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Old 12-30-2009, 01:26 PM   #26
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

I am given to understand that in Martial arts there are no experts. Only people who know a whole heck of a lot more than I do. If someone considers themselves and expert I'll do my best to avoid them.

However if someone far more experienced than me is willing to share knowledge I am more than willing to learn from them.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:21 AM   #27
Mark Uttech
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Onegaishimasu, "everyone is an instructor" is actually nothing more than sloppy thinking.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 12-31-2009, 07:50 AM   #28
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

There are three basic things I think:

1. Information
2. Knowledge
3. Wisdom

The learning process is a complex one and is multi-level and multifaceted.

"Everyone is an instructor" is a very broad statement.

Sure, on one hand that is true. Everyone should share information and knowledge that they have regardless of rank. It is how we cooperate and learn from each other. so in that sense ..okay "everyone is an instructor".

However, in the more focused view...systems such as Aikido are alot more complex than a collection of individual techniques...it should be a systematic and integrative approach to development and refinement.

It takes alot more than simply "knowing stuff" or "knowing more than the next guy".

To be a Sensei, Instructor, Teacher, Leader etc...it requires alot of things other than information or knowledge.

Being able to communicate consistently and effectively to many different people of varying abilities and ways of learning. What works for one person may not work for another.

It means being able to look below the superficial and reach down and help people find qualties that they do not see in themselves.

It requires looking at the system, the community, and the individual holisitcaly and still implement on a personal level.

So, "everybody is an instructor" is again, one of those phrases that can mean alot of things depending on how you look at it.

I prefer "everybody should play nice together and help one another".

To me being an instructor requires a great deal more vetting and development than the phrase "everyone is an instructor" would imply.

It is probably why Koryu systems don't allow all black belts to teach and why Koryu systems have maintained there quality and integrity thorughout the years.

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Old 12-31-2009, 07:59 AM   #29
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Quote:
So, "everybody is an instructor" is again, one of those phrases that can mean alot of things depending on how you look at it.
You got that right.

In the horse world I often say everyone is a horse trainer. Meaning anyone who interacts with the horse teaches it something. Sometimes what they teach is positive and good, sometimes what they teach is negative and bad. But all are teachers.

The advantage we human learners have over animals is that we can choose who we learn from. Even if someone wishes to impart to us their perceived wisdom it is we who decide whether to accept it and use it or to ignore it and discard it or file it away for future consideration.

I also say, in the horse world, you can learn something from everyone. Even if what you learn is, what not to do.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:07 AM   #30
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

and yet, on of the disadvantages that we have is that we have intellect. What I mean is..yes...we can choose who we can learn from in the basic sense of intellect. Yet how do most of us make our choices? How do we decide who is qualified to teach us? How to we measure how well someone teaches us? In Aikido sense it is usually who ever is available.

What about when we can't "let go"? what about when our own "intellect" gets in our way and we stand by the thoughts, paradigms, and experiences that are comfortable, safe, and convienent?

I think one of the biggest challenges we face in budo is this whole problem of intellect. How do we separate it from ego? how do we become more objective?

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Old 12-31-2009, 12:07 PM   #31
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Everyone I encounter on the mat teaches me something. Do I teach them something? Maybe I do, though I don't do it intentionally, or want to. And that is where I think am able to separate the ego from intellect by having this perspective. It is when we THINK we can teach someone something is the problem of ego and intellect becomes one.
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Old 01-01-2010, 10:32 AM   #32
Jacqueline von Arb
 
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

How about turning the whole thing around and looking at it as in "everyone's a beginner"?

At a weekend seminar, I got talking with the guest sensei, who eventually enquired which grade I was. Embarassed at being a 6th or 5th kyu at the time, I tried to dismiss the question with an "oh, me? I'm just a beginner", upon which the sensei (6th dan...) answered "aaah! me too!".

One of those great lessons... beginner's mind...

Ever since, I actively (best I can...) look for whatever lesson every type of partner I surreptitiously end up with can bring me, be it a quiet one, a lecturing one, a laugh-at-me one, good-contact one, no-contact one, stiff one, overly elastic one, no-belt or dan-notched ones...

and I often find that the lesson isn't necessarily the disected understanding of a particular technique... and not always the one they had intended to teach me...

Sometimes I learn those lessons by "shut up and train" and at other times I learn them by contributing a few words - and in the latter case, it's usually least offensive in the form of a question.

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Old 01-01-2010, 10:49 AM   #33
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Quote:
it's usually least offensive in the form of a question.
Huh! I was just trying to explain that principle to someone...
Best,
Ron

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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 01-01-2010, 11:10 AM   #34
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

I want to add, that "too many cooks spoil the soup." If you run a school class room you will have peer to peer learning. This is very effective.

But none of the students see themselves as the "teacher," they instead have a genuine interest in helping their peers. The communication between peers is on a level of sharing and receiving information, not instruct in the formal definition.

No student sees themselves as a "teacher." Their ego is not tied in with the title or position, or the importance of that title as pointed out in this thread.

Micro classroom-teaching, similar to micro management -as mentioned in the first post- is damaging to the students. It makes the student overly self-conscious and undermines self-confidence, but most of all retards the learning process. Teaching, therefore, doesn't happen.

But for some reason- I think it could be do to rank, hence ego, or something- students in many learning environments like an Aikido class fail to be and act like students as they would in a more traditional classroom environment.

I remember reading somewhere about something the author called kyu-shihans, I wish I could remember where I read it. From what I remember it was about how students who reach a certain kyu level think they know it all, and go around instructing others as if they are shihans. Here again is an issue of ego and how students lose perspective, and hamper their own progress. I would not doubt these students do become unsatisfied with Aikido. They become jaded, and/or not committed to Aikido or what it is about. And for those students who suffered from the kyu-shihan end of things are effected negatively becoming jaded, dissatisfied, and stopping practices.

It is a huge problem I think for many dojos to have these issues as illustrated in the first post and though out the thread. And it is almost unique to the martial arts in many places. What ever the solution is, it has to be at the individual dojo level. Therefore, a solution for this problem, aside from those already mentioned, might be strong leadership in the dojo.

Last edited by Buck : 01-01-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:31 AM   #35
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
and yet, on of the disadvantages that we have is that we have intellect. What I mean is..yes...we can choose who we can learn from in the basic sense of intellect. Yet how do most of us make our choices? How do we decide who is qualified to teach us? How to we measure how well someone teaches us? In Aikido sense it is usually who ever is available.

What about when we can't "let go"? what about when our own "intellect" gets in our way and we stand by the thoughts, paradigms, and experiences that are comfortable, safe, and convenient?

I think one of the biggest challenges we face in budo is this whole problem of intellect. How do we separate it from ego? how do we become more objective?
How do we decide anything in life? How do we choose a piece of fruit in the grocery store? How do we know which fruits we will like or not like? How do we know if a particular piece is ripe for eating or not? The only way we can learn to choose fruit is through experience. Sure someone can give us tips based on their own experience. But we cannot truly choose fruit until we have experienced choosing and its results many times..... right?

And what about trying new fruits? Those we are unfamiliar with? Are we adventurous enough to try new tings or do we shun them as not for us without every having given it a chance?

On a very basic level choosing who we learn from is very much like selecting fruit. Its personal and must come from within based on our own experiences. Assisted by others but our decision alone. Maybe our decisions are not always right. Welcome to life.

One person may say that yundasha or even kyu student, so and so, has nothing to offer me..... while someone else may say of the same person... they really helped me to look at this in a way that I could apply to my personal skill.

One person may love kiwis while someone else cannot bear them. Does that mean we listen to the advice of the person who loves them or that of the person who does not. Or should we ask someone who has never tasted a kiwi?

ok enough of this philosophy... I think I'll go have myself a banana.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:31 AM   #36
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I am given to understand that in Martial arts there are no experts. Only people who know a whole heck of a lot more than I do. If someone considers themselves and expert I'll do my best to avoid them.

However if someone far more experienced than me is willing to share knowledge I am more than willing to learn from them.
I disagree with this, I think. An "expert" is merely someone who has achieved a high degree of competence in something. In that sense I am an "expert". Were I not an "expert" I would have little business going around the country teaching seminars etc. It would be rather fraudulent to do this and get paid for it unless I were an "expert".

I think you are confusing the meaning of "expert" with how the term "master" is often used (incorrectly I might add) with a connotation of having entirely "mastered" some course of study. In this sense of the word, I would agree that I tend to shy away from the use of "Master" as some kind of title, although I know some very good people whose organizations use the title master interchangeably with Sensei. Still, it has a sort of grandiose feel to it... as if there weren't more to learn, which is ridiculous.

But expert doesn't have that same feel. It merely means that one is very good at what one is doing. I can't imagine why someone would wish to train with anyone who did not possess some level of expertise. If one possesses a fair amount of expertise, one is, ipso facto, an "expert".

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Old 01-03-2010, 08:52 AM   #37
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Aside from being an expert, are there some ethical/moral obligations that come (should come) with being an "instructor?"
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:18 AM   #38
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Good question Ricky. Yes I think so. What should they be?

Well I think that depends on the parameters of "instructor" or "expert".

I mean how does an organization determine who the instructors and/or experts are and what code of ethics and obligations have they set forth for them to follow and teach?

I think today the internet has definitely changed how people communicate and receive information and knowledge. Do we really just rely on our local Sensei or Shihan or our respective organizations for information and knowledge? No not anymore.

So how does thisrelate?

Well I think it relates in the fact that our view on what we consider "experts" or "instructors" has changed I think.

I was just reading a book on Rock Climbing. The author was lamenting the very same thing. In Rock Climbing apparently, they have a bunch of "experts" now that are focused in a particular niche or area of climbing. Whereas it used to be that an "expert" was well rounded and had breadth as well as depth.

I think we have the same thing going on today. A few guys pick up a few things, they possess maybe a fair degree of depth in a particular area, yet they may or may not have the breadth.

I think also that the "experts" of years past have to work harder to keep up to their job of being an "expert". They have to compete with You tube, forums, and folks sharing information and knowledge across the old boundaries of yore.

I do think though that there is something that cannot necessarilyi be replaced and that is the role of a mentor. Someone that we learn to rely on and trust that helps us grow and develop in ways that things like the internet, techniques, and what not cannot tap into. Sure, we can figure out alot on our own, but I still hope that the role of a mentor is vital. It has been for me.

Also I think that we need to consider the role that cooperation, interdependence and trust play in the overall development of a person and a martial community. On one hand you might say that the internet has maybe destroyed this...that is we are so transactionally based now that we don't form deep and meaningful relationships....

On the other hand, I think maybe, that it is even more important since we are operating across greater distances in more brief connections and therefore we must work harder to maintain and establish relationships.

Not really sure...but it is what it is.

I think though that the world has changed. How we view experts, our relationship with them, and each other has changed and we need to consider that those changes have affected the very things you address...that is what are the roles, relationships, and responsibilities of both instructors/experts and students.

I don't think the models and definitions of 20 years ago necessarily apply today.

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Old 01-05-2010, 09:40 AM   #39
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

You can learn from anyone, if you have the attitude and desire to learn, if you can keep "beginners mind". However learning from a fool about what not to do was not what the fool was trying to teach. In fact he or she was most likely not intending to teach anything. Before discussing the ethics of teaching should we not first ascertain if the individual has intellectual and technical competence married with good pedagogics. I have trained with some shihans who were technically brilliant, but were very poor teachers, unable to bring across what we needed to learn in order to do what we are being shown. I have practised martial arts for 30 years and have taught aikido for the last 9 and I begin to understand just how difficult it is to really "teach" anything. I tend to believe increasingly in the old fashioned view that people must "steal" the art, which requires a special blend of dedicated "learners" and "teachers" in the right place at the right time. I personally distrust the overly liberal idea that everyone is an instructor, too many people just can't shut up and train!

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:17 AM   #40
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
You can learn from anyone, if you have the attitude and desire to learn, if you can keep "beginners mind". However learning from a fool about what not to do was not what the fool was trying to teach. In fact he or she was most likely not intending to teach anything. Before discussing the ethics of teaching should we not first ascertain if the individual has intellectual and technical competence married with good pedagogics. I have trained with some shihans who were technically brilliant, but were very poor teachers, unable to bring across what we needed to learn in order to do what we are being shown. I have practised martial arts for 30 years and have taught aikido for the last 9 and I begin to understand just how difficult it is to really "teach" anything. I tend to believe increasingly in the old fashioned view that people must "steal" the art, which requires a special blend of dedicated "learners" and "teachers" in the right place at the right time. I personally distrust the overly liberal idea that everyone is an instructor, too many people just can't shut up and train!
So "good" students are actually "teaching" themselves, no?
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:21 AM   #41
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Re: Everybody Is An Instructorů.

So "good" students are actually "teaching" themselves, no?
Pretty much, yep!;-)

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