Saturday, 4 June 2016

Teaching and Learning

I've had a good week of training and teaching. 

On Wednesday evening I lead the class through all four battojutsu kata at the Hamilton Dojo. We spent the whole session on just those four. I figured that when our sensei came back from the instructor's seminar, he would have lots of new information for us so let's nail our basics. 

Drawing the sword. 

Starting with the first of the kata, I asked everyone to work very slowly but smoothly. While we did this I looked for one or two points each person might need to fix or refine. Sometimes everyone had the same problem so I would stop everyone and just clarify a point. Once everyone had slowly teased out some problems then we would speed up the kata to see how things looked.

We did this for each kata. 

The great thing about teaching is that I learn as well. When I take the time to consider how to explain a concept or share an analogy to help someone through a problem, it clarifies the movements of the technique in my mind also. It can be challenging to come up with a way of describing an idea that the other person understands. Some of the body dynamics we deal with in TSYR are quite subtle and require minute changes in body position or muscle tension. It can be a matter of millimeters between correct and incorrect sometimes. So coming up with a good way of describing movement is very important. Despite only covering four kata, everyone said they enjoyed the training. 

The Saturday morning session was held at my dojo as only one person could make it. It is a long weekend so many people are out and about making the most of the extra day off work. After warming up and going through the Nairiki No Gyo, we decided to quickly work on one of the Idori Te Hodoki that the other guy had not practised for a long time. We then worked through all of the Katate set from the Tachiai Kansetsu Waza (Standing joint locking techniques). 

Rather than just a teacher-student dynamic, here we gave each other feedback as to when we felt our balance was taken and when we didn't. This way we could tweak our techniques as we went. It was a good session with both of us making some progress. It also solidified what we were doing correctly. 

Next we looked at the Tachiai Tai Nage (Body throws). I'm really enjoying these throws at the moment. I had not done much of these sorts of techniques in aikido so I always struggled a bit with them. However, in the recent months something has clicked and I am much more confident in my ability. Just as before, we talked to each other and gave honest feedback to help the other person improve. 

To finish the session off we went back to idori and worked on gaining the centre of the other person while they held both wrists. I find this training fascinating because something like this occurs in aikido training and I knew it as suwari waza kokyu ho. With my TSYR perspective on the exercise I see the value of it much more. 

So that's it. My sensei is back next week and I go back to being the student. I have fulfilled my duty to the dojo by maintaining a training regime while the teacher is away but it will be nice to go back to simply being one of the crowd again. 

Until next time...


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