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Old 05-19-2004, 12:14 AM   #1
Dojo: Aikikai Dobunkan/ Icho Ryu Aikijujutsu
Location: Indiana
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 247
When did you start taking over classes

I train at a pretty big dojo. We have a number of branches as well. Sensei teaches about 3 times a week at the home dojo and rotates through the branches. When sensei isn't around, the highest ranked person is in charge. Or, sometimes a black belt will be asked to take over for certain times (they are also assigned to branches).

Anyways, I am a new shodan (a bit more than a month or 2) and am already being asked to 'take care of' some classes. Is that normal? a bit fast? In general I feel really really clueless and worry about doing a disservice to the people I teach.
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Old 05-19-2004, 01:28 AM   #2
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Re: When did you start taking over classes

The teaching responsiblities at the satelitte dojo where I teach passed to 3 of us, all ikkyu, when the instructor's new work schedule prevented him from attending regularly. We asked our sensei if we could keep the classes running and he said yes, as long as we continued regular training with him. Four years later, I'm the last one left. The other two have left aikido for various life reasons which leaves me running the aikido program in a multi-art facility. My first two instructors (one of whom is mentioned above, with the new job) started running the satellite dojo at the tender rank of gokyu I believe. The shodan in charge of it no longer wanted to make the 35 minute drive twice a week for just 2-4 students. At gokyu they were the only ranked students there and asked if they could keep it running. They were allowed to as long as they continued regular training with our sensei.

You'll be fine. Just be honest about what you can do and what you know.


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-19-2004, 01:51 AM   #3
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Re: When did you start taking over classes

Paul - I was running my own dojo in Himeji at Shodan, it was my second club. Most university clubs here are basically run by the third year students - all freshly minted shodans.

In this case you should continue to train at your teachers dojo if possible.

From your post you are only being asked to run an occasional class - what a great opportunity. All the experience (of teaching) with none of the hassle. Go for it and remember, if you were that hopeless they would find a way not to ask you.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-19-2004, 01:57 AM   #4
JJF's Avatar
Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 801
Re: When did you start taking over classes

Bronson said: Just be honest about what you can do and what you know.

That's very good advise in my opinion.

Apart from that, I'm 1. kyu and if all falls into place, I'll be teaching a weekly beginners classe from august and 4-5 months ahead. I have been doing a little bit of teaching now and then when one of the instructors was unable to make it, and since my teaching skills are pretty good they make of fine for my lack of technical skills

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 05-19-2004, 05:54 AM   #5
Sigrun Hjartardottir
Dojo: Aikikai Reykjavik
Location: Reykjavík, Iceland
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 8
Re: When did you start taking over classes

Aikikai Reykjavik is a small ,young and the only club in Iceland. A month ago four of us were promoted to shodan, before us we only had one shodan plus our instructor who is 3rd dan. While being 2nd and 1st kyus we all took care of the beginners classes and what a great opportunity and learning experience it was! This really meant that we had to plan, study and face responsibility in guiding people we hoped (and often did) would continue practicing. We are different in our approches but all contribute in our own ways. Want to improve YOUR aikido? Start teaching.
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:01 AM   #6
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Re: When did you start taking over classes

A lot of my seniors start leading classes (children's or adults) around second to first kyu. The dojo does a *lot* of work preparing you to teach, starting very early, to make this less of a shock. People around my rank (just below fourth kyu) who attend regularly and show an interest are asked to attend the beginners' classes and coach, which is a great learning-to-teach experience. A rank or so higher and we'll be told "Hey, why don't you lead the hitori waza today?" or "Could you please criticize this taigi? Okay, and demonstrate how to correct the things you're criticizing?"

I've found the classes taught by lower-rank students to be more like workshops for mutual learning, and the ones taught by yudansha have more of a teacher/student dynamic, but both models work.

Best of luck with the teaching. I'm sure it will be fine.

Mary Kaye
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