Monday, August 15, 2011

Oops, Sorry About That

Have no fear, I have neither forgotten nor abandoned these tales of the Iron Goat. I developed a social life about the same time the university semester was ending and I found myself rather occupied during a three week stretch. Though the social life thankfully remains, I have more stories to tell!

I am currently on vacation in the United States and will be returning to Japan on Thursday the 18th. I've been taking advantage of my summer vacation, however, to practice a little Judo, Aikido and Jujitsu. Pretty much what I do every other day of the year.

It is, of course, always interesting to return from Japan and train in American dojos. For one thing, people speak English... there's a surprise. What is facinating, though, are the differences in teaching methodology. I jokingly said to a friend, "I'm going to take advantage of my vacation to learn Judo..." which may seem strange as I am studdying Judo full-time in Japan.
Sadly, there was some truth to my statement. No one can deny that the Japanese train hard. On a typical day in judo bukatsu I may do anywhere from one to three hours of randori. In Aikido, we will do ten to fifteen techniques over the course of two hours. In dojos in the states, however, much more time is dedicated to learning and reviewing throws in Judo and, in Aikido, I often see a smaller number of techniques demonstrated but with a greater stress on the relation in the movements between techniques.
This is not to say that American dojos are better or worse. In the U.S. I do not feel like I have enough of a work-out during class. In Japan, on the other hand, I do not feel I've learned much during training. And in these two sentences I have written, without consciously intending to, the real difference: Japan has "training" whereas American dojos have "classes".

Though this is not a hard and fast rule--there are always differences from dojo to dojo--this has always been my experience. I can state very firmly and very infatically that dojos in the States are better in one aspect: working with people's with disabilities. During every class I have attended in the past two weeks, someone has stood next to me while the sensei demonstrated a technique or throw. That person, without my asking, has shown or told me in as much detail as possible the key points the sensei was trying to make. In Japan, someone must show me what the sensei has demonstrated after the sensei has finished. It becomes that person's sole responsibility to both remember everything the sensei has shown as well as teach it to me.
This subject is of particular importance, obviously, because I'm blind and have to learn martial arts in a specialized way. I do not feel this means I must go to a special dojo, however. I have been invited to speak at a seminar in September in Japan about this very topic: disability sports. I've been thinking a lot recently about how I learn because that is what I'm going to be asked. The other interesting twist is the fact I'm not only a person with a visual impairment trying to learn Judo in Japan... I'm a westerner who is accustomed to a western teaching style trying to learn Judo in Japan. I have much to think about.

Over the course of the last week I've been taking a lot of videos and photos and I'll have some great stuff to put up shortly on the blog. May the training continue--

1 comment:

  1. This kind of theme is actually associated with particular importance, certainly, because Now i'm impaired and possess to learn fighting techinques within a special technique. I really do not really think therefore I must go to a particular dojo, nonetheless.The seo good site Samir Barai