My teaching system

map, experience and reflection

I love learning and how we can adapt and change. I wrote my Master’s thesis on motor learning, a big field that we’re still figuring out, but there are some solid ideas on how we learn, what helps and what doesn’t

One of the core concepts in my teaching method is that it is basrd on three elemnts- Theory, Experiment and Reflection. This is vey simmilar to David Kolb’s Reflective Model for Learning.

According to this model, students are actively involved in the learning process, and it is based on active experimenting and cognitive reflection processes.

The theory/ the map

A map is not mandatory for learning, but it can be very helpful. By map, I mean theory or a concept—a cognitive visualization of what we want to master. We use the map to help shape our body and movement while simultaneously shaping our mind. If you’ve ever learned to play an instrument, the map is akin to music theory. You don’t have to know every detail of it, but when playing your scales, it’s helpful to understand what you are doing.

In Aikido, I have clear maps of my practice—the progression from basic to advanced techniques, the different building blocks of the weapons system, etc. When I teach, I have clear connections between different elements, and I can find ways to connect things and teach them together; it just makes more sense

the Experince

How do I teach?
“The map is not the territory” (Alfred Korzybski)
Theory and maps are great, but they do not replace the reality. We have an Idea, a map, for what to practice, but as long as it stays theortical, it is useless. At some point we must jump in to the water (or better said, go on the mat) and start practicisng. we practice hours, days and years, polishing our techniques and skills. This is where and how sowrds are forged, in fire.

the Reflection

How do I teach?

You’re traveling from Berlin to Paris. You have a map for the route, you drive, and now you think you’re in Paris. What’s next? You get out of the car and look at the map. You most likely look around and compare it to the map to understand where you are. If you are indeed in Paris, you might think to yourself, “I arrived faster than I thought, but I’m really worn out. Next time, I’ll take the train.”, ot “I’m really happy that I didn’t took the highway” . If you go next from Paris to Madrid, you might even implement what you just discovered.  And when you arrive to Madrid, you check you were right on your conclusions.

This is the real deal; this is the deepest form of learning. By reflecting on what you’ve done and how, you understand something. You might learn how to implement it somewhere else, or you realize that there are still points that are not so clear to you.

simple becomes complex

A key element of this model is its spiral-like nature. After a while, we might find ourselves asking questions about things we thought we already knew or had learned. As we progress, our questions become more sophisticated and refined, viewed from a different perspective. We do not move in a closed cycle, but in a spiral ascending upwards.
This is where the term “second simplisity” kciks in- we ask questions about simple ideas, but from a higher prespective.