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Old 06-21-2005, 02:27 AM   #26
Charlie
 
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Re: "experienced" students

What was the context of the class? Was it a seminar or a regular class at his own dojo? If it was a seminar then there is usually not enough time to completely cover all that may be necessary to touch upon (including corrections). David hints at this in another thread:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...6&postcount=30

Another read that touches on elements of this thread can be found here:

http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis_ar...raditions.html

If it was a seminar was it in Japan or else where? All the different variables make a difference.

[Hope you don't mind the quote David]

Last edited by Charlie : 06-21-2005 at 02:31 AM.

Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:29 AM   #27
happysod
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Re: "experienced" students

Charles, don't know if this is what you're wanting, but here goes.

If a high level person was not practicing what I was teaching, I'd intervene only if one of two aspects applied.
i) they had already shown they could do the technique in the manner in which I had demonstrated, so were just being lazy and falling back into old habits
ii) their own variation was either useless or dangerous, if I felt it had merit I'd probably just get them to explain the difference and ask why they were using it over the technique shown.

Otherwise, I'd be inclined to practice with the person myself next time round and see if the differences were deliberate or just a fault in understanding and/or my teaching.

For me, it's a similar problem to when you over teach a beginner in an attempt to get their technique word-perfect. I prefer to sacrifice conformity for flow of the technique, assuming (perhaps incorrectly) repetition will smooth out the bumps in future.
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Old 07-09-2005, 04:40 PM   #28
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "experienced" students

two aspects:

when we do things different from what we are supposed to do, we here:
"This is a variation. You often see shidan doing this in demonstration. But for this exercise I want to focus on ..."
And we know it is wrong. Wrong due to other experience or simple misunderstandings or lack of ability, but wrong. One can vary with "good solution", "This is great aikido.." (which you are not yet able to ...). The point is it is not what we were shown.

As a mudansha, who likes to visit other dojos and other style's# seminars, I can say, yes it is sometimes difficult, when I am corrected by my partner, and I think it is different from what the actual instructor showed or told. In about 50% of the cases I get the same corrections from the instructor a few minutes later , but even if I wonder what a stupid guy that is telling me this nonsense, I try to do what I was told. And in 25% the instructor corrects me back to what I thought was right.

But I do this for two reasons.
  • I like to train and not to argue on the mat.
  • The more different aspects I learn, the more flexible can I react in other situations. Even if I realize that it does not work on the mat, I learned my lesson.

Dirk
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:37 AM   #29
jonreading
 
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Re: "experienced" students

I'm with David on this one. The dojo is a structured place. You can't have everyone going around doing what they want. Students need to follow instruction from sensei, and carry out training with the focus of what sensei has demonstrated. Good yudansha understand that they should not undermine sensei by providing their own instruction or ignoriing what sensei has demonstratted themselves.

Sometimes yudansha (or sempai in general) do not realize they undermine the authority of the sensei when they essentially ignore instruction. For the sake of argument, I believe that if I demonstrate technique and a student chooses to perform that technique differently than demonstrated they are ignoring instruction. If they ignore instruction, what kind of role model do they make for junior students?

Here's the tricky part...If the yudansha is senior to me, I offer them the venue of guest instruction. If the yudansha is junior to me, then I explain that they need to focus on what we are practicing. The atmosphere should be no different than a seminar atmosphere (you know - everyone desperately trying not to look incompetent while trying a technique they've never seen...)

The bottom line is that a good student that visits or attends class should not put sensei is a position that may affect the dojo as a whole. My opinion is somewhat severe, but my job is to protect my students and the dojo. What if the visitor hurts a students practicing their technique (i.e. a technique foriegn to your students)? What if the visitor demonstrates technique that a student replicates and inflicts injury on another student?
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Old 07-13-2005, 12:20 PM   #30
cck
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Re: "experienced" students

I imagine it would be really irritating if you thought the yudansha was deliberately ignoring the instruction. But is that likely? I am not yet ranked, so you'd think I'd pay attention; I will sometimes watch my instructor show a technique and in my mind go "Oh, shihonage, thank goodness, that's one I know" - completely missing the point the instructor was trying to make.
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Old 07-13-2005, 12:41 PM   #31
senshincenter
 
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Re: "experienced" students

I don't think Jon was only talking about deliberate attempts to ignore instruction. I was reading him, rather, to be talking about those cases where instruction is ignored (for whatever reason). The reason a line is not drawn between what is deliberate and what is mere ignorance is because from the point of view of self-responsibility (which is key to Budo training) there is no difference. Under both perspectives, one is supposed to prime him/herself to do what was shown - to take responsibility for seeing what was shown and then for doing it as shown. Sure we may often come up short, but this ideal remains in place and thus our training should be oriented accordingly.

If we stray from the ideal, other real things that are also based upon that ideal will also falter. This they will do whether or not we become irritated (which Jon never mentioned - BTW) as instructors. This is how I understood Jon when he asked, "If they ignore instruction, what kind of role model do they make for junior students?" For me, and I imagine it is like this for Jon as well, it's all like math. You do this and that, and you get this. If you don't do this or that, you won't get this. Emotion (e.g. irritation) has really nothing to do with it. Something is shown, it should be well presented. In Kihon Waza training, deshi should cultivate themselves to see what was shown; Deshi should cultivate themselves to doing what was shown (no more, no less). How do you do this? By making this your ideal and by then orienting all of your training according to this ideal. When every one in the dojo can do this, the dojo itself will come to support many of its substructures by this ideal. Through this, a dojo stops being a place to workout and actually becomes something more much - it becomes a place for the Way.

An interesting side note: Once my sensei asked me to take over for filming Summer Camp. He told me to not just film it. He asked to me to look through the camera lens to see how many folks were doing what was shown and how many were not. He told me that I should not be surprised if no one was doing what was demonstrated. Of course he told me this because he held the exact duplication of technique to be part of our total cultivation - a thing I hold as well. So, there I was filming, and while I had done many Summer Camps up to that point, I was still surprised by what I saw through the camera's eye. He was right, no one was doing what was demonstrated.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 07-13-2005, 12:44 PM   #32
Aiki Teacher
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote:
I'm with David on this one. The dojo is a structured place. You can't have everyone going around doing what they want. Students need to follow instruction from sensei, and carry out training with the focus of what sensei has demonstrated. Good yudansha understand that they should not undermine sensei by providing their own instruction or ignoriing what sensei has demonstratted themselves.

Sometimes yudansha (or sempai in general) do not realize they undermine the authority of the sensei when they essentially ignore instruction. For the sake of argument, I believe that if I demonstrate technique and a student chooses to perform that technique differently than demonstrated they are ignoring instruction. If they ignore instruction, what kind of role model do they make for junior students?

Here's the tricky part...If the yudansha is senior to me, I offer them the venue of guest instruction. If the yudansha is junior to me, then I explain that they need to focus on what we are practicing. The atmosphere should be no different than a seminar atmosphere (you know - everyone desperately trying not to look incompetent while trying a technique they've never seen...)

The bottom line is that a good student that visits or attends class should not put sensei is a position that may affect the dojo as a whole. My opinion is somewhat severe, but my job is to protect my students and the dojo. What if the visitor hurts a students practicing their technique (i.e. a technique foriegn to your students)? What if the visitor demonstrates technique that a student replicates and inflicts injury on another student?
Exactly!

A few months before my Yudansha test some visitors from another dojo in another city came to visit. One of the nikyu students from that dojo decided not to follow the direction of the sensei and was either locking down on students, or was doing a totally different throw or pin than what the sensei demonstrated. This hubris ended up getting me injured when he decided to put a thumb lock on me instead of the normal pin for kotegaeshi. Totally streched my thumb back before I could react to stop him. Said he was showing "a police lock."
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:26 PM   #33
Charles Hill
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
He was right, no one was doing what was demonstrated.
So David, would it be fair to say that your teacher, at some level, condones this behavior? If everyone at the camp was not doing what is demonstrated, the teacher is somewhat responsible, no?

I think that there is a Japanese idea of waiting for the student to reach some point where he/she is ready for the teaching and to teach before this point is a useless gesture. I completely understand this. However, the reality is that in Aikido, we touch each other so mistakes in "senior" students affect others much like an infectious disease. (Aiki-syphilis?) I am not convinced that this is a proper way to teach a martial art where two people must work together to make a "kata" and is not based on competition.

Charles
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Old 07-13-2005, 09:50 PM   #34
maikerus
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
So David, would it be fair to say that your teacher, at some level, condones this behavior? If everyone at the camp was not doing what is demonstrated, the teacher is somewhat responsible, no?

I think that there is a Japanese idea of waiting for the student to reach some point where he/she is ready for the teaching and to teach before this point is a useless gesture. I completely understand this.
As a caveat I would like to say that I have only watched a couple of non-Yoshinkan classes at 5 different dojos. I have also never attended an open seminar or a non-Yoshinkan based seminar. During the non-yoshinkan classes I have watched, I always saw the behaviour David described (students not doing what teacher demonstrated) to differing extents and thought it was part of the training methodology.

What happened was that everyone would attack the same, but then some people who do the technique shown and some would do a completely different technique (often more than half of those training).

When I asked about it, it was explained to me that if the attack was different in some way and not appropriate to that technique or if the person was unable to do the technique they were supposed to flow into some other technique which was made available to them by the way uke was moving/grabbing/pushing/pulling or whatever.

Was I mistaken? If I was...why was it so prevelant. I should point out that one of the 5 dojos was the Aikikai Hombu (no idea who teaching...sorry) and 3 of the 5 were in Japan.

FWIW...I have no argument that the sample size is really too small to form a valid opinion...I also admit that I did form an opinion and thought I saw a trend. But maybe I was just (un)lucky in my choice of dojo and day to observe.

Comments?

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:22 PM   #35
senshincenter
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Hi Charles,

I love the term - Aiki-syphilis - seems to hit the nail right on the head.

I see what you saying - about responsibility starting at the top. I try to follow that premise in my own dojo. So at some level, I must not agree with my teacher's choice of action (or lack of action). On the other hand, I can also acknowledge just how fruitless it would be to try and get everyone to see what was being shown and then to do it accurately at a summer camp.

That's why I'm so contrary to the usual support one hears concerning summer camps. For me, such camps were always more an interruption in my training than anything else. However, that is just me.

Thanks for the reply,
david

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 07-14-2005, 06:13 AM   #36
Tim Gerrard
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Could the variations be a result of mistakes, and 'doing something' rather than getting into the habit of freezing up? I know this could not account for an ENTIRE mat not practicing correctly, but could excuse a couple of isolated instances.

Just a thought,
T

Aikido doesn't work? My Aikido works, what on earth are you practicing?!
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Old 07-14-2005, 08:13 AM   #37
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Tim Gerrard wrote:
Could the variations be a result of mistakes, and 'doing something' rather than getting into the habit of freezing up? I know this could not account for an ENTIRE mat not practicing correctly, but could excuse a couple of isolated instances.

Just a thought,
T
Tim, I guess you're right. You should watch carefully and do it the best you can. But that is no excuse for trying to re-educate the others or to do a "police lock" variation. Maybe the last one could be allowed if you have a b*** f*** uke, who does not allow you to make the required technique properly.

Dirk
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Old 07-14-2005, 11:20 AM   #38
jonreading
 
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Re: "experienced" students

I think it is also important that we differentiate training methods. I make a point in class to tell students when they are allowed to "change" technique and when they should practice what was demonstrated. For example, I am less stringent when correcting nagare waza technique then when correcting kihon waza technique. I think the discussion at large is focused on those individuals that do not simply make a mistake or accomodate a variation of a technique, but the ones that habitually practice technique in a different manner than demonstrated.

It all boils down to rules. Rules exist to protect and my job is to protect my students and the dojo. I use rules to minimize injury, breaches in etiquette, and even training on the mat. Doing what the instructor showed is a rule, nothing more or less.

Seminars are a different atmosphere. My instructor once told us after a seminar, "I don't get it. People pay hundreds of dollars to go to a seminar for instruction from another instructor. Then they ignore everything the instructor demonstrates and do what is comfortable for themselves. Why pay all that money to waste the instructor's time and practice what you could've done in your own dojo?"
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Old 07-14-2005, 12:46 PM   #39
Tim Gerrard
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
Maybe the last one could be allowed if you have a b*** f*** uke, who does not allow you to make the required technique properly.

Dirk

Aikido doesn't work? My Aikido works, what on earth are you practicing?!
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Old 07-27-2005, 04:14 PM   #40
Steven Gubkin
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Re: "experienced" students

I agree and disagree with some of the points made in this thread. While it is good to try and do a technique the way an instructor is showing it, this is not always practical. If the instructor is 4.5 ft tall and their Uke is 6.5 ft tall, the technique will should look very somewhat different when you do with a partner who is your size.
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Old 07-27-2005, 07:35 PM   #41
Charles Hill
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Re: "experienced" students

Hi Steven,

I think you missed the point of the thread. If an instructor has a specific point he/she wants to make and sees students (non-beginners) missing that point, what should be done? For example, I have a video (not the one I mentioned above) of a seminar given by Micheal Friedl. Mr. Friedl clearly has a training progression in which he wanted students to do an irimi version first and then he shows a tenkan version. However, many students did the tenkan version in the beginning. Clearly they were not focusing on what was being taught. Mr. Friedl's reaction is to make a joke and chastise the people a bit. This was a seminar so he could hardly be blamed for not doing more. What would you do in this situation, especially if it were your dojo and your students?

Charles
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Old 07-28-2005, 04:50 AM   #42
Mark Uttech
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Re: "experienced" students

Hallo Charles, I have been in this situation more than once. I simply stop the class and demonstrate again. The students first look for what is different, and then they realize there might just be something they missed the first time. You, (as an instructor) can notice pretty early on
if what is being practiced is what was demonstrated. The students pick up on it pretty quick when the practice is abruptly halted. In gassho
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Old 07-28-2005, 04:59 AM   #43
Dazzler
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Hi Steven,

I think you missed the point of the thread. If an instructor has a specific point he/she wants to make and sees students (non-beginners) missing that point, what should be done? For example, I have a video (not the one I mentioned above) of a seminar given by Micheal Friedl. Mr. Friedl clearly has a training progression in which he wanted students to do an irimi version first and then he shows a tenkan version. However, many students did the tenkan version in the beginning. Clearly they were not focusing on what was being taught. Mr. Friedl's reaction is to make a joke and chastise the people a bit. This was a seminar so he could hardly be blamed for not doing more. What would you do in this situation, especially if it were your dojo and your students?

Charles
Havent read the whole thread...

But to this question there are many things that can be done

Repeat the teaching and EMPHASISE the differences.
Break it down ...whole part whole as the 'coaches' would say.
Use related excercises to clarify
Use weapons ...or any other teaching aid.

There are many things you can do to change the message if it isn't being understood.

But...there are occasions when students simply refuse to accept.

They've seen Sensei X do it differently and thats what they like...or they've always done it this way and aren't about to change for anyone.

D

"some seed fell on the good ground"
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:19 AM   #44
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Re: "experienced" students

I havn't read this whole thread (and I suspect much of it is over my head anyways), but I thought I'd give the perspective of a new student.

At our dojo, the beginner class is taught by three different instructors by design. One for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday respectively. It was explained to us from day 1 that each instructor might teach a technique differently, and to just do it the way it was being taught that day. Personally, I enjoy the different perspectives and I think it has helped me tremendously. However, perhaps that is just condusive to my learning style.

We also have "senior students" present at each class, but for the most part they sit with the class, listen to what the instructor is teaching, and if they assist, they do it consistent with the way the teacher is teaching it that day.

Occassionally we will have other students (one student in particular comes to mind), that blazes in less formally and will suggest things inconsistent from what the teacher is teaching that day, but I think most of the beginners have learned to focus on what we are learning that day and to take the inconsistent student's advicve on 'file away' status.

Of course this is just the perspective of a beginner, but I have gotten the impression that the senior students that are sitting in on our class formally and the instructors work together to maintain consistency in class on a particular day, as well as being frank with us (the beginners) that there will be variation in technique from day to day. I think this approach has had minimal confusion while still exposing us to diversity/fluidity whatever that you can see between different approaches.
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Old 08-15-2005, 11:46 AM   #45
Charles Hill
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Re: "experienced" students

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for participating. I have a question for you. How much do the more experienced students help/teach you as opposed to just train with you? Also, how do you feel about that?

Thanks
Charles
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:45 AM   #46
rtist
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Re: "experienced" students

Charles,
I would like to weigh-in on this discussion. Speaking as a student, we need to keep our minds open, but take reponsibility for our own instruction. We are paying for this, after all.
My Mom used to tell me "When you walk out that door, every idiot you meet can teach you at least one thing you didn't know before so try to pay attention."
I have been involved in Aikido now for 6 years (I'm sankyu) and it has been my experience that one will always run into those in whom the urge to teach always bubbles to the surface no matter how they may try to supress it (if indeed they try to supress it at all). As a student I view it as my responsibility to learn whatever I can from whomever I can, then accept or reject that knowledge as I see fit.
Since we are the sum of our experiences, our Aikido will grow and evolve with us only if we keep an open mind. If I pick up a bad habit or a flawed technique from a seminar, at some point my sensei will point it out and correct it. I trust him to do that. That's why I go to the dojo. Or perhaps at the next seminar, I'll work with someone who will exploit the inherent weaknesses and I will learn from that. Some have the notion that once you learn a flawed technique its "too late" or at the very least "very difficult" to go back and correct it. Personally I think thats a load of garbage.
If someone is "instructing" me at a seminar or a class, I listen to what they have to tell me, try what they have to show me, and if it doesn't work - find another partner for the next technique.
Michael
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:54 PM   #47
Jenn
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Re: "experienced" students

Charles, to answer your question, I prefer to receive instruction from the students. To that end, as little as I know, I will likewise offer some small tip to a fellow beginner who seems to be struggling more than me if I am partnered with them. Even if the instruction isn't perfect, the instructor can't be watching everyone at all times, so in the interim, better to do something slightly-less-wrong during practice than just-completely-wrong.

I think your mother is a wise woman, Michael. I firmly believe everyone has something to teach me - right down to my 3-year-old daughter. Even when the student I mentioned who blazes in to the beginner class informally and starts loudly proclaiming advice that is completely contrary to what my teacher was just telling me.. I listen. I just try to be selective and think critically about what I put into practice (not just talking about Aikido here, but anything.)
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:06 PM   #48
Adrian Price
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Interesting question,

For me my main instructor will demonstrate a technique 8-9 times before sending us to practice, however he will demonstrate a basic form for the beginners, and then demonstrate more advanced/shorter versions of the technique before going back to the basic form, where he will cover the main points of the basic form slowly.

At times this does confuse some of the yudansha that are assisting with the classes, however as we watch beginers develop the technique you can see them practice the basic form, and then move onto the advanced/shorter version of the technique.

I have also at times watched yudansha struggle with a more advanced technique, where something is not quite right and they are trying to gel with the technique.
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Old 08-16-2005, 11:22 PM   #49
Charles Hill
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Re: "experienced" students

Thanks so much guys. I consider myself a beginning teacher and your comments are very helpful to me.

Charles
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Old 08-24-2005, 01:59 AM   #50
Hanna B
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
It has been my experience that yudansha often are so used to what they have done before that they are quite unconcious to the differences between what they are doing and what the teacher is showing at that time.
Absolutely! You see "shomenuchi sankyo" and maybe you notice one or two details that are different to you standard way of doing it, but you don't see that lots of stuff change because of a difference in basic positions and angles... or similar.

As a student, I have learned - it took me long time, but finally I learned that when someone from other types of aikido tries to teach me something that is different from what the teacher did, you can say it although the other person has higher rank. "Actually, I do think his foot was on the outside and not on the inside." It can be said without defiance, and the natural thing to do next is to ask the teacher to come over. When I have done it, I have always had very good response.

As a teacher, when the group is established it is not so difficult to tell the people from other places "actually, I do it somewhat different". One doesn't have to go into rights and wrongs, just show: this is how I do it. If one doesn't feel it is a big problem, it isn't. If one gets irritated before saying something... then it is a lot more difficult to handle.

I was trying to build a university dojo from scatch, all beginners (possibly with one term of experience from someplace else) plus two third kyus. Both of the third kyus had their ways, from their previous teachers and styles. Both had good attitudes. As can be expected - the one with more different style was more aware of the differences. Still I didn't want to be to hard on them regarding what I wanted, since I didn't want to loose them. Building a group of beginners from scratch, where no one has any experience and you have no experienced uke to show technique on, is so difficult... Today, I would have set my priorities slightly different assuming that if they came to train for me, they were interested in what I taught.

It worked out well with time; but had one of the third kyus not wanted to adapt I could have built myself a situation that was difficult to handle since I did want to try and teach my style aikido, and let that form the dojo. Actually, those who had trained one term someplace else were the ones whose minds were hardest set on their image of what aikido was and took the longest time to change.

I guess when I started out this venue, I didn't know how to politely say "I do it slightly different".
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