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#256041 - 11/30/06 11:47 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Ok, let me put it this way: if I were an instructor (which I am not, but if I were) conducting a general Aikido class comprised of all skill levels of regular members, and had a student who happened to be in town for a few days, and let's say was a member of a west coast Aikido dojo that taught things "differently" than at my dojo, and completely ignored my demonstration of the immediate technique and insisted on doing it the way "they were taught" - I would be offeneded. I would think it counter-productive for their partner, and a slap in the face to me and my sensei.

Now, that individual would be more than welcome to "educate" the regular members during advanced class, and would probably be indulged for a little while. But come on, you don't go to a karate practice an start doing Hapkido on your partner, do you?

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#256042 - 12/01/06 01:19 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Well, what is more important, the art or the the person using it? I can understand your sentiment, but I can also understand being a representitive of your dojo in another place. More importantly than that, I think you must be true to yourself and your training. I think anything that another system had to offer would prove to be a learning experience for me and my students. Do you think that the student plans to continue what you showed him when he has to go back to his school, and learn the proper form to excell there? Its nice to think he might but most likely he will not.
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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#256043 - 12/01/06 10:48 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Very good points! And I agree. And, what you just said reminds me of an experience when "I" was the visiting student to another dojo. I was out of town on family business, and I checked out the closest Aikido dojo to where I was staying. I asked the sensei if I could attend general class later and offered a donation to the dojo for the privelege. He of course welcomed me, and we spoke about Aikido and the politics there of, my dojo, his history, etc. Anyway, I showed up for class in shorts and a t-shirt (left my keiko-gi at home not thinking I would have this opportunity during the trip). After warm-ups (quite different and "abbreviated" from what I am used to at home), the sensei asked me to practice with his yellow and green belts that were testing for promotions the following week. I don't recall the actual techniques, I'm sure they were the normal gamut of kote gaeshi, shiho nage, etc. The significant part is that they performed these techniques "differently" than the way we practice them at my dojo. And although my dojo practices as passed directly from O'Sensei, I immediately adapted to their style, and tried to be the BEST uke I could while they were nage, and learned to perform the techniques their way while I was nage.
I never would have been so rude to them and their sensei as to say, "this is how we do it at home, and my way comes direct from The Founder." Does my position make sense to anyone now? ~just curious~ -Belvy

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#256044 - 12/01/06 11:18 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
I see your point. Were you a higher ranking than the students he had you working with? Did you spar or just do technical work? Were you later able to offer something from your experiences to the other students? Through discussion or workout? And finally, do you think you benefited from doing things a little differently?
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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#256045 - 12/01/06 11:43 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Yes, I'm a brown belt at my dojo, and I had been practicing Aikido for around four years at the time. I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "sparring or technical work". Just guessing, I would say we were doing technical work. I was able to offer advice on certain nuances of their technique (such as their grip in kote gaeshi and shiho nage, and maybe their body position during irimi nage), but nothing contrary or alternative to the overall technique. Yes, I belive I did benifit from practicing these techniques from another perspective. But I happen to be a very openminded individual by nature. I have lines, but it takes a long time to cross them as far as I am concerned, you know?

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#256046 - 12/02/06 12:21 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Well it sounds like it was a worthwhile experience for you. What I meant by technical work or sparring was did you do drills or work on form; or did you spar with them or perhaps did you do both. Thanks for the civil conversation.
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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#256047 - 12/02/06 12:40 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Haha! You're welcome! I've been a civilian for a long time now! hehe You're right, we drilled on technique. And yes, I loved it! It was a lot of fun, and a great learning experinece for me.

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#256048 - 12/03/06 09:06 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Sounds like you had a true "learning experience", instead of simply "doing what you knew".

The point of this whole thread is to touch on the idea that there are many different ways to practice the same thing, and many times Aikidoka don't take advantage of the instruction or the situation in situations other than what occurs at "their dojo". Aikido is an applications art... not a "regimented skill", and almost every application of the same technique is somewhat different, even though you use the same principle and mechanical movements. It's more of a "how you got there" than "what you did" situation.

I view it as your own sensei's responsibility to teach you the mechanics and basics of principle for your techniques, and your responsibility to develop them. It isn't just "having an open mind" to learn, but actually developing the practice in different directions from the input you get at seminars, different dojo experience, and "other" instruction.

As an old karate player, I learned a lot of movement skills from karate that I use in aikido, and a lot of aikido skills that I use in karate. Are the different... sure, but not to the point that I'm doing "one are or the other". In the true zen sense, I am simply "being" and using both the knowledge and movement available to my body from my experiences.

The best lesson to learn is that it doesn't matter if your opponent is taken down using a karate technique, aikido technique, judo technique, jujutsu, or whatever... he isn't apt to analyze why he hit the mat or ended up pinned face down... that kind of falls to you in making the selection of what technique you want to select in "doing the work".

The more skills you develop "several different ways", the more "tools in your toolbox" are available to you. In all the discussions of "masters" I've read here and in dojos, what seems to be missing is the understanding that masters are just players like anyone else... they simply have developed their skills to the point that they act "seamlessly" from skill to skill, and perform them expertly. You hear that "practice doesn't make perfect... perfect practice makes perfect"... Well, the way you do that is to make enough mistakes that you understand what NOT to do, and are careful to avoid them.

Basically, we are always practicing "what we know", but we are constantly learning and re-defining our skills in an evolutionary situation. We are different today than we will be in two years with the same practice... better or worse? Only time will tell with how we practice...

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#256049 - 12/03/06 04:26 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< I view it as your own sensei's responsibility to teach you the mechanics and basics of principle for your techniques, and your responsibility to develop them. >>

Same old song and dance, sorry. My sensei does not teach, he hints. I have been hinted at for year. But I am a "by rote" student and it simply does not stick.

I worry that there are "teachers" out there who had the same problem and never were able to absorb what their teacher was "hinting' at.

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#256050 - 12/03/06 05:06 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Sorry to hear that, but you might actually consider changing instructors or going to classes that are taught by other people in the dojo. I've had some of those "vague" instructors before, and the way to overcome it is to find different people to teach you. It doesn't have to be a "dojo blowup" or anything like that, but a simple shift from one set of instructions to another.

I've had people explain things several things to me and still not understand it, and then someone else walk over and "turn the light on" quite simply by changing a few words or nuances in the technqiues I was studying. We all learn differently, and if what you're doing isn't working, you need to change something... it might be teachers, it might be working with different ukes, or it might be dojos.

It certainly doesn't make sense to keep spending money and time where you aren't getting anything back except frustration. Believe me, I've been there, and it isn't fun to study or work out when all you're told is "that's wrong" but never get the information to correct it.

Sounds like you have a "bad situation" regarding instruction... whether it's methods, the instructions themselves, or the teacher just not giving you the information. In any case, it won't change unless you change it.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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