Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Falling Behind

It's been brought to my attention by one of my (two) readers that I haven't posted anything in a while. The reason being, because I haven't gone over anything other than the first four wrist releases the past few classes, and that's what I'll be going over tonight as well. There is one thing I would like to mention however. Recently Sarah Jane has attended an Aikido class in Midland, TX. She was expecting to go to a beginner's class (because they advertised they had one), only to find out after she was there and after she paid, that there was no longer a beginner class offered. All classes were condensed into one adult's class, which can be off-putting. She said she seemed a little lost and no one offered up any direction unless she specifically asked for it, and during some move, the instructor who was teaching laughed at her. Now this was completely innocent as the instructor was I'm sure reminiscing about a time when he first started and struggled with something as we all do, but little seemingly harmless gestures can be disconcerting to new students. There were one or two times I can remember where Pat chuckled and I felt inept at whatever we were going over at the time, even though I know that was not his intention. We as instructors need to remember to be concious of how unnerving it can be for someone new to a class and remember how awkward it was for some of us when we first started.


Scott Zrubek said...

And the little things we do, unconsciously, might cause students to never come back. And we won't know about it in order to correct it.

Aeralyn said...

First: Yay!! New post! Finally. :P

Second, to elaborate on the Aikido of Midland experience: I exchanged a couple of emails with the instructor several days after the class and explained why I hadn't returned (despite my healthy helping of stubbornness). At that point he was very understanding and took the time to explain that "we're all awkward at first" etc. He even made a point to say that I hadn't completely sucked (as I had felt at the time). It was a somewhat comforting exchange. So here's my question for you, him, Pat, et al: Why not say, "It's okay. We're all really disconnected from our bodies at first," during the two hours I was struggling through the class? Why not interject something to that effect after the hearty laugh? I would have been much more understanding, myself, and much more inclined to return if someone, anyone, present had taken even the slightest amount of time to say, "It's okay. You're doing fine."

Additionally, I'm really glad that I have a) discussed Aikido so extensively with you and b) done so much research beforehand because, as far as the instructor knew, I knew zilch about customs and such, but still I was told nothing. I wasn't told anything about what to expect during the class itself either, and I was in the dojo, alone with the instructor, for a good forty minutes before class started.

Sean Ashby said...

Wow, really good reminders all the way around, thanks. It's always hard to look at things from someone else's perspective, but so many understandings in this world could be averted if we did!

I'm finding, as I make the slow transition from student to teacher that, while I was taught the techniques, I was never shown how to be a teacher (other than by example)! There's an art to guiding a pupil along the path, more than just the techniques.