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Old 09-23-2001, 07:49 PM   #1
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 238
Lightbulb testing and asking questions.

for those who see this post and may think that is one ego filled person, i say sorry for getting this post across in that way. for the sensi's who laugh at my ingorance I say sorry to you to. For the people who accually read my post i say thank you for your time.

well, today I tested for 4th kyu in Yoshinkan. I dont know if I passed or not because they will annouce that in 2 weeks. But prior to the test I learned a lot about myself and aikido. we reveiwed the basics and have learned a lot. I really learned a lot about asking questions.

I learned that asking questions is a great tool for learning as long as your not doing it for attention and you are trying to learn. Most likly more than one person will have the same question that you have but are shy to speak out. All I have to say is dont be shy you wanna learn so ask! I also learned that with different questions you can accoplish different things. like you may have a question on how one did a movement in a technige and you will clear up your confusion. but in another example the sensi may speak about a movment or consept and if you ask the question in the form of a answer/ question you may clear up or confirm your understanding of what sensi is talking about. If people never asked questions what would the world be like today? would we even had Aikido? So, asking questions in another way to evolve your understanding and also help the art evolve. myabe the sensi ponders on your question for some time and learnes something himself that may change how the class is tought or how the art is looked at.

try not to be selfish when asking questions ( Ok i know i am sometimes selfish in this respect to.) like if it is a big question and you dont want to share it with the class but may really help the whole class try not to keep it to you and sensi!

these are just a few things i have learned while i was reveiwing for the test. any commits or suggestions are welcom in warm arms (or shall I say fingers?)

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 09-23-2001, 09:47 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 915
Whoa, Dallas, what are you trying to do, take my title for long posts? Just kidding.

I hope you had fun and did well on your test!
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Old 09-24-2001, 12:02 AM   #3
Dojo: Hans de Jong Self Defence School
Location: Perth
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 239
You have learned secret one of the two secret principles

Graham Wild
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Old 09-24-2001, 02:56 AM   #4
JJF's Avatar
Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 803
First of all: Colleen - have no fear your record is virtually next to unbreakable...

and Dallas: Great post - with a good message. Personally I find it hard to ask questions - partly because I'm a bit shy in the dojo and partly because I don't want to take sensei's time from the rest. Lately I have however begun to ask questions directly to Sensei a little more often - not while he is demonstrating the technique but afterwards and it is really great. We have a small dojo so there is time for a little personal coaching for each of us, and it is possible for him to base his answer upon his knowledge of my level instead of trying to make it 'fit-everybody'.

I guess my point is that it is okay to be 'selfish' now and then. It is more fun for sensei to engage in an explanation on a narrow subject instead of allways having to put everything into a broad perspective for everyone to gain from, and with 'personalised' coaching you can progress much faster.

I hope you passed your grading - and I'm glad to hear that it was a good experience. My 4. kyu is comming up, and right after the christening of my daughter I will get down to business and find an uke and create a program for the grading.

Have fun!

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-24-2001, 05:02 AM   #5
mariko nakamura
Dojo: Dobunkan Japan
Location: Toyama Japan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 25
In our dojo during regular classes we do not ask sensei direct questions. Sometimes if the class is small and he looks like he would tell you something I try to get him to explain a few things to me. Usually we learn by observation and constant practice. He wants it this way because the waza we learn, everyone learns it their way. Each with a little bit of flavor to it. Of course it still tastes mostly like senseis or actually a hint of senseis ( because hes too good).
But after class one on one in his office is when I get the chance to really learn the principles or guidelines I try to live by. Usually it has very little to do with technique.
I would like to say that alot of times( the times when sensei is at the other dojos) alot of people ask alot of questions to the more experienced students and mostly the answers are pretty bad(I think). So I do know that the answers arent always right. Actually they rarely are. So unless sensei isnt there I would sujest the questions be kept till later.


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Old 09-24-2001, 05:33 AM   #6
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Yep, I certainly wouldn't believe every answer you get. Its a bit like navigating through a dense forest. No-one knows exactly where they are, better more experienced people tend to have a better idea. However if you bump into someone thats been walking around the same clump of trees for 10 years, he'll only be able to tell you about that clump of trees.

At the end of the day, you've got to find your own way through the forest and just use peoples advice as sign posts.

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Old 09-24-2001, 01:20 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 42
Hi all - I've been reading posts, both here and on other forums, about silent classes. I have never experienced anything like that - if we want to know something, we ask the question and our sensei answers it - we could even get into a discussion on aikido philisophy on the mat. My experience seems veyr difference to the majority of other aikidoka here - but I fidn that if I cannot ask a question, I quickly get very frustrated.

Any comments?
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Old 09-24-2001, 01:44 PM   #8
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,053
Originally posted by Sid
My experience seems veyr difference to the majority of other aikidoka here - but I fidn that if I cannot ask a question, I quickly get very frustrated.
Sometimes, working with the frustration is, in itself, the lesson.

We pretty much never ask our main instructor any questions during class. He goes up, demonstrates something four to eight times (or so), and then off we go. He'll sometimes offer clarifying points to the whole class, but not always.

-- Jun

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Old 09-24-2001, 02:52 PM   #9
Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Montrose, CA
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 45
Practice here is similar to what Jun described. You never ask the instructor a question during technique demonstration, much less ask Sensei. And, as Jun mentioned, if the instructor observes poor technique, he will frequently stop us to demonstrate again with more emphasis on certain points that are lacking. This is in addition to the normal observation and individual commentary...

I just started studying iaido, and the environment there is even more formal. Without sounding too pompous, I think my ability to observe technique and translate that into movement is slowly increasing.

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Old 09-24-2001, 05:38 PM   #10
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 238

while my class is like most with the sensi demonstraing like 10 times then if he sees poor tecq then he will re deomonstrait and accually ask us if we have questions . while some here seem against the thought of asking questions i guess it just comes with how you learn.I am not applying that i am right or your wrong just differences of opioion. also think if people didnt ask osensi questions aikido would be different. it is just me thought thinking how differnt everything would be if we never asked questions

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 09-24-2001, 05:56 PM   #11
Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Montrose, CA
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 45
Of course, no worries.

People certainly do ask questions of instructors and Sensei (in that order ), just not during class. Sometimes I'll do a little extra technique after class with a senior student. We also have a budo lecture every other Friday, and certainly we're expected to have questions on the topic at hand.

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Old 09-24-2001, 09:35 PM   #12
Dojo: Aikido Kokikai Delaware
Location: Delaware, USA
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 57
There are times to ask questions, and times not to. If you are lost on something, feel free. Always do so in respect of the dojo rules and courtesy though, and at times this may mean to simply attempt without excess questions. Much of what is learnt in aikido is done through feeling, not words.

Some time ago, before I had even heard of aikido, I read a Yiddish proverb which has stuck with me. I think it goes well here...

"He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning." -- Yiddish Proverb

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