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Home > Teaching > To Teach or to Perform. That's the Question
by Dennis Hooker <Send E-mail to Author> - 22. Jan, 1997

Just an observation.

A few weeks ago I went to watch a sensei teach a seminar. Actually as I watched, it became more apparent that he was not teaching so much as performing for the attendees. I could not help but feel sorry for some of the people that paid to learn but were getting a show. It was a good performance and should have duly impressed the attendees as well as the audience, but it was a poor tool for teaching unless of course you want to teach people how good you are.

I remember paying hard earned money (I made $80 a week working in a slaughter house and had a wife and two children to support) to attend a seminar only to watch the teacher do things I had no hope of doing; then when we practiced, we did the same thing we did in the dojo everyday. No explanation, no assistance -- he just walked around looking grand until the next performance.

I know how it feels to be the center attraction. I too was a "teacher" performer and it took me a long time to realize that those folks came to me and paid money to learn, not watch me trash ukes all weekend.

It is now my hope that after every class in the dojo and after every seminar, everyone has something tangible to take with them and not just the knowledge of how good or bad I am at Aikido. I make all my yudansha teach, and I watch as some perform and some teach with concern for the learning and progress of their fellow students.

Anyone can open a dojo showcase their performance but to be a teacher is very hard indeed, much harded than being a performer.

Dennis Hooker
Shindai Aikikai
Orlando Fl.
ASU
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