I am working on a series of articles (which will someday become a book) of creative visualizations, exercises, and ways of thinking of techniques. These have helped me in my own learning and training. Now I also use them to help other beginners grasp concepts, discover ways of moving, and feel more confident in their learning.
These are all non-standard teachings — all my own ideas. But they are intended to create quite legitimate end results — nothing silly or goofy. I’m excited to be finally writing them.
None of these are online yet. When each one is finished its title below will become a live link in one of the groupings below.
A note for teachers
These lessons are primarily directed toward students, but if you’re a teacher you should read them too. I’ve included teaching tips for you, based on my experience applying each lesson in class. Each lesson is a single, focused idea that can easily be expanded into an exploration across many techniques and situations during a full class and beyond.
Do you teach kids’ classes?
All are suitable for adults (even the silly ones). A few work especially well in children’s classes. See the list below for those I’ve found are especially good for younger students.
Succeeding as a student
Begin a new student in any physical art — dance, or Aikido — can be intimidating, discouraging, and just plain hard. It’s especially challenging when the background culture may be different from anything you’re used to.
Here are a few lessons to help you through those rough days when you might feel lost or hopeless. Hang in there, you’ll catch on.
- Warm Up Before Warmups
- It’s Only Feedback
Learning to see
Japanese teaching culture includes the idea of the student “stealing the art” from the teacher. As a student you likely won’t be shown or told what to do. You’re expected to see what you’re teacher is doing and figure it out. There are perfectly good reasons for this, but it can be extraordinarily frustrating if you come from a culture where you expect teachers to, well, you know, teach.
These lessons can help you learn how to see and understand what your teacher is doing.
- “Stealing Technique”
- The Only Student
- Watch With Your Body
- From Tenkan to Technique
- Notice Uke’s Line
- Fingers vs. Fishes’ Tails
- Look for The Magic
- Trap Door Techniques
Getting the feel of things
There are ways of moving in Aikido that just don’t come naturally to everyone. And even the most talented students occasionally have two left feet. Thinking about it only gets us so far. We need to feel it.
Here are some lessons to help you get out of your head find the form of Aikido in your body.
- Ditch “Left” vs. “Right”
- Marionette Aikido
- Be Springy
- Ukemi: Go Get ’em!
- Shovels & Manure Forks
- Be Someone Else
- Don’t Tuck Your Tail
- Where Does It Hurt?
- Sound Effects
- Tractor Aikido
Especially good for kids’ classes
This is a work in progress… :-)
A selection of the above topics — those especially appropriate for teaching children — will also be featured here.