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Old 08-24-2005, 05:09 AM   #51
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Lesson within lesson...This is a teacher's nightmare

Students attend your class because they think you have something interesting to teach them.
Any directions given by students to other students must comply with the lesson at hand, no matter what style one is accustomed to. Students that give directions that are out of scope for the lesson at hand should be corrected by either other (older) students or the teacher.
Obviously the ability to understand the lesson depends on the experience of the student, but also the teacher.

Aikido is hard as it is to start with, but becomes near impossible to learn with multiple 'teachers' on the tatami.
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:24 AM   #52
Lyle Bogin
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Re: "experienced" students

"Aikido is hard as it is to start with, but becomes near impossible to learn with multiple 'teachers' on the tatami."

This has been my experience in every class I have ever taken. Multiple teachers is what I would consider a normal and healthy state of training.
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Old 08-24-2005, 07:49 AM   #53
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote:
This has been my experience in every class I have ever taken. Multiple teachers is what I would consider a normal and healthy state of training.
Please do not get me wrong here. I am not to say that it is wrong to have multiple teachers on the tatami
What I have read here is about students imposing style differences or have different focus on the exercise shown by the teacher, hence lesson within lesson. These 'teachers' one can do without
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Old 08-25-2005, 04:16 PM   #54
Aiki LV
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Re: "experienced" students

I'm in a situation similar to what is described in the original post. Only I'm not the Sensei, I'm the "transfer" student. I' ve been practicing at my current dojo for about 1 1/2 years now. I came from a different aikido association with a dan rank, but have since joined there association. At first I have to admit it was really hard for me to train in a new place. I learned some techniques and other things differently than my current Sensei was teaching them. In a way I had to train my body all over again, because I was so accustomed to doing something a certain way. Many times his take on movement and technique were very different. I always tried to go with the flow of Sensei. If he wanted me to do a movement or technique a certain way, I did it his way. There are times I did not always agree with what he was doing, but I did it anyway. Not so much for myself, but out of respect for him in his dojo. From my observation of others in a similar situations sometimes people might do things different on purpose, but sometimes people don't realize what they are doing is different because the details are so subtle. Granted if you are of a higher rank you should be able to detect these differences, but it doesn't always happen that way. I think the main thing is that there is a mutual respect. As long as someone isn't doing something totally egregious the student should just go with what the sensei wants when working with newer students. It isn't the transfer student call, it's the sensei's.

Last edited by Aiki LV : 08-25-2005 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 09-06-2005, 04:12 AM   #55
Paul D. Smith
 
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Re: "experienced" students

To me, this is simple. Yudansha or not, experienced or not, I expect students to find their Aikido through their bodies. With a qualified instructor on the mat, I think it wrong for anyone to be teaching but, well, the teacher. All else in my mind shortcircuits the student's finding the marriage of body, mind, waza. After class, or during free training periods, great - I love learning what others do; but during class, I presume the teacher has a purpose behind what they are doing, and I want to capture the principles therein.

This is how I train, and how I teach, at any rate.
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:21 PM   #56
Mark Oosterveen
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Re: "experienced" students

I think this is a fascinating thread! Especially because the opinions seem to differ quite dramatically.

Here's my opinion then. I am a (starting)teacher and a student. In my experience it has always been a part of Aikido training that sempais are teaching kohais during class. This is more or less a natural thing to do.

Last Monday, for instance, there was a young man who was at the dojo for the first time. Off course he did not know how to do anything. Therefore the seniors were showing him how to do ukemi and also how the various techniques should be executed.

All of us have been that young man (or woman) at some point in our life. And as our practice in Aikido progressed, most of us will have been in the position that we trained with an absolute beginner and explained how the techniques should be executed.

For a teacher in a dojo with more than ten pupils it is almost impossible to constantly correct everybody. Therefore the help of senior students to give pointers to beginners, is welcome and, in my opinion, necessary.

However while those seniors try to explain the technique that the teacher showed, they are really showing their interpretation of the technique that the teacher showed. And that technique is almost never exactly the same as the one the teacher was showing. I however don't experience that as a problem. As the pupil progresses he or she will eventually get more and more insight in the technique and the way that the teacher is showing it. Eventually the pupil will develop his or her own Aikido and the way he or she has been tought by his or her teacher will show through his or her Aikido and also in the way he or she is explaining it to the beginners.
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:39 AM   #57
odudog
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Re: "experienced" students

I think that the problem lies with the yudansha that is doing the extra teaching on the mat. If the person that he/she is working with is a complete novice, then they should help instruct the person on doing the technique in the way that is was demonstrated. They can do the technique their way, but guide the novice in the Sensei's way. I'm not a yudansha yet but I am one of the sempai in my dojo and I do a lot of things differently. I tell the novices not to follow me and do what the Sensei demonstrated. With the other people, I just tell them that there is a veriation if they are wondering what I'm doing.
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:22 PM   #58
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Re: "experienced" students

I've spent the bulk of my Aikido training being a "visitor". All of my basic Aikido instruction was under instructor A, who, following my beginning instruction, transferred out of state. We had small classes, with a lot of one on one instruction, and he encouraged to attend any and all seminars so we can learn how others do techniques--primarily to understand how to blend with something unexpected (different from what we are used to).
I do my best to understand the movement the Sensei (Instructor B,C,D...) is doing, and I have had to catch myself when my training partner asks me about a particular techinique. I've learned it best to do a quick "Sensei, is this right?" And I will either get a nod or a correction as needed.
I am very thankful to my initial training as I have often heard, "Your basics are very good. Who did you train under?" To be honest, its not always easy to leave my ego at the door. But when I realize that I will gain more knowledge by listening, watching, and practicing, it makes me excited about learning variations.
As was mentioned previously, "learning how to learn" is important. Not just on the mat, but off as well. Being able to adapt to a given situation and respond accordingly is at the heart of Aikido--at least that's what I think.

John
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:54 AM   #59
Mark Uttech
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Re: "experienced" students

Half the time being nage and half the time being uke is a 'whole time' practice. One teaches by 'being nage' and by 'being uke'. Any questions go to the appropriate sensei, and yes, there is no such thing as "spare time."
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Old 10-14-2005, 06:11 AM   #60
Peter Seth
Dojo: Zanshin. Sunderland University
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Smile Re: "experienced" students

Hi all.
I think a good 'teacher' should not mind any differences in style, approach etc which any yudansha brings to their class. I positively encourage any input, so long as it is 'aiki based' and not in my opinion, dangerous. I learn more from my students than from anywhere else - from their 'experiments' with form, flow, movement and the unbelievable diversity it can create in technique
Saying that, it can sometimes be a little frustrating when 'young ego's' come along to 'test' their newly aquired skills on us 'old hands'. You know - 'mines better than yours' sort of thing, but again, this can be a positive, sharing experience if handled in an 'aiki' way.
Nuff said
Cheers
Pete
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Old 10-14-2005, 09:13 PM   #61
NagaBaba
 
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Re: "experienced" students

I'd use Yoshinkan method, put ppl in two rows and bum! everybody do exactly the same way.This is the best way to deal with big group of students like on summercamp.

Nagababa

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Old 10-18-2005, 12:38 PM   #62
tarik
 
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Re: "experienced" students

The more sincerely I train, I find that if I am training with a senior, junior, or even a peer, whether I am taking ukemi or practicing techniques, I find it impossible NOT to teach my partner or be instructed by my partner, even if we do not exchange a single word.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:31 AM   #63
erikmenzel
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Re: "experienced" students

As "experienced" student one has several responsiblities. One of those responsibilities is to be an example and cause one never know when other students might look at the "experienced" student to see an example the "experienced" student simply does not have the freedom to deviate from what the teacher is doing at all.

Another question would be why an "experienced" student would come to the lessons of the teacher if he/she is not following the teachings given by that teacher?

Erik Jurrien Menzel
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:04 AM   #64
giriasis
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Another question would be why an "experienced" student would come to the lessons of the teacher if he/she is not following the teachings given by that teacher?
We have that happen all the time. It's simple really, they moved away from their dojo of origin and they need someplace to practice. Fortunately my sensei is secure enough in his aikido to not demand the transfer to conform exactly to our way of doing things. He respects their different style, but I have seen him on occaision tell them that then ask them to try and work on a point he's trying to make. Also, he has even allowed some of these folks to teach their own class so people can get introduced to a different approach. As a result this USAF-East stylist has been exposed to ASU, Iwama and Western Region teachings. Radical, isn't it?

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 10-19-2005, 01:41 PM   #65
tarik
 
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Erik Jurrien Menzel wrote:
As "experienced" student one has several responsiblities. One of those responsibilities is to be an example and cause one never know when other students might look at the "experienced" student to see an example
I agree with that. Completely.

Quote:
Erik Jurrien Menzel wrote:
the "experienced" student simply does not have the freedom to deviate from what the teacher is doing at all.
I disagree with that. Completely. IMO, It's the inexperienced student who has less freedom.

Quote:
Erik Jurrien Menzel wrote:
Another question would be why an "experienced" student would come to the lessons of the teacher if he/she is not following the teachings given by that teacher?
What makes you think that the experienced student is deviating? At some point, you have to take ownership of your own training or you will not make any progress. Any truly excellent instructor will not only encourage this, but actually be able to teach you the tools you require to embark on that level of study.

The real problem described earlier in the thread is one of curriculum. If a school has a strong curriculum, it has a "WAY" of practicing techniques that should be the standard "WAY", and for every single thing practiced, there should be a legitimate WHY that is answerable.

If a senior student is deviating, they may not understand the WHY of the curriculum, or they may simply be engaged, as I described above, in their own exploration of specific principles presented within the curriculum.

In reality, of course, while most dojo do have a curriculum, a WHAT, some do not have very much real WHY. I've heard some very bizarre reasoning for doing things in an fashion I might otherwise consider reasonable.

I attribute that to the junior level of the instruction frequently offered, not by the dojo cho, necessarily, but by the inevitable array of yudansha who begin to lead classes without formal training or just because they've reached shodan (including me). A shodan does not yet know the WHY very well.. heck they've just barely learned the WHAT (and probably have more WHAT ahead of them).

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:18 PM   #66
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Re: "experienced" students

Rocky Izumi wrote a post a while back on how he was taught that when a senior student reached the level where she was doing things differently from her teacher, this was the point where she was expected to break off and start her own dojo. One of the main reasons, Rocky wrote, was to keep the senior student from influencing the junior students too much.

I agree with Anne in that this situation happens when people move. It is common for people to join our local dojo who studied Aikido in college and now live here due to work. Our local shihan is the only choice around here for Aikikai people. These people rarely even seem to be aware that their style is different from what the shihan is doing. And too many of them, when paired up with someone of less experience, start "teaching." I think a major source of problem is the idea that Aikido is Aikido, that there is a standard. And of course, the standard is always what the individual thinks is correct. Standardization means that a Big Mac tastes the same in Chicago or Tokyo, but it doesn`t mean it tastes good.

Anne,
I`m not sure that your teacher is open because he is secure. You train with Peter Bernath, right? He has been around for a fairly long time and your dojo is fairly big. I imagine that most of the senior students have movement that is immediately recognizable as Yamada/Bernath movement with a touch of Kanai. Because this support system is solidly in place, he can offer "side" classes in other styles. Back in the early days, I doubt that would have been so easy.

Charles
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Old 10-20-2005, 01:04 AM   #67
giriasis
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Re: "experienced" students

I think I see your point that you're trying to make is that due to the size of our school that we have "the luxury" of allowing some oddballs to be different, and smaller less well-established schools do not.

But when I'm saying that Peter is secure in his aikido I mean two things:

First, I mean by being secure in his aikido is that he doesn't go around during or after class or at seminars and talk about others. i.e. "other schools do that, but we do this..." or "such and such style is ineffective." or "such and such instructor doesn't teach this correctly." He doesn't go around offering his opinions, and when asked questions of politics, he is incredibly diplomatic and does not take advantage of the question being asked as authorization to blab on about politicial differences between instructors or groups.

Second, the other way I feel he is secure is that he allows people to maintain their own aikido and not expect them to teach elsewhere once they develop "their own aikido" in fear they might influence his other students.

Why it's like this, however, although I do see you're point, I don't necessarily agree with it. I believe different people have different teaching styles and some prefer to be more strict in their view of aikido than others. Maybe Peter is more flexible regarding other styles because of all the years he has taught and he has developed his own teaching style that works for him, and part of that teaching style has included incorporating and respecting other viewpoints of aikido. If you didn't know, Peter started in ki society dojo on the West Coast before he started training with Yamada Sensei and every now and then he will bring that teaching into his class. And this may be part of the reason for such a view.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:32 AM   #68
Ed Shockley
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Re: "experienced" students

The more I study, the less I talk.
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:55 PM   #69
Rocky Izumi
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Rocky Izumi wrote a post a while back on how he was taught that when a senior student reached the level where she was doing things differently from her teacher, this was the point where she was expected to break off and start her own dojo. One of the main reasons, Rocky wrote, was to keep the senior student from influencing the junior students too much.
Some recent research in Decision Training shows that early exposure to variations in techniques allows the trainee to more easily and more quickly learn how to deal with variations in practice later (as in a real situation). There must, however, be a good basis in the fundamentals of the training. So, that means that having different seniors showing things a little different from the shihan-dai (chief instructor????) is not bad but can be a good thing if the shoshinsha already had a good basis in the fundamentals and the fundamentals should be all the same for everyone if the shihan-dai teaches not from the basis of techniques but from the basis of fundamental principles.

After all, this is what should be differentiating Aikido from the many other martial arts that have the same techniques as we do. The techniques from one martial art to another, even though similar, differ in the principles upon which that technique is based. I think the best example of this is the difference in how a technique is performed between Aikido and Hapkido, or Aikido and Tai Chi Chuan, or Aikido and Wu Shu. In Aikido, we are trying to teach by the principles by using the techniques to demonstrate the principle which is best shown by that technique, rather than teaching techniques through which practitioners are supposed to elucidate the principles.

Yeah, we do things backwards, but that is what I find most intriguing about Aikido. By studying through the principles, the fundamentals of Aikido become applicable to the study of any other martial art, interpersonal interactions, or other behaviour. Thus, Aikido, as pointed out by Tohei Koichi Sensei, is applicable to daily life. It becomes applicable to the practice of organisational management. It becomes applicable to counter-terrorist driving. It becomes applicable to military strategy. It becomes applicable to anything you do.

If you study a bit of Wu Shu or Tai Chi or Karate or Kendo, you find how the fundamental movements are seen in all the martial arts, they are just applied a little differently. I used to study Napoleonic warfare a bit and found how the 90 degree rule is so important to military strategy. By studying the 90 degree principle rather than the techniques you begin to see all the different ways of applying it and it becomes clear how there are many different ways of getting to the same point. That makes it much easier to accommodate the many different ways of doing the same technique.

If you teach from the basis of showing principles through techniques rather than just teaching techniques for achieving some end goal (like bouncing uke off the mats), it becomes very easy to accommodate all the different ways that the senior students helping junior students teach a shoshinsha how to do a technique. In other words, I don't care if a senior student does a technique differently than I do it as long as they are showing the shoshinsha an application of the principle that I am trying to get across. I just got back from a class where I made a couple of the senior students show me how to do Katatetori Shihonage from the basis of Ken style and also from the basis of Jo style, and showing me a clear distinction of the two. Then, I made them explain the principles they were demonstrating using the technique.

Rock
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Old 04-05-2006, 11:53 PM   #70
Perry Bell
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Re: "experienced" students

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
I have noticed that at many dojo there are often yudansha that obviously have "transfered" from other dojo. They do techniques in different ways from the teacher. This might be fine in itself but I wonder about the effect on newer students. I have also often seen this kind of person teach students during practice. I think that this is due to the open nature of Aikido. I also think that this must be irritating and problematic for teachers.

I would really like to hear from teachers who have had to deal with this kind of thing. It would also be great to hear from students who have been "taught" by seniors in ways differing from what the teacher is teaching.

Thanks,
Charles Hill

Hi Charles

In my school I run specific classes for assistant instructors so that the students all learn the same way, I explain to my senior students that they may do the technique in a way that most fits their body, but if showing someone else there is a specific way to teach, in that way I keep the style as it was taught to me and it does not get mixed up with other peoples beliefs on how things should be done. what the student does with it after that is their responsibility after all the journey is their's.

Smile heaps be happy take care

Perry
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Old 04-06-2006, 12:17 AM   #71
Perry Bell
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Re: "experienced" students

Hi Charles,

Sorry I forgot to add that whilst the class is going on all students are encouraged to train in the same techniques regardless of what rank they are, unless they are having difficulty with it then they are show taken aside by a senior dtudent to help them learn, when the class is over thestudents are then encouraged to share their experiences with whom ever will listen

Thank train hard

Perry

Last edited by Perry Bell : 04-06-2006 at 12:19 AM.
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