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#420054 - 06/10/09 09:49 AM "Traditional" teaching style?
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Probably I am suffering from culture clash. After ten years of playing "Follow the Leader", which is the way Aikido is taught in our dojo, I was informed that I was expected to "steal" the techniques. Okay Now I am to become a thief, as well. How do I know if what I am stealing is the correct version, the whole version, or a version at all? I am a lousy thief.

What kind of culture has thievery so deeply ingrained that it is considered normal?

I have discovered a second Aikido dojo in town. Advertising is by word of mouth. I have actually learned more there in two months than in the last ten years "following the leader".

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#420055 - 06/10/09 01:40 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: iaibear]
Ames Offline
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Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I'm glad you moved on, because, to be frank, from some of your previous posts, it seemed like your former dojo had a lot of b.s. going on. If you have learned more in the past two months than you did it ten years, then hopefully you're learning curve will at least be shortened now that you are getting good instruction.

There is a concept in Aikido of 'stealing the technique'. This idea is also found in some (many?) koryu. However, I question validity of this approach in this day and age. Perhaps this way of teaching made sense in the feudal era of Japan, but now it is so often used to cover up for second or third rate teachers, who really have little idea of the hows and whys of a particular technique, who are only able to perform many techniques because the uke goes along with it. In other words, they don't really know what they are doing, beyond memorizing chereography--which is not Aikido. Sadly, this kind of dojo, in my experiance, is becoming extremely common.

Quote:

What kind of culture has thievery so deeply ingrained that it is considered normal?




First off, I've never actually trained in Japan, so what I have to say about this mostly hypothetical. However, I really and truly doubt that ALL students were expected to 'steal' techniques. Look, for example, at Daito Ryu. What you see is that Sogaku gave away the secrets to a select few (especially those with politcal power, or who were wealthy, including Ueshiba), and the rest, who were expected to steal the techniques. In the end, I don't think it is an accident that most of those who went on to form branches of Daito Ryu were from or linked to a higher class. The same, in many ways, seems to hold true to early Aikido. The wealthy had the time to study as uchideshi with Ueshiba, and they were most likely given secrets (or at least given pointers to uncover those secrets). The others performed the techniques, trying to 'steal' what they could, with fewer 'hints' to help them.

Quote:

Okay Now I am to become a thief, as well. How do I know if what I am stealing is the correct version, the whole version, or a version at all? I am a lousy thief.





Exactly. And, more importantly, do you have the time to engage in this sort of thing? Those the uncover the secrets in this manner seem to always be those become uchideshi.

From my perspective, it's best to go to the those places that will at least directly teach you a good foundation. Yes, the 'higher' skills might take more of an esoteric approach, but for the basics, well, like where to put your foot, your teacher should be willing to directly show you that. If not, he is simply a lazy sensei.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#420056 - 06/10/09 05:14 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: Ames]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Relevant to my current dojo, I am able to say with complete candor that there was not one thing I was able to remember out the door to practice at home.

Contrary to what you might suggest, my sensei for these last ten years comes with impeccable verifiable credentials. He simply does not teach in a way that I can learn from. Poor syntax, but true.

I have not severed the cord, at least not yet. I do need the exercise. The new dojo does not have the flexible hours the old one does. At the present I attend both.

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#420057 - 06/10/09 08:53 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: iaibear]
Ames Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 1117
I wasn't suggesting that your sensei had no credentials, so sorry if it seemed like that. I'm just saying that being able to do is different than being able to teach. And further some (perhaps not yours, I don't know, never met him) can neither do nor teach, and constantly put down students who ask questions in an attempt to hide their lack of knowledge.

--Chris
_________________________
"Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought."
--Basho

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#420058 - 06/11/09 06:21 AM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: Ames]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
I'm with Chris here Iaibear. From your previous posts, it seemed as though your old teacher was a) Not great at communicating b) not great at understanding students c) didn't have sufficent knowledge to help you with your Aikido d) A combination of the above.

Again, I am not saying he hasn't trained to a high degree or been allowed to instruct, but clearly the person doesn't seem to be the best teacher of Aikido. Like Chris said, learning Aikido yourself is one thing, helping some else learn it is a completely different ball game.

I have met some incredibly successful martial artists who had a high level of skill, but couldn't hack it as a teacher. I have met some teachers who are solid, but not spectacular, martial artists who have great teaching ability. I'm not saying that you can't be both ( a great student then a great teacher) but one doesn't always follow the other.

You said it yourself, you are learning more in the new place. What does that say about your old teachers methods?
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#420059 - 06/11/09 03:05 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: Prizewriter]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< You said it yourself, you are learning more in the new place. What does that say about your old teachers methods? >>
Some/many people can learn from him. I am not one of them.

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#421582 - 08/15/09 02:04 AM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: iaibear]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I'm glad to hear that you've found a dojo where you feel you are learning something.

Whilst I appreciate the merits and rationale for the "traditional" teaching method, I am also aware that not all students learn in the same way. In my experience, the ones that don't/can't learn how to "steal techniques" are likely the ones who need it most.

I think to *some* extent, some stealing is expected, and should be expected. I won't go into the merits or otherwise of whether this is acceptable or warranted in this day and age, however, for the majority of hobbyist and part-time MA students, I think it is necesasry to adapt and modify the teaching method to cater to different learning personalities and abilities.

But, that's just my own personal opinion...

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#424171 - 12/28/09 10:33 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: eyrie]
dongdwaeji Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/18/09
Posts: 14
I study a Korean art very simillar and originating from Daitoryu Aiki Ju Jitsu.

My teacher is phenominal when it comes to the moves which make up the main subject matter, the defenses from strike and grab etc and wrist / jointlock stuff but when it comes to the Punches and kicks we do as drills in the warm up part of class, it;s all monkey see monkey copy which I find inadequate. I think kickjs and punches are very complex also and one needs explained how to pivot, chamber, move the limbs correctly, spacing and how and where to build the power / initial momentum from.

I've pulled something in my hip and knee, the hip i'm sure from Axe kick drills and the knee from not pivoting when doing low sweep kick drills.

I don;t know why they have such a policy of see and do rather than show and tell as it would take aboout 10 minutes to explain the concepts and then when you do the drill and copy the instructor you will think 'ah right, he's pivoting on that foot, got it...' etc...

Just my tuppence.

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#424175 - 12/29/09 09:40 AM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: dongdwaeji]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
People "see" different things. If they do not know what they are supposed to be paying attention to, they see even less. And if they do not understand what they are supposed to be seeing, their "teacher" is failing his purpose.

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#424184 - 12/29/09 09:32 PM Re: "Traditional" teaching style? [Re: iaibear]
dongdwaeji Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/18/09
Posts: 14
Originally Posted By: iaibear
People "see" different things. If they do not know what they are supposed to be paying attention to, they see even less. And if they do not understand what they are supposed to be seeing, their "teacher" is failing his purpose.


I'm in 100% agreement with this.

Sadly a lot of Traditional 'Masters' have not been questioned for so long and are the best out there at their arts that it would take a miracle for someone to sucsessfuly question their teaching style or for them to entertain a new approach.

In the trad ma world we hear a lot of what I call 'magic bullet' answers that imo do not really answer questions legitimately such as

'He has been doing this for over _____ decades, don't you think he'd do things different if this wasn't the best way?'

Me - you didn't show me or tell me about pivoting on my standing leg and now I pulled something in my knee from doing sweep kicks.' Answer - 'It is just your body getting used to moving in a new way.'

Me - 'It's more efficient, logical and better for me if you explain why and what to do in detail as well as show.'

Answer - 'This way is best, you haven't been training long enough to realise why yet.'

Me - 'That may or not be true, but I've been kicking wrongly for long enough for my knee and hip to have put me out of training for a few weeks. I wish you had have just told me how to do it properly, as learning through watching could take months, or perhaps never.'



Edited by dongdwaeji (12/29/09 09:34 PM)

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