w [5v] These five vets have been pretty consistent for the last six weeks. This means two things; I will loose them after this week, I will have a whole new group next week. It has been nice to have some consistency in the group and be able to move them from the absolute basic techniques to more complex moves.
I started them with basic two hand grab to the shoulders. One of the vets asked if I could repeat the nikyo from a cross hand grab. I had them work on this a bit, then decided to try something different. I talked about breathing and relaxing to center, joining partners center to their center and moving smoothly. I then invited them to experiment with the cross hand grab, and see what they could do while maintaining those basic points. They really got into this and while there were some interesting variations, they mostly re-invented existing techniques. All I did was work with them on being relaxed, centered and smooth, and left them to play with technique.
After class, one of the guys came up to me and thanked me, "I think I learned more in this class than before". I think this is a fairly accurate way to evaluate wether or not I am being successful in teaching what I think is most important. As Satome says, "You must make your Aikido your own". But if I am not giving a solid grounding in the basics, they have no solid foundation to base "their own" on.
(Original blog post may be found here