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Hello! My name is X and I'm a punk-oholic.
Basically, both inside and outside the dojo, I come off as a jerk. I don't think I mean to, but I do.
Outside the dojo I'm sort of stuck in this "debate" mentallity. My weird sense of morals tries to balance things out, but I take things way to seriously (based on people's reactions) and end up being the annoying Devil's Advocate that no one wants around.
Well the same is apparantly starting to happen inside the dojo. The senior students have been helping me a lot so I am starting be able to handle some of the techniques better, but the main way I did that is by being uke to some hard seniors and by not tapping for as long as possible until I can't tolerate the pain any more. This means that for a few technique's, due to senior help and due to my unusual bone structure (my elbow can bend past 180 degrees) I end up not tapping for some people.
Well I was recently made aware that I come off as ill-mannered and disrespectful due to not tapping and talking ish, neither of which I considered much. In my own mind I always tried to think of things objectively, so I didn't give much thought to manners because it seemed that most people are only polite (which is different from "nice" or "kind") to people they are sucking up to, as in rich, attractive, or other people who are unreasonably viewed as "superior." But now that I'm in Aikido I'm starting to realize there could be more to politeness than the common &ss-kissing I see on a daily basis. I am starting to realize there is another form of good manners, which is being polite to everyone regardless of "status", and that this version of manners actually has some moral weight.
Well basically I'm really out of the loop and lack a lot of ideas which most people see as common sense, so could anyone give me advice on being more polite and having good manners?
Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance,
I think it's great that you're thinking about your relationships with others.
I'm not sure what you mean by being the Devil's Advocate, perhaps you could give an example?
I guess talking too much can be seen as someone trying to take over a conversation or situation. It can be that the person talking too much wants to have control for themselves. Or perhaps wanting to prove themselves?
Self-defence is largely about having and keeping control of yourself, not forcing others to do things your way (if they WANT to that's good). It could be that your toris are feeling or thinking that by not tapping off you are not cooperating and keeping more than your share of the technique. I mean trying to keep control of the technique at a point where uke is suppose to have a bit less than tori.
Have you explained to the others that your joints are different? They can't understand if they don't know! When that kind of thing happens to me I say something like "Yes, .... I can feel that starting to happen..." or " that would be working already on someone else (less flexible)". If you let your sensei and senior students know about it they should be able to demonstrate alternative or just slightly different holds etc. that would work on people with above average flexibility. If they haven't got one, well you've given them a challenge -something interesting to think about, which they should appreciate as an opportunity to think creatively and further develop their problem-solving skills!
I think of politeness as a showing of respect. Respecting that others have a right to have their own opinions, feelings etc. Also, being considerate ie: taking others' views and feelings into account when making decisions. I suppose it also includes what I wrote above -not trying to take-over or 'invade someones' personal space'.
Hope this is helpful, please tell if I am not on the right track or you have other questions or comments.
08-09-2006, 06:39 AM
Yo, Punky, It could be that you haven't met your devil's advocate, or in other words someone better at it, but that's another topic. Regarding this new kind of politeness you've discovered, it is the original. Take a cue from Ol' Saint Nick, and be good for goodness sake. An individual human being, considered outside the ken of all they've done right and wrong, deserves respect for their humanity. The weight of their record, either + or - , may shift the magnitude of that respect, but can never fully eradicate it. The phrase "I have no respect for that man." can be true, but I must have respect for the humanity presented in that man. He's only human. Maybe this is some aspect of that "moral weight" you were feeling?
For me, I try to meet all people with the above described rule of basic respectability of human life. It could be enlightened self-interest, or as I like to say, altruism is the most highly evolved form of greed. This is not to say that I love everybody, but before I get carried away by my disdain for their behavior / culture, I cut them the slack they're due.
Regarding mat time. I haven't your gumby flexibility, and if my elbows could go passed 180°, I would never let them in the dojo. It would only make the task of breaking said elbow that much easier. These two ascii figures depicting elbows, / \ and \ / start in this position, and can only bend downward. which one would you try to break first above them?
I'm not proposing that you are genuinely in greater danger for having higher flexibility, because in general I'd bet you aren't. But, your flexibility may allow you as uke to inhabit locations, postures, and movements that endanger you before a more malevolent nage. I have recently discovered a technique that if my weight wasn't fully moved as intended by nage, it left me fully open to their front. Once, upon not moving to protect myself (an aspect of correct ukemi?), nage happily kicked me three times, in three different places between my legs. Thankfully they were all warning shots across the, ahem, bow. All I'm suggesting is don't let your flexibility endanger you, and one extra comment, you don't need pain to tap. If you can't get up, tap.
Enjoy your new manners, I know I will when I meet you!
08-09-2006, 07:04 AM
I think a lot of people get too strung up on making someone tap when they put a pin/lock on them. For me the person tapping tells you that you have taken them to the limtes of their pain threshold, which is good in training. However, if you every had to disarm a knife weilding attacker in the street im sure you wouldn't put a lock on slowly and gently untill they gave up, you would snap it on and break the arm..
I guess what im trying to say is that, IMHO you not tapping isn't bad mannered, its just that you haven't felt the need to
08-09-2006, 08:37 AM
However, if you every had to disarm a knife weilding attacker in the street im sure you wouldn't put a lock on slowly and gently untill they gave up, you would snap it on and break the arm..
Aw Steve, you are such a brute :uch:
Disarm the attacker with the minimum of pain, demonstrate by example, the way of non violence. ;)
08-09-2006, 08:53 AM
Punk, you sound a lot like me. Except I Always tap out before it hurts.In the dojo, at least.
And slowly learning to let go of the argument, outside the dojo.
08-09-2006, 09:01 AM
Pay attention to others people's feelings and needs.
I say this as someone who slips into old punk bad manners often enough and the has to make up for it. Incidentally keep the bad manners punk thing in your toolbox, it’s great for saying NO to stupid/mean people. I too realized there were two kinds of manners a while back...well three IMO:
08-09-2006, 02:29 PM
Hi, manners (acceptable ones) can differ from environment to environment...do you mind me asking what "style" (I use the term very loosely) of aikido you are in, or failing that, the major organization?
08-09-2006, 02:49 PM
Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance,
Just my experience, recognizing the problem is the first step.
Not having manners is simply called "being an *sshole." Manners are about demonstrating you have consideration for others. Read a couple books on it-- Afterwards, you might even realize how disgusting it is when people chew with their mouths open.
Some people don't want you to tap, some people do. It's all Aikido...adapt your technique to the partner you have at the time-- tap for the ones that want you to tap early, don't tap for the ones that are working on the pin.
08-15-2006, 02:19 AM
Interesting plea. I have and have had a similar problem for most of my life. Your request was for practical advice, and I think I can give you some that is very simple and memorable:
Seriously. Not on this thread, and not with your friends, but in situations where you are noticing problems.
Given your writing ability and the behavior you describe, my guess is that you are significantly smarter than almost everyone you know. Seriously. It's easier than one might think to find oneself in the top 1 or 2 percent of the population in intelligence, not to mention education related to logic and abstract thought. Playing devil's advocate and pursuing debate purely for the pleasure of it are pretty rarified mental activities. Very few people enjoy this sort of thing. Maybe it makes them feel dumb, they don't really understand the rules, they are insecure about their own opinions, they simply don't like that kind of thinking... whatever.
Why is not important, really. What is important is the simple fact that most people don't like it. Most people don't care about your opinions or your Socratic dialogue skills. More of it is not going to warm them up to it - or you - so if you want to get along with them, you have to learn to let all manner of foolish and questionable things be said without commenting or questioning, and all manner of fascinating ideas flow through your mind without talking about them. Simply keep your mouth shut. Being quiet is much less off-putting than saying things that annoy people.
I know this may sound flippant or sarcastic, but I'm completely serious. It may also sound arrogant, but it's an unhappy statistical reality for those who are out near the wee little diminishing slope on the right of the intelligence bell curve. Only a small proportion of the people you run into are even capable of understanding you, and only a small portion of those are actually going to like you... perhaps smaller still if you've developed an unpleasant personality from years of frustratingly expecting scores of average people to be exceptional.
That covers abstract intelligence. Now, on to social intelligence. Given what you've said, it sounds like you may be below average in this department, maybe even far below average. The kind of problems you have with talking to people and with manners are effortless for many people. Think statistically, as above: it could well be that 8 or 9 out of ten people you meet are better at this than you are. While you are working out the motivations and moral ramifications of good manners and deciding whether or not to practice them, many around you are easily practicing them and mastering them. As a result, they are well liked while you are frustrated and isolated.
This is another reason to shut up - when it comes to dealing with other people, you have a lot to learn. Learning will be easier if you listen more and talk less. I suspect a lot of it is just losing sight of priorities and bad habits. I know it is with me. As often as I can remember to, I ask myself what my priorities are in a situation. If you have experienced the kind of isolation I have, you'll find that expressing your own opinions ranks lower than social goals a lot more often than your habitual actions reflect.
Anyway, that's my take. Give it a try and see what happens.
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