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Annoyed
09-14-2010, 10:57 AM
I have taken Aikido for a year. Ok, more like a 8 months to be honest. I don't attend every class meeting per month. There is a reason for that and that is because the dojo is turning Japanezing. That is the term I have for it. Let me explain, it will help with what my complaint is.

Japanezing isn't a bad thing. It is when my class decides there isn't enough Japanese feel in or to the dojo. Several months back the Sensei and the two senior students start to make small changes to the decor of the Dojo. They started to turn the strip mall space we called a dojo into a gaudy Japanese restaurant. Previously, our old space had the feel of an NPR piece; innocuous bland and mediocre decor avoid of anything Japanese (or anything else for that matter) other then a framed picture of O'Sensei sitting on a shelf with a vase and silk vegetation of some sort in a small white vase. And the floor was covered in mats. There was nothing special about the dojo.

Then they started sprinkling in Japanese words and terms beyond the terms of techniques, sensei, and dojo. Like for example, the other day they started using all these Japanese terms from their pocket Rosette Stone. Instead of calling each other my the first name, they slap on "San and Sama" constantly. Joseph-"san" is now the name of one of the senior students, instead of Joseph. We have to address each other in this way. Expect for a select few who are addressed as sama. Every chance they get, they use a Japanese word tangled up in their English to replace nouns, like the bathroom, and major body parts.

The Japanese Renaissance Festival is everyday. Their street clothes are Hopi coats or something like that. Then there is the Ninja pants to go along with it. They wear tabi or wooden sandals with white socks. It is Disney on parade or either "It's the Small World" exhibit coming to life. I can't decide. I am waiting for next week when someone is going to sport a top-knot and where Kabuki make-up.

I mean, we wore heavy white pajamas in the dojo with belts. We train bare-footed, Hakama's wore are black You noticed I said wore, using the past tense or ware. Yep if you didn't guess it, the senior students and the sensei look like they walked out of some Japanese Fellini Anime Samurai film.

I could go on with all the other Japanezing oddities that have arisen in the dojo. Per my good judgement sighting I think you got the picture, I will not. I don't think a bit of Japanese accent here and there is a problem, But let's not be who we are not; we are not Japanese. Let's shift back into reality, it is nice to play dress up like for Halloween or a custom party for an evening. Or perhaps, indulge in the occasional a fantasy escape of a Bronte Sister. Though I think Japanezing your life becomes a full time profession that is an issue, isn't it?

Yes, I am annoyed by this paradigm shift. And I have asked myself if what is really going on is a matter of me not liking change. I don't think so, it isn't a matter of change its self, it is a matter of what the change is. I summized with all my mental powers that this is definitely a direction I feel comfortable with. I don't think this shift to being Japanese Renaissance Fair Headquarters positively effects training. Perhaps, I am wrong in my evaluation. Maybe I am afraid of change and comfortable with the dojo as it was. I should realize that, and get on the Samurai Aikido wagon like everyone else. Should I be annoyed, should I be concerned, of these new ways of my dojo being the true way as it should be? Or, should I go against the flow and place a wake up call?

Some Kid
10-07-2010, 06:47 PM
I really feel your pain, but it's just so damn funny! It's like you're living the Life of Brian.
If it's as bad as you describe, there is quite possible that there's quite a few people there just waiting for somebody to state that the emperor is in nude.

Aikibu
10-07-2010, 08:58 PM
LMAO...

Sounds like a great LARP scenario "Call of the Psuedo-Samurai Masters of the Dojo Universe."

Steam Punk has nothing on Aikido! :D

William Hazen

Josh Reyer
10-07-2010, 10:43 PM
That sounds pretty damn obnoxious. I'd look for another place to train. This group might be good someday, but they need to grow up first.

WilliB
10-07-2010, 10:49 PM
It sounds hilarious. No youtube videos?

Hellis
10-08-2010, 02:48 AM
Theatre Aikido, something to look forward to each week.

Henry Ellis
http://kenshiroabbe.blogspot.com/

JJF
10-08-2010, 05:37 AM
I've seen similar.. though not remotely as ugly as that... Usually I would encourage that you just practice and let them have their fun... I would expect it to wear off within a while. However it sounds really bad. If they force you into the same behaviour and loose focus on good honest practice over strange semi-japanese

Funny thing is that the least japanese dojo's I've been to have been in... well yes... Japan. In the west we tend to overemphazise every little aspect of dojo-kun until we get the hang of it. Like driving a car.. the first couple of month's/years we are consious about all the rules and do's/dont's - then we start to relax and act according to the situation.

Guess the best you can do is to invite a good japanese no-nonsens sensei to stay for a while.. once he is done laughing he will probably get the whole thing back on track again :)

Seriously though... I think you should calmly raise the matter at the next general assembly or other relevant occasion. Simply tell them you have a hard time understanding how this 'more japanese than the japanese' approach (don't use that expression) will help the students learn aikido. Don't fuss or blaim them for being wrong - just open the debate, and if they aren't able to allow a student to be selective about the rules, then you should seriously consider taking yourself somewhere else. Give it a fair shot - and if it fails, vote with your feet.

I hope it will all fall into places for you.

JJ

Marc Abrams
10-08-2010, 07:48 AM
You should be there to train in the art of Aikido. If people want to play the game of trying to turn into a Japanese person, then by all means, allow them the space to do so. Heck, it can be quite amusing at times. You could even compliment them and let them know that the shape of their eyes is changing!

If the Aikido teaching is good, stick with what you are there for. If you do not believe that the Aikido instruction is good enough for you, look elsewhere.

Marc Abrams

lbb
10-08-2010, 07:51 AM
The practical problem with training in a place like this is, where are you gonna go from there? It seems like most of these affectations would be considered weird or laughable or even offensive at other dojos. Every dojo has its little quirks, and people understand and tolerate that when traveling to seminars or when visitors come to their dojo...but this is so way out there, I can't picture anyone from this dojo going elsewhere and not sticking out like a sore thumb. All well and good if you plan to never stray outside this dojo, but then that doesn't seem real healthy either.

Peter Goldsbury
10-08-2010, 08:30 AM
Hello Annoyed,

Your complaint makes me feel quite fortunate to be practising and teaching a Japanese martial art in Japan, to 'ordinary' Japanese. Of course, they are not 'ordinary', but we are a general dojo, offering aikido to anyone who wants to make the commitment. By this I mean that we are not a specialist enterprise for students, police or the military.

At present there are no non-Japanese members of our dojo, apart from myself and my two fellow instructors. So it is just not possible to 'Japaneze' things. Everything is 100% 'Japaneze' already--and completely without effort. So, no happi coats or ninja pants. Tabi are accepted, because we think it is good for the knees. No sempai or kohai and 'Sensei' is heard in a completely natural context. No sprinkling of Japanese terms in our explanations, for they are all in Japanese to begin with. So no intellectual contortions about whether 'kuzushi' is preferable to 'unbalancing', or whether 'ukemi' fully captures the sense of 'breakfall'. If our students do not understand these terms, then we have to explain.

I tend to agree with Marc Abrams. What is the aikido training like? Are you learning anything?

Is the instructor Japanese? Has he / she spent serious time training in Japan at a reputable dojo? If not has he / she visited or lived in Japan? I have seen some students of an intense Japanese instructor (in the UK) trying to 'go native' and imitate everything he does, from the 'spiritual smile' to the 'samurai walk'. But they tend to be in the minority.

Best wishes,

Marc Abrams
10-08-2010, 08:54 AM
Hello Annoyed,

Your complaint makes me feel quite fortunate to be practising and teaching a Japanese martial art in Japan, to 'ordinary' Japanese. Of course, they are not 'ordinary', but we are a general dojo, offering aikido to anyone who wants to make the commitment. By this I mean that we are not a specialist enterprise for students, police or the military.

At present there are no non-Japanese members of our dojo, apart from myself and my two fellow instructors. So it is just not possible to 'Japaneze' things. Everything is 100% 'Japaneze' already--and completely without effort. So, no happi coats or ninja pants. Tabi are accepted, because we think it is good for the knees. No sempai or kohai and 'Sensei' is heard in a completely natural context. No sprinkling of Japanese terms in our explanations, for they are all in Japanese to begin with. So no intellectual contortions about whether 'kuzushi' is preferable to 'unbalancing', or whether 'ukemi' fully captures the sense of 'breakfall'. If our students do not understand these terms, then we have to explain.

I tend to agree with Marc Abrams. What is the aikido training like? Are you learning anything?

Is the instructor Japanese? Has he / she spent serious time training in Japan at a reputable dojo? If not has he / she visited or lived in Japan? I have seen some students of an intense Japanese instructor (in the UK) trying to 'go native' and imitate everything he does, from the 'spiritual smile' to the 'samurai walk'. But they tend to be in the minority.

Best wishes,

Peter:

Maybe we could ask that dojo to donate their used "Japanese" material to help you fit in better! :D :D :D !

This is akin to people who speak "Japenglish" to Japanese instructor in the USA person will change from "Sensei, it is time for us to go to the event now..." to "Sensei, we go event now..."

Marc Abrams

DonMagee
10-08-2010, 09:59 AM
I'd just ham it up a few notches. I'd show up in full dress and talk with a really bad movie accent.

"Ohhhhh honorable sensei!" (Walks away backwards bowing the whole time)

Dan Rubin
10-08-2010, 12:39 PM
Just be glad you don't practice Greco-Roman wrestling.

Keith Larman
10-08-2010, 12:59 PM
I was at a tai kai (sword event) and there were some guys from a local karate school that also did sword work. The funniest thing in the world to me was that when these guys answered questions, or let out a kiai, they all sounded like they were doing really bad Toshiro Mifune impersonations. Now considering most of them were teenaged boys and a few girls it was really, well, silly sounding. There were more traditional groups at the same tai kai and the contrast couldn't be greater. Nothing flashy, nothing loud, just solid work.

Now I'll add that all these local kids were quite sincere. One kid "grunter" kid asked me about swords at the competition and in conversation I gently suggested he watch someone I knew who was performing at that time who was top notch. He noticed the contrast. I introduced him to a few local sensei. Not that his existing place was bad, but I wanted to at least open the door for him to other options.

Anyway, over time he lost his Mifune-esque deep samurai grunts as he focused on a more traditional approach to the sword.

Shrug. I wear tabi because my knees prefer it. And since I go barefoot all day long I need to have something to protect the tatami from my feet... ;)

Knew another guy seriously into swordsmanship from decades ago. Wore geta all the time, even to work. I kept waiting for the top knot. Over the years he became more circumspect, dropped most of the behaviors, and is now a top level instructor, fluent in Japanese, well read, and he really knows his stuff. Shrug.

So I'll repeat the other question. How's the aikido?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-08-2010, 02:26 PM
Just be glad you don't practice Greco-Roman wrestling.

衆道 is always an option.

Dan Rubin
10-08-2010, 04:43 PM
衆道 is always an option.

PEDERASTY???! :confused:

Demetrio Cereijo
10-08-2010, 05:51 PM
"Tokugawa Japan ranks with ancient Athens as a society that not only tolerated, but celebrated, male homosexual behavior. Few scholars have seriously studied the subject, and until now none have satisfactorily explained the origins of the tradition or elucidated how its conventions reflected class structure and gender roles. Gary P. Leupp fills the gap with a dynamic examination of the origins and nature of the tradition. Based on a wealth of literary and historical documentation, this study places Tokugawa homosexuality in a global context, exploring its implications for contemporary debates on the historical construction of sexual desire.

Combing through popular fiction, law codes, religious works, medical treatises, biographical material, and artistic treatments, Leupp traces the origins of pre-Tokugawa homosexual traditions among monks and samurai, then describes the emergence of homosexual practices among commoners in Tokugawa cities. He argues that it was "nurture" rather than "nature" that accounted for such conspicuous male/male sexuality and that bisexuality was more prevalent than homosexuality. Detailed, thorough, and very readable, this study is the first in English or Japanese to address so comprehensively one of the most complex and intriguing aspects of Japanese history."
Male Colors.The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan (http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520209008)

Dan Rubin
10-08-2010, 10:26 PM
This might win a prize for thread drift.

RED
10-09-2010, 09:15 PM
It is possible to be more Japanese than the Japanese.

RED
10-09-2010, 09:26 PM
Just be glad you don't practice Greco-Roman wrestling.

<3

guest1234567
10-10-2010, 07:05 AM
It is possible to be more Japanese than the Japanese.

Any exageration is bad.
The very important thing Annoyed, is the question from Marc Abrams and Peter A.Goldsbury Are you learning anything?
If yes forget the rest..,
if you don't feel good training in that environment, look for another dojo, sometimes a change is necessary to progress

Demetrio Cereijo
10-10-2010, 08:50 AM
This might win a prize for thread drift.

It would be a very undeserved price.

They want to act like samurai of old. So be it.

WilliB
10-10-2010, 08:52 AM
It would be a very undeserved price.

They want to act like samurai of old. So be it.

You might want to be careful not to critise a wannabe samurai too much... do they carry sharp katanas already?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-10-2010, 09:07 AM
You might want to be careful not to critise a wannabe samurai too much... do they carry sharp katanas (sic) already?

Im not criticising them, I'm pointing them in the right direction for proper LARPing.

And if the wannnabes are carrying sharp katana, I feel even safer, Darwin will take care of them.

Annoyed
10-11-2010, 11:59 PM
In all due respect, I appreciate humor in this situation, but concerning the distractive mocking, I am not laughing. I've invested my time and money to this class. I have made friends in this dojo. Please understand my deference to my personal concerns, and seriousness, I hold for this matter.

The question posed more often to my question, is referring to quality. I don't know. I have nothing to weight technical adeptness against. What I see now as a novice I may judge wrongly, either way. With this in mind, I would like to direct to teaching methodology. That of which in my terms and understanding seems more accessible as the object I am able to answer at my level. So I shall, I don't see a connection in relation to the issues of Japanezing in my dojo and the quality of Aikido. Is the teacher's knowledge about and can't transmit information in a reasonable fashion that accelerates learning? The teacher is very intelligent and well learned in the ways of Japan, that is evident to many situations inside and outside the dojo. The Sensei is not Japanese, as previously indicated, but has a command of Japanese. The Sensei has extensive exposure and access to the country and the people for many years; not Aikido related. Is the Sensei good. I don't know. Is the Sensei highly intelligent and knows their shit when it comes to Japanese...yes. Japophile is an understatement. IMO the Sensei has an obsession for the Japanese.

Do I leave the dojo, right the Sensei off as a moron and more on from there? Well that is a facilitating answer that quickly arose to apparent. Haste makes waste. Therefore, other considerations must be considered. That is why came here. Any meaningful help is greatly appreciated.

Janet Rosen
10-12-2010, 01:12 AM
In your position, I would search for other dojos in travel distance, visit and observe, then decide....hoping you do have alternatives!

Josh Reyer
10-12-2010, 02:33 AM
It is possible to be more Japanese than the Japanese.Really, it's not. But it's possible to be damn annoyed to have to "do as the Japanese do" when not in Japan or with Japanese people. Few things bug me like being called "Josh-san" or being bowed to when I'm in "American-mode".

guest1234567
10-12-2010, 07:37 AM
. I've invested my time and money to this class. I have made friends in this dojo. Please understand my deference to my personal concerns, and seriousness, I hold for this matter.

The question posed more often to my question, is referring to quality. I don't know. I have nothing to weight technical adeptness against. What I see now as a novice I may judge wrongly, either way. With this in mind, I would like to direct to teaching methodology. That of which in my terms and understanding seems more accessible as the object I am able to answer at my level. So I shall, I don't see a connection in relation to the issues of Japanezing in my dojo and the quality of Aikido. Is the teacher's knowledge about and can't transmit information in a reasonable fashion that accelerates learning? The teacher is very intelligent and well learned in the ways of Japan, that is evident to many situations inside and outside the dojo. The Sensei is not Japanese, as previously indicated, but has a command of Japanese. The Sensei has extensive exposure and access to the country and the people for many years; not Aikido related. Is the Sensei good. I don't know. Is the Sensei highly intelligent and knows their shit when it comes to Japanese...yes. Japophile is an understatement. IMO the Sensei has an obsession for the Japanese.

Do I leave the dojo, right the Sensei off as a moron and more on from there? Well that is a facilitating answer that quickly arose to apparent. Haste makes waste. Therefore, other considerations must be considered. That is why came here. Any meaningful help is greatly appreciated.
I know this is very serious for you and understand you don't want to look for another dojo, not now.
You can wait and hope that time will bring a solution, either you will adapt to the japanezsing or wait, perhaps it is only a short time madness from you sensei, there is also a third option you speak sincerely with your sensei( I don't know if this is valid for you, you must think calm and the necessary time about it)

WilliB
10-12-2010, 07:39 AM
Really, it's not. But it's possible to be damn annoyed to have to "do as the Japanese do" when not in Japan or with Japanese people. Few things bug me like being called "Josh-san" or being bowed to when I'm in "American-mode".

Why so serious? As far as I can see, the OP gets double value -- Aikido instruction plus comic entertainment. Whats to complain about? Just relax and enjoy.

Keith Larman
10-12-2010, 07:47 AM
To the OP, the problem is that no one can evaluate the quality of the instruction from written word on a forum. For all we know it is top notch with some folk going through a phase. Or it could be a bit of exaggeration on your part combined with a low tolerance for anything Japanese-esque. We are going by what you type which is of course filtered through your experiences.

Best we can do is shrug, suggest you look around, and wish you luck. With an anonymous post about an unknown school, what more do you expect?

I don't have much patience with places that go overboard with the western version of Japanese culture myself. That said, good training is good training. It is all about balance. But we can't balance two unknown quantities for you.

Good luck.

Marc Abrams
10-12-2010, 07:49 AM
In all due respect, I appreciate humor in this situation, but concerning the distractive mocking, I am not laughing. I've invested my time and money to this class. I have made friends in this dojo. Please understand my deference to my personal concerns, and seriousness, I hold for this matter.

The question posed more often to my question, is referring to quality. I don't know. I have nothing to weight technical adeptness against. What I see now as a novice I may judge wrongly, either way. With this in mind, I would like to direct to teaching methodology. That of which in my terms and understanding seems more accessible as the object I am able to answer at my level. So I shall, I don't see a connection in relation to the issues of Japanezing in my dojo and the quality of Aikido. Is the teacher's knowledge about and can't transmit information in a reasonable fashion that accelerates learning? The teacher is very intelligent and well learned in the ways of Japan, that is evident to many situations inside and outside the dojo. The Sensei is not Japanese, as previously indicated, but has a command of Japanese. The Sensei has extensive exposure and access to the country and the people for many years; not Aikido related. Is the Sensei good. I don't know. Is the Sensei highly intelligent and knows their shit when it comes to Japanese...yes. Japophile is an understatement. IMO the Sensei has an obsession for the Japanese.

Do I leave the dojo, right the Sensei off as a moron and more on from there? Well that is a facilitating answer that quickly arose to apparent. Haste makes waste. Therefore, other considerations must be considered. That is why came here. Any meaningful help is greatly appreciated.

1) Relax!
2) Go and visit other dojos near you. If you are allowed, pay a mat fee and try a class at each dojo.
3) Relax!
4) After visiting other dojos, ponder the situation and ask yourself if you are comfortable enough at the current dojo, would like a temporary change, would like a permanent change,.... You should have enough awareness by now of what you like and don't like about training in Aikido (particularly after visiting other dojos).
5) Choose wisely Grasshopper !

Nobody is making fun of you. Most of us have invested a tremendous amount of time and money into our training, but can stand back and realize that life is serious so don't take it that seriously!

Good Luck!

Marc Abrams

Annoyed
10-12-2010, 08:53 AM
Update: Roughly another month has passed and I am still at the dojo dealing with the ever increasingly annoyance (my personal feeling) of the dojo's perpetuation toward turning Japanese. Soon after I came here for guidance, it was indicated to me quite verbosely, in a strong Japaneseque manner it was time to follow in lock step. This was not the actual phrasing, but that is the gist of it. To humor them and not be "the nail that sticks up" I surrendered to some of the objectionable behaviors.

I want to thank all those many replies, the Sensei's and dojo behavior is not acceptable, which reinforces my assumptions.

I am wondering now if I speak to the Sensei directly in regard to the new dojo obsession? If so, how? What advice can be given on my approach to a Sensei who has gone Japanese ren-fair, turning the dojo into a spectacle?

How do I say, "Sensei, this Japanese thing you're doing is getting absurd. And it is a bit much, not to mention it is highly distracting to me learning Aikido now?" How do I say correctly to the Senesi, "It isn't that I haven't enjoyed learning from you (up to this point). I have been here a while and have made some friends and people I like and are comfortable doing Aikido with, and I have learned many things. It's all good to this point. And I am hesitant to go somewhere else. I don't want to risk starting all over again somewhere else with someone else. I have equity in this dojo, and have made investments here. No complaints, but this Japanezing of things is really unbecoming, and it is giving me cause to consider quitting the class. Something I don't necessarily want to do." Any advice.

Take in consideration upon providing any wisdom in this matter, I am younger than the Sensei, and our relationship is strictly student and teacher. We don't speak casually or personally to each other. We are not BFFs. I would call it more of a professional relationship if any.

Thanks in advance

---real quick, it was my earlier assumption that the Sensei being well versed in knowledge of the Japanese and Japan doesn't come from a Japanese Aikido source. I am not sure of that, I could be wrong. I assumed the Sensei's knowledge is derived from other sources and experiences than Aikido. I made the assumption because of never hearing of any Japanese Aikido contacts or experiences mentioned in my presence.

Hellis
10-12-2010, 08:54 AM
Anonymous

You are right to treat this matter seriously. I don't know if you are in an area where you can go ` dojo hopping` ? If there is nothing else nearby and the instruction is good, then take what is good from this dojo and leave the silly stuff behind as you leave the dojo.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Keith Larman
10-12-2010, 08:59 AM
If it is as bad as you claim, I really don't understand the issue. There is no need to discuss anything with anybody. Just leave. Find somewhere else to train. You don't need to "fix" them. You just need to find someplace you feel comfortable and clearly this ain't the place.

I've gone to places to learn, tried it for a while, but left feeling it just didn't click for me for any number of reasons. You don't have to justify or explain your reasons.

Heck, we have students that seem promising who one day just stop coming. We try to follow up if it is really jarring, but the reality is that people have busy lives and varied interests. Things change, focus changes, interests vary, and there is no reason to stay someplace if it isn't what you like.

Just leave.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-12-2010, 09:37 AM
I am younger than the Sensei, and our relationship is strictly student and teacher. We don't speak casually or personally to each other. We are not BFFs. I would call it more of a professional relationship if any.
Here is, imo, the root of your problem.

Unless you are a formal deshi in a real koryu bujutsu dojo, you performed keppan, gave your body and soul to the clan/ryu, et c (as if you signed for the French Foreign Legion or USMC) you are a customer of a commodified leisure provider.

Sensei changed the product/service he sells and this new product/service doesn't satisfy your needs. Go buy in another place. There no need to make it personal, it is only business.

guest1234567
10-12-2010, 10:02 AM
Update:

I am wondering now if I speak to the Sensei directly in regard to the new dojo obsession? If so, how? What advice can be given on my approach to a Sensei who has gone Japanese ren-fair, turning the dojo into a spectacle?

How do I say, "Sensei, this Japanese thing you're doing is getting absurd. And it is a bit much, not to mention it is highly distracting to me learning Aikido now?" How do I say correctly to the Senesi, "It isn't that I haven't enjoyed learning from you (up to this point). I have been here a while and have made some friends and people I like and are comfortable doing Aikido with, and I have learned many things. It's all good to this point. And I am hesitant to go somewhere else. I don't want to risk starting all over again somewhere else with someone else. I have equity in this dojo, and have made investments here. No complaints, but this Japanezing of things is really unbecoming, and it is giving me cause to consider quitting the class. Something I don't necessarily want to do." Any advice.

Take in consideration upon providing any wisdom in this matter, I am younger than the Sensei, and our relationship is strictly student and teacher. We don't speak casually or personally to each other. We are not BFFs. I would call it more of a professional relationship if any.

Thanks in advance

---real quick, it was my earlier assumption that the Sensei being well versed in knowledge of the Japanese and Japan doesn't come from a Japanese Aikido source. I am not sure of that, I could be wrong. I assumed the Sensei's knowledge is derived from other sources and experiences than Aikido. I made the assumption because of never hearing of any Japanese Aikido contacts or experiences mentioned in my presence.

Did you see Aikido from National Geographic in the Discovery Channel? Perhaps if you buy him a bottle of Sake, but make sure what brand he likes:)

Ok now without joke, I cannot give you any advice how to speak to somebody I don't know and less if it is your Sensei, I'm sorry

lbb
10-12-2010, 10:25 AM
If it is as bad as you claim, I really don't understand the issue. There is no need to discuss anything with anybody. Just leave. Find somewhere else to train. You don't need to "fix" them. You just need to find someplace you feel comfortable and clearly this ain't the place.

Also...you're not going to be able to "fix" them. Their ways are their ways -- one person isn't going to change them. Leave, explore other options elsewhere, don't look back or concern yourself with what others are doing. If you've decided it's not for you, it is no longer your concern.

Lazy Matt
10-12-2010, 12:12 PM
Quick nit-pick, and only because I've been told it's very offensive to many Japanese-Americans, but "Japophile" (It's Japanophile) might not be the best way to phrase it. I don't get the sense you're trying to be rude, but just so you're aware in the future...
Nit-pick aside, have you asked the advice of the friends you've made there? Have you asked anyone why they've added the cultural affectations they have? There might be an intended purpose aside from it being fun. If my dojo adopted a tutu and zoro mask I wouldn't feel comfortable being forced to wear that...in which case I would either look for some intended meaning which justified the behavior, or I would go elsewhere while trying to maintain ties with friends made.
I'm reminded of the old saying if you love something set it free. You have an inclination to change your scene, if they care about your friendship they should probably respect that.

UnregShoeFetish123
10-12-2010, 12:46 PM
Are there Nike brand geta, in Japan?

Marc Abrams
10-12-2010, 03:32 PM
I think that the respectful thing to do is to thank the Sensei for the opportunity to train at the dojo and that you wish the dojo well. You do not owe anybody an explanation as to why you are leaving. Good luck at your next dojo!

Marc Abrams

Chris Farnham
10-12-2010, 06:42 PM
Are there Nike brand geta, in Japan?

While I haven't seen them that doesn't seem so absurd after being in Japan a few years. I was on the Subway in Nagoya a couple months ago during a Chunichi Dragons(Nagoya's Pro Baseball Team) game day and saw lots of people wearing Yukatta with the Dragons logo on them.

raul rodrigo
10-12-2010, 07:09 PM
You're not responsible for them. There is no need for you to correct anyone. Just take your gi and go, and good luck.

danj
10-12-2010, 08:41 PM
... it was indicated to me quite verbosely, in a strong Japaneseque manner it was time to follow in lock step. This was not the actual phrasing, but that is the gist of it.

...snip....

, it was my earlier assumption that the Sensei being well versed in knowledge of the Japanese and Japan doesn't come from a Japanese Aikido source. I am not sure of that, I could be wrong. I assumed the Sensei's knowledge is derived from other sources and experiences than Aikido. I made the assumption because of never hearing of any Japanese Aikido contacts or experiences mentioned in my presence.

Its a fine line but some cult alarm bells are starting to ring here.
Some traits are
- A charismatic leader who has knowledge that no others have
- mysterously gained knowledge
- Lots of behavioural demands and beginnings of boundary control

Its not uncommon to find some of these traits and others in aikido dojo because of the nature of the art and hierarchal structure, some dojo fit the definitions more than others.

Here's a quote
" ..In such groups leaders can make demands on followers that are seen as abusive by outsiders,... the group operates as a close knit social system and its activities are generally only carried with other members of the group. ...Boundary control is exercised by the group and compliance with group norms is assured by members....A clear difference between members and non-members is exercised" (Cults, Faith Healing and Coercion, M. Galanter, Oxford university Press 1989).

dan

PS Slightly OT, some thoughts on picking a dojo here (http://www.aikidorepublic.com/articles/brisbane-martial-arts-academy-choosing-a-school)

Peter Goldsbury
10-12-2010, 09:52 PM
Hello Annoyed,

Since you have chosen to be anonymous, we have no idea where your dojo is located, so, as Mr Ellis noted, you may or may not be able to find another dojo easily. However, you asked in your last post for advice on whether or how to speak to your instructor.

Since you seem to be alone in your discomfort with the Japaneszing, what would be the point of speaking to your instructor? Is it merely to register your disapproval of the Japaneszing, or to get your instructor to cease the Japaneszing, or for you to prepare to leave the dojo? I think you need to be clear in your own mind what you want to achieve by talking to the instructor.

In my experience here in Japan, if people do not like the dojo--anything about the dojo that even appears to be a problem, they leave. They do not say anything at all: they just leave and that dojo ceases to have any more involvement with their lives.

Best wishes,

RED
10-12-2010, 10:30 PM
Really, it's not. But it's possible to be damn annoyed to have to "do as the Japanese do" when not in Japan or with Japanese people. Few things bug me like being called "Josh-san" or being bowed to when I'm in "American-mode".

yeahhh... MY NAME IS NOT SAN :mad: my name is Maggie not Sempai! :p
This is Florida dude!:freaky:

..with that said, I like the hakama...looks cool.

David Orange
10-12-2010, 11:16 PM
Unless you are a formal deshi in a real koryu bujutsu dojo, you performed keppan, gave your body and soul to the clan/ryu, et c (as if you signed for the French Foreign Legion or USMC) you are a customer of a commodified leisure provider.

Sensei changed the product/service he sells and this new product/service doesn't satisfy your needs. Go buy in another place. There no need to make it personal, it is only business.

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Killways considers dan level of the teacher and whether he has shown the initiative to create his own style or the prudence to inherit one. More points are added if he has inherited a traditional Japanese ryu and is a generational headmaster living in the US. However, creating his own school and developing a higher number of ways to kill a man with his bare hands can be of equal value.

In the cases mentioned above, both teachers' killing techniques involved more body parts than just the literal bare hands. The Killways Index calls this "technique diversification" and values it highly. Most prudent martial arts consumers do. But Killways lets you see more deeply into the actual techniques used before you consume the lessons.

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Our agent was flabbergasted, but the teacher explained that this was his .38 revolver technique. He then offered to explain the 15 "one-finger-kill" techniques he used with his 9mm Browning. No wonder his students were disappointed!

And look at his teacher/man-to-be-killed ratios: the teacher was 23 years old with seven years of martial arts training, degrees in twelve arts, two 10th dans, two eighth dans and a sokeship. The man to be killed was 45 years old, a smoker, alcoholic and recent victim of a serious car accident.

And the 100-man teacher? Not only was he broadly diversified, including a full range of hand, leg, foot, elbow and hip killing techniques: he taught a rare method killing a man by striking him with one's nose, which he learned from a Tibettan llama in Chicago. His projected teacher/man-to-be-killed ratios accounted for relatively equal ages and levels of health, though it was preferred that the man to be killed be of somewhat lower intelligence.

It is a subtle mix of factors. While one teacher claims 100 ways to kill a man and the other claims 113, the Killways Index evaluates them as (Grade 100 Supreme) and (Dimwit Mak).

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Keith Larman
10-12-2010, 11:32 PM
You should look up Phil Elmore and his "Street Sword" video if you want to expand on Killways...

David Orange
10-12-2010, 11:39 PM
Update: Roughly another month has passed and I am still at the dojo dealing with the ever increasingly annoyance (my personal feeling) of the dojo's perpetuation toward turning Japanese...

I have to plead guilty on this thing, myself.

I started "Japanezsing" in high school, imitating Kwai Chang Caine, then in college, when I was heavily involved in yoseikan aikido and I watched the Saturday kung fu movies with my sempai. We didn't even understand the difference between the Japanese and Chinese movies. We thought they were all samurai. But we agreed that it would be cool to go around in clothes like that. And then, as my connections to Japan started growing, I picked up little bits of Japanese or Japanezsed kind of clothing: various t-shirts, but then a yukata, which fit well thirty years ago. And when I had my own dojo and visited Japan, I gained a jimbe, which is a sort of festival suit--short pants and an airy cross-tied top. I started wearing the top with blue jeans. I started taking Japanese language lessons and throwing Japanese terms into my speech. I got shoes like Sonny Chiba in The Streetfighter. They were just regular black leather shoes, but even that, because of the intent, was "Japanezsing". How do you think they feel about "Americanezsing" of Japanese culture?

But even though I do understand the drive to assimilate a foreign culture, it can be annoying to those who don't share that drive. I just wanted, as fully as possible, to transmit a real Japanese art without "Americanezsing" it.

Of course, I went over the top, but I ended up being uchi deshi to a man who was one of the earliest uchi deshi to Morihei Ueshiba and, before that, uchi deshi to the judo master, Kyuzo Mifune. And I have a Japanese wife and all my kids have Japanese eyes.

Is it still Japanezsing?

Best to all.

David

David Orange
10-12-2010, 11:40 PM
You should look up Phil Elmore and his "Street Sword" video if you want to expand on Killways...

Street Sword. That sounds like it could kill a man in a 117 ways.

Annoyed
10-13-2010, 12:08 AM
I am asking for a bit of forgiveness. The hour is late and the body is weary, as the mind. I hear what everyone is saying. To this juncture it is may humble intention to stay anonymous and use every syntactic, pompous verbiage required at hand not to remove the mask from which I speak from. This would cause allot of problems for me with others in the dojo. My advantage stems from the paucity of comprehension of my native language by those who respect the pedagogue of the dojo. And the Sensei too lacks the complete comprehension and command of the English parlance, yet peruses these virtual hallowed halls. This charade is getting to be at least a pain in the Biblical ass.

Major points of advice and I whole-heartly am sorry for not addressing every. but believe me I have read each post and taken it seriousl:

1. leave the dojo and go somewhere else
this is more difficult that it sounds. I have a sort of equity built up there.
The adjustment to a new dojo is difficult as you have to change methods of doing things, learn things their way. It is a challenge for your body and mind to relearn something new that isn't so different then before.
The quality of the next dojo is a concern. What hang ups and problems do they have. There are new people to deal with and you have to fit in to say the least. Who are you going to rub the wrong way, for example.
The risk of scuttlebutt and black balling following you around to different dojos. There are about a handful of Aikido schools listed on the next, all of which know my Sensei.

Changing dojo is a huge change. But not an impossible change. It will have to start from zero, and start new equity. 9 months isn't a long time but long enough for things to gel. To be in a rhythm and comfortable until this shit happened.

I will scout other places to see where I might fit in and how much will I have to dump.

WilliB
10-13-2010, 01:15 AM
1. leave the dojo and go somewhere else
this is more difficult that it sounds. I have a sort of equity built up there.
The adjustment to a new dojo is difficult as you have to change methods of doing things, learn things their way. It is a challenge for your body and mind to relearn something new that isn't so different then before.

Mr. Anonynous,

unless you are talking about a financial investment in the dojo building, purchase of miscellanous Samurai gear or whatever, frankly, that is nonsense.
Whatever you have invested in training reflexes in to your body, you have that and you take it with you.
I go dojo hopping all the time, and contrary to pondering endlessly about it, I enjoy it tremendously.

Please get off your samurai steed, relax, and just pop in some dojos in your neighbourhood. Sheesh.

Hellis
10-13-2010, 02:09 AM
Anonymous

` Japanezing ` is not unique to your present dojo, you will find it in many other dojos in some form or another.
I have noticed that in many dojos they use more and more Japanese than I can could ever understand. As in many countries, here in the UK we have many area dialects, some are hard to understand even if you are English :-) can you imagine the different Japanese terminology being spoken. I recall when I was with Chiba Sensei in the late 1960s, we were visiting a northern dojo where Sensei was greeted in unison in ``Japanese `` , Chiba Sensei looked quizzically at me and asked " Mr Ellis, what did they say ?" , I just gave Sensei a blank look as I had no idea.

In the 1950s Kenshiro Abbe Sensei had no names for techniques, he would simply indicate the technique and say " necessary " .
We managed fine with that.
I understand that Sensei Ken Williams the first UK student of Aikido now teaches Aikido witth only Engish names for all the techniques.
As a student of just nine months, I don't see your teacher appreciating you questioning his teaching. As I said earlier, take the best from this and any dojo, which I think that students do all over the world....

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Josh Reyer
10-13-2010, 04:36 AM
Changing dojo is a huge change. But not an impossible change. It will have to start from zero, and start new equity. 9 months isn't a long time but long enough for things to gel. To be in a rhythm and comfortable until this shit happened.

If you think it's tough to leave after 9 months, how hard do you think it will be after 1 year? 2 years? Or longer? What about if you actually get rank?

At 9 months, changing to a new way of doing techniques won't be nearly as hard as it would be after 1 or 2 years.

Peter Goldsbury
10-13-2010, 06:45 AM
Hello Annoyed,

A few more comments.

I am asking for a bit of forgiveness. The hour is late and the body is weary, as the mind. I hear what everyone is saying. To this juncture it is may humble intention to stay anonymous and use every syntactic, pompous verbiage required at hand not to remove the mask from which I speak from. This would cause allot of problems for me with others in the dojo. My advantage stems from the paucity of comprehension of my native language by those who respect the pedagogue of the dojo. And the Sensei too lacks the complete comprehension and command of the English parlance, yet peruses these virtual hallowed halls. This charade is getting to be at least a pain in the Biblical ass.
PAG. I never suggested that it was wrong to be anonymous. Jun Akiyama sometimes cautions against giving any information that would reveal the poster and the dojo. If your instructor also reads these forums, this is a very strong reason for remaining anonymous. However, the consequence is that the members of the forum have to depend solely on the evidence you yourself provide.

Major points of advice and I whole-heartly am sorry for not addressing every. but believe me I have read each post and taken it seriously:
PAG. I am glad you did read every post. I would have thought less of you if you hadn't.

1. leave the dojo and go somewhere else. This is more difficult that it sounds. I have a sort of equity built up there.
PAG. I am not sure what you mean here. It sounds like a serious financial investment, which you would lose if you left the dojo.

Changing dojo is a huge change. But not an impossible change. It will have to start from zero, and start new equity. 9 months isn't a long time but long enough for things to gel. To be in a rhythm and comfortable until this shit happened.
PAG. You mention equity again. Do you mean something like a body of knowledge and experiences gained from the training practices of the dojo? If you do, I suggest that nine months is not really enough to build up anything solid.
Did the 'shit' happen quite suddenly? You were going along quite happily when, suddenly, things began to go uncomfortably Japanese? Was there any reason for this?
Anyway, if it is any consolation, I changed dojos three times in the first six years of my aikido training and I am still practising 42 years later. Changing dojos taught me a lot about aikido and also how one learns--and teaches--the art.

I will scout other places to see where I might fit in and how much will I have to dump.
I do not think you will have to dump anything. If you continue for as long as I have, you can look back on this episode as something of value to teach your own students.
I should tell you that all my aikido teachers were Japanese (with very limited command of English) in the countries where I practised before coming to Japan. Now I am the sensei, but there is no way that I can out-Japanese my Japanese students. I have the impression from your posts that the 'Japaneszing' is a real obstacle to your progress, or to the way you feel you are progressing. Of course, this is something that you will have to deal with yourself. The members of this forum can only offer advice, based on the information you have given and on their own experiences of training.
From where I stand now and look back on my 'aikido life', such cult-like practises sometimes occur, though perhaps not to the extent that they do in your dojo.
In one dojo (and I already had dan rank when I trained there), there was a strained atmosphere, largely because the instructor had 'special' students and these students imitated everything he did short of the Japanese he spoke. So there was a gap between the 'chosen' few and the others. The instructor was trying to build up a group of instructors and he believed that the only way to do this was through very serious and dedicated training, where the students had to abandon their own egos. To achieve this aim, he sometimes went to very severe lengths.
Though I had dan rank and I knew the instructor very well, I was not one of the 'chosen' and I had no need to imitate the instructor in any way at all. I did not need to do so in order to gain his favour. I was coming to live in Japan, so in some sense I was way ahead of the 'chosen' anyway, and they sometimes resented this.

Finally, it takes courage to come on here, even anonymously, and run the gauntlet of the questions that could be asked. That said, I think all the members here are hoping that you will find a way of resolving the problem, such that you still train as hard as you have been doing and are 'enriched' as a result. Apologies if I sound condescending here. This is not my intention.

Best wishes,

PAG

phitruong
10-13-2010, 07:19 AM
I am asking for a bit of forgiveness. The hour is late and the body is weary, as the mind. I hear what everyone is saying. To this juncture it is may humble intention to stay anonymous and use every syntactic, pompous verbiage required at hand not to remove the mask from which I speak from. This would cause allot of problems for me with others in the dojo. My advantage stems from the paucity of comprehension of my native language by those who respect the pedagogue of the dojo. And the Sensei too lacks the complete comprehension and command of the English parlance, yet peruses these virtual hallowed halls. This charade is getting to be at least a pain in the Biblical ass.

Changing dojo is a huge change. But not an impossible change. It will have to start from zero, and start new equity. 9 months isn't a long time but long enough for things to gel. To be in a rhythm and comfortable until this shit happened.



whoa! lots of big words. went right over my head. and that's just as bad as japonizing. prefer simple approach meself.

student asked a guru: what is enlightenment?
guru: eat when hungry. sleep when tired.

if you can change, change.
if you cannot, leave.
every other consideration, unimportant.

now, i don't mind japonizing a bit, for example, wearing a funny skirt called hakama. but i draw the line at wearing a loin cloth, for the reason that i have not figured out how to tie it on correctly without giving me an atomic wedgie. :D

Keith Larman
10-13-2010, 07:55 AM
Aw, pffft. 9 months may seem like a significant time now, but if you actually stick with Aikido for any amount of time you'll eventually look back and see it as the tiniest blip in your training. Honestly, in the larger scheme of things in life 9 months ain't much for anything non-trivial. Quit complaining and find somewhere else to train. Why are you wasting your time at all on this after only 9 months?

Janet Rosen
10-13-2010, 10:21 AM
I understand that to the OP it feels like a hard thing to do. I left my first dojo, over what I considered deeply serious issues, after a yr and a half, and yes I did lose sleep over it, partly because in that dojo I'd been pretty well indoctrinated into the idea of loyalty. There was no aikiweb then, but there was aikido-l....and I was sufficiently paranoid about anonymity that my sole advisor/reality tester was somebody I selected from aikido-l who 1) lived far away 2) knew nobody involved and 3) could correspond w/ me in a language other than English about it.
Another member of my dojo, w/ just a tad more time in training than me, made the decision to stay for exactly the same reason as the OP: feeling he had too much invested in time and rank (he was 4th kyu at the time) to make a change.
I've gone the other route, changing dojos 5 times as my understanding of what I'm looking for in a teacher/in my own training has changed.
To the OP I say: 9 months is nothing. Many of us lose more time than that due to injuries or family obligations over the course of years of training. Go where the training meets your needs.

lbb
10-13-2010, 10:41 AM
1. leave the dojo and go somewhere else
this is more difficult that it sounds. I have a sort of equity built up there.

What is the value of equity in something that you don't want to have?

The adjustment to a new dojo is difficult as you have to change methods of doing things, learn things their way. It is a challenge for your body and mind to relearn something new that isn't so different then before.

Yes, it is. But it can be done. I've done it several times when a move (mine or my sensei's) force me to change not just dojos but styles -- this after years of training. The thing is, you have to be willing to completely surrender all of that "equity" -- even if (and maybe especially if) you are starting over again at a different dojo of the same style. You may not have to give up everything you know, but you have to be willing to do so, and maybe the first step is to stop thinking of it as "equity" that you have to hang on to, and start thinking of it as an investment you made and where you have to cold-bloodedly decide if you're now in a situation where continuing to "invest" means throwing good money after bad. Sometimes you have to cut your losses.

The quality of the next dojo is a concern. What hang ups and problems do they have. There are new people to deal with and you have to fit in to say the least. Who are you going to rub the wrong way, for example.

Maybe. Their feet may smell, too, and they may all drink Pabst Blue Ribbon...but why borrow trouble?

Changing dojo is a huge change. But not an impossible change. It will have to start from zero, and start new equity. 9 months isn't a long time but long enough for things to gel. To be in a rhythm and comfortable until this shit happened.

I don't want to disparage your efforts to date, but nine months is not really that much; in fact, I'd say it's the right time to be backing away from an "investment" gone sour, if that is the situation.

Annoyed
10-17-2010, 08:56 AM
Thank you for the advice. I see that time invested or as I said having equity of 9 mos isn't all that much to not cut ties. I understand for some that is very little time but for me it isn't as I have developed relationships with people and am comfortable with the gains I have made. I am not so willing to though all that away so quickly and want to find options to the wierd situation at my school.

I feel as if, your dad comes home dressed as woman, say he is no longer your dad. Telling everyone he is now your mother. That is a change that is annoying. You are not going to divorce him as a parent so quickly, deeming him a freak. That is over the top example but I think it works.

In this case, as I have gotten some good input, I have a better idea of what is the accepted norm and what isn't tolerable, being just plain silly. I am going to work through some more and look at my options for other dojos vs. putting up with the new crap for the sake of my connection with other members and the relationships I have and value.

Thank you for the advice.

WilliB
10-17-2010, 09:08 AM
In this case, as I have gotten some good input, I have a better idea of what is the accepted norm and what isn't tolerable, being just plain silly.

OK. Here is a quick test you could do. Make your self a Chrysantemum seal the size of your palm, and paint it golden.

Then, in the middle of practise, pull it out and shout: "Oi! Kono mondokoro me ni hairanuka!"

If they all drop to their knees, you know it is time to go. :cool:

raul rodrigo
10-17-2010, 09:21 AM
Your father will always be your father. Your dojo, on the other hand, is something you can actually change.

Janet Rosen
10-17-2010, 12:06 PM
OK. Here is a quick test you could do. Make your self a Chrysantemum seal the size of your palm, and paint it golden.

Then, in the middle of practise, pull it out and shout: "Oi! Kono mondokoro me ni hairanuka!"

If they all drop to their knees, you know it is time to go. :cool:

ROTFLMAO - thank you for best weird visual image of the day!

Demetrio Cereijo
10-17-2010, 03:00 PM
If they all drop to their knees, you know it is time to go. :cool:

Seconded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9mKmkWntSE) :D

DonMagee
10-18-2010, 07:14 AM
I've always seen this as a business proposition. I'm paying them for a service I want. If I am not getting the service, I speak up. If my concerns are not met, I find a place that does meet them.

I have made friends at many of the places I have trained. I am still good friends with many people (including the instructors) of martial arts that I felt were not for me.

Your friends should be your friend regardless of what martial art you train. Pick your school based on how it meets your needs, not on how you want to appear to the students/teacher.

People ask "How do I say, Sensei, I think we are going in the wrong direction.". I tell them to just say "Sensei, I think we are going in the wrong direction." Respect is communicating your desires and needs to make them a better teacher, not keeping your mouth shut and going though the motions.

When I left my aikido school, I'm sure it offended the instructor. Anytime you have that much of you into something and have someone tell you it's not for them it has to offend them. However, the man was my friend and after a period of time we still hang out, watch the UFC, and talk about martial arts.

Annoyed-completely
10-18-2010, 01:34 PM
Epilogue: Aikido was grand at the start. I expanded my social life, experienced something out of the ordinary. It was fun. Then came an anomaly that made me uncomfortable. The dojo started Japanezsing, taking the idea of infusing a Japanese theme way all too far- for my tastes and rational thinking. To the degree that fantasy over took reality. For any well balanced reasonable person, it the change in venue testing comon tolerance and rational standards. It was weird and silly, what the dojo was turning into.

With that re-cap. After a discussion with a person or two in the dojo, I have come to find out that the Founder was over the top as well for a Japanese. Eccentric as it was put to me. Upon hearing such news, I was put off by it even more by the dojo change. In the attempt to ease my concerns, the conversation continued become more revealing and uncomfortable. It was stated to me the school was following in harmony with the Founder. The sensei's goal was to fuse the true spirit of Aikido with the dojo. The method to achieve his aspirations was to embracing itself into the Cosmos being in harmony with all things, and something about everyone loving each other. In order to obtain the goal, I was told the dojo needs to apply every aspect of the Founder, especially his unique views and where he was coming from.

As I sat there listening to all this, I was told every so carefully, Aikido's core, it's purpose, is this self-designed spirituality and outlook that develop the brick and mortar of Aikido. Understanding Aikido in this way, then understanding the new changes needed in the dojo to be a real Aikido dojo. I also got the sense that I wouldn't or couldn't progress in Aikido more or really understand it, if this path is not cultivated like pulling weeds from a garden.

I don't know what my sensei drank that turned him from sensible to weird over night. It could be true, I don't argue it, his aligning himself with the spiritual way of Aikido. Something I called Japanzsing.

As a result I decided Aikido it isn't for me. I am going on to something more grounded and sensible like Rugby.

The experience I had and friends I made, where great at the dojo. I don't see many options other then stopping Aikido all together. Moving on to another dojo or style now knowing what I know, will under carry any Aikido class. I don't want to adjust to another dojo and new people, and all the other crap that a person experiences. My Aikido friends are still friends, we can find different venues to do our socializing. Unless they too drink the Japanezed Kool Aid. All is good now.

RED
10-18-2010, 02:03 PM
Epilogue: Aikido was grand at the start. I expanded my social life, experienced something out of the ordinary. It was fun. Then came an anomaly that made me uncomfortable. The dojo started Japanezsing, taking the idea of infusing a Japanese theme way all too far- for my tastes and rational thinking. To the degree that fantasy over took reality. For any well balanced reasonable person, it the change in venue testing comon tolerance and rational standards. It was weird and silly, what the dojo was turning into.

With that re-cap. After a discussion with a person or two in the dojo, I have come to find out that the Founder was over the top as well for a Japanese. Eccentric as it was put to me. Upon hearing such news, I was put off by it even more by the dojo change. In the attempt to ease my concerns, the conversation continued become more revealing and uncomfortable. It was stated to me the school was following in harmony with the Founder. The sensei's goal was to fuse the true spirit of Aikido with the dojo. The method to achieve his aspirations was to embracing itself into the Cosmos being in harmony with all things, and something about everyone loving each other. In order to obtain the goal, I was told the dojo needs to apply every aspect of the Founder, especially his unique views and where he was coming from.

As I sat there listening to all this, I was told every so carefully, Aikido's core, it's purpose, is this self-designed spirituality and outlook that develop the brick and mortar of Aikido. Understanding Aikido in this way, then understanding the new changes needed in the dojo to be a real Aikido dojo. I also got the sense that I wouldn't or couldn't progress in Aikido more or really understand it, if this path is not cultivated like pulling weeds from a garden.

I don't know what my sensei drank that turned him from sensible to weird over night. It could be true, I don't argue it, his aligning himself with the spiritual way of Aikido. Something I called Japanzsing.

As a result I decided Aikido it isn't for me. I am going on to something more grounded and sensible like Rugby.

The experience I had and friends I made, where great at the dojo. I don't see many options other then stopping Aikido all together. Moving on to another dojo or style now knowing what I know, will under carry any Aikido class. I don't want to adjust to another dojo and new people, and all the other crap that a person experiences. My Aikido friends are still friends, we can find different venues to do our socializing. Unless they too drink the Japanezed Kool Aid. All is good now.

Sounds like your new Rugby coach might have a better nikkyo than your old sensei.

Demetrio Cereijo
10-18-2010, 02:19 PM
As a result I decided Aikido it isn't for me. I am going on to something more grounded and sensible like Rugby.
That sounds very reasonable.

Conrad Gus
10-18-2010, 02:20 PM
It's too bad that your first (and only) dojo turned out to be "weird" and turned you off. There are lots of "non-weird" dojos out there as well.

Having said that, it sounds like you're done with aikido for now, so good luck with all future endeavors. I hear rugby is really fun.

There's a neat clip in the "Samurai Spirit" series of a kobudo teacher trying to show a rugby team how to apply martial arts to rugby (check it out).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XasE9DbHC_Y

I love this show!

ninjaqutie
10-18-2010, 05:59 PM
Best of luck in your future endeavors. It is a shame that you were contemplating not leaving your current dojo because "you had things gel" for you, but now you are leaving aikido all together. Sad really....

Marc Abrams
10-18-2010, 07:49 PM
Well there goes the baby with the bath water! :eek:

Did you ever stop and think that your position of not being able to study Aikido again at another dojo is as rigid and (sorry to say) wacky as the place you are leaving? It would be like leaving rugby all together because you did not like the quality of the rugby songs sung at the bar after many of beers by that particular club.

I hope your next training experience in whatever goes smoother for you.

Marc Abrams

RED
10-18-2010, 09:56 PM
I'm sincerely doubting that the OP is even a real person with an issue. It is in the anonymous board. It is likely to be a youngster looking for attention, as it could easily be a troll just f-ing with everyone out of boredom.
For all we know this thread might be linked to Bullshido right now with fifty 13 year old boys thumping their chests over it from their nana's basement.

WilliB
10-18-2010, 10:42 PM
I'm sincerely doubting that the OP is even a real person with an issue. It is in the anonymous board. It is likely to be a youngster looking for attention, as it could easily be a troll just f-ing with everyone out of boredom.
For all we know this thread might be linked to Bullshido right now with fifty 13 year old boys thumping their chests over it from their nana's basement.

Too elaborate writing style for a youngster, I say.

RED
10-18-2010, 10:50 PM
Too elaborate writing style for a youngster, I say.

lol fine, then a troll.
There response just seems to irrational to be a real person's issue.

Annoyed- no more
10-18-2010, 11:00 PM
I decided to stop. First impressions and bad experiences stay with a person (I think, therefore I am) and have a lasting impact. Maybe, I got too comfortable here with my reasons why I am leaving. I am leaving Aikido all together. I think it is for the best. I can't do something that I don't understand, that would be the Founder's spiritual side. I agree you have to believe it to be true to progress and stick with Aikido, if you really want it. My dojo made its own kool aid; I think they follow blindly. Ignorantly, mimicking something they aren't. Losing themselves in a fantasy world facilitated by the spiritual core of Aikido.

Why should I continue to stay, if I don't want to be part of that line of thinking? If I do find another dojo with the least bit of deference to spiritual core in Aikido, I will become very cynical and end up leaving on worse terms then now. I now have a history.

I am not an existentialist, into metaphysics, or spiritual realms of thought. I am not even sure I used those terms right. Aikido and how it defines the world of spirituality and life isn't for me. I love doing Aikido at one time, but the whole experience is best summed up by saying, my experience was a Flowers For Algenron experience. I am returning to Rugby.

I thank everyone for their concern.

raul rodrigo
10-18-2010, 11:13 PM
"Spiritual core of aikido"? What your teacher is doing has nothing to do with the spiritual side of aikido.

Annoyed & hurt
10-18-2010, 11:15 PM
lol fine, then a troll.
There response just seems to irrational to be a real person's issue.

I don't appreciate the trivializing of a very person and difficult issue. I came here for advice. Not to be judged, or mocked. This is exactly what I feared would happen if i go to another Aikido dojo. I am anonymous for just that reason. I don't want to be judged personally by people who lack the sensitivity and maturity, as these people here have shown. I would like people to see that this is a very real situation of a person who bleeds when hurt. Who feels kicks when they are down. Who is has made friends and had a relationships with people I have come to like in Aikido. I take seriously their friendship, and am not willing to piss it away. It is a loss to me.

Some sensitivity would be appreciated, if some people are capable. It is now even clear to me, not to seek another dojo, just for this type of poor treatment show to me now.

akiy
10-18-2010, 11:50 PM
I'm sincerely doubting that the OP is even a real person with an issue.
Let's please stay away from these kinds of accusatory conjectures regarding people's intentions to post anonymously here. If you feel like a thread needs to be reviewed, please let me know directly and I'll take a look.

Thank you,

-- Jun

Basia Halliop
10-19-2010, 10:34 AM
It is now even clear to me, not to seek another dojo, just for this type of poor treatment show to me now.

Sorry you've had an unpleasant experience, both in the dojo and here... On the other hand, if you look at it in a more positive way, the fact that you've encountered some people who have had trouble even believing your experience was real could also be looked at as evidence for how completely different their Aikido experiences have been from yours. They've trained for years, sometimes in many different dojos with advanced teachers, and have never seen things at all like what you've described in your dojo. I.e., it's possible to train extensively for years without encountering the sort of interpretation of Aikido or of what Aikido is that you have seen in that dojo. Not all teachers would agree at all with yours on what 'Aikido spirituality' is, let alone what it should mean to a student of Aikido.

If you do ever decide to look again at Aikido, thinking of it that way may help you be more optimistic that it may not be so hard to find a dojo that's more down-to-earth and more compatible with your way of looking at the world.

Anyway, hopefully you'll find some enjoyable activities to do whether Aikido or something else.

RED
10-19-2010, 01:31 PM
I don't appreciate the trivializing of a very person and difficult issue. I came here for advice. Not to be judged, or mocked. This is exactly what I feared would happen if i go to another Aikido dojo. I am anonymous for just that reason. I don't want to be judged personally by people who lack the sensitivity and maturity, as these people here have shown. I would like people to see that this is a very real situation of a person who bleeds when hurt. Who feels kicks when they are down. Who is has made friends and had a relationships with people I have come to like in Aikido. I take seriously their friendship, and am not willing to piss it away. It is a loss to me.

Some sensitivity would be appreciated, if some people are capable. It is now even clear to me, not to seek another dojo, just for this type of poor treatment show to me now.

You're being mellow dramatic.
How can I not question if you are for real? The resolutions you are coming to are illogical. They are biased.
Hey I was once cut off in traffic by a black dude--I'll just blame the black race. Idiotic!

You're hiding behind the anonymous thread and having an irrational response to an issue that isn't a major issue for most people to solve on their own. You hate your dojo...leave! You hate Aikido--quit! How is this a major life struggle here? Ridiculous. Forgive me, but it just looks like attention seeking.
Fine quit Aikido-- just know it is because of your issues, not Aikido's.
A pretend dojo frankly is the type of dojo some one with serious confidence issues needs. LARPing is as far as some people can get with Aikido. Evaluate yourself before you think you are more serious than the dojo you are complaining about. You might be as wacky as them, I don't know, I don't know you.

Are your feeling seriously hurt by what I said? Give me a break-- I can't comprehend that some on seriously is that insecure that they care what some one they don't know on the internet says! You can't be hurt--you don't know me well enough to be hurt. lol

Sorry if I'm being an ass...I'm typically more understanding. People having no concept of personal responsibility is my pet peeve! I can't feel bad for you.
Get real--you are quitting Aikido because of your issues...not because a little girl was mean to you on the interweb. Ridiculous!

lbb
10-19-2010, 05:44 PM
Wow.

ninjaqutie
10-19-2010, 05:53 PM
Wow.

My thoughts exactly!

Ryan Seznee
10-19-2010, 08:55 PM
Wow, where to start...

A) If you are getting your feelings hurt on Aikiweb, you should not go into rugby. In my experience, it is a sport where aggression is rewarded (at least the way I played it). You will be called every demeaning and embarrassing name in the book during the course of a normal game. If this is too hard for ya, you might leave with emotional problems....

B) You seem to refer to O'Sensei's spirituality as if it the wacko cult. You are probably offending people who have similar religious views, and you are showing a degree of religious intolerance. Everyone's religious views are odd outside of their religious spheres.

C) I believe there is a site that has an "Aikido sucks month" in March. The content of it is people giving testimonials in various chat rooms and blogs about how they went into an Aikido dojo and people jumped out in ninja costumes or something. I predict this thread will wind up on that site. Not accusing anyone of being or not being who they say they are, but I am making a prediction.

D) The OP admits that they are a beginner and can't even accurately comment on how well the instruction he is receiving is. If this is your objective opinion, why would you complain about the methods used to get you to advance? What right does an apprentice have to question a master? If I were serious about learning to cook well and apprentice under a 3 star chef who told me to cut onions for 8 hours a day for 3 months to improve my cooking. What right do I have to question? I am there for his instruction and that is what he is giving me.

Annoyed
10-19-2010, 10:39 PM
I didn't say Aikido was a cult. I never entertained a thought like that at all. I said, that my dojo went overboard into a world of fantasy when it came to the Founder's spirituality. I said it doesn't fit me. I said, I was told by a dojo member trying to convenience me the new shift in the dojo was alined with the Founder and his spirituality of Aikido, and he was an eccentric. I said associations of a bad experience transfers. That if I went to another dojo, I should expect similar spiritual concepts practiced, as my old dojo, in less or more degree. The spiritual situation in the new dojo will have the same spiritual concepts, but looked at differently. I would have a hard time staying at a dojo because of it. I didn't elude that to be true for everyone. I didn't say the spirituality is bad, wrong, or evil, etc. I didn't say those who believe in it, are cultish or any of the sort.

All I asked was for respect and deference to my situation and the dojo involved.

bagogab
10-19-2010, 10:44 PM
I decided to stop.
Rugby will be fun. Go do it and have a blast.
Some quick thoughts though:
First impressions and bad experiences stay with a person (I think, therefore I am) and have a lasting impact...I am leaving Aikido all together.
I agree you have to believe it to be true to progress and stick with Aikido, if you really want it.
...mimicking something they aren't. Losing themselves in a fantasy world facilitated by the spiritual core of Aikido.
Why should I continue to stay, if I don't want to be part of that line of thinking? If I do find another dojo with the least bit of deference to spiritual core in Aikido, I will become very cynical and end up leaving on worse terms then now. I now have a history.
Sounds like a lack of understanding mixed with some self-fulfilling prophecies. I repeat, go do rugby. Sure, you have a history. We all have a history. Maybe Aikido isn't for you, but not because one dojo freaked you out by adopting atypical behavior.

I thank everyone for their concern.
Good luck.

raul rodrigo
10-19-2010, 11:37 PM
Why did you believe that the same "spiritual practices" will apply in every dojo?

Josh Reyer
10-20-2010, 05:26 AM
Annoyed,

I'm afraid you have inadvertently offended a lot people with your reasons for quitting. I believe your reasoning is sound, but is based off of too little good information, and too much misinformation. To that end, I'd like to provide a little more good information. I hope you'll take it under consideration, use it as a springboard for further private research, and make a sounder decision -- whether that be to leave aikido, or find a new dojo.

The founder of aikido, Ueshiba Morihei, did in fact have a rather unconventional belief system, even by Japanese standards. However, his aikido was based on an already existing martial art, Daito-ryu (Aiki-)Jujutsu. Ueshiba's beliefs were very private, and actually did not effect the physical practice of his art, though it might have informed how he approached and refined the curriculum.

There is a famous story of a French student of Ueshiba's, named André Nocquet. I've quoted it below:

[One day] I said to Ueshiba Sensei, “You are always praying, Ueshiba Sensei. Then aikido is a religion.” “No, that’s not true. Aikido is never a religion, but if you are a Christian, you will be a better Christian because of aikido. If you are a Buddhist, you will be a better Buddhist.” I thought it was an amazing response. I really liked his answer. Since he was a Japanese I was afraid he would say that Christianity was nothing. Ueshiba Sensei had a great deal of respect for Christ. I was living in a four-mat room in the dojo and he would knock on the door and enter. He would sit down beside me and there was a portrait of Jesus Christ. He would place his hands together in a gesture of respect. I asked him one day if there wasn’t a similarity between his prophecies and those of Christ. He answered, “Yes, because Jesus said his technique was love and I, Morihei, also say that my technique is love. Jesus created a religion, but I didn’t. Aikido is an art rather than a religion. But if you practice my aikido a great deal you will be a better Christian.” Then I asked, “Sensei should I remain a Christian?” He replied, “Yes, absolutely. You were raised as a Christian in France. Remain a Christian.” If he had told me to stop being a Christian and become a Buddhist, I would have been lost. My heart was full of Ueshiba Sensei because he had a vision of the entire world and that we were all his children. He called me his son.
Here we have an example of a Christian perspective, but the idea holds true even if you're an atheist. Ueshiba's spirituality was an integral part of his practice, but not part and parcel of his student's practice. In fact, the majority of his Japanese students did not subscribe to his brand of spirituality, including his own son.

The majority of aikido today trends along roughly three or so basic lines, created or focused by students of Ueshiba, none of whom believed in Ueshiba's spirituality as he himself believed it.

One of these lines is the Yoshinkai (also known by the name of its headquarters dojo, the Yoshinkan). The Yoshinkai trains Japan's riot police and female police officers. It's founder, Shioda Gozo, respected Ueshiba as a man and as a martial artist, but did not ascribe to his particular brand of spirituality. It's known for being a very practical style. There are others like it, and others that focus more on internal power.

Your dojo said they are aligning themselves with the Ueshiba's spirituality. That is, frankly, rather weird, and not typical of 99% of the aikido dojo out there. You suggest that another dojo will have the same spiritual concepts, only looked at differently. That is not true. In the vast majority of aikido dojo, Ueshiba's spirituality is not important, except in the broad strokes of non-aggression, altruism, and mutual cooperation. As the above story indicates, Ueshiba did not believe his spirituality was necessary for others to practice aikido, and so most of his students, and their students, did not, and do not.

If you enjoyed the physical practice of aikido, then you should give another dojo a shot. There are many flavors, many styles, and one of them will probably fit you. One of the greatest aspects of aikido is that it can be many things to many people.

Annoyed
10-20-2010, 09:02 AM
Josh Reyer Peter G, Henry E. .Basia H. and the others like you I didn't mention. I appreciate that you took my concerns seriously and understood my situation. Amongst the noise, you and those like you have helped me. That can't go unrewarded. You guys have my respect and appreciation.

About those people who decided to be too easily insulted. I didn't want to leave Aikido and it was a huge dilemma. I was irritated and miserable by the change and the choices I faced. It made me unhappy. If other people are insensitive to my angst, turning to mockery and insults because they are insulted, raspberries to you. I have not been in the Aikido world long. I haven't met many others who do Aikido outside my dojo. I see, I was naive in coming here thinking I wasn't going to be the butt of jokes and a target for accusations and insults. I hope to never meet these people inside or outside a dojo.

With my problem solved, I have learned a great many things. Thank you Josh and company for being a bunch of stand up people. I appreciate your help and understanding. If I find a dojo with people like you guys in it I will be sure to join and resume Aikido.

lbb
10-20-2010, 10:43 AM
About those people who decided to be too easily insulted. I didn't want to leave Aikido and it was a huge dilemma. I was irritated and miserable by the change and the choices I faced. It made me unhappy. If other people are insensitive to my angst, turning to mockery and insults because they are insulted, raspberries to you. I have not been in the Aikido world long. I haven't met many others who do Aikido outside my dojo. I see, I was naive in coming here thinking I wasn't going to be the butt of jokes and a target for accusations and insults. I hope to never meet these people inside or outside a dojo.

I'm going to comment on this, and I hope you can step back from your anger and hurt feelings for a moment to think about what I'm saying. I'm not saying this to poke at you or criticize you; I'm saying it because I think it can help.

I went through a much too long period of my life when I would become very upset when other people didn't take my misery seriously (or I perceived that they did not). In hindsight, I can say that sometimes this was a case of people being callous or insensitive towards a very real problem, but at other times it was something else that I didn't really understand and/or couldn't accept at the time. Sometimes people could see my upset feelings, but also could see that they really were the product of my misreading a situation, or that I was getting stuck in feeling vindicated in my miserable-ness rather than letting it go and finding a way out. Sometimes people were standing right in front of me (metaphorically speaking) offering sympathy and help, in the form of showing me ways that I could simply let it go, either walk away from the situation or (with practice) remain in a situation and yet let certain aspects of it NOT be my problem.

So, right now you're feeling like you were made "the butt of jokes" and "a target of accusations and insults", and that people have subjected you to "mockery and insults". I have to say that that seems extreme to me...but I also know that at a certain time in my life, I would probably have felt the same. You're feeling very wounded, that's clear. Whether that feeling is justified or not is another matter altogether, and my honest feeling is that it isn't really helpful to dwell on that argument, from either side. "Proving" that you're justified in feeling miserable will do nothing to diminish the misery -- you might hope that it would cause all those other people out there to come to their senses and stop being such buttheads, but it rarely (if ever) works out that way. And "proving" that you're not justified in feeling miserable doesn't help either, not in the moment, because it doesn't tell you how to work from where you are (instead it sounds a lot like an argument that you simply shouldn't have been there in the first place).

I tend to think that if you can drop the need to justify, the rest of the problem tends to sort itself out -- not immediately, and not without discomfort, but you do become aware that there is a third way. That may not be where you're at right now, but I'll offer two suggestions that may be a little easier to work with:

Don't hold onto those feelings too hard. They have a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you are too ready to believe that this is the interaction you are having with people, you will tend to stuff all interactions into those misery-shaped boxes.
Don't allow yourself to take pleasure in misery (closely related to 1, but there's a subtle and important difference). There is gratification of a sort in the feeling of vindication and righteous indignation...but it's much like the gratification you get from poking at an infected wound: yes, it sure does hurt, you sure are wounded, you were right about that...and you just made it worse. Learn to take pleasure in healing instead (this is much, much harder than it sounds like).

Here are a couple of videos that I've found helpful. I hope you'll find the time to watch some of them and that they'll help you too. The connection may not be at all obvious, but it's there and I'm happy to talk about it if you like...I just don't want to yammer about it all over the forum.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=312oBat6MXs&feature=fvw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA

ninjaqutie
10-20-2010, 11:13 AM
I didn't want to leave Aikido and it was a huge dilemma. I was irritated and miserable by the change and the choices I faced. It made me unhappy..... I have not been in the Aikido world long. I haven't met many others who do Aikido outside my dojo.

I think some of the reaction came to you saying conflicting statements. You first said you didn't like your dojo, but you didn't want to leave because you felt you had made progression, you knew people, etc, etc. All of these things are understandable, but then you made a complete 180 and said that you were leaving aikido all together because all aikido dojos must be the same. It sounds.... a bit odd.

If aikido was something you truly enjoyed and wanted to continue with, you wouldn't write aikido off all together and wash your hands of it. You would be looking for somewhere else to train. You say that the dojo people will remain your friends when you leave to play rugby. Do you think they won't maintain that friendship if you join another aikido dojo?

Perhaps the real question here is are you not able to leave your little bubble of comfort. Sure, you aren’t happy where you are, but you are still comfortable there. It is like staying in a relationship you aren’t happy with because well… you can say you are still in a relationship and after all, you DID put in quite a bit of your time into that relationship. If you broke up with said person, would you stop dating all together forever? I wouldn’t think so. You may take a sabbatical, but you wouldn’t stay single forever would you? Perhaps you can take a break from aikido, but the real question you should be asking yourself is are you afraid to start over again? Are you willing to put your trust in someone else again and hope they will steer you down the path you are hoping to take?

Honestly, sure in all essence you will be starting anew. You will be at a new dojo, training with new people and there will be a new way of doing things. However, that doesn’t mean that your aikido knowledge will be completely wiped away. Even if the dojo goes about a technique differently, you are bound to find some familiarity within the technique via movement, finding your center, using your hips, etc, etc. So again…. I ask you, are you scared?

If I find a dojo with people like you guys in it I will be sure to join and resume Aikido.

Well that is a refreshing statement and perhaps yet ANOTHER complete 180. :D

Basia Halliop
10-20-2010, 11:23 AM
I think some of the reaction came to you saying conflicting statements. You first said you didn't like your dojo, but you didn't want to leave because you felt you had made progression, you knew people, etc, etc. All of these things are understandable, but then you made a complete 180 and said that you were leaving aikido all together because all aikido dojos must be the same. It sounds.... a bit odd.

IMO, that's not really that unusual. Often people who feel strongly about something can have a strong reaction against it if they become disillusioned. That kind of all-or-nothing feeling seems to happen to a lot of people in all kinds of situations.

mathewjgano
10-20-2010, 02:28 PM
I see, I was naive in coming here thinking I wasn't going to be the butt of jokes and a target for accusations and insults.

Welcome to the internet! :D
Also, for what little it may be worth, I'd just like to suggest there may have been communication problems on all sides here. The more you explained, the more I found exception with (e.g. lazy matt and bagogab are me).
That said, seriously, have fun! Rugby looks like a lot of fun, and if you're playing full-contact, you'll probably be able to still work on how to negotiate a particular variety of incoming physical force anyway. I'm not sure exactly why you were interested in Aikido, but that's usually one of the more popular reasons.
The essence of my advice is simply to not shut yourself off from possibilities: assume nothing...and may i suggest you not transfer your resentment onto other situations/dojos.
Best of luck!
Matthew


IMO, that's not really that unusual. Often people who feel strongly about something can have a strong reaction against it if they become disillusioned. That kind of all-or-nothing feeling seems to happen to a lot of people in all kinds of situations.
One of the reasons I felt compelled to respond was because of this. The language reminds me of a best friend of mine who tends to respond with that all-or-nothing quality...Hopefully that association didn't skew my perception too much.

C. David Henderson
10-21-2010, 04:40 PM
You know, it seems to me there's nothing wrong with OP or aikido, but they're probably not well suited to one another. In my experience, training has certain phases that test your commitment. If someone decides to stop training altogether because it didn't work out after six to nine months (or a year or two) at their first dojo, that may very well have been the best choice for them. Why spend another year or two before running out of motivation again?

Well, there is the opportunity to learn about yourself, but I bet OP's life will provide plenty of opportunities for that -- everyone's does.

I've kept up because I'm stubborn -- see, there's that self-awareness coming to the fore...

BTW, Mary, I really appreciated what you wrote -- for your insight, for sharing it, and for your compassion. I hope it was/is received with that in mind.

cdh

Shadowfax
10-22-2010, 08:43 AM
I'm going to comment on this, and I hope you can step back from your anger and hurt feelings for a moment to think about what I'm saying. I'm not saying this to poke at you or criticize you; I'm saying it because I think it can help.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=312oBat6MXs&feature=fvw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTrsK_ZkvA

Hey Mary. Just wanted to say that I really appreciated your post and the links you shared very much.

For the OP... Well I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for. But I wish you would at least try visiting some other dojo to see that they are not all like this one you are at. I'd hate to see you lave with such a skewed impression of what aikido is all about.

George S. Ledyard
10-29-2010, 01:26 AM
I have taken Aikido for a year. Ok, more like a 8 months to be honest. I don't attend every class meeting per month. There is a reason for that and that is because the dojo is turning Japanezing. That is the term I have for it. Let me explain, it will help with what my complaint is.

Japanezing isn't a bad thing. It is when my class decides there isn't enough Japanese feel in or to the dojo. Several months back the Sensei and the two senior students start to make small changes to the decor of the Dojo. They started to turn the strip mall space we called a dojo into a gaudy Japanese restaurant. Previously, our old space had the feel of an NPR piece; innocuous bland and mediocre decor avoid of anything Japanese (or anything else for that matter) other then a framed picture of O'Sensei sitting on a shelf with a vase and silk vegetation of some sort in a small white vase. And the floor was covered in mats. There was nothing special about the dojo.

Then they started sprinkling in Japanese words and terms beyond the terms of techniques, sensei, and dojo. Like for example, the other day they started using all these Japanese terms from their pocket Rosette Stone. Instead of calling each other my the first name, they slap on "San and Sama" constantly. Joseph-"san" is now the name of one of the senior students, instead of Joseph. We have to address each other in this way. Expect for a select few who are addressed as sama. Every chance they get, they use a Japanese word tangled up in their English to replace nouns, like the bathroom, and major body parts.

The Japanese Renaissance Festival is everyday. Their street clothes are Hopi coats or something like that. Then there is the Ninja pants to go along with it. They wear tabi or wooden sandals with white socks. It is Disney on parade or either "It's the Small World" exhibit coming to life. I can't decide. I am waiting for next week when someone is going to sport a top-knot and where Kabuki make-up.

I mean, we wore heavy white pajamas in the dojo with belts. We train bare-footed, Hakama's wore are black You noticed I said wore, using the past tense or ware. Yep if you didn't guess it, the senior students and the sensei look like they walked out of some Japanese Fellini Anime Samurai film.

I could go on with all the other Japanezing oddities that have arisen in the dojo. Per my good judgement sighting I think you got the picture, I will not. I don't think a bit of Japanese accent here and there is a problem, But let's not be who we are not; we are not Japanese. Let's shift back into reality, it is nice to play dress up like for Halloween or a custom party for an evening. Or perhaps, indulge in the occasional a fantasy escape of a Bronte Sister. Though I think Japanezing your life becomes a full time profession that is an issue, isn't it?

Yes, I am annoyed by this paradigm shift. And I have asked myself if what is really going on is a matter of me not liking change. I don't think so, it isn't a matter of change its self, it is a matter of what the change is. I summized with all my mental powers that this is definitely a direction I feel comfortable with. I don't think this shift to being Japanese Renaissance Fair Headquarters positively effects training. Perhaps, I am wrong in my evaluation. Maybe I am afraid of change and comfortable with the dojo as it was. I should realize that, and get on the Samurai Aikido wagon like everyone else. Should I be annoyed, should I be concerned, of these new ways of my dojo being the true way as it should be? Or, should I go against the flow and place a wake up call?

No one "for real" acts this way. All I can say is "Danger! Will Robinson, Danger!"

jonreading
10-29-2010, 11:45 AM
The thought of George flailing his arms on some desolate planet with green women is too much...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG0ochx16Dg

Randy Sexton
11-03-2010, 05:42 AM
My advice is to just to continue to enjoy the training and continue to blend in as you personally feel comfortable. It sounds as though Sensei is trying to have the dojo have a "feel of Japan" but perhaps needs to remember the basis rule of decorating simplicity which can create a wonderful mood rather than be gaudy.
Things may run their natural course and eventually reach a sense of Japanese tradition with its wonderful style and sophistication without trying to turn everyone into Japanese; rather allowing them to be various individuals all practicing a wonderful martial art with roots in Japan.

Doc Sexton
p.s. "If it does not, then bow and leave and find a new Dojo."

Michael Douglas
11-06-2010, 07:15 AM
I enjoyed that inconclusive thread.
I'm wondering what the OP's first language is ... :confused:

Rugby is good for your Aikido, anyway.