wanted them to be there, while others make a good time out of it.

Peace

dAlen

dAlen [day•lynn]
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:48 PM   #25
Joseph Madden
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Re: Talk or not to talk?

Excellent responses and thank you all. I forgot to point out I have had the pleasure of teaching a blind student (as well as learning from him).
In this case, we have relied on using far more tactile touch than usual and talking. I've learned so much from him and I hope he's learned a lot from me.

OSU
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