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Old 08-04-2010, 03:29 AM   #1
Daniel Lloyd
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Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Should all teachers/instructors of Aikido go through a coaching course?

And...

Should it be a requirement instead of just reaching green-black belt and taking the class?
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:00 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Onegaishimasu, someone who naturally gravitates toward being a teacher will work hard at it; that is a best case scenario.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 08-04-2010, 06:32 AM   #3
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
Daniel Lloyd wrote: View Post
Should all teachers/instructors of Aikido go through a coaching course?
And...
Should it be a requirement instead of just reaching green-black belt and taking the class?
What sort of "coaching course" do you mean?
I don't think we have something like that here in Germany.

But:
Isn't Aikido taught by showing and watching? What sort of qualification do you think is needed for showing technique?
A coaching course or a graduation?

Carsten
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:53 AM   #4
john.burn
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

In the UK it is a requirement if you happen to be members of the British Aikido Board. You need to have a coach level 1 certificate in order to get insured to teach etc. I think teacher insurance is only about £57 or something because of this.

Not all UK clubs are members of the BAB but I think it's one of the things that's worthwhile about membership of them - due to numbers student insurance for worldwide practice is about £1.50 per year.

Mind you, having said all of that I HATE it's called a coaching level xyz certificate. Just don't like the term coach / coaching personally.

Best Regards,
John

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Old 08-04-2010, 06:54 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: Teaching Aikido

I think there's benefit to coaching courses, although I don't know of any for aikido. I've been through such courses for alpine skiing and whitewater kayaing, and they teach such things as understanding learning styles and how to teach to them, developing teaching progressions, and peripheral care of students (i.e., whatever auxiliary skills and knowledge is needed to keep students safe and healthy in the training environment, which can be anything to recognizing and treating hypothermia to knowing when to take a break). You also learn some things that are very specific to the subject that you're trying to teach, but a lot of the value of a coaching course is fairly generic.

If you spend a lot of time teaching any subject, and you're genuinely motivated to improve and help your students, you'll probably stumble upon most of the above things by sheer trial and error...but it will be a while, and some of your students will probably not make it through your learning process, and you may not make it yourself. Likewise, simply attending a coaching course does not make you a capable instructor. Theory and practice, theory and practice, some of the former and a whole lot of the latter, does the trick.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:09 AM   #6
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I think there's benefit to coaching courses, although I don't know of any for aikido.
...
If you spend a lot of time teaching any subject, and you're genuinely motivated to improve and help your students, you'll probably stumble upon most of the above things by sheer trial and error...but it will be a while, and some of your students will probably not make it through your learning process, and you may not make it yourself.
How do you teach aikido?

Reading the above, I assume you don't only show the techniques, practice with your students and correct them?
What do you do in your classes?
Or: What is the theory about or of teaching aikido?

@ John Burn:
There is something similar in "Deutscher Aikido Bund". But this organisation has no connections to Japan.
Organisations who are connected with aikikai hombu don't require and don't need such certificartes.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:11 AM   #7
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Re: Teaching Aikido

You bring up a good point. Basically anyone can be a teacher in the martial arts if they have a little money and are inclined to do so. Martial arts schools/instructors are very hard to regulate so all too often you find under or non-qualified people attempting to pass along an art they barely grasp (and then there's just the fakes, buts thats another story). I think, while sometimes difficult, the ideal instructor is one who devotes themselves to studying and teaching an art...so yes...I believe one should attend instructor training. This issue was recognized by Fumio Toyoda Shihan created a robust, three year long, uchideshi program with the intent that graduates would eventually become instructors. Similarly other organizations require certain number of instructor hours (either monthly instructor class or seminars) and a certain number of teaching hours. Additionally in our testing we require students (of a certain rank) write intelligently about a given subject (ronbun), answer many questions about aikido ranging from their reason for training to physical aspect of technique, as well as the requirement to teach a technique to the instructors at the grading.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:16 AM   #8
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Trial and error is the best teacher. This began for me at 5th kyu. I do this for my students as well. I will have students take the roll of sensei and teach a technique.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
@ John Burn:
There is something similar in "Deutscher Aikido Bund". But this organisation has no connections to Japan.
Organisations who are connected with aikikai hombu don't require and don't need such certificartes.
Hi Carsten, it's not a requirement for Aikikai organisations in the UK to be members of the governing body for what that's worth but (I think) all of the Aikikai organisations in the UK do happen to actually be members of the BAB and thus, no matter what the Aikikai may state, you can't teach in an association or organisation who are joined to the BAB without a coaching course certificate over here. I'm not here promoting the BAB in any way I might add - I've done my time getting involved with UK aikido politics lol.

The BAB doesn't have any connection to Japan and neither should it. The Aikikai & Japan is far from the be all and end all of aikido. I've trained with just as many good independent teachers as I have Aikikai teachers. In this country most people associate the Aikikai as a style as most clubs linked to them are / were influenced by Chiba sensei so most move the same way hence why people rightly or wrongly see it as a style over here. I don't think any of the remaining original aikido pioneers in this country who are still teaching are directly linked via their organisation to the Aikikai either.

Anyone know how this all works in France? I think they have some quite strict government led requirements for Martial Arts and teaching in general don't they?

Best Regards,
John

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Old 08-04-2010, 10:17 AM   #10
RED
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Hey, If the Sensei of the dojo thinks the individual represents what they want their students learning, then I wouldn't be one to argue.

MM
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:01 AM   #11
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Re: Teaching Aikido

This is a loaded question...

Yes, I believe that aikido instructors should attend regular seminars to gain better insight into general points of instruction, [re]align dojo direction with the direction of the parent organization, and homogenize the teaching curriculum of the organization.

I think eventually instructors should be reviewed to ensure they are competently disseminating aikido instruction and maintaining a level of skill representative of the art. I think instructors who excel in both skill and the dissemination of aikido should be recognized for their efforts. I think this is the traditional recognition of the renshi, kyoshi, and hanshi certification in some form.

The implementation of this type of certification would necessarily include some amount of bureaucracy and red tape. However, I think the current landscape of aikido would have difficulty implementing such a certification. Because of this issue (and others) I believe that we are left attending seminars that offer instructional direction, but without recognition or requirement to attend those seminars.
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:59 AM   #12
Amir Krause
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Methodology is a significant part of every M.A.

Here, in Israel, we have a regulatory requirement to pass an instructor course prior to teaching any M.A. Much of that course is general and aimed at sports and Karate
I recall a friend who had this course with all of his Tai-Chi school, main teacher included (the Israeli system head master who his a master of that system), telling of his experience:
The course teacher explained one should go throughly through a single move, until the student acquires high skill in it, and only then teach the next. Then, the head teacher explains - in our school, you should teach each move only a little and then continue to the next, until the whole Kata is taught, we will then deepen the knowledge of each move ...

For example:
In Korindo Aikido, there are thee pillars to the methodology: Tai-Sabaki, Kata (technique) and Randori (Kyoshu \ dual free play \ almost spar). The learning process revolves around these pillars, with each of them being given some specific time in practice. Each of these pillars has its own goals, build-up phases, advanced versions and levels, elements to be aware of, expected errors depending on students progress, etc.
All the above would be slightly different from another Aikido school, which have different pillars (possibly some additional, some less, and some significantly changed). which would require changes in purpose of each exercise, and in the methodology.

Your Aikido is not only the techniques, nor only the way you move or fight, it is also the way you teach it.

A teaching course can greatly help in your progress, and make one a better teacher, but the course should be given by your teachers. And be is very specific to the way you train.

Amir
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:13 AM   #13
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
John Burn wrote: View Post
... you can't teach in an association or organisation who are joined to the BAB without a coaching course certificate over here.
Here in Germany there are different styles of aikido and many teachers following different "lines" of aikido. Even if you only take aikikai aikido here in Germany. There is no national board / federation / organisation which covers all of them, like it is in France or - as I learn - in the UK.

The only aikido organisation which is linked to the state and to the NOC and which has a officialy recognised "Trainerschein" has no contact to the other lines and groups of aikido. And as I said no connection to what teacher ever outside their Federation. They isolate themselves for a very long time now but ironically they are the only official representatives of aikido towards the government.
The "Trainerschein" requires two years and doesn't cover aikido itself. What is next ist judo. (I think, I would do it with Volleyball because thats the sport I know best next to aikido. And that would help, to do the final examination better. But what does that help for teaching torifune oder ikkyo ura?)

Ahhhh well ....

When you talk about coaching courses or something like that do you talk about courses organized by official state organisations like in Germany and France?
(In Germany you only need such a "Trainerschein" for becoming money for your club. If you have a pirvate dojo you need it for nothing, In France you need the "Brevet d'état" it if you want to make a living out of aikido or if you want to teach it in public schools, which isn't unusual there.)

Or do you think about seminars / instructions of a aikido federation or organisation like in UK? (Or is the BAB also linked to the government?)

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
... A teaching course can greatly help in your progress, and make one a better teacher, but the course should be given by your teachers. ...
Isn't it a matter of course that the teacher teaches his students teaching?
And that he does this regarding the specific way the aikido is done in this line of tradition?

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 08-05-2010 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:19 AM   #14
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

I really don't think it should be mandatory but I do think that courses in teaching are very useful and can only enhance ones ability to teach effectively. At the very least, It can make a good teacher great and an average teacher into a good one.

I've taken teaching courses in the equestrian world and training certification courses for my current job in the restaurant business. Neither made me a good teacher but both made me more effective and less likely to leave holes in my student's training.
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #15
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Hey, If the Sensei of the dojo thinks the individual represents what they want their students learning, then I wouldn't be one to argue.
Very well said.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:25 AM   #16
john.burn
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Carsten,

The main point (I think) of the coaching courses in the UK is to try and ensure best practice is followed - they are not about aikido ability or style or teaching ability. They are there so you understand how to warm people up safely, they touch on child protection issues and lesson planning etc, all of these are completely and utterly independent of any aikido style, federation or association.

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I've taken teaching courses in the equestrian world and training certification courses for my current job in the restaurant business. Neither made me a good teacher but both made me more effective and less likely to leave holes in my student's training.
I couldn't agree more!

Best Regards,
John

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Old 08-05-2010, 10:31 AM   #17
David Yap
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Re: Teaching Aikido

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Hey, If the Sensei of the dojo thinks the individual represents what they want their students learning, then I wouldn't be one to argue.
Time and time again, it has been proven that crappy sensei produce crappy students with crappy understanding and crappy attitude. I am not even talking about the McDojo.

I wouldn't be arguing either. If crappy techniques are taught, then I wouldn't be wasting my money and time on the mats.

Regards

David Y
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:15 AM   #18
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

True,

A balance between David and Maggie's ideas are what has to constantly be weighed against each other. People pay money for a service they deem valuable. Who is to argue people can spend their time and money doing? That being said, national/local organizations have the right to impose requirements for membership. So if one wants to join a particular group they need to abide by that standard. I won't spend my time, money, and effort for a teacher who isn't willing to go above and beyond regular classes to improve their abilities and pass along correct training and information vice a misinterpretation suffered by lack of reinforcement of training or lack of in-depth detailed study. But that's me for my training...and what I expect of my teachers and myself.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:28 AM   #19
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

But, John, who decides how and what to teach?

Who decides what knowledge should be provided in such courses?

There are so many things you can watch from different points of view. I think those questions are evident? And sure the answers depend on style or understanding of aikido.

So you have to decide what do want to teach and how do you want to teach it.
Who decides what can be considered as best practice?

One example:
When warming up do you do traditional aiki taiso which aims to opening the joints and the whole body for a better ki-flow.
Or do you understand warming up as getting the optimal body-temperature and doing some stretching?
There is no rigth or wrong I think, but again: Who decides what to teach the teachers?

About lesson planning: If it is considered as useful, to plan a whole lesson, the whole two hours, this is allready a decision which can be questioned: There are voices who find it usefull to follow ones intuition when watching the students and practicing with them.
Planning means: There is an aim of the class. Is this the case.

Who decides what's best?

And: Has - in consequence - every class in the BAB a comparable structure an teaching mode? Or is there still some diversity?

Carsten

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 08-05-2010 at 11:38 AM.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:44 AM   #20
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

The teacher decides this. This is why it is important he or she be qualified. Different organizations encourage various levels of liberties taken by each dojo cho. Some are more strict than others. My group is pretty lenient as long as students know what they should when they should.

For our warm ups we do both junbi undo (stretches, pushups, etc) and kihon dosa (kinda like aiki taiso) as well as aiki taiso.

Dojo tend to have trends throughout the year. Near testing time, often the focus is on kihon waza (some dojo specifically have a separate requirements class). Often, my teacher asks the students what they want to work on, if there are any requests. Teacher then satisfies these requests by teaching them the proper way. He often then teaches one or two things that he wants to, for whatever reason (there is a dojo trend of poor performance in a certain area, either a technique or even more recently cardio).

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:03 PM   #21
David Yap
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Quote:
Adam Huss wrote: View Post
The teacher decides this. This is why it is important he or she be qualified. Different organizations encourage various levels of liberties taken by each dojo cho. Some are more strict than others. My group is pretty lenient as long as students know what they should when they should.
Knowing a technique and performing it with the appropriate skill at different levels are indicators of progression. As a teacher, I would be exceptionally embarrassed if a 2nd dan student is still forcing his techniques like when he was at 5th kyu. After years of training, the teacher still don't realize that the student is merely perfecting the mistakes and the brute force just become more and more brutal. Then, when all the crap settles, you find that teacher is a bigger brute than the student and a high ranking one too.

Qualified coach? By whose standards? Qualification by attendance or by written and physical examination?

David Y
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:41 AM   #22
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
But, John, who decides how and what to teach?

Who decides what knowledge should be provided in such courses?

And: Has - in consequence - every class in the BAB a comparable structure an teaching mode? Or is there still some diversity?

Carsten
Hi Carsten,

The BAB have no say in how you teach or what you teach. That is entirely up to the teacher and the club or association.

Lesson plans again, it's something they like you to be able to do, some of the course is aimed at potentially helping you on the road to teaching so it's a good idea if you've never taught before but it is not enforced in any way and neither should it be.

The content for the courses is drawn up and agreed by a number of relatively long standing aikido teachers from different styles and associations.

Best Regards,
John

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Old 08-06-2010, 06:58 AM   #23
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Right from your second aikido class you are probably someones sempai and whenever you are uke you are someones teacher, as you keep practicing you learn from your seniors(sempai) how to behave, teach as uke and formally teach (through helping a first timer, running a group, taking warmups etc..) and gradually have more kohai to look after and teach. One day you look around and you are everyone's sempai and probably by then you are formally an instructor.

Its an apprenticeship process from the beginning. And learning how to teach, alongside the technical knowledge, the pitfalls, challenges and expectations all comes in time.

Now a days it also might need some formalisation by regulatory bodies to have the appropriate checks and balances in place. But I think most dojo pretty much still operate this way. Sometime ago I wrote down some musings on teaching for a growing band of instructors. It might be of some intrest

best,
dan

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Old 08-06-2010, 06:31 PM   #24
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

Some people have a natural talent for teaching, others do not.
Teaching martial arts can be dangerous, because people who want to learn how to fight are often traumatised by some nasty experience. A clumsy instructor can do more damage than good.
I think that it's safer for a martial arts instructor to have some knowledge in pedagogy and psychology.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:21 PM   #25
Walter Martindale
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Re: Teaching Aikido - Require Coaching Course?

A lot of people hear the word "coach" and think of the "rah-rah" person giving the pep talk to the team at half-time. A coach is someone who, unlike an instructor, guides discovery by helping people learn how to do things, rather than telling them or showing them how to do things.

Example - I try to do the movements demonstrated by the sensei - he comes over and says "no, do this" - but that's what I thought I was doing. A "coach" (not the rah-rah kind) would be more likely to say something like "here's what I see you doing, here's what we're trying to do - try moving your foot/hip/(whatever) more around this way, turn your hand this way" and then provides feedback if the positive change is made.

Another example - Masuda sensei from Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo visits Christchurch NZ quite often to spend a month teaching with Andrew Williamson's dojo - Masuda sensei makes up fun examples like - "Ok, you stand here, hold out hand - Now, Uke grabs my wrist and I go to shake your hand." and suddenly the technique works just fine. Or, in (say) kata-te kokyu-nage, statically, if he sees someone struggling, he'll stand in just the right place, hold out his hand, and say "shake hand", and when you reach for HIS hand with uke clamped on, uke can't stop you, and the point is made because YOU feel what you've done differently to learn something - and Masuda sensei has "coached" you into learning something.

If you want a lot of good information about coaching, look at www.sparc.org.nz
http://www.sparc.org.nz/en-nz/commun...and-Materials/
(it's a long URL but it's a good place to start).

I've been a member of a dojo where people instructing were required to take an introductory coaching course - not so much to learn the material they were teaching, but to learn how to help other people learn. Also to learn a bit about the ethics involved in being in a position of power with respect to the people being "taught" or coached, some safety and first-aid, and to learn a little about how people learn things. A modern "coach" does far more than yell useless crap from the sidelines - they help people be the best that they can be. An ego-driven "sensei" wants to have his "students" be little clones, while a good sensei (like Andrew mentioned above) wants his students to learn and explore the aikido with their bodies and nervous systems as long as they work with good movement principles.

Too much hurry to make this a short post - but it could go on - Yes, a person who is conscientious about his/her students learning the best and fastest they can would not harm his or her progress by taking some coaching courses. Does having a coaching course under your belt make you a good coach/instructor/sensei? Not necessarily. The certificate alone does not make a good coach - the person holding the certificate makes a good coach by working for the best interests of the people being trained.

W
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