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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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I wrote all of this while others were posting. Apologies for the overlap. It is very wordy.


Ramble mode ON...

We currently have two students from other dojo training with us; one is dan grade the other kyu. Not sure of their exact rank; at the moment it does not matter.

They are both military and expect to be here for 3 - 5 years. Once it became clear that they would be attending our practice regularly, I spoke with each about their 'home dojo' and relationships with teachers. The gist of it is...

As they wish to remain under their previous teacher, have that person assess them for rank, etc., I do not attempt to adjust [dare I say correct] their taijutsu. I will give input on things I feel are potentially dangerous/damaging to them or their partners. Otherwise I avoid giving personal direction that might contradict that of their teacher.

I do ask them to try to work on the material of each class as I present it. If they default to what they are used to, unless I think it is potentially dangerous, I do not correct it. When I see them working on what I present, I give general advice... but only if they request it.


As a counter-point to this, a US based instructor has family in our area. He usually attends practice once or twice each visit. When he does I get him to teach. Sometimes we tag-team. Other times I hand the class over to him entirely.

His first visit to our dojo was our first meeting. Other than the fact that he was a newly anointed godan, I knew little about him. I had him teaching about 15 minutes in to the class.

I got us going, but after watching his movement and interaction with the group I had no qualms about handing the class over to him. There were differences, but they were good ones

Now I look forward to his visits. As do the students who have interacted with him. We all appreciate what manifests on the mat; the techniques and the connections.


Another example; seminars.

We have all seen/heard the folks on the mat 'teaching' their training partner. I will give someone the benefit of doubt for a while, but if they are in full-on teaching mode I stop them and suggest we find new partners.

These types usually do not want others to see them engaged in the intentional suffering of practice; especially things which stretch the boundaries of comfort and ability. Rather than shutting-up, slowing down and doing the work, they blather to their partners about what is wrong with the technique.

If my partner is not getting the technique I might offer some feedback; if they ask for it. If it my feedback helps, great. If my feedback does not help, I ask the person guiding the seminar [the teacher] to demo on both of us. This way my partner sees the technique AND feels it.


Re those who wander around while others are teaching.

I appreciate advice from any of the Shihan, especially in Hatsumi-sensei's classes.

I am extremely grateful if they take the time to stop, look at what I am working on and then respond when I give them that drowning rat look. The advice they give will be concise and nudge me in the right direction.

I have not experienced the darker side of this; the showboating monologist. I have seen/heard them. Fortunately I am not the type they gravitate towards.

If one did appear, regardless of their rank, I would draw upon all of my non-verbal skills to dissuade them from dispensing their unwanted advice. If that did not work, I would verbally encourage them to move along.


Re
Quote:
What if a 15th dan was teaching and an 8th dan from a notable teacher saw something completely wrong, should the 8th dan say something to the 15th dan?


What Darren wrote.

However, I have walked out of one seminar lead by an uber-dan [not jugo-dan at the time]. The subject matter was BS, not what was promoted, and his presentation was condescending.

On my way out the teacher asked why I was leaving. I told him. He did not talk to me for years and forbade his students from attending my classes and any seminar I hosted; even those by resident gaijin.


Ramble mode OFF.


BTW, good article. Thanks for sharing the link

Posted on: 2010/10/22 2:05
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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I think that discussions between training partners are generally beyond the scope of the article, but a valid point.

In general, if people are training together there will be light exchanges about what the teacher showed. But, most conversations would probably go the way of: "Was that a right punch and right kick?", "Did you see what he did?" and "You don't have my balance here" ect...

My opinion is as follows, don't give advice to other people's students unless they have asked for it ( beyond basic discussions like the above). Don't teach other people if you aren't their teacher (unless you are teaching the class) and especially if you are not the teacher of the class. So, basically don't speak unless asked in other peoples classes.

If the person doesn't get the technique, let them not get it until they ask you.

But, I'd like to think the only advice you should ever take uninvited or are obligated in some ways to give advice are the Shihan's that have Menkyo Kaiden. I'm talking real menkyo kaiden holders (i.e. individual ryu-ha), not the RVD types saying they have menkyo kaiden.

No menkyo kaiden! No Advice! Don't give advice about the art to non-students unless asked tacitly by being in the class you are teaching or implicitly by them asking for it.

Again just my opinion.

Something to consider with any advice how do you doubt the advice. I doubt my teacher about 1-2% (in so much as it will work for me), I doubt my sempai (i.e. in "my dojo" and not the org) about 15-25% and those you give me unsolicited advice I doubt 95-100%. I doubt myself about 50% give or take a margin of error of +/-50% .





Posted on: 2010/10/22 2:47
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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This is a really good article and poses a lot of questions that I think relate to any dojo.

When I attend a seminar, I work directly from what the instructor is teaching. I may not agree with what his is showing, but then again, I may just not be getting it. Regardless, I am there to learn from the instructor. What I take with me from it is essentially up to me.

If my training partner has a problem with a technique, I will always defer to the instructor. Even if I think I understand what is being taught, maybe I really don't. I would never want to give bad advise to another student.

On the other hand, when I am the instructor, I feel that the same rule should apply. There are plenty of times when there is someone of higher rank in the dojo, but I would agree that rank isn't a determining factor in skill. Anyone, regardless of rank, in our dojo can bring an idea or thought to the instructor. And if that thought has merit or is parallel to the line of instruction, then it is brought before the class at the instructor's discretion.

Bottom line is we are all in this art to learn. If we give proper respect to each other as instructors and students alike, we can improve the depth of what we can learn.

Just a thought......

Posted on: 2010/10/22 2:51
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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In all my years, I have probably learned just as much from my kohai than from my sempai. There's a lesson to be learned from everybody, but only if one's ego is put aside, mouth closed, and eyes/ears open to receive it. Whatever flaws exist can be cleaned up later if needed.

Adam, your example is unfortunate - this is another topic, but many people who achieve high rank assume this rank applies to all topics, even if non-Bujinkan, and will use it as a means to propagate their own agenda.

Knowing how to 'see' is an important part of training. When what you 'see' is not what you 'know' to be correct, then removing yourself is far greater of an option.

But, what if you had brought students with you? Do you pull all your students, too? Wow, tough choices...

Posted on: 2010/10/22 3:26
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Quote:

Darren wrote:

Knowing how to 'see' is an important part of training. When what you 'see' is not what you 'know' to be correct, then removing yourself is far greater of an option.


I have to squint to understand this in any meaningful way. Can you clean it up a bit, so I can comment without misunderstanding.

As of right now I'm leaning towards saying that I disagree.

To me, "Knowing" how to "see" just meanings "knowing what is correct and what is incorrect".

Plus, doubting someone doesn't mean I don't listen, it just means I don't fully trust it and have to think carefully whether or not what that person says is likely to be useful, incorrect or whatever.

Doubt is generally a good thing.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 3:59
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Quote:

RJHIII wrote:
I have to squint to understand this in any meaningful way. Can you clean it up a bit, so I can comment without misunderstanding.

As of right now I'm leaning towards saying that I disagree.

To me, "Knowing" how to "see" just meanings "knowing what is correct and what is incorrect".

Plus, doubting someone doesn't mean I don't listen, it just means I don't fully trust it and have to think carefully whether or not what that person says is likely to be useful, incorrect or whatever.

Doubt is generally a good thing.


I know it's terribly vague - that's why I put in in 'quotes'. I guess what I'm trying to point out is that if you know, beyond doubt, that what is being taught is rubbish, not accurate in any way, and the instructor continues to teach terribly flawed techniques and concepts, then it would be best to simply walk away instead of trying to correct them.

"Knowing" and "seeing" of course are highly skewed on our individual level of understanding. But, after time, you do gain a solid understanding of core teachings (i.e. kihon) and can 'see' when those are incorrect.

Doubt is a good thing, I agree. It makes you look beyond the surface to the "why". I have no problems with doubt and prefer people with doubt to question things. There's a difference, though, between questioning and discounting based on a doubt.

I hope that helps. Of course, that's just my opinion...

Posted on: 2010/10/22 4:19
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Thanks, that is a bit clearer.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 4:23
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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One of the most important things to consider in this is how what is being said affects the student and the teacher. We have no right to disrespect an instructor while he/she is teaching, if in our opinion it is really dangerous then go to that instructor in private and ask if he/she is willing to accept some thoughts you have for him/her. Or to explain to you what he was doing so you understand. We do not have the right to impose advice on someone who does not want it and that includes a student. Ego can be a real handicap if it runs unchecked. I will ask if they would like to hear a thought before offering it. It is really "bad form" to tell a student that what is being shown is "wrong" or won't work. Only if they ask for your input should you give it. All of us are learning and must keep that attitude never thinking that "we" known or have it all. When I am teaching I do welcome input from both other instructors and students, like Darren said we can learn from everyone if our mind is open.
Just my thoughts on this.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 6:27
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
One of the most important things to consider in this is how what is being said affects the student and the teacher. We have no right to disrespect an instructor while he/she is teaching, if in our opinion it is really dangerous then go to that instructor in private and ask if he/she is willing to accept some thoughts you have for him/her. Or to explain to you what he was doing so you understand. We do not have the right to impose advice on someone who does not want it and that includes a student. Ego can be a real handicap if it runs unchecked. I will ask if they would like to hear a thought before offering it. It is really "bad form" to tell a student that what is being shown is "wrong" or won't work. Only if they ask for your input should you give it. All of us are learning and must keep that attitude never thinking that "we" known or have it all. When I am teaching I do welcome input from both other instructors and students, like Darren said we can learn from everyone if our mind is open.
Just my thoughts on this.


Equally, running around offering advice to other people's students albeit politely is kind of rude in my opinion.

The key word for my argument and the general point of the article is "unsolicited advice" (or unwanted or unasked for advice), with certain exceptions I've stated previously.

Even if you are polite, running around helping other people's students in their class via the solicitation of advice is disruptive and the general point of the article. Regardless of if you did it politely or not.

Offering advice by first asking them if they want advice is still attempting to teach them, although in a round about polite way. You are still soliciting advice to them.

In training if I want someone's opinion about something I'll ask them, if I don't implicitly or tacitly ask for it I'd rather people not bother me with it during training IMO.


Posted on: 2010/10/22 11:40
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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We'll have to disagree on that Robert. If a senior student sees something that can help another I think it is OK to ask if they'd like to hear it. It is not OK to just give the unasked for advice.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 12:17
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