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Old 02-01-2005, 01:07 AM   #1
Robert F Vaughn
Dojo: Aikido of Phoenix
Location: Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
United_States
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any training tips or advice

Hi everyone
Normally i just cruise Aikiweb reading the Various Articles well now
i need some help. just to give everyone some info on my self i have been training in Aikido for about 8years i reached Shodan about a year ago.So Roughly about 6 maybe 7 months i have been assisting the chief instructor for the kids class i also teach the adult Kihon class on a rotation with four other instructors.

So you could gather that i am still relatively new to the instructor role
i will say that i have shadowed many students and have assisted many more in preparation for testing for rank including ukeing in the actual exams. All that aside teaching adults the basics is a challenge
sometimes pretty funny .Well i can tell you that teaching children can be downright comical at times those kids are truly pliable.

Well heres my current situation 3 weeks ago I'm getting prepared to help out with our 6:30pm kids class ages 8 to 15years my Sensei
tells me we have a blind child coming in to try Aikido so i calmly reply okay this one is all you i need to see how this one is handled.
well this 11 year old girl comes in with her family steps on the mat
and is ready to get down to business. So one of the other students in at the time was shadowing her and helping her with her stretches.I was watching and the student a friend of mine was trying to get her to foreword roll well that wasn't working out to well so i went over and asked her if she would try a backward roll instead, the kid pulled it off without a hitch okay progress made.

Basically i have been training with her ever since
i truly enjoy working with this girl she's absolutely fearless and sometimes its difficult to get her to slow down . In the 3 weeks we have been training together I've gotten her to do foreword rolls some aiki tiasos and various Techniques. I have tried to re-enforce
to her to keep her balance helping her with lowering her center .
I don't try to keep her up to speed with the class, we tend to work at our own pace and i usually steel any high ranking student i can find to assist me if possible.
I have gotten allot of positive feed back from the girl and her parents
also my instructors i am just trying to use all the resources available to me so any advice or training tips would greatly be appreciated.

i look foreword to your replies
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Old 02-01-2005, 08:36 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,670
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Re: any training tips or advice

Sounds like you are doing well, compliments to you. You could do some research on working with the blind and children. There is some web site (AikidoKids.com) that may be a resource. But don't let the information get in the way of your humanity and get to see perceive you student as anything but capable.

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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Old 02-01-2005, 10:12 AM   #3
Robert F Vaughn
Dojo: Aikido of Phoenix
Location: Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
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Re: any training tips or advice

Thanks for the lead Mr. Seiser I'll check it out , on the other hand i understand what you are saying . I wont say it is impossible for me to lose my humanity towards this Little one but let me say that this girl has humbled me completely . i have sort of been on a emotional high with this one she has so much thirst for knowledge and at times you can sense her frustration because she wants to move with the speed of the class, you know i want to be like everyone else sorta thing .

I don't always try to stop her from moving with the speed of the class
but when she starts to stumble i will say okay lets slow this down and
work on keeping our own balance and staying connected. Like i said before she tends to keep me very grounded she's got a great sense of humor and wit , she constantly compliments me on my acting skills in reference
to her throwing me. she has definitely challenged me to work harder
in my own growth as an Aikido student

thx again Mr. Seiser
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Old 02-06-2005, 11:13 AM   #4
Anat Amitay
Dojo: Nes- Ziona, "the red house"
Location: Israel
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 137
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Re: any training tips or advice

I am in no way trying to show off, I'm not a teacher, but in my line of work (physiotherapy), I work with different handicapped people.
I can't give you advice on techniques, but just advice on person to person-
don't over protect her.
She's a child and it's ok to make mistakes, even get hurt here and there.
She's a new student. For all the time I'm learning and probably for all the years to come, I've had my frustrating moments, and she should expierience them too, it's part of learning, it's part of understanding we're human and have our bounderies, yet learning we can become better, by practice and time.
I'm so happy to hear children like her are joining Aikido (I once started a thread about blind Aikidoka).
I wish you both all the luck and enjoyment in training!
Anat
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:10 PM   #5
Alvin H. Nagasawa
Dojo: YBA/HBAC Honolulu, HI
Location: San Jose CA.
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 43
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Re: any training tips or advice

Quote:
Robert Vaughn wrote:
Thanks for the lead Mr. Seiser I'll check it out , on the other hand i understand what you are saying . I wont say it is impossible for me to lose my humanity towards this Little one but let me say that this girl has humbled me completely . i have sort of been on a emotional high with this one she has so much thirst for knowledge and at times you can sense her frustration because she wants to move with the speed of the class, you know i want to be like everyone else sorta thing .

I don't always try to stop her from moving with the speed of the class
but when she starts to stumble i will say okay lets slow this down and
work on keeping our own balance and staying connected. Like i said before she tends to keep me very grounded she's got a great sense of humor and wit , she constantly compliments me on my acting skills in reference
to her throwing me. she has definitely challenged me to work harder
in my own growth as an Aikido student

thx again Mr. Seiser
Robert,
I can relate to your challange and your newly found experience teaching in the childerns class. Your instructor must have confidence and see that you have protential of becomeing one of his Assistant Intructors in his dojo. I would like you to chat with the parents of this little girl who is blind. find out what are the feelings of why they started her in your childrens class. Communication with her parents is important in her development in Aikido. I can see the liability of this situation, I assume your Instructor waivered it to have her attend the class?. You have a great responsibility and should be aware of this situation. If anything your instructor should have you or someone assit her seperate from the regular class until she gains confidence and is ready to attend the normal class. First she has to know how to tumble foward & backwards and get up. Make her aware of her 6th sences. Hearing, seeing, speaking, touch, taste, balance. Until she undestands these consepts. She is lost in the world of darkness. Conidence, safe place, exceptance, room to grow, compassion. This is what she needs a foundation to stand on, without it she will not develop.
I see from your thread that you have the compassion to help her develop in her experience in Aikido. Keep up the good work you are doing.

Lone Wolf of San Jose
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Old 02-06-2005, 11:37 PM   #6
Sue Hammerich
Dojo: Full Circle Aikido
Location: Central Coast, CA
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 54
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Re: any training tips or advice

You know, this is an interesting post. Talk about beginners having the spirit of Aikido....Robert, congratulations and right on. You've been given a special gift. Like Anat, I too, work in health care (occupational therapy) and share in your delight.
Have a great week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-07-2005, 01:07 AM   #7
Robert F Vaughn
Dojo: Aikido of Phoenix
Location: Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
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Re: any training tips or advice

Hi there Anat and Alvin
thank you very much for the positive feed back I'm not too savvy with inserting the comments from other post into my reply, but given time I'll
learn.

Maybe this will suffice for both post i truly understand what both of you are saying sometimes i feel i harbor more fear than she does let me just say she hasn't displayed fear to me yet more like apprehension of the unknown . I have made a point to start her training
with nothing more than seiza to start. from there we moved to right hanmi and left always reinforcing balance helping her to notice and control her own balance (does that make sense?) then we moved to
ukemi from kneeling backward and foreword now the thing is when i have her do her rolls i have her start from seiza i will call out which
posture she should assume and from there do the prescribed roll now you have to realize for the most part she is in constant contact with me. what i mean is one of the tricks I've learned with working with the kids is you occasionally get that child that gets in the wright posture to do a foreword roll then in the blink of an eye they just rolled on their side .So lets say you're doing a foreword roll kneeling on the right side i will take my right leg and brace it against yours in an attempt to block you from turning you're hips prematurely during the roll forcing them to push their butt over their head (doesn't work on everybody though) doing backward rolls are pretty much just as detailed telling her how to lead her body to the floor by putting her arms out in front of her and leading her bottom to the floor (funny i think i just had and epiphany while explaining this) then rolling over the shoulder of whatever leg was up plus using her arms as balancing tools while she is doing the roll .

To answer some of Alvin's concerns she works solely with me in a way she has a benefit over the other students she gets to train with the assistant all the time but i do introduce her to other high level kids in our class. i want her to be comfortable with other people and also i want the other students to be comfortable with working with her all in all she's still a 11year old little girl and blind or not kids will be kids right? also when we train on technique i always use another student as the uke and the uke is always of high enough skill level as not to pose any sort of problem for her and I'm their to help guide her through the moves to the completion of the technique .once she is comfortable with the motions i will switch with the uke and let them guide her and she will throw or pin me also her parents have been very active in this whole process dad and sister also train with us one of the things i do is show the parents what I've done work it with them and then we brainstorm on various ways to re-enforce these to the daughter maybe mom or dad or little sister can explain what I'm saying in a way that might make it click
if for some reason she's not understanding me and i had spoken to the parents in an attempt to understand the reasons for brining her to
a martial art and dad expressed to me his concerns for his daughter
are mainly for when she reaches the high school level i guess wright now she has an aid with her pretty much all the time but that won't be the case when she reaches high school if i understood him correctly . Personally i feel there is SO much more that aikido will
give her than just self defense but truly only time will tell that tale .
she has also hinted to me about this 6th sense and mom and dad tend to have different perspectives on this from what I've gathered its kind of a hit or miss with her depending on her focus and energy on that particular day, she told me sometimes she can feel the vibrations off of objects on her face and i don't doubt her at all when i tell her to focus on my voice and to turn to me she can do it
and block out everything else but my voice ,now it really does depend on how focused she is with what we are doing as opposed to whats going on around her . in reference to the liability issue all i can say is that was handled by my instructor

again thanks i appreciate the advice and feedback and to think i thought teaching kihon basics to adults would be tough little did i know what was just around the corner


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Old 02-07-2005, 01:17 AM   #8
Robert F Vaughn
Dojo: Aikido of Phoenix
Location: Arizona
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
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Re: any training tips or advice

thx for the input Sue and i will definately have a good week Satome Sensei was here this weekend
and i got to spend all day saturday training at his seminar whew! tired and i felt like my brain was gonna pop!
totally worth though
take care all gotta go
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:27 AM   #9
John Boswell
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Re: any training tips or advice

Hey Robert,

Awsome story on your student studying aikido despite being blind. I hope you keep going and that she enjoy's it as much as we all do!

One suggestion I would make, and this is very predjudiced here, would be to contact Jorge Garcia Sensei of Houston, Texas. I "think" he may have some videos/dvd's of Kato Shihan's weapons work, kata's etc. that are EXCELLENT for teaching the footwork of aikido techniques. Granted, you would have to study the videos first and then shadowbox these with her until she got it down, but then she would have something to practice at home on her own.

Also, have you asked the parents why they are not taking the classes themselves? There must be some interest there if they want their daughter involved... might be a good way to get the whole family united together, pushing all handicaps aside.

Best of luck and well wishes to you and her in the future! Keep going!

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Old 02-07-2005, 11:21 AM   #10
Anat Amitay
Dojo: Nes- Ziona, "the red house"
Location: Israel
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 137
Israel
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Re: any training tips or advice

John,
He wrote that the father and sister are training.
;-)
Anat
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:18 AM   #11
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: any training tips or advice

Hi Robert

What a great story and what a gift you are to each other. I have respect for anyone whatever age, that chooses to step on to the mat, as it can take alot of courage for the first step. Your young student sounds as if she has that by the bucket load. I believe your teaching 'career' has been given a special start, as you are being forced to adapt what is normally taken for granted so that she can participate. No matter how long she practices with you, I'm sure the experience will always be with you and that it will enhance you ability to convey the art to all your students whatever their ability.

My first teacher had a disability ( a childhood illness left him with stick like legs and after many operations seized up feet and ankles ) that left him with virtually no lower body strength. He through much focus and practice, developed an awsome aikido, which I gained a great deal from being on the receiving end of!

I'm convinced that aikido should be more widely offered to those who would not normally think of taking an MA due to their perceived 'disadvantage'.

Good luck to you and your fiesty charge.

regards, Mark
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