View Full Version : How to Handle Know It All Student?

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08-03-2009, 09:31 PM
how do you handle a know it all student who is a beginner like myself who everytime we pair up critiques every tenkan,hand movement ect. thanks

Guilty Spark
08-03-2009, 09:42 PM
Shame is a pretty powerful motivator.

Failing that there's Terry Tate's method, like seen with this Cake thief

Janet Rosen
08-03-2009, 09:51 PM
"Thank you, I'd rather just train and let sensei make the corrections."

08-03-2009, 09:58 PM
Smile and say thanks.

If he corrects you on something that you know is wrong call sensei over and ask him. If the know it all is constantly wrong, doing this will eventually shut him up.

When I am teaching if I see a student doing that to another I usually correct them, and tell them it's not time for them to be teacher yet.

And having good technique usually shuts them up one way or another, the hard way or the soft way...

08-03-2009, 10:07 PM
but when senseis right there his critiqueing is more like sensei it seems to me your this and that and sensei demonstrates again he knows I,m frustrated but this guy always has an excuse for not doing ukemi I just got tired of hearing it so I was uke all night.

08-03-2009, 10:35 PM
Hhm... I realize you learn a lot from being uke, but I think it is unfair that you didn't have the chance to be nage. Do you not switch partners through class? In my dojo, each time a new technique is shown or if we work on a technique too long we switch partners. I know that some dojo's keep the same partners though.

I am sorry. :( It is a shame you aren't a higher ranker that could correct this problem. Perhaps you could try talking to your sensei or a sempai after class. Do not bring up this cerain individual. In fact, bring it up after you don't work with them if you keep the same partner over class. If the sensei knows who you speak of when not mentioning names, then they already know of this problem and may be working on it one way or another. If your sensei doesn't know of the problem, then maybe they will begin to look for it.

Perhaps your partner truly means well and is just trying to be helpful. Perhaps they have some experience with aikido that you don't know about or another style that had aikido-like moves. If you truly do not like their advice, then simply partner up with someone else or maybe try something like "I really appreciate your help, but I think I will absorb/ understand the technique better if I could figure it out on my own."

08-04-2009, 01:53 AM

08-04-2009, 03:53 AM
It's a little weird that two beginners should be paired up constantly for practise; if there are any senior students, it's their responsibility to seek out kohai to work with sometimes. It's also your responsibility to work with the senior-most person you can get hold of. Don't be embarrassed to scuttle over to the hakama end of the line as soon as sensei claps so that you can work with someone who will further your education.

I'm sorry about the know-it-all. They do come around, and they are really annoying. I usually deal with them as Chris suggested, smiling and thanking them for their instruction (and then doing my best to avoid working with them for the rest of class). They usually stop coming to class after a year, either because someone deals with them Peter's way, or because they get frustrated that nobody has recognised their martial genius and awarded them a premature black belt.

If it helps any, the annoying guy probably goes through life blaming all of his many troubles on the incompetence of others, and will probably end up living a rather unhappy and mediocre life. He probably deserves your pity more than your anger...

Good luck, and I hope that you get a chance to practise with more sempai!

08-04-2009, 04:33 AM
Next time you're stuck with him and he opens his big mouth, just say "Hai Sensei! With your great knowledge I'm sure you'll be receiving your 5th dan soon!" and laugh :D

Then if he doesn't loosen up, explain to your instructor that you cannot work with this individual any longer as you are unable to concentrate with his constant chattering in your ear.

If your instructor doesn't move you to work with another partner and DEAL with the situation, then you may have a bigger problem... :grr:

Good luck!

Ryan Seznee
08-04-2009, 07:04 AM
I have had a sempai who had a real issue with this. He was a 1st kyu and would always get corrected by 5th kyu's at seminars (they tend to insist that you do a technique how they do it in their dojo vs the variation that the instructor is teaching). He would always make a big deal out of it, and he would always be upset because of it. I on the other hand just ignored what they said or would say, "this is a variation" if they did not know the differance. We are here to learn from everyone. I find people that are green give you an opertunity to try out how someone who doesn't practice Aikido will respond to a techinque because their reations are the most natural. Learn that, if they can teach you nothing else.

"Today's techniques will be differnent tomorrow... Learn one technique, and create ten or twenty more. Aikido is limitless."

David Maidment
08-04-2009, 11:13 AM
I find this problem often with the kids. It's difficult to teach kids proper Aikido, so often they learn a 'crippled' version of it, which they then have to correct when they're physically/mentally mature enough to learn correctly. But they always think they're right; even when their own methods and 'helpful suggestions' don't even work for themselves.

That's what gets me; when it's your fault that their Aikido doesn't work, and yet it's also your fault when their rigid ukemi hinders your technique.

I just try not to train with those people. When sensei claps, I'll make a dash to the other end of the room, with people whom I know I can help and who can help me (even if that just means shutting up and getting on with practice).

08-04-2009, 11:40 AM
:) :cool:
You are learning good stuff in Japan, Peter!

frustrated no more
08-05-2009, 08:58 AM
After reading another topic simular to this I,m no longer frustrated btw I put the same student I mentioned thru tsuki kaitenage last night and oh yeah he rolled nicely at speed.

03-25-2010, 11:08 AM
how do you handle a know it all student who is a beginner like myself who everytime we pair up critiques every tenkan,hand movement ect. thanks

Ask your Instructor to watch.

New students always do something wrong. Most people, probably still continue to do things wrong..

My sensei will simply tell EVERYONE to stop talking if he sees this too much.

I don't try to critique, unless it's a more advanced student. And I don't take critiques unless it is from someone more experienced than I..

I've spent a whole training hour trying to tell a student that he was grabbing with the wrong hand, I showed him how to do it, it's not a hard thing to do. He just kept saying "Naw man I've got it."

Finally my sensei walked over and said "You're grabbing with the wrong hand."
And then he still continued to knowingly grab with the wrong hand.

03-25-2010, 01:13 PM

^ this hahahahahaha

try not bowing in to this person.

OR, clap your hands and yell 'change partners' and then walk over to someone else :freaky:

03-25-2010, 02:09 PM
How about actually talking to them about it?

"Look you're a beginner too. Let's just watch what our teacher does and try to do our best to imitate it, although we may have differing opinions."

Or failing that

"No offense, but would you shut up and practice?"

Rob Watson
03-25-2010, 09:59 PM
What if they are right and you don't even know it?

I used to think I knew what was what but now I'm not so sure ...

03-26-2010, 03:49 AM
Just smile and nod... Wait a while until the sensei comes around and let him explain it again for you.

You can be a bit evil and at that moment ask the sensei "and what if you do it this way?" (explaining what the know-it-all-student explained to you), and than hear what the sensei says about it, and then look at the face of that know-it-all-student. :)

Afterwards, ignore the one and try training more often with other partners?

Or trying to say "yame" out loud like senseis voice, so the exercise ends and you can practice with another partner ;)

Eva Antonia
03-26-2010, 05:20 AM

in our dojo we have several such students, and MOSTLY the know-it-all attitude wears off. I know a guy who thought during 3 years he knew everything better, because no beginner's technique worked on him, but now he starts to realise that this is only because he blocks every technique, being afraid of taking ukemi => it gets much easier to work with him.

In the beginning, when I also thought I knew it all, I found this attitude VERY frustrating in others, now I don't think so anymore.

a) maybe he has a point and really noticed this or that. You may be unable to perform a technique well but still analyse correctly the errors of others (like music critics).
b) maybe he is very rigid, very strong or whatever and the technique does not work because I don't yet master it well enough to have it working on everyone
c) maybe I did the technique well but hurt him
d) maybe he just likes to talk (me, too!)
e) maybe he wants to explain his frustration why some techniques don't work by my unability (so be it)
f) maybe he is just an asshole => take it as a new challenge to do verbal aikido
g) whatever other reason...

Best regards,


03-26-2010, 07:12 AM
I think it's pretty normal to be annoyed by criticism coming from what we perceive as an unqualified source...the old saying about people throwing stones from glass houses comes to mind. On the other hand...it's gonna happen. The fact that this is a perennial question on aikiweb (how to deal with a know-it-all) suggests that it's a pretty common experience. It seems like there are a couple of basic approaches: 1)get them to stop doing it, or 2)change how we respond to it. 1) might work, but on the other hand, the persistence of this phenomenon would seem to indicate that some people are pretty stubbornly hard-wired to do this. Changing them is going to be an uphill battle at best. That being the case, incorporating a little 2) as well seems like a good strategy. It can be incredibly tiresome, trying to work with a know-it-all partner and make it into a good training experience...I dunno, maybe it starts with frankly acknowledging that you are annoyed, and then have a little internal dialogue, which might involve asking yourself questions like, "Why am I annoyed by this behavior?" "Why is this person doing this?" "What does he/she want from me (or from this encounter)?" "Is there a reason why I shouldn't give it to him/her?" My instinctive response to situations like that is to think, very dismissively, "This person is being a tool!" and that's the end of it...but on the rare occasions when I can step back and ask myself some of these questions, I often come to the conclusion that it ain't no big deal. Am I dealing with someone who wants to feel superior to me? Okay...let 'em feel so. I can't control how they feel, and struggling against it is only going to make things worse.

Here's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA) a brief clip from a talk by Pema Chodron where she makes some comments about dealing with people or situations that annoy you...very humorous and also very helpful.

Mark Uttech
03-27-2010, 04:11 AM
Onegaishimasu. There is a Japanese word for handling these types of problems. That word is: "Hai". What is wonderful about the word, is the constant repetition of it wards off all manner of evil spirits.

In gassho,


Eric Winters
03-27-2010, 02:03 PM
Just tell them to shut up and train. Getting corrections is a good thing from sempai, but you really need to get the repetitions in to figure things out.

Good Luck,


03-27-2010, 03:07 PM
Wow, I thought this thread died but an update we have both tested recently and are equal rank he,s racking up the classes in hopes of testing before me witch is fine I,m more trying to practice and get better yesterday we paired off and the technique was ushiro rebukitori kotegaeshi ura (shoulder grab) sensei,s watching and I,M uke I move in and grab he goes through the technique good until ura as he brings me around with all his power and I,m out of control and he can,t apply the kotegaeshi fast enough then he starts telling me I need to be in better control of myself work on my ukemi sensei says his ukemi is fine your bringing him around faster than your rank can handle his jaw hit the floor PRICELESS.

03-27-2010, 05:32 PM
Are the critiques accurate or useful?

07-25-2010, 08:14 PM
Just tell them to shut up and train. Getting corrections is a good thing from sempai, but you really need to get the repetitions in to figure things out.

Good Luck,


I so agree!! I have done that to a fellow aikidoka the school I train at. (Keeping in mind that I have several more months of experiance,a test and prior learning of that technique over him. ) He kept correcting me at a clininc after we had been shown Wakigatame. I tolf him to please just be quiet and let me figure it out. :disgust: When that didn't work I called the demonstrating sensei over and told him the guys critique and asked him to explain it. He watched my technique and said that it was fine for my level. The kid said sorry and now I very much enjoy him as a partner. :D So, to tye it back into the thread, ask sensei over and explain the persons crutique and see if it's ligit. Hopefully it works :)