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Old 02-20-2011, 12:44 PM   #1
Janet Rosen
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Metaphors for Teaching

Hi... I'm separating this off to a new thread; thanks, Diane, for posting it...a great topic in and of itself. I wasn't sure if I wanted to start it in "humor" or "teaching" and opted for the latter...

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
Not to take sides, but once "funny stuff" is mentioned I start laughing and remembering teaching shiho nage out of cat food commercials....
Not to be disrespectful of senior practicioners of the various arts and styles out there, but come on, people admit you use examples to get a technique across to students who really want to learn.
My favorite one also involves shihonage. It works very well for students of {ahem} a certain age, anyhow... you know how newbies always let their hand get over or behind them, so uke gets his balance back and can easily walk away or do a reversal?

My first aikido instructor taught me from day 1 to "glue your hand to your forehead" - which a perceptive friend of mine immediately likened to the picture on the cover of the Greatful Dead's Live in Europe 1972 (the guy with the ice cream cone splatted to his forehead).
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:07 PM   #2
gregstec
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Hi... I'm separating this off to a new thread; thanks, Diane, for posting it...a great topic in and of itself. I wasn't sure if I wanted to start it in "humor" or "teaching" and opted for the latter...

My favorite one also involves shihonage. It works very well for students of {ahem} a certain age, anyhow... you know how newbies always let their hand get over or behind them, so uke gets his balance back and can easily walk away or do a reversal?

My first aikido instructor taught me from day 1 to "glue your hand to your forehead" - which a perceptive friend of mine immediately likened to the picture on the cover of the Greatful Dead's Live in Europe 1972 (the guy with the ice cream cone splatted to his forehead).
Interesting - you give a whole new twist for the term 'Deadhead'

Greg
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:29 PM   #3
Mark Freeman
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
My first aikido instructor taught me from day 1 to "glue your hand to your forehead" - which a perceptive friend of mine immediately likened to the picture on the cover of the Greatful Dead's Live in Europe 1972 (the guy with the ice cream cone splatted to his forehead).
Hi Janet,

I used to visit a dojo in London where the teacher used to use exactly the same phrase, he referred to the exercise as 'sheer agony' just to further get the point across. It definitely gets you to focus on keeping your hands on your own centre line, which is where most people go wrong with shihonage.

Personally if I didn't have metaphors to use to help me to teach aikido I'm not sure quite how I would get many points across.
I have some really bizarre favourites, which I hesitate to even mention here, because without the benefit of me visually demonstrating what I am talking about, they would just sound daft

We need metaphors to make sense of things which are difficult to grasp.

regards

Mark

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Old 02-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

The other pop culture allusion I love is the one for remembering to always engage both upper limbs, even if uke is only attached to one, and keep them connected to the center:
Move like a Dalek!
(it helps to first ask your partner if s/he is a Dr. Who fan....)
I'd love to read other folks' favorite offbeat teaching allusions/metaphors.

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Old 02-20-2011, 02:33 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Personally if I didn't have metaphors to use to help me to teach aikido I'm not sure quite how I would get many points across.
I have some really bizarre favourites, which I hesitate to even mention here, because without the benefit of me visually demonstrating what I am talking about, they would just sound daft
Dafter than Andy Willoughby teaching koshinage via nage singing and performing "I'm A Little Teapot..." ?

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
Mark Freeman
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Dafter than Andy Willoughby teaching koshinage via nage singing and performing "I'm A Little Teapot..." ?
As daft, I sometimes demo shihonage whilst humming the Magic Roundabout theme music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3DcChXNyYQ) - it seems to me to represent the turning on an axis making everthing go round you, quite well

Most of you won't know of the Magic Roundabout, it was a classic of 1970's UK TV, an obscure French kids TV programme dubbed into English, 5.55 pm every evening just before the News, loved by adults, it had a cult like status.

Don't even get me started on the Devon pixies and how helpful they can be

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Old 02-20-2011, 09:41 PM   #7
Michael Hackett
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

My teacher uses metaphors frequently to illustrate an idea or movement. One I use with our kids' class is with ude kimi nage and I tell them to pretend to hold a big, gooey cream pie in their hand and then smash it to the mat as they slide forward and throw.

I really like the Little Teapot metaphor for koshinage - and would like it much better if I could just get that tune out of my head now.

Michael
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
Diana Frese
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

I love all these metaphors and will ask a couple of questions later, but first, Janet, thanks for the validation!

Here is my next I was thinking of this morning when I woke up
.
Hombu dojo in Shinjuku, Tokyo our tour group from our dojo and others. Masuda Sensei's class, it was years ago in the early seventies.

Nikyo: He waved the hand I had grabbed the wrist of and said, in English:

"King snake," then I felt the nikyo.

Naturally I could use that. A few years later, at the Y it was useful so people wouldn't just yank straight down on uke's arm. There was the sense of moving toward uke that made all the difference. I guess it was another example of extending ki, but he used an example from nature that everyone understood.

My husband explained to me recently that there is indeed a King Cobra. I didn't even know that, but there was no doubt Masuda Sensei was imitating a cobra.

Last edited by Diana Frese : 02-21-2011 at 10:06 AM. Reason: had forgotten a word
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:23 AM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
"King snake," then I felt the nikyo. ...
My husband explained to me recently that there is indeed a King Cobra. I didn't even know that, but there was no doubt Masuda Sensei was imitating a cobra.
Sorry to go OT but I don't like to let critter information go awry...
There is a king cobra, but a kingsnake is not a cobra.
Kingsnakes are a large group of constricting snakes. They are commonly kept as pets.
The use of the word "king" to describe any snake, BTW, be it the kingsnakes OR the king cobra, means that it is a snake that eats other snakes

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Old 02-21-2011, 12:58 PM   #10
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

I have a very vivid memory of one day in the dojo with my teachers. It was just me and them. We were working on kokyo tanden ho and Garth sensei was trying to teach me how to relax and just move up my center. So as I had a hard grip on both of his wrists he proceed to sing and perform the itsy bitsy spider song.

Not sure if I fell over from laughing or from him actually throwing me. maybe a bit of both. But it served very well to teach me what he was trying to illustrate.

Another is kokyu nage where nage just reaches down to pick an imaginary flower lift it to their nose to smell it and the tosses it away, all with the hand that uke is attached to.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:50 AM   #11
Diana Frese
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

And now a word from our sponsor? Nope. Just a commercial from a couple of decades ago who doesn't advertise here.

Oscar Meyer.

We all know how important it is to get students to roll properly. Now when I called the roll from ground level (not standing) the egg roll I didn't mean the one you get from your favorite Chinese restaurant after class...

I meant pretend you are an egg .....

There are different ways to teach this, I'm sure you know them, but I tried to put a little humor into the situation if someone was unsuccessful. I would just sing the Oscar Meyer baloney song, or at least the first two lines. And then help them roll over, not sideways like a baloney.

I was so bad. I wonder why anyone put up with my classes!

You guys with your songs, I love them. But look what you tempted me to confess. Baloney rolls, Singing commercials.
What next?

( This is a line technique, next nage please.....)

Seriously, Cherie, your examples are very beautiful and inspiring.

And Janet, thanks, I always wanted to know what a kingsnake was, I knew they weren't poisonous and cobras were.
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:57 AM   #12
Diana Frese
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

May I take an extra turn?

Michael's cream pie smashing into the mat just reminded me of the beverage poured on uke by nage's "heaven" hand in tenchi nage.

By the way, I don't think I was the one who started this one, it might have been Terry Dobson.....
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:00 AM   #13
Basia Halliop
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Are these even really metaphors? Most of the examples in this thread seem like actual descriptions of physical movements. E.g. If you throw a pie on the ground you DO extend your arm and face your palm down, etc. If you want a student to put the back of their hand on their forehead, a picture of someone putting the back of their hand on their forehead is simply a description, isn't it? If something is actually an accurate description of a concrete body movement, what's wrong with that?

The one problem I can see is to make sure they realize that it's often just a first approximation. Once they get the basic idea further refinement will still be necessary and the refinement may no longer fully fit the earlier example.

What I think of as metaphors are things like when people talk about flowing water our your fingers or things that are more abstract and open to individual interpretation (and I find these far less useful).
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:25 AM   #14
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

"I'm not looking at you, I'm looking past you"...
I have to credit Jay-Z I use this when nage pays too much attention to uke.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:40 AM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Are these even really metaphors?
Ok, they are similes. Which are like metaphors, only different...But who would have paid attention to a thread titled "similes for teaching" ?

Last edited by akiy : 03-02-2011 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tag

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Old 03-02-2011, 04:11 PM   #16
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

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Ok, they are similes. D
Not having the right pair of glasses on when I read this I thought you wrote smilies.

dps
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:10 PM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
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Not having the right pair of glasses on when I read this I thought you wrote smilies.

dps
Well, they are, like, simile to each other!

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:16 PM   #18
Susan Dalton
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
(it helps to first ask your partner if s/he is a Dr. Who fan....)
I'd love to read other folks' favorite offbeat teaching allusions/metaphors.
Or Dr. Seuss--one of my teachers advises us to pick ourselves up by our loraxes!
Susan
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:25 PM   #19
Michael Hackett
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Oh Janet, you should be ashamed, very ashamed of that pun - and I truly regret that I didn't think of it first.

Michael
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:09 AM   #20
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Dirty Dancing:

"Look, spaghetti arms! This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine!"

Gotta love Dirty Dancing. I am such a girl, can you tell?

Minds are like parachutes - they work best when they are open.
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Old 10-02-2011, 04:38 PM   #21
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Re: Metaphors for Teaching

Sound effects baby!! Each technique seems to have one. 'Nuff said.

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