11/23/09 m [2s, 6v] B Small class, three new people. There are several of the younger vets who don't seem to show up but occasionally. I'm not sure how to deal with this. I think I should take this up with the staff. If they aren't aware of it, it could indicate issues they may want to address.
I think I am getting the intro down much better, more concise yet clearer. Particularly doing ireme tenkan. The new people were doing the move much better, much sooner. Maybe it is just a good group. Having enough people with a couple of weeks experience to pair up with the new people really helps. There are supposed to be more new people Wednesday.
I talked with one of the staff about doing more formal evaluation of the program, both what it might be giving to the vets, and what it might be giving to the staff. He suggested I bring in the goals I set back in the beginning to the staff meeting Wednesday after class. We can go over them, see how realistic they are and determine how we can structure an evaluation process based on the revised set. Then I can meet with the staff one Wednesday a month and do an evaluation.
NOTE; I've been thinking about what to do when you are in a class or seminar with a sensei who's way of doing an aikido technique or their style of teaching is not what you think is good. You may not believe it, but I am as biased about Aikido sensei as anybody.
I had a class with a different sensei a while ago. He fell into both of the above categories of what I don't like. What I decided to try, is to practice what he taught, but analyze what I did and didn't like, and how I thought it could be done or taught better. In doing that, I came to realize a couple of faults/weaknesses in my own technique and teaching. Not that it should necessarily be what or how that Sensei taught, but something I should look at as a way to improve my technique, or a better way to teach.
This sensei's methods of teaching was by the numbers. I found it too slow and disconcerting, no grace or flow. But working with the vets, or even with a newbie at the dojo, teaching a basic move, and going progressively to more complicated aspects and variations, while emphasizing the continuous flow, relaxed strength, balance, etc. isn't by the numbers, but it could enable them to better see the bases of all techniques, give a context to techniques and help people understand the logical structure of aikido. It should also allow them to make significant progress fairly early on and thus keep their interest up.
I hope this makes some sense. I see it as a way to bring the basic principles to a negative situation. And as far as I'm concerned, that is what Aikido is all about.
(Original blog post may be found here