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Old 04-22-2005, 03:38 AM   #1
Fred26
Dojo: Budo Kai, Ki-Aikido
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Teaching the names of techniques.

Hello. I thought I'd start the day with perhaps a bit of controversial subject for some.

During the roughly 6 months I've trained Aikido I've noticed that there is a reluctance amongst my teachers, or lack of will, to seriously teach the beginners and veterans the names of the techniques. After 6 months I still don't know the names of even the most basic of techniques eventhough I've done the technique(s) a hundred times allready.

There doesn't seem to be any kind of easily-available literature the teachers are willing to recommend, and we haven't had any theoretical sessions with this subject either.

The reason I have a problem with this arrangement, or lack of, is caus I personally functon alot better when I have all the facts, even if they are considered "less important" by others.

Does anyone else agree on this or disagree? I'd like a second opinion from outside my club.
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:01 AM   #2
Fred26
Dojo: Budo Kai, Ki-Aikido
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Ok, it seemed I expressed myself incorrectly in my above topic.

The teachers have more or less always said the names of the techniques they teach, they didn't remain silent and just performed.

The problem was (is) that it is very hard to learn japanese names and memorize them and connect them to the technique in question simply by having someone saying them out loud.

I personally need more than that and it is this I think is seriously lacking and it is this I have a problem with.
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:10 AM   #3
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Different strokes for different folks.

Because we have kyu specific classes (as well as open ones) we are able to work from a syllabus specific to that kyu grade.

We provide the 6th kyu syllabus with the welcome pack and ask the students to fill it in as part of preparation for their first grading.

The fill in a description to confirm understanding of the japanese, they make their own notes and also put in the dates when they practiced the techniques.

It seems to help but may not be so easy in a more traditional class where different grades train together.

If the instructor produces some form of lesson plan maybe a copy of this would help link the names to the actions?

Cheers

D
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:14 AM   #4
bogglefreak20
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Our teacher doens't emphasize the names of techniques. He does, however, explain basic terms like shomen- and yukomenuchi, irimi, tenkan etc. As someone who adores learning foreign languages and craves for such crumbs of info, I was somewhat disappointed at the beginning. But he explained himself saying that its vital for us to know how to work with our partner not how the technoques r called.

Now I see that with time those fragments that are mentioned, do settle in your brain. I can't say i know all the names by heart, still, I can get around.

Hope you find some comfort in knowing you are not alone. ;-)
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:17 AM   #5
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Your instructor is not wrong...I think once you can identify WHAT is being done eg Irimi Nage then it is easier to concentrate on HOW it is done which is more important.

But it differs wherever you go ...you are definitely not alone!

Cheers

D
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Old 04-22-2005, 04:53 AM   #6
Fred26
Dojo: Budo Kai, Ki-Aikido
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Yes, knowing what you do is most important, and learning exactly what it is (name) will do alot to help the process of learning.

At least that is my sentiment.

Quote:
We provide the 6th kyu syllabus with the welcome pack and ask the students to fill it in as part of preparation for their first grading.
This sounds like a very good way to learn. It gives the names a priority in the mind of the student and thus makes it easier for him/her to memorize.
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Old 04-22-2005, 05:48 AM   #7
Little Tiger
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

My teachers don't really teach the names either, so I took some time for learning them.

For me it helped a lot to just silently repeat the name of the technique the first fiew times of practicing it. This is probably only a good idea, if you already know the basic movements of the technique. The nice thing is, it works the other way too - when I say Iriminage my body automatically knows what to do - this helps a lot under stress or during a blackout .

Jo
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:04 AM   #8
Fred26
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I can relate to that. Not in aikido but in jodo. Whenever we start a kata in jodo we say the name of the kata out loud.
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Old 04-22-2005, 06:35 AM   #9
djalley
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Lightbulb Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I think most instructors and serious students see the class time as precious. I think this is a good way to look at it. The emphasis should be on the physical aspects of the art. Therefore, teaching the names of the technique is something best left for off-the-mat work. It WOULD be nice to know the names of these techniques, so perhaps there are other ways to ask.

In my dojo, we created a private Yahoo! Group for the members to ask questions, make announcements, post calendar events, etc. If your instructor does not object, maybe you can institute a similar means off off-the-mat communication and get the names of these techniques.

Of course, this requires a certain commitment on the part of your instructors to make the e-group work in this way, or perhaps a high ranking student can take it upon himself to do the work and answer the questions students may have.

Hope this helps!

D
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:51 AM   #10
Natasha Bradley
Dojo: Aikido School Leiden
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I found it helped to have a book with step-by-step pictures of the techniques, including the names, which I compared to what we had done in class. Of course, you can't learn from a book, but it really helps with the names, besides it's often easier to see foreign words in writing rather than just hearing them.
We are also given a list of techniques which we have to know for the exams, so we can always ask an instructor if we've still not familiar with a certain technique.
Christian Tissier Sensei's book, A´kido, is the most useful to us because we follow his style and the techniques, with the attacks, are in the order of the kyu-grading.

Natasha
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:37 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

IMHO, we can all relate to the frustration of learning a new language and labels.

I often asked my Sempai the names and then repeated them silently in my head as I did the techniques.

There are a lot of good beginner books available that can help you work on it outside the Dojo.

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 04-22-2005, 09:11 AM   #12
ruthmc
Dojo: Wokingham Aikido
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I agree that it is a good idea to repeat the name of the technique a few times while practising.

At my previous club we had mostly beginners, so sensei printed out the names of the basic steps, attacks and techniques and stuck the appropriate ones on the wall during each class. Students were also given a printout of the Japanese names with an English explanation on an A4 sheet to take home. Those who read them learned the names of the techniques. Those who didn't.. didn't.

Ruth
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Old 04-22-2005, 11:14 AM   #13
jester
 
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I learned the techniques by number. There were 17 basic techniques, so it was easy.

I was told that by the time I learned the technique, I would also have learned tha Japanese name.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:46 PM   #14
Don_Modesto
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Quote:
Fredrik Hall wrote:
There doesn't seem to be any kind of easily-available literature the teachers are willing to recommend, and we haven't had any theoretical sessions with this subject either.
http://www.aikiweb.com/language/

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:21 PM   #15
Kevin Kelly
Dojo: Aikido of Reno
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

When I first started Aikido, I was worried about the Japanese names and expressed concern to my Sensei. He just told me not to worry, that people usually pick most of it up by the time they are 3rd kyu. And I can see he is probably right. I don't know everything yet, but I am picking up things as I go along, listening to Sensei and the Sempai. Also, studying for gradings, since you can look at the japanese words and figure it out usually.
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:26 PM   #16
Larry Feldman
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I provide a glossary, and my students don't use it.

I tease them because my 11 year old comes home with a 20 word vocabulary list every week, and it takes them years to learn the 40 words they need.

Make your own vocabulary list, it will mean more to you.
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:38 PM   #17
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

I figured this was my project, not my teachers', so I started keeping notes on each technique we were taught. If I didn't have a name for it, I waited until I'd seen it a few times and then asked for one (usually after class). It's much easier to learn a name once you start to recognize the technique than it is to attach an unfamiliar word to an unfamiliar move.

Later on I'd try to deduce or guess the name and ask--"Is this tenchinage?" When I was wrong the explanation was often very helpful.

The one hazard I've found is that if you know the technique names much better than your seniors, it can lead to various forms of embarrassment.... Oh, and if you train in more than one place, it can lead to immense vocabulary confusion. The names are really not standardized; worse, the same name can refer to a different throw between schools. "Kokyu dosa" is probably the worst offender I've seen; you never know *what* that term is going to mean from one school to the next.

If you learn vocabulary from a book or the Web, be sure it's the same style of aikido as yours, or be prepared for confusion....

Mary Kaye
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Old 04-23-2005, 06:57 AM   #18
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Please remember that O Sensei did not have any names for techniques, so far as I understand.

In the prewar Kobukan there was ikkajo, nikajo, sankajo, etc up to gokajo (this means No. 1, 2, 3 etc), but after gokajo, everything was oyowaza. Occasionally he talked of irimi, but there were no names as we know them. From a friend who received his shodan from O Sensei, I heard that, when practising kotegaeshi, O Sensei came up and said, "I hear this technique is called kote-gaeshi: it is a very good name." Obviously, he had not thought of it himself.

So it is very good to have names for techniques, and this is especially important for grading tests, but this is not how O Sensei conceived the art. I am not making any judgments here, simply pointing out how aikido has changed.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-23-2005, 08:36 AM   #19
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Thanks, Peter, that was interesting. I love hearing about the history of Aikido in little tidbits.

When I began studying Aikido I did not really pay attention to the names, No techniques seemed familiar for such a long time....I remember after about 6 months of regular practice 3 times a week noticing......" wow I have done this before". It was shomen uchi kokyu nage.

Most people start to learn the names of techniques for their first test. I think learning them was my responsibility. Perhaps (and I mean this in the gentlest way) you could take the energy you are putting into thinking that your dojo is doing it incorrectly into really listening to the names when they are stated and then repeating them to yourself. I have found that when I really pay attention, it is not so hard to remember them.
Mary
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Old 04-23-2005, 02:40 PM   #20
Mike Sigman
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
From a friend who received his shodan from O Sensei, I heard that, when practising kotegaeshi, O Sensei came up and said, "I hear this technique is called kote-gaeshi: it is a very good name." Obviously, he had not thought of it himself.
How about the idea that he simply abjured applying labels to things because it is merely a distraction to worry about labels? Given his religious bent and the fact that rejecting labels is part of some Japanese religious sects, I would suspect something like that. Of course, I'm simply making mouth noises and don't know for sure.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-23-2005, 03:16 PM   #21
Fred26
Dojo: Budo Kai, Ki-Aikido
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
Perhaps (and I mean this in the gentlest way) you could take the energy you are putting into thinking that your dojo is doing it incorrectly into really listening to the names when they are stated and then repeating them to yourself. I have found that when I really pay attention, it is not so hard to remember them.
Mary
I don't think there is a gentle way to say what you just said. In fact, if I were to dramatize it I would say it sounds a bit rude.. You make it sound like I never even tried to memorize the names to begin with and that I spend my time and energy griping about it instead of "just doing it". I trust this is not how you meant it?

But just in case someone do think so, I can assure them, this is not the case. And if I have given such an impression then I have done a poor job representing myself here.

If this is the overall impression then I can state that I have the outmost respect for all of my senseis and I wouldn't have lasted one week in Aikido to begin with if it wasn't so. In fact if it weren't for one of them in particular I would never have gotten through my first month and I would never have gotten to know other Budo-arts such as Jodo.

But that of course doesn't mean I have to agree with exactly everything my senseis do and say. If it were so, for instance, then Swedish Aikido would never have evolved into the excellent state it is in today. (for those who know Swedish Aikido history will know what I mean)

I sinply believe that in this particular case there can be a little more emphasis on the names of the techniques which we are suppose to learn. It is not a super-serious issue, I can train without knowing the names (up to a point obviously), but I also see no reason why this particular part of aikido-training must be neglected, nor have I been given a clear reason by my senseis either.

I put my thoughts on this subject on this forum, (and alot of other subjects for that matter), for the simple reason that this hub is one of the major arteries of information about Aikido and it's members have always provided valueble advice, (which they have most certainly done in this case ), and put their own thoughts bout the subject out in the open which is always interesting to read.

Thats basicly my attitude bout this subject. I hope it's worthy of respect.

Oh, thanks for the vocabulary link Don_Modesto, I'll print it out and put it on my wall

Last edited by Fred26 : 04-23-2005 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 04-23-2005, 11:18 PM   #22
Keith_k
Dojo: Kim's Hapkido
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Perhaps it may not be relevant, but at my Hapkido dojang naming techniques is made much simpler by not using the Korean names. All classes are taught in English and the techniques are categorized (none are actually named individually) in English. Techniques are categorized by the type of attack (uke's action, such at a wrist grab or straight punch) and the type of defense (nage's action, such as a throw). To illustrate how this works: the first set of attacks in Aikido would be "defense against straight hand grab: twisting," and if I was performing these techniques my uke would grab my wrist and I would respond by applying a twist (joint-lock) to the uke. Similarly if I was performing "defense against side kick: foot strikes" my uke would side kick me and I would respond by counter attacking him with some sort of kick. Individual techniques in the various categories are either numbered or given informal names (informal names can be very creative, examples: chicken wing, waiter throw, 3 elbows). I find that this system works very well and does not add the burden of learning another language to a student also trying to learn techniques.
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Old 04-24-2005, 05:49 AM   #23
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote:
Thanks, Peter, that was interesting. I love hearing about the history of Aikido in little tidbits.

When I began studying Aikido I did not really pay attention to the names, No techniques seemed familiar for such a long time....I remember after about 6 months of regular practice 3 times a week noticing......" wow I have done this before". It was shomen uchi kokyu nage.

Most people start to learn the names of techniques for their first test. I think learning them was my responsibility. Perhaps (and I mean this in the gentlest way) you could take the energy you are putting into thinking that your dojo is doing it incorrectly into really listening to the names when they are stated and then repeating them to yourself. I have found that when I really pay attention, it is not so hard to remember them.
Mary
Hello Mary,

What is interesting is that there can be several names for the same waza. We had a grading several years ago here in Hiroshima and the examiner, who originaly trained in Nagoya, asked for tenbin-nage (tenbin means a balance or pair of scales). The examinees, who were students, had no idea of what was being asked, so the examiner got up and demonstrated (with some irritation) what I would call juji-nage (juji is cross or the Japanese character for ten). Some people might call this udekimi-nage and reserve juji-nage for the arm twine, which we in Hiroshima call ude-garami. (Doshu in his book "Kiban Aikido" calls this juji-garami.)

Which just goes to show that names are really more or less definite shorthand descriptions and each shihan seems to have a preferred description for some of the less common techniques. Even for the shomen-uchi kokyunage yuo mentioned in your post, several possibilities come to mind.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:32 PM   #24
Bronson
 
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Re: Teaching the names of techniques.

Three techniques I used to learn our vocabulary:

Ask if you don't know. In our dojo after the instructor demonstrates the technique and makes any points they are trying to make they ask if there are any questions...perfect opportunity.

Make flashcards. Don't make them too complicated for example we have a technique called "munetski ushiro kata hiki otoshi". As a beginner I would look at that and my mind would freeze. When I made my flash cards I put each word on its own card. That way I wasn't just trying to learn the technique name but what each word in the name meant.

When something is demonstrated name it in your mind. Expect to be wrong a lot in the beginning but the practice of trying to associate what you see with the words you know is very valuable.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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