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anon student
06-18-2007, 08:39 AM
Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?

tarik
06-19-2007, 05:34 PM
The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him.

*snip content*

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

It sounded amicable at first, but apparently not entirely. Is the student welcome to visit the old dojo? I've always found it odd that teachers would try to make their students ask permission to train somewhere else, but that's just me.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?

I'd look at it this way. You aren't being told you cannot support your friend, you're being asked to choose.

It's a pity that it's considered necessary since the new individual clearly made an effort to not conflict with the existing schedule, but perhaps this is a passive-aggressive way to discourage said students endeavor without publicly criticizing him/her. <shrug> Perhaps not.

So choose.

Regards,

Angela Dunn
06-19-2007, 05:35 PM
If I had been told I could not go train at a friends school I to would be asking why, getting told its personal is simply not a good enough answer IMHO. I would be a bit suspicious to the reasoning of being told no and would wonder how much of it is to do with egos and how much of it is down to the quality of the teaching and training.

In the end though I think that I would put my friend before the club and go along to his class. Surely it is better to practice at any opportunity you get to help improve your techniques etc rather than to be led astray by what appears to me, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, by politics.

I am wondering also, just out of me being a nosy parker why is it etiquette to ask if you can go along to the friends class to train. It could be me not getting some sort of tradition of aikido or your particular branch but that to would have alarm bells ringing rather loudly.

Peter Goldsbury
06-19-2007, 06:34 PM
Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?

Hello,

This often happens in Japan, so I wonder where you are and how closely connected is your Dojo Head to Japan.

In Japan, this is one interpretation of the vertical Master-Student relationship. If you have chosen a Master, it makes no sense to go somewhere else, unless that is part of the Master's way of teaching. So this is a consequence of the original choice. My own teacher does not like students going to break-away dojos and so I have never done so.

However, as I stated, this is one interpretation of the Master-Student relationship as it is understood here. Friends and friendships do not really affect core issue. I know very well that some foreigners find this particularly hard to accept.

ChrisHein
06-19-2007, 06:38 PM
This is a story that I've not only heard many times, but been a part of myself.

It might be hard but you'll have to make a choice. It is a teachers prerogative to say what is and is not allowed in his dojo. And if he says you cannot train somewhere else and with him, that's just the way it is.

If you want to badly train with the other fellow, do it, and if your current teacher kicks you out, then so be it. However if enough of you want to train with the other fellow, I'm sure the teacher will change his policy.

But don't be cowardly about it, you should all get together and ask to talk to your sensei as a group. Either he will listen to you or not, but there should be no anonymity to it, that's not the martial way.

Janet Rosen
06-19-2007, 08:24 PM
I agree that whether or not the actions of the original instructor are "political" or "personal" or "ego" or WHATever, it is within his rights to make his rules in his dojo. As for student response, like Chris above, I do not see sneaking out to other dojos as embodying principles, martial or other; if the instructor can openly stake out his position, it behooves a student to stake out a position.

senshincenter
06-19-2007, 08:52 PM
I understand that the notion of "sensei's dojo, sensei's rules" is relevant here. At the same time however, your "sensei" has already tipped his hands regarding his capacity to step outside of himself (i.e. "it's personal"), and, in my opinion, no matter how Japanese he is, no matter what his rank is, no matter what his title is, no matter how many years he's trained for, no matter how spiritual he may seem to be, no matter how powerful and martial his technique appears, his Aikido can only be of a limited (lesser) quality. He may be the best bet in town, the best you've seen, so you may have to add that into your decision-making process, but you certainly shouldn't be thinking like you are at great risk of losing something special, rare, or truly advanced.

For me, a great teacher has no rules about training elsewhere, as he/she requires no rules to keep students true to themselves and to the teachings. Sure, there may have been a time when technical information was a sensitive material, but that time is long gone now. Anyone that clings to that facade now, even for cultural reasons, is merely a person trapped by their ego and/or their attachment to their self-identity. This has to be especially true places that aren't even training daily in the first place. Rules, prohibitions such as these, like all departures from the Tao, if you will, tell you that disease is already present and that your best bet is to move on to healthier ground.

The question then isn't whether you will confront your teacher or whether you should be allowed to train at both places. The question is, "The Way is set before you. Will you walk on its path or will you follow those that have strayed from it? Will you follow the masses and seek your comfort and legitimacy in their numbers or will you seek comfort and legitimacy within yourself? Will you do what is easy or will you do what is right?"

Here's another angle:

Look and see how many students will stay right where they are, how in time the sensei's "rule" will be overlooked and ignored and how training will in time continue much as it always has. Now look at that number (in comparison to those that cannot or will not have training go on as it always has). Now look at the character and spiritual quality of these folks. What do you see? Do you see the strong, the one's capable of great integrity, or do you just see the masses, the way the masses always are - more marked by ease, fear, and convenience than by anything else? Before anyone talks about warriorhood, I think these things should be observed and reflected upon. In my experience, no "warrior" I ever wanted to support me when things turn life and death has ever been found in those masses that are more than willing to have training continue as if nothing happened, as if nothing was revealed.

fwiw,
dmv

raul rodrigo
06-19-2007, 09:16 PM
Early in the infancy of my dojo, our sensei banned her students from training elsewhere for a couple of years. Her reasoning was that other dojos weren't as strict in imparting fundamentals and she didnt want her pupils picking up "bad habits." By the time the ban was lifted, her best students were around first kyu and the quality of their movement did stand out. It was her dojo, her rules.

Don
06-19-2007, 09:57 PM
Been there.....in fact for all I know "Annonymous Student" could be the ex-student from our situation or one of our students that he took with him....Be that as it may... In our situation there were egos involved on both sides.....and egos got hurt on both sides...I trained at both places for a long time. You try and get people to work together but sometimes it just doesn't happen....eventually when our split happened I had to decide on one course or the other. Neither solution was good and now aikido is more fractured in our community and is less fun than it used to be....but you try and learn a lesson and keep training.....

DonMagee
06-19-2007, 11:10 PM
I can see an instructor kicking a student out for lack of commitment. I can see an instructor kicking a student out because he did not like him. I can even see an instructor refusing to train a student because of his goals.

However, if I were to train at a school where the instructor felt it was his job to tell me what to do with the time I was not training with him, I would leave. I don't care if it was O'Sensei himself. I'd tell him sorry, but he is not the instructor I'm paying for.

When I join a school, I make a commitment to follow a program. That program might be 3 nights a week, it might be 1 Saturday a week, but the program is set. If I deviate from that program I expect to be called out on it. However, those other nights are none of the instructors business. That said however, if the instructor wants to make the rule, then it is your job to weigh the decision to stay with him. If you find the rule acceptable, then stay with him, it is your dime. Just remember, as much as he is doing you a favor by teaching you, you are doing him a favor by being his student. He is not in control, not a master of you, it is a mutual agreement. I'd suspect that if all those students told him they were leaving because of his decision that he would have to either reconsider or learn a life lesson that his word is not all powerful. However such a protest would cause strain in the school, and thus it would be better just to simply leave, the act of just mentioning you might want to leave has probably bruised his ego and will cause him to regard you a less a person.

I speak as a person who had to make this decision twice. One instructor realized that we could still be friends and my cross training was not personal, the other did not. My aikido instructor asked me to choose between aikido or judo/bjj. Forced to make a choice, I picked judo/bjj. My judo instructor was threatened by bjj and asked me to make a choice between his judo club, or my bjj club. I picked bjj then found a new judo coach. Luckly my aikido instructor realized that there was nothing personal in my desire to train bjj, and now I come by to train with them and we are all good friends. I think I add as much to their training as they add to mine. My old judo coach will never speak to me again. I'm a bjj thug now.

I however still think a good hard fast rule when being asked to make an US or THEM decision is to always go with the THEM. People who ask are usually doing it for their own selfish reasons. I just hope the day never comes where both sides are asking me to choose.

G DiPierro
06-19-2007, 11:59 PM
I can think of some situations where it would make sense to tell students that they cannot train with certain other groups for technical and political reasons. I'm training with one group right now that has such a rule, and I don't have any problem with it, nor do I wish to train with the prohibited competing groups.

What I can't understand is telling someone that they cannot train in a dojo that is part of one's own organization. What's the point of being part of a group if you hate or fear the other members so much that you will not allow people to train with them? If you really object to the other person being in your organization that much then the only decision that has any integrity would be to resign from the organization. If you want to be in the same group then you should at least make some effort to overcome your differences, even if it is just letting your students participate with the other person's training.

It's amazing how much overgrown egos and petty, divisive politics there are in the so-called "art of peace." How does anyone expect to reconcile the world if they can't even reconcile their own house?

wxyzabc
06-20-2007, 12:42 AM
mmm...so should you accept being treat like children?...freedom of choice is a natural thing and no one who has any understanding of aikido should try and deprive that from someone imho.

Of course understanding of aikido and understanding of techniques are perhaps two different things... In your situation I would be questioning seriously the integrity of the dojo head and his motives...perhaps money is an issue here?:disgust:

Hanna B
06-20-2007, 01:10 AM
Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?

It sounds like the "old" teacher was not completely upfront about his attitude on the issue, at the time he announced that this student was leaving and opening his own place. That, or, he changed his mind later.

I think my reaction would be similar to DonMagee's. Speaking as someone who have been told that training at other places is OK and even encouraged, but in the end got treated as not trustworthy, in a way I find it better that the teacher is honest about making his students chose.

CitoMaramba
06-20-2007, 01:24 AM
In the East, teacher chooses student.
In the West, student chooses teacher.

Edward
06-20-2007, 02:03 AM
As an aikido practitioner looking for maximum knowledge, I consider it as almost an obligation to practice at as many dojos and as many different styles as possible. This has probably hindered my rank advancement and it is unfortunate that most aikido teachers require or prefer exclusivity for various reasons. However, situation in aikido is still a blessing as one does have the opportunity to train anywhere that accepts you. I remember in my judo days, it was impossible to do that because competing schools would not allow members of other schools, even non competitively active ones, to train with them. Anyway, I would rather keep my freedom to select where I would like to train even if I risk being unwelcomed at my initial dojo.

DonMagee
06-20-2007, 06:36 AM
In the East, teacher chooses student.
In the West, student chooses teacher.

The best practice is somewhere in the middle.

Mike James
06-20-2007, 10:17 AM
I agree with Edward. I feel that the more teachers I can train with, especially with different styles and philosophies, makes my understanding of Aikido deeper and my technique broader. I have more to draw from when executing a technique, and bring more to the mat when I train with my partners. Sharing what I've learned allows others I train with to decide if they like the diversity or not, and to incorporate it into their technique or not. If they like it ... fine. If not ... that's fine too. At least they have the option to decide without having to leave their friends and dojo in the process. That there's so much diversity of how to do the SAME technique is one of the things I love most about practicing Aikido!

anon student
06-20-2007, 10:51 AM
Just to answer some points... Yes the ex-student is still allowed to train at the club, he was there last night! In fact, he was the senior student on the class so sat at the top of the mat (again, this is etiquette here, everyone lines up in order of grade) although I know this isn't something he likes doing - sitting in order of grade that is.

Apparently there's a meeting been called for the students above first kyu to attend and this situation is going to be discussed on Thursday night. However it seems that it was announced on one class and then people have since been told by certain instructors in a hush hush way.

Will post back after Thursday! I hope this is all resolved nicely and they do the right thing by him.

gdandscompserv
06-20-2007, 11:50 AM
Just to answer some points... Yes the ex-student is still allowed to train at the club, he was there last night! In fact, he was the senior student on the class so sat at the top of the mat (again, this is etiquette here, everyone lines up in order of grade) although I know this isn't something he likes doing - sitting in order of grade that is.

Apparently there's a meeting been called for the students above first kyu to attend and this situation is going to be discussed on Thursday night. However it seems that it was announced on one class and then people have since been told by certain instructors in a hush hush way.

Will post back after Thursday! I hope this is all resolved nicely and they do the right thing by him.
Which brings up an interesting point concerning the "banning" of a student. How would the sensei enforce such a ban? I mean suppose the student was very determined and just kept showing up for training, of course assuming he is paying the appropriate fees.. The process to prevent this could get legally complicated.
On a side note, if things are being discussed in hush-hush way it sounds like a lack of leadership on the part of the sensei.

James Davis
06-20-2007, 11:55 AM
Early in the infancy of my dojo, our sensei banned her students from training elsewhere for a couple of years. Her reasoning was that other dojos weren't as strict in imparting fundamentals and she didnt want her pupils picking up "bad habits." By the time the ban was lifted, her best students were around first kyu and the quality of their movement did stand out. It was her dojo, her rules.

I can definitely understand her reasoning. I don't know that it's something that I would insist my students do, but at least she explained herself.

My sensei's rule was tht you could go wherever the heck you wanted to go to train, but that you should come back and share with him what you've learned. Now that I'm teaching, I think I'll have that rule as well.

heathererandolph
06-20-2007, 12:28 PM
It does appear to be unfair for a dojo leader to prohibit other from attending your dojo. A couple questions came to my mind.

You state that the person starting the new dojo left "for good reason" does that mean you have a great deal of confidence in him or her, or that the "old" dojo has it's problems?

Also, are you happy with your training & your instructor?

I think that whatever happens, you need to consider weather you are happy with your experience in the old dojo, and if not if there is any way that could be changed.

Even if you are free to go to the new dojo, you will still need to consider which dojo you want to be affiliated with. There is also the consideration of weather the hours in the other dojo will "count."

It will probably be up to one of the heads to determine your progress and when you are ready to test. Which person do you have the most confidence in to guide your training and progress?

In my opinion, you probably will need to choose weather or not you are forced to choose. It would make sense to me to go to practice with the person who is guiding your training.

Whoever it is you decide to go with, bear in mind that not attending the new dojo head's classes does not doom this person to failure. Go only if this is the person you really want to stay with long term.

If there is some danger that your move could cause long-term bad feelings from the "old" instructor, that might be something you may want to consider. It's doubtful his actual feelings will change even if a decision is made to allow people to go. Things may be difficult to impossible if you ever want to come back.

David Paul
06-20-2007, 01:05 PM
My 2 cents. I think it is ridiculous that you wouldbe forced to choose. The way that I have always understood Aikido practice is that it is usually an accepted practice for a student from one dojo to visit other dojos. I have also always believed that seeing how other people teach and learning different ways to do the same techniques is a valuable part of process of lerning Aikido.

Also-I have never been a big fan of the "Sensei is God" attitude that many students tend to adopt..ie, whatever Sensei says we must do, etc. I have trained under many teachers for whom I had the utmost respect and would never do anything to disrespect them in their dojos. However-being told I cannot train somewhere else--that is simply pure nonsense, especially if I am nt given a good reason why.

At one of my former dojos I was training in Muay Thai concurrently with my Aikido practice. I didn't ask Sensei whether or not I could go and do that. It was my choice based upon my own value systems and what was important to me at that time.

I think if you want to support your friend in his or her efforts, then you should do that without fear of repercussion from your dojo or sensei. Heck-worst case scenario-you can always train somewhere else.

Kevin Wilbanks
06-20-2007, 11:24 PM
Sounds like you got the short end of the Sensei stick, Anon. To illustrate, I remember telling mine that several people in our group, including some very close to him had warned me away from a dojo in a nearby city. They all agreed that there was a bad element among the leaders there, and several credible stories of tense visitor incidents were circulating. He suggested that maybe I should give them a fair chance and try them for myself anyway...

Upyu
06-21-2007, 04:07 AM
However, if I were to train at a school where the instructor felt it was his job to tell me what to do with the time I was not training with him, I would leave. I don't care if it was O'Sensei himself. I'd tell him sorry, but he is not the instructor I'm paying for.


Dunno about you, but I train under a teacher in order to get the skill that they have. If that means putting up with their quirks, I'm willing to do so to a certain degree.
Ueshiba had this relationship with Takeda...Takeda was dead serious on putting the beatdown (and more) on Ueshiba for starting his own school, if the stories about what happened at the Asahi Newspaper joint are true.
Certainly Ueshiba put up with a lot of cr"$ from Takeda cuz he desperately wanted Takeda's "Aiki" skillset.

Do you want the skill or not?
If you were training under O-Sensei and he said something of the sort, if its his particular skillset you're seeking, I'd highly doubt you'd simply say, well fine I'll go somewhere else then. (Since the whole reason you came to learn from the teacher in the first place is that he has something that no one else has)

It all boils down to "what do you want" from the person in question

The way I see it there's two issues at hand here.
First a conflict of understanding.

This whole student-teacher relationship doesn't have much room for the "well I'm the customer" mentality some students have outside of Japan.

OTOH, that relationship derives from the fact that the teacher has a skillset that practically no one else has or can teach. (Something I doubt the instructor in question has, but I could be wrong)

Anyways, devoid of that skillset, the student-teacher relationship demands do break down.

Which comes back to the question...maybe that particular instructor isn't worth learning from in the first place :D

jeep
06-21-2007, 04:39 AM
Most teachers that I know would be very pleased if one of their senior students decides to set up a club. Also most of the teachers that I've trained under encourage training with other groups.
Very odd situation, because if they had truely fallen out why would the sensei allow him to train back at his old club. Maybe the new club is under a different association ?

Charles
06-21-2007, 05:35 AM
This one is easy to solve; go train with your friend but don't tell your sensei. And you're not being dishonest you're being private.

If you want, you can post a Question Authority bumper sticker on your car.

roadster
06-21-2007, 07:53 AM
Why is the student starting a club in the first place? Is it because he has a different way of training he can not use in your dojo? Is it scheduling issues?

I wonder why he couldn't just set up shop on certain times and days in your dojo. Many senior students in my dojo teach when the lead Sensei can not, and for us to learn different styles of teaching. (Which I think is a great idea)

I read this once on the forum. Perhaps he should just start a drinking club with an Aikido problem. :D

senshincenter
06-21-2007, 10:31 AM
Dunno about you, but I train under a teacher in order to get the skill that they have. If that means putting up with their quirks, I'm willing to do so to a certain degree.
Ueshiba had this relationship with Takeda...Takeda was dead serious on putting the beatdown (and more) on Ueshiba for starting his own school, if the stories about what happened at the Asahi Newspaper joint are true.
Certainly Ueshiba put up with a lot of cr"$ from Takeda cuz he desperately wanted Takeda's "Aiki" skillset.

Do you want the skill or not?
If you were training under O-Sensei and he said something of the sort, if its his particular skillset you're seeking, I'd highly doubt you'd simply say, well fine I'll go somewhere else then. (Since the whole reason you came to learn from the teacher in the first place is that he has something that no one else has)

It all boils down to "what do you want" from the person in question

The way I see it there's two issues at hand here.
First a conflict of understanding.

This whole student-teacher relationship doesn't have much room for the "well I'm the customer" mentality some students have outside of Japan.

OTOH, that relationship derives from the fact that the teacher has a skillset that practically no one else has or can teach. (Something I doubt the instructor in question has, but I could be wrong)

Anyways, devoid of that skillset, the student-teacher relationship demands do break down.

Which comes back to the question...maybe that particular instructor isn't worth learning from in the first place :D

There are a couple of things to consider here. 1) One of the "skill sets" of Aikido is spiritual maturity. Technical skill, from an Aikido perspective, is not only meaningless without spiritual maturity but also impossible. To stay with an instructor that shows spiritual immaturity for the sake of gaining some sort of technical proficiency makes sense only from an extremely limited (and shortsighted) point of view - one not really of Aikido. 2) Part of Budo training is about gaining virtue. The idea of "selling your soul," or doing WHATEVER it takes to learn from someone is contrary to this underlying notion, as there is no virtue in someone that cannot and would not walk away easily from something that was requiring to be paid for by a lack of virtue.

For what it's worth, my experience with Japanese instructors in Japan was way different from what you are implying here. Outside of the Hombu dojo, most training was by my standards considered to be "hobby" training - noted by the fact that most places trained only two or three hours per week. For me, if an instructor can't offer at least three hours a day of training, and he/she starts talking about what Takeda and Ueshiba did, or about some "golden past," all in an effort to stop students from training somewhere else, we aren't looking at anything else but one huge and highly insecure ego. The question isn't then about learning a skill set, the question is whether one is weak and submissive enough in their nature to be the food for someone else's insecurities. That may be put a bit harshly, but if an instructor has his/her student's skill development in mind, he/she is going to also make sure that his students aren't becoming whimpering submissive dogs, people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get something they desire.

dmv

G DiPierro
06-21-2007, 12:37 PM
Although spiritual maturity is certainly one of the criteria I evaluate in martial arts teachers, it is not the only or even primary one. I might be inclined to agree that technical skill is impossible without some level of spiritual maturity, but I would not equate the two. The highest levels of spiritual maturity I have found have been outside of martial arts from people with no technical skill at all (at least not in the sense of martial arts).

If I'm training in a martial art, it is to learn the skill that the teacher has. The question of spiritual maturity is only an issue in that some level is required in order for the teacher to be able to teach effectively. Unless a teacher is so skilled that I can't counter anything he does (and I don't think any such teacher exists), then the issue of how the teacher deals with his own weak spots is relevant as that determines how much room to grow the teacher will afford as the students develop.

In terms of restricting training elsewhere, the main issue is context. The only way I can see such a restriction as being acceptable is if the teacher is clear about the restriction as a matter of policy and the restriction is primarily technical rather than personal, meaning that it applies to entire styles (obviously outside of one's own organization) rather than specific people or dojos. Even in that case, I would evaluate the other groups for myself and make my own decision about whether I felt the restriction was warranted.

senshincenter
06-21-2007, 02:23 PM
Well here is my thinking…

I do not mean to equate the two, but Budo, as all the do arts do, requires by definition that the two be simultaneously present. Moreover, in Budo, as in all the do arts do, it is assumed that the simultaneity of the two comes to influence each aspect in such a way that one ends up with something unique enough to stand as different from each aspect when it is not related to the other aspect. That is to say, for example, a technical skill that is not simultaneously exiting with or through a spiritual aspect is not all the same kind of technical skill that simultaneously exists with or through a spiritual aspect.

The fact that we do not see many Budoka operating at this level, or that we see more spiritually mature folks outside of Budo, does not mean that this tenet is not valid. It merely points out the difficulty in achievement, and that Budo has no monopoly on spiritual maturity. Regardless, mushin, a Budo principle, for example, is a state of spiritual maturity, as at its core it is supported by a reconciliation of the ailments of the ego, and it is highly relevant to technical proficiency, particularly within live training environments and/or real-life encounters. To feel or experience a technique that is applied from mushin, vs. one that is not, is to feel or experience a world of difference – where the latter will feel crude, elementary, or even ignorant. For me, any teacher that cannot find a way but through proscription to have enlightened relationships with others, is a teacher that has not reconciled his ego-ailments, is a teacher has not cultivated mushin, is a teacher that can only have “technical skill” under the most pristine (i.e. proscribed) conditions (e.g. kihon waza).

The problem here for most folks, in my opinion, is that kihon waza has become the end-all. As such, the higher states of both technical and spiritual maturity have become either something extra or something not at all that worthy of consideration. As such, it is now possible to speak of “technical skill” outside of things like mushin. This was once ridiculous and should be so again. This is a hugely a matter of settling for less. More than that, this is just plain crazy. Students should instead come to every teacher and first and foremost determine if this person can do this stuff for real – under non-proscribed conditions. Can they have aiki with their kids? With their wife? With their friends? With their students? Can they have it on the street? Within an arrest? Etc. They should be asking, “Are you for real?” or “Are you artificial?”

dmv

Upyu
06-22-2007, 02:11 AM
There are a couple of things to consider here. 1) One of the "skill sets" of Aikido is spiritual maturity. Technical skill, from an Aikido perspective, is not only meaningless without spiritual maturity but also impossible. To stay with an instructor that shows spiritual immaturity for the sake of gaining some sort of technical proficiency makes sense only from an extremely limited (and shortsighted) point of view - one not really of Aikido. 2) Part of Budo training is about gaining virtue. The idea of "selling your soul," or doing WHATEVER it takes to learn from someone is contrary to this underlying notion, as there is no virtue in someone that cannot and would not walk away easily from something that was requiring to be paid for by a lack of virtue.
<snip>

dmv

I think what you've presented is a much idealized western view of Eastern Martial Arts. The reality is much more simple.

To be honest, by all accounts, Takeda was a dick to most people and probably not very spiritually "refined" by your definition. So why did Ueshiba pay so much money, set up his dojo, maybe even wash his ass? (Im actually serious on that count). Cuz he was desperate to get that skill.
The spiritual component can come as a result of gaining the skill. But its not necessarily the goal. I highly doubt it was the goal that Ueshiba initially set out to do, it just kind of morphed into that aspect.

As far as 2) is concerned.
You need definitely dont know what the mentality was like. You wanted to learn from Takeda you paid up. And if you really wanted him to teach you, you set up his house, fed him, clothed him, washed his ass etc. Not that this kind of relationship doesnt exist anymore... you see something similar in the Sumo Stables these days. ;)

senshincenter
06-22-2007, 04:10 AM
The reality is much more simple.


The reality is much more simple but not because of what is right, only because of what is common. However, virtue has never been a thing of the masses, of what is common. Nor has it been a thing of the novice. Whatever Ueshiba did when he was younger, and no matter how many folks today are willing to swallow some bitters for the sweets, is no sign of what is right. It is just what is common - as common as a lack of virtue is in the entire world, as common as novices are to the ranks of any endeavor. Serious folks, who are rare by default, look to what is right and aim in that direction. They do not join the masses and see only the "idealized," so they can dismiss it and continue on in common with the hordes of mediocrity. They see what is right, and look at it as an ideal - which is never thought to be a "dirty" word - an ideal which they constantly measure themselves by, all the while looking for greater and greater proximity to it.

As I said, my experience of training in Japan is obviously different from yours. You seem to look at the way training in Japan is today and then look at the way folks train outside of Japan (in the West) and say, "You guys don't understand Japanese martial arts/practice" - because it's not like what you are currently experiencing. I looked at training in the Japan and thought, "Man, have you guys given up a lot," as my experience had already been shaped by training with Japanese Budoka outside of Japan. My comments then, it has to be understood, is not really meant for folks that train in Japan the way I experienced it (which itself may be a totally different experience from yours - for example, perhaps you train somewhere that trains every day, several hours a day, and perhaps every where you look you see the same thing). What I say makes no sense for someone that trains a few hours per week, until they are married, while they are at the university, when work allows, etc. - which is what I experienced but for at the hombu dojos. For that level of training, yeah, sure, take the bitters for the sweet. It's more economical considering the likely cost/reward dynamic. Still, that don't make it right. That only makes it convenient.

For me, it's a dangerous game to look at something that is such an integral part and call it "idealized." Call it rare, call it difficult to achieve, call it even "nearly impossible," but we shouldn't end up talking like knowing nothing of it, or acting like we need nothing of it, makes us the sensible ones.

dmv

Upyu
06-22-2007, 04:43 AM
<snip>.

As I said, my experience of training in Japan is obviously different from yours. You seem to look at the way training in Japan is today and then look at the way folks train outside of Japan (in the West) and say, "You guys don't understand Japanese martial arts/practice" - because it's not like what you are currently experiencing.
<snip>


Actually I don't disagree with you on that point at all.
The quality of MA practice in Japan has declined considerably.

What I'm saying is that, even back in the day, no one really joined up because they were shooting for ideals of virtue etc.
They simply wanted what they thought was a top notch skill.
And they wanted it badly enough that they'd put up with a lot of crap to get it.

It really is as simple as that.
When you talk to an 80+ year old guy, you're talking to the end result. Not the training maniac that was obsessed with getting better 40 years prior. :)

All I can say is, look at Sagawa, look at Takeda (as far as Aiki related linneages go), and you wont find budo virtue etc.
Both of those guys were probably as serious as you can get as far as their training mentality and skill went.
Determination, fortitude, kokoro no ketsui, etc etc. All of that happens as a result of serious practice, nothing more, nothing less.

As an end note...
Anyone that has to train in the "dojo" in order to train is missing the point I think.
But that opens the whole "solo training" aspect which has already been covered so I wont go there.

anon student
06-22-2007, 05:15 AM
Just to give you all an update on the meeting last night at the dojo. Well, it wasn't a meeting, the head of the association read out a statement containing a number of errors and left the mat. The students are now angrier and more upset with the whole situation especially as she has tried again to paint a very negative picture of the student who's started his own dojo. The student would have been there himself however he was given a hand delivered letter stating that he is no longer welcome and anyone wishing to support him will have to leave. They did not even have the common decency to explain any of this to him face to face.

The senior instructors are turning everything he does around trying to make him look bad at every opportunity, thankfully enough of us know him and know the real story behind this. One of the things they have said is that he decided to come to the dojo whenever he wanted and was confusing us students because we didn't understand why we couldn't go to his dojo. He had asked to train mainly with one teacher from the old dojo on one night per week, this particular teacher should have been taking another class that week and so he came over that night to train with him however the teacher wasn't there as his brother was very ill so another teacher took the class. He came not knowing this as did all the other students - expecting one teacher to be there but another had stepped in. He was not coming to confuse anyone yet they have tried to turn this around and call him a trouble maker.

To clear some other questions up - we're not in Japan and have no links to anyone in Japan. This is a UK club. His reasons for starting his own club are very genuine and he had no other choice. Yes, his dojo is part of another association however his old one has now effectively banned every club / dojo from training with him and not his one local old club.

This is plain wrong. People will vote with their feet and I think it's starting already.

jeep
06-22-2007, 05:59 AM
Yes, his dojo is part of another association however his old one has now effectively banned every club / dojo from training with him and not his one local old club.


This is not very clear care to clarify?

happysod
06-22-2007, 06:09 AM
Anon, the situation sounds very familiar in terms of it's effects to one I experienced (must make a "I was expelled from aikido" T-shirt, it seems common enough to sell well) .

My advice to you is simply wait for now as you're not one of the main principles involved and your input, however well expressed or well meaning will not be appreciated by either party. Give it a month or so, let egos and ruffled feathers settle down and review the situation at that point. The only action you need to take as far as I can see is to decide which dojo do you wish to train at.

Use whatever basis feels correct for you, but look at both dojos as dispassionately as you can and evaluate them in terms of
a) what can they can teach me
b) what can I learn from them

Aikido, despite what some people seem to claim, isn't holy orders, so the decision you make doesn't have to be "for life" and after a few years nothing looks the same anyway. You may move next week because of a new job/home and have to find a new dojo or association and this becomes a moot point. So, don't jump into anything guns blazing and remember the main thing, you're there to enjoy and learn aikido - ignore the rest of the bollocks as best you can.

PS Apologies if anything written here comes across at all as condescending advice from an old git who doesn't understand - and you're correct, I can't understand the situation fully as I'm not in it, but I have been through similar rubbish and do remember how high everyones feelings were running at the time.

DonMagee
06-22-2007, 07:03 AM
Any school that treats you like subordinates and not as friends or at least customers worthy of talking to is not a school I would want to train at. The act of reading a statement and not a discourse would be enough to make me leave. Bad talking a friend of mine would be the icing on the cake.

Hopefully this instructor gets a lesson that her students are people and deserve the same respect she thinks she should get.

anon student
06-22-2007, 07:11 AM
This is not very clear care to clarify?

Sure thing - his old association (association xyz) has stated that no one from any club in association xyz is allowed to train with him. His new association is association 123 and presumably the only club or dojo in association 123 this ban exists for is his particular club. In other words, anyone from association xyz can train anywhere in the UK with anyone with the exception of this one dojo or club. Of course, only after asking permission first. And if it's a course then you have to put a list up for others to attend or else you will get royally told off!

Happysod (love the name!) he know's this thread exists and he's happy to be able to see that he's not on his own in thinking this is all so very wrong.

Ecosamurai
06-22-2007, 07:34 AM
Sure thing - his old association (association xyz) has stated that no one from any club in association xyz is allowed to train with him. His new association is association 123 and presumably the only club or dojo in association 123 this ban exists for is his particular club. In other words, anyone from association xyz can train anywhere in the UK with anyone with the exception of this one dojo or club. Of course, only after asking permission first. And if it's a course then you have to put a list up for others to attend or else you will get royally told off!

Happysod (love the name!) he know's this thread exists and he's happy to be able to see that he's not on his own in thinking this is all so very wrong.

I don't wish to comment much, I'm just curious as to what the circumstances leading to this fall out were. Seeing as we haven't heard much about it and every argument has two sides.

While I sympathise with the guy being ostracised, I've also seen situations where it has been perfectly proper to say that someone should be asked leave and to ask (not order) other people to kindly avoid training with them. These tend to be rare situations often involving someone who was rather unpleasant and/or abusive and/or harbouring conceited delusions of grandeur etc etc

Not saying this is the case, but I thought it might be worth mentioning.

Mike

anon student
06-22-2007, 08:18 AM
I don't wish to comment much, I'm just curious as to what the circumstances leading to this fall out were.

I really can't expand upon this as it involves others not mentioned here. Suffice to say it was very serious and the teachers have tried to cover this up and bury what happened. I think even this is saying too much but I don't want anyone to think this is a simple disagreement between two people that's simply gotten out of hand.

jxa127
06-22-2007, 08:48 AM
Anon,

It sounds like you've made up your mind. If the teachers are "trying to cover up" what happened, and you don't like that, then go to the new dojo.

I like Ian's advice though.

While I haven't had to deal with a split in my dojo, in the seven + years I've been training, there have been a few times when my relationships with my instructor or other students have become frustrating or things at the dojo haven't gone the way I'd like them to. (And, of course, my instructor has no obligation to run things the way I'd like. :) )

It's at those times when I remind myself that detachment can be a good thing -- that I don't have to care so dang much, and I can just show up and train. This restores a healthy perspective and keeps little problems from becoming big problems. It also helps me deal more constructively with problems. With detachment, figuring out how much of a problem is my responsibility, how much is in my control, and how I can deal with it is easier.

Maintaining some detachment does not mean ignoring problems, it just means dealing with them more rationally.

Good luck,

jeep
06-22-2007, 09:44 AM
I really can't expand upon this as it involves others not mentioned here. Suffice to say it was very serious and the teachers have tried to cover this up and bury what happened. I think even this is saying too much but I don't want anyone to think this is a simple disagreement between two people that's simply gotten out of hand

Did this falling out lead him to set up the new club under the other association or did his setting up the new club lead to the falling out ?

senshincenter
06-22-2007, 10:27 AM
What I'm saying is that, even back in the day, no one really joined up because they were shooting for ideals of virtue etc.
They simply wanted what they thought was a top notch skill.
And they wanted it badly enough that they'd put up with a lot of crap to get it...

Like I said, the very thing I'm suggesting is that we should not take the advice of novices, of folks that haven't yet figured it out, or follow the crowd in what they most often do (a reference to my earliest posts in this thread), or follow folks that will follow convenience and personal ego-based commonalities in their training. Wisdom, and the right course of action then, is never found in such a way. To the point: Anonymous here should very well expect most in his group to just swallow the bitters for the sweet here. Folks will not leave en masse - no matter how up in arms they seem now. Folks, the masses, will do exactly as you said. They will be willing to stay, no matter how far they will have to stray from the tenets of Aikido, virtue, and spiritual maturity. They will all do this for but the littlest of things: rank, recognition, travel times to the dojo, etc., and it will all be masked by contradictions meant to cover up the true straying away from things like integrity, courage, compassion, self-respect, etc. These cover-ups or masks will be things like "instructor loyalty," "dedication to the dojo," "love of the art," "never really all that bothered," etc.

I would agree that there are a lot of things that come as almost a side-effect of training (here I'm talking about decades of training, training that is very intense, and training that is daily) but virtue and/or spiritual maturity is not one of them. These things belong to that part of training that only cultivates things by purposeful or mindful (i.e. directed) training. In other words, if you do not aim for these things, or worse if you build up a practice where you aim more away from them, there's no way you are going to get them. For example, when you use, "instructor loyalty" to cover up your lack of integrity, you are not going to have integrity at the end of that process. You will only have what you always had: a lack of integrity. Virtue does not grow out of thin air - from nothing. Virtue grows from a repeated choosing of the path of virtue over the path of non-virtue.

For me, if one want to just train in techniques, if one feels that things like mushin are not at all related to technical proficiencies, fine. From my point of view, this would be wrong - common but wrong. However, while I can say "fine," I still would want to say that folks should be mindful of how much effort, effort away from training in technique, they put toward only measuring things in such a way that the ignorance of this view can be maintained. For example, and pretty obviously, they work very hard to NOT train in areas where mushin is truly seen for what it is and for why it is. They train solely or mostly in pre-arranged forms training and/or in drills, and they look to measure progress by these things alone. They will also expend a great deal of energy looking away from anything that measures their progress off of the mat, outside of technique - as in the case with the drama going on at Anon's dojo now. Whenever one looks to train in "just technique," one is doing a lot more than that, as one has to go to great effort to make this artificial construct seem reasonable and acceptable. The hard part is this: training can only lead to where most of your energy is placed.

tarik
06-22-2007, 10:32 AM
Did this falling out lead him to set up the new club under the other association or did his setting up the new club lead to the falling out ?

That part is just gossip, isn't it? It doesn't really matter how it happened, just that it did happen (sadly).

Regards,

jeep
06-22-2007, 01:45 PM
That part is just gossip, isn't it? It doesn't really matter how it happened, just that it did happen (sadly).

maybe, but then perhaps not

There maybe a very good reason why the Sensei acted like he did for example, hypothically lets say that the Sensei had discovered something about the former student. Maybe he was having an affair with a wife of another student. Sensei may have asked him to stop & he refused. Sensei may have felt that he had no other option but to expel the student, of course he wouldn't be able to tell the class the real reason as it would be unfair on the other student.

Obviously its a sensitive subject & "Anon" can't really go into details & maybe "Anon" doesn't know all the details, but its very difficult for any of us to make a proper call without more facts.

senshincenter
06-22-2007, 04:25 PM
maybe, but then perhaps not

There maybe a very good reason why the Sensei acted like he did for example, hypothically lets say that the Sensei had discovered something about the former student. Maybe he was having an affair with a wife of another student. Sensei may have asked him to stop & he refused. Sensei may have felt that he had no other option but to expel the student, of course he wouldn't be able to tell the class the real reason as it would be unfair on the other student.

Obviously its a sensitive subject & "Anon" can't really go into details & maybe "Anon" doesn't know all the details, but its very difficult for any of us to make a proper call without more facts.

But then there's still the jump to "and you can't train with him." Outside of communicative diseases, what possibly good reason for this could there be? Hypothetically...?

tarik
06-22-2007, 07:26 PM
maybe, but then perhaps not

There maybe a very good reason why the Sensei acted like he did for example, hypothically lets say that the Sensei had discovered something about the former student. Maybe he was having an affair with a wife of another student. Sensei may have asked him to stop & he refused. Sensei may have felt that he had no other option but to expel the student, of course he wouldn't be able to tell the class the real reason as it would be unfair on the other student.

Good reason or bad, all of that is gossip. Without the individuals directly involved coming forward, it's all idle talk and not able to be factually verified.

Obviously its a sensitive subject & "Anon" can't really go into details & maybe "Anon" doesn't know all the details, but its very difficult for any of us to make a proper call without more facts.

The call is simple (perhaps not easy). "Anon" has to choose. We certainly don't. In fact, I am amused by how so many people were compelled to opine what they would do. I see my reflection. :rolleyes:

Regards,

DonMagee
06-22-2007, 09:04 PM
I suppose we all could just say "Well that sucks, good luck!". I try to be helpful when I can.

tarik
06-23-2007, 01:14 AM
I suppose we all could just say "Well that sucks, good luck!". I try to be helpful when I can.

So do I.

Regards,

rising from the ashes
06-23-2007, 04:08 AM
This is fact - I was there.

A teacher was arrested for something on the club premises. This was something happening inside and outside of the club. The person who has left to start his own thing stood up to say how wrong it was that the senior teachers were still happy to have this person teach especially when the incident involved another student. They asked him to lie about the reason for this persons arrest. He refused. He now finds himself the one out of the club and no one allowed to train with him. Most of the students are blissfully unaware that the first part of what I have said even happened. All they hear is that a certain ex-student is being vindictive.

dalen7
06-23-2007, 07:43 AM
Hello,

This often happens in Japan, so I wonder where you are and how closely connected is your Dojo Head to Japan.

In Japan, this is one interpretation of the vertical Master-Student relationship. If you have chosen a Master, it makes no sense to go somewhere else, unless that is part of the Master's way of teaching. So this is a consequence of the original choice. My own teacher does not like students going to break-away dojos and so I have never done so.

However, as I stated, this is one interpretation of the Master-Student relationship as it is understood here. Friends and friendships do not really affect core issue. I know very well that some foreigners find this particularly hard to accept.

Nice to see your comment.
It does help to add perspective, as it is and was very easy for me to label the guy as having 'ego' problems. But again, its all about perspective.

But as you pointed out, since we are not from Japan and have a different 'mentality' from the milieu we are raised in - it does seem to raise more issues then if the instructor would leave it be.

As an example...an exclusive right to train at only one dojo?
What of Bruce Lees concept of Jeet Kun Do? and what many people are doing? I for sure will train where I see fit and mix what I feel I need to. Is this pride? No...doesnt mean it will be a success - but what is success? Is it not our own personal journey?

Personally, I probably would go to the friends - but it would depend on a couple of things. How good was this friend...do you feel you could learn enough from him to get you where you want to go?
Or is it better to stay put? Or better yet...just go? I mean, your milieu in America is that of freedom of choice where you go in life.
Im saying this not out of pride...but its something pretty deep in people. Again, at the end of the day, its your choice what you do.

The best to you.

Dalen

- well, read the rest of the thread, so not sure this post is of much use - or relevant. :)

Peace

jeep
06-23-2007, 11:57 AM
Good reason or bad, all of that is gossip

But when does talking stop & gossip start ?

This is fact - I was there.

A teacher was arrested for something on the club premises. This was something happening inside and outside of the club. The person who has left to start his own thing stood up to say how wrong it was that the senior teachers were still happy to have this person teach especially when the incident involved another student. They asked him to lie about the reason for this persons arrest. He refused. He now finds himself the one out of the club and no one allowed to train with him. Most of the students are blissfully unaware that the first part of what I have said even happened. All they hear is that a certain ex-student is being vindictive.

Juicy!!!!!!!! lol

Seriously though if this is true, "Anon" needs to decide if the friend was in the right or not & then act accordingly. (Tarik If it had been the otherway around, i.e. sour grapes on the Sensei's part, then I would have had no hesitation of saying going with the friend.)

Of course there is another option, perhaps more in the spirit of Aikido. That would be to join a completely different club & association all together (fortunately in the uk there are plenty to choose from). After a little time "Anon" could go back to the old club and train as a guest/non grading student, but also "Anon" wouldn't be bound by Sensei's rules of not training at the friends club. And they all lived happily ever after...........
;)

rising from the ashes
06-23-2007, 02:00 PM
to join a completely different club & association all together (fortunately in the uk there are plenty to choose from). After a little time "Anon" could go back to the old club and train as a guest/non grading student, but also "Anon" wouldn't be bound by Sensei's rules of not training at the friends club. And they all lived happily ever after...........
;)

LOL, love the idea but from what they have said then once you've left, if you go and train and the other club then you're not welcome back - it's the same as going and training if you've not left - you're not welcome back either.

Interestingly this ban is association wide according to what was said so no one who is part of this association in any part of the country is allowed to go! Not just people from the one dojo. Talk about a power trip.

Aiki LV
06-23-2007, 04:27 PM
If a teacher really cares about their student they will want them to be where they want to be. Even if you think they are making a mistake you've got to let them go and find out for themselves. Also, as a Sensei if you are confident in what you are doing you don't need to threaten people to get them to stay. Sometimes people need to explore a bit and find what kind of training or teacher they want. The hard thing is situations like the one above are rarely ever black or white. There is most always a gray area.

jennifer paige smith
06-25-2007, 10:11 AM
I understand that the notion of "sensei's dojo, sensei's rules" is relevant here. At the same time however, your "sensei" has already tipped his hands regarding his capacity to step outside of himself (i.e. "it's personal"), and, in my opinion, no matter how Japanese he is, no matter what his rank is, no matter what his title is, no matter how many years he's trained for, no matter how spiritual he may seem to be, no matter how powerful and martial his technique appears, his Aikido can only be of a limited (lesser) quality. He may be the best bet in town, the best you've seen, so you may have to add that into your decision-making process, but you certainly shouldn't be thinking like you are at great risk of losing something special, rare, or truly advanced.

For me, a great teacher has no rules about training elsewhere, as he/she requires no rules to keep students true to themselves and to the teachings. Sure, there may have been a time when technical information was a sensitive material, but that time is long gone now. Anyone that clings to that facade now, even for cultural reasons, is merely a person trapped by their ego and/or their attachment to their self-identity. This has to be especially true places that aren't even training daily in the first place. Rules, prohibitions such as these, like all departures from the Tao, if you will, tell you that disease is already present and that your best bet is to move on to healthier ground.

The question then isn't whether you will confront your teacher or whether you should be allowed to train at both places. The question is, "The Way is set before you. Will you walk on its path or will you follow those that have strayed from it? Will you follow the masses and seek your comfort and legitimacy in their numbers or will you seek comfort and legitimacy within yourself? Will you do what is easy or will you do what is right?"

Here's another angle:

Look and see how many students will stay right where they are, how in time the sensei's "rule" will be overlooked and ignored and how training will in time continue much as it always has. Now look at that number (in comparison to those that cannot or will not have training go on as it always has). Now look at the character and spiritual quality of these folks. What do you see? Do you see the strong, the one's capable of great integrity, or do you just see the masses, the way the masses always are - more marked by ease, fear, and convenience than by anything else? Before anyone talks about warriorhood, I think these things should be observed and reflected upon. In my experience, no "warrior" I ever wanted to support me when things turn life and death has ever been found in those masses that are more than willing to have training continue as if nothing happened, as if nothing was revealed.

fwiw,
dmv

This is also my exact position on the issue.

tarik
06-25-2007, 11:29 AM
But when does talking stop & gossip start ?

It's not a matter of when it starts; aspects of this were gossip from the beginning. Hint: gossip is not automatically pejorative or inappropriate and nothing is 'factual' unless it can be confirmed.

The anonymous forum is here to allow us talk about difficult or uncomfortable situations without being as concerned repercussions; however, when the rest of us who are offering suggestions start drawing conclusions based SOLELY on non-factual information, we are on shaky ground.

That said, offering advice based on proffered information is entirely reasonable. I just tend to err of the side of knowing that we don't really have the full story. Why speculate on aspects of the story for which no information was offered?

Of course there is another option, perhaps more in the spirit of Aikido. That would be to join a completely different club & association all together

That may indeed be the best 'solution', for reasons not yet considered. However I'd argue that avoiding conflict is hardly in the spirit of Aikido. Aikido, to me, is about learning and practicing conflict resolution, not conflict avoidance.


David Valadez wrote:
The question then isn't whether you will confront your teacher or whether you should be allowed to train at both places. The question is, "The Way is set before you. Will you walk on its path or will you follow those that have strayed from it? Will you follow the masses and seek your comfort and legitimacy in their numbers or will you seek comfort and legitimacy within yourself? Will you do what is easy or will you do what is right?"


I quite agree with this.

Regards,

da2el.ni4na
06-25-2007, 01:51 PM
For me, a great teacher has no rules about training elsewhere, as he/she requires no rules to keep students true to themselves and to the teachings. Sure, there may have been a time when technical information was a sensitive material, but that time is long gone now. Anyone that clings to that facade now, even for cultural reasons, is merely a person trapped by their ego and/or their attachment to their self-identity. This has to be especially true places that aren't even training daily in the first place. Rules, prohibitions such as these, like all departures from the Tao, if you will, tell you that disease is already present and that your best bet is to move on to healthier ground.


Just an add-on to the above:
1. I've heard this analogy used more than once but am not sure if it's standard cliche: a child doesn't know how wonderful his/her own parents are, instead seeing other people/parents as wonderful or novel.
This has to do with motivation for seeking outside influences in the first place. But because of the bias of seeing your own 'parent' teacher as mundane, even if he/she is great, a person may not be getting the most out of every influence, near or far.
2. If a teacher is certain/confident about what they're doing (and seeing themselves accurately), then, "Go out and see other influences" could imply "Go out and see how bad it is everywhere else" or "Explore whether you're really getting what you want/need here with me".
Another possibility is, instead of "See how bad it is out there" is "Go get some perspective". E.g., if I am tired of how persistent my teacher is about which foot goes where and being organized, perhaps by going out and encountering people who have no emphasis on organization, I will come to appreciate what such an emphasis means, what a lack of such an emphasis will get me, etc.
3. Finally, for the teachers themselves I think it's easier to go to sleep at night, so to speak, if they are not attached to possible/imaginary future actions of their students. People who practice for the self-development, virtue, etc. aspects are likely more inclined to really look at what matters in their lives and how they spend their limited amounts of time, energy, and opportunities on this earth.

student 4 or 5
06-25-2007, 06:21 PM
I have been watching this unholy mess escalate for some time now.
It is really upsetting watching your friends being treated very badly.
And it has now become equally upsetting being told by someone what you can and cannot do and what you can and cannot think.
I have chosen my path.

senshincenter
06-25-2007, 07:42 PM
Is someone being treated badly here or there? Not sure of the context of this last post. Could you elaborate a bit more - please/thanks.

jeep
06-26-2007, 04:35 AM
However I'd argue that avoiding conflict is hardly in the spirit of Aikido. Aikido, to me, is about learning and practicing conflict resolution, not conflict avoidance.

Regards,

I would say that the opposite is true, How many times in the past has your sensei told you to "get off the line"?. Avoidance is a essential part of the Irimi & Tenken movements, without it you are going to get hit.

Perhaps you should think of this suggestion more in terms of crossing the road to avoid a gang of troublesome youths or maybe in terms of Randori when the uke's are attacking hard, fast & together, often there is no time for techniques & all one can do is get out of the way.

jeep
06-26-2007, 04:59 AM
Interestingly this ban is association wide according to what was said so no one who is part of this association in any part of the country is allowed to go! Not just people from the one dojo. Talk about a power trip.

Ok we know it was a strong disagreement & yes maybe she felt that the banning of the ex student was the right thing to do. But this is serious overkill & is no better than kids in the play ground saying "you can't play with us because you played with so & so & we don't like them". One good thing about this thread is that the head of the association is probably aware of it as well, and may realise that she has gone to far & change the decision about banning the students from training with the ex-student. I think it would be start in gaining back some of the respect lost by the students If she put up her hand and admitted that she went too far.

student 4 or 5
06-26-2007, 07:10 AM
I have been a member of the assotion from where the student who stood up for what was right has been banned from.
And yes it is like being back at school with the whole 'you can't be in my gang' thing. Only its like listening to your head master saying it!

Hanna B
06-26-2007, 09:28 AM
One good thing about this thread is that the head of the association is probably aware of it as well, and may realise that she has gone to far & change the decision about banning the students from training with the ex-student. I think it would be start in gaining back some of the respect lost by the students If she put up her hand and admitted that she went too far.

Or, this thread might make it impossible for her to back out due to loss of face. Seriously... it is not like the more you guys post here, the more likely she is going to change her mind.

akiy
06-26-2007, 10:03 AM
Hi folks,

I just wanted to step in at this point to remind people to please keep from using specific information that may undermine the anonymous nature of the threads in the Anonymous forum.

In this thread, for example, please refrain from posting information that may identify the organization, the dojo, or the individual who posted the original thread -- especially if you are an anonymous user. Doing so would compromise the purpose of the anonymous forum -- to allow people who have sensitive issues about aikido to post here without feeling their identity may be revealed. If you wish to discuss specific issues about specific situations, please do so using a registered account outside of the Anonymous forum.

The original "purpose" of the Anonymous forum may be found here (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4325).

Thank you.

-- Jun

jeep
06-26-2007, 02:06 PM
Or, this thread might make it impossible for her to back out due to loss of face. Seriously... it is not like the more you guys post here, the more likely she is going to change her mind.

As the old saying goes:- It's a women's prerogative to change her mind;)

The loss of face has already been done & the reputation of the association is tarnished; the mere existence of this thread is a testament to that. The danger is that it will only get worse, as more people in the real world find out about it. I sure I'm not the only person who will admit that they would think twice about training with such a group (i.e. if we knew their identity & they continued with this policy of stopping students training at other people dojo's ).

To me it is a much more admirable/courageous quality to admit to making mistake & trying to rectify it, rather than sticking to one's guns because of "lose of face" over such an obviously poor decision. If such a thing happened it would certainly go some way in limiting the damage that has already been caused to the leader's & the association's reputation.

James Davis
06-26-2007, 04:02 PM
To me it is a much more admirable/courageous quality to admit to making mistake & trying to rectify it, rather than sticking to one's guns because of "lose of face" over such an obviously poor decision.

I agree. People seriously underestimate what a heartfelt apology and some forgiveness can fix.

tarik
06-26-2007, 04:29 PM
Perhaps further posts on this offshoot should go into a new thread.

I would say that the opposite is true,

We have a different understanding then.

I think you are mistaking the tactic of avoidance with the overall strategy of conflict resolution. Avoidance is only a single tactic in my aikido.

How many times in the past has your sensei told you to "get off the line"?.

Getting off the line is far too unspecific. Change the line, or control the line, or own the line, are more in line with my experience. Sometimes that is accomplished by 'getting off the line', sometimes it is not.

Avoidance is a essential part of the Irimi & Tenken movements, without it you are going to get hit.

First, avoiding a strike is not avoiding conflict. Second, if you are counting on not getting hit, you're in for a huge surprise if you ever need to apply your learning in real life. It's much more important that any strikes that do connect are doing so in such a way that they cannot do much harm, despite connecting.


Perhaps you should think of this suggestion more in terms of crossing the road to avoid a gang of troublesome youths or maybe in terms of Randori when the uke's are attacking hard, fast & together, often there is no time for techniques & all one can do is get out of the way.

Again, nope. I think it's just common sense. I learned that in Shotokan Karate. Hell, I think I learned that in grammar school from my teachers!

Crossing the road prevents conflict from starting. That isn't resolving conflict, it's avoiding it. It might be aikido, but it's not something I spend time trying to learn on the mat. After all, I can already do that.

Now, what if that gang of troublesome youths is harassing an innocent, perhaps an innocent that you care about, are you going to cross the road and avoid the conflict?

That isn't in the spirit of my aikido and it resolves nothing.

You see, conflict resolution and conflict avoidance are two different things. IMO, the real aikido lies in conflict resolution. If you avoid resolving conflict, all you do is put off solving the problem, perhaps forever.

To put this on topic; I expect that most people in the situation described will take the avoidance path simply because it is the easiest path rather than because it's the 'right path'. It may be, but I don't know enough to say that it is. I do know, however, from my life experience that avoidance is seldom the problem solving path.

So the initial question each participant has to ask themselves are, "Am I a part of this conflict or not?"

Regards,

Hanna B
06-26-2007, 06:14 PM
As the old saying goes:- It's a women's prerogative to change her mind;)

I don't understand why you (or your dojo mate) mentioned her gender in the first place.. and by this, you lost my respect. Smiley or not. I am based in Europe. Still my thought when hearing "she" is "is there any other female heads of orgs in the US than (name omitted). Please tell me. Was this what you wanted me to think, or not?

To me it is a much more admirable/courageous quality to admit to making mistake & trying to rectify it, rather than sticking to one's guns because of "lose of face" over such an obviously poor decision.

You expect people to be admirable/courageous? OMG you will be disappointed. You will be disappointed even if you expect people to be admirable/courageous in other situations than under stress, which your dojo-cho obviously is. You belive you can put her under press with this thread and gain something. You are most probably wrong. It may be right or wrong morally but humans avoid being defeated in public, or looking as if they were.

Hanna B
06-26-2007, 06:20 PM
I agree. People seriously underestimate what a heartfelt apology and some forgiveness can fix.

So what is the way to get a heartfelt apology and some forgiveness? Is bashing somebody on an internet forum the right way? I very much doubt that.

dalen7
06-27-2007, 01:31 AM
I don't understand why you (or your dojo mate) mentioned her gender in the first place.. and by this, you lost my respect. Smiley or not. I am based in Europe. Still my thought when hearing "she" is "is there any other female heads of orgs in the US than (name omitted). Please tell me. Was this what you wanted me to think, or not?


- It seems this person was/is in the U.K. (from what I gathered, not the U.S.)

- I thought the same when they said 'she', as it would seem rather easy (especially given my first point) to deduce who they were referring to.

- but as Jun said, we are not here to point out who it is.
I think it simply slipped. After all in normal conversation we typically say 'he' and 'she' so it can be awkward to always refer to the instructor without saying 'it.'. But who knows, it may have been intentional, not that it helps either way.

You know of interest is how much attention that the user is paying to this.
Here is what I mean. Is there a problem? A real problem?
Then the answer is clear - leave.

Otherwise you are 'feeding' a 'story' and a drama that the 'ego' loves to swim in and get others to 'feed' on.

The fact is that we all perceive things and events from certain perspectives. Non 'right' or 'wrong' - but it is colored by our experience on life and events in life.

Why the instructor did what they did really is not the point.
They may be totally justified from their viewpoint, and unless you walked in their shoe, you may not understand completely.

So the point is simply this. If its causing you unease, and disturbance in your soul...its a clear sign you should leave.
Someone else may not have an issue...and for them it would be right to stay.

Again, the way Im looking at Aikido, it seems this type of 'drama' is what you hope to 'eradicate' as you progress. You learn to defeat the enemy by realizing you dont have an enemy and you 'dance' around them and their energy goes wherever it was intended.
If harm, it will harm them, if for blessing you will be blessed.

Do to others as you would do to them, etc. is the concept of the above, and like draws like. That which we dont like in others, is there something in us that reminds us of this? Often the case with me.

Again, not sure that coming to an anonymous forum without saying right out what the problem is helps. We are making guesses based on limited info and taking sides and opinions on a lady we dont even know. I wouldnt want that to happen to me.

And also, even if we all gave an opinion based on the exact facts, it would still vary. Some would agree with the instructor as you konw to be true, as some are still there now. (regardless of what they know or dont know of the 'story')

If something really bad is happening, it will come out and they to will leave. But now you must deal with yourself first, as it seems you are trying to do.

As of now, if you have these types of feelings, it seems that it is creating an extra negative vibe at the place that is not only not beneficial for those who choose to stay and train, but not good for yourself as you are spending time concentrating on the problem and not your training.

You can try the other guy out, but see what its like.
Will it be a group of 'egos' then 'feeding' on 'we are right' - a new 'story', or will training continue?

Peace to you

Dalen

Mark Uttech
06-27-2007, 04:19 AM
Training at more than one dojo on a regular basis is a normal 'sticky' situation. We human beings can't help but make comparisons, and when we do, we want to always go further and share those comparisons with others. The best way to be with such a situation is already evident in seminar events that are held with an open invitation to other dojos to participate. To develop a regular practice, one needs to make a choice on a regular practice place.

In gassho,

Mark

jeep
06-27-2007, 04:55 AM
I don't understand why you (or your dojo mate) mentioned her gender in the first place.. and by this, you lost my respect. Smiley or not. I am based in Europe. Still my thought when hearing "she" is "is there any other female heads of orgs in the US than (name omitted). Please tell me. Was this what you wanted me to think, or not?

You expect people to be admirable/courageous? OMG you will be disappointed. You will be disappointed even if you expect people to be admirable/courageous in other situations than under stress, which your dojo-cho obviously is. You belive you can put her under press with this thread and gain something. You are most probably wrong. It may be right or wrong morally but humans avoid being defeated in public, or looking as if they were.

Actually I only made reference to a "she", because ďAnon StudentĒ did in one of the earlier posts. Let me assure you (& everybody else) I am in no way connected to this situation at all. You may question my motives & why I keep posting, in truth I was just passing by & it serves as a bit of distraction as I have plenty of free time on my hands at the moment. But you are right; I am deliberately putting pressure on the head association to make her change her decision. Why? Because itís obviously such a wrong one. To ban the ex student is one thing, but to impose a ban on students training at different dojo is childish, unfair & just plain ridiculous. Somebody needs to stand up for the students point of view & it seems to me that it is better coming from an anonymous person outside the circle of events who has nothing to lose, rather than an anonymous person inside the events, who may end up receiving reprisals.

dalen7
06-27-2007, 04:59 AM
To ban the ex student is one thing, but to impose a ban on students training at different dojo is childish, unfair & just plain ridiculous. Somebody needs to stand up for the students point of view & it seems to me that it is better coming from an anonymous person outside the circle of events who has nothing to lose, rather than an anonymous person inside the events, who may end up receiving reprisals.
But if this is so bad, then why bother with it at all?
Why not just walk away from it and wash your hands clean?

As long as people are fine with it, then they have made the choice and that is that really.

Everything else is 'drama' and really not creating a solution.

Peace

Dalen

- yet another pointer.
Suppose I have a club that creates peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - and I insist that all people that put jelly on the sandwich must be banned from my club.

Pretty silly indeed and quite futile to have a club with such absurd rules and bans those who actually are 'right'. But see, what would be the purpose of wanting to stay anyway. (forget the ban) Who would want to stay if their viewpoint is so different? (unless its one ego trying to overpower another ego and inforce their sense of right upon others...upon which oneday they to will be challenged in how they make the sandwich - i.e. you dont use rye bread.)

What you resist persist...what you fight strengthens.
Aikido is about relaxing...internal. The spirit of Aikido is individual which then reaches out to influence its surroundings.
Dont resist the teacher, just leave. Why change someone? You cant.
But you can start your own thing or go elsewhere. As long as you are in someone else realm you are in their center point, and all fighting will be futile...and in service of strengthening the ego, and the sense of identity that we seek.

- one more pointer...
"someone needs to stand up for the students view point?" Is that so?
Why do they need anyone to do anything for them? They have legs to walk away if they dont like it. Again, its free choice...if its truly bad, everyone will leave and then the teacher will get the point that change is needed. This is the clearest I can get.

Well, peace

DAlen

anon student
06-27-2007, 07:51 AM
This thread was created to find out what people would do in this situation *if* you found yourself in a similar situation and not to persecute the people involved. I mentioned she was not a male simply as suggested because she is in fact female and I wouldn't refer to them as he. As the UK has many Aikido associations it's possible there are others, I have no idea!

I think that the majority of people on here would walk away from the club and that's exactly what I have done. But, the problem is, all of our friends still at the dojo are (at this monent in time) banned from training with us as well so the decision is not just about who to support or join, it goes a lot further than that IMHO - you stay and you can train with all your dojo friends, you leave because of all the bad feeling and wrong doing and you cannot interact on the mat with these friends again. I wonder if we are also banned from going to any other club in this association now. Again, this has not been made clear. What about on courses? What if we organise a course - this was apparently ok when the student left to start his own thing but I'm sure the goal posts have been moved here too.

Maybe a 'wanted' poster will come out with all of our mug shots on :D !! Warning, if you see any of these faces approaching then batten the hatches and lock up the women and children!

Sorry, couldn't resist but since leaving I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can now relax and enjoy my aikido once again.

James Davis
06-27-2007, 12:03 PM
So what is the way to get a heartfelt apology and some forgiveness?
A. Apologize, and ask to be forgiven.
B. Just forgive them and get on with your life, whether they apologize or not.

When I admit when I'm wrong, I feel better about it. If someone wants to not accept my apology and continue holding a grudge, so be it. At least the attempt was made on my part. Life's too short to stay mad about things you could try to fix instead.
Is bashing somebody on an internet forum the right way?
No.

I very much doubt that.

Me too. I think that the reason that so many people have posted here is not necessarily to bash someone, but because someone had a problem and asked for help.
Personally, if I have a problem with someone in particular, I'll generally try to have a quiet word with them about it. How reasonable their reaction is helps me to decide whether I will stay or go.

P.S. You have a great name! I like Bjork's music, and my daughter's name is Hannah.:)

Jim ashby
06-27-2007, 12:28 PM
I was just considering where to restart my Aikido carreer after ACDF surgery. As I'm in the UK I think I need to hear more about this in more detail. Anyone know how? Feel free to PM me.

akiy
06-27-2007, 02:32 PM
I think this thread has served its purpose as well as drifting out of its original intent and getting closer to being non-anonymous.

Thread closed.

-- Jun