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Old 06-09-2008, 02:24 PM   #76
crbateman
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I have two philosophical pillars at my school: SHOSHIN- Beginner's Mind (KEEP IT OPEN TO LEARNING); MUSHIN- Empty Mind (KEEP IT CLEAR SO YOU ACTUALLY HAVE ROOM TO LEARN).
These are two of the five fundamental "spirits" of budo (shoshin, zanshin, mushin, fudoshin, and senshin). There must be a good reason...
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Old 06-09-2008, 02:41 PM   #77
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Hi

I came back..just can't keep away I guess. although I did exit so that makes me a man of my word!

Its a free forum Mary - everyone can write what they like and if they want to put a sarky ...(as in sarcastic...is that the same as snarky?) ...slant on it thats cool.
It's a free forum up to a point -- there is moderation. It's not "hold hands and sing kumbaya" moderation though."

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
I just prefer it to be wrapped around some argument or counterargument.
Even if the argument is one you've made before, and that has been ignored? I think that at times (not always) in this thread, OP was guilty of hand-waving away these arguments and examples and just saying, "Naaah, seminars suck," rather than addressing these points. I understand that he's speaking from a place of frustration; OTOH, when you put out a question or raise an issue in a public forum, don't you owe it to those who give you a serious answer to consider what they say? If you don't do so, are you really engaging in the discussion that the forum was intended for, or are you instead creating a thread for your own soapbox?
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:21 PM   #78
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

I call SoapBox, all the way. But hey, that's just me...

Best,
Ron (trying not to be sarky, or snarky)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:13 PM   #79
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
I'm a nidan in Yoshinkan aikido.
Different people really do experience events in different ways. I have to suppose that a nidan in Yoshinkan Aikido studying in Canada has attended Robert Mustard and Jim Jeannette, Senseis' seminars.

Personally, I can list many things I saw for the first time and developed a good grasp of at both their clinics. But more than anything I learned to have a huge respect for Aikido.

As a result of attending seventh dan instructor's workshops, I've had the opportunity to actually partner with fourth dan instructors for whole afternoons and learned lots that way, too.

So even though it's fun to party with the rockstars- (because c'mon- Robert Mustard Sensei is what- maybe the Gene Simmons of Aikido?) I can honestly say I go for the right reasons (too).
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Old 06-09-2008, 05:12 PM   #80
Dathan Camacho
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Gene Simmons?! LOL
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:41 AM   #81
Basia Halliop
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

So don't go to seminars.

I'm not really seeing the problem.

Personally, the times I've gone I liked getting a couple of hours of classes with a slightly different teacher's take on similar stuff to what mine teaches (they may explain the same thing slightly differently, or have a different body type, or whatever), and with some training partners I'd never met before. It was an interesting experience. If that isn't your experience, though, just don't go...

There, I solved your problem and saved you some money too
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:06 AM   #82
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Maybe I'm too new, but I'm not quite getting how a seminar is all that different from a regular dojo practice.

I have only been to one seminar, so I'm not speaking with a ton of experience or authority here. Which is why I'd like to get others' perspectives.

From my perspective, a seminar is like a class in that there's someone leading the teaching, there's demonstration of technique, there's time to practice the technique and get observed and corrected by the instructor.

A seminar is different because the instructor (and way he teaches) is different, the aikido style might be different, the people you work with will be different and probably larger in number.

So how is this, fundamentally, any different than daily training?
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:08 AM   #83
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Also, I need to stick up for the value of Star Trek conventions. (Only somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

The enthusiasm of Trekkies is what kept the franchise going in the nearly 20 years between the cancellation of the series and the first movie. Without that, there would be no Star Trek as we know it. So the Star Trek conventions is a celebration of that esprit de corps and a way to keep the fans of the show motivated and energized.

(And yes, I'm a Star Trek Fan )
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:26 AM   #84
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Carolyn Parkinson wrote: View Post
Maybe I'm too new, but I'm not quite getting how a seminar is all that different from a regular dojo practice.

I have only been to one seminar, so I'm not speaking with a ton of experience or authority here. Which is why I'd like to get others' perspectives.

From my perspective, a seminar is like a class in that there's someone leading the teaching, there's demonstration of technique, there's time to practice the technique and get observed and corrected by the instructor.

A seminar is different because the instructor (and way he teaches) is different, the aikido style might be different, the people you work with will be different and probably larger in number.

So how is this, fundamentally, any different than daily training?
Hi

I can't speak for all dojo's clubs or organisations - but usually my own group conducts classes which are targeted over time towards certain goals.

As an example beginners classes might have a short term goal of grading for 6th kyu after x number of weeks.

Consequently - the individual classes cover the prerequisites to meet this goal and are linked.

Seminars (and I'm thinking external) are not in my experience targetting specific goals over a period of time but are more of a snapshot of practice.

Having said that - for senior students who's targets have simply become 'to practice' then a seminar is probably less different than a normal class except that the Sensei is likely to provide a refreshing change.

So fundamentally not so different for some.

Regards

D
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Old 06-12-2008, 10:35 AM   #85
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
So how is this, fundamentally, any different than daily training?
Hi Carolyn, good posts!

There is a fundamental difference, especially accross styles, but even to some extent between teachers and dojo in the same style.

Think of it this way...if each teacher has thought through what they do in terms of pieces of a puzzle that fit together to create a whole system, then even having a piece that is shared between puzzles, but that is a slightly different shape or size, can throw off completion of the puzzle.

So, we all do basics. And of those basics, let's say stance and pivot are two.

Now, in yoshinkan, in basics, we tend to have a forward weighted stance, and we tend not to enter before we pivot.

Aikikai (in general) has those two same basics...but they are taught a little differently. In my experience, the weight tends to be central or a little back, and I've almost always been told to enter first before pivoting.

These simple differences fit into the larger scheme of waza, methods, strategy and other things. Because these same basics are a certain shape and size, the resulting preferred waza are often just a little to a lot different. If my weight is forward I actually tend to enter more and differently. I move in certain directions better than others...while a different stance might favor different movement. Thus yeilding different preferred waza or methods.

None of this is right or wrong...these are trade offs. In daily training, you get to understand this gradually, and build toward an overall system that has a certain orientation. Seeing other ways of doing these basics and getting a glimpse of an overall system that is different can actually lead to deeper understanding of my chosen system, and martial strategy over all. If I am open to it.

But unless I make a concerted effort, I shouldn't think that one or two or three seminars in a different system is going to make me proficient in that system. Daily training is needed for that.

Best,
Ron

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-12-2008 at 10:38 AM.

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:05 AM   #86
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Carolyn Parkinson wrote: View Post
Maybe I'm too new, but I'm not quite getting how a seminar is all that different from a regular dojo practice.

I have only been to one seminar, so I'm not speaking with a ton of experience or authority here. Which is why I'd like to get others' perspectives.

From my perspective, a seminar is like a class in that there's someone leading the teaching, there's demonstration of technique, there's time to practice the technique and get observed and corrected by the instructor.

A seminar is different because the instructor (and way he teaches) is different, the aikido style might be different, the people you work with will be different and probably larger in number.

So how is this, fundamentally, any different than daily training?
Seminars can be vastly different than regular dojo practice and they can be nearly the same. If you go to a seminar within your school, it'll probably be close to what you're learning in your dojo. But, some seminars from outside your school can be very different from what you're learning in your dojo.

In addition to that, the format for seminars can vary, too. If your dojo has 10 people in it, then you're probably getting quite a bit of hands on time with the instructor. If you go to a seminar with 60-100 people, you probably won't get much hands on time with the instructor -- if any.

And then ... along came Jones -- er, um, sorry. Throwback to another era and a song. Seriously, and then you have the differences in instructors. If your dojo is led by shodan to yondan (1-4th degree), then going to a seminar and getting hands on with a rokudan (6th degree) can be very different.

In the dojo, the instructor leads a class from the very beginning student through to upper levels, so there's a progression training going on. Some might not notice, but it's there. With a seminar, there might be a progressive training element (as with the AikiWeb seminar, the instructors building off of each other), but it won't be nearly as detailed, time consuming, or exhaustive. A seminar lasts days while dojo training lasts years.

Which is why the original post is not very good in terms of details. It's like saying "aikido sucks". Well, okay, maybe in places it does, but in other places it doesn't. So, the answer isn't nearly as simple as seminars are good -- or even seminars are bad. It's all in the details.
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Old 06-13-2008, 07:33 AM   #87
rob_liberti
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Another thing about seminars is that sometimes you get to run into people who are just cock sure that they know everything and think that they can force their lame technique on everyone. You typically find them dominating the juniors. I love meeting these people and working with them for the rest of the class. You just stay friendly, encouraging, and WITH THEM like luggage. You always take their ukemi, but they are well aware that you are taking it and that they are ineffective. Sometimes they try to escalate and that is always interesting. If you meet someone like that who is a nidan, maybe they have had enough situations like what I would do with them that they just hate seminars now... They can always change, but instead they'll just avoid anyone (and any situation where they might meet someone) who might make them think about their need to change.

Rob
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:38 AM   #88
Basia Halliop
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
But unless I make a concerted effort, I shouldn't think that one or two or three seminars in a different system is going to make me proficient in that system. Daily training is needed for that.
I have gone to only a couple of seminars so far, but one thing I have found cool about a few of them was the opportunity to train with other highly experienced teachers who trained very similarly (same school or whatever). So it had more of the feel, to me, of looking at the same thing from a new angle than like looking at a different thing.

Comparable to training with different more senior students in my own dojo, except that at seminars a similar thing was replicated at a higher level of experience and skill...
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Old 06-13-2008, 03:23 PM   #89
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

While I rarely post any replies this topic becons feedback. Not that I am trying to convince Mr. Madden of anything his mind seems quite made up, but instead this is directed more at anyone whom reads this thread and thinks,
'Hmmm, maybe I will just skip this upcoming seminar."

I recently signed up for a seminar with Toyoda sensei. I have always been a big fan of his aikido and take every opportunity to spend time on the mat with him. When I arrived at the seminar, I was excited and ready to get down to three days of Aikido. I was stunned when another guy walked out on the mat and bowed us in. He identified himself as Frank Gallo and apologized that Toyoda sensei could not make it. I was instantly deflated. Not only was I not going to get to pick of the brain of one of my favorites, I did not even know who this guy was. In any case, I figured it was Aikido and I would just try to enjoy what he had to offer.

Boy was I stunned when I took ukemi for Gallo sensei. The way he moved and just 'disappeared' opened my eyes. While I had been going through the motions of Aikido for years I felt like I never really understood it until that moment. By following what seemed to be minor corrections he offered my technique changed drastically. Suddenly my arms became loose and relaxed, my posture straightened and my technique seemed to be far more fluent and based in my feet.

I am not sure Gallo Sensei even noticed what to me, felt like a huge tranfiguration, but I can not wait to see him again to thank him.
I have always believed I can learn something from anyone. Now more than ever I know that to be true.

So while some may find nothing of interest on the mat with "the greats's" sharing thier knowledge and expirence, others may discover 'the way'
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:29 PM   #90
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Smile Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

I love seminars. Can't get enough of them; I've been to ten (not counting the USAF Summer Camp; I was only there for a day) since last summer.

I didn't really see the value in seminars when I first started Aikido, because I was too busy trying to get the "basics" down pat. I attended a couple hosted by my dojo, but didn't travel to outside seminars until I tested for 3rd kyu - and felt *slightly* more comfortable with my ukemi and overall technique. Since my dojo doesn't have any female blackbelts (yet), I specifically wanted to train with female instructors. Four of the seminars I attended over the past year were run by women instructors (Lia Suzuki, Barbara Britton plus two other women teachers, Lorraine DiAnne, Jane Ozeki). I found those seminars to be especially helpful in my training; men and women *teach* differently, and *move* differently.

Overall, I've felt like I *learned* something from every seminar I attended. Being able to work with others *outside* my dojo was useful unto itself. Oh yeah...the social aspect rocks too; I've made some new friends along the way.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:14 AM   #91
Marc Abrams
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Every class should be different. Every seminar should be different. It is only when we get into the lazy habit of not keeping an open mind and beginner's mind, that we begin to think that things seem the same and we question whether we are learning anything.

WE are responsible to be our own best teachers. If we keep and open mind and beginner's mind, we will look at every class, every seminar, every turn as nage, every turn as uke as an opportunity to learn something new about what we are doing. Our teachers are our guides. If we are not open to learning, do not expect them to be open to our progress.

Maybe we can work hard at refocusing on our personal responsibility to be our own best teachers. Ask yourself to look harder at what you do, what your teacher does and what your partner does. If you are still seeing the same thing, your mind is probably closed.

Marc Abrams
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:56 AM   #92
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

I for one taking teaching seriously, when I teach a seminar I have a teaching plan for each class and I try and make sure the people paying me to teach get their monies worth. A few months ago I was teaching at a seminar and after it was over one of the students who had been training for about a year came up and informed me he understood most of what I was saying and could actually do much of the stuff I taught to some extent. Then he said a while back we had **** Sensei here and he did stuff I could never hope to do. Man what a great teacher he is. Some people go to a seminar in hopes of seeing a great performance and that is what they pay for, some go looking to be taught and that is what they are paying for. If you want a performance I will give it for free. There are people like George Ledyard and I and many others that give a lot a thought to class plans and teaching curriculum and it is a fact that there are a lot of people that want to impress folks with their skill and are not very good teachers.

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Old 06-19-2008, 11:17 AM   #93
rob_liberti
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Seems like the most reasonable thing to do is annouce on the seminar flyers what is planned in terms of teaching. Wehn I teach class, the plan is do basics, evaluate what the worst skill level is in the class, and teach to that person primarily. I then go around and help people individually if I think they are in a place where they would be open to another suggestion. I gave up trying to force learning on people a long time ago.

When I do seminars, I tend not to do that too much. I think about what is the most important aspect of aikido that is typically missing that I have to give. Then I explain it, show it, highlight it in techniques, and come up with drills to focus on it - then go back to waza so people can feel the difference for themselves. If it seems to haven gotten threw, then I thnk of the next most important aspect that I have that seems to be missing and do that one in the same way.

People tend to get a repuation for what they do at seminars and that gets them invited/re-invited or not. I gave a great seminar in my mind once and a couple years later noticed I hadn't been invited back. Didn't hurt my feelings. I only want to put my time into people open to what I have to give. My approach seems to shake up complacency. But maybe they just didn't like my personality. That's fine too. I'd rather be learning than teaching anyay. I only teach when asked becuase I feel obligated to give back - when asked.

Rob
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:48 AM   #94
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

I once heard an instructor say during a seminar, "I am not here to teach you aikido. I will not show you a technique you can learn in two or three classes. Your instructor's job is to teach you aikido. My job is to show you something from another perspective; to make you think differently about something you may have seen before. Or, make you think about something you have not seen before."

I think seminars are worth their money only if you learn something. I thank the instructors who think about their seminars and engage the students - its harder than we sometimes give them credit for...
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:02 PM   #95
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Hello Jon. That does ring a bell, and it is true. Drop me a private email and update me on things will you?

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Old 06-19-2008, 02:18 PM   #96
Stefan Stenudd
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**** Sensei

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Then he said a while back we had **** Sensei here and he did stuff I could never hope to do. Man what a great teacher he is.
I've been to many of **** Sensei's seminars

Actually, the experience of a teacher impossible to copy is a learning experience, too - but of course, only if that skill is accomplished through long and diligent training.
People are easy to impress, especially if I am the teacher and set the rules. That's not interesting at all.
Those who truly excel, they give me something that helps me develop my own aikido - even when I hardly understand what they are doing.

On the other hand, and I guess that is what Dennis is aiming at - a great teacher is not the one who impresses the students, but makes them excel.

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:53 PM   #97
Mike Sigman
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Re: Does anyone truly "learn" anything at a seminar?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think seminars are worth their money only if you learn something.
My personal thinking for years, whenever I do a workshop, is that if the student doesn't leave being able to do something he couldn't do when he came in the door, then I wasted his time and he wasted his money. When someone says, "I went to a workshop by so-and-so and it was such a good workshop", I always say (not meanly; very politely and with interest) "show me what he taught you to do".

Too often people go to workshops for cameraderie and social aspects... when they'd probably have been better off if they'd spent that time in solo exercises. Right now there are a couple of workshops that I'd like to go to by some very high-level teachers, but I force myself to stay home and work out because I already know far more than I've taken the time to practice and acquire.

Taking the time to do the exercises and motivating yourself to do them correctly is like "going to heaven".... everyone wants to do it, but not just yet.

YMMV

Mike
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