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Old 01-29-2008, 09:52 AM   #51
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
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Re: Dan, Mike, and Aikido

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote: View Post
When you say "detailed description" are you talking about a verbal/written description or some video/computer simulation? What sort of "tools" are you talking about?

What sort of advantage do you see in the above type of description, rather than what K. Tohei did?

Just curious.
Hi Ted,
In my opinion, Tohei Sensei's principle based instruction was a revolution in teaching the art. These guys trained with an old man who never explained anything. Saotome Sensei says that in fifteen years of training with the Founder, he can remember three times in which O-Sensei talked about "how" to do something.

So Tohei Sensei develops a teaching methodology which actually says to someone, this is what YOU should be feeling. Not what you are doing to the other guy but how it should feel to you. It was a huge step forward.

For myself, I have tried to work much the same way but get more specific. Each technique has two main elements... what you are doing with your body and what you are doing with your mind. So I have been trying to expand on the relatively simple principles which Tohei Sensei outlined to develop a way to give very specific feedback to the student about how he or she places their attention, what effect a shift in the attention has on what one is doing physically, etc.

For example, when you grab someone you can tell exactly where their attention is placed. For most folks their attention or energy immediately goes to the place where they are grabbed. For most folks, this is the number one reason their technique fails to work. It's not that they don't know where to put their feet or what they are trying to do with their body movement.

So I think an expanded range of principle based instructions is what is needed to start raising the level of what one sees in Aikido. What are you doing with your body, what are you doing with your mind, and how should it feel; that's what effective instruction should have in my opinion. I have been trying to teach this way since the first Aiki Expo when I encountered teachers who instructed in this manner and it is working really well. My students are literally decades ahead of where I was at the same rank in terms of understanding what they are trying to do. It remains to be seen whether they train enough to get to a high level, but the training they do is taking them in the right direction.

I think many of us from my generation trained in a way that would never have developed an understanding of what our teacher was doing. We trained hard but we trained stupid. A small number of us have completely redone our Aikido as a result of different influences we have encountered. I think that twenty years from now, the Aiki Expos will be considered seminal events in the development of Aikido in this country. I think we have the potential to reverse the decline we have seen in the art by improving both our own Aikido and, even more important, how we teach it. I think that Tohei started this process but I also think we can expand and improve on it ourselves.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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