“I Lost a Student With Too Much Philosophy,” by Serpentstaff

“This was quite a few years ago already. And while the student in question did not use that exact phrase, I don’t think he’d disagree. But let me give the background. As you’ll know if you have read other parts of this blog, I do have a strong sense of a philosophy underlying traditional training, and I try to teach in accordance with it. I am also respectful of the style/organization of which I’m a member, and I ask my students to meet that organization’s requirements in terms of learning a code of ethics and certain other tenets.”

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  1. Words are a two edged sword.
    They can reveal, conceal, annoy, bore and kill the very message.
    It all depends on the listener, the listener’s receptivity, commonality of experience, the time of day, the moon cycles and lots of other things.
    As for Budo, the philosophy is in the doing.
    The other is talkosophy a waste of time that has no place in the dojo.
    Rather anywhere but.

  2. i agree with Nev. “the Way is in training”. Saotome used to be a great talker. his classes were torture. ten minutes of sitting & listening, 30 seconds of doing, then back to lecture… 😉

  3. Clark Bateman says:

    Just one guy’s opinion, of course, but I think a student should have access to the philosophical aspects of Aikido, as it does add depth of perspective. While not necessarily something to be pummeled with during class time, it’s nonetheless something that he shouldn’t have to get from books, but instead should have his own instructors’ thoughts and “flavor”. The “how” is often better if one knows the “why”.

  4. Brett Jackson says:

    I’d say the instructor and the other students in the class took metaphorical ukemi from that student long enough. Patience finally ran out and the instructor opted to go in for a gentle iriminage, which the said student couldn’t take. Other students were no doubt happy that the disruptions in the class were now over (once said student failed to return). Instructor did his best and short of taking that student aside and speaking directly to him about his disruptive behaviours in class, did what other instructors would also have done (empty cup metaphor being right on the money). No fault at all to the instructor or to his “philosophy” as he was as patient and nuturing as it was warranted to be in this situation.

  5. Brett Jackson says:

    Hi Charles, I’ve never had a class from Saotome sensei but I would sure like too. If I can tell by reading one or two of his interviews, his lectures must be worth their weight in gold. The kind of sharing you would like to give a standing ovation too. Provided you can still stand. 😉

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