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  #101  
Old 11-07-2010, 09:42 PM
Lynn Seiser
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Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Breathe in, model
Breath out, mentor
Mindfully

I must admit that I tend to agree with Charles Barkley when he says that he is a basketball player and not a role model. I would hate to think...
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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!

Last edited by akiy : 11-07-2010 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:38 PM   #100
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Ok, maybe I am just a slow student... but working with Dan, Mike, Akuzawa, and you yourself, there have been things that no amount of explanation was going to result in my being able to reproduce what was happening.
Hi George,

I figured out early on that my best path for progress was to be the best uke around. Being an exceptional uke was the best way to guarantee direct hands on experience from my teacher.

These were my rules:

Never tank for a teacher.
Never resist unrealistically.
Be able to survive any fall.

Once Takamura sensei realized I could be counted on to stay within the kata and take almost anything he threw at me, I got copious amounts of hands on experience. Without that, I'm convinced I could not have figured out what he was up to, even if he had explained it thoroughly. So yes, some things must be experienced because the tactile path is much more direct and efficient than words can ever be. It's one thing when I say:

"I'm softly going feed pressure into your structure via the outside of your radius bones and this is going to cause tension that you'll feel between you shoulder blades. As I roll my humerus forward in my shoulder socket this tension will sink into you hips and you'll be locked on the ground."

It's another thing to feel that in person. Without the tactile experience you may intellectually grasp what happening but you'll never replicate it without feeling it youself. Language has its limits.

But.....We all know teachers who can do things that they are utterly incapable of explaining. Sure, as an uke, you feel what's happening to your body but you can be totally in the dark as to how a teacher is accomplishing it. I continue to work hard in refining and expanding my abilities to convey not only what is happening to the uchite in our kata, but to convey exactly what I am doing as shite inside my body and mind, to get the result I am looking for.

Takamura's mantra was, technical skills and teaching skills are seldom equally evident in a martial artist. Just because you can "do" does not mean you can "teach", and the same is true in reverse. Angelo Dundee was a master trainer who took many boxing greats their highest levels but he was a mediocre boxer himself.

All too often a great technician arrogantly assumes himself to be a great teacher, when the truth is utterly different. Teaching is a skill separate from and every bit as difficult, as doing.

All my best,

Toby

Last edited by Toby Threadgill : 11-19-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 11-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #101
Keith Larman
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Really I don't disagree that some things (obviously) require simply doing. My profession and the number of hours spent just getting to where I am (total beginner) is a testament to that. There is a catch-22 in these things -- you need both understanding and experience. And heck, at this last seminar Dan H was correcting my posture and alignment in tiny increments. That is of course something that has to be hands-on.

The problem facing the top instructors today is whether they can find ways to improve instruction to ensure transmission in today's world. In my world the Japanese are concerned that many arts and crafts will die out as so few are willing to devote the time, energy and backbreaking work to get there. And they may be right. In the martial arts we have the same problem. And one thing I've long said is that the popularity of Aikido is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness.

But over the last few years compelling arguments have been made that there needs to be a focus on skills lost in part in some groups, and maybe lost completely in others. We will never be successful getting those things back into our beloved art unless we come up with a means of transmission that transcends poorly defined mystical terminology. We use words like "ki" and "connection" and "intent" like everyone knows what we're talking about. But try to get a solid, clean, and objective definition and you will be in for a really long night. Most using the terms really have no idea what they're doing. And when you go to seminars and see the incredible variety of what people are doing, well, sometimes I wonder if maybe I should just focus on my sword crafts...

We need better models of what these things are. We need a richer, more evolved vocabulary to better express the sort of things Toby so carefully described above in anatomical terms. How do these things work? How to develop them? And so on. Is the martial body fundamentally different? Does it require specific training to the body to get there? I think so. So now the question is *what* is it we're developing? What structures? How do they work.

I remember years ago a top teacher of mine demonstrating something with me. He'd ask "there, did you feel me take your center?" My honest answer was no. So he'd throw me and yup, he had it. This repeated over and over. Then he'd grab me. And he'd say "No, no, no. That's not right. Grab me. Just relax and feel my center." Of course it didn't happen. But years later I started to feel something. And more. I've still got a long way to go but I now find myself saying the same damned thing to people I'm training.

I am quite compelled by the idea that we build a body that can do these things. So the reason a new student can't do what his sensei is demonstrating is that he simply doesn't have the parts in place. It's not a question of position. It's not a question of posture. It's development of something fundamental and physical. The sensei with 30 years of hard training develops the ability to feel things. The problem is that without any understanding of this they have no idea why the student can't feel what they feel. So they say "come on, just relax. Extend. It's simple..." Yes, for them it is, but they aren't really telling the student anything that will help them because they lack the physical structures to do what he is doing. Sure, after 20 years of hard training it comes about. But even those 20 years don't guarantee that if the training wasn't right (we've all met those guys, neh?). So... what is that development? What is being "built" or "conditioned". Each of these guys teaching the IS stuff seems to have slightly different answers.

There are some out there giving us exercises and training tips. We need to run with those things, learn them, implement them, and do a better job of carefully describing what they are. Then we can better communicate exactly what it is we're trying to model to our students. Or maybe better first better understand ourselves what it is we're trying to do so we can get better. And hopefully maybe even start to understand how someone can link their body up in the amazing ways some demonstrate.

On the IHTBF idea... My concern with it isn't that many things require being felt. There is no question of that. My problem is that all too often it becomes a simple way to wave away any responsibility. If we cannot express what we are doing, maybe we should take a long, hard look at whether we actually understand it to begin with. Then while we may still say IHTBF, we can at least do a better job of beginning the process of transmission without using poorly defined, ambiguous and often meaningless terms.

Sorry if this is a bit fuzzy, but the back is seized up at the moment and the Soma really does make me fuzzy...

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Old 11-20-2010, 12:45 AM   #102
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Sorry if this is a bit fuzzy, but the back is seized up at the moment and the Soma really does make me fuzzy...
No, you are not being "fuzzy". I am purposely trying to keep the discussion on the issue of explanation vs feel, feel without explanation, or explanation with and without feel from the standpoint of someone who really knows what he is doing.

When folks use amorphous terms to hide the fact that they are simply incompetent,well, I've already done enough tirade time recently on the subject of sub standard practice and especially teachers.

As Toby has said, we all know folks who can "do" at a level that they cannot "teach". I think that one might say that a teacher who can "do" at a high level but cannot teach what he is doing very well will never create any students who are as good or better than he is. But a teacher who can teach what he knows better than he can "do" it can certainly create students who go much farther than they did.

Sloppy explanation is useless or possibly even detrimental to the learning process. But good explanation coupled with good hands on "feel" will optimize the whole learning process. Perhaps on some aspects the explanation can precede the "feeling" experience but on some of the most advanced material, I think that "feeling" it either precedes or is done at the same time as the explanation.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:00 PM   #103
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

How do you discuss art with a blind man?

Even high level topics in the hard sciences are very difficult to teach unless the student has a solid foundation. The fine arts have well-defined curricula for teaching the technical basics, but still don't seem to be able to produce "shihans" with any consistency.

As for Wittgenstein, I think his dependence on language has more to do with the poverty of his own experience than with any kind of universal truth. I'm a writer, and I struggle with the limits of language all. the. time.

Katherine
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:57 AM   #104
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
All too often a great technician arrogantly assumes himself to be a great teacher, when the truth is utterly different. Teaching is a skill separate from and every bit as difficult, as doing.
Yes agreed.
The one who can do can be a great model.
The one who can teach can be a great mentor.
The one who can do both is a great find.
To find several, I have been blessed by the martial gods.
Deepest respect and appreciation /gratitude to all.

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 11-21-2010, 06:03 AM   #105
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
We need better models of what these things are. We need a richer, more evolved vocabulary to better express the sort of things Toby so carefully described above in anatomical terms. How do these things work? How to develop them? And so on. Is the martial body fundamentally different? Does it require specific training to the body to get there? I think so. So now the question is *what* is it we're developing? What structures? How do they work.
Yes agreed.

And these open discussions on AikiWeb gives us the opportunity to develop better questions so we can search for better answers.

I certainly don't have any answers, but I am enjoying holding the question like a zen koan.

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 11-21-2010, 06:18 AM   #106
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
The fine arts have well-defined curricula for teaching the technical basics, but still don't seem to be able to produce "shihans" with any consistency.
Yes agreed.

Besides discussing models and mentors of teaching, perhaps we should broaden the scope and discuss the role and responsibilities of the student in their our learning.

While I am certainly no model for good teaching, I have made some effort to be a decent model of being a good student.

Whatever we do in whatever capacity, we have the opportunity to practice what has been modeled and mentored for us and to pass it on.

Art is in the eye of both the artist and the one who observes/experiences it. Its a very inter-connected inter-dependent relationship. If one is not willing to open their eyes, minds, and hearts they will never know and appreciate the art of the opportunity that has been given them.

Thoughts?

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 11-21-2010, 06:23 AM   #107
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Sloppy explanation is useless or possibly even detrimental to the learning process. But good explanation coupled with good hands on "feel" will optimize the whole learning process. Perhaps on some aspects the explanation can precede the "feeling" experience but on some of the most advanced material, I think that "feeling" it either precedes or is done at the same time as the explanation.
Yes agreed.

We only get to good technique/feel through practicing through our sloppy technique.

Perhaps to get to more precise and accurate explanations, we have to practice through our sloppy attempts to talk about what we may never be able to communicate.

I certainly enjoy both practices/processes even if I fall short in both areas.

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 11-22-2010, 07:06 AM   #108
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Very interesting read.

Over time our frame of reference changes. The things we think we see, we feel, we understand will without a doubt change. I have come to understand why my teacher told me not to make a model of Aikido. To not define a goal. Be in here and now and train to best of your ability (with the frame of reference you have at that time).

Do you really need to 'feel' a technique in order to understand? I am not so sure. I already know I will only understand it to some extent (frame of reference). To make the technique mine, I need to work on it...my way.

On many occasions I have found that to verbally explain a technique or have the student 'feel' the technique does not make too much difference at the receiver's end. As a teacher I need to identify the problem of the student. The better I can do that the better I can help. How do I help? Different tools are available: let the student struggle some more, have the student 'feel' it, explain it directly or explain it indirectly through other techniques.

The first and last are good: it makes the student work on the problem. The teacher is 'only' there to 'explain' there is a connection/relation between the techniques. Obviously the last option gives the student direction where to look...

to change his/her frame of reference...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:36 AM   #109
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Rereading Lynn's column, I am reminded of a variety of things.

Ueshiba Morihei's solo exercises were not passed down to Modern Aikido.

Ueshiba Morihei stating that his art was formless (which, btw, was what his teacher and his peers in Daito ryu said).

Modern Aikido is solely focused on teaching techniques.

Ueshiba Kisshomaru stated that a few years was all that was needed to learn techniques.

Tohei noted that some students had learned techniques from only books and had no glaring errors in the techniques themselves.

Mochizuki stating that Ueshiba Morihei had trimmed the Daito ryu syllabus.

Some of the "greats" of aikido only studied 5-10 years to get very good. And no, that wasn't "extensive" training in the dojo.

We have Modern Aikido people who have anywhere from 20-40 years and have not reached the skill level of the "greats".

The mindful modeling and mentoring in Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido has failed while Modern Aikido has all but been labeled an art form with only the spiritual focus its saving grace. 2-3 years of many martial training (judo, bjj, kali, mma, etc) will outshine and surpass most who have 10 years in aikido.

And Ueshiba Morihei, himself, stated he was not a religious man -- that his primary study was budo. A world of top rated martial men challenged him on just those grounds and walked away either impressed or begging to become his student. Of note, the same was said of Takeda, Sagawa, and Horikawa (Kodo).

The entire basis of Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido was in his budo, specifically Daito ryu aiki. His spirituality was seamlessly intertwined and he melded the two in an incomprehensible manner to most. Without the aiki ... we have Modern Aikido, a mostly spiritual art that lacks the martial veracity.

The Japanese version of Mindful Modeling and Mentoring has failed. Where Takeda strove and threatened to only teach 1 or 2 select students the "secrets", those few throughout the years have dwindled and regressed rather than exploded and surpassed. It takes a hard look at the Aikido/Daito ryu world to see this.

While we don't have the greats with us today (Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo), I expect to see some appear in 5-10 years. This time, though, it will be from *our* Mindful Modeling and Mentoring. This time it will be on us as to the future of Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido. And it will be interesting to reread Saito's proclamation that in the future, the Japanese will come to foreigners to learn Aikido. Not because the Japanese *can't* produce top rated martial men. They have. Many times. But, they have not reproduced those successes nor exceeded them, and instead the skills have nearly become extinct.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:58 AM   #110
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
to change his/her frame of reference...
Yes agreed.

I often ask people how they stop themselves from feeling or understanding something. The implied message is that it is already there and we have to do something not to get it.

Learning the change the body is important.

Learning to change the mind is crucial.

How do we stop ourselves from changing our frame of reference to a higher level?

Thoughts?

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 11-22-2010, 11:08 AM   #111
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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The entire basis of Ueshiba Morihei's Aikido was in his budo, specifically Daito ryu aiki. His spirituality was seamlessly intertwined and he melded the two in an incomprehensible manner to most.
Yes agreed.

IMHO, what may have been modeled and mentored was the congruence of practice/intent.

The is a synergetic power that comes together when the psychology, sociology, philosophy, and spirituality are congruent instead of its usual state of adversarial contradiction, confusion, and chaos. The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.

I often think that moving from the "one point" is moving so that everything is pointed in one direction.

Thoughts?

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 11-22-2010, 04:18 PM   #112
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I understand what you are saying... and I don't really disagree. I would just caution you, you will only find answers to the questions you are asking. One of the reasons that Aikido, even when done by some of the top instructors, is simplistic and unsophisticated, is that at some point the art went in one of two directions. Either folks "drank the Kool Aid" and tried to do the so-called "spooky stuff" with no idea what they were doing and not enough solid foundation to pull it off. Or they went the other way and spent 30 or 40 years on what should have constituted Shodan Nidan level basics that they left behind years ago.

We saw very high Dan ranked Aikido at the Aiki Expo that I wouldn't have passed on a Dan test for anything over Nidan and I wouldn't have been happy with that. It was nothing but strength and muscle, not an ounce of aiki and martially a bad joke. I had to sit with the Systema boys and see them looking at each other and shaking their heads. It was a total embarrassment. Forty years of Aikido training, but bad Aikido training.

Start looking for the goodies right from the start and they will present themselves. Otherwise you too can have many decades in and still have missed the good stuff entirely. You get what you train. Look at Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei and figure out how one gets there... that's what they are waiting for. Decide its above your pay garde and you risk never getting there at all.
I think that is the thing that sucks most about teaching. You get this heap of responsibility to help your students maximize their training, then you still have to carry on your personal training too. I made a commitment to myself years ago that I would never let my instruction get over my head and that put constant pressure on me to better understand principles and communicate them in class. But then I go to a great seminar and it's like, "WTF was that?" I somehow have to figure out what happened, practice it, educate myself on where it fits into my knowledge of aikido, then break it down so I can disseminate it to others.

Right now I am thankful for the dans who speak shihan to help break down these concepts, its with their help that I can focus more on my personal training and my instruction and get some help with the homework. I think we should all be thankful for these individuals and I look forward to their leadership as they transition into larger roles within aikido. I also an thankful to have a model to base and I undertake greater roles in my training.

Does that make sense?
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:05 PM   #113
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
IRight now I am thankful for the dans who speak shihan to help break down these concepts, its with their help that I can focus more on my personal training and my instruction and get some help with the homework. I think we should all be thankful for these individuals and I look forward to their leadership as they transition into larger roles within aikido. I also an thankful to have a model to base and I undertake greater roles in my training.
Yes agreed.

I certainly second the sentiment.

I love those "WTF" moments.

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 11-22-2010, 08:05 PM   #114
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
The Japanese version of Mindful Modeling and Mentoring has failed. Where Takeda strove and threatened to only teach 1 or 2 select students the "secrets", those few throughout the years have dwindled and regressed rather than exploded and surpassed. It takes a hard look at the Aikido/Daito ryu world to see this.
Mark,

This is a bit fuzzy. Perhaps you mean't "Takeda and Ueshiba's version of Modeling and Mentoring failed." In fact, their methods were not very "Japanese".

Takeda and Ueshiba did not follow Shu Ha Ri, nor have virtually any modern aikido instructors, Japanese or foreign. Nihon koryu have long taken jibes for being antiquated or technically irrelevant but to the chagrin of their critics many are now being re-examined for the wisdom they preserved thru a pedagogy based on direct transmission and Shu Ha Ri. I am not suggesting that Sh Ha Ri is the pinnacle of all teaching methods but compared to other systems, including western methods, Shu Ha Ri has been quantifiably successful. There are virtually no western forms of martial practice that can be favorably equated to the Nihon koryu.

Takeda and Ueshiba tried to pass their knowledge forward with a very loose structure to a limited number of practitioners. I guess it seemed good at the time but as you indicate, it did not fare well in actual practice. Although many koryu have degenerated, others quite old, remain vibrant and solid examples of their past generations.

Everything is a double edged sword. Koryu are supported by but also constrained by tradition. Modern budo enjoys a potential advantage over the classical arts called freedom. They are free to experiment and adopt new methods to pass knowledge forward.... but, they must not employ this opportunity in a haphazard or poorly thought through manner, otherwise hard won knowledge and wisdom can be lost or neglected....neh?

Best regards,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:40 PM   #115
Keith Larman
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Mark,

This is a bit fuzzy. Perhaps you mean't "Takeda and Ueshiba's version of Modeling and Mentoring failed." In fact, their methods were not very "Japanese".
Honestly I'd argue their methods of transmission weren't very good regardless of where you're from. Japan, England, US, ... But then again neither man appeared to be all that concerned about transmission in the first place.

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Old 11-23-2010, 02:54 AM   #116
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Yes agreed.

I often ask people how they stop themselves from feeling or understanding something. The implied message is that it is already there and we have to do something not to get it.

Learning the change the body is important.

Learning to change the mind is crucial.

How do we stop ourselves from changing our frame of reference to a higher level?

Thoughts?
I am afraid not everybody is able to recognise the effort it takes to really progress. You must be in constant wonder about what, how, when and why. A proper teacher will get you going and have you find the way (to progress). First obstacle: does a newby know this? not likely, how could he? How can a newby judge the capabilities of his teacher? Over time you will hopefully be able to judge and decide whether or not you need to change (teachers).
Herein lies the danger: the student himself is responsible for this; to stay critical. In a sense you need to become your own critic (and a sharp one at that). In all honesty, not everybody is capable of doing that. Again it takes a good teacher to 'shove' you along and willing student to pick up on that push.

So how do we stop changing our frame of reference?
The slope start to slide when you think you know something for a fact (and forget that 'fact' is related to your current frame of reference).
Going through the motions in class...
without isolating a single aspect you want to change....
That one time you accept mistakes from yourself, or others...
That moment you think it was good enough...

In the end it is more important to find out how to keep going? Sho shin. beginners mind. Train like you know nothing. Always. Do not ever think you know. Never.
The WTF moments mentioned above should not occur. You should be able to recognise what is shown, smile and in the best case already know why you are not yet capable of doing that.
Your teacher has simply presented you a problem to work on. Wonder why he choose that specific technique.

Observation is key. Learn to 'read' the body movements of your teacher. Understand them and make them your own. Start to teach. This requires you to explain your movements, your intent within the technique, direction. It demands you to observe your students, identify their problems and find a way to help them progress.

This constant cycle in the end is what makes you progress.
It is a martial discipline....

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 11-23-2010 at 02:59 AM.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:50 AM   #117
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Hi Toby,

When it comes to koryu, I defer to more knowledgeable people. There is a depth and richness there that most spend a lifetime uncovering.

Which brings me to an understated point. I did not include koryu as part of my post. It was centered on aikido and daito ryu (the argument of daito ryu being koryu is another topic). I apologize for the confusion.

If you look through the entirety of aikido and daito ryu, you will find that this version of Mindful Modeling and Mentoring has failed. We can trace that back to Takeda. He was the one who stated, teach the secrets to only 1 or 2 people. Tokimune, Kondo, and Sagawa all but verified this.

So, I would disagree that it was just Takeda and Ueshiba. It was the whole of both systems. From Takeda through today. Truthfully, I feel really badly for all the students who weren't those 1 or 2 people but yet were trying very hard to learn. You spend a lifetime dedicated to a martial art only to find that the very core of what made that art "special", the core that made that art martially exceptional, the core training to exemplify a martial body was withheld. Without that core knowledge, there would never be another Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo.

I'm still working on the theory that Takeda, Ueshiba, Sagawa, Kodo, etc went through Shu Ha Ri, but really can't put forth a good argument right now. Give me a few years.

Thanks,
Mark

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
Mark,
This is a bit fuzzy. Perhaps you mean't "Takeda and Ueshiba's version of Modeling and Mentoring failed." In fact, their methods were not very "Japanese".

Takeda and Ueshiba did not follow Shu Ha Ri, nor have virtually any modern aikido instructors, Japanese or foreign. Nihon koryu have long taken jibes for being antiquated or technically irrelevant but to the chagrin of their critics many are now being re-examined for the wisdom they preserved thru a pedagogy based on direct transmission and Shu Ha Ri. I am not suggesting that Sh Ha Ri is the pinnacle of all teaching methods but compared to other systems, including western methods, Shu Ha Ri has been quantifiably successful. There are virtually no western forms of martial practice that can be favorably equated to the Nihon koryu.

Takeda and Ueshiba tried to pass their knowledge forward with a very loose structure to a limited number of practitioners. I guess it seemed good at the time but as you indicate, it did not fare well in actual practice. Although many koryu have degenerated, others quite old, remain vibrant and solid examples of their past generations.

Everything is a double edged sword. Koryu are supported by but also constrained by tradition. Modern budo enjoys a potential advantage over the classical arts called freedom. They are free to experiment and adopt new methods to pass knowledge forward.... but, they must not employ this opportunity in a haphazard or poorly thought through manner, otherwise hard won knowledge and wisdom can be lost or neglected....neh?

Best regards,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:27 PM   #118
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Toby Threadgill wrote: View Post
I am not suggesting that Sh Ha Ri is the pinnacle of all teaching methods but compared to other systems, including western methods, Shu Ha Ri has been quantifiably successful.
First learn the form.
Then learn variations of the form.
The abandon the form

First learn the craft.
Then learn the art.

Sequential learning always make sense to me.

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 11-23-2010, 07:36 PM   #119
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
IIn the end it is more important to find out how to keep going? Sho shin. beginners mind. Train like you know nothing. Always. Do not ever think you know. Never.
Curious,

I often ponder this.

Is shoshin beginners mind as in knowing nothing?
Isn't that muchin, empty mind.

Perhaps beginners mind is an open mind?

If I know nothing I never move past day one.
If I keep my mind open I can add day two to what I learned day one.
Looking forward to day three.

Perhaps knowing is a constant process.
I know what I know.
And I know there is much more to know.

I remember being at the AikiExpos and watching high level Sensei's take off their hakama and step on the mats to train. Always open to learn.

Thoughts?

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 11-23-2010, 07:50 PM   #120
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
You spend a lifetime dedicated to a martial art only to find that the very core of what made that art "special", the core that made that art martially exceptional, the core training to exemplify a martial body was withheld.
It may have been withheld then. I don't know. I wasn't there.

Is it being withheld now or is it just not common knowledge? Can you withhold what you don't actually know? How do we make it common knowledge? Or can we? Should we?

Excellence is truly not a common characteristics. Either in a teacher or in a student.

If a normal distribution is a bell shaped curved, we can see where the majority will always be in some state of mediocrity.

We must take personal responsibility to seek out and practice under those teachers (models and mentors) who demonstrate and encourage excellence.

But by definition, excellence will always be a rare experience.

But one worth seeking after.

Thoughts?

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 11-24-2010, 02:49 AM   #121
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Curious,

I often ponder this.

Is shoshin beginners mind as in knowing nothing?
Isn't that muchin, empty mind.

Perhaps beginners mind is an open mind?

If I know nothing I never move past day one.
If I keep my mind open I can add day two to what I learned day one.
Looking forward to day three.

Perhaps knowing is a constant process.
I know what I know.
And I know there is much more to know.

I remember being at the AikiExpos and watching high level Sensei's take off their hakama and step on the mats to train. Always open to learn.

Thoughts?
It would impossible to make yourself know nothing. Sometimes we forget, but in the end we'll remember. We never did not know; for some reason just could not access the information.

For me it says not to make assumptions, each and every time try to understand as if for the first time. Obviously you will judge the same (is it really the same?) situation differently because your frame of reference has changed due to earlier experience.
In effect your judgement of any situation improves and you learn to adapt to a specific situation better and better every time.

So your statement: I know what I know for me is strongly related to your current frame of reference. Rid yourself of your assumptions, sharpen your judgement and open the door to progress.
How to get rid of your assumptions? Here comes open mind into play. Stay open to new experience, new views, new understandings, but do not accept just any. You will have to judge everything and see what is useful and what is not.

My teacher always explains this with an example:
Imagine a table with many items on it, some edible, some not.
A turtle would slowly walk around and investigate everything it encounters and every now and then finds something of interest.
An eagle would circle around and pick the items of interest...

The learning process of Aikido is difficult to comprehend. Each and every day all this boggles my mind. But I also think it is exactly this struggling, the constant questioning, that helps me understand Aikido and improve my technical abilities, and last but surely not least those of my students .

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:52 AM   #122
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
We must take personal responsibility to seek out and practice under those teachers (models and mentors) who demonstrate and encourage excellence.

But by definition, excellence will always be a rare experience.

But one worth seeking after.
be the best you can be...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:38 AM   #123
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
We can trace that back to Takeda. He was the one who stated, teach the secrets to only 1 or 2 people. Tokimune, Kondo, and Sagawa all but verified this.

So, I would disagree that it was just Takeda and Ueshiba. It was the whole of both systems. From Takeda through today. Truthfully, I feel really badly for all the students who weren't those 1 or 2 people but yet were trying very hard to learn. You spend a lifetime dedicated to a martial art only to find that the very core of what made that art "special", the core that made that art martially exceptional, the core training to exemplify a martial body was withheld. Without that core knowledge, there would never be another Takeda, Sagawa, Ueshiba, Kodo.
Would the journey not be more important than the destination?
Even 1000 mile walk starts with a single step?

Perhaps I have misread, but the secrets you speak of are necessary to make one's Aikido special? Would the Aikido displayed by experienced masters to the inexperienced eye not be special, masterful, mystic even?

O Sensei on many occasions amazed people with some of his techniques that to the untrained eye look humanly impossible, displayed great strength, but in reality 'only' display his deep understanding of body mechanics. Agreed, it would be hard to find that out on your own. Hard, but not impossbile. should you wish to master such feat. But is that Aikido...really?

Old kung fu movies often have reference to secret information only to be attained by students after rigorous training and testing.
Some of these scrolls have been found in the past and gave information on what would be a good location for a home, near water, mountain northside, woods. So the student could provide for himself....nothing martial there...no secret...Could he have found that out himself? Sure. Easily? Probably not...

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:58 PM   #124
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Re: Mindful Modeling and Mentoring

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Would the journey not be more important than the destination?
IMHO, without a direction or destination in mind, the journey can just go around in circle, stay in the same place, or be entirely dstructive.

I think that is what some of us are saying: too often the journey (the training) is of no distance (no progress).

Thoughts?

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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