Sunday, October 21, 2012
Fill in the Blanks...
Training with Taika was not always easy. Not that he was difficult to get along with, only that his teaching methods were,... different, LOL.
His training methodology (mostly) boiled down to “I'm giving you all the pieces, now go figure it out” (and I'll let you know if your right, or not). Which (I'm sure, LOL) is why many people only studied with him for (usually) only a short time.
As a rule, the (average) American (or Westerner) doesn't like to commit their time to something that doesn't provide immediate results (at least in their minds..).
It didn't matter what the subject was, Taika would demonstrate it, then explain it, then expect you (the student) to begin working on it, to figure out how/why it worked. Only then, would he let you know if you were correct.
That entire process, would (on average) encompass several months. For the majority of students, this should of (in their minds) only be the subject (regardless of what the topic was) of a single class.
Taika did not teach his art, the way most westerner's teach theirs. He preferred that you figured it out (and usually on your own, with only limited assistance from him). In his mind (and from how he was taught) this would assure that you (really) knew the subject.
Because of that methodology, one can receive differing instruction from different individuals who studied under him. Varying perspectives can be a beneficial learning tool. When permitted, it can allow a student to mold their own personal defensive tactics (as well as techniques).
It should be noted, that having this view does not make “one” (methodology) correct, and another “wrong”. It should only illustrate that not every method is correct (nor the only one) for every student.
When teaching a class, it is very easy to (attempt to) make every student perform exactly like every other student. Aside from it's impracticality, it's also a totally unrealistic goal to have (much less maintain).
I tend to believe that by making one “fill in the blanks” (for their own study), Taika was encouraging one's individual knowledge and abilities to come forward (for that student). Those motions and techniques that worked well (for that student) would be practiced and emphasized by that student.
As an instructor, you aren't able to make every decision for your student's, and that isn't your “job” anyhow. Your job (that you were hired for, by your student) was to train them in what they wanted to learn. If your not providing that training, they should have fired you (usually done by quitting your instruction).
Being familiar with Taika's instructional methods, I find it interesting that those who quit (or more often, were kicked-out of his associations, ie.“RyuTe® “ and “Shin Shu Ho®”) assume that they are (none the less) fully versed in his methodology (despite having been kicked-out of those groups, often as many as 15-20 years prior to his death).
What I've usually observed (on their part), is not so much of a tendency to know the answers to Taika's questions (that he would put forward to us), but to demonstrate their tendency to rewrite the questions that were asked by him (thereby allowing them to answer their own questions, instead of his).