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#256001 - 05/20/06 09:08 AM Practice what you know, or what's being taught?
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
It's interesting to watch people. We have some students that have had some previous training who are now in our class, and every time we teach a technique, they go back to their "old" way of doing it (which they don't do well, by the way) and seem to ignore the instructions. They're polite when we point out what they should be doing, and go right back to doing it wrong again.

I finally asked one of them "do you want to do what you know, or are you interested in learning what we can teach you?" He changed what he was doing until I walked away, and went right back to "doing what he was doing".

I have no problem with someone learning several different ways to do a technique, but they should at least make some effort to do them the way they're being taught at the time.
I would no more do that to a teacher than just walk off the mats, but apparently students today seem to think that there's "no courtesy required" in classes any more.

Maybe the reason I've had such a good time doing martial arts over the years is that I "got it" from day one. Teachers take time out of their life to show you things, and it's just basic courtesy to at least make some effort to learn it... but I've had that problem from people of that style before. They spend half their class "being polite", and the rest of the class ignoring the teaching...
it's both sad and shameful, and they're the loser for having that kind of an attitude.

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

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#256002 - 05/20/06 12:34 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught? [Re: wristtwister]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I try to be open-minded about new technical concepts. However, there are certain physical limitations I have (on certain techniques) that would be more trouble than it's worth for me to change at this point.

Not trying to be rude to my instructors, but (for example), I simply do not have the hip flex required to do a good Muay Thai roundhouse kick. I like the technique, and have modified my kicks to accomodate as much of the Thai influence as I can. But I do not really kick Thai style.

So, perhaps it is not always willful insolence on the part of the students, but rather some limitation that they would rather not complain about. Just a thought.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#256003 - 05/20/06 04:23 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught? [Re: MattJ]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I think any student that was limited in something that would stop them from doing a technique would say so to the instructor, rather than just continuing to do it differently from the instruction. He has no trouble doing it the way it's shown when I ask him to demonstrate it that way, but he just keeps on going back to his "other method".

I've been nice about it, but my partner is getting a bit miffed when he sees them intentionally doing it the way it's taught in their old school. I've trained in both Hombu and Shin Shin Toitsu schools before, and wherever I'm training, I try to do it "their way", if for no other reason, to be courteous to the teacher. To train so much on "being polite", they sure didn't get the message.


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

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#256004 - 05/20/06 07:45 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
The problem as I see it is it's hard to fill a cup that's already full.

The question is how do we get people to "empty their cups" first?

The brain is a pretty amazing "computer". The problem is, it's hard to program it, or reprogram it. The other problem is that most people use less than 5% of their brain capacity. (It used to be 10% 20 years ago).

The issue is how do we reprogram (or program new) neural pathways, so that we change our behaviours? The same thing applies in trying to control alcohol abuse, quit smoking, or losing weight and keeping it off.

It's like a person who has suffered a stroke relearning how to use parts of their body again.

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#256005 - 05/21/06 12:07 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Eyrie,
I'm not sure underbelts have enough experience to even have an opinion, much less a "full cup". That's why it's so frustrating to try to teach someone that keeps going back to their "old training".

I've started asking them why their technique doesn't work. When they can't answer me, I'll say "then why don't you try it the way we're teaching you to do it?"

I don't expect them to know the answers, but they should know how to listen and copy what you show them. A lot of aikido is simple body mechanics, and it's like these guys "go stupid" as soon as they start doing anything on their own.

Bad technique is not going to improve with practice, and if you're going to "fix it" you have to make changes. These guys are like dogs returning to their vomit...

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

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#256006 - 05/21/06 12:30 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Yep. Cognitive dissonance. Fortunately I don't have that problem. Well, I used to. Some karate and TKD guys came to check us out and all they wanted to do was kata and sparring.

So I made them do really boring solo exercises and simple paired drills that were not technique related. It forced them to do something different to what they're normally used to and to establish a movement baseline. Ya know, the boring old "wrist grabs".

Then I was told that nobody attacks this way. So I said, great, attack me in whatever way and I'll show you what I mean. First thing he does is try to grab my wrist. Go figure.

Usually the ones that want to "learn how to fight" get bored and never really learn how to fight. Usually they never come back either. Which is great, coz I really hate wasting time retraining people who don't want to learn.

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#256007 - 05/21/06 09:37 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
WT -

OK. So what would you do if you have a person that has technique that works for them. Perhaps the technique does not work as well as your technique, but it still works. Does that warrant a concerted effort on the instructor's part to TRY to change it?

Perhaps the student's cup is full enough, if not actually full?
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#256008 - 05/21/06 10:03 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: MattJ]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I let them "do their technique" on me. When they get to the point where it's weak, I do my technique on them. Fortunately, the one I've had a problem with in these guys, is one where at one point, the positions are exactly identical for uke and nage, and the one with the lead is the one who "wins" (shiho-nage).

The way I do the technique (and the Hombu method), you have control of the uke from the initiation of the technique, so there is never a "positional advantage" that can be exploited. Trust me, I've been teaching this stuff long enough that I know how to teach the techniques, it's "de-training" that these guys need.

I've trained with a lot of different instructors over the years, and I guess that I have an open enough mind to give their technique a chance before I bail out and start doing what I was doing before I started training with them. I especially am going to change what I'm doing if my stuff doesn't work against their stuff...

What do you think I need to do... open a "slow learners" class?

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

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#256009 - 05/21/06 10:55 AM 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 bumped head on into this when I was obliged to switch schools a few years back. It is the difference between "Learning The Technique" and imitating/copying the movements as demonstrated by the instructor. I have come to believe the second is the culturally original "traditional" way of learning an oriental art. Problem is, they never say. The student is supposed to figure it out for him/herself in the oriental manner. The point is to do as the teacher does, no matter how you originally were "taught". If the teacher is demonstrating a "variation", live with it. He is doing it for a reason, even if he is not sharing his motivation with you.

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#256010 - 05/23/06 08:22 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
Quote:

He is doing it for a reason, even if he is not sharing his motivation with you.




Bingo!

What I think is amazing, is that these "pre-trained" people will go right back to doing whatever they were doing even if it isn't working!!!

My senior student was told on many occasions during training, "You won't understand this for at least ten years, but just keep doing it this way". Now, he's Sandan in Aikido and Godan in jujutsu, and tells me all the time that he'll be doing something and have an epiphany where he suddenly understands why I taught him to do something a certain way.

Maybe the hardest thing to teach people in martial arts is that there are things learned through practice that can't be put into words.

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

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#256011 - 08/08/06 07:27 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: MattJ]
AikiGhost Offline
Member

Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 85
Loc: UK
For me definitely practice what is being shown, but if its crap disregard it later.
_________________________
AikiGhost 4 years MMA Submission Wrestling / MMA (ongoing)

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#256012 - 08/09/06 03:30 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught? [Re: wristtwister]
kunin Offline
hard-boiled aggression

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 73
Loc: - cloud-hidden in the big city
Quote:

It's interesting to watch people. We have some students that have had some previous training who are now in our class, and every time we teach a technique, they go back to their "old" way of doing it (which they don't do well, by the way) and seem to ignore the instructions. They're polite when we point out what they should be doing, and go right back to doing it wrong again.



I've had that experience when I've taught, and I hope that I've never behaved that way myself. I definitely agree that if you find yourself training at a particular dojo, you should take care to conform to the house style while you're there, both as a matter of common courtesy and as an opportunity to broaden your experience. Unfortunately, I think Eyrie's right—most of us have trouble emptying our cups, no matter that they're filled with fine tea or with sewer sludge.

I have to confess that I used to take such behavior personally—almost as if it were an assault on my worth as an instructor and on the integrity of my art. Now, unless it interferes with other students' learning, I'm inclined to let such recalcitrance go after an initial conversation, pretty much ignoring the bad actor after that. Why should I invest my time and energy trying to convince such people when they obviously think they know better? I'd rather reserve these for students who are willing to give my instruction an honest try.

I have to admit that that's relatively easy to do in something like a taijiquan class, especially when people are concentrating on their solo form. It's not always so easy to pull off, however, when the practice regimen is inherently more interactive like aikido or jujutsu. A problem student in that sort of context is likely to have a greater impact on class flow, morale, and safety.

I did train in aikido and judo in my younger years, and I was often called upon at the brown and black belt levels to teach classes at our dojo. Our teacher taught our yudansha and other senior students to make a point of working personally with particularly rude or stuck-up outsiders—delivering our techniques with class, to be sure, but also with enough kick to enforce a sense of respect for the school. No need to hash anything over verbally--just put the bozo down a couple of inches into the mats while sticking with the house rules. I'm not sure that this stratagem would work so well with today's jaded sensibilities and general atmosphere of entitlement, but it usually paid off back then, with the offensive party shaping up or never coming back.



Edited by kunin (08/09/06 03:48 AM)

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#256013 - 08/09/06 11:53 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: AikiGhost]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Sometimes it is a little tough to do as "they" do, especially if paired with an orange belt (two stripes) who (in the most polite way possible) explains how to do a kotegaishi which looks very like a borderline shihonage.

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#256014 - 08/12/06 10:28 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
Iaibear,
since the energy pattern for shihonage and kotegaeshi are the same, what's the problem? Sure, they orange belt needs to learn to stretch out the attacker's arm to apply the spiraling energy at the wrist, but that's part of learning.

I've played against black belts who raised kotegaeshi up so high I couldn't go over my arm if I had a step stool, so it isn't always the "mismatch" that's the problem. There's a point where it makes more sense to use shihonage rather than kotegaeshi, but I wouldn't expect an orange belt to understand the parameters for that decision yet.

When they're "politely explaining" the technique wrong, you need to exert a little discipline and correct their mechanics, especially if they're near beginners. You aren't a schmuck if you explain to them that you have to have the hand low enough to execute the technique or switch to a different technique. Where trying to make it work when it's wrong won't teach them much, exerting a little knowledge by saying "I'm familiar with this technique, and the correct way to do it is...."

I know that they will continue to do it "their way"... wrong... but you've held your ground, and can do it correctly when it's your turn. I always call it "adjusting attitudes by adjusting altitudes"...

Taking that big "sword step" will make a difference too... They always learn more when you're in the "launch mode"...

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

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#256015 - 09/07/06 01:26 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
cuongnhu Offline
Stranger

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1
just wondering but where in south carolina do u teach? im on the hunt for a new school

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#256016 - 09/07/06 11:35 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: cuongnhu]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Right now, I'm not teaching anywhere. My wife has cancer and I have to care for her rather than train. When I do, however, I'm in Simpsonville.

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

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#256017 - 11/02/06 01:56 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught? [Re: wristtwister]
fileboy2002 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 999
Loc: Chicago, IL
Are you sure these students are doing the techniques "wrong" just to spite you?

Perhaps they have been doing techniques "wrong" for so long it has become reflexive. Few people can see a technique done once (or even several times) and simply "do it right."

I say this because you mentioned that when it came to MAs, you were always able to "get it" pretty quickly. Often, people who have a natural aptitude for something, be it MAs or mathematics, get frustrated when others are not able to catch on as quickly. They do not realize that is easy for them may be quit difficult for others.

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#256018 - 11/03/06 10:25 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught? [Re: fileboy2002]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I don't think any of them are doing it to spite me, they just don't "get it".

There are a lot of teachers who, if you ask them what time it is, they tell you how to build a watch. I'm not one of them... I teach principles, methods, and then practice... but you have to have an understanding of any art's basics to be able to perform it. I can teach a monkey to mimic my movements, or do certain things that look "martial artsy"... but that doesn't mean they understand or can effectively use the movements to defend themselves.

Martial arts are structured so that you learn things in layers... and like peeling an onion, you either reach the truth by peeling away the outer covering, or learn to slice through the body and find the center. Understanding what you're doing is paramount in learning "how" to do something, and having a "martial mindset" is important.

Whether I have a sword, bokken, or am standing there "empty handed", I want you to feel that you are threatened if I'm attacking... and my demeanor, looks, and intent are clear because I have that "martial mind" that you can see those things in my face. Now, that being said, I could do the same motions with you, and unless you felt threatened, it would not make any impression on you at all. It's all about intent.

If you think my attack is bogus... you won't give "self defense" any creedence... and you won't respond with a good self defense technique. If you think I'm trying to kill you, you'll give it a better effort and whether or not you have something "perfect", you'll try to make it work to protect yourself.

If all you ever practice is what you know... you might be really good if someone gives you the "prearranged attack" you're expecting... but if their intent is serious, and you have "only what you know" to work with... you're probably toast.

Kote gaeshi is a perfect example... most arts and styles have some form of kotegaeshi technique. If you're used to practicing it at "shoulder level", you'll never be able to throw the opponent. If you're used to lowering the technique until someone can easily "turn over", you'll have a technique... otherwise, you're just doing motions... and will probably get the hell beat out of you while you're trying to make it work.

Martial arts is fighting practice... not "motion practice"... and if you aren't fighting... you aren't doing martial arts. You have to practice with intent...

Some students do... some don't...

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

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#256019 - 11/04/06 12:08 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
Glad to have you back among us, wristtwister.

Just a question because I truly want to know:
When you demonstrate a technique how persistent are you?
My sensei was showing us a single hand same side gi grab (katatori) that became a nikkyo that morphed into a yonkyo complete with radial nerve pressure.

I was having trouble. He repeated it. "Did you see it?" "No." Repeat. "Did you see it that time?" "No." Repeat. Still "no."

He moved on while one of his black belts tried to clarify it for me. This gentleman showed me where there had been a grip switch and a wrist pivot on the grabbing arm. So help me, if he had not taken that extra time I would never have caught it purely be watching or even having it done to me.

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#256020 - 11/04/06 03:41 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
Some techniques take that "extra time"... and lots of teachers seem to think that you're automatically supposed to "see the technique" and be able to do it. I'm not quite that pragmatic.

I'll usually ask someone "where did you lose it?", and start at that point s l o w l y to show them how hand changes, etc. are done. I know I've said this a million times, but "all of aikido is in the warmup exercises". If you're doing a grip that you don't practice in warmups... it's probably wrong. Even with "hand changes", the position of the hand has to be where you can do the grip correctly.

Every time I'm doing warm-ups, I tell students that Aikido is nothing more than doing your warm-up exercises with somebody else's hand. I'd like to make it more complicated than that (which would make me look smart), but that's all there is. Correct grip = correct technique... incorrect grip = whatever you come up with.

As a teacher, I try to spend enough time to make everyone understand what they're doing... but I can't teach them practice.



p.s. Not sure "I'm back" yet, but I had a few minutes that weren't being spent doing "tasks"... Thanks for the sentiment.
_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#256021 - 11/06/06 06:20 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
sure Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/05/05
Posts: 13
When you're shown a new way of doing an established technique, while you have the opportunity to do it slowly and be conscious of the difference, it's often do-able. As sooon as it's speeded up a bit, then one tends to react automatically...and, of course, it's the established pattern that comes to the fore - despite one's best intentions.

Another observation is that some people don't have a good sense of their body position in space. They think they're doing exactly what the instructor demonstrated, can even tell you what they saw, but their body just isn't doing what their eyes saw - unless it's a completely new technique. Sometimes telling people to stop just as they're about to enter into the old pattern will make them realise their error; sometimes physically demonstrating what they're doing and re-demonstrating what they're supposed to be doing will make them realise they're actually in error.

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#256022 - 11/24/06 09:50 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: sure]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
I've been reading and re-reading some of the older posts that I missed during my wife's illness, and not to be contrary, but what this post poses is "if it works, why change it?" I agree that you can be shown different ways to do particular techniques, and they can be done easily at slow speeds and a little more difficultly at higher speeds... but it still poses the question... why fix it if it ain't broke? If it's a "better way", then you should change it... if it's just different, I'd file it away and use the method that is proved best. That's why there are different styles of everything... one method works best under one set of mechanical movements, and another works under a different philosophy or type of mechanical movement... and that doesn't mean either method is wrong, just different.

How you train has a lot with how difficult something is to do as well... if you do "Shotokan" or Shuri-type punching, "Goju" punching is extremely uncomfortable for you, and will prove "more difficult" than your "normal" movement, so when you go back to a "high speed" movement, which one do you think you'll use?

Cross training can be one of the most frustrating things you do in martial arts simply because you're usually trying to do things that are foreign to you. While practice doesn't make perfect, it does make "unfamiliar" more comfortable...

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

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#256023 - 11/26/06 03:36 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
This topic to me is a no-brainer: practice the technique the way the instructor is demonstrating it - period. I have had the opportunity to practice with aikidoka from other "styles", if you will, that practiced techniques completely differently form the way they were shown. It is counter-productive and an insult to the dojo/instructor to ignore what is being shown.

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#256024 - 11/26/06 05:32 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Supremor Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/22/04
Posts: 2510
Loc: UK
Quote:

It is counter-productive and an insult to the dojo/instructor to ignore what is being shown.




I can appreciate how this is a very common perception among Aikidokas- you're art is far more technique specific than others. I mean, my roundhouse technique has changed a lot over time in TKD. It started out like a traditional roundhouse, then developed into a more MT style roundhouse, however, never did my teacher take my change of technique as an insult to him. Indeed it would be wrong for him to do so- my personal body shape, mechanics etc. may make a certain technique more effective for me than others. If my instructor has my interests at heart, then he should be very happy for me to change a technique to something that is more effective for me.

If you do a technique a little differently, and it works, an instructor forcing you to change it seems petty in the least.

I saw Wristtwister's argument as more about people who do techniques incorrectly AND ineffectively, no matter how many times the instructor shows them. People that are happy to do a technique ineffectively are certainly in the wrong, and the instructor would be right to feel peeved.

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#256025 - 11/26/06 06:03 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Supremor]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
I completely agree - every practitioner will "perform a technique in their own way", but a round house kick is a round house kick. The mechanics are the same, but one person may kick higher; one person might snap it around "Karate-style" while another might pop it "Kung Fu-style" - but it's still a round house kick.

In Aikido, (at least at my dojo) the instructor demonstrates a technique, and then the students practice the technique the way it was shown. It is true that there are many ways to perform the same Aikido technique, and none of them are necessarily "wrong", but the class is "expected" to practice the technique the way it was shown is what I was trying to say.

Of course it is not an insult to the instructor when I do not get my 6'2" frame as low to the ground during shihonage as he does. But I think it would be an insult if I practiced the technique the way I learned it at another dojo and turned it into some kind of over-the-shoulder arm-bar technique that was shown during instruction. (That actually happened to me in class one time. A lady from a SoCal dojo did that to me. It wasn't "wrong", nor was it ineffective, but it wasn't what we were supposed to be practicing). Just my opinion. I am not opposed to freelancing, playing around with techniques, or learning other styles - but there is a "time and a place for everything", and I think the thread-starter was referring to this type of situation.

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#256026 - 11/27/06 01:46 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
That's a good point as well. Your physical abilities and restrictions might preclude you from doing a technique exactly as shown by a teacher, but you still give it your best effort.

I went to a seminar with a well-known instructor from Japan whose depth of movement in certain techniques was never going to happen with me. I couldn't even step and squat close to what he did in the techniques, but I did as much as I could, and picked up a great deal of information about how to make the skills work better (even though I couldn't make my body work that way at the time). I've seen a lot of martial artists over the years who could do things with their bodies that wouldn't happen with mine without surgery and extreme torture, but I still marveled at their movements.

What it did, was change my training regimen so that we did more deep stretching in order to get to the "mechanical position" that he taught us in the class. I still can't hit the level he could in those particular techniques, but I'm "better" at it from the experience... and that's always the goal of teaching... expanding the art and making the students better at it.

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

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#256027 - 11/27/06 09:23 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: wristtwister]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Just my standard bellyache:
How can you "practice what you know" when all you are shown are variations? This implies you never do "know" anything so how can you practice it?

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#256028 - 11/27/06 08:54 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
The point is, that all these "variations" aren't what you should really be focusing on. The point is, to look below the surface level technique and to discover the essence of what it is that you are practising.

Whether that be karate, jujitsu, or aikido...

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#256029 - 11/27/06 10:24 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
Seldom, if ever, is a technique done exactly the same way 2 times. The essence of the technique is there, such as the principle of sankyo or nikkyo, but each attack is of itself different, and your reception of the attack is a matter of different timing, balance, and centering.

Almost every technique I do starts with a nikkyo "bite" on the wrist, and then progresses to whatever I'm doing unless it's an irimi technique, and I doubt if you'll ever see it in a "traditional" class... but I like to use that particular method of moving people "in my direction"... so think of every technique as "how would I like to get there?" You'd be surprised how easy things are when everything starts in the same place...

I know what you're saying, but the principle of any technique is the same regardless of what "hand jive" is used to make the uke jump.

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

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#256030 - 11/27/06 10:28 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
Chen Zen Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
I didnt read all the replies but here is my thoughts on the initial few posts anyways. I think at some point in everyones training, there comes a time in which what you are doing finally becomes a part of you and who you are. Whether thats a good thing or not is debatable, but it happens. Some people will keep certain techniques for life, while others will spend a lifetime looking for certain techniques. The key is to find what works best for you, INDIVIDUALY, and apply that. End the end the art is about the individuals needs, if it is to be successful. Since that is the case, non of us do things the same, and its unrealistic to think that we would, or even should.
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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#256031 - 11/28/06 08:44 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Some people will keep certain techniques for life, while others will spend a lifetime looking for certain techniques. The key is to find what works best for you, INDIVIDUALY, and apply that. End the end the art is about the individuals needs, if it is to be successful. >>

My first six years in aikido were exactly that. I found maybe eight techniques that worked for me. They were instinctive.
Then I had to change schools and the next six years were spent UNlearning. Just practicing endless variations while I stood there like a dumb bear trying to remember, "NOW what do I do?"

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#256032 - 11/28/06 07:48 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
It might be helpful to simply "forget technique" altogether. What wristtwister wrote 2 posts back is worthwhile re-reading. It's the principle and essence of the technique or variation that's the point. Techniques are merely frameworks for learning the structural mechanics of movement.

I think the point of bombarding people with a multitude of variations is precisely to allow them to feel the subtle differences of what is essentially the same principle. My teacher used to do that. Sadly most would usually revert to doing what they were already familiar with - thereby missing the point of the lesson altogether - and thus the point of this thread.

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#256033 - 11/28/06 11:28 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< I think the point of bombarding people with a multitude of variations is precisely to allow them to feel the subtle differences of what is essentially the same principle. >>

And if a person is unable to learn that way? As I wrote, I have only been at this since 1994. To get through to me the instructor should TELL me what to do. I seem to be impervious to hints.

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#256034 - 11/29/06 12:14 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
First, empty your cup. Then empty yourself. If still in doubt, ask your instructor. There are many things that just can't be "told". You have to discover them for youself. It's not that it cannot be described, but more so, if described, such description would be inadequate to encapsulate the completeness or wholeness.

Bottom line is that you must realize this stuff on your own. As teachers or instructors, we can only hint, point and prompt at what it is you need to discover for yourself.

Sorry to be so vague...

Forget technique, forget variations, FEEL what is happening. Find the "feeling"... once you recognize it, you'll know what it is. Don't stop looking for it. It is in every technique and every variation.

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#256035 - 11/29/06 10:26 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
iaibear Offline
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Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Bottom line is that you must realize this stuff on your own. As teachers or instructors, we can only hint, point and prompt at what it is you need to discover for yourself.

Sorry to be so vague... >>

"Discovery learning" is very trendy.
I truly appreciate your time and effort, eyrie. Please do not take it wrong when I say I have heard all this before, often, and it simply does NOT work for me. I am still taking Aikido because I enjoy it more than Taibo.

Yesterday in class my favorite sensei accidentally (?) slowed us Yokomenuchi Iriminage right out of the Aikido Federation 3rd Kyu Syllabus. The old synapses kicked in and for a few minutes I actually knew what I was doing. Dang! That felt great!

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#256036 - 11/29/06 06:44 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
No offense taken mate.

Like I said, forget the "techniques" - it's not the technique, but what's IN the technique. All techniques have an entry, an "execution" and an exit. Work on those things INSTEAD of the "technique".

The idea is to TRANSCEND technique, so that ONE technique is ALL techniques. The point is to find the ONE "technique".

If THAT makes sense?

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#256037 - 11/29/06 10:35 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I have to weigh in again. First off, I have assumed that every "Aikido dojo" is different in the way they conduct various classes. Second, I agree with everyone that different people have different physical capabilities and limitations. Third, I agree that every martial artist "travels their own path and finds their thechniques". But, again, in response to the intial post, I believe there is a time and place for everything, and "general or beginners' classes" are not the place to "find your technique" or practice the demonstrated technique the way you learned at your previous dojo during Aikido classes. I think this is what the poster was speaking to. I could be wrong.

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#256038 - 11/29/06 10:43 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Chen Zen Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Perhaps. I think it might not be such a bad thing that people practice differently. If they can make the technique work for them, then why not? Its all interpretation in the end anyways, why would it matter if this interpretation came earlier to some than others?
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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#256039 - 11/29/06 10:50 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: Chen Zen]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
Again, I agree with what you have said. Let me put it this way: many dojos will teach a specific technique with different variations of the same technique. That's fine. I have no problem with that. But if I visist another dojo that "performs/teaches" a technique differently than my "home dojo", and I practice it the way I know versus the way the host dojo and their students "practice it", is that not a bit of a "slap in the face" to the instructor of the class and counter-productive to my partners' practice who are members of the host dojo?

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#256040 - 11/29/06 11:09 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: belvedere]
Chen Zen Offline
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Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Well, that depends on the instructors interpretation of what you are doing. Who's to say rather or not he would be offended? As far as his interaction with his students, I offer that change is good, and being exposed to a variety of other students and opponents would do nothing but offer benifit to the student.
_________________________
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

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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
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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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#256051 - 12/03/06 07:00 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Well, you can't learn aikido by "rote"... if you do, you are merely practising the empty shell of aikido technique.

I agree with wristtwister. Go train with other groups, expand your horizons and perceptions. Maybe something will "click" for you.

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#256052 - 12/04/06 11:01 AM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

Well, you can't learn aikido by "rote"... if you do, you are merely practising the empty shell of aikido technique.

I agree with wristtwister. Go train with other groups, expand your horizons and perceptions. Maybe something will "click" for you.




My first six years were spent at the only other Aikido dojo in our area (now gone). That sensei taught by rote. It stuck in motor memory and is still there to this day after six years at a dojo where ALL the sensei(s) "hint" and occasionally disagree with each other on details. LOL

Empty shell is better than nothing. And it is still better than Taibo. ;-)

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#256053 - 12/04/06 07:56 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
And better to be an oak rather than an acorn....

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#256054 - 12/04/06 08:33 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: eyrie]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

And better to be an oak rather than an acorn....



If it were a perfect world. . .

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#256055 - 12/05/06 10:01 PM Re: Practice what you know, or what's being taught [Re: iaibear]
belvedere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/26/06
Posts: 40
It is a perfect world - inhabited by imperfect people who insist on completely wrecking it for me. hehe

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