The Other Half of Training…

PHS  [Philippe Salgues]  Every year you offer a one-week summer aikido workshop in Hendaye. The morning is dedicated to intensive physical and technical practice. The afternoon is reserved for more relaxed practice where you reveal in great detail both external and internal movements of the body and their self-defence (goshin-jutsu) applications according to the principal of aiki. These summer workshops, for students and teachers alike, are privileged moments because they allow one to settle into a teaching relationship that is long enough to deal with the essentials, and with important concepts. A lot is said, movements shown and explained, and much of value is is passed on to the students for their future daily work.  What belongs to the mat, belongs to the mat: and there is there a powerful sequence of training. Nevertheless, there are other extremely powerful moments, little known by us in the West, which consist of conversations – more or less formal conversations – during which masters and disciples, teachers and students discuss the practice of the art. This is not at all a simple repetition of what was said on the tatami, but rather an extension and a completion of what happened there, which places the art in a larger context, or illuminates it throught the personal experience of the expert or the master. It is this part of the teaching process that you have chosen to shed light on in this chapter.

PHG:   Yes. I find it important to extend the teaching given on the tatami through free discussion with the students in, for example,  a café,  or sitting in a hotel lobby after a restaurant…

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