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Old 10-09-2004, 05:10 PM   #1
"boooooooga"
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How should I handle this?

One of the senior teachers, who's excellent btw, teaches a slight variation on a basic technique. The dojo cho has stated this variation is incorrect and even asked out loud, "Who's been teaching this?" The dojo cho wasn't angry but it was pretty obvious this variation wouldn't get you a passing grade on a test.
The senior teacher is, I believe, unaware of this disagreement.
How should I handle this? or should I just let it pass?
The variation isn't dangerous. It's slightly more important than the question of open-hand vs. close-handed atemi when all you want is to get uke's attention.
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Old 10-11-2004, 04:20 PM   #2
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
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Re: How should I handle this?

Leave it alone - it's down to the instructors to sort out what they will teach.

Just make sure you don't do this variation during a test!

Does your dojo cho hold meetings with all the instructors to decide what to teach as basics? If not, perhaps they shouldn't get so worked up about one of them deciding to do things a bit differently..

Ruth
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Old 10-11-2004, 06:16 PM   #3
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
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Re: How should I handle this?

I understand the confusion, since it would be great to have consistancy in teaching. Hopefully that is what happens most of the time.

If I was the teacher I would like to be told about it, but in a non-confrontational way. If I were you, I would just ask why they teach *this* way and the dojo-cho teaches *that* way. If the teacher is a good teacher then they'll either give an answer that makes sense or say that they don't know and promise to work it out with the dojo-cho.

On the other hand, I have had to remember what changes to make in some techniques while in front of different teachers because they were too senior to ask something like this. The worst is when they are both wandering around the mat and you have to keep close tabs on who is closest and most likely watching you.

I'm not sure, but I think they sometimes get together and decide to do this on purpose just to torment you and see what you do.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-11-2004, 08:14 PM   #4
GaiaM
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Re: How should I handle this?

The greatest thing about taking classes from different senior senseis is that they all do things a little bit differently (or a lot bit). That said, your dojo-cho is boss in his/her domain. I might mention it to the person who is teaching the "wrong" technique, if you think they are unaware of head instructor's wishes...
Gaia

___________
Gaia Marrs
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Old 10-11-2004, 09:23 PM   #5
maikerus
Dojo: Roppongi Yoshinkan Aikido / Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
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Re: How should I handle this?

Gaia's has a good point. The differences are one of the interesting things about getting taught by different instructors.

The other interesting thing is looking for what they do the *same*. If you can spot that and copy it then you've probably got 90% of the technique figured out.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:43 AM   #6
Jorx
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Re: How should I handle this?

Well I think that it shows how idiotically rigid the system is!
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Old 10-22-2004, 05:11 AM   #7
PeterR
 
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote:
Well I think that it shows how idiotically rigid the system is!
How so?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-22-2004, 09:06 AM   #8
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: How should I handle this?

One of our senior instructors explained our procedure to us as "During each class, try hard to learn the exact form the instructor is teaching. Eventually, out of all the confusion and alternative techniques your own aikido will emerge." I think this is a strength of having multiple instructors.

Our head instructor sometimes does correct us on a test for using a different instructor's favored form--he doesn't care for toes-down pins, for example--but he has never been known to fail anyone for different-but-functional variants of a throw. At most, he wants to be sure you know the other one too.

To keep the confusion level bearable, he holds instructors' classes--when his health is good, every month or so--so that all the instructors have an idea of each others' style and can standardize when they need to.

The only place I feel really insecure is breakfalls. One instructor will sometimes have us take breakfalls (a de-emphasized skill in our tradition) if the fall seems to require them. Another expects that we will go out of our way to avoid this. Those two sets of habits are hard to switch back and forth between, and the instructor who doesn't want to see breakfalls *really* doesn't want to see them. (I think she may have lost a promising student to a breakfall injury.) I think I'm going to have to bring this up at the instructor's class.

Mary Kaye
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Old 10-22-2004, 10:41 AM   #9
Diarmuid66
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Re: How should I handle this?

Sorry that you have this dilemma. I think you should be able to breakfall, you need to practice. I cannot understand what the insructor who does not want to see breakfalls means! You HAVE to breakfall when you lose your balance..if any technique is done correctly uke will have to breakfall...you have no chance of understanding technique either as uke or tori if the technique does not break balance..if it breaks balance you either fall in a heap (injury?) or you breakfall (lower chance of injury ,and good fun!!)
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:40 AM   #10
Aristeia
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Re: How should I handle this?

I suspect by "breakfall" Mary is referring to the hard slapping somersault rather than the fluid roll out. I have some sympathy for that instructor. While I'd never forbid them outright I have seen too many uke's jump into a top ukemi when the technique doesn't require it - which makes the technique look really good but in reality it just breaks the connection with nage prematurely

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 10-22-2004, 12:42 PM   #11
Hanna B
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Re: How should I handle this?

Diarmuid66, Mary is in the Ki-aikido lineage of aikido and they do usually not breadfall at all. There would be numeraous ways to throw an uke so s/he can not land safely; we all adapt our way of performing technique to the ways in which our uke has learned to land. All the time. Some lineages has larger ukemi repertoir, others smaller...
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Old 10-22-2004, 12:50 PM   #12
suren
Dojo: Aikido of Silicon Valley
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
Jorgen Matsi wrote:
Well I think that it shows how idiotically rigid the system is!
On the contrary I think that shows how fluid and adaptive the system is, not "idiotically rigit". Everyone can develop his/her own Aikido even practicing under one instructor. The best example is O'Sensei's students with their own styles.
People are different phisiologically and in their understandings of the technique. Besides it seems that people also different in their preferences to move more towards ki or jutsu.
As for the problem, if that's not a substantial difference I would try to learn what is taught by sensei who currently teaches the class. I practice under two instructors of the same origin - one is a student of the other one and their techniques are different because they are very different physically (who knows O'Quinn Sensei and Bill Witt Shihan will understand me ).
Because there is only one sensei at a time, I do not have any problem with that. As we become more advanced we can adopt the way it works for us or maybe even discover our own way of doing it.
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:32 PM   #13
Diarmuid66
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
Diarmuid66, Mary is in the Ki-aikido lineage of aikido and they do usually not breadfall at all. There would be numeraous ways to throw an uke so s/he can not land safely; we all adapt our way of performing technique to the ways in which our uke has learned to land. All the time. Some lineages has larger ukemi repertoir, others smaller...
Hanna; I recognise that there are an enormous range of "ways" and that "my Aikido" does not have to be "your Aikido" but I feel it is fundamental to any "do" that what uke does once they have initiated the attack is not up to them! otherwise it is just too choreographed....in my lessons I try to make my students train with fluidity and lightness and of course to train safely but uke is not DOING AIKIDO..uke is initiating the attack..yes at the lower levels of practice it is possible to learn something by just taking uke to the point of balance break, but tori will not "know" technique with an uke who is "deciding " to breakfall or not! The test is to perform technique with an uke who is determined not only not to breakfall but to perform a counter technique on tori! Being a little bit of a devils advocate here and I know not all of you will agree! I would also point out that in my humble opinion the only thing less instructive and useful than an aikido technique that does not break balance and require uke to breakfall is an aikido technique that does not break balance but uke still does a huge ukemi!! Please take this the right way everyone but basically Aikido is about falling over!!!
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Old 11-21-2004, 10:30 AM   #14
gstevens
 
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
Diarmuid Buckley wrote:
I would also point out that in my humble opinion the only thing less instructive and useful than an aikido technique that does not break balance and require uke to breakfall is an aikido technique that does not break balance but uke still does a huge ukemi!! Please take this the right way everyone but basically Aikido is about falling over!!!
Hmm.... I'll start this like all the rest of my posts here on the site, I have only been doing this for about 10 months. I am definitely not a super star.....


In my limited experience I can't quite understand the difference that Diarmuid is trying to make here.

My experience is that when I am tuned into a senior uke, and working on understanding the technique as a whole, not just "where do my feet go again?". That if the senior student does the correct ukemi for the technique, I can learn a lot.

One of my sempai in particular uses this technique with me specifically. I often find myself saying; "OK so he was supposed to end over there, and I was trying to send him over here, how can I change what I am doing to get him where he wants to go?" This also works if I don't take balance correctly, having the uke "take his own balance" at some point in the technique, can give me huge clues about where it is supposed to happen. (Don't tell me "The instant they touch you! I know that because Sensei knocked me over with a wrist cock alone last week!)

Or even better when the Ukemi directs my technique in some manner that allows me to FEEL the correct placement of something that I have wrong. These have created some great Ah HA moments for me!

There are also times when my sempai refuse to fall over unless I do the technique so that they have to. This is also created some ah ha moments for me.

I would think that both are necessary for learning.

If we all only did the Ukemi that the Nage made us do, it is my experience that most of us would never hit the mat! Part of the flow of Aikido learning is people falling down for you, but less and less as you go on.



Thanks,
Guy
:-)

Last edited by gstevens : 11-21-2004 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 11-21-2004, 10:52 AM   #15
Shipley
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
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Re: How should I handle this?

I've run across this a number of times, and have found that the best way (for me, of course) to approach each training session is with a completely open mind. I always try to do the technique the way that it has been demonstrated that day by that instructor.

While I've been corrected for doing it one way during a test when the sensei is different, I've never been failed for it. Generally they just point out the difference that they want, and I do my best to do it that way.

For a while I trained at a dojo where the three main instructors were from different backgrounds (USAF West, ASU, and USAF midwestish), and all three were different than the first decade of my training (sort of Shodokan). Keeping myself open to different possibilities made that some of the best training I've ever had.

I guess then, in a nutshell, I wouldn't bring it up with either of them, but just enjoy what each has to offer.

I hope this helps,

Paul
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Old 11-21-2004, 06:53 PM   #16
wxyzabc
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Re: How should I handle this?

Yes I can relate to this...at my club in Japan we have one Shihan main teacher (who does grading) and teaches Nishio teachniques several times a week. On fridays we have another instructor who predominantly teaches regular Aikido (I think :-) and sometimes another teacher (again highly graded) who teaches a combination of the two!

Makes it really tough for beginners as everything always seems to be changing!...testing can be fun too, as you can do a technique to one teachers liking, but grading Shihan will ask you to make adjustments to suit his preference and repeat...nice bit of additional pressure :-))

What can you do?...learn both variations and go with the flow..

Lee
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Old 11-21-2004, 08:16 PM   #17
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
The dojo cho has stated this variation is incorrect and even asked out loud, "Who's been teaching this?"
This is a tough situation. IMO if your loyalty is with your sensei then you have to find a way to tell him/her. Maybe pass a note or leave a message on an answering machine.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 11-21-2004, 08:41 PM   #18
MaryKaye
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Re: How should I handle this?

Diarmuid, I guess I don't understand your distinction either.

I've seen throws that unequivocally break uke's balance, but uke can roll out. For example, in the "soft ukemi" seminar taught by Ostoff sensei and Nevelius sensei, they worked up to a throw (I think it's a koshinage) where nage ends up with uke hanging head down over his shoulder with her head close to nage's obi knot. You can't be much more off-balance than that, but nage can still choose to throw uke in such a way that a forward roll is possible. Or not--at this point I think it's really nage's choice. Uke can insist on breakfalling, but can't really insist on rolling if nage wants a breakfall.

Ostoff sensei threw me into a glorious roll from here--I felt like I was about six feet off the ground, but rolled like a ball. (Wouldn't want to try it with a less experienced nage, though. It's well beyond my skill level.)

Maybe we mean different things by "breakfall". I don't classify the fall where you tuck a foot behind you and go down on your back (with or without rolling completely over) as a breakfall, nor the forward roll where your arm touches the ground. A breakfall to me would be something like being flipped completely over and coming down on your back (probably with a slap), or diving over your held arm and landing on your shoulder. Basically, an ukemi where you can't shed the extra force by rolling your body, but have to absorb it.

I did study for one class with someone who felt strongly that if uke has any say at all in her ukemi, nage is being too permissive. Lots of leg sweeps and holding uke's arm to prevent a roll. I collected a lot of bruises. I didn't end up feeling that this was particularly helpful to me, though it's a legitimate style for those that prefer it. But I sure wouldn't describe what we do as "failing to take uke's balance." You've failed to take uke's balance if uke can refuse to take ukemi, but if you can force her to fall or roll that seems to me just as much a balance break as forcing her to slap out.

The Ki Society instructor who particularly doesn't want me to breakfall is a genius at preventing herself from being thrown into a breakfall. I've never seen her take one, even from other yudansha and even in quite fierce practice. My reason for wanting to learn them is that, frankly, I'm not that good! I get thrown into breakfalls I can't prevent fairly often, especially at seminars, and I'd rather do them right....

Mary Kaye
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:59 AM   #19
"maki otoshi"
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Re: How should I handle this?

Quote:
A breakfall to me would be something like being flipped completely over and coming down on your back (probably with a slap), or diving over your held arm and landing on your shoulder.
Just a fine point here - if breakfalls really involved landing on your back or shoulder, or any "diving", I'd dislike them too! (And everyone would have a lot more injuries.) Breakfalls as I've learned them are actually very comfortable. You sort of open up and relax your body and let your limbs cascade over the one fixed point (your hand in kote gaeshi, for example) like spokes of a wheel. The impact is very diffuse, spread out all along the side of the leg, and taken through the slap too, and you use the momentum to get back up again. You shouldn't hit your back or shoulder AT ALL, unless the breakfall is low and gentle enough that it's more like a front roll (only contact with the mat as you roll starts not with your hand but with your back or shoulder).

You may have a few awkward "splat" falls while learning breakfalls, but after the growing pains, they should be painless. If they're not it's a sign you're doing something wrong, and possibly setting yourself up for an injury.
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