View Full Version : Odd conundrum

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Not trying to teach
09-04-2007, 10:00 AM
So, I'm fairly new at my dojo, which offers Orientation classes, which, when taught by our regular teacher are mostly very simple movement patterns, no formal technique.

I don't have to go, but it doesn't hurt me to keep going and refine my movement. I go to regular classes as well, but in the early morning so they tend to be quite small, so I don't know many people.

We had a not the usual instructor working with us the other day. This was fine, but I started feeling a little uncomfortable when we jumped into doing technique, he didn't discuss ukemi at all, and several of the folks who were there were in their first class ever and didn't know how to fall.

We ended up doing ikkyo, which made sense cause it's not one you have to fall...

then we switched to shihon-nage. This was kind of a mess. Only two of us knew how to fall, and I was having trouble following the other people's technique because it was strange, I ended up landing on someone's knee . It seemed really odd to me to have us doing a complicated-ish technique, that required falling without any discussion of how to fall.

I'm not sure if it's something I should ignore, something I should mention. I don't want to tell my teachers how to teach, but it felt vaguely unsafe.


09-04-2007, 03:50 PM
How I have handled and seen it handled by others ...

While sitting in line with everyone else during technique demonstration you raise your hand and very politely ask something like: "Sensei I'm having trouble with this ukemi, could you please show me (us) the correct way?"

Of course this only works in a dojo where it's ok to ask questions. If you're just supposed to shut up and do I'm not sure how to help. Although if it's a question of safety I might risk "the look" and make the intentional breach of etiquette just to get the question out there.


09-05-2007, 06:31 AM
I have always found Sensei and Sempai happy to answer my questions either by words, demonstration, or encouragement to figure it out myself by doing it.

09-05-2007, 11:07 AM
The senseis need to communicate on what exactly is supposed to be the purpose or scope of the class. That way they all know exactly what should and should not be taught in the class. It seems like the second sensei is on a different page from the orignal class sensei. I would mention this problem to the original class sensei something like "Sensei, are we supposed to just learn body movements in this class because we were doing techniques the last time?". This way you get to learn the class scope and inform him on what happened last time without saying the other sensei might have done something wrong.

Basia Halliop
09-05-2007, 11:41 AM
You could try, when you're practicing with someone who seems to be having trouble, to attract the instructor's attention and ask for extra help.

If they don't know how to fall you could also concentrate on walking through the technique slowly but not following through on the throw (for example for shihonage you could get them leaning back but then instead of using it to throw them you could stop at that point, or if they're OK with it, push them gently enough that they can rock back without really 'knowing how').

Ron Tisdale
09-05-2007, 11:56 AM
I have never been to a dojo where you cannot at some point raise your hand and politely ask a question. Even in the most formal dojo. Even in the most formal classes, especially when it comes to safety. Frankly, I can't imagine training at such a place...and I enjoy the rougher edges from time to time.


Angela Dunn
09-06-2007, 05:25 PM
Safety should always come first. If there was people there who did not know how to fall then they should have been taught that first or it should have been deminstrated how to roll safely out the move.

If that did not happen then it would be ringing some serious alarm bells to me.

I would just have a quiet word with the *main* Sensei there and explain that you where having trouble following the moves and could he show you how to do it. Or ask if you could do a session on falling correctly.

And when a moves been demonstarted and your having trouble understanding how its done ask. If your having trouble following then you can bet someone else will be to.