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Moving
03-05-2008, 01:08 PM
Konichi-wa,

At some point over the next few months I will be relocating to a different town and seeking a new dojo. My experience at my current school have been okay from an aikido standpoint, but a frustrating exercise in constant drama from a social aspect. I'm currently dealing with being made the scapegoat for an outside-of-class social bruha in which I unwittingly played a part in revealing a practical joke being played upon one of the yudansha by a group of the senior students before they could pull it off. As a result, one of the female sempai seems to have made it her personal quest to make my life miserable both on and off the mats, and doing so with what seems to be the tacit approval of the chief instructor.

My concern is that while I did absolutely nothing wrong on the mats (or off, honestly), her passive-aggressive scheming is definitely coloring the opinion of my teachers. I have been trying to blend with it as best as I can, knowing that directly fighting a passive-aggressive personality usually makes it worse rather than better. I am looking forward to my move into an area where I will actually have a choice of aikido dojos, and trying to decide if it's even worth training at all until the move.

So in light of that I have two questions....
1) Do many sensei contact a new student's previous dojo to get a reference? I don't want this schoolyard crap following me, and don't mind giving up any and all rank in order to be rid of it. I had thought briefly about denying any aikido experience at all, but that seems very dishonest (and would probably be discovered within the first few weeks anyway once I'm on the mats - being a newbie is a hard thing to feign when taking ukemi).

2) I am still waiting on my orders, and the three most likely places to which I'll be relocating are Charlotte, NC, Taos/Santa Fe, NM, and Wilmington NC. Does anyone have recommendations for dojos in those areas that are relatively drama free with genuinely good caring instructors? Style/affiliation is much lower on the totem pole for me at this point, though my current school is somewhere just to the softer side of Yoshinkan on the technique spectrum.

Thank you all for listening to my petty problem, and for any and all advice you might have to offer.

odudog
03-05-2008, 02:41 PM
I see no need for your future Sensei to contact your current Sensei. This is something that you are learning on your spare time and they should be happy just to have a new student. New students are hard to come by. Besides, it's not like they are hiring you and are going to pay you for coming to class. Just stick it out as much possible and avoid her as much as possible. Be happy in the fact that you will be leaving that non-sense in due time.

Shannon Frye
03-05-2008, 09:21 PM
I don't think this is a petty problem at all. Childish social bantering ruined what had previously been a great dojo to attend and be a part of. It's a shame when grown adults can't leave "off the mat" problems "off the mat.

A good sensei will look at your technique and your personality, and not give a hoot about "mat games" at your previous dojo.

Good luck!

ramenboy
03-06-2008, 04:35 PM
i agree. there's no reason for your future dojo to have to contact your present/previous dojo...unless you're acting odd...

we had a 'studen't enroll in our dojo a while back, and part of the forms she filled out asked about previous experience. its a form all new students fill out. but because some of her actions were a bit out there, we thought it safe to contact her previous dojo to see what was up.

in fact, unless you've got time and rank in, why mention you practiced previously at all? new place, clean slate.

and like shannon said, if your aikido is good, your new sensei will notice.

good luck in the move!

Jim Simons
03-07-2008, 01:44 PM
2) I am still waiting on my orders, and the three most likely places to which I'll be relocating are Charlotte, NC, Taos/Santa Fe, NM, and Wilmington NC. Does anyone have recommendations for dojos in those areas that are relatively drama free with genuinely good caring instructors? Style/affiliation is much lower on the totem pole for me at this point, though my current school is somewhere just to the softer side of Yoshinkan on the technique spectrum.

Thank you all for listening to my petty problem, and for any and all advice you might have to offer.

Sorry you're having trouble at your current dojo. Sounds like some pretty stupid stuff. For a better situation, I'd recommend Charlotte Aikikai, the ASU dojo in Charlotte, if that's where you end up. I really enjoyed visiting with them when I passed through there on a random Tuesday night a few years back. I found a terrific group of folks: very welcoming to visitors, very open and friendly amongst themselves, and good solid training. I had been training for less than a year at the time, and Charlie Huff sensei and his yudansha really made me feel like one of their own students.

Of course that's an outsider's opinion on the basis of only one short visit, but I'd certainly look forward to training with them again if I found myself in that area (and I see on their website that they've moved into a beautiful new dojo space as well).

Good luck on the move, wherever you land!
Jim

SmilingNage
03-07-2008, 02:17 PM
Honesty would serve you the best. Admit to having previous aikido experience. As for your reason for leaving,respond by saying you accepted a job transfer. You definitely don't want to start off on the wrong foot with your new dojo and teacher.

Moving
03-07-2008, 05:43 PM
Well after it escalated even further as the week progressed I decided that I needed a break from it all. It was starting to affect my attitude towards aikido itself, and that's where I draw the line. I came across an unimpeachable reason to excuse myself for a couple of months, which should hopefully take me close to the time of my transfer.

In the meantime, there is another dojo about 2 hours drive away that I may visit. The Sensei there knows me through another organization, and has very generously issued a standing invitation to me to train with them whenever I feel like making the drive. Both his aikido style and his teaching style are very different than what I am used to...and maybe that might be a good thing for me at this point.

Thank you all for your good advice!