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Old 07-14-2008, 06:11 PM   #1
samnorr
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Techniques for beginners

I have just started to teach the first half hour of my Aikido class, which focuses on beginners. I would greatly appreciate it if some more experienced members could give me some suggestions on some good techniques to teach to beginners (I have only been practicing Aikido for two and a half years).

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:40 PM   #2
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Stick to the things you know. Basics never get old.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:53 PM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Saotome Shihan, in an interview once said, regarding what to teach beginners: "Tenkan ho, and Irimi ho. First, because they are simple. Second, because anyone can do them."

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:52 PM   #4
Aikibu
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Honestly with two years of experience I would spend time just teaching what you've learned so far. It will make you better at the basics (I am still learning the basics after twenty years LOL) and help bring them up to speed.

If your organization has a test guide for 5th and 6th Kyu start with understanding and teaching those techniques.

That means about half the class should be spent learning how to roll front, back, and breakfalls to give them a good "uke" base and the rest on the 5th and 6th Kyu techniques.

William Hazen
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:21 AM   #5
rob_liberti
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Re: Techniques for beginners

What to teach beginners...

First rule - no sudden or jerky movements - safety first.

Avoid the floor as much as you can initially. Some new people tend to get scared of rolling and a poor lesson could equal never coming back. As a matter of fact, I say avoid EVERYTHING on your knees initially. Aikido has a silly enough reputation out there - new people will rarely see the analogy of techniques while kneeling to standing up.

First thing I like to start beginners off with is what my wrist and fingers look like when holding a sword (wrist up and fingers down). Then I thrust - hip level - as if I have a sword. I let someone grab my wrist and oppose my walking forward. I then change it up and do fingers up and wrist down (arm still at hips level) and they get to feel all great about beng able to stop me and crush my center. Then we switch back, and they hopefully start getting some appreaciation for technique over strength (and dare I say hand forms and structure). Everyone gets to practice the magic...

From there we go straight into shihonage, and everyone is happy. You have to explain the whole head, hand, and shoulder all glued together for safety and how to bend the inside knee for the safe ukemi. I tend to walk around and personally tell each person to breath out when falling to the floor.

Then I do movements - unde furi (the 180 degree turns with your arms out like helicoptors). I might even shorten it to 90 degree turns - but that depends on how well everyone is doing. Teaching is about judgment.

After that, I like to do yokomen uchi blending drills (because it is similar to the exercise) and eventually bring that into shihonage becuase everyone just experienced shihonage.

From there we can move to yokomenuchi kotegaeshi. I find the best thing to explain is to basically sell them "movement" for protection as opposed strength and tight muscles on both sides nage and uke. We look at taking uke's structure away with the same movement that is protecting us. When you see uke's forward shoulder dip, you can step back and create the hole for the kotegaeshi to work.

I typically end up the class with a demo of something that seems useful and readily attainable to give people something to think about and encourge them to want to come back for more fun and learning.

Good luck. I hope this helps.
Rob
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:23 AM   #6
dalen7
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

1) Basic foot work drills (names may vary from dojo to dojo)
- Irimi
- Irmi Tenkan
- Ushiro Tenkan
- Tenkai Ashi
- Kaiten Ashi
- Tsugi Ashi
- Ayumi Ashi
-Tai Sabaki

2) As you start teaching the techniques, remind them of which bit of footwork gets them through the movment

3) No jerky movements as mentioned already in another post.
A 5th Kyu (relatively new yellow belt) hurt me that way and it took weeks to recover from the pain in my elbow...he was visiting from another dojo.

4) Start off teaching the following techniques in this position:
- Ai Hanmi Katate Tori
- Gyaku Hami Katate Tori
(Throw in a couple of Shomenuchi and Tsuki Chudan moves)
Do this in Tachi Waza and Katame Waza - have a couple of moves for Suwari Waza

5) The techniques for the above:
Shiho nage, Irmi nage, Uchikaiten nage, Kote Gaeshi (for ai Hanmi)

Do the same plus Tenchi nage, Udekime nage, Kokyu Ho, Kokyu nage for (Gyaku Hami stance)

For Shomen and Tsuki you can do Irmi and Kote Gaeshi.

Of course for Katame Waza go for Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo, and Uchikaiten Sankyo.

6) Doh, forgot Ukemi - very important, and you can do this after they learn the foot work...
- Ushiro Ukemi
- Mae Ukemi
- Yoko Ukemi

In the end this should keep you busy with them for a good 6 months as you practice omote and ura version of this. Took me 10 months to get it all down, but I practiced 2 times a week and learned by listening in a language I dont know (Japanese and Hungarian.) - so you may be able to do it sooner than me.

However I think the above consist of good basics.

Some may think that Ai Hanmi as well as Gyaku Hami is to basic...but I think it builds on a good foundation before going into depth with Yokomen and other moves.

Peace

dAlen

p.s. - half hour may be good at first for foot drill, but I say no less than one and a half hours.
Use the first half to warm up. (Including practicing ukemi and foot drills)

Last edited by dalen7 : 07-16-2008 at 01:30 AM.

dAlen [day•lynn]
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Old 07-17-2008, 05:38 PM   #7
aikidoc
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Re: Techniques for beginners

I start all beginners off with forward and backward tolls, yoko ukemi from knees, and basic sit down falls. On occasion depending on the group, I have even had them do high falls on a poof mat.
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Old 07-17-2008, 06:47 PM   #8
Bryan Sproles
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Re: Techniques for beginners

For ukemi practice, my sensei would require us to do it from a sitting position until he felt that we understood it well enough to try from a squatting position, and then finally from standing.

Something a fellow student reminded me of the other day - when students perform their forward rolls, remind them that they will be going in whatever direction their elbow points -- I knew plenty of beginners who would roll at weird angles and sometimes just barely miss another student because they weren't thinking in advance which way to roll.

I would think for absolute beginners, starting with suwari waza would be helpful - not only because falling is not as difficult, but you're also still learning the basics of the techniques.

-Bryan
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:13 PM   #9
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

A typical curriculum shows the exercises and techniques that are expected at every level of progression through an arbitrary organization. That's a no brainer.

More importantly, though: What could be more perfect than simply to transmit what you know, as you understand it, sincerely?

Anything except failing on this point can be corrected later. Do well on this point and you may have a hand in inspiring a future shihan or, more importantly, transforming someone's life through this practice.

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Old 07-18-2008, 06:37 AM   #10
Eric Webber
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Re: Techniques for beginners

If I have a brand-newbie in class, I usually spend some significant time on Tenkan from katatedori (same side grab). I move into an iriminage from this exercise, then perhaps a shihonage. I stick to things that can be practiced and experienced very slowly but while remaining physically connected to a partner (as opposed to teaching striking techniques). I like what Rob stated above about his first rule: "no sudden or jerky movements". I emphasize safety and connection.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:36 PM   #11
Bronson
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

History, etiquette, dojo rules, and the Aiki Taiso.

Bronson

"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 07-22-2008, 10:50 PM   #12
rob_liberti
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Re: Techniques for beginners

My advice about avoiding the floor was in the context of the OP having 2.5 years of aikido. If you can pull it off, then go ahead.

Rob
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Old 07-23-2008, 05:42 AM   #13
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Quote:
John Riggs wrote: View Post
I start all beginners off with forward and backward tolls, yoko ukemi from knees, and basic sit down falls. On occasion depending on the group, I have even had them do high falls on a poof mat.
John...that could be pricey for beginners.
Mary
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:36 AM   #14
dalen7
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Samuel,

Update us on how its going - love to know how your classes went...what worked, what didnt so far.

Best to you,

Peace

dAlen

dAlen [day•lynn]
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:06 AM   #15
samnorr
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Hi guys, thanks very much for all the suggestions. I think the classes are going pretty well so far.

I've just been getting the students to practice basic techniques that I've been learning lately (many of which I still don't even know the full names for), as I haven't had much time to think of anything else to teach them.

My club's style is Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (Ki Society), so we have more of an emphasis on the Ki side of things. I've been trying to emphasize things in my teaching like blending with uke's Ki and entering when his Ki moves etc etc.

It still is a bit nerve racking being up front teaching when I'm not used to it, but I am starting to find ways to relax and ignore the fact that I'm being watched by everyone in the dojo.

Thanks again for all the great responses, and please keep them coming, as I need some more ideas!
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:39 AM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

How about exercises that develop these principles?

Keep One Point

Relax Completely

Keep Weight Underside

Extend Ki


Ki in Aikido and Aikdo with Ki are also great books for reference.
Gambatte!
Jen

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-24-2008 at 09:42 AM.

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Old 07-24-2008, 11:47 AM   #17
rob_liberti
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Re: Techniques for beginners

What exercises do you recommend?

Those principles always remind me of Steve Martin's tips on how to make a million dollars and not pay any taxes.
Step 1 - first you make a million dollars
Step 2 - then, don't pay any taxes

Those "principles" always seemed to me to be more "hints" than "directions".

I am currently learning/doing all sorts of mental tricks holding my intentions in various places - up and down, right and left, curving around up and over and curving down then up all around me, connecting my hands across my body to my opposite hips, thighs, feet as needed, etc. All of that imagery has been really helpful - when I had my body lined up properly both static and moving.

I don't know too many tips in "aikido" like those other than:

1) The energy flowing through your unbendable arm like water through a hose (always pretty good to get started).
2) Think about a fire hose that no one was holding. It spirals around. Imagine energy flowing up your body through your head like that fire hose, and imagine your arms sticking out perpendicular to that verticle flow to be supported by the energetic spirals for techniques from katatetori.

What other ones? Which ones are the most helpful for beginners?

Rob
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:16 PM   #18
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Quote:
Samuel Norris wrote: View Post

My club's style is Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (Ki Society), so we have more of an emphasis on the Ki side of things. I've been trying to emphasize things in my teaching like blending with uke's Ki and entering when his Ki moves etc etc.

Thanks again for all the great responses, and please keep them coming, as I need some more ideas!
Hi Samuel,
I would reiterate getting the book Ki in Aikido. It is absolutely full of exercises that hinge Ki Society training, including the one Rob mentioned.

Best of Luck,
Jen

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-24-2008 at 02:20 PM.

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Old 07-24-2008, 04:36 PM   #19
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
1) The energy flowing through your unbendable arm like water through a hose (always pretty good to get started).
I like to think of my entire body as one continuous 'unbendable arm.'
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:14 AM   #20
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
I don't know too many tips in "aikido" like those other than:

1) The energy flowing through your unbendable arm like water through a hose (always pretty good to get started).
2) Think about a fire hose that no one was holding. It spirals around. Imagine energy flowing up your body through your head like that fire hose, and imagine your arms sticking out perpendicular to that verticle flow to be supported by the energetic spirals for techniques from katatetori.

What other ones? Which ones are the most helpful for beginners?
After I do the unbendable arm thing, I try to follow with the unbendable fingers trick.
You loosely put the thumb and we finger together and make sure they form a circle.
Then let someone try to pull them away from each other.

I always tell the students that I image that my fingers are The One Ring from The Lord of the Rings.
Even a little dwarf with a giant axe can not split my ring.

You can see them think: "Silly Dieter still believes in fairy tales!".
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:58 PM   #21
rob_liberti
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Oh yeah! I've done that one before. I just could never relate it to any aikido waza. What is the relevance of that one? I never understood it.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:15 PM   #22
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Rob,

I am not sure what my teacher tried to teach with that exercise. Except that it was one more way to try to focus on relaxing a body part.

With the years, I have tried to add some relevance myself.

First, I ask uke if he can feel the difference between a tori that is trying to muscle himself through the exercise, and one that stays relax all the way through.
Second, it is great to show tori how staying relax can make him stronger then using muscles (it looks greater then using the unbendable arm, IMHO).
Third, tori should keep focussing on his circle, even when uke broke the circle. The only thing that happened is that the ring got bigger, the mental aspect should still be the same. Don't bring the fingertips together in a straight line (think about a D), but still bring them together in that (broken) circle (O).

I try to relate that third aspect into waza.

For example a kokyu exercise in katatedori (simular to earth part of tenchi nage). People only think about the arm that is grabbed, while trying to get kuzushi they solely focus on that side of their body, putting their balance/tension on that side.
I tell them to think of their arms as they were the fingers, putting focus on both of them while they form a big circle that goes into the ground. Then they should try to unbalance the partner thinking as if they were grabbed by two partners, each grabbing one arm. This way they will remain more centered, while working in one direction.
I did try to the exercise with two ukes, but I need to work on it a bit more to make it more practical as an exercise.

Another exercise I try to use this metaphor in is aihanmi katatedori ikkyo omote. Tori's arms are the fingers, completing the circle through the center of uke. Tori needs to move the entire circle, while trying to keep the circle in uke.

I don't know if this was the kind of answer you were looking for. But these are just some concepts that helped me understand/practise better. And I hope it does the same for my fellow students.

I hope I explained myself well enough. It is not easy to explain these things on the mat, let alone write them down in a forum.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:40 PM   #23
rob_liberti
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Re: Techniques for beginners

Awesome answer! I never considered the fingers as an analogy to arms thing in connection with that exercise. It does make that exercise a lot more relevant. Thanks for putting that together!

For teaching beginners people really need to mention such things! Otherwise, people who are a little thick like me will think "interesting - but so what?!"

Thanks again!
Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 07-27-2008 at 08:43 PM.
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