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Old 01-05-2005, 10:17 AM   #51
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

We worked on kata tori nikyo last Monday with a fairly junior instructor. I was failing almost every time to throw him: what I was doing looked good to me, but it didn't move him at all.

We traded places, and he said "Here is how your nikyo feels to me." It was a revelation: he managed to show me physically what it felt like if nage was not attached to uke's center. Of course I wasn't throwing him: he wasn't throwing me either, doing that. And then he switched to doing it right....

So for me, I think there' s a lot of value in being shown how something is done wrong, if I was already doing it wrong. I agree with the comment that "Here's a common way this can be done wrong" is not a wise teaching technique unless the students in front of you are doing it here and now.

Mary Kaye
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:26 PM   #52
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

I agree showing common errors if no one is doing them would seem to be a waste of time. Showing how the technique feels can be valuable feedback. I also find it is a nice way to show nages deliberately hurting you what their technique feels like. I have used that before to tell them that this is what your technique feels like and if you don't like the feel as I don't then you might want to let up.
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Old 01-08-2005, 12:08 PM   #53
Ed Stansfield
 
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
We worked on kata tori nikyo last Monday with a fairly junior instructor. I was failing almost every time to throw him: what I was doing looked good to me, but it didn't move him at all.

We traded places, and he said "Here is how your nikyo feels to me." It was a revelation: he managed to show me physically what it felt like if nage was not attached to uke's center. Of course I wasn't throwing him: he wasn't throwing me either, doing that. And then he switched to doing it right....

So for me, I think there' s a lot of value in being shown how something is done wrong, if I was already doing it wrong. I agree with the comment that "Here's a common way this can be done wrong" is not a wise teaching technique unless the students in front of you are doing it here and now.

Mary Kaye
As a student, I think that this is one of most useful teaching methods for me. I think that sometimes my teachers credit me too much with being able to understand my mistakes just by seeing/feeling things done "the right way". My teacher will say "No, like this" and I'll say "So hang on, what am I doing?" I think it's probably most useful when you're looking at the feeling behind a technique rather than, say, the locations of hands and feet.

Then again, it could just be that I'm dense.

Going back to the "don't demonstrate the wrong way" point, from a ki style perspective, the ki excercises / tests would almost always be demonstrated "right way" and "wrong way", relaxed and tensed for example. The whys and wherefores of that could probably be a whole other thread but the idea would be that in demonstration there's a clear visual indication of why it's the wrong way eg. the person falls over.

So again, I think it's a useful teaching device. Where it fits into the "learning how to learn" debate may be another matter . . .


Best,

Ed

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill, 1930.
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:18 AM   #54
Alvin H. Nagasawa
Dojo: YBA/HBAC Honolulu, HI
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Re: Learning, How to Learn Aikido

It is a interesting topic up for discussion, One which is the responsibility of the individual teaching the class. I have read all the posting on this subject, and the range of Personality, Professional level, MA background, everyone having there individual prospective on the subject. This is what a Instructor has to deal with in teaching any form of MA. Especially to a beginner entering your class, I would always ask the student why are you interested in Aikido?. Have you previous MA background?. I first ask them to observe the class and then make up there minds if the wish to join the Club. "Enter the dojo with and empty cup", Not a filled one.

Once the are a member of the club, they must understand the dojo rule,etiquette,and etc.
And have a qualified assistant to coach the beginner on the exercises, how to tumble is the most difficult obstacle for a beginner to over come in Aikido.. Before he or she can participate in the regular class, is important safety factor. A injured student will miss or sit out several months of class if they get injured. And it is the responsibility of the instructor to insure that everyone under his direction is training safely and understand what is taught in the class. Before moving on to another technique or waza, It is important that the lowest Kyu rank or Beginner understand and can execute, what was taught. And to have a one to one contact with all the students, to feel the flow, and execution of the technique. And not to hurt the student in the process, You have to remember."We, all we beginners once ". I hope you wish to be treated with same respect and have that individual continue his journey in Aikido."Respect others and they will respect you in return". Compassion, is a learning process and I am still seeking that path. One has to look at one's self before judging others.

The above is my opinion. I can say this in closing, each situation is different. We will always run into obstacles in our lives, it's how we contend with it. That is the important decision, one has to make on his own.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:45 PM   #55
Alvin H. Nagasawa
Dojo: YBA/HBAC Honolulu, HI
Location: San Jose CA.
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Quote:
Alvin Nagasawa wrote:
Re: Learning, How to Learn Aikido

It is a interesting topic up for discussion, One which is the responsibility of the individual teaching the class. I have read all the posting on this subject, and the range of Personality, Professional level, MA background, everyone having there individual prospective on the subject. This is what a Instructor has to deal with in teaching any form of MA. Especially to a beginner entering your class, I would always ask the student why are you interested in Aikido?. Have you previous MA background?. I first ask them to observe the class and then make up there minds if the wish to join the Club. "Enter the dojo with and empty cup", Not a filled one.

Once the are a member of the club, they must understand the dojo rule,etiquette,and etc.
And have a qualified assistant to coach the beginner on the exercises, how to tumble is the most difficult obstacle for a beginner to over come in Aikido.. Before he or she can participate in the regular class, is important safety factor. A injured student will miss or sit out several months of class if they get injured. And it is the responsibility of the instructor to insure that everyone under his direction is training safely and understand what is taught in the class. Before moving on to another technique or waza, It is important that the lowest Kyu rank or Beginner understand and can execute, what was taught. And to have a one to one contact with all the students, to feel the flow, and execution of the technique. And not to hurt the student in the process, You have to remember."We, all we beginners once ". I hope you wish to be treated with same respect and have that individual continue his journey in Aikido."Respect others and they will respect you in return". Compassion, is a learning process and I am still seeking that path. One has to look at one's self before judging others.

The above is my opinion. I can say this in closing, each situation is different. We will always run into obstacles in our lives, it's how we contend with it. That is the important decision, one has to make on his own.
In addition to my option, You get what you paid for. You have the option to stay or move on. But I believe it is the the instructor of the class or Dojo Cho. To respect each individual that is interested in the MA. And to treat he or she fairly.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:41 PM   #56
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi everyone,

One interesting question that I've been chewing on is how to teach someone to learn how to learn aikido. I very much believe that pretty much most, if not all, of us can teach people, but it seems to be a much deeper task to teach someone to learn how to learn aikido.

Basically, I think there's a difference between learning something and learning how to learn something and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on how to teach someone to learn how to learn aikido.

For example, I've seen folks who seem to have the desire to learn aikido but, for one reason or other, just don't seem to get "it." I've seen folks who seem to be all too keen on getting it "now -- and right now!" A lot of people seem to either want to just get to the end of a technique no matter what -- kind of like skimming through a mystery novel to see "whodunit" without enjoying (nor understanding) the meat of the book. There are others like the "I have 12 years of experience in Foobarbaz-do so I slip back into that mode a lot" folks, the "Geez, I make so many honkin' mistakes every time I move that I can't even get through the tenkan exercise without beating myself up over it," folks, the "I've been doing aikido for ten years so I'll just keep doing the same things over and over and over and over and over" folks, and many others.

The above were just examples, of course. I'm sure people can come up with many other types.

My thoughts seem to come back to the topic of "awarness" in all of these cases, but that could just be me.

What sort of tips would you give to someone who just began their aikido training if they asked, "What approach should I take in learning aikido?" Or someone who has had six months of training but is getting frustrated? Any concrete exercises or thoughts that you can give to people like this?

-- Jun
the simplest truest thing you could tell someone about how to learn aikido is that all techniques should be assimilated through a tenkan ,and that randori should be executed the same way.
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:10 PM   #57
Alvin H. Nagasawa
Dojo: YBA/HBAC Honolulu, HI
Location: San Jose CA.
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Quote:
Jason DeLucia wrote:
the simplest truest thing you could tell someone about how to learn aikido is that all techniques should be assimilated through a tenkan ,and that randori should be executed the same way.
Jason,
I see that you have 10 years of Aikido experience. In those ten years did anyone ever helped you with your problem?. Did you discuss it with your teacher or Sempai's?. You mentioned Assimilated throught a Tenkan, and Randori should be executed the same way?. You lost me there!.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 01-30-2005, 08:44 PM   #58
Karen King
Dojo: Albuquerque Aikikai
Location: Albuquerque
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

About 3 years into my training (I'm at 7.5 now), I moved and changed senseis. I was ikkyu at the time and had become (without really knowing it) quite stuck in my thinking. I was pretty stiff too. My new sensei didn't talk much, but he was very clear about the fact that he wanted me to do exactly what he had demonstrated. He had many ways to let me know I wasn't on the right track. Sometimes he would simply use my partner to re-demonstrate the technique. He would then wait and watch me try...if I got it, great, if not he might stand there repeating "no" until I self-corrected. Sometimes he would come over and be my uke...if I did the technique wrong, he wouldn't move or he might even hit me if I left an opening (but only hard enough to make his point...not really painful). I can remember standing there, with him not moving, for what seemed like long periods of time (but they really weren't), I can also remember getting hit over and over (but not hard...just repeatedly). He taught ukemi the same way. There were a couple of times he called me up for ukemi and then told the class not to do ukemi like that.
Now, it would be one thing if he was full of himself or mean spirited...but he actually pushes himself as hard as or harder than his students. He doesn't really toot his own horn or pretend that hes the end all and be all. He is just a stern and insistent kind of fellow. You simply do not get away with not doing the technique right (aka the way he demonstrated it).
Relating this back to the thread...I learned how to learn from this sensei. I learned how to REALLY look at what was being demonstrated. I became MUCH better at being present on the mat...focusing only on what was happening...not on what had happened before. My first sensei had talked about awareness...but it was my second sensei that TAUGHT me awareness. I do not mean to imply that my first sensei was inferior...but I have a tendency to overthink/tense up/lose focus and it took a more hands-on approach to get me past some of that (of course...its still an issue).
This whole in my face, not letting me get away with anything approach was effective but I should note that he doesn't do that with brand new students.... It's a hard road.
To sum-for me learning how to learn Aikido is about awareness...learning how to really see, to really feel...the whole "Zen in motion" thing. I live in a different town and have a different excellent sensei (I feel lucky), but I learned about awareness from that sensei.
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Old 01-30-2005, 09:44 PM   #59
Alvin H. Nagasawa
Dojo: YBA/HBAC Honolulu, HI
Location: San Jose CA.
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Quote:
Karen King wrote:
About 3 years into my training (I'm at 7.5 now), I moved and changed senseis. I was ikkyu at the time and had become (without really knowing it) quite stuck in my thinking. I was pretty stiff too. My new sensei didn't talk much, but he was very clear about the fact that he wanted me to do exactly what he had demonstrated. He had many ways to let me know I wasn't on the right track. Sometimes he would simply use my partner to re-demonstrate the technique. He would then wait and watch me try...if I got it, great, if not he might stand there repeating "no" until I self-corrected. Sometimes he would come over and be my uke...if I did the technique wrong, he wouldn't move or he might even hit me if I left an opening (but only hard enough to make his point...not really painful). I can remember standing there, with him not moving, for what seemed like long periods of time (but they really weren't), I can also remember getting hit over and over (but not hard...just repeatedly). He taught ukemi the same way. There were a couple of times he called me up for ukemi and then told the class not to do ukemi like that.
Now, it would be one thing if he was full of himself or mean spirited...but he actually pushes himself as hard as or harder than his students. He doesn't really toot his own horn or pretend that hes the end all and be all. He is just a stern and insistent kind of fellow. You simply do not get away with not doing the technique right (aka the way he demonstrated it).
Relating this back to the thread...I learned how to learn from this sensei. I learned how to REALLY look at what was being demonstrated. I became MUCH better at being present on the mat...focusing only on what was happening...not on what had happened before. My first sensei had talked about awareness...but it was my second sensei that TAUGHT me awareness. I do not mean to imply that my first sensei was inferior...but I have a tendency to overthink/tense up/lose focus and it took a more hands-on approach to get me past some of that (of course...its still an issue).
This whole in my face, not letting me get away with anything approach was effective but I should note that he doesn't do that with brand new students.... It's a hard road.
To sum-for me learning how to learn Aikido is about awareness...learning how to really see, to really feel...the whole "Zen in motion" thing. I live in a different town and have a different excellent sensei (I feel lucky), but I learned about awareness from that sensei.
Awareness, attention to detail and what is taught by the instructors you had in the past and present is your as you mentioned (I feel lucky) that one talked about it and the other TAUGHT it. The instructor you first mentioned was one who was Stern and Insistent in teaching you. Consider yourself fortunate in his eye's that he gave you his attention. If he didn't think you were worth his time and devotion to detail. He wouldn't' have paid any attention to your development.
As for myself my development on the topic of awareness was developed after obtaining the rank of Nidan.I too at the beginning was scolded to stop thinking on the mat, Relax and so on. So it took me longer than yourself (You are lucky). I learned by observation and learned by watching the students execute their techniques. No one can say that the road to Aikido is a easy one, You have all these pot holes and detours one has to make on one's journey.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 02-15-2005, 04:22 PM   #60
Brion Toss
Dojo: Aikido Port Townsend
Location: Port Townsend, Wa.
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Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

Hello all,
I remember Castaneda's Don Juan saying something like, "Only fools will voluntarily pursue the Path of Knowledge; sensible people need to be tricked." So at least for young people, for whom Aikido can (should?) be a way to pursue more than martial technique, part of teaching them how to learn is keeping them around long enough to learn. Aikido, like every other difficult undertaking, will always have a high attrition rate of beginners, but at least we can avoid pushing them away through our own actions or inactions.
This is not to say that we are the only responsible party here, only that it is a relationship, requiring effort on the part of both parties. And we also needn't patronize the student or cartoonify the art. But a little razzle-dazzle (i.e. legitimate techniques done by senior students at speed), a little inspirational recitation (i.e. excerpts from many of the above posts), and a little drama (i.e., as someone noted, putting a tanto in their hands) can do wonders for stretching attention spans. These things, along with strong emphasis on basic moves, good, safe ukemi, teaching to different learning styles, etc., can at least get students to the point where sheer momentum will carry them along (i.e., get them to where they can see why the art might be worth pursuing forever).
For those who don't need these inducements, or think they don't, I find the concept of "evolved engineering" to be useful in many instances. That is, someone who muscles through and ends up tottering at the end of irimi nage is simply performing the move something like the way it was probably originally performed, by some proto-Samurai. As combatants' skills evolved, the original version became less viable, so irimi nage Mk ll was developed, then Mk lll, and so on. Each successive version affected uke sooner, more profoundly, leaving fewer openings, and leaving nage more and more balanced throughout the technique, until we got to Ueshiba, who pretty much had completed the throw before he got out of bed in the morning. So congratulate the muscler (or the other-art-imprinted student, or the chronically clueless) for doing something, anything, and work to draw that out into something greater.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 06-01-2009, 05:19 PM   #61
Aikipad
Dojo: Sully near Cardiff in Wales
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Smile Re: Learning How to Learn Aikido

The best tip i can give to you when you learn aikido
is to just enjoy yourself, listen, watch and respect each other
As O sensei said:-
Always practice the art of peace in a vibrant and joyful manner

Always practice the art of peace in a vibrant and joyful maner
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