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Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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The following is some advice I received from a Japanese shihan on running a dojo. I thought it might be of some help / interest to others too and worthy of some discussion ……

Do ukemi every class, use it to warm people up and get them focussed. It is also the time as an instructor to observe the level and mood of the class, the direction of that night can often be determined by observation of ukemi. Hatsumi-sensei’s advice to me was that the most important training until first dan is ukemi.

Spend at least a year doing nothing else but Kihon Happo.

Try to relate kihon to goshinjutsu (self defence).
You can introduce a technique to a new student as “This is Omote Gyaku” and demonstrate it but better is to say “Here is what I can do if I am grabbed like this” demonstrate it and later say “This is Omote Gyaku”. New technique is related to application rather than a Japanese name.

Even once you have done Kihon Happo for a year still spend at least half of each class on it.

When introducing the kata and henka of kata from the ryuha only at a rate of one a week.

Only explain 20% to 30% of what you are teaching, the rest should be observed only by your demonstration.

In the old days instruction was never given in a class situation as today, even in a group training was conducted person to person. Today we teach in a class but you shouldn’t demonstrate and stand to the side, you should move amongst the student and spend time working with each person one at a time. Make changes to your original demonstration to suit each body type and style.

Keep the image in your mind of each class as being Josei Goshinjutsu (Women’s Self Defence). If it can’t be done by a smaller, weaker person effectively against a larger stronger opponent then you shouldn’t be doing it.

Posted on: 2010/3/25 10:43
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Thanks for sharing this Duncan!

Posted on: 2010/3/26 3:01
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Great advices Duncan. Ill be thinking about this one for sure.

Posted on: 2010/3/26 17:33
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Im not sure if you can ever perfect your kihon happo. Its like paiting the Golden Gate bridge, it never begins or ends, it just is.

Posted on: 2010/3/28 11:06
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Good advice mate. Thanks.

Posted on: 2010/5/14 17:52
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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I am curious why you believe an instructor should only explain 20% to 30% of the particular technique or principal that you are teaching? The 'learn by observation' may be traditional but it is not very efficient. Think how the military teaches recruits basic foot drill or Wpns handling. It is based on detailed demonstrations, explanation and practice.

Bryan

Posted on: 2010/9/8 3:35
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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No fun in getting spoon-fed everything.

Posted on: 2010/9/8 6:15
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Quote:

Bryan wrote:
I am curious why you believe an instructor should only explain 20% to 30% of the particular technique or principal that you are teaching? The 'learn by observation' may be traditional but it is not very efficient. Think how the military teaches recruits basic foot drill or Wpns handling. It is based on detailed demonstrations, explanation and practice.


First it’s not my idea, I am only quoting some advice as I remembered it.

But only explaining 20-30% of the technique or principal was explained to me that if you explain everything then it is less interesting and the student leaves. If only part of it is explained then the student discovers it for themselves, own the teaching and find it more interesting and stay. I agree that something you discover yourself is worth a lot more than something you are taught. It’s like back in school when you reproduce an experiment rather just being taught the result as a fact.

Anyway I think it’s better to have someone explain 20-30% and let me get on with it than have the technique explained 186%

Posted on: 2010/9/8 13:38
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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I just wanted to comment on one thing that might be important in the way how to communicate advices.

Quote:
Even once you have done Kihon Happo for a year still spend at least half of each class on it.


or

Quote:
When introducing the kata and henka of kata from the ryuha only at a rate of one a week.


This might be a good advice in a certain training situation. For example, as far as I know there are sometimes even in the Densho tips given about how long to train a certain level. But please keep in mind that at those times there was often just one school and that had a fixed schedule.

Otherwise nowadays: Some have training three times a week, some up to five or some might have just one training session. So also the timespan of the individual training sessions might vary. So if you say 'one year', I'm tempted to ask 'According to which schedule?'.

Posted on: 2010/9/9 3:54
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Re: Dojo Advice From a Shihan
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Interesting and possibly relevant article here from the New York Times on study and learning:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/hea ... ted=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

While the article's focus is on "academic" type stuff, there may be implications for Hatsumi sensei's current "henka-intensive" way of doing things, as well as for things like "scenario training".

(And no, I am not remotely suggesting that one should not have a solid "muscle memory" foundation in good kihon!)

Posted on: 2010/9/9 4:01
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