How do you foster the development of Aikido students?

GABE DIMARCO (Dojo-cho/Chief Instructor) – “The answer is simple but the administration is difficult. O-sensei said that aikido is about self-correction. We need to overcome our personal barriers or we will be in conflict with everything.

So how do I foster this development? To help students overcome their barriers requires a higher level of awareness and a closer sensei-to-student relationship. With much patience and regular training, students can be guided to a higher level of awareness, both martial and self-awareness.

Once a higher level of awareness is attained, the students will blossom and it will show itself in the physical. This again, is not easily attained but if the student is willing to put forth great effort, their barriers can be overcome.

I have changed my way of teaching. In the past, I would give much detail in teaching a technique but as I watched the student progress, weeks and months, I would notice that there was no improvement in their techniques.

Now I just give one detail per individual to work on and watch their progress. A lot of times I will not purposely give out any details in the hope that students will self-discover these details by themselves. If students get confused and ask a question, I will respond accordingly.

For a student to ask a question tells me that they are aware of their deficiencies and not just going through the motions. This is progress.