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Old 11-04-2002, 01:38 PM   #1
akiy
 
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Concepts for Beginners

It sounds like people here in the Voices of Experience forum are open to receiving questions that they can then discuss. So, I'll start with a set of question that's been on my mind for a while.

What would you consider to be the most important physical/technical concepts for beginning students to learn?

On the flip-side, what would you consider to be the most important non-physical/non-technical concepts for beginning students to learn?

Lastly, how do these two conceptual areas overlap and/or interact?

Thanks,

-- Jun

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Old 11-13-2002, 01:35 PM   #2
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Hmm... No takers on these questions?

-- Jun

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Old 11-13-2002, 03:53 PM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Hello, Jun,

It's partly a matter of finding the time... and partly a matter of the nature of the questions. Perhaps I would be less inclined to mark off the physical from the non-physical so sharply, at least in the case of a beginner.

Beginners need to start the process of learning what I would call 'body awareness', for example, where your feet and head are in mid-ukemi.

But body awareness is just one small part of the awareness that needs to be learned. I have noticed that some of my beginning students sometimes cannot do what I show them. Either they have not seen what I have shown, or they are not yet aware of what their body is doing and so lack control.

Another important thing is to begin to learn the whole art of cooperation with one's partner: the awareness that this does not simply mean helping one's partner to do the technique successfully, or preventing one's partner from doing the technique at all.

Much of the above is both physical and non-physical, in my opinion.

Best regards to all,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-14-2002, 09:39 AM   #4
Dennis Hooker
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I want people coming to the dojo to know and understand their body. It's physical strengths and limitations. We will try to improve its strength and overcome some of its limitations while learning a fine martial art. I want them know before hand their health status and understand that knowledge of their health is business to be attended to before training. That is the first lesson in self defense. I also like for them to know we will be blueprinting a new set of movements into their minds and bodies. Just like learning to print letters as a child the movements will start slowly. It seems most all expect more of themselves than I expect of them.

From the non physical side I want them to know where they are and what they are doing. We are about improving our lives in a very real way and not at all about playing games. I lose some here when I tell them if they want to learn to fight and win over others they are in the wrong place. I will gladly suggest some good teachers in arts that do that sort of thing.

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Old 11-14-2002, 11:56 AM   #5
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I agree with both Peter and Dennis about students needing good kinetic awareness and some confidence in their body movement. I have had students that had to learn much of this in the first few months of practice though.

What I prefer in a beginning student is someone that can let go of as many of their preconceptions as possible. I understand this is difficult but an open and educable attitude and the ability to concentrate and focus their attention is often more valuable than coordination, etc.

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Old 11-22-2004, 07:32 PM   #6
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

1. Third point.
2, 90 degree principle.
3. Getting over the centre.
4. Attacking the centre.
5. Pronation and sublination.
6. Using the feet as the delivery system - throwing with the feet and not the hands.
7. Correct breathing.
8. Joining before leading.
9. Taking up the slack.
10. Practice Aikido in all aspects of life, even sweeping the dojo .
These are the first ten other than the physical aspects like Sankau Irimi, Tenshin, Tenkai, Irimi Tenkan.

I forgot.

Also:
11. Follow and control the thumb.
12. Follow and control the head.
13. Follow and control the elbows.
14. Follow and control the hips.
15. Tai Iku, Ki Iku, Toku Iku, Joshiki no Kanyo
16. Masakatsu, Agatsu, Katsu Haya Hi
17. Plie (first position from ballet or the reverse curtsy).
18. Torifune Kogi Undo and applications of the hip entry.
19. Furikaburi.
20. Beating the opponent through spirit before attacking physically.

I guess there were more than 10. No wonder my students are confused about my counting system!

Rock

Last edited by Rocky Izumi : 11-22-2004 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 11-23-2004, 09:55 AM   #7
R.A. Robertson
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

Perhaps I would want them to understand that there is no difference between the physical and non-physical.

Ross
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Old 11-24-2004, 08:44 PM   #8
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

You folks might be interested in commenting on this.

I did a class tonight where I had to take all the students aside and give a short lecture on learning to read. I got the idea after seeing how many people were asking about or commenting about how to learn Aikido. I had previously pointed out that I thought it was important to learn how to learn. Then, I realised I had never really explained that.

If you learn to read English through phonetics, you first learn how each letter sounds, then you use these building blocks to learn about groups of letters that make up particular common sounds. By the time you are an adult and have done some reading, you are able to recognize entire words in a single glance. But before you get to the point that you can recognize complete words, you first have to learn the building blocks built from building blocks that are built from more finite building blocks.

I pointed out to the students the reason we do the basic foot and hand movements as warmups for each class is that these are the most basic building blocks of all Aikido. Once you are able to view all techniques in terms of these building blocks, it becomes easier to watch an instructor do a technique and break it down in your head into the basic building blocks so that you can emulate the instructor. The real difference between higher an lower ranks is that the higher ranks have practiced these building blocks longer so they are able to bigger chunks of techniques and interpret what they see in bigger chunks, making it easier to emulate the instructor's one set of movements.

I went through a series of techniques and had the students describe the technique in terms of series of foot movements and series of arm movements and a series of hand grips. They said they were much more able to understand how to do a certain technique after learning how to break down the instructor's techniques into a series of basic techniques.

So, long story shortened. The most important concept for beginners is how to see things as a series of other more basic movements. Of course, then, that means they have to learn all the more basic movement. I guess that means the more basic movements are more important than this concept! Uhhhhh. Looks like I got myself into a logic loop. Oooops.

Rock
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Old 12-28-2004, 07:33 AM   #9
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

I teach using both the 'building block' approach and the 'here's the whole technique as continuous motion' approach. When polling my students as to their preference I get roughly an even split between both. Some students are better able to 'see' the technique as an integrated whole while others need to break it down and learn it move by move.
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Old 01-31-2005, 03:50 PM   #10
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
I teach using both the 'building block' approach and the 'here's the whole technique as continuous motion' approach. When polling my students as to their preference I get roughly an even split between both. Some students are better able to 'see' the technique as an integrated whole while others need to break it down and learn it move by move.
By breaking it down, I don't mean move by move. That would be counter-productive. It is similar to reading. If you never get past reading by sounding out each letter by letterr, you never progress in your reading. What I meant was to learn to see the patterns that make up more complex patterns. For instance, everyone tends to considerr Shomenuchi Iriminage and Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi virtually the same pattern. But if you look at patterns a little more closely and broadly, you will see that Shomenuchi Nikkyo Ura and Shomenuchi Kotegaeshi are also very much the same pattern, That means that Shomenuchi Iriminage and Shomenuchi Ikkyo Ura are the same. And, as Shomenuchi Ikkyo Ura and Shomenuchi Koshinage are virtually the same pattern means that Shomenuchi Koshinage and Shomenuchi Iriminage are the same. And so on and so on.

Once you are able to see the pattern similarities between different techniques, you will be able to expand the pattern larger and larger until all techniques are the same. With no difference between Ikkyo and Kaiten nage and Jujinage and Katagatame. The problem is to see the patterns. Some people are better able to see complex patterns than others but others see each pattern as unique without looking at the pattern similarities.

I am probably making little sense. Gotta go to practice.

Later,

Rock
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:38 PM   #11
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

You're making perfect sense. We're talking the same thing here, but using different terminology. When I use 'move by move' I'm not referring to the Arthur Murry 'feet pasted on the floor' method of teaching ballroom dancing. I am saying that technique is made up of basic movements which can be combined in different ways to form more complex patterns in response to various attacking scenarios.

As I've grown into the art I have begun to see that technique is anything but static. The form of a technique can vary widely with respect to one's uke. While the basic forms comprising the technique may remain invariant, their mode of application may have to be altered to accommodate different uke. Uke's size, age, athletic ability, mood, attack speed, attack direction etc. all play a role in determining the correct application of a technique.

One of the challenges of teaching is how to drill students in the basic forms so they become instinctive while getting the point across that patterned response is dangerous in a conflict; be the conflict physical, emotional or psychological. One method I have for handling this is to stress that leading and following are two sides of the same coin and that the nage must do both simultaneously.
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:12 AM   #12
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote:
One of the challenges of teaching is how to drill students in the basic forms so they become instinctive while getting the point across that patterned response is dangerous in a conflict; be the conflict physical, emotional or psychological. One method I have for handling this is to stress that leading and following are two sides of the same coin and that the nage must do both simultaneously.
I am not sure if we are talking the same thing again, but my feeling is that patterned response is the only way to respond in a conflict without getting damaged extensively. If you don't have the patterns built in prior to the conflict, you freeze or take to long to respond because you are thinking. In a conflict situation, the person who has the quicker response to the growing situation is the one who is able to take control. If you come under fire in a closed ambush, you have to immediately get into your patterned response to engage the attackers if you want to survive. You also have to have a patterned response to accessing and engaging your weaponry. Then, you can put yourself in autopilot so that you can think about the situation and respond accordingly. Without the patterned response, you are dead. Anyway, isn't that the purpose of training and training? So that you can develop patterned responses so that you can disengage your brain from the task at hand and think about what to do next?

Rock
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Old 02-01-2005, 01:12 PM   #13
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

My interpretation of patterned response is the same response to a situation with the same initial conditions. When you speak of patterned response you are referring to the mode of execution of a specific technique (tactics) and I quite agree with your interpretation. I am thinking more of one's overall response to the situation (strategy). On the strategic level predictability of response is tantamount to death. You are right when you say that to free the mind of the necessity of mulling over the execution of technique enables one to develop a strategic response to the situation. The tactics (techniques) used to implement the strategy should arise naturally and be executed without thinking. So I try to impress upon my students the necessity of remaining spontaneous with regard to the selection of technique in a given situation while at the same time drilling them on the fundamentals of correct execution of technique.
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Old 02-07-2005, 11:34 AM   #14
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Concepts for Beginners

Boy, semantics can really get you all screwed up. Same thing, different words.

Rock
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