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mersey01
11-07-2006, 09:51 AM
Hi
I have started training again after a 3 year gap due to work commitments. I went to 2 local Aikido dojos (1 of which is the one I previously trained with) and have experienced 2 very different methods of teaching and differences in mat etiquette.

The 2nd dojo concerns me regarding the teaching aspect when having a technique performed on my by the Sensei. For example:
I do not expect a technique (i.e. Ikkyo) to be applied with such force and effectivness that I am left wondering whether my wrist is on the verge of being broken as this, to me, is not teaching :uch: - after all, we're only practising.
Secondly regarding mat etiquette. Even though I have previously trained in Aikido in a different dojo I am not going to know all of the new dojo's rules on mat etiquette so why should I be expected to be "PERFECT" in this let alone be accused of not showing respect when giving the Sensei a truthful and honest answer to any question he may ask me.

As a new student to this dojo I would of expected a small degree of flexibility to at least give me time to settle into the new dojo and it's rules.
As such I have been turned off going to that dojo again and am thinking hard whether I should give it another go and maybe have a chat with the Sensei about this before lesson or not.

What are people's thoughts and/or experiences in similar environments?

Rob

ian
11-07-2006, 10:09 AM
Hi Rob,
like your Avatar! - very unusual.

I've trained in a wide variety of clubs and understand what you mean. Some clubs think more force or more pain is more realistic. I do think that sometimes being 'soft' can produce a poor training environment as it does not relate well to real attacks. However I think training should aim for a zero injury rate. Basically I think we need to make training as realistic and aggressive as possible (at least from uke) without incurring injury (though obviously at different times different aspects of aikido are being trained).

I would have a chat to the sensei. Some people are pretty arrogant, and just chatting to him will give you an idea of whether he is teaching for his students or for his own ego. Sometimes its difficult as the sensei to understand what newbies are thinking. Also, are you quite strong/large? Maybe he felt that he had to prove something with you.

Anyway, don't dismiss the dojo too early, maybe they are good - but at the same token don't be dissapointed if you realise its not for you.

(I once questioned a sensei, after the session, about moving off centre line (the club didn't seem to do it at all). He proceeded to show me how painful different pins could be on the floor. Well, I must admit he could pin well, but I got to thinking he was actually a ju-jitsu instructor masquerading as an aikido instructor. I didn't come back because he used aggression, and didn't even answer the question. Felt no loss there!)

mersey01
11-07-2006, 10:21 AM
Hi Ian

I am the spit of my avatar so you can imagine that I am what's considered a "small-framed' person. 5'10" @ 158 lbs (that's about 11.3 stone I think)

Rob

James Davis
11-07-2006, 10:33 AM
Hi
The 2nd dojo concerns me regarding the teaching aspect when having a technique performed on my by the Sensei. For example:
I do not expect a technique (i.e. Ikkyo) to be applied with such force and effectivness that I am left wondering whether my wrist is on the verge of being broken as this, to me, is not teaching :uch: - after all, we're only practising.
Absolutley. We should definitely respect the safety of the people who donate their bodies so that we can practice. I don't try to power through techniques, but then I have no power. :D I'm a little guy. Effective technique, when met with resistance, will still sometimes result in injury; Accidents happen.

Secondly regarding mat etiquette. Even though I have previously trained in Aikido in a different dojo I am not going to know all of the new dojo's rules on mat etiquette so why should I be expected to be "PERFECT" in this let alone be accused of not showing respect when giving the Sensei a truthful and honest answer to any question he may ask me.

Hmm. What was said? Maybe there was some misunderstanding? Please explain.

As a new student to this dojo I would of expected a small degree of flexibility to at least give me time to settle into the new dojo and it's rules.

You should have expected a whole bunch of flexibility! I sometimes have to gently push new students to do something that they're a little afraid of doing, but everybody needs time to adjust.

As such I have been turned off going to that dojo again and am thinking hard whether I should give it another go and maybe have a chat with the Sensei about this before lesson or not.


You've already stated that this sensei's technique was so forceful that he nearly injured you, and that you felt that this was "not teaching". Why go back? :confused:

Like Ian, I say go ahead and chat with the sensei, though. There's much you might learn by doing that. ;)

mersey01
11-07-2006, 10:51 AM
Hmm. What was said? Maybe there was some misunderstanding? Please explain.
Yes, I should of explained this.

When Sensei performed the technique (Ikkyo) on me :uch: , he did so with such force that not only left me in fear of my limbs but also stunned me (from the shock) and I had a delayed reaction to "slap the mat" and I did so only after Sensei told me to do so.
Sensei asked "Why did you not slap the mat"? To which my reply was "Because you applied the technique too fast".
After about 2 seconds of Sensei glaring at me hye said "That remark was really disrespectful".

Maybe the differences between the teaching methods of the 2 dojos became apparent to me in the application of the technique (i.e. applied hard+fast/apllied slow+soft) but imo my reply to the question was in no way disrespectful.

Rob

mersey01
11-07-2006, 11:08 AM
Maybe the differences between the teaching methods of the 2 dojos became apparent to me in the application of the technique (i.e. applied hard+fast/apllied slow+soft) but imo my reply to the question was in no way disrespectful.

'soft' doesn't imply that the technique is not effective

Aristeia
11-07-2006, 11:14 AM
I agree, I've seen people take classes that were more or less homages to their own ego. Taking advantage of the training paradigm to get an entry on uke and then slamming home the throw all of a sudden. Or even worse cranking on the lock or pin to through multiple taps to show how "effective" a technique is. I've seen an instructor do this regularly on people who would smoke him if they weren't playing the game from the start. To me this is the greatest crime in the dojo, to take advantage of what uke gives you willingly to then put undue pressure on their limbs and betray that trust.

Ron Tisdale
11-07-2006, 12:07 PM
Your remark was not disrespectful. I was unsure at first, but now I'm leaning toward advising you not to go back. Could be wrong...I wasn't there and don't know the parties involved.

Best,
Ron

Basia Halliop
11-07-2006, 01:55 PM
When Sensei performed the technique (Ikkyo) on me , he did so with such force that not only left me in fear of my limbs but also stunned me (from the shock) and I had a delayed reaction to "slap the mat" and I did so only after Sensei told me to do so.
Sensei asked "Why did you not slap the mat"? To which my reply was "Because you applied the technique too fast".
After about 2 seconds of Sensei glaring at me hye said "That remark was really disrespectful".

Wow, THAT remark (the Sensei's) was really disrespectful, IMHO.... It's your body and only you have the right to set your own limits (maybe this following sounds like an odd comment, but do people forget to teach that to boys when they're growing up or something?). Anyway, you can only do your best -- if you don't think you can keep up with someone and you think you might get hurt, it would be kind of stupid not admit it.

The teacher sounds like an arrogent hypersensitive jerk. He might not be, but that's what he sounds like so far.

Edited to add that apparently some people do seem to feel like they learn better when they push the pain envelope (although some don't). To me that isn't really the main problem I see here...

Ron Tisdale
11-07-2006, 02:08 PM
There are some teachers in some dojo I would do this type of training with...if they knew me, and knew what I can handle, and were taking me to the next level.

First couple of keiko sessions, in a new dojo?? With a virtual stranger? I don't think so...

Best,
Ron (give it back the way you got it...)

James Davis
11-07-2006, 04:19 PM
(give it back the way you got it...)
Whoah! Eeeaasy, Ron. :p

Seriously, should he really match this guy's behavior?

Don't fight a moron, because bystanders may not know which is which. ;)

Amendes
11-07-2006, 05:59 PM
Strike Hard,
Strike First,
Show No Mercey!

COBRA KAI!

LOL, no but seriously I would not go back to that place, and infact I woulden't even bother going back to bring it up. Why give them the oppurtunity to make an excuse?

From the sounds of it this place can't be doing better then your currnet dojo, becuase that kind of teaching seems to go against the whole idea of Aikido.

Gwion
11-08-2006, 02:00 AM
sounds like an "aiki-cult" to me.

young, dumb, and full of c....m


I really recommend you check out one of the softer styles, Ki Aikido, or Kokikai.

They manage to have power, rhythm, ki, all that jazz, with 90% less injuries, and after training ki aikido for a year, I no longer have the crackling joins, and stressed knee joints that I did in Aikikai.

shop around by all means, you'll be surprised how different two aikido dojos can be.

:circle: :square: :triangle:

ruthmc
11-08-2006, 04:04 AM
To which my reply was "Because you applied the technique too fast".
After about 2 seconds of Sensei glaring at me he said "That remark was really disrespectful".
Hi Rob,

I think if you'd added "for me" to the end of your reply you'd have gotten a less aggressive response from the 'instructor'. Instructors are only human, and unfortunately your choice of words was what ticked him off! Not that he should have been slamming you down in the first place, that's a big no-no until you know the other person's ukemi capabilities, which is why I agree with the others that he's best avoided.

But in future bear in mind that unless you tell people what you want to do "for me", they may mis-interpret your comments as criticism of them. There's a bit of verbal Aikido for you :)

Good luck with finding a dojo you like!
Let us know how you get on,

Ruth

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-08-2006, 04:44 AM
Anyone with a bit of a sense of humor could have laughed and said "sorry" at uke's reply. If this is not clear to the instructor he was probably having a bad day. Do you want to learn aikido from someone who prances around in a skirt yet lacks a sense of humour??? LOL

DonMagee
11-08-2006, 06:32 AM
I agree, I've seen people take classes that were more or less homages to their own ego. Taking advantage of the training paradigm to get an entry on uke and then slamming home the throw all of a sudden. Or even worse cranking on the lock or pin to through multiple taps to show how "effective" a technique is. I've seen an instructor do this regularly on people who would smoke him if they weren't playing the game from the start. To me this is the greatest crime in the dojo, to take advantage of what uke gives you willingly to then put undue pressure on their limbs and betray that trust.

I went to a friends school (not aikido, Japanese jiujitsu of some kind) to see what he was doing. The instructor decided to use me for a demonstration as I was a judo guy so he knew I knew how to fall (that was his reasoning, but I really think it was male posturing). So I do as requested and throw a punch, he slaps me in the face, grabs my nice waiting arm and standing armbars me. I tap, he keeps armbaring me, I tap, he keeps armbaring me, I start to defend the armbar and he does his hip toss. He then told me how I didn't commit to my attack because I started to defend the armbar and that if I kept that up, we wouldn't be learning, but sparing which was not productive. I turned around, walked to the edge of the mat, bowed out, and went to change.

He came off the mat to ask me what my problem was and why I was being disrespectful. I told him I didn't want to talk in front of his students. He pushed it, so I informed him that:
a) Hitting someone not allowed to defend themselves does not show anything of value. Obviously you can hit me, I'm not even trying to stop you.
b) He almost broke my arm, and I would never trust him with my limbs again. He was unsafe, and a danger to all those around him.

He called me disrespectful and asked me to leave (well duh!). I was very angry at the moment and really wanted to challege him to a fight right there and then, but I pushed my thoughts and anger down to be calm enough to shake his hand and walk out. I decided that day that I would never let anyone hit me without allowing me to defend myself, and that if they didn't' let go on the first tap that I would verbally warn them to let go asap. If they decided not to, I would proceed to turn the relationship into a full on fight.

So now I am either going to drill compliantly, drill with resistance on both sides, or spar. No more will I throw a single attack to be the punching bag for some ego driven fool.

Ron Tisdale
11-08-2006, 06:47 AM
Whoah! Eeeaasy, Ron. :p

Seriously, should he really match this guy's behavior?

Don't fight a moron, because bystanders may not know which is which. ;)

Cough, uh, Ahem...what I was referring to was uke's body. Give uke's body back in the same condition you got it. ;)

Best,
Ron

Mary Eastland
11-08-2006, 07:14 AM
When Aikidoka from others styles visit our dojo we remind everyone to go slow and get acquainted. Different styles move in different ways. Assumptions can lead to injuries.
As to the respect issue.....speaking up for yourself is very respectful.
Mary

mersey01
11-08-2006, 08:33 AM
Thankyou for all your comments.
I started of by thinking that going along and chatting with Sensei to clear things up might show him that I have deternmination to train at his dojo despite the earlier misunderstandings.
However after considering all the comments from ppl on here I feel it would be better if I stayed away - better for my well-being and better for my pocket ;)
I did expect some comments that disagreed with my opinion that would further help me to understand the way in which I could of misread the Sensei's reactions towards me.
I can't find another (3rd) Aikido dojo local to me (closest one being 40 miles away) that is also within my time schedule so instead I have opted to start a different martial art (Kung Fu) as well as carry on at my current dojo.

This dojo welcomed me in the same way as Mary described about her dojo, going slowly and explaining the differences when I suddenly had a look of confusion when doing a technique.

I know that kung fu is very different - concentrating on strikes, kicks and aggressiveness but I feel more welcomed than that of the other dojo I tried.

Rob

James Davis
11-08-2006, 10:54 AM
Cough, uh, Ahem...what I was referring to was uke's body. Give uke's body back in the same condition you got it. ;)

Best,
Ron
Nice save, Ron. ;)

James Davis
11-08-2006, 10:56 AM
I can't find another (3rd) Aikido dojo local to me (closest one being 40 miles away) that is also within my time schedule so instead I have opted to start a different martial art (Kung Fu) as well as carry on at my current dojo.

This dojo welcomed me in the same way as Mary described about her dojo, going slowly and explaining the differences when I suddenly had a look of confusion when doing a technique.

I know that kung fu is very different - concentrating on strikes, kicks and aggressiveness but I feel more welcomed than that of the other dojo I tried.

Rob
Personally, I don't care which art you study as long as you're trying to improve yourself. Keep at it. :)

ChrisMoses
11-08-2006, 12:38 PM
Yes, I should of explained this.

When Sensei performed the technique (Ikkyo) on me :uch: , he did so with such force that not only left me in fear of my limbs but also stunned me (from the shock) and I had a delayed reaction to "slap the mat" and I did so only after Sensei told me to do so.
Sensei asked "Why did you not slap the mat"? To which my reply was "Because you applied the technique too fast".
After about 2 seconds of Sensei glaring at me hye said "That remark was really disrespectful".

Maybe the differences between the teaching methods of the 2 dojos became apparent to me in the application of the technique (i.e. applied hard+fast/apllied slow+soft) but imo my reply to the question was in no way disrespectful.

Rob


I'm confused, what part of his ikkyo was too fast and left you in fear of your limbs. Also, if you were in a position to slap and someone was continueing to apply force, why on earth didn't you slap? That should be a reflex that occurs almost without thinking. I'm not saying that he's a great guy, but it seems that there could be more here. Telling a teacher that they applied something too fast (when it sounds like you were unhurt from the encounter) could be disrespectful. Some aikido schools aren't used to the feeling of firmly applied techniques. The way Yoshinkan does ikkyo for example would get someone thrown out of some of the local aikido dojos, but can obviously be done safely and repeatedly. But like I said, the guy could be a git.

Ron Tisdale
11-08-2006, 12:52 PM
Hi Chris,

I thought about this as I read it...I know that some people give me really wierd looks when I do things I think of as standard. But if I ask the person why they didn't tap, and I get pissed when they say it was too fast, then I'm pretty much being a git, yoshinkan or not...

I mean, what's to get pissed about? Just doesn't make sense that slowing down for someone new to your place would tic you off.

Best,
Ron (I've been frustrated when someone said to take it real easy because they are injured, then they resist the waza like crazy when I take it real easy...But I don't then claim they are being disrespectful. You can live with a little frustration...might even be good for me...)

Ron Tisdale
11-08-2006, 01:09 PM
Oh, and I just thought that I'd mention that one of our 4th dans is very well known for being able to do very slow, but very controling waza. So you don't have to use speed for good waza...you should be able to do the same waza slowly, but with control, in my experience.

Best,
Ron

ChrisMoses
11-08-2006, 02:48 PM
My above comments weren't meant as a critique of the yoshinkan by the way.

There's a big difference between, "I'm sorry, I can't take that ukemi/I can't go that fast." and "You did the techniqe too quickly" which can easily be heard as a criticism of the teacher's waza and (for better or worse) get them defensive/upset. I know it always ticked me off when someone came into a dojo I was teaching at and began to correct me on how Aikido worked. I'm just pointing out that there are quite a few more factors that could be in play here. Again, that isn't to say that the guy (as in the teacher in question) isn't a jerk with an attitude problem.

James Davis
11-08-2006, 04:20 PM
Oh, and I just thought that I'd mention that one of our 4th dans is very well known for being able to do very slow, but very controling waza. So you don't have to use speed for good waza...you should be able to do the same waza slowly, but with control, in my experience.

Best,
Ron

Agreed.

Some of my students get frustrated during times in which I insist on "turtle speed". Being fast and strong may be quite useful in saving their lives some day, but I don't want them to rely on speed and strength all the time.

James Davis
11-08-2006, 04:27 PM
Cough, uh, Ahem...what I was referring to was uke's body. Give uke's body back in the same condition you got it. ;)

Best,
Ron
My mistake, Ron. I apologize.

NagaBaba
11-08-2006, 07:08 PM
I'm very surprised by some of opinions here. Pain has natural place in aikido techniques, in fact it is impossible to lock efficiently someone without pain. Many ppl read new age aikido books and develop their illusory understanding of aikido instead of ‘listening’ to the techniques themselves.
Particularly, when someone practices seriously aikido (or any other physical activity) must be ready to go through a lot of pain. Pain teaches us a lot of important things that are impossible to learn other way.
If you don’t like pain don’t do aikido.

DaveS
11-08-2006, 07:45 PM
I can't find another (3rd) Aikido dojo local to me (closest one being 40 miles away) that is also within my time scheduleI believe Masa Abe (4th Dan shodokan) is in Liverpool, although I don't know that he's teaching regularly at the moment. And admittedly he doesn't always play gently so a bit of pain might be expected, but it's the good sort of pain - weakness leaving the body and all that...

eyrie
11-08-2006, 08:20 PM
What is "pain"? But a process of misogi....

Aristeia
11-08-2006, 09:27 PM
pain is just weakness leaving the body ;-)

deepsoup
11-09-2006, 03:56 AM
I believe Masa Abe (4th Dan shodokan) is in Liverpool.
He isn't teaching over there, he's a bit too busy with his studies. And you give *very* much the wrong impression when you say "he doesn't always play gently" - he *never* dishes out more than he is certain his partner can handle. I think he's quite possibly the gentlest person I've ever met.

He's taking a couple of classes in Sheffield next week btw., randori on Mon 13th Nov and a more general class on Tues 14th, if you're interested.

justin
11-09-2006, 04:01 AM
I'm very surprised by some of opinions here. Pain has natural place in aikido techniques, in fact it is impossible to lock efficiently someone without pain. Many ppl read new age aikido books and develop their illusory understanding of aikido instead of ‘listening' to the techniques themselves.
Particularly, when someone practices seriously aikido (or any other physical activity) must be ready to go through a lot of pain. Pain teaches us a lot of important things that are impossible to learn other way.
If you don't like pain don't do aikido.


i agree with that 100% but only at a certain level remember this guy was new to the dojo after the instructor has worked out his level then maybe yes but not straight off the cuff.

my two pence worth anyway.

Ecosamurai
11-09-2006, 04:43 AM
I know that if someone came to one of my lessons and told me I was doing ikkyo too fast I'd be amused and irritated by the comment. Its up to me how I choose to teach and practice ikkyo in my own lesson, not some guy I've never met before who thinks he knows how I should be doing my aikido. Correcting a sensei in his own dojo is downright rude.

That said, the above rests entirely on the assuption that the way I choose to do ikkyo is not more than someone can handle. I would not put on a hard and fast ikkyo if it was obvious to me that uke isn't capable of receiving it. Nor would I wish to train somewhere where the instructor was willing to apply a technique beyond the limits of what uke can receive.

Mike

Mauricio Camargo
11-09-2006, 06:07 AM
Aikido not Aikidor( in portuguese pain is dor). I know in aikido, some pain is unavoidable ( no pain no gain). But nague must respect the uke limits. It does not matter if he is instructor or not.That's all for me.

DaveS
11-09-2006, 06:11 AM
And you give *very* much the wrong impression when you say "he doesn't always play gently" - he *never* dishes out more than he is certain his partner can handle.Sorry if I gave the wrong impression - I think my point was that those two aren't always mutually exclusive... He's taking a couple of classes in Sheffield next week btw., randori on Mon 13th Nov and a more general class on Tues 14th, if you're interested.Yep. I think there might be a group of us up from nottingham on the monday at least.

DonMagee
11-09-2006, 06:13 AM
I know that if someone came to one of my lessons and told me I was doing ikkyo too fast I'd be amused and irritated by the comment. Its up to me how I choose to teach and practice ikkyo in my own lesson, not some guy I've never met before who thinks he knows how I should be doing my aikido. Correcting a sensei in his own dojo is downright rude.

That said, the above rests entirely on the assuption that the way I choose to do ikkyo is not more than someone can handle. I would not put on a hard and fast ikkyo if it was obvious to me that uke isn't capable of receiving it. Nor would I wish to train somewhere where the instructor was willing to apply a technique beyond the limits of what uke can receive.

Mike

So you belive you know your students better than they know themselves?

If you did a movement too fast for me to safely react, and then you asked me why I didn't safely react, and I told you because you were too fast, you should not get mad. Instead you should realize you need to tone it down with me until I can build my skills.

NagaBaba
11-09-2006, 06:52 AM
Here is a part of first Doshu interview from Aikidojournal:

Recently, there has been a tendency for Aikido training to become too soft and flowing and some beginners lightly bypass hard training. That's not the way it should be. If you are going to practice you must practice basics earnestly. This he told me frequently even in his later years. . . exactly, not changing anything. . . if you don't reach the level of softness beyond technique by getting the basics down perfectly, you won't develop true strength. If, from the beginning, you practice a "tofu-like(bean-curd)" soft style, you will be vulnerable to an attack. So it's necessary to do solid training in the beginning. Over time, through this kind of solid training your technique will become effective. A soft effectiveness will emerge.

So you belive you know your students better than they know themselves?
Yes, if someone is good instructor, he will know it.

Ecosamurai
11-09-2006, 06:54 AM
So you belive you know your students better than they know themselves?

In a word, yes.

I would not ever apply a technique past the point of someone being able to handle it, they may find things uncomfortable but thats not the same thing as being unable to receive a technique, feeling uncomofrtable is part of learning. I have no interest in smashing someone to prove to myself or anyone else how 'effective' I am, why should someone else pay for my learning?

I only ever apply things with lots of room to manoeuvre to beginners, once I know a student better I may turn things up a bit, I certainly do not ever apply any technique as powerfully as I am able to because I know that I haven't as yet got any students I could be sure would be able to receive it without any possibility of injury.

Mike

DonMagee
11-09-2006, 07:47 AM
Here is a part of first Doshu interview from Aikidojournal:




Yes, if someone is good instructor, he will know it.


If you assume all instructors are good instructors, or worse yet, do you assume you are a good instructor?

Gwion
11-09-2006, 08:14 AM
I think some of you are missing the point that there is NO excuse for anger from a teacher towards a student in the dojo, especially a beginner.

The responsibility to be patient, diligent, and conscientious ALL rests with the teacher.

Any anger, ego, or pride influenced behaviour reveals nothing more than an inferior sensei who is off the path of Aikido.


nuff said.

deepsoup
11-09-2006, 08:20 AM
I think my point was that those two aren't always mutually exclusive... Yep. I think there might be a group of us up from nottingham on the monday at least.
And its a fair point, no worries. You just need to remember that what you say on here is public (and global). Noone who knows Masa Abe would misunderstand you, but the vast majority of people here will never have heard of him, so might get the wrong idea.
Sounds like that Monday session will be a good one. :)

Pauliina Lievonen
11-09-2006, 08:48 AM
I'd read this thread before but I just realized that the original poster is the guy I'd recommended Terry Ezra sensei's dojo to. So I started wondering if that was the dojo he'd visited? Robert are you still reading?

Ezra sensei has never ever hurt me, or thrown/pinned me in a way that I couldn't handle. But that said, his technique can feel like a real shock to the system! I sometimes wonder for a second afterwards if I'm still in one piece...it always turns out that I am. The ending pins can be very powerful, especially if you're not used to being pinned in a way that really doesn't leave any avenue of escape. After a while you really learn to react faster, and that's not a bad skill to have.

I know you probably feel very offended and badly treated right now but if that's the dojo you were talking about, I really think you should give it another chance. And you can talk with Ezra sensei, just maybe try to be a bit more tactful, you'll have better results that way. :)

kvaak
Pauliina

Ecosamurai
11-09-2006, 08:49 AM
I think some of you are missing the point that there is NO excuse for anger from a teacher towards a student in the dojo, especially a beginner.

The responsibility to be patient, diligent, and conscientious ALL rests with the teacher.

Any anger, ego, or pride influenced behaviour reveals nothing more than an inferior sensei who is off the path of Aikido.


nuff said.

Hope you don't mean me. Anger toward a beginner is not acceptable as far as I'm concerned. But. Being told you are doing your aikido wrong by a visitor to your dojo (or in a way that doesn't suit them) is something that makes you entitled to be irritated (doesn't mean you can take out any frustration that might generate on them though). Visitng a dojo and correcting the sensei there is rude and there is no excuse for it. Likewise applying aikido techniques which can result in injury on a guest or beginner is egotistical and also very rude not to mention dangerous and there is definitely no excuse for that either.

Mike

DonMagee
11-09-2006, 11:30 AM
It doesn't sound to me like he was told he did his aikido wrong, or that he was corrected by a visiting student. It sounds like he asked the student why the student was unable to tap. The student gave an honest answer. What more could you want? If you are not going to like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question.

It reminds me of my judo instructor. He has admited to the class he was never very good at newaza. I took it upon myself to study bjj to learn to be better at newaza. One day he is showing an obviously flawed technique (keylock from inside the guard). I asked him if it wouldn't be better to pass the guard before going for a submission and if not, how to deal with the hips of your opponent being used to keep you from being able to apply any real pressure to the arm. He asked me if I thought he could submit me with this technique inside my guard. I told him I did not think it was possible (even if he does weight 270 pounds and I weigh 160 pounds.) At this point he gets in my guard, I give him my arm and he starts to try to submit me. I use my hips to release the preasure and do nothing but defend. He makes a comment that all I can do is defend and eventually I will wear out, so I sweep him and transition to a submission. I am later told that I am being disrespectful to him by challenging him in front of the class, and was a bad uke for not allowing the submission to happen.

If you do not like the answer, then you should not answer the question. Anytime your students are truthful and honest to you, be grateful, not angry. Explain to them why they are wrong, show them how they are wrong, or concede that you are wrong. In the case of this judo instructor. He had admitted that he did not fight on the ground, that his entire ground game consisted of staling or standing up. He even had to look up the names and diagrams for most judo submissions. I on the other hand had taken the time to develop a ground game over a long period of time with a competition record. I had developed my own game, and was basically unchallenged by even his brown belt students as a white belt. Rather than admit he was teaching something incorrect, he had to pull the "When you are a black belt you can teach!" card.

Was he a good teacher? He certainly thought he was. I did too before I was educated and spent time with better teachers. Now I am actually afraid to train with him. He thinks he is really good at what he does and that could lead to injury of himself or others. In fact he has actaully injured two people I know after I left there trying to "prove" bjj is better than judo. When all he proved is that 270 pounds trumps 145 pounds white belts.

So I guess the moral of this story is that if you are not greatful that your students question you, or tell you how they feel, then you are not a good teacher.

vjw
11-09-2006, 12:49 PM
I'd read this thread before but I just realized that the original poster is the guy I'd recommended Terry Ezra sensei's dojo to. So I started wondering if that was the dojo he'd visited? Robert are you still reading?

Ezra sensei has never ever hurt me, or thrown/pinned me in a way that I couldn't handle. But that said, his technique can feel like a real shock to the system! I sometimes wonder for a second afterwards if I'm still in one piece...it always turns out that I am. The ending pins can be very powerful, especially if you're not used to being pinned in a way that really doesn't leave any avenue of escape. After a while you really learn to react faster, and that's not a bad skill to have.

I know you probably feel very offended and badly treated right now but if that's the dojo you were talking about, I really think you should give it another chance. And you can talk with Ezra sensei, just maybe try to be a bit more tactful, you'll have better results that way. :)

kvaak
Pauliina

Due to his previous posts, I guessed from the start that he was refering to Ezra sensei's dojo but I did not want to bring the sensei's name into this thread. Now that it has, I hope everyone takes this event as a hypethetical one. Having met the man and his students several times, I find it hard to believe the event went down exactly as described.

ChrisMoses
11-09-2006, 01:35 PM
When Sensei performed the technique (Ikkyo) on me :uch: , he did so with such force that not only left me in fear of my limbs but also stunned me (from the shock) and I had a delayed reaction to "slap the mat" and I did so only after Sensei told me to do so.
Sensei asked "Why did you not slap the mat"? To which my reply was "Because you applied the technique too fast".
After about 2 seconds of Sensei glaring at me hye said "That remark was really disrespectful".

Going back to what was said about the situation, I'm still not sure what part of ikkyo we're talking about. If you're pinned/in pain you slap. If it really hurts, you slap a lot. Now it sounds like you weren't injured from this technique, which tells me that the sensei in question probably didn't "apply the technique too fast" to be safe. After all, they did so to you and stopped before injuring you even though you weren't slapping out (meaning to most people that you can take more). If you then tell the teacher that they applied the technique too fast, you are telling him that he applied the technique incorrectly. Different people are used to different levels of contact/intent. I recall training with a visiting teacher out of CA about a year ago, who would start making a clucking noise and immediately disengage from me whenever I would actually feel like I was contacting her center. She would only train if I was letting her take her fall and not getting any kuzushi whatsoever on her. Different strokes for different folks. Whether injury was caused is very important to consider here. Anyone who'se ever taken ukemi from Bernie Lau when he's doing his sankyo or nikyo knows that sometimes it can feel like your limbs are being destroyed but when it's all over, you're fine. And again, I realize this is all just speculation.

Basia Halliop
11-09-2006, 02:11 PM
To me if someone says they 'didn't tap because it was too fast' I would assume they are saying they were freaked out or had too slow reflexes or something. Obviously he 'should have' tapped, but it doesn't sound like he was not tapping on purpose to make some kind of point or something. If someone asks you a direct question, you try to answer, and they get mad at you for answering them, it just doesn't sound like someone I'd like to have as a teacher.

Maybe the guy has a million other good qualities and just got impatient with this particular student on that particular day, maybe we're not hearing the whole story, maybe whatever. But as far as a 'hypothetical situation as it was described' goes, it sounds like someone I would avoid -- I don't mean he sounds like a maniac that is going around injuring people, just kind of a jerk -- from the story, that is.

Regarding instructors 'knowing better than students': It's very possible that you do know better, and you may be able to convince the students, but ultimately the final decision is up to them. You're free to not promote them or whatever. Here's a very very basic fundamental self-defense skill, that is good to practice because you're miles more likely to use than any nikkyo or whatever = don't get yourself into situations where someone is telling you "I'm hurting you against your will for your own good because I know better than you" . I'm not saying that was happening here, that's just a comment for the general discussion. For someone claiming to teach a martial art, standing up for yourself verbally should not be such a terrible thing.

Ecosamurai
11-09-2006, 02:29 PM
It doesn't sound to me like he was told he did his aikido wrong, or that he was corrected by a visiting student. It sounds like he asked the student why the student was unable to tap. The student gave an honest answer. What more could you want? If you are not going to like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question.

Well then we're just going to have to disagree I guess. My reading of the original post was as follows:

Guy goes to a dojo and experiences a technique applied more lets just say 'potently' than he's used to. When asked by the teacher why he didn't tap out he should have replied along the lines of: "Because it came on faster than I expected Sensei". Not "Because you did it too fast".
The latter sounds as though it is a criticism of the sensei, the former does not.

Your profile doesn't say where you're from Don but if its the US then I'd guess maybe its a language thing.

"Because you did it too fast" sounds rude to my Englishman ears.

Regards

Mike

Rupert Atkinson
11-09-2006, 02:48 PM
For example: I do not expect a technique (i.e. Ikkyo) to be applied with such force and effectivness that I am left wondering whether my wrist is on the verge of being broken

I trained with the teacher in question for a decade and can 100% say that if he hurt you he did not intend to. I too wonder if what you said truly represents what really happened. I have seen him throw people around hard, but only those who can take it, like 1st kyus coming up for Dan grading, or Dan grades etc. He can also be as gentle as gentle can be, which is his usual nature. Whatever your experience, you made a good choice to visit this dojo, I hope you can go back becuase it is the one of the best places to train in the UK. Even though you feel you are 100% right, if you really want to learn, you should go back and try again.


Secondly regarding mat etiquette. Even though I have previously trained in Aikido in a different dojo I am not going to know all of the new dojo's rules on mat etiquette so why should I be expected to be "PERFECT" in this ....environments?
Rob

This particular teacher is strict in etiquette. It can be tough at first - beginners can get a bit of a shock as it is like going back to primary school. Basically, you just have to get used to it - in a positive kinda way. Personally, I like it. I have, on occasion, seen people get rubbed off the wrong way because he certainly pulls no punches in terms of etiquette. I was scolded sometimes, and everytime, I have to say, I deserved it. He also scolded me if my students got it wrong!!!

mersey01
11-09-2006, 05:25 PM
Hello everyone and thanks for your comments.

Sorry I've been away from the thread for a while. Let me reply to some points that have been made:

I'd read this thread before but I just realized that the original poster is the guy I'd recommended Terry Ezra sensei's dojo to. So I started wondering if that was the dojo he'd visited? Robert are you still reading?
Firstly, Yes I am still here (you don't get rid of me that easily ;) ). Secondly, the Sensei in question is that of whom you recommended (I just didn't wanna mention names as I didn't want my experience to put people off going there).

Yep. I think there might be a group of us up from nottingham on the monday at least.
Unfortunately I can't make it there as my financial situation does not allow it :( but will look forward to reading a nice long thread from people who were able to attend.

It doesn't sound to me like he was told he did his aikido wrong, or that he was corrected by a visiting student. It sounds like he asked the student why the student was unable to tap. The student gave an honest answer. What more could you want? If you are not going to like the answer, you shouldn't ask the question.
That has hit the nail right on the head - Aikido style :D.

I suppose the Sensei may of been aware of differences between his teaching and that of my main dojo and possibly thought that I wanted him to conform to the latter. I could certainly see how that would be disrespectful.

Going back to what was said about the situation, I'm still not sure what part of ikkyo we're talking about.
My apologies if I am using the wrong name for it. This is the technique:
From a straight-wrist grip (your right hand to my left wrist), nage's wrist is moved to the outside in a circle back to about 6 inches from the chest (at this point uke's arm is bent with the back of their wrist facing your chest. Nage then places his other hand next to his hand and applies a twisting pressure with both hands in the direction of uke with the arm still bent.
I think we can all agree that the technique described (if I explained it properly) woul put immense pressure on the wrist even when done slowly.

To me if someone says they 'didn't tap because it was too fast' I would assume they are saying they were freaked out or had too slow reflexes or something. Obviously he 'should have' tapped, but it doesn't sound like he was not tapping on purpose to make some kind of point or something.
Another difference between 1 dojo and another is indeed the feeling of being 'freaked out' at the sudden change in teaching methods. That said though, I suppose I am a bit slow when it comes to reactions like these (especially as in a practise session I shouldn't have to react as though my life depended on it) and I will just have to learn to be quicker.

Guy goes to a dojo and experiences a technique applied more lets just say 'potently' than he's used to. When asked by the teacher why he didn't tap out he should have replied along the lines of: "Because it came on faster than I expected Sensei". Not "Because you did it too fast".
The latter sounds as though it is a criticism of the sensei, the former does not.
Another failing of mine is that I say things as they enter my head instead of thinking it through beforehand :o .
I trained with the teacher in question for a decade and can 100% say that if he hurt you he did not intend to. I too wonder if what you said truly represents what really happened. I have seen him throw people around hard, but only those who can take it, like 1st kyus coming up for Dan grading, or Dan grades etc. He can also be as gentle as gentle can be, which is his usual nature. Whatever your experience, you made a good choice to visit this dojo, I hope you can go back becuase it is the one of the best places to train in the UK. Even though you feel you are 100% right, if you really want to learn, you should go back and try again.
I don't think anyone has actually said that they don't believe my original post although those here who have trained with the Sensei have said that they have never experienced a similar situation.
Also, the purpose of my posting was not to complain because I felt that I was 100% right. But instead was meant as a means for me to gather other people's views before coming to a decision.
I would really like to go back as up until the 'situation', I felt like I was learning quite a lot in the 2 visits I have been there.

Rob

ChrisMoses
11-09-2006, 05:59 PM
My apologies if I am using the wrong name for it. This is the technique:
From a straight-wrist grip (your right hand to my left wrist), nage's wrist is moved to the outside in a circle back to about 6 inches from the chest (at this point uke's arm is bent with the back of their wrist facing your chest. Nage then places his other hand next to his hand and applies a twisting pressure with both hands in the direction of uke with the arm still bent.
I think we can all agree that the technique described (if I explained it properly) woul put immense pressure on the wrist even when done slowly.




That sounds more like nikyo, and a well done nikyo can feel like your wrist is about to come apart. If you don't have any residual pain after a few moments, it wasn't done too fast or hard. I still suspect there's a bit more to this story.

Pauliina Lievonen
11-09-2006, 06:10 PM
That sounds more like nikyo, and a well done nikyo can feel like your wrist is about to come apart. If you don't have any residual pain after a few moments, it wasn't done too fast or hard. I still suspect there's a bit more to this story.

I think it sounds like a nikkyo, too. And those can definitely give you a bit of a shock! :D

kvaak
Pauliina

DaveS
11-09-2006, 06:16 PM
If you do not like the answer, then you should not answer the question. Anytime your students are truthful and honest to you, be grateful, not angry. Explain to them why they are wrong, show them how they are wrong, or concede that you are wrong.
FWIW, when I hear a martial arts teacher say something like "I'll have to go away and think about that" or "I'll ask my teacher and get back to you on that one" they go up a notch in my estimation...

mersey01
11-09-2006, 06:17 PM
Damn! I always get Ikkyo and Nikkyo mixed up :o

That's a thing I liked about Ezra Sensei's dojo is that the names are used constantly and they will eventually stick in memory.

Rob

NagaBaba
11-09-2006, 07:31 PM
Regarding instructors 'knowing better than students': It's very possible that you do know better, and you may be able to convince the students, but ultimately the final decision is up to them. You're free to not promote them or whatever. Here's a very very basic fundamental self-defense skill, that is good to practice because you're miles more likely to use than any nikkyo or whatever = don't get yourself into situations where someone is telling you "I'm hurting you against your will for your own good because I know better than you" . I'm not saying that was happening here, that's just a comment for the general discussion. For someone claiming to teach a martial art, standing up for yourself verbally should not be such a terrible thing.
I have very different opinion -- once you choose your instructor, you must trust him completly. Otherwise you'll never be able to learn aikido. I know very well it is against western education and habits, but unfortunalty it is very true.

That's why journey of research right teacher is the most important thing in your life. Better not to train at all, then practice with bad developed teacher.

Keith R Lee
11-09-2006, 08:02 PM
I have very different opinion -- once you choose your instructor, you must trust him completly. Otherwise you'll never be able to learn aikido. I know very well it is against western education and habits, but unfortunalty it is very true.

That's why journey of research right teacher is the most important thing in your life. Better not to train at all, then practice with bad developed teacher.

I'd agree that one has to trust their teacher. I'd also agree that the search for a good instructor is very important. However, completely and implicitly trusting my teacher in something like Aikido seems unreasonable. It's okay to question people, places, things, ideas, anything....

Absolute trust in something like an Aikido instructor is getting a little too close to the "guru" vibe for me. It's just a martial art.

Basia Halliop
11-09-2006, 08:13 PM
I have very different opinion -- once you choose your instructor, you must trust him completly.

Then perhaps we're talking partly about different things -- part of what you seem to be saying is, don't train with a teacher if you're not prepared to trust them and do things their way. OK, I can respect that, not a completely crazy idea. As long as you remember that your instructor is an ordinary plain old mortal human being who just happens to know miles more than you on this subject (ie, no matter how great they are, they are not omniscient or infallible -- sorry, but no amount of Aikido or anything else can make someone more than human), this makes some sense.

However, I can not imagine any situation where I would choose to worship another human being or make myself their 'disciple' or obey them implicitly. If that means I will 'never truely learn Aikido', well, too bad, I'll just have to take my chances and learn whatever I can. To me that is _seriously_ sick, in some cases quite literally (stockholm syndrome comes to mind), and very very much losing the war for the sake of the battle. However, if a sane adult choses to do that of their own free will, knowing clearly what they're doing, I guess it's their life (?).

However, that was not exactly my original point -- basically I'm just saying something along the lines of, if you DON'T truely trust someone in a given moment, _don't_ go along with it anyway. And particularly don't go along with something you are not truely convinced is safe 'to be polite'. I'm all in favour of politeness, but I see no merit at all in that and a lot of harm.

Ecosamurai
11-10-2006, 03:00 AM
From a straight-wrist grip (your right hand to my left wrist), nage's wrist is moved to the outside in a circle back to about 6 inches from the chest (at this point uke's arm is bent with the back of their wrist facing your chest. Nage then places his other hand next to his hand and applies a twisting pressure with both hands in the direction of uke with the arm still bent.
I think we can all agree that the technique described (if I explained it properly) woul put immense pressure on the wrist even when done slowly.

Hmm, sounds more like sankyo from the description to me than nikyo. Was your forearm in a 'S' shape? the 'S' shape being made of two bends, one at the wrist and one at the elbow. If so its probably a nikyo.

Or did you feel your hand being rotated with an open palm towards you. Do this yourself, place your palms out in front of you in a mime artist invisible wall type pose with your fingertips pointing upwards (palms out). then rotate your right hand 90 degrees to the left so that your fingers are now pointing left, still with your palm outwards. Next take the fingertips of your left hand and place them over the top of your right hand with the fingertips in the middle of your right palm. From this position use your left hand to rotate your right palm upwards and outwards. Thats sankyo.

Mike

mersey01
11-10-2006, 03:51 AM
Was your forearm in a 'S' shape? the 'S' shape being made of two bends, one at the wrist and one at the elbow. If so its probably a nikyo.
Yes thats exactly the position, Nikkyo it is then.

Rob

Ecosamurai
11-10-2006, 03:57 AM
Yes thats exactly the position, Nikkyo it is then.

Rob

Yup, hurts like hell dont it :D

Mike

Cyrijl
11-10-2006, 07:23 AM
Since you mentioned someone by name here, it would be fair to at least alert them of the discussion. At that point it is up to them if they feel the need to commnet. You are all discussing someone without their knowledge. That's poor form.

vjw
11-10-2006, 08:32 AM
Robert, did you wear your brown belt or state that you were 1st kyu when you visited the second dojo? Your other club seems to be more relaxed on etiquette and probably applies techniques in a much softer, slower way. This could make things much more difficult for you at the second club than say for a complete beginner. You went in with previous experiences that perhaps left you a little too relaxed and not focused enough for a firm and quick application of nikkyo. I suspect that the shock of the application (and not real damage) drew a more exaggerated response from you than you have admitted to. Leave all your previous experiences at the door and enter the dojo next time as if it was your first.

Mato-san
11-10-2006, 08:42 AM
I have seen Sensei put on shows for potential students (usually he will do it wisely with a good uke), I never have never felt pain in extremes, but usually when I feel pain I know Sensei is pushing me and I am ready to take it to a new level, not just pain but more fluent throws etc. ....if I arrived fresh at a new dojo I would expect some TLC from a Sensei and at least have them feel out your motions and pre learned syllabus.
So if if I arrived at a Dojo and Sensei was imediately pressing the action, I would find a new harmonic place to train. This kind of Sensei is not a great teacher!

mut
11-10-2006, 03:31 PM
very wise words i totally agree, aikido is a journey,learning to walk before we run is important, most good sensei know this and act accordingly, out of all the aikidoka ive trained with in the past 3 years ive only met 2 idiots, and they were not at dan level. :) :ai:

Pauliina Lievonen
11-11-2006, 12:43 PM
Since you mentioned someone by name here, it would be fair to at least alert them of the discussion. At that point it is up to them if they feel the need to commnet. You are all discussing someone without their knowledge. That's poor form.To be fair, Robert didn't mention anyone by name, I did. The poor form was on my part. I had recommended the dojo to him and I wanted to know if that was the dojo he was talking about. I don't think anyone intended to discuss the teacher behind his back especially, just the situation.

kvaak
Pauliina

mersey01
11-20-2006, 04:00 PM
Hi

I have come to the decision that I don't wish to return to that dojo. It is nothing to do with what happened but just that I don't feel I could get used to the strict ways of the dojo given my previous training.

Also it would save me money which is my 2nd greatest concern right now as things are tight at the moment.

I did consider arranging a visit (outside of normal training times) to discuss things and 'clear the air' but I have chosen the easy way out - just to let it go and move on.

I would just like to thank everyone for all their comments and also point out that the experience outlined in my post is MY experience and does not reflect on anyone.

Just a note to all new readers: If you are really serious about training in Aikido then you should check out this dojo if you get the chance

Rob

mersey01
11-20-2006, 04:13 PM
Robert, did you wear your brown belt or state that you were 1st kyu when you visited the second dojo? Your other club seems to be more relaxed on etiquette and probably applies techniques in a much softer, slower way. This could make things much more difficult for you at the second club than say for a complete beginner. You went in with previous experiences that perhaps left you a little too relaxed and not focused enough for a firm and quick application of nikkyo. I suspect that the shock of the application (and not real damage) drew a more exaggerated response from you than you have admitted to. Leave all your previous experiences at the door and enter the dojo next time as if it was your first.
Hi Victor
No I didn't wear my brown belt but I did consider asking whether they wanted me to wear white or brown as I took both with me. I decided not to ask as I got the impression that the dojo was white and black only. Also, wearing my brown would not have mattered as all other colours except w+b are irrelevant but the question may have been an insult and more so if I did wear it.

I entered the dojo and the mat with an expectation of being treated as a newbie. Never mentioning my other dojo unless asked about it and only mentioning my previous experience when I filled out a member form.
So I acted as a new member would but did not feel treated completely as a newbie.

Rob