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billybob
12-21-2006, 04:15 PM
I am 43, quite bright analytically (I have a Master of Arts Degree) and as socially clueless as one can be and still hold down a job.

When I did my BA degree we listened to professors lecture, and then were Expected to ask probing questions, and even attempt to prove some of the professor's points wrong. If we failed to ask questions we were prodded - institutionally they believed we simply were not learning if we failed to challenge them.

***My question is this - is it appropriate for me to openly disagree with someone I know to have superior rank and experience? Is there a special formula by which I can show the respect (I truly and deeply have) for these people, and then ask the most probing questions I can come up with? If Not - if this forum would be better left to those with a certain level of experience, and just read by people like me - then please tell me.

I do NOT want to make enemies. That happens as I walk through life anyway. I sincerely ask the guidance of this on-line community.

David Knowlton, aka billybob

DonMagee
12-21-2006, 04:20 PM
I think the method you are describing is the healthiest way you can learn. However, most traditional martial artists will probably not agree with you. If you find one who does, train under him.

Cady Goldfield
12-21-2006, 04:43 PM
This is a problem of the Western Mind. ;)
In traditional Eastern cultures, one never questions one's senior, and only does what he is told to do. It's very much a rote approach that is meant to ingrain basic movements and actions. In the West, analytical thought and questioning is usually encouraged and expected. We tend to overthink everything, which can be detrimental to learning physical skills or a fundamental philosophy and way of thought.

Remember Karate Kid, yeah, the "wax on, wax off" and "you paint fence -- up, down"? The movie may be corny and now cliched, but there is a basic truth in it. Miyaga was peeved when his young "deshi" impatiently demanded to know the purpose of the exercises he was being made to do. The idea was, "do as I say now, and understand later." If you ask too many questions, you get lost in analysis and fail to simply "do" and absorb. Teachers of traditional Asian martial arts expect you to trust their knowledge and wisdom to learn the basics. Much later, when you are a "martial adult" and have a solid foundation from which to speak, they will likely be more open to the urgent questions. Just as parents will tell complex truths to their adult children, after having withheld them from young children whom they felt were not ready to understand those truths.

Mark Freeman
12-21-2006, 05:56 PM
David,

You ask a good question, in a repectful manner, seeking council from the wider community. I belive that everyone has the right to ask questions of just about anyone, as long as it is to seek an understanding of the truth. So I agree with Don's point, however, Cady's post succinctly highlights why traditional artists may not agree. I like the Asian method to a point. I've never questioned my teacher, if he say's wax on, then it's wax on, he's further ahead and I want to get where he's going. :)

How important is rank on this forum? I'm not sure, how do you know? Most people don't have their rank on display.

Your college proffesors, should have spent time on teaching the skills of probing questions, before expecting anything ;)

regards,

Mark

DonMagee
12-21-2006, 06:08 PM
The risk is however that you might spend several years under a eastern style of learning only to discover you have learned a bunch of made up bullcrap.

With a 'western' style of learning, you can not be so easily fooled. Empirical testing is the secret to stopping bullcrap in the martial arts.

In the end it is up to you, blind faith in my opinion is generally a bad idea. The eastern method generally requires blind faith. If you are really worried about developing martial skill, you will be better off sparing. This way you can learn how to make the techniques work for you against a resisting opponent, vs doing a way you are told will work, and believing this on blind faith.

This is not to say you will be lead astray. It is very likely a teacher will be teaching you valid martial art techniques with the eastern method. However, if using these techniques is important, I feel you will gain skill and ability to perform against actual resisting people much faster if you ask questions, add skepticism, spar, and emply any other empirical tests you may come up with.

L. Camejo
12-21-2006, 06:14 PM
***My question is this - is it appropriate for me to openly disagree with someone I know to have superior rank and experience? Is there a special formula by which I can show the respect (I truly and deeply have) for these people, and then ask the most probing questions I can come up with? If Not - if this forum would be better left to those with a certain level of experience, and just read by people like me - then please tell me.
Hi David,

I'm assuming your question refers to interacting online on the forum and not real life training with seniors. If I am mistaken please let me know.

Regarding your question, I think if you are asking burning, pointed and even uncomfortable questions for the sake of true learning (as against just trying to piss people off for kicks) then this is what the forum is for. It is not a dojo and though a good degree of respect must be extended to all, a good thing that these online fora provide is a pretty level field where the rank beginner can ask serious questions of the veterans without fear of real life (i.e. physical) reprisal except maybe some harsh words.

I think the degree to which you can press for information while still maintaining cordial interaction and respect is to truly seek to learn and develop through questions and treat your online peers with the respect you would give any other person that you require information from in real life. It comes down to how well you learn people over time and get a feel for how they react to certain things, just like in real life I suppose. You will learn who to ask what and when in time I think.

Imho there is no rank on an online forum, though there are people who may know more than you about what you are talking about. To me, the forum is a great place for shiai, that is to meet and to test one's ideas and perceptions on Aikido. If one has loads of experience and ability it should show up somewhere in one's ability to explain one's positions and points.

In the end however nothing said here will have any effect on anything unless we take it to heart and act on it, so it still comes down to the individual and the importance one wants to place on things like online fora. Like in real life sometimes there are times when the best answer is also silence.

If someone wants to be offended by things said here then I like the old school - take it to the mat and sort it out.

I hope this helps some. I hope to see you around for a long time. You ask good questions.

Gambatte
LC:ai::ki:

Ron Tisdale
12-22-2006, 10:50 AM
Very nice post Larry. I second it...

Best,
Ron

Cady Goldfield
12-22-2006, 11:27 AM
Oops, I misread your first post, David. Then, of course, went off on my merry way expounding the way "things are done traditionally" on the mats -- not on an Internet forum. Too many simple carbohydrates for breakfast and lunch. ;)

IMO, a forum is just that -- a place where people of all backgrounds and levels of experience can converse. It is meant to be a "marketplace" for ideas, and if one wishes, one should feel free to ask questions, and even to debate, others who might be more experienced in the field. I'd think that regardless of whom we're speaking to, there should always be courtesy, and it goes both ways. Unfortunately, many folks seem to think that the free-form, potentially anonymus nature of forums allows license to behave badly. We've all seen this, and sometimes it comes from apparent "superiors," too.

But, if you know the "provenance" (their art, rank/affiliation, years of experience and reputation for having knowledge and good skills) of the person to whom you are speaking, you'd want to be careful of what you're arguing about. For instance, why would you debate the method of applying shihonage with a high-rank aikidoka, if you are just learning the technique -- and art -- yourself? Think about how frustrating it is for anyone of a certain level, when, for example someone like Erick Meade (sorry Erick -- you're a perfectly nice guy!) starts offering his interpretations of principles which he has never practiced, hands-on? Have you ever felt your gorge rise when one of those back-and-forths takes place? If so, you get the drift. ;)

Think of it this way -- if your own teacher were on this forum, would you be arguing with him or her about things you would never question during training, because you are just learning?

When it comes to peripheral matters, though, such as personal experiences and values as related to the martial arts or aikido; intellectual ponderings; and matters not directly related to aikido, then anyone's opinion can carry equal clout, depending on your personal life experiences and studies. No one knows everything about everything. In that case, if your own teacher were here, you would have the right to dispute those things as much as you might during an outside-the-dojo social gathering or after-training informal chat with him or her.

As far as the "Big Dogs" taking charge of everything here, I say "poppycock" (mainly, because I really like that word :D). As you observe, there are threads of every level, from "Is there class in Boulder tonight" and "Reasons to Stay in Aikido" to "training for relaxation." If you read the relaxation or the Ueshiba/ukemi threads, you'll see three or four martial artists of many years' experience in that area, discussing their insights and beliefs. They've earned the right to bounce ideas back and forth because they have been doing what they are talking about and are at a level to understand the concepts on a deeper level than perhaps most others on the forum. You probably would automatically exclude yourself from that discussion, because you intuitively know it's not "your" discussion.

If you start (or join) a thread on something that is "yours" to discuss, and it is responded to by someone of high experience, then they have entered your parlor, and if you don't understand or disagree with their response, I'd say it is within your right to offer your opinion. The individuals coming there understand that this is an issue you have raised for discussion, and they will approach it with the proper protocols.

In my own experiences, there are areas I feel comfortable debating in, and those in which I don't have enough experience yet, and know (or hope I know) not to get involved, but to just listen. From one standpoint, I have 30 years of experience in martial arts, both hands-on and in historical/philosophical studies of my own (not "1 year of experience 30 times," but actually 30 genuine years of experience. There's a huge difference.), and certain aspects of that experience are universal to all arts, and thus qualify me to jump into some of those heady "Big Dog" discussions. But my experience in the specific areas of aikido and my own MMA training and investigation into koryu are limited to less than a decade of hands-on training, and I must temper my urge to respond to many of the threads and posts by those who truly are my seniors in those fields when they deal directly with the technical, and often historical and sometimes philosophical, ends of those areas.

What it comes down to is to listen to your own gut when you read something, and determine whether this is a tiger you really want to ride, or whether it might serve you better to listen quietly, digest what is said, and save the garnered insights to share sometime down the road.

Alec Corper
12-22-2006, 11:40 AM
I have a still vivid memory from myself as a brand new shodan trying to take advantage of what I perceived to be an opening in a Shihans' waza. He wrapped me up very forcefully, without damaging me, but made it clear that he could quite literally have broken my neck. I still have a very good training relationship with him. On the net, however, everyone can be a smart-ass, sound tough or accomplished, we'll never know unless we meet on the mat.
Respectful questions are always acceptable, but my personal take is to behave online as I would face to face, and I'm not a particularly challenging type. Those who are, and want to live with the consequences, have fun.

Aiki LV
12-22-2006, 12:30 PM
I think people's reaction will be based upon why you are asking the question. It all depends upon the intent of the questioner. There are two types of questioners....the first questions the Sempai out of ignorance and a desire to know why. The second which some discourage is those who ask a question as a guise to disprove what the person answering is doing or saying. This person really doesn't want to learn anything they want to tell you why you are wrong. This can get complicated very quickly when dealing with someone of a higher rank. Another stumbling block is sometimes you can ask a question and totally not understand the answer because words alone cannot express the idea it has to be felt. This of course comes into play with questions about physical technique, sounds weird to some probably, but it has been very true for me at least. Just some thoughts....

Kevin Leavitt
12-22-2006, 12:57 PM
I had a similar discussion two weeks ago with my BJJ instructor.

I disagree many times with instructors and seniors. What I do not do, regardless of my experience when training with them is be impolite or disrepectful during training.

I either just live through it, or talk to them after class at a more appropriate time to seek to understand better incase I am missing something.

On line, I don't think there are any issues as long as it is done constructively in the spirit of seeking to gain knowledge instead of being argumentative or ego driven.

In my BJJ class we had a student that did not have any TMA background, he did not really understand ettiquette very well and ran his mouth instead of shutting up and training. one, it waste valuable time to practice, you can't learn with your mouth in class. Two, it annoys everyone else.

Most of us with TMA backgrounds, even in BJJ, shutup, listen to the instructor, are respectful...just as in any martial system. We even do this in MMA training where it is acceptable to be a little more open and call BS on something.

billybob
12-22-2006, 02:35 PM
Thanks all. Excellent cross section of opinions and thoughts, and advice.

At a hunting camp I joined the dreaded "N" word was being used liberally. I ignored it and wondered what was for supper. When I was hazed later it was noticed I replied 'black people' rather than the preferred epithet, referring to those 'out' so we could be 'cool'. Tensions raised to the point where 'Chief' (honest to God, that's what they called him) threatened me physically. I did not back down, but suggested that he give me the opportunity to leave. He remarked I had backed down no matter how challenged all day long, but was confident when actually threatened. I replied that however stupid I am, I'm pretty good at surviving. Things settled, and the hazing got lighter. Supper was ok.

I mention 'taking a stand' because sometimes someone, whatever their rank, says something that really runs against my grain. The people I first respected really let me down, to the point where I almost didn't survive. So, when someone, for example, sounds elitist, I feel 'the beast' come up in my throat, and find it hard to keep quiet. And, however well intentioned, I suppose I must recognize this as my own fear, and my own ego.

Perhaps I'll try waiting a day before I respond in those situations. Thanks for your help.

David

Cady Goldfield
12-22-2006, 03:32 PM
David,
There's a huge difference between people who are just plain wrong as people, and those whose aikido (or MA) opinions you are challenging. I mean, c'mon -- we're all human. If someone who is your umpteenth-dan senior in aikido says or does something that goes against your ethics and morals, that puts him or her in a way different category than one whose version of shihonage you don't agree with...

What is right to do as a human being, trumps aikido rank. You might have difficulty getting away with arguing with a dictator or emperor, since he will have an army to dispatch you, so you'll have to decide whether speaking your mind is worth losing your head. ;) But in ritualized social institutions such as martial arts dojo, well, again, humanity trumps rank.

SeiserL
12-22-2006, 05:35 PM
There are cause and effect consequences for asking and not asking, taking a stand and not taking a stand. It is often contextualized by where to you ask, who do you ask, and how do you ask.

I tend to ask and take the heat.

ViciousCycle
12-22-2006, 08:12 PM
When I was in college, I briefly went to a martial arts school where senior students would brutalize beginners. If you were brand-new, you were very prone to getting injured by your "superiors." The beginner was not expected to question. Needless to say, the drop-out rate among beginners was very high, as the beginner was not respected.
I like the fact that aikido is not like this. If a senior student is causing injury and/or extreme pain to the beginner, the beginner is not meekly expected to accept the "wisdom" of the senior student. Instead, the senior student learns to listen to the beginner and adjust themselves accordingly. Of course, one thing aikido teaches is humility, and a senior student is not supposed to be so full of themselves that they are allowed to do things damaging or wrong to beginning students. Aikido teaches one to blend with the other person, and one cannot blend if they think of themselves as superior.
The longer you've been training, the more opportunity you've had to learn from your mistakes. But one must guard against becoming deeply ingrained in one's mistakes. And being faced with a beginner is an excellent chance to confront your own deeply ingrained mistakes.

Aristeia
12-23-2006, 01:17 AM
I agree. In both the arts I've done for any time, Aikido and BJJ respect and care for the beginner is emphasised which is great.

In terms of western vs eastern training menbtods- there's plusses and minuses. i feel much more able to ask questions, request a do over of a demonstration if I missed it, etc etc in a bjj context. And those I train feel free to do the same to me which makes me more confidnet that I know when the material is sinking in.

However the flip side is that you do occassionally get people who mistake the more casual atmosphere for an environment where they can do things that distract from the learning. Easy enough to squash, but something that would never have happened when I was teaching Aikido. In fact in some cases it can be the same student - who would sit and listen respectively when training aikido under me, but can tend to be a bit to busy cracking jokes training bjj under me. I'm the same so it's down to the atmosphere and training method.

So there's costs and benefits to both. Personally I tend to the less formal and therefore more open envirnoment.

billybob
12-23-2006, 07:24 AM
Thank you again!

I feel accepted rather than ostracized by the group, and encouraged to look harder at myself. I recently 'called' a senior instructor, who is junior in age to me, for correcting me in public over beer.

Hmmm. Hypocrite? Or, bully who turns coward?

Actually, human being. I'll own up to my mistake and follow the proper forms. Next time the tiger tries to jump out of my throat I'll take a walk, and answer later.

david

robert weatherall
12-23-2006, 08:22 AM
It can be good for the instructor to be questioned. I don't teach but have a good relationship with my instructor who has said he often gets new insights on techniques when he is questioned by a student as to why something is done a particular way and what the advantages are over other methods.
If they do take offence then perhaps that is instuctors ego getting in the way and aren't we all told to try and become egolees?
As with everything else in life as long as it is done is a respectful manner it shouldn't be a problem. Just my opinion.

Mark Uttech
12-23-2006, 10:12 AM
Questions are always good. Everything is part of the practice. As for myself, I let my questions settle in myself. Outwardly, I always said: "Hai". Perhaps I could have gotten further had I gone another way. What I have discovered is that every question that arises is a question for you.

In gassho,

Mark

statisticool
12-23-2006, 03:10 PM
***My question is this - is it appropriate for me to openly disagree with someone I know to have superior rank and experience?


Certainly. They could have superior rank and experience and be quite wrong.

DonMagee
12-27-2006, 05:44 AM
I agree. In both the arts I've done for any time, Aikido and BJJ respect and care for the beginner is emphasised which is great.

In terms of western vs eastern training menbtods- there's plusses and minuses. i feel much more able to ask questions, request a do over of a demonstration if I missed it, etc etc in a bjj context. And those I train feel free to do the same to me which makes me more confidnet that I know when the material is sinking in.

However the flip side is that you do occassionally get people who mistake the more casual atmosphere for an environment where they can do things that distract from the learning. Easy enough to squash, but something that would never have happened when I was teaching Aikido. In fact in some cases it can be the same student - who would sit and listen respectively when training aikido under me, but can tend to be a bit to busy cracking jokes training bjj under me. I'm the same so it's down to the atmosphere and training method.

So there's costs and benefits to both. Personally I tend to the less formal and therefore more open envirnoment.


I've seen that happen as well, most of the time we chat or joke while warming up, or sometimes while sparing lightly. But 99% of the time everyone shuts up for drills and demos. There has been a few bad eggs though, although those guys tend to not learn, get frustrated, and leave.

David Shevitz
12-27-2006, 02:53 PM
I think asking questions is a wonderful thing, and it is relatively easy to ask questions in a respectful manner, as the original poster did here.

One of the things I've always valued is that my instructors wanted to me to ask questions. Of course, that does not always mean that I received any answers! Quite often, the response I would get would be "Please find out for yourself." It's amazing how many questions can get answered with a little practice!

I encourage my own students to ask as questions whenever they feel the need to do so. If I know the answer, I try to give it. If I don't know the answer, I'll say so--and then spend some time trying to find the answer for myself. I do stop discussions from taking place on the mat--if I can't answer a question succinctly, I ask that we talk about it after class, so we can resume our training. It's a system that has worked pretty well so far.

I find that being asked questions does wonders to ensure I'm consistently reminded of how much I've yet to learn about this art!

Dave Shevitz
http://www.everettaikido.com

billybob
01-06-2007, 08:44 AM
I asked this question of the group because I openly disagreed with a senior Shihan here on the web. Some people feel this would immediately be wrong by definition. Some people felt it was ok to do, but I had to be willing to face some possible (violent) consequences. Some people felt it was my responsibility to do, as long as I was respectful. Some felt that I was trying to 'trip up' the Shihan for egoic purposes.

Personally, I feel that an instructor, teacher, preacher, doctor, therapist, parent, ad nauseum, is responsible to Offer their teaching. I am Fully responsible for my own learning. That makes the instructor merely a catalyst. I could learn perfect aiki from a mediocre instructor - because my true instructor is my body acting within this life.

Does this lessen the worth of a senior instructor? --- NO. It makes me Totally and undeniably responsible for myself.

My philosophy FWIW.

Back on the mat Monday!

dave

natasha cebek
01-06-2007, 06:42 PM
Certainly. They could have superior rank and experience and be quite wrong.

Yeah, and they could also be quite right.
I have often been in situation where an instructor was doing a technique that "I" thought was wrong, when in fact was not..it was just a different variation of what worked for me. Personally, I think that when the time or situation is appropriate, one could ask their instructor to clarify. Again, from personal experience-I tread very carefully in that area, as I have learned that the best thing to do is simply shut up and train.

natasha cebek
01-06-2007, 06:44 PM
Questions are always good. Everything is part of the practice. As for myself, I let my questions settle in myself. Outwardly, I always said: "Hai". Perhaps I could have gotten further had I gone another way. What I have discovered is that every question that arises is a question for you.


Well said.

L. Camejo
01-06-2007, 07:20 PM
I asked this question of the group because I openly disagreed with a senior Shihan here on the web.Once respect was maintained I see no issue with this. If the Shihan could not deal constructively with a simple question I'd immediately start questioning his knowledge level and maturity. It's one thing to be put off by nosey beginners asking a thousand "What if.." questions but serious questions directly related to training and one's development in their chosen Budo should be at least considered, even if not answered directly. I've found that there are Sensei who react negatively, even get visibly disturbed by some questions not because of beginner over enthusiasm or someone asking things to which the answers are obvious, but they often react negatively because they simply do not know the answer and are at that time forced to look at their own limitations and shortcomings.
Some people feel this would immediately be wrong by definition. Some people felt it was ok to do, but I had to be willing to face some possible (violent) consequences. Some people felt it was my responsibility to do, as long as I was respectful. Some felt that I was trying to 'trip up' the Shihan for egoic purposes. Why would you need to face violent consequences? Were you incorrect or misinformed in the information that fueled your disagreement? Was the subject of disagreement regarding Aikido matters? If the answer to the 2 above is no then I think the Shihan would be very wrong (and criminally culpable if resorting to violence) to serve up any sort of retribution. Many Sensei and Shihan tend to forget that the only area of expertise that really matters when in the dojo is their Budo expertise, everything else is challengeable, though with respect.
Personally, I feel that an instructor, teacher, preacher, doctor, therapist, parent, ad nauseum, is responsible to Offer their teaching. I am Fully responsible for my own learning. That makes the instructor merely a catalyst. I could learn perfect aiki from a mediocre instructor - because my true instructor is my body acting within this life. I'd partially agree here. Practice makes permanent, but only perfect practice makes perfect. Learning from someone with mediocre abilities can set you back many years in having to unlearn the bs previously taught and then having to re-learn things from scratch. Not a good thing if one values one's time and money.

Just a few thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

Mike Galante
01-06-2007, 08:59 PM
This is a problem of the Western Mind. ;)
In traditional Eastern cultures, one never questions one's senior, and only does what he is told to do. It's very much a rote approach that is meant to ingrain basic movements and actions. In the West, analytical thought and questioning is usually encouraged and expected. We tend to overthink everything, which can be detrimental to learning physical skills or a fundamental philosophy and way of thought.

Remember Karate Kid, yeah, the "wax on, wax off" and "you paint fence -- up, down"? The movie may be corny and now cliched, but there is a basic truth in it. Miyaga was peeved when his young "deshi" impatiently demanded to know the purpose of the exercises he was being made to do. The idea was, "do as I say now, and understand later." If you ask too many questions, you get lost in analysis and fail to simply "do" and absorb. Teachers of traditional Asian martial arts expect you to trust their knowledge and wisdom to learn the basics. Much later, when you are a "martial adult" and have a solid foundation from which to speak, they will likely be more open to the urgent questions. Just as parents will tell complex truths to their adult children, after having withheld them from young children whom they felt were not ready to understand those truths.

AMEN- well said.

natasha cebek
01-06-2007, 09:28 PM
ditto

Adam Alexander
01-07-2007, 04:03 PM
I am 43, quite bright analytically (I have a Master of Arts Degree) and as socially clueless as one can be and still hold down a job.

When I did my BA degree we listened to professors lecture, and then were Expected to ask probing questions, and even attempt to prove some of the professor's points wrong. If we failed to ask questions we were prodded - institutionally they believed we simply were not learning if we failed to challenge them.

***My question is this - is it appropriate for me to openly disagree with someone I know to have superior rank and experience? Is there a special formula by which I can show the respect (I truly and deeply have) for these people, and then ask the most probing questions I can come up with? If Not - if this forum would be better left to those with a certain level of experience, and just read by people like me - then please tell me.

I do NOT want to make enemies. That happens as I walk through life anyway. I sincerely ask the guidance of this on-line community.

David Knowlton, aka billybob

The method you learned in school isn't appropriate for day-to-day living. You already describe that in the above post with acknowledging that you lack social skills and easily make enemies.

The method you learn in Aikido is appropriate for everyday living. Don't challenge anyone's understanding. In time, you'll understand why. And in the process of understanding, you'll learn and naturally implement the lesson.

Besides, it's just a lot of burned energy. Why worry about the opinion of a superior? If you agree, follow. If you're undecided, consider following. If you totally disagree, consider not following. Beyond that, just let it go. You've got two ears and one mouth. Listen more and let others do what's right for them.

billybob
01-08-2007, 07:43 AM
Thank you

The advice from Natasha, Cady, and especially Jean is making me quite angry - indication that it is what I need to hear. :)

Good training, and thanks for your help

David

Peter Goldsbury
01-08-2007, 08:13 AM
I am 43, quite bright analytically (I have a Master of Arts Degree) and as socially clueless as one can be and still hold down a job.

When I did my BA degree we listened to professors lecture, and then were Expected to ask probing questions, and even attempt to prove some of the professor's points wrong. If we failed to ask questions we were prodded - institutionally they believed we simply were not learning if we failed to challenge them.

***My question is this - is it appropriate for me to openly disagree with someone I know to have superior rank and experience? Is there a special formula by which I can show the respect (I truly and deeply have) for these people, and then ask the most probing questions I can come up with? If Not - if this forum would be better left to those with a certain level of experience, and just read by people like me - then please tell me.

I do NOT want to make enemies. That happens as I walk through life anyway. I sincerely ask the guidance of this on-line community.

David Knowlton, aka billybob

Hello,

I think this depends on the relationship you have built up with your instructor as a result of your training.

If you do not have such a relationship, then, certainly, you can whatever questions you like, but I doubt whether they will be answered in a way that you will find imediately beneficial.

If you do have a close relationship with a teacher and you believe that both of you feel responsible for your development in the art you practice, then you can also ask questions, but your teacher will also be able to teach you the value of asking questions, or not, as part of the total training relationship.

There are various reaons why a student should ask questions of his/her sensei, not all of which involve the acquisition of knowledge. But the answering of these questrions also depends on the acquisition of the knowledge that comes from hard training.

Thus, I was once told (a) that I needed to learn more Japanese before I asked the question, and (b) to wait until I had trained more, so that I could make better use of the answer.

Best wishes,

David Shevitz
01-09-2007, 08:37 AM
Besides, it's just a lot of burned energy. Why worry about the opinion of a superior? If you agree, follow. If you're undecided, consider following. If you totally disagree, consider not following. Beyond that, just let it go. You've got two ears and one mouth. Listen more and let others do what's right for them.

I wish I had read these words a few weeks ago. Very well said.

DonMagee
01-09-2007, 09:01 AM
The biggest problem however with not asking questions and waiting is that you could spend years doing something only to find out you were lead the wrong way. At this point you are so ingrained into the system you will now adapt the cult like personality and just lie to yourself and convince yourself that what you learned was not a waste of time.

Those who doubt, ask questions, and test themselves will rarely be lead down the wrong path.

Basia Halliop
01-09-2007, 09:46 AM
Something I figured out in elementary school and found useful often with teachers sometimes was to reformulate a difference of opinion as a question: "I don't understand why you say A, I would have thought B for these reasons, could you explain what I'm misunderstanding?"

It was sort of a win-win situation because generally either they explained so that I understood, or they thought about it and said that I was right. And either way they found it polite and did not tend to resent my asking, provided they did have a moment to speak with me.

DonMagee
01-09-2007, 11:48 AM
I do the same thing. How you ask a question is very important.

For example, I would not say yonkyo sucks and doesn't work. I would say "I can't seem to get my yonkyo to work when i'm sparing. I am trying to do it like this, yet it keeps failing, what would you suggest?".

I would also not dismiss a technique unless it was so obviously flawed there was no possible logic into why it should work. Usually after a few questions and trial and error, I will put it on the back burner and come back to it after I have developed more skill. I would rather focus on basic fundamentals I know work and perfecting those then working on a technique with a lower percentage chance of working. After a while my basics will advance and I will have more skill, I can try to make the advanced technique work again.

It's not about challenging your instructor. It is about being skeptical in your own mind, testing what is presented to you, and asking questions to make sure you understand correctly.

billybob
01-10-2007, 12:03 PM
Larry Camejo wrote: Why would you need to face violent consequences? Were you incorrect or misinformed in the information that fueled your disagreement? Was the subject of disagreement regarding Aikido matters? If the answer to the 2 above is no then I think the Shihan would be very wrong (and criminally culpable if resorting to violence) to serve up any sort of retribution. Many Sensei and Shihan tend to forget that the only area of expertise that really matters when in the dojo is their Budo expertise, everything else is challengeable, though with respect.

Peter Goldsbury wrote: Thus, I was once told (a) that I needed to learn more Japanese before I asked the question, and (b) to wait until I had trained more, so that I could make better use of the answer.

I nod my head when I read what Larry wrote - I have to be humble to appreciate what Sensei Goldsbury wrote.

A master once told me a zen story that I really valued (once he had explained it to me). In the end, unlike most of the stories - both zen masters were WRONG.

In that I have to take responsibility for myself i have to take the hit in this situation.

A friend told me 'let the wookie win' in the Navy - soon before I received a beating that left me barely able to walk. Slow learner this one!

Training tonight! peace

david

billybob
03-05-2007, 08:25 AM
I get it now. It was foolish of me to show up here and expect immediate credibility.

Please pardon a not-so-young man for a young man's mistake.

David Knowlton

Dennis Hooker
03-05-2007, 08:44 AM
I get it now. It was foolish of me to show up here and expect immediate credibility.

Please pardon a not-so-young man for a young man's mistake.

David Knowlton

David, what mistake? You have a right to an opinion and the right to question anyone that is asking you to learn what they are teaching. If anyone would result to violence because of a disagreement of opinion that would be a criminal act. I would respectfully request a clarification on the issues bothering me and if he or she in not willing to do that then I would train somewhere else or cease to train with that individual. Lord knows I have had my share of heated disagreement with my teachers over the years. An airing of the issues always helped me if not them.

billybob
03-05-2007, 09:07 AM
Sensei,

Thank you so much. My error was that I failed to show the proper respect. My Sensei has helped me to realize a subtlety that most people learned around age 9 - but escaped me!

Thank you, as always, for your opinion. I hope to be able to carry forth in an honorable way as you have suggested.

David Knowlton