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Old 12-18-2003, 08:01 AM   #1
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
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The value of 'why?'

~~Hi All! Instruction in my dojo is 98% visual 2% verbal; I know that it's different in other dojo. Recently, I've had the opportunity to work directly with one of my chief instructors, something that hadn't happened in years. I realized, that although I learn farely well from watching and then doing, I need to be able to ask 'Why?' in the training moment when something does or does not occur.

Why did the kata fall apart there?
Why did we lose connection?
Why am I doing this technique?
Why would I do this move, it seems in excess?
I feel I'm missing something here--what?

That sort of thing. Not overly, but verbalization seems to aid in my learning process, and I usually only ask when I'm truely stuck (I try not to jabber like a two year old _

What are your views on this, teachers and students?

Have a wonderful, joyful, peaceful Holiday Season One and All!

~~Paula~~
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Old 12-18-2003, 08:59 AM   #2
fullerfury
Dojo: North County Aikikai
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You can not learn wisdom by reading a book, by watching a video tape or by attending a lecture. Wisdom, like Aikido technique, must be lived.

The more I train the more I realize as much as Aikido is a community and requires a partner to train, it is still very much a private journey of self exploration.

I find that asking myself the questions you posted above is more often than not more important than asking someone else.
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:05 AM   #3
ian
 
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I think the verbalisation or recording of reasons for doing certain things or for problems is a useful method of retaining understanding in aikido.

However for many things in aikido only really experienced/knowledgeable instructors will know the full reasons. Also, sometimes the understanding of something cannot be communicated to someone simply without experience e.g. how would a fish tell us what it is like to breath in water? - could be done, but without thee experience it is likley to be misunderstood. Similarly in aikido, sometimes it is necessary to train without questions, to enable answers to be given later.

Also, since we are learning a physical art, questions should only be used to focus our ability to train effectively, not as a substitute for training as often happens on the mat!

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:48 AM   #4
John Boswell
 
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I know from my experience that the talking in class is 99% short, quick and too the point at hand. Should I have a question, I ask when the opportunity arises, get the answer and then move on.

Aikido is a physical art, yes. But if you do not ask questions, you can miss out on the finer details. Often when doing a technique, I'll want to move one way when I should be going another. When I ask why that is, the obvious reason is given to me such as, "That would be Ura... we're doing Omote right now." Until I got up to do it, I had not set them apart in my mind. I was right... just slight change. That sort of thing. Or how techniques can be reversed or changed into a different technique all together.

Asking questions is a good thing... but at the right time and don't let the whole class become verbal. It's a balance thing. (Uh oh... there's that Zen analogy again! )

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Old 12-18-2003, 05:52 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: The value of 'why?'

[quote="Paula Lydon

Why did the kata fall apart there?

Why did we lose connection?

Why am I doing this technique?

Why would I do this move, it seems in excess?

I feel I'm missing something here--what?[/QUOTE]Hi Paula. Good topic....I tend to ask "how" or "where" rather than "why" if I cannot identify the issue in my own body than I ask either my partner (who is feeling it) or, more often, my instructor.

None of my instructors object; they seem to like brief pertinent questions that allow the training to improve.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 12-18-2003, 06:23 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
 
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Quote:
Garrett Fuller wrote:
You can not learn wisdom by reading a book, by watching a video tape or by attending a lecture. Wisdom, like Aikido technique, must be lived.
Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
Asking questions is a good thing... but at the right time and don't let the whole class become verbal. It's a balance thing.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
I think the verbalisation or recording of reasons for doing certain things or for problems is a useful method of retaining understanding in aikido.
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
None of my instructors object; they seem to like brief pertinent questions that allow the training to improve.
All of the above quotes say what needs to be said. However, I have one point to add. Lots of people seem to think that reading, watching a video, asking a question and listening to the answer, or attending a lecture is not experiential in nature. As Garrett said, these things must be lived.

I suspect that anyone taking part in the above activities are "alive." As long as we're not limiting our experience of these things as intellectual theories rather than being vulnerable and at risk while taking part in physical relationships that give us the "hard knocks" experience, then learning takes place (and wisdom MAY eventually come).

Use the full set of tools that we humans have to learn everything. Why limit the experience? I suspect that much of the traditional "no questions", etc. in Japanese arts came about from the feudal system that didn't allow anyone to question anyone senior to them about anything.

Appropriate balance is the key.

Safe and Joyful Holiday Season to All,

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 12-18-2003 at 06:26 PM.

Chuck Clark
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www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 12-18-2003, 07:40 PM   #7
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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We were doing some weapons work yesterday, in particular iriminage from a shomen uchi attack with a bokken. I had done Iriminage countless times and against a bokken not quite as much but still a fair bit.

My sensei told me the reason why we tenkan with iriminage and control the sword in uke's hand so much, to create a killing ground in a circular area, to prevent any other opponents from getting close. As we tenkan with uke's sword controlled it cuts out in a circle and is either a visual deterrant to any would be attacker or a real threat cutting anybody who is unfortuante enough to get too close.

I had never thought about this and if sensei hadnt taken the time to tell me this, then I would never have known. I think a certain amount of verbal instruction is needed as otherwise you just do something without knowing why you should be doing it. If you have no knowledge of japanese military history/martial arts/samurai customs and ettiquette then without an explanation you are unlikely to realise why you do what you do, in my opinion. I think this is often why the public looks at aikido and thinks "why do they bother with wrist grabs? Who's ever gonna grab your wrist?" Firstly they confuse aikido with self defence rather than a martial art and secondly they do not know that in feudal japan a wrist grab was a common attack to prevent someone from drawing their sword, as well as letting us learn techniques easily before moving onto more threatening attacks. They just think "That looks like a load of crap" unfortuantely for them.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-19-2003, 11:34 AM   #8
John Boswell
 
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Eek!

Quote:
,secondly they do not know that in feudal japan a wrist grab was a common attack to prevent someone from drawing their sword...
HA! I never thought of that! THAT... is the most incredible concept I've heard regarding Aikido in a while! Totally serious here. Despite all my training, I still had a funny feeling in the back of my mind that there was more to a "wrist grab" than just a simulated attack off of which various attacks could be countered.

But to prevent one from drawing their sword??? That's a BINGO for me, Nick! Thank you mentioning that. Gonna see practice in yet one more totally new "light."

Domo Arigato!

PS: This thread is further evidence to the whole point of the thread: Some asking of questions is not just good, but damn near essential!




Last edited by John Boswell : 12-19-2003 at 11:37 AM.

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Old 12-19-2003, 01:49 PM   #9
AsimHanif
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One of the methods that I've retained from my karate days is to ask the minimum amount of questions (i.e. - strike to where?) and let my body do the rest.

In karate we break apart a form into small pieces and do many reps until it becomes 1) a natural movement 2) apparent what the bunkai is and 3) the most efficient way of doing it.

This is comparable to shomen practice. After 1000's of strikes your body takes over and the technique begins to reveal itself.
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