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Old 07-27-2015, 07:52 AM   #26
Peter Boylan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 288
Re: What Makes A Good Dojo?

Shannon Frye wrote: View Post
I've read and reread this (and can't wrap my head around it) . Could you expand on what you mean by Aikido absorbing the least desirable of the teaching models?

The old teaching model doesn't include a lot of verbal explanation and instruction, but it does include a clear progression of technique and kata to develop the student towards a clear goal of mastery. It also includes an emphasis on spending a lot of time training directly with teachers and seniors to be sure students don't develop bad habits and to ensure that they get the lessons the teacher wants them to get. This is all done in an atmosphere of deep respect to the teacher, while doing lots and lots of repetitions.

Aikido has thrown out the clear progression of kata for students, with everyone doing the same techniques together. The teacher is deeply respected, but no longer spends most of the time working directly with students. Beginners train with whomever they can catch. The teaching model is the instructor shows something a couple of time and everyone tries to duplicate it. Teachers rarely act as uke for students, so the students don't get the kind of feedback that makes the learning process effective. In many styles of aikido (but not all) there is no clear pedagogy of how to train students and effectively bring them along to the higher levels of skill. All that is left is someone senior demonstrates the techniques they feel like, and everyone else tries to duplicate it. Without a clear pedagogy, and without the critical feedback from the teacher and seniors, student progress is random and slow.

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:32 AM   #27
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,181
Re: What Makes A Good Dojo?

Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
The teacher is deeply respected, but no longer spends most of the time working directly with students.

Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
Teachers rarely act as uke for students, so the students don't get the kind of feedback that makes the learning process effective.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:22 AM   #28
Mary Eastland
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,434
Re: What Makes A Good Dojo?

Mary Malmros wrote: View Post

I could see where that is a problem. We train and teach at our dojo.

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Old 07-27-2015, 10:54 AM   #29
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Re: What Makes A Good Dojo?

Laughs - I think Peter has fallen into the natural trap of trying to generalize the ungeneralisable.

Its an interesting problem. There are a lot of good coaching courses available that can massage the wealth of information obtained into something easier to transmit. There are styles of aikido that have very well structured curricula that seems to follow a lot of those theories and importantly teach you to teach as you progress. My personal opinion is that if you are going to teach you need to specifically learn how to - either through outside courses or as part of the style. If you are going to be the main teacher of a group for anything you really should go out of your way an examine your teaching skill level and try to improve where you can.

One thing that keeps coming up in Peter's blogs is the idea that teachers must take uke for students. Uke is definately a skill, and teachers often do (to demonstrate that skill) but I don't think that the uke role belongs to the senior partner has a real place in jujutsu arts - its more of a weapons thing. What is more important is to be able to coach both roles.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-25-2015, 08:19 AM   #30
Dojo: Aikido Flow
Location: London
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 6
United Kingdom
Re: What Makes A Good Dojo?

Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
I've been thinking about what makes a great dojo for me. I finally figured out how to put it. Much to my surprise, the elements I'm looking for don't include beer fridges or silly hats (as nice as those things are). I put my thoughts together in this blog


What do you look for in a great dojo?
What a great post. I agree it is the people that fill the dojo with life. Friendship first, otherwise how to exchange on a technical level if you cannot on human level.

"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead."
- O Sensei
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