6/9 & 11/10 w&f [1s,12 v both days] B 13 people both days. That is probably the max I can work with effectively at one time. It is not just a matter of the restricted space we have, I could not give the kind of attention needed if there were more people. In a regular dojo there are students at many different levels of knowledge and it is more a matter of correcting small errors in technique. You also have people long enough to learn their different styles and personalities so you can tailor your individual attention to each one.
Always having a class of absolute beginners for only twice a week, six weeks max requires a rather different approach to teaching; highly individualized and focused on basic principles and only a few techniques. Admittedly, only being able to go to a standing pin and not having to teach or deal with falls, etc. enables me to focus more on techniques. I will repeat, I think every dojo should occasionally do a class only to standing pins. It enables people to focus on the beginning and middle of the movement. Too often we act as if the purpose of a technique is the throw, when, in fact, it is to bring nage and uke to a safe, controled and secure place.
One of the things a few of the people in this class have told me is that they like having a way to respond to attack/aggression without having to “whip on someone” in a way that is controlled and “as peaceful as possible”. Many of these guys are afraid of their own violence, their own anger, and “don’t want to do war no more”. Even if they do not continue with Aikido, they will know there are other, more positive ways to respond to stressful situations.
This is what Aikido has given me. I am glad that I can give some of this to these guys in the short time I have.