Tag Archives: Teaching

There has been a large amount of conversation on social media over the last number of years about the ineffectiveness of aikido as a martial art. This has been caused by numerous factors ranging from aikidoka themselves, to the nature of the demonstrations, to the near meteoric rise of mixed martial arts competitions. Aikido hasn’t been the only art to suffer under this. Many traditional martial arts are experiencing the same thing. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the loss of numerous kung fu masters in China to…

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Another question that has come up on social media recently was, ‘What would you like aikido training in the future to look like?’ Again, this was an interesting and thought provoking question that prompted many responses. I’ve expanded on my thoughts on this topic here. Unsurprisingly, there’s a few factors to take into consideration on this subject. The first and most obvious is the self-defence aspect. 99% of people (and that’s being generous) have no real concept of what self-defence actually is. This includes the vast majority of self-defence instructors…

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I’ve come to believe that aikido has a serious problem that the vast majority of people aren’t even aware of. It’s a pretty simple one and to find out what it is let’s consider the standard aikido class.  It begins with the students lining up and everyone bows.  There’s a warm-up which will include some stretching, rolling and footwork movements. After the warm up the class will progress onto techniques in which: Everyone lines up. The instructor picks an uke. The instructor demonstrates the technique on the uke several times.…

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Let’s take a moment to consider the job of a swimming coach. Swimming coaches have a problem that seems a difficult one to solve and that provides them with numerous issues when coaching their athletes. I’ve taken to referring to this problem in capitals. ‘The Swimming Coach Problem’. Since I’ve gone to the trouble of formally naming it what exactly is it? Swimming coaches will almost always find themselves in a situation where they have a group of diverse athletes, all training towards the same goal, in the same style,…

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The last post was on the concept of grade inflation in aikido and that it has led to overly high standards in non-japanese dojos. The big question though is whether or not there is a way to actually solve or at least alleviate the issue. I think there is and all it would require is a revamped grading system. There are a few ways that this could be done. Just get rid of it The first thing that we could do is abandon the grading system altogether. Return to a time when…

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I have previously alluded to a consequence of having high standards in our gradings. Standards that are higher than what they should actually be. That consequence is grade inflation. I’m not referring to people obtaining a higher grade than the one they should have, I’m actually referring to the opposite. Many people have a grade much lower than they should have. The unfortunate thing for these people is that the keys to unlock the door to the one they should be are always held by someone else. You need a higher grade…

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Let’s consider for a moment what the standard aikido teaching looks like. It’s a fairly uniform thing and I’ve genuinely never seen anything different to this. For the record I’ve trained in at least 8 different countries, over a period exceeding 20 years. I find myself wondering if there is a better way to teach. Every aikido student learns in the same way. The instructor calls a halt to training, everybody lines up in seiza. In really big classes they may gather around in a circle. The instructor then demonstrates…

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There seems to be a strange paradox in the world of aikido. Actually there seem to be many but one in particular that will be focused on here. The specific one I’m thinking of is how long it takes you to get a black belt, and what that actually means. This is a topic that comes up with some regularity on social media. New students generally want to know how long it takes to get a black belt. They’re almost always referring to shodan (1st dan) as well. Very few people…

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