PDA

View Full Version : What to do - Telling sensei their waza isn't good any more


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


confused
04-13-2011, 01:11 PM
How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't good any more, that it has deteriorated and become stagnate. Because you respect your sensei your just not going to abandon her, after all the time and effort she has put into you. You want her to regain the lost skill, she once had.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
04-13-2011, 01:25 PM
What do you mean, Sensei's waza has deteriorated? And how could such a thing happen to someone who is teaching, wich means that she has to decorticate the techniques on a regular basis?
Is she getting older, showing signs of Alzheimer's?
How long have you been training with her?
Are there other, more advanced students who share your opinion?
We need to know all that before we can help you.

SeaGrass
04-13-2011, 02:18 PM
or maybe the style has evolved to something you're not used to?

As my sensei's getting older, his techniques become softer but still powerful, and his movements become more intricate. I found it more challenging to learn.

mathewjgano
04-13-2011, 02:35 PM
I would say it's better to ask probing questions than to tell her you think her waza is no good. Maybe ask her why her waza seems to have changed instead. As it is now you sound like you think you know better than she does...and maybe you do, but as a student it's probably best to start out with asking instead of telling.

sakumeikan
04-13-2011, 03:41 PM
Hi All,
This blog is rather sad. Here we have a junior stating that the sensei's skill has deteriorated.The writer does not indicate whether the sensei is mature /injured or in ill health.Now we all face illness , old , and the grim reaper.
Rather than be grateful to this sensei , the writer is more or less saying the sensei is past it.Even if the sensei is past it , the sensei should be given respect .The sensei should also be given assistance.
Is the writer a junior teacher, has he ever taught classes for years?
The responsibility placed on any Sensei is awesome.How would you feel if you were a Sensei going to the dojo night after night , giving your best to your students , and they were in effect receiving the gift of aikido in less than grateful manner?
Rather than be critical, why not be a bit more understanding and compassionate?Why not shoulder some of the burden or offer support to the teacher?
Cheers, Joe.

Russ Q
04-13-2011, 04:21 PM
I agree with Joe....To me"confused" sounds like a troll. If Sensei is teaching every night then I doubt they're losing skill. Perhaps "confused" is getting better, or hitting a wall re: skill and not getting what they want.....hard to tell without more information. Even with more info, Joe's answer gives "confused" a clear path to move forward from.....

JW
04-13-2011, 05:59 PM
How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't good any more, that it has deteriorated and become stagnate. ...

Is this from Gozo Shioda's diary? He said similar about Ueshiba post-war. What did he do? Ask for 9th dan, while running his own school! There you go.

ps I think Shioda was wrong about Ueshiba, and maybe you are wrong about your teacher. As has been pointed out, people who are actively practicing don't normally get worse, they normally get better. Sometimes that means they are starting to prefer something that you don't.
If you ask her, "what do you think about this technique" and then do your superior "old way," maybe a good conversation could be had.

If they have a neurodegenerative disease, then you can't get them to "regain the lost skill," you can only support them.

Marc Abrams
04-13-2011, 09:20 PM
How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't good any more, that it has deteriorated and become stagnate. Because you respect your sensei your just not going to abandon her, after all the time and effort she has put into you. You want her to regain the lost skill, she once had.

Confused:

It would be helpful to know what you mean by "lost skills", "deteriorated" and "stagnate". It would also help to know approximately how long you have been studying the art. It is hard to determine why you are experiencing what you are.

Marc Abrams

confused
04-14-2011, 12:29 AM
How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't as good as it once was a few years ago. That due to neglect of skill. To provide a common and universal fictional example, such as, focusing on teaching and neglecting their personal training, has resulted in the deterioration of skill, and stagnation of personal developmental training. Because you respect your sensei, you just don't want to tell her, theoretically, she is as good as she was a couple of years ago. That is has become just the opposite, and if you don't get it together I finding a new dojo. It is a complicated situation where I am not going to just abandon her, after all the time and effort she has put into me as a teacher. I am not going to abandon her because her skill level has slipped over last couple of years, simply because she can't hold the mark. Because you respect her, as she is your sensei and shows up to class, giving of herself, you want her to regain that lost skill, she once had. You want her to shine, You don't want other students out performing her to the point where new students are giving more credibility to the assistant Sensei whose skill and technique is clearly better, now that hers has slipped. And no she isn't injured or old.

Janet Rosen
04-14-2011, 01:32 AM
So... Is this an unaffiliated dojo where the instructor never visits other dojos to train with peers, or attends seminars? Does she encourage students to attend seminars or does she encourage you to only train there and never deviate from just one right way to do a limited number of things? Are you on your own plateau and frustrated, or as sometimes happens, has your training reached the student equivalent of late adolescence so that you need to separate from your teacher and part of that naturally involves finding fault?

I ask these things because your follow up post does very little to clarify your OP.

sakumeikan
04-14-2011, 02:07 AM
How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't as good as it once was a few years ago. That due to neglect of skill. To provide a common and universal fictional example, such as, focusing on teaching and neglecting their personal training, has resulted in the deterioration of skill, and stagnation of personal developmental training. Because you respect your sensei, you just don't want to tell her, theoretically, she is as good as she was a couple of years ago. That is has become just the opposite, and if you don't get it together I finding a new dojo. It is a complicated situation where I am not going to just abandon her, after all the time and effort she has put into me as a teacher. I am not going to abandon her because her skill level has slipped over last couple of years, simply because she can't hold the mark. Because you respect her, as she is your sensei and shows up to class, giving of herself, you want her to regain that lost skill, she once had. You want her to shine, You don't want other students out performing her to the point where new students are giving more credibility to the assistant Sensei whose skill and technique is clearly better, now that hers has slipped. And no she isn't injured or old.
Dear Confused,
So here we have a young lion [you]saying that the sensei is not as good as she was. You then state the other students are thinking the assistant instructor is better. My own view is this , you do not appreciate a lady who may well have sacrificed her own training to help you and the assistant instructor.Instead of belly aching and being critical , just train .If you cannot do this , get out of the dojo.
I for one would not miss you if this was your mindset.Anyway , comparisons between Sensei in my view is wrong.Each person brings something to the table.What do you bring to the table[apart from criticism? Joe.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-14-2011, 03:52 AM
Sensei's role is teaching.

If her technique is not what used to be back in the day it really doesn't matter. What matters is hers students performance.

Carsten Möllering
04-14-2011, 04:17 AM
Hi

I know your problem very well. I experienced similar situations more than just once, looking back all those years. I had to go through this with my own teacher. And I saw it happen in other dojo I know well.

The most important insight I got:
... you want her to regain that lost skill, she once had. You want her to shine, ... This will not happen. In most cases when I saw sensei loose their abbilities, this had reasons which where deeplly anchored in their live. And it always was a very long time process until I or we only recognized what happened. Those teachers would have neede to change their lives (money, familie, priorities, things like that).

ocusing on teaching and neglecting their personal training, This mostly is the reason when teachers loose it. Is there a possibilitie make her practice for herself? Can you help this??? Will she do it???
We wanted to help one of our former sempai. So one of us led the practice once a month instead of him. But he didn't use this possibility to practice himself. He just stayed away from training when he was "free".

How to you tell your sensei (with respect) their waza isn't as good as it once was a few years ago. How? There is only one way to tell someone something: You have to talk to her. It's just that. No easy way, no shortcut, not helpfull phrases.
"sensei, in my eyes, your technique is not good anymore as it used to be."
I had such a conversation with my teacher. And I was very baffled: He affirmed every word of my critique. He had seen it, long before I did. (He quit aikido about half a year later. And he was very happy with that!)

if you don't get it together I finding a new dojoThis you needn't say to her. She will know. And she will not change her life because of the choises you make for yours. (Or at least she shouldn't.) Just think it over: Where do you want to practice? Where is your heart? Maybe you can learn a lot from the assistant teachers. And in senseis training just move and throw and roll and enjoy yourself and aikido?

Sorry for your situation! I know how this hurts and how difficult this is.
But:
Your experience is not uncommon. Thing like this happen. It's not a matter of course that teachers grow all the time.

From the Ashes
04-14-2011, 06:05 AM
I'm posting this anonymously as it's too obvious even without me naming names if I use my own id here. I think I kind of agree with both sides here... It's not about being cocky or thinking you're better than your existing dojo but... You have to do what's best for you in the end.

My old dojo self promote the senior ranks, they have no humbu affiliation as such so it's not a problem for them. But I personally don't consider them worthy of their rank - their senior teacher only rolls on the left, not through injury, just simply because they will automatically swap to the right shoulder in mid roll. They are completely and utterly stagnant in their aikido, and I know for a fact that they have changed nothing in 6 or 7 years - many of my students go and visit the dojo without mentioning me and they get told off for training left and right handed and being too martial or for taking a high fall if a technique is firmly applied. Now I wouldn't consider myself or my students as being too martial.

I was not a teacher with these until I was given a papal letter of ex-communication and told never to darken their doors again. Had that particular incident never happened then I would be there still and I know my aikido would have never developed the way it has, they are scared of change and new ideas - in short, most of the teachers suffer from NIH - Not Invented Here.

My advice, leave and be respectful enough to explain the reasons, or, explain that you feel you must leave and do something of your own. If they're a good organisation, they will allow you to do this and support you, if they are not, you will be better off without them.

I stood up for what I believed in and was kicked out. But you know what? The best thing I've ever done in my life was start my own dojo as I know have a small but pretty dedicated group of like-minded students who I push to go and get out and train with as many teachers as they can with only one proviso - that they come back and show something, at least one thing that they picked up - even if they're a relative beginner.

Regards,
FtA

lbb
04-14-2011, 07:24 AM
When I was 18, I thought my father was a complete idiot.

It's amazing how smart he got by the time I turned 21.

Marc Abrams
04-14-2011, 07:48 AM
As a teacher, I can think of no greater achievement that developing students that surpass me. Of course, I will give them one hell of a run for their money to try and catch up to me....

A student-teacher relationship is a two way street. If you truly feel that you cannot progress then at least have the honesty and integrity to have that conversation with your teacher. Once again, I cannot determine if you are at that "ikkyu stage" full of piss and vinegar, or if you are beyond that stage with a more realistic assessment of the situation.

marc abrams

Hellis
04-14-2011, 09:09 AM
As a teacher, I can think of no greater achievement that developing students that surpass me. Of course, I will give them one hell of a run for their money to try and catch up to me....

marc abrams

Marc

I agree with the above...I had one ```exceptional``` student that was able to go back in time, he re-invented himself as the first British Aikidoka - a unique achievement ..The first UK dan grade for Shotokan Karate sixteen years before it arrived in the UK another unique achievement... He claimed to have represented the British Judo Council (BJC) in international Judo competitition some ten years before the BJC was created, yet another unique achievement
He asked his students if they thought he should grade himself to 7th dan - done - another outstanding achievement.

I am so pleased to see that my old student has gone on to great things, and to achieve higher grade than I am...I am so proud:D :D

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

Chris Li
04-14-2011, 10:17 AM
Sometime physical skills deteriorate, for various reasons. Much more common is stagnation - probably more common than most people would like to admit.

It's very difficult for many student to think of their teacher critically, but I don't think it's wrong. Actually, one of the most difficult parts of teaching in this kind of traditional set-up is nobody tells you when you're full of it.

Even if the teacher is perfectly fine there often comes a time when it is time to go - there's nothing wrong with that.

Best,

Chris

Marc Abrams
04-14-2011, 12:12 PM
Marc

I agree with the above...I had one ```exceptional``` student that was able to go back in time, he re-invented himself as the first British Aikidoka - a unique achievement ..The first UK dan grade for Shotokan Karate sixteen years before it arrived in the UK another unique achievement... He claimed to have represented the British Judo Council (BJC) in international Judo competitition some ten years before the BJC was created, yet another unique achievement
He asked his students if they thought he should grade himself to 7th dan - done - another outstanding achievement.

I am so pleased to see that my old student has gone on to great things, and to achieve higher grade than I am...I am so proud:D :D

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

Henry:

I am amazed that your former student learned the skills from the super secret martial art of Scumbag Poser Wannabe Ryu :D !

Marc Abrams

sakumeikan
04-14-2011, 01:22 PM
Marc

I agree with the above...I had one ```exceptional``` student that was able to go back in time, he re-invented himself as the first British Aikidoka - a unique achievement ..The first UK dan grade for Shotokan Karate sixteen years before it arrived in the UK another unique achievement... He claimed to have represented the British Judo Council (BJC) in international Judo competitition some ten years before the BJC was created, yet another unique achievement
He asked his students if they thought he should grade himself to 7th dan - done - another outstanding achievement.

I am so pleased to see that my old student has gone on to great things, and to achieve higher grade than I am...I am so proud:D :D

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/
Dear Henry,
Now now Henry , forgive and forget. Cheers, Joe.

Hellis
04-14-2011, 01:45 PM
Dear Henry,
Now now Henry , forgive and forget. Cheers, Joe.

Dear Joe

As my long time friend - and you are a man who knows the truth, I would expect your ``full`` support ..nothing less ...I am really dissapointed to see you post that...Are you actually saying that you are happy to see the continued corruption of our proud history and lineage ?????????????

Mr J Poole and the British Aikido Board to this day present Mr Poole in a way that changes all that we know to be the truth.

To promote Mr Poole they have subjected my life of dedication to British Aikido and integrity to defamation....with no apology.

Do you really approve of that Joe - DO YOU REALLY ???!!

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

Hellis
04-14-2011, 03:01 PM
Henry:

I am amazed that your former student learned the skills from the super secret martial art of Scumbag Poser Wannabe Ryu :D !

Marc Abrams

Mark

You would be amazed how many are prepared to offer their support to a fraudster, they often say " Jack Poole is a nice man " I am sure that can be said about Peter Sutcliffe the infamous ``Yorkshire Ripper `` - .....I suppose we all have different values and principles.

Henry Ellis

http://henryellis-aikido.blogspot.com/

sakumeikan
04-14-2011, 03:25 PM
Dear Joe

As my long time friend - and you are a man who knows the truth, I would expect your ``full`` support ..nothing less ...I am really dissapointed to see you post that...Are you actually saying that you are happy to see the continued corruption of our proud history and lineage ?????????????

Mr J Poole and the British Aikido Board to this day present Mr Poole in a way that changes all that we know to be the truth.

To promote Mr Poole they have subjected my life of dedication to British Aikido and integrity to defamation....with no apology.

Do you really approve of that Joe - DO YOU REALLY ???!!

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/
Henry,
Old friend you know I like a bit of banter.You know where I stand on this issue of lineage. Sorry if you misinterpreted my weak attempt at humour.I also know you speak the truth about this particular episode.
Cheers, Joe

Hellis
04-14-2011, 04:36 PM
Henry,
Old friend you know I like a bit of banter.You know where I stand on this issue of lineage. Sorry if you misinterpreted my weak attempt at humour.I also know you speak the truth about this particular episode.
Cheers, Joe

Joe

My old friend, I did bite as I have been betrayed so many times, I mean no disrespect to you my friend .. I am so detirmined to preserve the true history and lineage that I do jump on those that support that old crap.

Joe, my son has a big - big fight on July 2nd at Portsmouth UK against a top European fighter...I would like you to be my guest ringside.

Henry Ellis

Aikido in MMA
http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/

Hellis
04-14-2011, 04:42 PM
Joe Curran

Joe I apologise for what I thought, more than what I wrote.
I really did bite on this one .
Forgive me

Henry Ellis
Ellis Aikido
http://henryellis-aikido.blogspot.com/

hughrbeyer
04-14-2011, 07:12 PM
There is only one way to tell someone something: You have to talk to her. It's just that. No easy way, no shortcut, not helpfull phrases. "sensei, in my eyes, your technique is not good anymore as it used to be."


Ooh, ouch. You, anonymous, will have to decide if you're really seeing what you're seeing or if you should take some of the advice in previous posts to heart. But if you decide to talk to your sensei, you need Hugh's Helpful Hints for managing Really Difficult Conversations:


Fix your mindset first: Start the conversation assuming you're wrong. Not: "Sensei, your technique sucks." But: "Sensei, I don't understand what you're showing in your Aikido these days." Most of the time, in my experience, you will find out you were wrong, or at least that your understanding was incomplete. But even if you weren't wrong, starting with this attitude makes the conversation less confrontational. You can't pretend, though. You have to really know that it's quite likely reality isn't what you think, and start from that point of view.
Flag the conversation before you start: "Sensei, can I talk to you? I have something kind of awkward to bring up." That way Sensei's not blindsided and is warned to pay attention.
Be specific. Some people say not to get into details, but I think you have to. "When you were showing shihonage today, it looked to me like your stance wasn't really stable. What were you doing with that?" From specifics you can go on to generalities if you need to.
Be prepared to be vulnerable. You are, worst case, going in there with a can opener prying into a bunch of your Sensei's problems and issues that aren't really your business. You'd better be prepared to be a real participant in that conversation. Where are you in this story? What are your insecurities? What are the weaknesses in your aikido? You can't start this conversation and then get all defensive. Well, you can, but it won't be pretty.


Good luck with your training.

JO
04-14-2011, 07:29 PM
Marc

He asked his students if they thought he should grade himself to 7th dan - done - another outstanding achievement.

I am so pleased to see that my old student has gone on to great things, and to achieve higher grade than I am...I am so proud:D :D

Henry Ellis
Aikido Controversy
http://aikido-controversy.blogspot.com/

I'm not responding in order to contradict your efforts to keep history straight. I went through the material on your web site a while back, and my only comment is how pathetic does one have to be to to present fake aikido credentials.

However, there are real cases of people leaving teachers and surpassing them.

One of my main aikido teachers once trained under another sensei, and for reasons I have never asked him about he left that teacher and started his own club while moving on to a new primary teacher from outside the area. He is now a fully legitimate Aikikai seventh dan and shihan, and outranks his former teacher. It probably helped that the teacher he moved on to was a direct student of the founder.

I'm not sure the earlier teacher is exactly proud of his former student. Watching the two interact is a strange case of politeness and not quite perfectly hidden barbs.

Janet Rosen
04-14-2011, 08:06 PM
Hugh your pointers for difficult conversations are spot on- and having used these tactics many times I'll say they are very effective.

sakumeikan
04-15-2011, 01:19 AM
Joe Curran

Joe I apologise for what I thought, more than what I wrote.
I really did bite on this one .
Forgive me

Henry Ellis
Ellis Aikido
http://henryellis-aikido.blogspot.com/

Dear Harry,
Absolutely no need to apologise or whatever for anything.I apologise to you for my weak attempt at humour.Good to talk to you last night.As ever warmest regards, All the best , Joe.

sakumeikan
04-15-2011, 01:26 AM
Ooh, ouch. You, anonymous, will have to decide if you're really seeing what you're seeing or if you should take some of the advice in previous posts to heart. But if you decide to talk to your sensei, you need Hugh's Helpful Hints for managing Really Difficult Conversations:


Fix your mindset first: Start the conversation assuming you're wrong. Not: "Sensei, your technique sucks." But: "Sensei, I don't understand what you're showing in your Aikido these days." Most of the time, in my experience, you will find out you were wrong, or at least that your understanding was incomplete. But even if you weren't wrong, starting with this attitude makes the conversation less confrontational. You can't pretend, though. You have to really know that it's quite likely reality isn't what you think, and start from that point of view.
Flag the conversation before you start: "Sensei, can I talk to you? I have something kind of awkward to bring up." That way Sensei's not blindsided and is warned to pay attention.
Be specific. Some people say not to get into details, but I think you have to. "When you were showing shihonage today, it looked to me like your stance wasn't really stable. What were you doing with that?" From specifics you can go on to generalities if you need to.
Be prepared to be vulnerable. You are, worst case, going in there with a can opener prying into a bunch of your Sensei's problems and issues that aren't really your business. You'd better be prepared to be a real participant in that conversation. Where are you in this story? What are your insecurities? What are the weaknesses in your aikido? You can't start this conversation and then get all defensive. Well, you can, but it won't be pretty.


Good luck with your training.
Dear Hugh,
In a situation like this one you have to be sensitive.Nowadays I find a lack of this in young people.It seems to me that the young are goal oriented and while they may develop skills they do not always develop wisdom, compassion and understanding of the human condition.Your advice is very good.Liked your logic.
Cheers, Joe,

hughrbeyer
04-15-2011, 02:32 PM
Thanks Joe, Janet. But I forgot this one:

5. Never, ever, ever, talk about what other people think. Just talk about your own experience. You don't really know what other people think--just your interpretation of what you heard them say--and they didn't appoint you their messenger anyway. Take responsibility for your own words.

The other guy
04-15-2011, 04:47 PM
Sometime we live in bubbles and we put blinders on, seeing no evil, hearing no evil, speaking no evil...well the last one maybe not. But, sincere courage to express care and concern is something I appreciate. A sensei shouldn't slip in their skill. They are not information kiosks, or should be measured as such. They need to perform to give students motivation and confidence.

Russ Q
04-15-2011, 08:05 PM
Best pointers I've ever seen for this kinda thing!

Fix your mindset first: Start the conversation assuming you're wrong. Not: "Sensei, your technique sucks." But: "Sensei, I don't understand what you're showing in your Aikido these days." Most of the time, in my experience, you will find out you were wrong, or at least that your understanding was incomplete. But even if you weren't wrong, starting with this attitude makes the conversation less confrontational. You can't pretend, though. You have to really know that it's quite likely reality isn't what you think, and start from that point of view.
Flag the conversation before you start: "Sensei, can I talk to you? I have something kind of awkward to bring up." That way Sensei's not blindsided and is warned to pay attention.
Be specific. Some people say not to get into details, but I think you have to. "When you were showing shihonage today, it looked to me like your stance wasn't really stable. What were you doing with that?" From specifics you can go on to generalities if you need to.
Be prepared to be vulnerable. You are, worst case, going in there with a can opener prying into a bunch of your Sensei's problems and issues that aren't really your business. You'd better be prepared to be a real participant in that conversation. Where are you in this story? What are your insecurities? What are the weaknesses in your aikido? You can't start this conversation and then get all defensive. Well, you can, but it won't be pretty.


5. Never, ever, ever, talk about what other people think. Just talk about your own experience. You don't really know what other people think--just your interpretation of what you heard them say--and they didn't appoint you their messenger anyway. Take responsibility for your own words.

Thank you!

Carsten Möllering
04-17-2011, 05:58 AM
Ooh, ouch. ;)
Thank you.

You, anonymous, will have to decide if you're really seeing what you're seeing ...Yes. True.

Start the conversation assuming you're wrong. Why not being confident in one's own expertise/competency?
I think there comes a time when it is more helpfull, important and responsible to assume, one is right.
Think about testing: You have to assume, you are right, when saying, "yes, you passed and are shodan now." Or "no your are not"!

I think it is important to learn to judge one's own aikido, teachers, students. If you are not able to judge a teacher, how will you find the one you trust?
If you are not able to judge your students, how will you be able to teach them.

True: Being humble is important. Very important. But being self-confident also is. So one has to bring both together, I think.

Most of the time, in my experience, you will find out you were wrong, or at least that your understanding was incomplete. As I said: My experience is different. I think it depends on the "gap" between teacher and student? Whether there still is one or not or it has become smaller or even very small ...
After a certain time of practice you might experience you come near a teacher who once was far away ... This happens.

I think problem is that the "system" doesn't provide a manual of how to deal with a teacher, who isn't going the path further on himself .
Except: Leaving. Finding a new teacher. Or establish one's own dojo.

ahh, @ Joe:
Im not young. Neither in years nor in aikido.
And as a teacher I like students to be honest and to tell me their truth. My truth I know by myself.
We don't use the term "sensei" but tell us by our forenames. I do this with my teacher (who is very far away) and my students do this with me.
So we only have to be polite. And thereby says what is in our hearts.
Just that.

Sorry for my english, to difficult to expess in a foreign language maybe ...

lbb
04-17-2011, 07:11 AM
;)
Why not being confident in one's own expertise/competency?

Maybe another way of saying it is "Start by assuming that you're not seeing everything there is to see." It's generally true in life, and as an operating assumption, would probably change our lives for the better.

philipsmith
04-17-2011, 10:32 AM
A thorny problem.

It is true that sometimes peoples technical ability deteriorates due to age, illness or complacency. Worse still some "teachers" become quite egotistical because thay are never questioned. We need as both students and instructors to be honest in our approach to both our art and .our students.
This means being self-critical and (heresy to some people) allowing students to criticize us.

I find it interesting that almost no-one on this thread assumes the original poster is in fact correct; after all he (or she) might be!.

Anon
04-18-2011, 10:56 PM
Just tell them you don't think they're as good as they used to be. Although this may simply be due to you getting better.

When I first started Aikido, my teachers seemed so amazing, after training regularly for 3 years, going to seminars, trying to regularly train certain things and introduce new ideas I realized that they were.... mediocre. Unfortunate, but true.

There's nothing you can really do to make them be better unless they're interested. Even then they may say they are, but not really be interested.

Tony Wagstaffe
04-19-2011, 01:05 PM
I think that comes to everyone once they get to a ripe old age, some quicker than others, all depends on fitness and diet if you ask me...
Crikey I'm not as fast on my feet as I used to be......
It's all about timing anyway, if that goes, time to hang up the dogi and hakama and think "aiki" instead ..... Then it's yoda time whooopeeee!!!!

JW
04-19-2011, 02:31 PM
It's all about timing anyway, if that goes, time to hang up the dogi and hakama and think "aiki" instead ..... Then it's yoda time whooopeeee!!!!

I can't resist!!
O-sensei said it is NOT about timing:
"It is not a question of either ‘sensen no sen’ or ‘sen no sen.’ If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory."

He also said it is his "firm belief" that it's time to think aiki instead:
"Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the three Worlds—Appearance, Subconscious and Divine—and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish."
Whooopeeee!! Well he was just a crazy old bunny after all.

Well, I guess no one says you have to do Takemusu aiki. Maybe what you do is all about timing. That's fine for you but it is not what I do.
Just kidding around Tony, that was another paraphrased O-sensei quote. Carry on. Bait always looks yummier than regular food..

Tony Wagstaffe
04-19-2011, 02:37 PM
I can't resist!!
O-sensei said it is NOT about timing:
"It is not a question of either ‘sensen no sen' or ‘sen no sen.' If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory."

He also said it is his "firm belief" that it's time to think aiki instead:
"Takemusu aiki is a service we offer in order to protect the worlds in which all Universal activity occurs, that is, the three Worlds—Appearance, Subconscious and Divine—and help them to harmonize with each other and flourish."
Whooopeeee!! Well he was just a crazy old bunny after all.

Well, I guess no one says you have to do Takemusu aiki. Maybe what you do is all about timing. That's fine for you but it is not what I do.
Just kidding around Tony, that was another paraphrased O-sensei quote. Carry on. Bait always looks yummier than regular food..

Have you ever considered that he wasn't always right?.......
Great technician but well over pedestalled in my opinion..... Not by him I might add......;) :D

chillzATL
04-19-2011, 03:01 PM
Have you ever considered that he wasn't always right?.......
Great technician but well over pedestalled in my opinion..... Not by him I might add......;) :D

Tony,

when he's talking about what he could do, which the head of your lineage (along with many other skilled men) felt and wanted to be able to do himself and what I assume you're doing some approximation of today, then it's probably safe to say that yes, he is right. Just because you don't understand it, can't do it and seemingly aren't interested in it doesn't make him any less right.

JW
04-19-2011, 03:03 PM
Have you ever considered that he wasn't always right?.......
Great technician but well over pedestalled in my opinion..... Not by him I might add......;) :D

Well I can't argue with that. (One can argue about what he said/meant, but opinions about him and his abilities are just that, opinions.)
I can't quite agree with it either-- if I did feel that way, I would be one of the many folks who do not practice aikido.

Tony Wagstaffe
04-19-2011, 07:46 PM
Well I can't argue with that. (One can argue about what he said/meant, but opinions about him and his abilities are just that, opinions.)
I can't quite agree with it either-- if I did feel that way, I would be one of the many folks who do not practice aikido.

Jonathan,
I have to say that aikido is just one of the martial arts that I have practised along the way and it is one of my favourites, I still practice karate and gung fu movement as I find it fits in well with my aikido, which is eclectic but still based heavily on the Tomiki/Shodokan style....
I used to like judo, but do not practice anymore, but still used to whip in the odd waza for a change while applying aikido principles, I think it is all part and parcel of the same thing, being adaptable....my students liked the change from time to time as it gives them a broader outlook :)

Tony Wagstaffe
04-19-2011, 08:09 PM
Tony,

when he's talking about what he could do, which the head of your lineage (along with many other skilled men) felt and wanted to be able to do himself and what I assume you're doing some approximation of today, then it's probably safe to say that yes, he is right. Just because you don't understand it, can't do it and seemingly aren't interested in it doesn't make him any less right.

So you do understand it? I always felt it is pertinent to have a inquisitive mind and not to accept everything just 'cause someone says so.....
I'm not doubting Proff Ueshibas ability, but I also recognise that there are just as good martial artist as he was that are/were around even to this day.... not just in aikido..... Proff Ueshiba cross trained and really came up with his own eclectic system, based heavily on Daito Ryu, that there can be no doubt of. Takeda was an excellent all round martial artist who took on all comers and really proved his worth, why can't we? He experimented/fought even to the risk of his own life, have you?
I know I have to some extent.... I don't pretend to be the best, nor am I the worst, but I prefer reality to just heresay.... Not just hope it works.... If I wasn't interested in it I would not bother to train which I still do most days, even though I do not have a dojo at present.... I think it's more about searching within oneself, not hoping to do what others do and just copying which is what we all do in the beginning as we all have to do, learn the basics for at least ten years of regular solid practise. If we cannot develop from that we are wasting our time don't you think?

Tony Wagstaffe
04-19-2011, 08:14 PM
Just tell them you don't think they're as good as they used to be. Although this may simply be due to you getting better.

When I first started Aikido, my teachers seemed so amazing, after training regularly for 3 years, going to seminars, trying to regularly train certain things and introduce new ideas I realized that they were.... mediocre. Unfortunate, but true.

There's nothing you can really do to make them be better unless they're interested. Even then they may say they are, but not really be interested.

There are many mediocre but don't realise it? I'm not the prettiest, I'm not the best, but I know it works, that's all I have to say on that one....

Walter Martindale
04-20-2011, 10:13 AM
As a teacher, I can think of no greater achievement that developing students that surpass me. Of course, I will give them one hell of a run for their money to try and catch up to me....

marc abrams

Hear, Hear!!
I don't teach Aikido but I do coach. I never made it past "club" and "college" level in either Judo or Rowing, but people whom I've helped learn their rowing basics have far surpassed anything I've done.
Do I live vicariously through them? I hope not. Do I cheer their accomplishments? YOU BET.

Walter

Aikibu
04-20-2011, 03:23 PM
An easy way to avoid this. Does your Sensei have a Sensei? If they do...Do they practice with them and are they still learning. Teaching can be a trap.

William Hazen

Helle Buvik
04-20-2011, 07:58 PM
Just tell them you don't think they're as good as they used to be. Although this may simply be due to you getting better.

When I first started Aikido, my teachers seemed so amazing, after training regularly for 3 years, going to seminars, trying to regularly train certain things and introduce new ideas I realized that they were.... mediocre. Unfortunate, but true.

There's nothing you can really do to make them be better unless they're interested. Even then they may say they are, but not really be interested.

Not all teachers will be great, either as teachers or as martial artists, but remember you trained with them for 3 years, and that a lot of your progress is due to the time and effort they gave you.

Is not the teacher that helped you build your foundations in the art to be honored as much as the teachers you may have towards the end of your career, when you yourself become great? even when you become better than them ask yourself if you would have advanced in aikido without the first teachers you had?
Would any of us?
They are the ones that kept uscomming back for those first few years, learned what aikido really can be and to differeniate between great and madiocre.

In rideing I've found that I dont really need the greatest teachers on earth to progress. I need a teacher that's slightly better than me, that can spot my mistakes and explain the basics to me. Someone I can talk with and pose questions to. Someone that's a good observer and has the patience to remind me to fix the same mistake again and again untill I actualy remember and the mistake disapare.

I imagine that in aikido it will be the same, it's more important with teachers that can help me stay motivated and judge what mistakes to try to make me fix first, and what to ignore while I struggle with learning where to put my feet and how to move than to have teachers that are the very best of the country's aikido practioners. If I continue with aikido for long enough to someday get good at it, it will be because of the teachers I have now, and their patience and generousity with their time.

I still remember teaching spinning wool into thread to a friend, years ago, and the pride I felt when she became better at it than I was. whenever I teach someone something, that's what I aim for, that my "student" will get better than me, and enjoy it enough that when that point arrive, they'll look for a better teach to take them to the next level.

Without that gift, from someone, it's unlikely that any but the most talented will ever become good. And even a student that some day exeed their first teachers skill, should try to remember that and feel some gratitude for that, even as they move on to better and more advanced teachers. be greatfull that your teachers helped you advance and encouraged you, rather than try to limit you to their own limits.

to the original poste:
If you chose to discuss your teachers skill with them, remember what they've done for you and be polite and respectfull in how you bring it up. studying with someone more advanced than your current teacher doesnt nessesarily mean you need to leave her altogether either.

Helle

sakumeikan
04-21-2011, 02:53 AM
Not all teachers will be great, either as teachers or as martial artists, but remember you trained with them for 3 years, and that a lot of your progress is due to the time and effort they gave you.

Is not the teacher that helped you build your foundations in the art to be honored as much as the teachers you may have towards the end of your career, when you yourself become great? even when you become better than them ask yourself if you would have advanced in aikido without the first teachers you had?
Would any of us?
They are the ones that kept uscomming back for those first few years, learned what aikido really can be and to differeniate between great and madiocre.

In rideing I've found that I dont really need the greatest teachers on earth to progress. I need a teacher that's slightly better than me, that can spot my mistakes and explain the basics to me. Someone I can talk with and pose questions to. Someone that's a good observer and has the patience to remind me to fix the same mistake again and again untill I actualy remember and the mistake disapare.

I imagine that in aikido it will be the same, it's more important with teachers that can help me stay motivated and judge what mistakes to try to make me fix first, and what to ignore while I struggle with learning where to put my feet and how to move than to have teachers that are the very best of the country's aikido practioners. If I continue with aikido for long enough to someday get good at it, it will be because of the teachers I have now, and their patience and generousity with their time.

I still remember teaching spinning wool into thread to a friend, years ago, and the pride I felt when she became better at it than I was. whenever I teach someone something, that's what I aim for, that my "student" will get better than me, and enjoy it enough that when that point arrive, they'll look for a better teach to take them to the next level.

Without that gift, from someone, it's unlikely that any but the most talented will ever become good. And even a student that some day exeed their first teachers skill, should try to remember that and feel some gratitude for that, even as they move on to better and more advanced teachers. be greatfull that your teachers helped you advance and encouraged you, rather than try to limit you to their own limits.

to the original poste:
If you chose to discuss your teachers skill with them, remember what they've done for you and be polite and respectfull in how you bring it up. studying with someone more advanced than your current teacher doesnt nessesarily mean you need to leave her altogether either.

Helle
Dear Helle,
Well said. We are all products of each person we meet on the tatami.I learn from every encounter with students.It is not required to have the greatest aikidoka to teach you, sometimes its the beginner who shows you the Way,
Therefore you should be grateful to all who you meet over the years.Without the countless number of people I have trained with for over 40 years i would not be the person I am today.I thank each and everyone for their assistance.
Cheers, Joe.