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I teach Aikido at a small dojo in Winnipeg, Canada. Been doing so for many years now. This blog is just a collection of ruminations on teaching, descriptions of the events of daily practice, and the occasional funny story.
I had a bit of a strange thing happen at practice tonight. A young fellow showed up to check out a class. Nothing strange about this, of course. It was what happened between myself and this young man after class that was, well, odd. When the class was concluded, I approached the young fellow and asked him if he had any questions or concerns. To my surprise he responded by saying, "Well, I don't want to correct the sensei after my first class but..." I kept a smile on my face, but I was thinking, "This guy's got a lot of nerve! If he offers a correction on my Aikido technique things are gonna' get ugly!" He continued, "...your pronunciation was wrong. Its 'shichi' and 'kyu,' not 'shi' and 'ku.' He was referring to my pronunciation of '4' and '9' in japanese. I wasn't sure whether to be irritated or amused. I went with amused. "Well, I don't really fuss about it," I said, "I'm a Canadian, not japanese, and not too concerned about how well I pronounce japanese terms." The young fellow grinned, made some conciliatory noises and moved the conversation to a different topic.
I'm still a little baffled by this young man's criticism. I mean, what a way to introduce yourself to someone - especially a martial arts teacher from whom you wish to learn! My shihan would have thought such a fellow extremely rude and flatly refused to teach him. Ah, well. I'll see how things go. An odd beginning, though, don't you think? Sheesh.