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Old 10-31-2011, 10:35 AM   #26
aikishihan
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Re: Taking notes?

It was once, twice and often explained to me, that a genuine "Goal" must have certain attributes to be effective. 1) It must be what YOU want, and not what you want for someone else, or what someone else wants for you, 2) It must be attainable, within a reasonable time frame and modicum of effort, 3) It must have a time limitation, and not a "whenever it happens" standard, 4) It must be written down.

If your goal is Aikido advancement, achieving levels of competence or mastery you choose to pursue, then yes, it must be written down. Call it notes, call it a diary, or call it your ongoing playbook of life, but call em as you see em, and follow the yellow Bic road.

You hear, you forget; You see, you remember; You do, and you understand.

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Old 10-31-2011, 04:09 PM   #27
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
One way of taking notes would be noticing similarities between different techniques, to break it down in pieces. Some of these pieces might have specific names, others won't (or your teacher don't use them). You can invent your own, of course. Like "the duck" or "zipper step" or whatever.

A lecture in university is meant to be your level, usually. You shouldn't write everything down but sort the most important stuff out, but that's usually not that difficult - after a lecture, you are expected to have understood most of what the lecturer said. Aikido classes usually aren't that way, especially not if taught in mixed level group. Some of the teaching is probably way above your level - some of the techniques probably are, and some of the details taught in the simpler techniques as well. If chudan tsuki hiji kime is confusing to you - let go. (I don't know what that is, btw. I know about hiji kime osae, from various attacks, not sure if that's what you are referring to. In most systems that would not be considered one of the most basic techniques. Not something you are expected to remember and perform well after your first year.)

I have one more suggestion for you. Ask your teacher if you think it is a good idea to take notes - and if so, what things he would expect or suggest someone your level to put in your notes. His idea of that might not match yours completely.

Focus is good. But what if one focuses on the wrong things?

"Patience, young padawan."
Thank you for the good advice! I'll ask my teacher what he thinks about taking notes.

(And indeed I meant hiji kime osae, I think it was abbreviated in class to hiji kime)

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 10-31-2011 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:31 PM   #28
Janet Rosen
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Re: Taking notes?

I don't think I ever would have asked an instructor about taking notes outside of class, for a couple of reasons:
Some of my instructors have had no understanding of my learning style - they expect everybody can pick up weapons by osmosis/repetition for example, and the thought that somebody could do so by reading a step by step list drove them nuts.
My notes are me taking responsibility for my learning - MY priorities, which will change over time.
YMMV.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:52 PM   #29
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I don't think I ever would have asked an instructor about taking notes outside of class, for a couple of reasons:
Some of my instructors have had no understanding of my learning style - they expect everybody can pick up weapons by osmosis/repetition for example, and the thought that somebody could do so by reading a step by step list drove them nuts.
My notes are me taking responsibility for my learning - MY priorities, which will change over time.
YMMV.
This. Your notes are for you, and what others do is useful only by way of suggestions.

You should certainly ask your instructor about etiquette if you're thinking of taking notes *during* class. But even then, the actual content is something for you to decide.

Katherine
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:53 PM   #30
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
By way of an analogy -- I heard a story once that when American GIs went to Korea and took Korean language classes, they were taught hangul (the Korean system of writing) in a way that makes it extremely difficult to learn. Hangul is a phonetic alphabet, one letter per sound, but it was being taught to American GIs not as an alphabet -- here's this letter, it makes this sound -- but as syllables. So, they were taught to write "gan", "dan", "san", etc. -- they had to learn all these syllables instead of a relatively small number of letters that could be combined according to a few simple rules (I have a theory that this is because of the Japanese imperialist era in Korea and the fact that the closest Japanese equivalent to hangul is hiragana, which is a syllabary rather than an alphabet...but I digress).

It seems like you're trying to do something similar here -- that is, to learn "chudan tsuki hiji kime" as one conceptual blob. You can learn aikido techniques that way, but it's like learning to write "gan" in hangul -- you can write "gan" but you can't write anything else. To go beyond a rote learning of a very specific instance of a technique -- not a waza, but just one instance of one -- you need to look at the components that make it up.
This made me think. I'm not sure how I try to learn it aikido.
Extending your interesting analogy to writing, I think of learning to pronunciate arabic text, which typically leaves out many of the vowels between the consonants. You have to know the words and the language to know how to pronunciate written texts. So I think I need to learn many words, to learn which vowels (movement, timing, atemi, kuzushi, more movement, alignment) can go between which consonants (attacks, techniques).
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #31
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Re: Taking notes?

Again, everyone learns differently.

There are many paths from <attack> to <technique>. You may be explicitly taught some of them, you may discover others through a fortuitous combination of your and your partner's movement and energy. There are, for any given technique, probably dozens of different paths to the same destination.

So actually cataloging them may or may not be useful. Different cataloging schemes may work for different people. Different experience levels will have different views of what might be going on in any particular technique, and will therefore use different categories.

Don't worry about it too much. Find a notetaking scheme that you like. Change it as needed. Keep training.

When you learn a language, you start out trying to memorize each individual word you encounter. Then you learn to conjugate verbs, and discover that all verbs of *this* form conjugate in the same way. Or that all nouns take *these* endings. Then you learn about roots and modifiers: make a negative like *this,* turn a noun into an adjective like *that.* Being fluent doesn't mean that you've memorized the dictionary, it means that you understand the structure of the language well enough to deduce unknown words from context.

Katherine
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:09 AM   #32
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I don't think I ever would have asked an instructor about taking notes outside of class, for a couple of reasons:
Some of my instructors have had no understanding of my learning style - they expect everybody can pick up weapons by osmosis/repetition for example, and the thought that somebody could do so by reading a step by step list drove them nuts.
My notes are me taking responsibility for my learning - MY priorities, which will change over time.
YMMV.
Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
You should certainly ask your instructor about etiquette if you're thinking of taking notes *during* class. But even then, the actual content is something for you to decide.
You both have a point. But I must have been unclear. I didn't mean "ask permission". I meant that it might be a good idea for the thread starter to investigate what his teacher is expecting him to learn. Same as he supposes, and is focusing on - or different?

Janet has a whole other possibility to take responsibility for her learning than the TS here. That has to do with levels. Sure, take responsability for your learning, but realise you'll probably have to change your concepts of what you should learn a couple of times.

Regarding the issue of taking notes in itself, advice from the teacher should be at least as valuabe as advice from some random people on an internet forum. But not all teacher's advice are perfect for every student. That is correct.

Last edited by Hanna B : 11-01-2011 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:19 AM   #33
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Taking notes?

Some years back I used to sit in the train every day. I had a little notebook where I wrote down some of the techniques that were on the list of the next grading I was supposed to take. I'd go through the technique in my head, write down the steps and any detail I could think of (like typical mistakes, or if my teacher had told me to focus on some aspect of it). If there was a point in the technique that I wasn't sure of I'd leave some space to fill it in later. And I'd write down any questions I had. I rarely asked them in class, often they got answered in time anyway.

Then the next time the technique was practiced in class I'd pay extra attention to that place in the technique that I wasn't sure of yet.

Usually the easy things to write down were how to receive the attack (there are only so many ways we receive, say, a shomenuchi, on the list of for example third kyu) and how a technique ends (ikkyo ends more or less the same whatever the attack was). The things I needed to write down more detail about were just as Dave said the moments in between receiving the attack and getting to the technique.

I focused on my next grading not because it was so important to grade but to limit the amount of techniques I was paying extra attention to. It was a way to organize my practice.

kvaak
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:48 AM   #34
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Re: Taking notes?

took some note at my first Ikeda seminar. the note said "move your inside". there were some footnotes, that mentioned: rotate kidney, flipping spleen and liver. there was a question mark next to large intestine. don't remember if it was a question or i was supposed to rearrange my large intestine into a question mark. i believed i stop taking notes soon after and have not been doing so since.

*soon after i went to a dim sum place and ate something that looked like some internal stuffs of some domesticated animals (very questionable about that) and did indeed move it around inside and eventually to the outside*

i don't take notes with regular classes, but mostly with seminars. my previous seminar notes usually along the line of,
"some kind of throw then lock"
"some other kind of throw, then lock"
"threw and lock by hot chick"
"threw and lock by ugly guy"
"pin by a big, ugly guy"
"pin by a large women (notes: might not be a woman, could be a big ugly guy)"
"threw by an old guy that giggled like a girl"
"threw by giggling girl"
"got whack in the head by dojo mate (note: vengeance is thy name)"
"too much ki built up. moved around so folks couldn't pinpoint (note: should not eat mexican food for lunch at seminar)"
"find way to kill the bastard who put a dripping water fountain in the dojo (note: should not drink so much tea at lunch and thanks bujin gi pants that have zipper)"
"got whack multiple times by sensei but didn't know what was the problem (note: i think there is a conspiracy here that folks just enjoyed whacking the phister)"

yup, my notes tend to run along that line and quite helpful to my aikido practice. now if i could figure out what is my aikido practice, then i would be good.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:59 AM   #35
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Re: Taking notes?

I have a student, who used to take notes. When I got aware of that I asked him to show me what he was writing down.
When I read his notes I realized that he had written down how he had done the techniques. Not how I had shown them. Which was quite different.
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Old 11-01-2011, 08:29 AM   #36
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I have a student, who used to take notes. When I got aware of that I asked him to show me what he was writing down.
When I read his notes I realized that he had written down how he had done the techniques. Not how I had shown them. Which was quite different.
That is really what my concern would be. Especially if students are practicing on their own wrong movements, making those wrong movements habit. It is more work for a teacher to un-teach them in my opinion. Nothing is a substitute for training under the eyes of a skilled instructor. Aikido is an apprenticeship in my opinion.

MM
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:15 AM   #37
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Re: Taking notes?

Had a guy who took copious notes. He was in a class where I assisted the Chief Instructor regularly. I remember the Chief Instructor fixing something in this student -- he tended to overdo a particular movement. So he told him to it vastly smaller. Which actually resulted in the guy still doing it too big, but much closer and he was more successful. He sat down and wrote it all down. I thought "Great!".

Years later I was in a class and watched this same guy telling a newer student the secret to doing this technique. He proceeded to demonstrate with the still too large movement but said "This is how I was shown by the Chief Instructor and this is what *really* works." I asked him about it and he insisted that it was exactly what he was shown and that it was correct because he had it *right here* in his notes.

And I see habits on very experienced people that never seem to go away. I often wonder how many of those things were from corrections long ago that were misunderstood or overemphasized. Then I wonder about myself.

I take notes periodically, especially if it is a seminar with someone new with completely different stuff. Otherwise I rarely take notes other than terminology - I can never remember technique names.

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Old 11-01-2011, 10:04 AM   #38
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Re: Taking notes?

I really like Pauliina's approach. I think I'll try that.
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Old 11-01-2011, 05:27 PM   #39
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Tim Bergman wrote: View Post
Yes I take notes.. Not during class, though. After class I usually try to "re-live" the things we've done and I scribble down anything I think was important. The process of taking notes in detail itself facilitates that process of re-living, in my experience, with nearly each new piece of information leading into a 'oh, right! and then came this and this'.
+1

I think this is the most valuable part of taking notes, it forces a mindful practice through review, critical review (i.e. deciding what to write down). Its engaging and effective because its an auditory, kinaesthetic, visual process, hear, write, see what you saw and seeingyour writing. To a certain extent it doesn't matter then if you never look at them again.

As a historical record that you go go back too, having said that i often dive into something from years ago.

FWIW once in visiting a shihans house I discovered a shelf full of notes going back decades, this from a teacher who gives the impression of being a 'free and easy' just go with it sort of person.

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
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Old 11-01-2011, 06:07 PM   #40
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Re: Taking notes?

I take notes. And make lists. The notes and lists help me organise things, how to present them, or teach them...I like taking notes especially when visiting shihan or another teacher handles the class.
Sometimes, I make connections and see how one thing is connected to the other, and then after a few years, when I look at my notes, I remember the seminar and how the teacher taught it.

Some people learn by doing, or looking or listening or feeling..taking notes helps me retain, review and relive the lessons.
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:37 AM   #41
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Taking notes?

In my experience aikido is about moving, it is something that devellops the body.
How can something which is written down get into the body, the movements, the feeling and intuition?

Rerering to the shihan and his notes:
I know some teachers who are noting what they teach and how they teach it.
Is this the same like a student taking notes of what he thinks to be important?
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Old 11-02-2011, 04:32 AM   #42
Mark Freeman
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Re: Taking notes?

I'm not a note taker by nature and agree with Carsten that aikido is about moving (both mind and body).
I have lost count of the number of times that I heard the same words from my sensei over the years, only to one day have a lightbulb moment, where that collection of words made complete sense. If I had written them down, would that have speeded up the knowing process? maybe...maybe not.

I have seen those who take copious notes, and those who don't, and there doesn't seem to be any correlation between one or the other and how well one progresses in aikido. If note taking works for you, then it must be ok.

For me, the techniques are only different ways to explore the aikido principles, which are inherent in everything we do.

Perhaps I am inherently lazy...and just can't be bothered to put the work in to writing notes, when there is a pub to frequent and fluid replacement therapy calls.

regards,

Mark

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Old 11-02-2011, 05:02 AM   #43
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Taking notes?

People have different learning styles. If you learn best by moving, making notes might seem completely useless to you. That doesn't mean it's useless to someone whose learning style is different!

kvaak
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:36 AM   #44
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote: View Post
People have different learning styles.
Yes. I agree.

Quote:
If you learn best by moving, ...
If aikido is about moving, sensing, feeling, how can it be learned at all in other ways than moving, sensing, feeling?
Or asked in another way: How can things from knowing them, understanding them with the mind, the brains become movement, feeling, body?

I know that there are different learning styles, but I don't understand how teaching the body can work through words?
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:57 AM   #45
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Yes. I agree.

If aikido is about moving, sensing, feeling, how can it be learned at all in other ways than moving, sensing, feeling?
Or asked in another way: How can things from knowing them, understanding them with the mind, the brains become movement, feeling, body?

I know that there are different learning styles, but I don't understand how teaching the body can work through words?
Does your style of aikido have any named techniques at all? Are there for instance requirements for different kyu-grades that includes specific techniques?

Taking notes can help a student to create a structure to the material. Having a structure and a name for the different exercises/techniques can actually (in my experience) help the student focusing on the "substance" of the exercises.

Last edited by grondahl : 11-02-2011 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:06 AM   #46
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Re: Taking notes?

If taking notes is bad because it´s not your teachers perspective, how damaging must it not be for a beginner to hang out on Aikiweb at large.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:44 AM   #47
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
If aikido is about moving, sensing, feeling, how can it be learned at all in other ways than moving, sensing, feeling?
Or asked in another way: How can things from knowing them, understanding them with the mind, the brains become movement, feeling, body?

I know that there are different learning styles, but I don't understand how teaching the body can work through words?
Those are very good questions. But, to attempt to answer them, we have to break down aikido into parts.

First, the techniques. According to Koichi Tohei, when he went to a seminar, he had a few people show up who had just learned techniques from a book. And according to Tohei, they had done very well with no major problems. For techniques, from a purely physical perspective, one can learn from books and notes. This isn't to say that the finer details of techniques can be learned. That's where notes come in handy. There can be a multitude of very fine details to try to remember. Notes can help with that.

Now on to the internal aspect. It has to be taught specifically. No amount of books, notes, or videos will get you there. Even Ueshiba said something to the effect that you can't learn aiki from books. However, that doesn't mean notes are useless. Notes can jog the memory. They can help remember what the correct training was supposed to be.

You really aren't teaching the body through words. You are learning from a teacher, but no one ever remembers everything so notes help to keep the memory fresh or to bring that memory back when forgotten.

IMO, every teacher should encourage students to take notes. Doesn't mean every student should or be forced to, but each student should have that opportunity.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:48 AM   #48
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
If aikido is about moving, sensing, feeling, how can it be learned at all in other ways than moving, sensing, feeling?
Or asked in another way: How can things from knowing them, understanding them with the mind, the brains become movement, feeling, body?

I know that there are different learning styles, but I don't understand how teaching the body can work through words?
If you frame it in those terms, it can't. But that's not what's going on.

IMO you've got it backwards. What people are describing here is not moving from theoretical, word-based, cognitive understanding to a physical skill. It's using the medium of words to re-experience and reflect on a prior physical learning experience. It is a way of integrating learning and completing the learning process. It may be that it wouldn't work at all for you, but it does work for many people.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:01 AM   #49
Hanna B
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
I have a student, who used to take notes. When I got aware of that I asked him to show me what he was writing down.
When I read his notes I realized that he had written down how he had done the techniques. Not how I had shown them. Which was quite different.
Well, of course. The opposite - the student writing down what the teacher showed, although he could not perform it himself, would have surprised me immensely.

Hopefully somone who has been tranining for, say, two years realises that what he/she is scribbling down is his understanding, made from two years of experience, and that the understanding will change over time. In most cases the student will notice the mistakes sooner or later, say "uh-oh" and either make chances in his old notes or just discard them.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Had a guy who took copious notes. He was in a class where I assisted the Chief Instructor regularly. I remember the Chief Instructor fixing something in this student -- he tended to overdo a particular movement. So he told him to it vastly smaller. Which actually resulted in the guy still doing it too big, but much closer and he was more successful. He sat down and wrote it all down. I thought "Great!".

Years later I was in a class and watched this same guy telling a newer student the secret to doing this technique. He proceeded to demonstrate with the still too large movement but said "This is how I was shown by the Chief Instructor and this is what *really* works." I asked him about it and he insisted that it was exactly what he was shown and that it was correct because he had it *right here* in his notes.
Sure there are better and worse ways of using notes. This was apparently not one of the best. But my guess is hit guy's attitude towards progress would have been pretty much the same without the notes.

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
And I see habits on very experienced people that never seem to go away. I often wonder how many of those things were from corrections long ago that were misunderstood or overemphasized. Then I wonder about myself.
This I guess this something that will happen, notes or not.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:26 AM   #50
Janet Rosen
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Re: Taking notes?

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
If aikido is about moving, sensing, feeling, how can it be learned at all in other ways than moving, sensing, feeling?
Or asked in another way: How can things from knowing them, understanding them with the mind, the brains become movement, feeling, body?

I know that there are different learning styles, but I don't understand how teaching the body can work through words?
For me, the way I learn weapons kata best is to
1. see it one piece at a time
2. do it one piece at a time
3. write it down one piece at a time ("step left, strike yokomen" - "rising block" etc)
4. go home and with the instruction sheet in front of me do the movements one at a time
5. don't try to learn more than three pieces at a time.
6. don't add in additional pieces of the kata until I have some fluidity in movement between the ones I've memorized

As you see I already have the language and understanding of what a yokomen or what I mean by a rising block is. When I was first beginning I would have to spell it out even more in detail.

For me the traditional, see and do, see and do, the whole kata start to finish each time, if it is more than 3 or 4 movements is utterly baffling.
Yes, it is true I have no talent for this and should never have started a martial art but here I am 15 years later still plugging away like a happy idiot.

Janet Rosen
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