Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tears of a Clown

   I was watching a seminar video recently (that had been provided to me by an acquaintance). He was wanting me to see the types of “techniques” that he had been shown (in his prior system).
(Note: Like the majority of amateur video productions, this one had numerous instances of by-stander's (inevitably) stepping (then remaining) in front of the camera. I wasn't really concerned about seeing what the presenter was attempting to do, so much as observing his instructional methods.)
  Like (Sooooooo) many lecturer's do, this one had to relate (numerous) “war stories” about how some incident related to whatever it was that he was doing at the time... (yawn...zzzzzzzz).
  Just as a suggestion to anyone who's contemplating doing a seminar... leave the “war stories” at home, or for later (after the seminar) at the bar.
  The fact is, is that the majority of those stories are/were only (somewhat) interesting if you were there, or when your not paying for a seminar that your trying to learn something at.
  The individual who provided the video had informed me that this person (who did the seminar) was (supposed to be) “very knowledgeable” about tuite and had taught them a number of techniques.
  Fortunately (for my patients), the recording was only a few hours long. If it had been edited (as it should have been), it would of only consisted of about an hour and a half of (actual) instruction.
  It was obvious from the get-go, that this individual liked to hear himself talk (without adding anything to his presentation). I expected him to (actually “say”) “Ta-Da”! After every motion he showed them (he actually believed that he was that incredible,... and he wasn't).
  As this individual was progressing (slowly) through his technique Repertoire, It was being indicated that he considered each of his technique fixes, to be separate techniques (and thus compiling a large list of “techniques” that were supposedly being shown).
  I'm not sure how prevalent this is (in other systems), but when I'm teaching a technique, I will (usually) include any of the possible counter's that could be employed if/when the tori does something incorrectly.
  To my own way of viewing/teaching a technique, if there's a counter (that's available for the uke to utilize), then “I've” screwed-up the technique's performance.
  This attitude (of the tori not being the one who allows for a technique to be countered) is fairly prevalent in the lecture/seminar circuit. For some reason it doesn't appear to be “PC” to state that someone has “F'd-Up” a technique and/or has created the potential for a counter to be employed (through their own miss-application of a technique). Sorry to say it folks, but it happens all the time. Everybody “F's”-up (at some point).
  I just found it interesting that when a student would ask a “what-if” about the technique's application, the presenter made it appear that the uke (in question) must be more knowledgeable, and was (actually) employing a counter-technique (instead of the tori being the one who screwed-up, so that the uke was “then” able to employ a counter-technique).
  Some might view this as irrelevant, but as an instructor I found it interesting (in that this allowed for the instructor to be able to present yet another of “his” technique's, instead of correcting the tori to prevent the ability of the uke to of performed the original counter).
  IMO, the ability of the uke to perform this “counter” should have been addressed first, and then address what should be done when/if the tori messes-up, and the uke (then) would be able to apply a/that counter-technique.
  Easily ¾ of the technique's shown, were of this sort (fixes/counters). By how we would count “technique's”, the whole seminar only taught 4 technique's (yet these people acted as if it were a dozen or more). But even with how this individual counted “techniques”, he (probably) had only about 10 or so.
  Watching this “seminar”, made me rather anxious (to do some more of ours, LOL). Seeing the quality and the content of what's being taught out-there has been very interesting (I've been viewing a number of these lately).
  Having viewed several of these types of “seminars” recently, I've found it interesting that most have been centered around quantity of content, rather than the quality of the instruction being provided.
  I've previously stated, that I could easily do an entire 4, 6 or 8-hour lecture/seminar (only) covering our 6 Basic Tuite Principles. Once those principles are being applied (on an understood basis), student's are able to figure out for themselves how to correct their technique applications.
  It would be just as easy to do a seminar that would only use 1 technique for it to be based upon (while showing all the related/possible screw-up's and variables that are associated to that technique). To proclaim that knowledge of (each) individual screw-up and/or counter technique (to those screw-up's) are separate technique's, is a bit disingenuous IMO.
  A large amount of Tuite performance, is based upon the tori's ability to feel when it is correct, or to feel when something is wrong. That ability is only gained through repeated practice, and with a large number of different “body-types” (large, small, strong, weak) of uke's that one is able to practice upon.
  What I am seeing the most of lately, has been high quantity, low quality instruction. I could write a book containing all the excuses and reasons that these guys use (when whatever they're doing, doesn't work, LOL). 
 Most importantly, having a solid understanding of the physical aspects of what your attempting to accomplish is of the utmost importance. Knowing the (uke's) bodies physical limitations is critical as well (and, no, being double jointed doesn't make any difference, LOL).
 Your practice should include a response for every manner which a limb could be grabbed. It's fine to state (but not to believe) that if someone grabs you (in whatever manner), that you will just "strike" them with the other (free) hand. But I can assure you, that the ability to do so, is only an assumption (on your part), as well as whether the inferred "strike" can/will be an effective response to the situation as well.


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