I think this goes here, maybe.
Sunday night, I tested two students. It was a low level test, and this is the first dichotomy. Legitimately in the style there is only one real test, for licenture. Being Americans, we've added a kyu concept so that students can mark their own progress and feel like they have accomplished something.
Since only the Mokuroku test is "real", I've been given a huge amount of freedom in what and how I teach new students. I pulled out my grading sheets and realized that I don't teach or even think the way I did when I designed these requirements.
The requirements had a list of throws, the way I learned them. I don't teach or think of them as distinct techniques anymore. Ogoshi, seoi-nage, tsurigoshi, goshi nage... are all just full entry hip throws with variations on how to get your arms out of the way.
There were lots of blocks and evasions listed in cleverly connected series, but I've been teaching defense as stages: Terrain, relationship, intent, opportunity, action with a heavy emphasis on irimi (entry), contact response, leverage point control. None of which is listed in my old requirements.
There are things like entries that I learned through absorption. Never consciously taught and maybe my instructor had never really thought about them as a class of technique, but vital. Once i started thinking about them and started dissecting my training, especially kata, they were there. One more thing that I emphasize in my teaching that isn't on my grading list.
Not sure where I'm going with this. It's nothing so banal as 'how you look at your art changes over time.' I hope.
The change in my thinking is from concrete to conceptual. Concrete has advantages. It's much easier to test. Students who learned the discrete techniques with the Japanese names from my sensei have been able to participate in dojos in Okinawa, Tokyo and Fukuoka, both karate and judo, and blend right in. That is important.
But I find it's not what I'm teaching.