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Old 05-08-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
jss
Location: Rotterdam
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How I'd teach Aikido

If I had sufficient skill, here's how I would teach aikido. All comments are welcome.

Stage 1: Ki and kokyu ryoku
Goal: Develop and condition internal body skills
Means: aiki taiso and breathing exercises
Explanantion: Think Mike Sigman, Dan Harden, Rob John, Akuzawa.

Stage 2: Applying internal body skills
Goal: Applying the skills of Stage 1
Means: ki tests
Explanantion: Stuff like grounding a push, push/pull someone with the rowing exercise, tenkan from a wrist grab, etc.

Stage 3: Aikido kata
Goal: Learning the martial/aikido principles inherent in Stage 2
Means: Basic aikido curriculum
Explanantion:
This is not about techniques! Aihanmi katate dori irimi nage is not a technique. The katate dori is the starting position. The irimi nage is a throwing principle: unbalance partner to the rear and cut him down. Ironically, if you fail to unbalance your partner at first contact (as learned in the Stage 2) there is little use for the actual irimi nage...

Stage 4: Aikido waza
Goal: Learning the applications of the principles/ideas
Means: More dynamic and free practice of the basic aikido curriculum
Explanantion:
Use your understanding of the principles of Stage 3 to create techniques in a more dynamic environment. Irimi nage may not look like the standard irimi nage, but the principle needs to be present. This Stage still uses the uke-tori type of interaction.

Stage 5: Randori
Goal: Learning how to use aikido waza in a dynamic, alive, resisting environment
Means: Let people play around with aikido waza (think à la pushing hands)
Explanantion:
Two people playing around, trying to apply Aikido waza on each other.

Stage 6: Kumite
Goal: Learn how to fighting
Means: Sparring, free fighting
Explanantion:
If you want to learn how to fight, then practice fighting. Basically, anything goes here, as long as the contents of Stages1-5 are present. And you're still friends afterwards.

Some more remarks:
You start out at Stage 1 and Stage 2. As long as you have not developped some basic internal body skills, progressing to Stage 3 or further will only destroy the progress you made in the previous Stages. This applies to all stages: the later ones build on the previous ones. But it is also true that later stages will shed new light on previous ones.

Students should do the Stage 1 exercises at home. In this regard Aikido is like learning to play a musical instrument. If you only practice while in class, you will not make significant progress.

Disclaimer:
As I was writing this down, I noticed some resemblance to http://www.aunkai.net/eng/bujyutu/index.html. Other influences are present as well.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:18 PM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Two thoughts I had from the get go: #1 Wishful thinking. #2 Beware of ambition.

In gassho

Mark
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:20 AM   #3
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Changing the way a M.A. is taught is actually creating a new M.A.

M.A. are characterized by the teaching methodology, just as much as they are characterized by techniques, preferable distances and situations.

The Aikido teaching paradigm defines Aikido. This is a matter of essence, and changing it is an act of creating a new Martial Art, similar but never the same.

Some examples:
If you took out the competitions from Tomiki Aikido, it will change everything.
If you take out the Kihon Dosa, or the stepwise approach from Yoshinkan Aikido, you will get something else.
If you take out any of the pillars of Korindo: Tai-Sabaki, Randori or Kata, you will get something else entirely.

The way of teaching is part of the molding of a specific result. This is one of the essences of a martial art, much more so then any specific technique one does in one variation, or another or not at all.

Amir
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:40 AM   #4
grondahl
Dojo: Stockholms Aikidoklubb
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Amir, you are actually meaning that Yoshinkan aikido, Shodokan aikido, Saito-line Aikikai aikido, Yamaguchi-line Aikikai aikido, Nishio-line Aikikai aikido really are different martial arts?
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Old 05-09-2007, 05:43 AM   #5
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Amir, you are actually meaning that Yoshinkan aikido, Shodokan aikido, Saito-line Aikikai aikido, Yamaguchi-line Aikikai aikido, Nishio-line Aikikai aikido really are different martial arts?
The definition of M.A. is always kept vague. Thus, it is difficult for us to distinguish between separate M.A. and separate styles. In my own opinion, as someone who is still very far from this point, the final distinction is done by the founder of said M.A. or style. The founder has to decide if he is teaching new way, with well defined origins or does he embrace the concepts of the origin he came from and thinks of his own teachings as a style \ interpretation, and how does he then solve the paradox of belonging to an art yet following some separate teaching.

In practice, no one has a clear criteria for making the decision. Thus, the decision is a matter of personality, culture, social connections and sometimes even "marketing" more then a matter of some scientific categorizing.

I am not sure how would a scientist categorize different M.A. styles and different M.A. if he wee not given the additional input of the founders decision. I saw a few jujutsu demonstrations that looked more like Aikido then some Aikido demonstrations. Without researching, I found both similarities and significant differences in teaching methodology between M.A. and styles.

I had a period of learning other things with other teachers, and I sometimes tried to incorporate some of it (the practice type I liked) when replacing my teacher. He disliked that and explained to me that these ways of teaching are legitimate, but are not part of our system and we do have other practice methodologies for advancing towards the ends those, and that our means are better suited to our system while other means would likely get a different result then the one "we" desire.
I also heard a friend who practices Tai-Chi talk of his mandatory teachers course(Israeli Gov. forces all sports rrelated instructors to pass such a course), in which he had a great Karate teacher explain the teaching concepts, and then his own teacher (the Tai-Chi system head in Israel) explained those concepts are great for Karate but are not acceptable in Tai-Chi and they do it the other way around. For example, the Karate teacher spoke of teaching a move until its level is rather good before moving on, and the Tai-Chi approach is to teach all moves toghether and let the person improve his own way through.

Amir
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Old 05-09-2007, 10:51 AM   #6
ChrisHein
 
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Joep,

I have so many lists like yours. It's fun to try and figure out the best way to brake down the system for teaching. It's funny though, every time I look back on my lists I see the problems with doing it the way that I was sure was right only 2 years ago.

You've got some fun ideas there though.

Take care.

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Old 05-10-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
jss
Location: Rotterdam
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Changing the way a M.A. is taught is actually creating a new M.A.
Great comment! That's really one to think about.

How does the teaching methodology I proposed, differ from the methodologies you know as Aikido?
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Old 05-10-2007, 02:58 PM   #8
jss
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
I have so many lists like yours. It's fun to try and figure out the best way to brake down the system for teaching. It's funny though, every time I look back on my lists I see the problems with doing it the way that I was sure was right only 2 years ago.
Now I'm curious. How different the list may be each time, any recurring themes in there?
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Old 05-12-2007, 06:42 PM   #9
heathererandolph
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

I question the comparison between learning Aikido and learning an instrument,
Quote:
Students should do the Stage 1 exercises at home. In this regard Aikido is like learning to play a musical instrument. If you only practice while in class, you will not make significant progress.
that you must practice at home to make progress. Also, that the ki exercises must be perfected before moving on. I suppose that's the same "wax on wax off" from the Karate Kid movie, but in my experience learning techniques and ki exercises seem to build on each other. I just wonder if someone perfected the ki exercises, would that mean their techniques would be incredible, once they learned them!
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Old 05-13-2007, 03:39 AM   #10
jss
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Heather Randolph wrote: View Post
I question the comparison between learning Aikido and learning an instrument,
that you must practice at home to make progress.
I think you need a sufficient amount of daily practice (start with an hour a day) in aiki taiso to get decent results. Practicing at home seems to be the most sensible way, unless you're an uchi deshi or something. But on the other hand if you live in the dojo, all your practice is at home ...

Quote:
Also, that the ki exercises must be perfected before moving on. I suppose that's the same "wax on wax off" from the Karate Kid movie, but in my experience learning techniques and ki exercises seem to build on each other. I just wonder if someone perfected the ki exercises, would that mean their techniques would be incredible, once they learned them!
The ki exercises should not be perfect before you move on to technique. You do need a solid base in them however. Otherwise you get the two steps forward (proper body skills when doing ki exercises) and one step back (poor body skills when doing techniques) approach.
And someone with perfect ki exercises would learn the techniques quite quickly, but they'd still have to put in lots and lots of practice to learn what is contained in the technqiues: the techniques as such, distance, timing, etc. When they've build these technical ideas on their body skills, their technique would indeed be quite incredible, like Morihei Ueshiba's for instance. And that's the whole point.
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:34 PM   #11
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

what you practice in your daily life binds your practice/life to you. Usually that begins with breathing. Breathing meditation seems to a given among many aikido teachers/students; especially those that have a real committment to the aikido journey.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:39 AM   #12
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Heather Randolph wrote: View Post
I question the comparison between learning Aikido and learning an instrument,
that you must practice at home to make progress. Also, that the ki exercises must be perfected before moving on. I suppose that's the same "wax on wax off" from the Karate Kid movie, but in my experience learning techniques and ki exercises seem to build on each other. I just wonder if someone perfected the ki exercises, would that mean their techniques would be incredible, once they learned them!
As a musician, I find them synonymous. You begin to be 'the one who practices'. In essence you are always a musician, always practicing and always listening. In this way as Aikidoka, we are always aikdoka. Always practicing, always listening from the perspective of a doka. That is my experience.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-26-2007 at 11:39 AM. Reason: extra o

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 05-26-2007, 12:33 PM   #13
Haowen Chan
Location: Pittsburgh
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Re: How I'd teach Aikido

Quote:
Heather Randolph wrote: View Post
I question the comparison between learning Aikido and learning an instrument, that you must practice at home to make progress.
The ki development exercises are a way of completely retraining your body to move using different principles.

It is often said of this kind of exercises that regularity of practice is more important than duration or intensity of practice. So 5 minutes every day is better than 3 hours once a week, that kind of thing. This is common through all the internal styles.

Quote:
Heather Randolph wrote: View Post
In my experience learning techniques and ki exercises seem to build on each other. I just wonder if someone perfected the ki exercises, would that mean their techniques would be incredible, once they learned them!
The problem occurs when a newbie learns the techniques using muscle and gets used to doing it with muscle. Later it's more difficult to learn do it with 'ki'; whereas if a student already has a good understanding of ki then they learn it the right way immediately.

Personally I agree, I don't think it's such a huge issue otherwise Tohei-sensei would have structured the curriculum differently (e.g. no waza until you get chuden, etc). But every student is different so definitely some ways will work better than others for different people.
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