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Old 10-25-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
ChrisBarry
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Supplement teaching with books?

Hello,

Is it OK for a Sensei to supplement his/her teaching with Aikido books on the market?
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:10 AM   #2
Michael Hackett
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Christopher,
What are you describing? Does the instructor read from the books during training? Does he recommend books for students to read off the mat? Does he read the books to develop new training activities or techniques? Is the instructor a qualified and experienced teacher, or just someone who has opened a school and doesn't know what he's doing? It is difficult to respond clearly without some additional information.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:53 AM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
It is difficult to respond clearly without some additional information.
Yep.
Having said that...assuming he's not asking you to learn techniques by following them in a book...an instructor sets the rules in his dojo, and if he feels that part of your training should include reading certain history or philosophy of the art, so be it.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:00 PM   #4
Ryan Seznee
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Christopher Barry wrote: View Post
Hello,

Is it OK for a Sensei to supplement his/her teaching with Aikido books on the market?
I never understood things like this. If you can't get the technique in class with an instructor, how would you even hope to grasp it by a book or internet thread? Aikido books make great conversational pieces (heck, I have a slew of them from a bunch of different people), but they add about as much to your Aikido as watching a kung-fu movie. It is the difference between having a computer verses having the box to the computer.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:17 PM   #5
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

I can see how a teacher might feel certain books would answer a lot of questions...or at least present the actual training within some desired context.
The only way I would have a problem with something like that is if it was a way of selling the books...like many teachers in academia use. Otherwise, for new students at least, I think it can be a good idea.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-25-2010, 02:05 PM   #6
RED
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

When asked, "Are you writing a book?" Kurita Sensei replied:
"No, that's a lie! Today we were doing tenkan. You've been
practicing tenkan for so many years and you still can't do
it.
If a book shows you something like this you can
...never learn it. If you studied with Kanai Sensei for so many
years and you can't do it how will you learn it from a book?"

exert from interview with Kurita Sensei by Peter Bernath and David Halprin

MM
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:10 PM   #7
Dan Rubin
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Can't an instructor recommend a particular book for students to use as a textbook? For example, might not an Iwama teacher recommend Saito Sensei's Traditional Aikido series as a reference for his or her students to use between classes?
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:21 PM   #8
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

I'm with Dan here. We have both a video and print library in our dojo and students are encouraged to use both. I personally own a couple of thousand dollars worth of books and videos that I refer to off the mat and enjoy and share with my dojo mates.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:07 PM   #9
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

We have a robust library and a good sized recommended reading list (some are required to be read and discussed or response paper's written for certain people). The vast majority of these are not technical in nature. I see nothing wrong with taking ideas from books, particularly if they are different in nature than the aikido you typically do. Now there is a double edged sword though, if its different enough you will invariably not be doing most things correctly. But if its exactly what you are doing, you pretty much are just using that book as a reminder...and there is nothing wrong with that.

Last edited by Adam Huss : 10-25-2010 at 10:10 PM.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:48 PM   #10
patf
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
When asked, "Are you writing a book?" Kurita Sensei replied:
"No, that's a lie! Today we were doing tenkan. You've been
practicing tenkan for so many years and you still can't do
it.
If a book shows you something like this you can
...never learn it. If you studied with Kanai Sensei for so many
years and you can't do it how will you learn it from a book?"

exert from interview with Kurita Sensei by Peter Bernath and David Halprin
That might be more of a reflection on the interviewers Aikido ability than the value of a book :-)

The article is very interesting, Kurita sensei's dislike of books appears to be that he felt you could not snapshot any aikido technique and say this is how XX technique should be done, as there are so many variations on application over teacher and over time.

I have read a few aikido technique books and honesty they were really hard to follow, I just couldn't visualize the movements from the complicated feet/hand/arrow drawings. Videos on the other hand work for me. I never got into the philosophy stuff.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:41 PM   #11
mickeygelum
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Supplement teaching with books? Hmmmm....

It is a common practice throughout the world, especially in formal education. If we could not research and explore diverse opinions and views, we would be stagnant in our development.

" Sweat Equity " is the best investment to honing your skills, as my teacher has stated many times.
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:56 AM   #12
dps
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Anything that can make students understand and ask questions is good.

dps
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:47 PM   #13
RED
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Patrick Fitzpatrick wrote: View Post
That might be more of a reflection on the interviewers Aikido ability than the value of a book :-)

\
The interviewer was a Shihan. lol

MM
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:30 PM   #14
patf
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
The interviewer was a Shihan. lol
LOL, I didn't realize that. That makes the interview even more interesting.
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Old 10-29-2010, 02:34 AM   #15
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Books can be a good source of reference on techniques, but never ever replace actual practice with a good teacher. It all depends on how you use it. But that goes for any regular Aikido lesson
Do not just read any Aikido book out there when starting Aikido. Because of the many different styles/angles you might get more confused than 'helped'. Ask your teacher.

Books can help to understand the philosophy, the ideas/concepts of Aikido. A book allows you to (re-)read when you want to, in your own time. A teacher may find himself running short of time to elaborate on the non technical parts of Aikido during classes. People come to practise, and can easily study nontechnical aspects at home. Perhaps a next lesson one will have questions the teacher can respond to. Seminars could be a good tool for a teacher to focus a bit more on nontechnical aspects of Aikido.

I do however think that the teacher should at least explain why he thinks it is important to read the books he promotes.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 10-31-2010, 08:56 AM   #16
ChrisBarry
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

I like all the varied responses here.

I don't think this teacher was trying to do anything more than provide a broader view of Aikido to his students, many of which I already had. Although some of these books can be quite costly.

Some of the illustrations in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere were wonderful in explaining certain aspects of Aikido. For instance I remember one cartoon depicting three different approaches to an opponent that was attacking;
The first showed the person being attacked using a weapon and the attacker on the ground dead.
The second showed the attacker with broken limbs,
And the last showed the attacker sitting on his behind with a dizzy illustration above his head while the Aikidoist walks away.

There are many other books that provide insight into Aikido and could be valuable to anyone interested in broadening their understanding, however I think feeling what it's like to be Uke, feeling and seeing how to apply Nikkyo can not be learned from a book.
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:00 PM   #17
Basia Halliop
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Supplement teaching with books? Hmmmm....

It is a common practice throughout the world, especially in formal education. If we could not research and explore diverse opinions and views, we would be stagnant in our development.
True, but books are not so omnipresent, nor so obviously useful, when learning _physical_ skills as opposed to _academic_ skills. So the answer to the question there is not as obvious as it might seem if we were talking about learning history, or math.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:18 AM   #18
miser
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Books often work well as a supplement - even for physical practices. After all, learning tips from a book is not so different from learning tips from members on Aikiweb, is it not?

They're not a substitute, but there's a lot of space in a book for the author to take the time to explain difficult concepts articulately. Practitioners of all crafts can benefit from exposing themselves to new ideas and perspectives, aikido's no different.

Last edited by miser : 11-22-2010 at 04:22 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:40 PM   #19
Larry Feldman
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

For a long time in a students study I only recommend books covering History and Philosophy.

Initially any 'technical material' should reflect the style you are in, and even then video is the superior media.

That said, at Shodan I have suggested that my students get the 5 volume Saito set of books....they can differentiate stylistic differences at that point.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:43 AM   #20
Randall Lim
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Christopher Barry wrote: View Post
Hello,

Is it OK for a Sensei to supplement his/her teaching with Aikido books on the market?
I generally classify the various chapters in any given Aikido book into categories like History, Philosophy, Spirituality, & Physical Techniques.

For my personal development & teaching, I would focus on History, Philosophy & Spirituality. I would also encourage my students to read these sections, but not the part on Physical Techniques.

I would ask them to leave the part on Physical Techniques to their dojo training.
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Old 11-24-2010, 07:58 AM   #21
Eric Winters
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Hello,

I think a book can be a good reference tool if you have regular instruction from a qualified instructor or you have a good solid grounding in basics, body skills and are practicing daily.

Best,

Eric
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:04 PM   #22
sakumeikan
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

Quote:
Christopher Barry wrote: View Post
Hello,

Is it OK for a Sensei to supplement his/her teaching with Aikido books on the market?
If you were studying Engineering , Medicine or any other subject at University would you expect /hope to have text books to assist you in your studies?Would you read different text books to review the viewpoints of different academics to get an insight into the views of these experienced guys?I think the answers would be Yes.The same applies to Aikido.If a guy feels that books are useful tools then whats the harm? Its a matter of choice whether to refer to books at home as a adjunct to training.I would not expect the guy to carry 5 volumes of Saito Senseis books tucked dsicreetly in his inside his jacket while practicing on the tatami.
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 11-25-2010, 05:16 AM   #23
SeiserL
 
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Re: Supplement teaching with books?

I have learned a lot from my reading.
IMHO, to supplement is probably a good idea, to substitute is not.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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