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Old 02-01-2006, 12:51 AM   #151
CNYMike
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Michael: Based on your later posts, if you only practice what your teacher has shown you and he has forgotten part of the repertoire because of a lack of systematic training methods (hypothetical case of course) and as a result you are never shown certain things, then is that area of the system lost forever?
Probably.

Quote:
Also, what if another student who trains with you today has experienced a technique from your instructor that for some reason you have never seen, does this give you the right when you both become teachers one day to say that what he is teaching is incorrect? Simply because you never saw it being done by your teacher?
If I knew he got it from the same teacher I had, no. And I assume I would find out at some point.

Quote:
.... If you simply follow what your teacher does and don't attempt to go closer to the source of the system you still run the risk of losing parts of it if it is never revealed to you by your teacher for any reason ....
And exactly how am I supposed to get "closer to the source of the system" than the person who has, presumeably, been doing it long than me, and logically, should be "closer to the source" than I am? What does "closer to the source" mean, anyway? Internalize the underlying principles? That's a matter of time. Get a better handle on O Sensei's thinking? There are books with that material are there. Study the arts he studied? That would entail going to a Kenjutus or jujutsu dojo. Daito-Ryu Aikijutsu is also around, though not as widespread as Aikido.

And how am I supposed to know what he is or isn't passing on? Who am I to presume what he should and shouldn't be teaching ME!? Would it be unable to do irimi nage exactly as I do in the dojo while sparring in Kali? There are any number of reasons why that would or wouldn't happen.

Quote:
.... It seems to me that you are taking concepts from Silat tradition and applying them to Aikido incorrectly .....
Well, I've never been under the impression that hormat had any excpetions, ie was for Serak only but you could throw it out the window for anything else. Everyone in Guro Andy's lineages take respect seriously, and he's drilled that into me. I can't go wrong applying it to Aikido.

Quote:
.... Aikido is not Koryu.

If that's your justification for advising people to question their senseis, I hope you keep that in mind when some jerks start talking back to you.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:44 AM   #152
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
If that's your justification for advising people to question their senseis, I hope you keep that in mind when some jerks start talking back to you.
I always encourage them to challenge me and what I am teaching. If a question comes that I cannot answer then it is my failing as an Instructor and I must seek to learn more. If a beginner shuts down my technique, then he is not a jerk, I am, for trying to teach something I don't fully understand and can't apply. This method keeps me honest and constantly seeking and learning among other things. It's not about an ego trip where I tell people what to do and they have to do it, but honest training among individuals with similar goals and a willingness to improve together, which is what this thread has always been about.

It's about not being afraid to ask an honest question because you see your Sensei as some sort of Aiki_God who is infallible in what he teaches. Yes he may have knowledge to impart to you, but he is not responsible for the limits of your knowledge or where you want to go with it, only you are. All an instructor can do is illuminate a small corner of the path - it is up to you to plumb the depths. To question your teacher while seeking the path is not an act of dissension or defiance to your instructor, it is a show of willingness to understand fully what is being taught imho. It is a compliment to his teaching and a show of caring and appreciation for what he is offering.

If in your training a few pointed questions one core principles equate defiance to your teacher then I feel sorry for you. Honestly.

It is the Sensei-worship approach that creates and feeds the culture of martial mediocrity in Aikido and other MA. By the very nature of the approach you give as regards not questioning, the teacher is never challenged or encouraged to maintain a certain standard of skill, technical understanding and application. He has no reason to since he is surrounded by doting students and assistant instructors in a mutual admiration society. These types of teachers are the ones who will botch a technique in training or a demo and blame their Uke instead of admitting one's own limitations in skill or application of a principle. This even happened with Ueshiba M. at a demo in Manchuria. In his case however his technical core was strong enough to deal with the strong attacks in the demo and still execute superb (though not as clean) technique. He still referred to Obha Sensei as an idiot though. We must seek to control the ego at every turn if we are to understand Mushin. Even Ueshiba M. was not perfect at this all the time, so intense and conscientious study and practice is necessary if we are to ever hope to be anywhere near his level, if not better.

I still don't get where you think I'm saying that one should question one's Sensei in a negative manner (i.e. one that attempts to challenge his claim to knowledge of the material he is teaching). But the blind faith approach imho is just that - blind. There is a middle ground of intense personal study while in partnership with one's Sensei that is not difficult to find if one wants to see it. Edwin and Alec (and earlier David) have alluded to it and in Aikido it is often done in conjunction with one's Sensei - questions and all.

All Sensei means is - one who has gone before. To add too much more weight onto this simple designation can be dangerous imho and many know the results of this sort of behaviour.

Let's suffice it to say that at this point your lenses are not allowing you to get what I am talking about and leave it at that. Maybe when you start teaching it'll come to you. A search for answers does not equal disrespect.

Either way - Train safe, train happy.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:10 AM   #153
Charlie
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Larry...you might want to check out the 'self-defense art?' thread as elements of this discussion have spilled over to that one.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...0&page=2&pp=25

Charles

Charles Burmeister
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"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 02-01-2006, 03:35 AM   #154
Charlie
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

oops...looks like I liked it to the second page...oh well.

Charles Burmeister
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"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:45 AM   #155
CNYMike
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
i agree with your thoughts and the guro's, but i also think that things must change or stagnate...
Well, O Sensei did say that adaptiation and change are part of Aikido. Every source I have says how "personal" it is. But I also think there are places where you don't have wriggle room. At some point, when you change too much, it could stop being Aikido except in name. And it's even worse if you start from the assumption that what you're learing is somehow "flawed."

Quote:
.... the more things change the more things stay the same... it is also not necessary to lose tradition during this process of growth... here's an example that i just thought of... we all do the basic aikido attacks; shomenuchi yokomenuchi etc... but we must also learn and practice other strikes and atemi... you don't lose one when you gain the other...
Probably, although I think you have to rememeber you're increasing the amount of work you have to do exponentially, because you should (IMO) learn how to do those attacks CORRECTLY in addition to getting a handle on Aikido's principles; then you have to overlay one on top of each other, asking "What does Aikido say about this type of attack based on this strategy and these body mechanics?" If you like everything you're doing and you're playing a "What if?" game with yourself, that's one thing. But if you're forcing yourself through that just to prove a point .... it had better be a mother of a point. Almost not worth it from that perpespective.

And even then, there' another question: What do the people above you say about that? If it's something along the lines of, "Well, as long as you hit the basics in the curriculum, we don't care what else you do," you're in the clear. But if they say, "No, you can't teach that," then you're playing with fire if you do IMO.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:22 PM   #156
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

i assure you my aikido is aikido, and is not flawed by my sensei's and i don't think it is possible to loose it... it is also never possible to learn too much, nor is the effort too much to spend... look at Osensei his aikido changed throughout his life so which is the 'real' aikido... the answer is it is all aikido... ultimately aikido encompasses all martial arts and techniques as takemusu aiki means infinite creativity of waza... my sensei's would never say 'no you can't teach that' unless i was teaching it wrong! you can never do the 'same' ikkyo twice any more than you can step on the same piece of water twice... the stream never stops flowing...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 01:05 AM   #157
CNYMike
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
..... It's not about an ego trip where I tell people what to do and they have to do it ....
Simple courtesy and respect shouldn't have anything to do with an ego trip.

Quote:
..... It's about not being afraid to ask an honest question because you see your Sensei as some sort of Aiki_God who is infallible in what he teaches ....
I don't see any of my teacher as Gods who are infallible. And I've never been discouraged from asking "honest questions." Obeying some simple rules of behavior has nothing to do with seeing something as a god -- it's just being polit.

Asking a question about how to do something is one thing. But the underlying premise should be, Look, you're here to teach me something. I'm here to learn from you. How is that worship? It isn't. And there's room for questions. But the person leading the practice is still in charge IMO. That has nothing to do with ego. It's just The Rules.

Quote:
..... It is the Sensei-worship approach that creates and feeds the culture of martial mediocrity in Aikido and other MA ....
If you equate behaving correctly and being respectful as "worship" then I feel sorry for you. Seriously.

Quote:
..... I still don't get where you think I'm saying that one should question one's Sensei in a negative manner (i.e. one that attempts to challenge his claim to knowledge of the material he is teaching).
You're not? Good. My mistake.

Quote:
But the blind faith approach imho is just that - blind ....
It's not a question of "blind faith" in anybody, just respect and a certain amount of common sense. If you go to a martial arts class, presumeably you want to learn that art, and learn something from the person at the front of the room. It has nothing to do with blind faith, worship, or anything like that. He's the teacher, you're the student. Yeah, I probably know some things my sensei doesn't, but I'm there to learn what he's teaching. It's not a question of "worship;" I'm not a "sensei groupie" with his pictures all over my wall. It's just a question of thinking that these are the rules of how you should conduct yourself.

Quote:
.....Let's suffice it to say that at this point your lenses are not allowing you to get what I am talking about and leave it at that.
Ok.

Quote:
Maybe when you start teaching it'll come to you. A search for answers does not equal disrespect.
But assuming no one else has no clue as to those answers because of how they teach is not a good place to start either.
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Old 02-02-2006, 04:50 PM   #158
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Michael - What was the point of your entire argument again?

My point is that if one does not take personal responsibility for one's own training by asking serious, sometimes uncomfortable questions of oneself and one's instructor then it is very easy to contribute to the culture that is being addressed in this thread. The result is the possibility of an illusion of sincere development in the art that you are dedicating blood and sweat to because you are part of a self-supporting system that may be lacking in various quality assurance mechanisms that can gauge if you are improving in your stated goal - i.e. learning Aikido (and I mean Aikido - not just the kata, not just the randori, not just the spiritual/philosophical, but AIKIDO in its fullness).

Regarding your post above:

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Simple courtesy and respect shouldn't have anything to do with an ego trip.
It should not, but I've met too many MA Instructors and others who expect, even demand a degree of "courtesy and respect" that straddles the line of "worship and blind devotion". If a student must be so overconcerned with being "respectful" that one cannot challenge one's instructor with meaningful questions when it is obvious that he may be doing nonsense then to me the student is enabling the false role and teaching of his instructor and assisting in the culture of mediocrity. What you call respect and courtesy is the reason why a lot of McDojo exist with instructors who would not be allowed to teach or even practice MA if there were some sort of capable system of measuring performance in place. Gradings measure your understanding of certain principles in a preset manner, they are not measures of holistic skill and ability imo. It is important, expecially for instructors not to misrepresent what they are doing.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
Asking a question about how to do something is one thing. But the underlying premise should be, Look, you're here to teach me something. I'm here to learn from you. How is that worship? It isn't. And there's room for questions. But the person leading the practice is still in charge IMO. That has nothing to do with ego. It's just The Rules.
The person leading is in charge because you give them that power when in the time and place of practice. It is a social contract. This is how it is in many dojo and there is nothing really wrong with that. But if you ask a question and the answer you get is utter bull faeces then do you swallow it and say thank you Sensei or do something else? In this scenario, DIS-respect is to say - That is uttter crap!! and probably get the business end of some disciplinary action. Respect is to not say anything or react in any visible way regarding the crap you just heard, but go do some research on your own, ask some questions (of which your Sensei is one source) and see if it really is BS. If not you've learnt something about your sensei and yourself, if it is proven to be BS then you need to decide whether this is something you wish to take with you or leave until you have even more information to make a decision. The idea is you don't just take it as fact because "Sensei says so."

This thought process is important because it is often what can make the difference between a student who lives or dies when they are forced to use "something Sensei showed them" and find out at the worst of times that the technique that worked in the dojo is missing something critical in order to work. I've known more than one person who has either died or experienced grievious injury as a result of this type of scenario. A severe sense of responsibility is paramount for both student and teacher imo.

The beginner cannot determine the difference between BS and the good stuff. This thread by the very nature of its core question is designed for experienced students and instructors, not beginners who can't tell the difference.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
If you equate behaving correctly and being respectful as "worship" then I feel sorry for you. Seriously.
If you truly think this after reading this entire thread then like I said before you are totally missing my point and should really think before your next post or at least clear out those lenses.

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
He's the teacher, you're the student.
Exactly! So what does this relationship mean to you exactly? One of a giver and a receiver, or of two human beings who are walking along the same path with one being further along than the other and takes the role as a guide?

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
But assuming no one else has no clue as to those answers because of how they teach is not a good place to start either.
Who is assuming anything? You read much into my posts. What I speak of I do from experience.

For those who understand what I am getting at and have measures in place to address what has already been spoken of, there is no issue. The problem comes from those who know their methods will not stand up to objective evaluation mechanisms and refuse to address this. These people know themselves and have their reasons. If this is their choice, so be it. It is important for the stated student of Aikido however to be able to perceive clearly what is happening with one's own evolution in training.

Gambatte.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:54 PM   #159
CNYMike
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
.... The beginner cannot determine the difference between BS and the good stuff. This thread by the very nature of its core question is designed for experienced students and instructors, not beginners who can't tell the difference.:
Ah! I see the problem: I am a beginner (or at least still relatively new) and therefore have no clue what you're talking about.

Sorry to have bothered you.

Best wishes,

Mike
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:21 PM   #160
PeterR
 
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Hi Larry;

I've got to say that statements like "For those who understand" and "The beginner cannot determine the difference between BS and the good stuff. This thread by the very nature of its core question is designed for experienced students and instructors, not beginners who can't tell the difference." leave a bit of sour taste in my mouth also. I understand (at least I think so) what you are getting on about but the above are often used to hide weak arguments rather than reveal any truth.

Essentially we are responsible for our martial journey. A good teacher provides the framework, nudges you in the right direction if you deviate, and in the process continues on in their own journey. If you feel that anyone of those conditions is not being met then it is time to find another teacher.

Your teacher should never be the sole source of your art. Explore, study, reflect. Ask questions in the right circumstance. If you don't do that then you will always be stuck in the Shi. The individual style (Ha) is a reflection of all your experiences - not just in your home dojo. It is your personality.

Most people can tell relatively soon the difference between the BS and the good stuff. Beginners are generally not mindless cretins. I would say that the more experience you have the more discriminating you are - that's all.

Larry you generally train in isolation. That has the advantage in that you must think about these things vis a vis your students. It also has the disadvantage that sometime you over think. I don't think you are wrong but Mike has a point.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:25 AM   #161
Edwin Neal
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Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

I consider myself a beginner, but that doesn't mean as Peter suggested that we are incapable of at least getting a glimpse of the 'truth'... it is also clear that for various reasons some beginners and even advanced students miss the truth or deny it, whether through self delusion or delusion by some sensei or a combination of both... aikido is a complete art, encompassing 'all' techniques... what? you say you don't train those kinds of techniques, or they are 'not aikido' or sensei says it will work i just don't understand it yet... these are positions that i understand to be delusional in some sense... the practice of aikido is to remove these delusions both internal and external, but delusions are like 'mind weeds' they grow back... i wish i only had to mow my yard once and be done with it, but sadly the weeds grow nearly as fast as i mow them down sometimes...

Edwin Neal


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