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Old 07-28-2015, 12:45 PM   #26
jonreading
 
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Oh we have a fundamental disagreement. Even assuming all you mean is "rolling" as opposed to attacking, etc....6th kyu, unless they have other extensive experiences in arts that are essentially applied kinesiology, do not have the experience to glance at somebody and read the body accurately to see where tension is being held or how the body is weighted, etc. so can only offer very generic advice.
I totally expect an experienced aikido instructor to have that ability and use it to teach rolling.
I am not arguing whether an experienced instructor can instruct better than a junior instructor. I agree with you; a more experienced instructor should have more ability than a junior. My point is that some education does not need to be of such a complex level. If you require the assistance of a high-ranking instructor to learn the basics of a fall, you are in for a long and expensive aikido career. That is not to say that tips, pointers, advanced education and the like does not refine our learning. It is to say that we start somewhere and that somewhere is no where near the level we want those high ranking, skilled instructors teaching. As a larger observation, I am saying that we (as adults) don't like playing in the kiddie pool. We want the best, even if we don't have a damned clue what the best is talking about.

As the thread is bowing back around, I think at some point we need to evaluate what teaching is important to us. We're in a race to get the goods and we need to evaluate the best way to get the goods (and what, exactly are the goods). I think this is, at its heart, a very hard and serious question and I think sometimes our answer is not the the one we think it is. Heck, you can't get 2 aikido people on Aikiweb to agree about what is aiki - if you don't know what goods you are looking to get, how do you have any idea how to get them? If you don't have any idea how to get something you can't recognize, how can you pick the best teaching method? You can't.

Traditional systems have the distinct advantage of surviving the test of time. I think we sometimes make choices to address our current issues without the the consideration of future consequences. Traditional systems help keep those choices in check and they [supposedly] lay a foundation for the path we tread to help keep us going in the right direction. I think discussing whether that path is pointed in the right direction was a component of some of the earlier splits in aikido.

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Old 07-28-2015, 02:07 PM   #27
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am not arguing whether an experienced instructor can instruct better than a junior instructor. I agree with you; a more experienced instructor should have more ability than a junior. My point is that some education does not need to be of such a complex level. If you require the assistance of a high-ranking instructor to learn the basics of a fall, you are in for a long and expensive aikido career. That is not to say that tips, pointers, advanced education and the like does not refine our learning. It is to say that we start somewhere and that somewhere is no where near the level we want those high ranking, skilled instructors teaching. As a larger observation, I am saying that we (as adults) don't like playing in the kiddie pool. We want the best, even if we don't have a damned clue what the best is talking about.

As the thread is bowing back around, I think at some point we need to evaluate what teaching is important to us. We're in a race to get the goods and we need to evaluate the best way to get the goods (and what, exactly are the goods). I think this is, at its heart, a very hard and serious question and I think sometimes our answer is not the the one we think it is. Heck, you can't get 2 aikido people on Aikiweb to agree about what is aiki - if you don't know what goods you are looking to get, how do you have any idea how to get them? If you don't have any idea how to get something you can't recognize, how can you pick the best teaching method? You can't.

Traditional systems have the distinct advantage of surviving the test of time. I think we sometimes make choices to address our current issues without the the consideration of future consequences. Traditional systems help keep those choices in check and they [supposedly] lay a foundation for the path we tread to help keep us going in the right direction. I think discussing whether that path is pointed in the right direction was a component of some of the earlier splits in aikido.
What exactly is "traditional" about aikido? As practiced by virtually everyone , it goes back to the 1960s at the earliest. Grades, taxonomy of waza, weapons kata, most of it has been developed since then.
It's a more recent invention than basketball or baseball.
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Old 07-28-2015, 03:13 PM   #28
Riai Maori
 
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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To be a part of a lineage can imply an assigned a teaching method. If I try to adapt the teaching method, am I being disloyal to my lineage?
Yes, IMHO. I am a student of Iwama Ryu.

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Old 07-28-2015, 03:46 PM   #29
Riai Maori
 
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Traditional systems have the distinct advantage of surviving the test of time. I think we sometimes make choices to address our current issues without the the consideration of future consequences. Traditional systems help keep those choices in check and they [supposedly] lay a foundation for the path we tread to help keep us going in the right direction. I think discussing whether that path is pointed in the right direction was a component of some of the earlier splits in aikido.
I am a beginner Nikyu Iwama student learning a pure form of Aikido, that was taught directly by Saito Sensei to my Sensei (Yondan). My Sensei has not deviated one bit from what he is teaching to what he learned way back in the early 90s. One of my Sensei's favorite sayings, is Saito Sensei taught many variations to techniques, and on this particular day in the dojo, I was taught this way. I too one day, will pass on exactly what I have been taught. I suppose this is why our Ryu stands the test of time.

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Old 07-28-2015, 05:49 PM   #30
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

Certainly Saito Sensei was always clear it wasn't his job to innovate in any way but rather to give the clearest transmission that he could. I do highly respect that. I still respect, for example, that Chiba, Nishio, and Saotome worked to develop their weapon systems and had a number of innovations beyond just what they were shown.

In terms of standing the test of time, well, Saito Sensei did die in 2002 so I believe that it probably Will stand the test of time but I am not sure it has truly been tested yet; Saito only started training in 1946, 69 years ago.

Judo has developed after Kano's death, and Shotokan Karate has developed after Funakoshi's death. Is Aikido as good as it ever can be? More to the point of this thread, is the teaching method as good as it ever can be? The same content can be taught in several ways so really we're not necessarily debating content.

Is there a limit to how exactly I need to replicate my teacher ie my English is better than his was but should I stumble over my explanations in a thick accent anyway?

Part of what I love about Aikido is the history and lineage, but I am not sure I want to just be a part of a time capsule.

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 07-28-2015 at 05:57 PM. Reason: More thoughts.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:08 PM   #31
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

I distinguish traditional as instruction originated from earlier dojo classes which set the precedent for future classes. While there is a time component, I think fidelity to the process/ritual is probably of greater importance. In another post, I presented my idea of tradition as possessing both function and relevance. I think it is permissible to alter tradition to maintain relevance and/or function and I think that is something of discussion here.

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Old 07-28-2015, 06:21 PM   #32
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

I remember back in the 80s in the UK some bright spark invented the Coaching Award. Necessary to run a club - maybe it was for insurance purposes. So I went on a few courses. What did they teach? Just the same old Aikido - do ikkyo, shiho-nage etc. There was no instruction of HOW to coach at all. A total joke, and as far as I could tell, nobody noticed.
Later, I did teacher training to become a high school teacher. At NO point did they ever teach us HOW teach. It was all lectures and essay writing. We did get practum experience teaching alongside teachers in schools, but what you received was random. Some teachers left us to our own devices with little to no useful feedback while others micro-managed every aspect of what we did to ridiculous detail and then in their own classes demonstrated that they were NOT doing what they were wanting us to do. Pathetic. There were a couple of good ones - obviously more by accident than design - it was just in their nature I think. And then I got qualified. Luckily for me - I could see thru all the crap and have/had been chasing effective ideas ... since even before that waste of a year. In the end, I managed to get students teaching themselves quite efficiently but my boss didn't like it - said I had to stand at the front and teach like a real teacher. I quit.
In Aikido terms, if you can't get a beginner to BB level in two years training 3 times a week, you have a problem, in my opinion. Now while your short-sighted org might not allow BB in two years - there is nothing wrong with getting them up to standard. It all starts with setting targets ...

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 07-28-2015 at 06:33 PM.

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Old 07-28-2015, 07:02 PM   #33
Riai Maori
 
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
In Aikido terms, if you can't get a beginner to BB level in two years training 3 times a week, you have a problem, in my opinion. Now while your short-sighted org might not allow BB in two years - there is nothing wrong with getting them up to standard. It all starts with setting targets ...
Here in NZ you can get a BB in 10 minutes. Just meet me outside the sports shop. Any particular brand, like Adidas or Nike?

Last edited by Riai Maori : 07-28-2015 at 07:04 PM.

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Old 07-28-2015, 09:33 PM   #34
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

Is not is so is not is so is not is so blah blah blah lather rinse repeat. What's "BB level"? Isnotissoisnotissoisnotisso.
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:39 AM   #35
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

I'd have to search for the link, but I read an interesting article where researchers monitored piano students to see what methods of practice were the most effective in their development.

Contrary to popular belief, the students that practiced the most did not necessarily progress the most. What they did find is that the students that practiced perfectly the most times made the most progress. Perfect repetitions were the only strong correlation.

In my own Aikido practice I've observed the most progress in myself and in others when practicing with a bunch of high-level people. If I go to my Shihan's class and a bunch of his 40+ years-training students are there and I practice with them, then I make a lot of progress, because they all focus on me doing the technique absolutely perfectly (to be effective, in whatever variety of ways).

Through that training I've been able to reflect on the bad habits I developed in my early training (which started in a class full of white belts that, due to most being university students, had a degree of churn). That has lead me to ponder the fundamentals of the techniques, starting with hanmi/kamae, chuushin (centre line) and tanden (navel) that are important basics for the techniques to be executed effectively in their most basic form. Executing with those things in mind myself, I have overcome some of my bad habits and developed my technical ability, and then from there move into the subtleties and further refinement as well as adaption of the techniques to different people.

What does that mean for teaching? I think someone who intends to teach Aikido needs to have a broad and detailed understanding of how the techniques work, as well as the path of personal development at all levels and from that where best to focus when teaching at each level. Then from there a teaching methodology needs to be developed around not just the actual techniques, but exercises to develop the fundamentals. This structure exists solidly (maybe too much so) in Yoshinkan Aikido and its derivatives, but only to very varying degrees in Aikikai and other styles from what I've seen.

It raises interesting questions, as at some point students need to develop a form of awareness from which they can absorb all the teacher has done in a demonstration of a technique and work on duplicating that in themselves. If that isn't developed, the student will rely too much on being told how to do something correctly.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:13 PM   #36
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Boylan Sensei, elsewhere on this site you commented on how the Koryu method was built on a close relationship between student and teacher - presumably teaching and learning styles having to get matched up? But, what I might have thought were traditional methods were really military methods. I was wondering if you could flesh out the differences between these two methodologies?
Please call me Peter.

You are right. What most people think of as "traditional martial arts practice" was really a development of 20th century military instruction and indoctrination. The big groups, with a teacher up front who demonstrates something, and then everyone tries to practice the same thing. Very much the product of Japanese militarism in the first half of the 20th century.

Tradition budo instruction is much more chaotic. For example, at the Shinto Muso Ryu dojos I train at in Osaka, we all start out together doing the same warm-ups (lots of kihon, first solo, then paired). After that each pair generally works on different things, which is whatever Sensei tells you to work on. Sensei then moves around working with people individually on whatever particular points he feels need the most work. I've found variations on this sort of practice to be common in the koryu dojo I've visited in Japan. It's very different from the judo, kendo and aikido dojo I've seen.

Peter Boylan
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:56 PM   #37
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

I should get off my rear-end and check out some of the local Koryu and see how they do things.

Where I train, if the main Shihan is teaching, there are mostly all high-level students. So if a new student joins, he'll have them do something different half the time after he has demonstrated a technique for everyone else, or he'll just go and practice directly with them. Sometimes I feel a less structured class, which I've experienced (and which occurs naturally after the formal class has finished, if the sensei is still around) would be good.

Though we have mirrors in the dojos for self-examination, if I taught, I'd like to bring an iPad to class and video people doing the techniques so I could show it back to them and they find their own way through problems, much like how people will record their grading and then review it themselves.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:01 PM   #38
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Amos Barnett wrote: View Post
I should get off my rear-end and check out some of the local Koryu and see how they do things.

Where I train, if the main Shihan is teaching, there are mostly all high-level students. So if a new student joins, he'll have them do something different half the time after he has demonstrated a technique for everyone else, or he'll just go and practice directly with them. Sometimes I feel a less structured class, which I've experienced (and which occurs naturally after the formal class has finished, if the sensei is still around) would be good.

Though we have mirrors in the dojos for self-examination, if I taught, I'd like to bring an iPad to class and video people doing the techniques so I could show it back to them and they find their own way through problems, much like how people will record their grading and then review it themselves.
There is plenty of good koryu in Fukuoka.

I use my phone, which I've installed Coach's Eye on. It's an app that let's me do slow motion analysis as well as mark up the video with instructional lines. It's very handy.
https://www.coachseye.com/

Peter Boylan
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:24 AM   #39
Dan Richards
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

I like the way GI Gurdjieff put it:

"All I offer you is a relationship."
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Old 08-02-2015, 03:30 AM   #40
Robert Cowham
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

One teaching challenge is basic exercises and body conditioning required to make good progress. There's only so much time in the dojo available for most of us (rather more if you have access to Suganuma sensei's organisation I imagine Amos!). An important aim for me when teaching is to inspire students to do the necessary research and exploration in their own time. It's what I experienced and continue to see when visiting my sensei. Feedback from others (typically seniors) is great - but how can we develop our own feedback mechanisms.

It relates to other skills which include increasing awareness and sensitivity, and being able to see better what is really going on when others move or do techniques. Coach's Eye seems like a useful tool in that armoury - thanks Peter!

What does it mean to be relaxed/sink the hips/not raise the shoulders?
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Old 08-02-2015, 03:57 AM   #41
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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I like the way GI Gurdjieff put it:

"All I offer you is a relationship."
I like to think that we offer a Way.

Peter Boylan
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Old 08-02-2015, 04:02 AM   #42
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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It relates to other skills which include increasing awareness and sensitivity, and being able to see better what is really going on when others move or do techniques. Coach's Eye seems like a useful tool in that armoury - thanks Peter!

What does it mean to be relaxed/sink the hips/not raise the shoulders?
Coach's Eye is a great tool. We use it a lot. The ability to look at action frame-by-frame means we we can take apart movement very precisely and see what we're doing wrong (some of my students have great eyes and will grab tablet and record me so I can see what I'm not doing right :-)

What does it mean to be relaxed/sink the hips/not raise the shoulders? You're asking evil questions here. Not raising the shoulders should be self-explanatory. They other 2 may well get blog posts of their own. Those are both weighty, fundamental movement questions.

Peter Boylan
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Old 08-02-2015, 07:15 AM   #43
rugwithlegs
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

‹bersense has great apps like this too. Shoot a clip of yourself, or use one you already have, move frame by frame. There is a feature where you can open your clip to the larger world of coaching that I find is not worth as much to martial artists.
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Old 08-02-2015, 05:21 PM   #44
Robert Cowham
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

Of course it's easier to see it in others than oneself. Have been working for a while with my students on the issues around breaking posture at the hips (a.k.a. sticking bum out) and how the energy/structural power is immediately dissipated - and then Howard Popkin kindly (and accurately) pointed out where I was committing the same sin in a particular technique when I attended his recent seminar!
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:03 AM   #45
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

as usual when discussing coaching/teaching people take up entrenched positions often based on their own experience, prejudices and so on.
I have a role in developing coaches both in my own organisation and beyond and often meet resistance to any kind of coach training.
I don't really understand this as why wouldn't you want to be a better teacher?
Also any training should not be a one size fits all but more a way of helping teachers to develop their own style - although they do need to know certain legal requirements and so on.
One of the things that has; as I've said before on Aikiweb; held back the development of Aikidoka is this adherence to a "traditional" method of teaching which is from a different culture & era.
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Old 08-14-2015, 08:50 AM   #46
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

Before I could teach Aikido in the UK I had to take an entry level coaching certificate. Probably not the one Philip is involved in (BAA?) but I thought it was pretty good. Sure it was heavy on the legal responsibilities but you do need to know those things especially since it was for insurance purposes, but there was also a real effort to cover the more practical side of things including a session where each participant had to teach a segment with a surprise problem including fighting, heart attacks, etc. It was good to see how others dealt with the issues and how I fared with mine.

I had been teaching quite a sizeable group for several years and went in with - what could they teach me??? attitude. Or more to the point I know what I am doing. Came out thinking that the course was a very good idea.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-21-2015, 04:36 PM   #47
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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I am a beginner Nikyu Iwama student learning a pure form of Aikido, that was taught directly by Saito Sensei to my Sensei (Yondan). My Sensei has not deviated one bit from what he is teaching to what he learned way back in the early 90s. One of my Sensei's favorite sayings, is Saito Sensei taught many variations to techniques, and on this particular day in the dojo, I was taught this way. I too one day, will pass on exactly what I have been taught. I suppose this is why our Ryu stands the test of time.
You might want to think about this a bit.

Did Saito Sensei know *everything* that O Sensei knew? Did your instructor learn *everything* that Saito Sensei had to teach?

With no disrespect to either instructor, probably not. Being human, no teacher is able to convey everything that they know. Being human, no student is able to retain everything that they are taught. And so some loss of knowledge over time is inevitable. If the Ryu is to survive, each generation must not only preserve what they are taught, but seek to rediscover what has been lost. See also this thread: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24357

Katherine
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:25 PM   #48
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Did Saito Sensei know *everything* that O Sensei knew? Did your instructor learn *everything* that Saito Sensei had to teach?
Rhetorical questions?

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
With no disrespect to either instructor, probably not. Being human, no teacher is able to convey everything that they know. Being human, no student is able to retain everything that they are taught. And so some loss of knowledge over time is inevitable. If the Ryu is to survive, each generation must not only preserve what they are taught, but seek to rediscover what has been lost.
Ah but what we weren't being taught has not been lost. Saito Sensei was one of the first Japanese Aikidoka to have translated in to English why we do it this way and when to do it this way. Why we don't do it this way and so forth. Aikido Journal is a fine example. We can study over and over again from these videos and learn from the legacy Saito Sensei has be left behind. Remember, he was O'sensei longest serving student.

We attend a 20 day Uchi deshi with Nemoto Sensei in Japan next week. He was a direct student of Saito Sensei and one of his traveling Uke to the USA. This training will hopefully reinforce what we already should know and to hopefully learn something we don't know. Our club also falls under the CAA, Patrica Hendriks.

I can guarantee you this, Iwama Aikido works. Just like Yoshinkan and Shodokan.

Iwama women Aikidoka are renown throughout the world for there very strong Aikido. They didn't achieve this reputation from training with another style of Aikido. Yes they to went to Japan and studied. From the horses mouth, not the jockey.

What I see out there are watered down versions of Aikido being taught that devalues our art into a choreographed dance.

My thoughts...

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Old 08-22-2015, 12:45 AM   #49
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Re: Martial Arts Instructors Should Learn To Teach

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Ah but what we weren't being taught has not been lost. Saito Sensei was one of the first Japanese Aikidoka to have translated in to English his view of why we do it this way and when to do it this way. Why we don't do it this way and so forth. Aikido Journal is a fine example. We can study over and over again from these videos and learn from the legacy Saito Sensei has be left behind. Remember, he was O'sensei longest serving student.
Fixed that for you.

As I'm sure you're aware, the superiority of Iwama Ryu is not universally accepted in the aikido community.

Which is not really my point, and I certainly don't want to start a cross-organizational shouting match.

Rather, I would say that the lineages founded by O Sensei's senior students differ in emphasis and teaching methodology, reflecting the personalities and interests of those students, and also the fact that they encountered O Sensei at different points in his own evolution. None of the lineages seems to consistently produce students who are as capable as the original uchi deshi, much less O Sensei himself. Therefore, it's not clear that *any* lineage retains everything that O Sensei taught.

And as for "standing the test of time?" O Sensei has only been dead for 46 years. Check back in another hundred.

Katherine
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