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aikidokaanonymno
09-18-2011, 12:32 AM
Hello,

I've been practicing Aikido for 6 years, every day, at the same dojo. It has been my goal to become Sensei's uchideshi, however as the years went by I realized that he is quite difficult to deal with. For 4 years I helped him with kids' classes, dojo maintenance, website building, and even babysat his son. In other words, whatever he asked, I did because I respected him and wanted to learn from him. He'd reward me sometimes, by giving me free uniforms or weapons, or letting me attend a seminar for free. (I should mention that I started when I was 13 and now I am in college, thus the money for Aikido was always tight for me)
However, amidst these rewards, he would frequently yell at me, call me dumb, or an idiot, tell me that I should be ashamed of myself, things like that... Sometimes he scolded me in private, and sometimes in front of everyone. Overall, whenever I made a behavioral mistake and did not live up to his moral standards for me, he would make me feel guilty and worthless. He tells me that it's because he cares for me that he is expecting more out of me than out of any other student in the dojo. He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students. Other people in the dojo verify that he is very controlling and often treats me like crap. No one else treats me in the way that he does.

Because I want to be serious in my training, I was wandering if this verbal abuse is of any good. It really got to me during my senior year of high school and if it weren't for my school teacher who saw me change from a confident person into some miserable heap and decided to help me. From her standpoint verbal abuse is not right and she thinks I should find a different dojo because it might end up causing problems in the future. (For example, girls who were abused by their coaches then ended up marrying older, abusive men because that's what they were used to). But, I've read a few things about uchideshi and I know they were mistreated.

My question is, does this kind of verbal and sometimes physical abuse lead to any character building? If I decide to stay with my current Sensei, is there any chance I can become a better individual or will it destroy me? I've read that students often become like their teachers. I don't want to have the same personality as my Sensei, but I do love his technique... On the other hand, I would love to improve my own personality, but I don't know if standing verbal abuse will help me achieve that goal or not.

Any advice?

bagogab
09-18-2011, 01:54 AM
My question is, does this kind of verbal and sometimes physical abuse lead to any character building? If I decide to stay with my current Sensei, is there any chance I can become a better individual or will it destroy me? I've read that students often become like their teachers. I don't want to have the same personality as my Sensei, but I do love his technique... On the other hand, I would love to improve my own personality, but I don't know if standing verbal abuse will help me achieve that goal or not.
Anything can be character building. The question is how it's affecting you. If you're feeling worthless, it doesn't seem to be working too well. In jobs like the military where the needs of the many significantly outweigh the needs of the individual it makes more sense. In a martial arts dojo I don't think it does so much. You can "improve" your personality by being a sincere person who employs self-reflection and any number of other self-affirming activities.
That said, some people are more sarcastic than others. People are sometimes shocked with how me and my friends talk to each other, but we know where we're coming from. It's hard to judge from a distance.
Whatever the case, know your self-worth comes from within and has nothing to do with what other people think of you. Take what others say as food for thought. Maybe even thank them for offering their opinions, but always think for yourself and be your own person.
...or don't. Who am I to tell you what to think?
Good luck.

Mark Gibbons
09-18-2011, 01:58 AM
http://www.fullcircleaikido.com/discuss.htm

Has a reasonable discussion of related issues.

"He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students." If that's really happening I'd leave, right now.

Regards,
Mark

Abasan
09-18-2011, 04:07 AM
But ARE you an idiot, dumb and should be ashamed of yourself?

Not knowing either of you nor the context in which these words were applied, i'd hesitate to make any judgements...

Still, there are limits to everything. And like someone said, sincerity is paramount in aikido. Have a sincere heart and listen to it. You should then realize what's the truth.

Aikirk
09-18-2011, 05:22 AM
Calling people idiots, dumb and that you should be ashamed of yourself, is never ever going to develope your character in af positive way. It's madness believing this, and no one should put up with it. This way only leads to fear.

Try telling this to a plant or flower every day in a month, and I will guarentee you it will wither and die. Now think for a moment what will do to a full human being with actual emotions?

Real character buidling includes supporting people and being there with counsil, even though they might be taking the wrong choices in life. Making them feel their worth something and offering them advice when needed.

You'r so far out you can't even see how harmful it is to you, but I assure you I can (and others around you). Do something about it now!

Mario Tobias
09-18-2011, 06:20 AM
There are many more teachers out there that are much better than your teacher.

People who abuse verbally are apt to abuse physically also, so it might lead to serious injuries. Similar to physical abuse, verbal abuse leads to injuries in character. There is a difference between your sensei pushing you to the limit and abusing you. Know what the signs are and become objective in your analysis. Know what his intentions in giving you rewards. Was he sincere or is he doing it to make you feel guilty later. I'd be very careful if I were you and have serious thoughts about transferring to another dojo.

A sensei should be a role model. If you were to become one, would you like to become your present sensei?

The search for your "real" sensei is part and parcel of your journey in aikido. It will be a long search but ultimately your paths will cross. The world will not end when you decide to transfer....

SeiserL
09-18-2011, 07:04 AM
IMHO, abuse does not build character in the victim/target (unless they stand up to it or decide they don't have to put up with it), but it does reveal the character of the abuser.

Please make sure that what you are perceiving/defining as abuse is not just old school discipline.

gregstec
09-18-2011, 07:18 AM
LEAVE!!!!!

I trained with an A--hole like that once and I always felt miserable and down after each class - Aikido should be fun, enjoyable, and uplifting. You need to eliminate those types of people in all parts of your life and not just from Aikido.

Greg

Mary Eastland
09-18-2011, 07:40 AM
Some of the stuff might be considered "old school" but this is creepy. "He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students.

That is not okay. A dojo where you are just a student among students and not the "favorite" can help you have good technique. Why would you want character building from a character you don't want to emulate?

Best of luck in your choices,
Mary

Mark Freeman
09-18-2011, 08:55 AM
My first aikido teacher was like your own, although not with me I might add. The students he was like this to, he said he was doing it for their benefit. I remain sceptical.

Technical profficiency in aikido is just that, nothing more. You can be brilliant at it and still be a bad character (see the BK thread). Only if you embody and live the principles of the art, do you transform yourself into something greater.

As has already been said, just about anything can be character building, particularly adversity. Knowing when something is not right and acting with integrity, is not always easy, especially when you have a great deal of time and emotion invested in it. So your decision to stay or leave is part of the character building you want. As you do not want to be like your sensei, I suggest you seek out someone who displays the attributes you want for yourself.

I would rather be an average aikidoka of good character, than a great aikidoka who is not respected as a man.

regards,

Mark

gates
09-18-2011, 09:21 AM
Dear Anon,
Getting shouted at or berated because you did something stupid or irresponsible is very different from being shouted out over petty things for the sake of character building. Different people react in different ways, and need to be treated accordingly. Some people may benefit from a harsh word here or there in extreme situations to get the point across, but it is a very tricky line line to tread.

I'd suggest that you need to be clear about the distinction between what is a "justified" telling off and bullying nonsense. Only you know whether the times when you have been scolded are justified. By the tone of you letter it doesn't sound that in every case that you feel it was justified.

Numerous people are warning you that any attempt on his behalf to coerce you into hiding his treatment of you raises serious alarm bells.

If you want to continue to train under this instructor I would suggest that you set clear boundaries about what is acceptable behaviour you are prepared to tolerate in the training process. If you are taking it personally and it is affecting you in negative way then it is not really having the desired effect anyway.

Regards
Keith

Rv Bub
09-18-2011, 10:09 AM
Hello,

...He tells me that it's because he cares for me that he is expecting more out of me than out of any other student in the dojo. He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students...

...Because I want to be serious in my training, I was wandering if this verbal abuse is of any good. It really got to me during my senior year of high school and if it weren't for my school teacher who saw me change from a confident person into some miserable heap and decided to help me...

...(For example, girls who were abused by their coaches then ended up marrying older, abusive men because that's what they were used to). But, I've read a few things about uchideshi and I know they were mistreated.

Any advice?

Leave now! Even if your information is only halfway accurate, your sensei is displaying many signs of inappropriate controlling behavior typical of abusers. Martial arts discipline is unfortunately sometimes used as a mask to cover or a rationalization to "justify" abusive behavior. The demand for secrecy is cause for alarm.

mathewjgano
09-18-2011, 03:11 PM
He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students.
This stands out to me. IF it's literally true, then it seems pretty unsavory.

aikidokaanonymno
09-18-2011, 04:39 PM
Wow, there's so many replies already... Thank you, all!

But ARE you an idiot, dumb and should be ashamed of yourself?

Other people around me don't seem to think so. They think exactly the opposite and I know that they are good, honest people. Of course, Sensei tells me that every single one of them is lying to me and he is the only one that cares for me that's why he's the only one telling me the truth.

"He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students." If that's really happening I'd leave, right now.

Yes. He said that discussing my opinion of his actions is like betraying him and he wants me to be loyal, otherwise I get another one of those lectures about my personal flaws.

Please make sure that what you are perceiving/defining as abuse is not just old school discipline.

I went to Police Explorers Academy where TAC officers yelled us at from 7am to 10pm for 5 days straight. For some odd reason, it did not hurt nearly as much as Sensei's remarks. I've also read about verbal abuse and 95% of the typically abusive phrases I have heard from Sensei and more than once.

You'r so far out you can't even see how harmful it is to you, but I assure you I can (and others around you). Do something about it now!

Yes, in the beginning I always assumed that Sensei, being an authoritative figure, was right and I was the bad kid. Luckily, my school teacher saw the sudden loss of confidence in me, which I myself couldn't see. She coined the phrase "abuse", because it has never even occurred to me that that's what it was.

Judging from the many responses in here, perhaps it really is time for me to find another dojo... Thank you everyone for your responses! I only quoted and commented on some of them since many were recurring.

graham christian
09-18-2011, 05:56 PM
'Old school discipline' or harsh training shouldn't make you feel as you describe. Abusive domination however does. It's for you to spot the difference for yourself. For you to learn how to say no as well as yes.

On the other side of the coin as you wish to be an uchideshi then it is to recognise honourably serving does not mean being subservient.

Bullying is the act of a coward. Much bravado, little courage.

I would say practice validating yourself, acknowledging yourself, patting yourself on the back and grant yourself the right to be. It starts with you to yourself. When you can handle yourself then he will be a oiece of cake.

Regards.G.

Marc Abrams
09-18-2011, 07:30 PM
Stand back from your situation and look at some objective aspects of your situation:

1) Adult teacher treating a young teenage boy in a verbally abusive manner, while trying to pass it off as being honest and helpful.

2) This abusive behavior turned a confident young man into a miserable heap.

3)) Lot of free work on your part for some occasional hand-outs.

Just those three points alone should dissuade most rational people of supporting training under those conditions.

Rising above bad situations can be character building in that you discover inside yourself the positive esteem and willpower to make it through bad times. Positive esteem and willpower are NOT developed by subjecting a person to verbal and/or physical abuse. Positive esteem and willpower are developed through positive reinforcement of actions that reflect pro-social behaviors, self-enhancing behaviors and behaviors that demonstrate the ability to persevere through challenges.

There are plenty of good teachers out there in the Aikido world who teach effective Aikido skills without having to result to abusive behaviors to prop up their own underlying sense of inadequacy. This teacher may be a good role model for what NOT TO DO as a teacher and mentor of others. If you like yourself and respect yourself, associate with people who do that as well.

I think that it would be a very positive experience for you to tell this teacher that you are thankful for all that he has taught you and that it time for you to move on now in your life. It is okay to tell this teacher that you have come to realize that you can learn to be a good Aikidoka without having to be abused in the process. You should wish this teacher well and move on to more self-fulfilling grounds.

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams

barron
09-18-2011, 07:42 PM
Good advise from Marc.

I really think that as an intelligent young person you know what you should do. or you would not have asked the question.

Move to a place that respects you and nurtures your development in aikido and life.

Michael Hackett
09-18-2011, 08:15 PM
You don't state your gender, but I get the feeling that you are female. If that is the case, RUN, RUN, RUN! You are dealing with someone who is dangerous. If you are a male, WALK AWAY FAST. You are dealing with someone who is abusive and doesn't have your best interests at heart. There is a huge difference in the boot camp atmosphere of an Explorer Academy and a dojo's student-teacher relationship. At the academy every one of you was yelled at and found deficient, as opposed to being singled out by an authority figure.

I've heard my teacher raise his voice to a student once in the past eight years when the student, who should have known better, was doing something both prohibited and very dangerous. Sensei is an old-school teacher and doesn't put up with nonsense, but he doesn't belittle or demean anyone - and he certainly doesn't hide his actions.

raul rodrigo
09-18-2011, 10:34 PM
Time for you to leave.

aikidokaanonymno
09-18-2011, 11:05 PM
honourably serving does not mean being subservient.

Wow, very nice. Never thought of it that way. Thank you!

There is a huge difference in the boot camp atmosphere of an Explorer Academy and a dojo's student-teacher relationship. At the academy every one of you was yelled at and found deficient, as opposed to being singled out by an authority figure.

Ah, that's right. I remember coming to that conclusion right after getting out of Academy. And Sensei doesn't seem to talk to anyone else the way he does to me.

And yes, I am a girl :)

If you like yourself and respect yourself, associate with people who do that as well.

It's a bit difficult to start respecting myself again after a good 4 years of Sensei's rants. But, as you said, I think with the right people I can pull myself together again. You're right on every point, thank you.

So do any of you think it's possible to talk to him (or write a careful letter) and set a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable mode of conversation? Or is running away the only option? I mean, he is respectful with other students. He is like this only with those that are closest to him.

I am also afraid that if I don't learn to stand up for myself here, another situation will present itself elsewhere and I will be forced to run from other dojos, jobs, relationships, etc...

bagogab
09-18-2011, 11:53 PM
Sounds like you should leave. Loyalty for loyalty's sake is a crap notion. Loyalty is earned. A good teacher will respect an individual's right to live their own life and to figure things out for themselves. If not, there are many other teachers out there.

Janet Rosen
09-18-2011, 11:57 PM
You entered the dojo a young teen, essentially still a girl-child and now you are ready to stand up as a woman, head held high, and find the way to walk out of this crappy situation maintaining your honor and self-respect. I would consider this your graduation, only you confer your diploma rather than him doing so. :-)

kewms
09-19-2011, 12:50 AM
There are plenty of excellent aikido teachers who are *not* abusive to their students. It's time to find one of them.

Katherine

Tim Ruijs
09-19-2011, 02:04 AM
Verbal abuse is not to build character, it is to break character. Think army drill sergeant. Why do drill sergeants act the way they do?
First break you down and then build you up to be a soldier.
To some extent this goes for martial arts to.

In Aikido I think this is very much out of place.

Think deeply about why you would want stay with this teacher. Is he that good? Or is the dojo conveniently 'there'? If you cannot find a (very) good reason to stay, leave immediately.

Peter Goldsbury
09-19-2011, 02:10 AM
Hello,

I have one or two questions.

What is the male / female sex ratio in the dojo?
What is the male / female sex ratio among the uchi-deshi?

Are you experienced enough to evaluate your teacher's knowledge of aikido, for example, by comparison with other teachers of the same rank? You state that you 'love' his technique, but what does this mean?
Are there male students in the dojo who are strong enough to stand up to your teacher's aikido, or his verbal abuse?
Or are you the only one?

Best wishes,

P Goldsbury

Hello,

I've been practicing Aikido for 6 years, every day, at the same dojo. It has been my goal to become Sensei's uchideshi, however as the years went by I realized that he is quite difficult to deal with. For 4 years I helped him with kids' classes, dojo maintenance, website building, and even babysat his son. In other words, whatever he asked, I did because I respected him and wanted to learn from him. He'd reward me sometimes, by giving me free uniforms or weapons, or letting me attend a seminar for free. (I should mention that I started when I was 13 and now I am in college, thus the money for Aikido was always tight for me)
However, amidst these rewards, he would frequently yell at me, call me dumb, or an idiot, tell me that I should be ashamed of myself, things like that... Sometimes he scolded me in private, and sometimes in front of everyone. Overall, whenever I made a behavioral mistake and did not live up to his moral standards for me, he would make me feel guilty and worthless. He tells me that it's because he cares for me that he is expecting more out of me than out of any other student in the dojo. He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students. Other people in the dojo verify that he is very controlling and often treats me like crap. No one else treats me in the way that he does.

Because I want to be serious in my training, I was wandering if this verbal abuse is of any good. It really got to me during my senior year of high school and if it weren't for my school teacher who saw me change from a confident person into some miserable heap and decided to help me. From her standpoint verbal abuse is not right and she thinks I should find a different dojo because it might end up causing problems in the future. (For example, girls who were abused by their coaches then ended up marrying older, abusive men because that's what they were used to). But, I've read a few things about uchideshi and I know they were mistreated.

My question is, does this kind of verbal and sometimes physical abuse lead to any character building? If I decide to stay with my current Sensei, is there any chance I can become a better individual or will it destroy me? I've read that students often become like their teachers. I don't want to have the same personality as my Sensei, but I do love his technique... On the other hand, I would love to improve my own personality, but I don't know if standing verbal abuse will help me achieve that goal or not.

Any advice?

Hellis
09-19-2011, 04:37 AM
Wow, there's so many replies already... Thank you, all!

[QUOTE]
went to Police Explorers Academy where TAC officers yelled us at from 7am to 10pm for 5 days straight. For some odd reason, it did not hurt nearly as much as Sensei's remarks. I've also read about verbal abuse and 95% of the typically abusive phrases I have heard from Sensei and more than once.

The reason the abuse did not hurt so much was because it was not personal.
When you are a member of the armed forces and get abuse you have to ride it because there is nowhere else to go. In your case you found your way into this dojo so you should have no problem finding the exit one last time.

Henry Ellis
British Aikido
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/

Abasan
09-19-2011, 06:26 AM
Well that line I said shouldn't have been taken too literally, but it's good you did a self analysis like that.

Surely after evaluating all that you've done, you've already come to a conclusion on what's going on. Did you come here seeking validification? From peers or are you looking for father figures or big sisters to 'support' your decision?

If it's that, then I think you need to buck up and listen to yourself more. Trust your instincts (and develop them) more.

So many have warned you about the danger of secrecy that your Sensei is proposing. Especially now its clear that you are of opposite sex and that you are younger to him. Again I don't want to jump the gun. But since you've basically have all the puzzles in place, you should know better what's happening.

All i can tell you is that being scolded by your teacher makes you embarrassed but equally motivated to do better. If it doesn't and instead makes you feel bad going to worst, then something is wrong somewhere.

Marc Abrams
09-19-2011, 07:56 AM
Wow, very nice. Never thought of it that way. Thank you!

Ah, that's right. I remember coming to that conclusion right after getting out of Academy. And Sensei doesn't seem to talk to anyone else the way he does to me.

And yes, I am a girl :)

It's a bit difficult to start respecting myself again after a good 4 years of Sensei's rants. But, as you said, I think with the right people I can pull myself together again. You're right on every point, thank you.

So do any of you think it's possible to talk to him (or write a careful letter) and set a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable mode of conversation? Or is running away the only option? I mean, he is respectful with other students. He is like this only with those that are closest to him.

I am also afraid that if I don't learn to stand up for myself here, another situation will present itself elsewhere and I will be forced to run from other dojos, jobs, relationships, etc...

1) My apologies for wrong gender identification!

2) If you did not still respect yourself, you would not have felt compelled to post. You should recognize that even four years of verbal abuse did not extinguish your positive esteem for yourself. The right people for rebuilding begins and ends with yourself. Other people cannot replace your own regard for yourself. They can serve to reflect back to you who you are. Appreciate and cherish how strong you really are for putting up with the B.S. for four years and still having the personal integrity and self-respect to be able to walk away with your head held high!

3) The time for conversation ended a long time ago when the teacher abused the student-teacher relationship and turned it into an ongoing abuse of power. YOU ARE NOT RUNNING AWAY!!!! You are moving beyond the type of relationship that is thwarting your positive personal growth. A positive sign of that is you walking away AFTER communicating to that person in a positive manner that it is time for you to move onto better things. You are demonstrating to him that you do not have to stoop to his level, even when walking away.

4) The way that a person treats those that are closest to them is the most telling in regards to that person's true nature. If they treat those closest to them like feces, then it is a pretty clear indication that this person really feels like feces. Hang around feces long enough you not only begin to smell like it, but you don't even recognize the smell as being disturbing any more.

5) You have already demonstrated that you can stand up for yourself by posting here. Do not mistake the positive change of choosing a healthier training environment for running away. Acting like a pinata, proves little beyond letting others know that you are willing to stay there and take a beating from them. That is a pursuit in masochism, not a sign of fortitude. This is not a situation of fight or flight. This is a situation of making a conscious choice in training in an environment that is physically and psychologically rewarding. You have toughed it out for four years! If that is not a sign of how tough you really are, then I don't know what else will be. Think of it like walking into a wall. How many times do you need to walk into that wall before you make a conscious choice to change directions?

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams

robin_jet_alt
09-19-2011, 08:26 AM
So do any of you think it's possible to talk to him (or write a careful letter) and set a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable mode of conversation? Or is running away the only option? I mean, he is respectful with other students. He is like this only with those that are closest to him.

I am also afraid that if I don't learn to stand up for myself here, another situation will present itself elsewhere and I will be forced to run from other dojos, jobs, relationships, etc...

I don't think writing a letter would do any good at this stage. I'm not intimately familiar with the situation, but from what you have said, it sounds like you are in an abusive relationship. Writing a letter might improve things for a while, but only long enough for him to convince you that things aren't all that bad and maybe you should stay. After that, the cycle will most likely repeat itself.

In what way is leaving not standing up for yourself? To me, deciding to leave a situation that is making you unhappy and destroying your self confidence is a good way to stand up for yourself. If it makes you feel better, write your sensei a letter to tell him why you are leaving (but whatever you do, don't give him a chance to respond). Staying in the situation is not standing up for yourself, it is merely punishing yourself. Leaving is not running away, it is merely choosing a better option.

There are many good aikido teachers out there, and they do not treat their students like crap. You mentioned uchi-deshi being treated like crap in the old days. Well, I'm pretty sure that being treated like crap didn't make them better at aikido. It was merely the way things were done back then, particularly in Japan. We are talking about the period of time around WW2 when young men were expected to crash their planes into the enemy for the good of the country, and doctors were expected to perform vivisections on POWs. At that point in time, a lot of people were treated like crap with no good reason.

Your teacher may expect you to train hard, even to the point of exhaustion. He may expect you to make sacrifices in terms of your free time. He may challenge you to face your fears. What he may not do is yell at you, insult you, and take away your self-esteem. That is abuse, and there is no excuse for it.

aikidokaanonymno
09-19-2011, 08:33 AM
Surely after evaluating all that you've done, you've already come to a conclusion on what's going on. Did you come here seeking validification? From peers or are you looking for father figures or big sisters to 'support' your decision?

I came here mainly to find out if verbal abuse was part of the normal training for uchideshi or something like that.

Hang around feces long enough you not only begin to smell like it, but you don't even recognize the smell as being disturbing any more.

Yes, that's the number 1 pushing factor to leave for me.

Alright, well, thank you everyone, I got my answers. Thanks for your help and support!

aikidokaanonymno
09-19-2011, 08:36 AM
...Leaving is not running away, it is merely choosing a better option.

There are many good aikido teachers out there, and they do not treat their students like crap. You mentioned uchi-deshi being treated like crap in the old days. Well, I'm pretty sure that being treated like crap didn't make them better at aikido. It was merely the way things were done back then, particularly in Japan. We are talking about the period of time around WW2 when young men were expected to crash their planes into the enemy for the good of the country, and doctors were expected to perform vivisections on POWs. At that point in time, a lot of people were treated like crap with no good reason.

Your teacher may expect you to train hard, even to the point of exhaustion. He may expect you to make sacrifices in terms of your free time. He may challenge you to face your fears. What he may not do is yell at you, insult you, and take away your self-esteem. That is abuse, and there is no excuse for it.

Didn't see your reply until after I posted my own. Very good points, that haven't crossed my mind before. Thank you!

Mary Eastland
09-19-2011, 08:36 AM
Have you asked yourself what you are getting out of the situation?
Have you asked yourself why you are reluctant to leave?

Maybe you need to get honest with yourself about the situation. Aikido training is not about giving your power away to an authority figure. Training is about developing your own power.

Your teacher can not take away your self esteem. You have to hand it to him. You have choices and more power than you can see right now. If you walk away, even for a short time you will be able to see your situation more clearly.

Michael Hackett
09-19-2011, 10:56 AM
Sorry, but the alarm bells are going off in my head here. This isn't simply abusive behavior and it isn't about some form of aikido teaching. This is grooming behavior and this guy is acting in a classic predatory manner.

Keith Larman
09-19-2011, 12:07 PM
Ya know, honestly my advice is really simple. Leave. Right now. There is no excuse in this day and age for that kind of crap. You don't need to be part of some idiot's "We're Cobra Kai" inadequacy compensation power wet-dream. There is no shortage of good instructors out there. You are not an indentured servant, you're not a slave, you're not a whipping post. You owe no explanation, no letter, no goodbye.

Do yourself a favor. Stand up, walk out, and walk away. Find something better for yourself because *no one * deserves that. Not today. Not ever.

lbb
09-19-2011, 05:11 PM
It's a bit difficult to start respecting myself again after a good 4 years of Sensei's rants. But, as you said, I think with the right people I can pull myself together again. You're right on every point, thank you.

So do any of you think it's possible to talk to him (or write a careful letter) and set a boundary between acceptable and unacceptable mode of conversation? Or is running away the only option?

Well, here's the thing: all your life, you've probably been told all kind of things by adults about persistence and working through problems and sticking with it and all that good stuff. And it is true that you're not going to accomplish much in life that is really meaningful if you don't learn to push through the rough spots. But it's just as important to recognize when you're in a situation where all that pushing isn't going to take you anywhere that you want to go. There are many such situations in life, and it takes some practice before you can tell the difference between those kind of rough spots and the other kind, the ones that have something good waiting at the end of them. Unfortunately, there's no magic formula that you can use to tell the two apart. As we say in the backcountry, "Good judgment comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgment." Most of us who can look at a situation and say, "Uh-uh, don't need that," and walk away, got that skill the hard way. I do think, though, that there are some common-sense criteria that you can use to tell if you should walk away from a situation. Abusiveness is one big red flag: there's a laundry list of behaviors that characterize abusiveness, if you have any doubts. How being in the situation makes you feel about yourself is another. Where it's taking you -- not where you might hope it would take you, but where it is taking you -- is another. Finally, whether you can see yourself still fitting in this place in five years is another -- if the answer comes back "no", you may already have outgrown it.

So, as you look at the situation, you'll typically end up with some things in the "stay" column and some in the "go" column. Base your decision off that, but don't, DON'T, decide to stay because you believe or hope that you can make the situation better. Simple misunderstandings can be worked out. Entrenched patterns of behavior really can't. It's quite possible you could draw up a list of "this is okay, that's not", and your sensei would nod and agree. The chances that he would actually change his behavior in a lasting way are virtually nil. Don't decide to stay because you're hoping for this outcome. And if you do leave...just go. Don't discuss, don't explain, don't return calls, don't make or respond to contact. Go and stay away.

aikidokaanonymno
09-19-2011, 06:15 PM
Have you asked yourself what you are getting out of the situation?
Have you asked yourself why you are reluctant to leave?


Well, I've looked at other dojos in the area and they don't offer what Sensei offers. At my current dojo, he has classes every day and he teaches them himself. I like that technical consistency. Other dojos have different instructors teaching and don't have practice every day.

Hmmm, I have lots to chew on. Thank you again, everyone.

Keith Larman
09-19-2011, 06:55 PM
Honestly I don't think there's much at all to chew on. If you are relating the behavior of this sensei accurately you should be running out that door as fast as you can. Find somewhere else to train. Anywhere.

hughrbeyer
09-19-2011, 09:33 PM
Looks to me like Michael Hackett nailed it, twice. Sometimes the mature response is to end a dysfunctional relationship.

Michael Hackett
09-20-2011, 01:40 AM
Sorry Anonymous, but I've heard all the excuses over the years. "He really loves me, but he's just under so much stress since he lost his job." "I know he doesn't like pea soup and I forgot and served it tonight for dinner and he just lost his temper." And I've almost thrown up in my own mouth interrogating a child molester when I've said things like "Yeah, I understand - some six year olds will come on to you." to build rapport and gain a confession.

I certainly could be wrong, but this is classic grooming behavior and it looks like you ain't being groomed for godan. Talk to your parents, talk to that receptive teacher you mentioned. Talk to anyone who absolutely has your best interests at heart and ask their advice. What is the worst that can happen? If I, and others here, are wrong, you can be confident in training every day with this teacher. If I'm right, you can remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. In any event, it is bigger than an internet forum can solve. Best wishes to you, your decision and your future.

robin_jet_alt
09-20-2011, 03:14 AM
Please let us know how this goes. I'm sure we are all very worried about you.

Walter Martindale
09-20-2011, 06:30 AM
I agree with the rest of the folks here - get out.

The "other" dojo that has a variety of instructors is a good thing. They're allowed (asked?) by the chief instructor to teach, so the technique must be consistent enough to be recognizable within the dojo. Learning from a variety of sensei is a good thing - there's more than one 'way' to twist a wrist.

If, after seeing all the responses of those above, you haven't gotten out yet, get out, now. Go to the other dojo - or stay away from Aikido for a month or so and then go to the other dojo. Make no announcements, just stop showing up. If called "Sorry, I'm not going to the dojo any more."
you aren't obliged to say why, to justify your departure, or anything, just get the (&%*&$ out of there.
If phoned and the abusive language starts - say "Stop phoning, good bye." and hang up. Persistent calling? Restraining order. Still persists? Others may have a better handle on what to do...
but
get
out

lbb
09-20-2011, 08:47 AM
Well, I've looked at other dojos in the area and they don't offer what Sensei offers.

That sounds like a big point in their favor.

Right now you're trying to get us to tell you that it'll be okay if you stay at your current dojo. I don't think it will, and I'm saying so, unequivocally. Walk away now and don't look back.

Marc Abrams
09-20-2011, 09:54 AM
Michael Hackett approaches his assessment from a law enforcement perspective. I am a psychologist who works in the forensics field (legal arena). I WHOLEHEARTEDLY concur with his assessment. Your latest response fits very neatly within this type of situation that he has described. Michael, Mary, myself and a host of other people here are advising you to LEAVE THAT DOJO. Odds are, you will thank us at some later date for following this advice. Even if he is not grooming you, the atmosphere that you are describing is psychologically noxious for you and regardless of the "quality" of his instruction, you lose more than you gain by remaining in that place.

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams

Krystal Locke
09-20-2011, 11:04 AM
Yes, out now.

Where are your parents through all this? They are there to help you.

aikidokaanonymno
09-20-2011, 11:04 AM
Sorry Anonymous, but I've heard all the excuses over the years. "He really loves me, but he's just under so much stress since he lost his job." "I know he doesn't like pea soup and I forgot and served it tonight for dinner and he just lost his temper."..

...I certainly could be wrong, but this is classic grooming behavior and it looks like you ain't being groomed for godan. Talk to your parents, talk to that receptive teacher you mentioned.

Hahaha, yes, those stupid kinds of excuses keep popping in my head.

The receptive teacher tells me to leave but also to try telling him, "I will not be spoken to like this" and walking away when he gets nasty.

I can't leave just yet. I'm waiting for my Dan certificate. Otherwise it's $400 down the drain, and I'm a college student, it's a lot for me. I don't think he'll give it to me if I leave. I think I can hold out for a bit of time that's left. We can just ignore each other for now, like we did for about a year some time ago, when I spent more time working (for money) for my receptive teacher as opposed to "helping out the dojo" and acted like I didn't care about him.

aikidokaanonymno
09-20-2011, 11:06 AM
Yes, out now.

Where are your parents through all this? They are there to help you.

My father is on the other side of the globe (that's why Sensei became a father-figure for some time). My mother tells me to just not care about his opinion, not let him get to me.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-20-2011, 11:21 AM
I can't leave just yet. I'm waiting for my Dan certificate.

Rank means nothing.

Run away from that place.

kewms
09-20-2011, 11:41 AM
I can't leave just yet. I'm waiting for my Dan certificate. Otherwise it's $400 down the drain, and I'm a college student, it's a lot for me. I don't think he'll give it to me if I leave.

I'm not so sure he'll give it to you if you stay....

In any case, certificates are replaceable, and the rank itself is recorded with the headquarters dojo whether you have the physical piece of paper or not. Don't waste any more of your time with this person.

Katherine

Keith Larman
09-20-2011, 11:58 AM
Please, stop with the rationalizations. Leave. If you're part of a larger org contact them and tell them the certificate was lost and ask if they can issue a new one. Or just don't worry about it. I lost a handful of certificates when we moved to our current house over 10 years ago. They don't matter, they're just pieces of paper. If the organization is legit what matters is that they have records of your rank. If it's only this guy who has the record, who's to say he won't be a complete ass-hat and pretend you didn't exist after you left anyway?

Leave. If you earned the rank, you earned the rank. Heck, you're young. If you start over at a new place they might just start you at ikkyu or even recognize your rank based on your performance. Just be honest and let them know what was going on.

But please stop with the rationalizations. People have been quite clear and it seems to me to be quite unanimous. Leave. You've had advice from experienced psychologists as well as experienced law enforcement people. Leave.

Or you can insist on remaining a victim and stay giving all the reasons why you can't leave. While in the next breath you acknowledge that you should leave.

Stop for a second. Look in the mirror. Be honest with yourself and tell yourself what you would tell your best friend if she were in the same position as you.

Leave.

graham christian
09-20-2011, 12:11 PM
Well, I've looked at other dojos in the area and they don't offer what Sensei offers. At my current dojo, he has classes every day and he teaches them himself. I like that technical consistency. Other dojos have different instructors teaching and don't have practice every day.

Hmmm, I have lots to chew on. Thank you again, everyone.

I suggest you read Marys post again.

cconstantine
09-20-2011, 12:32 PM
A thought about your dan certificate: We don't know how/who/if your school is affiliated (and you don't have to tell us), but I assure you that whatever certificate you may get, there will be many places where it won't be formally recognized. So AT BEST it's of limited use, and you're balancing that ($400) against, well, a lot of possibly really negative outcomes.

Everything you've learned cannot be unlearned. So wherever you go, you have the really important part, (the knowledge and skills,) regardless of wether you end up with the irrelevant part (the piece of paper.)

lbb
09-20-2011, 12:41 PM
Hahaha, yes, those stupid kinds of excuses keep popping in my head.

I don't know why you're laughing. Michael isn't making jokes. He's talking about the exact things that abuse victims say to excuse the behavior of their abusers. I don't speak for Michael, but I'd bet you whatever you'd care to name that victims have made these kind of statements to him from hospital beds -- after their abusers put them there. Think about that. Really, really think about it.

The receptive teacher tells me to leave but also to try telling him, "I will not be spoken to like this" and walking away when he gets nasty.

I doubt this would have worked, had you tried it when the advice was given to you. But you didn't take that advice, so why are you falling back on it now? I don't think you've suddenly changed your mind and believe it will work. I think you're using this as an excuse for inaction.

I can't leave just yet. I'm waiting for my Dan certificate. Otherwise it's $400 down the drain, and I'm a college student, it's a lot for me.

You paid $400 for some kind of "get a shodan" program? That was a mistake. Your money is gone, and you have no way to force this guy to give you a shodan on any terms but his own. Don't compound your mistake now by throwing good money after bad -- and things worth more than money, too.

II don't think he'll give it to me if I leave. I think I can hold out for a bit of time that's left. We can just ignore each other for now, like we did for about a year some time ago, when I spent more time working (for money) for my receptive teacher as opposed to "helping out the dojo" and acted like I didn't care about him.

Think about what you just said. You're going to get a shodan...from a sensei that you ignore...and that's supposed to be worth something. Think about it! If you were putting up with the behavior of an obnoxious abuser in order to get a car, or a paycheck, or something like that, I might be able to understand it...but a shodan has no material value. None. It also has little or no value in terms of what it gets you, because you'll find that outside your own dojo, even in another aikido dojo, it probably won't buy you anything. The only value of a shodan, or any rank, is in what you did to get it, and what you became in the process. And if what you did was submit to an abuser and what you became is an apologist for said abuser, then that shodan is worth less than used buttwipe.

And lest you start telling yourself that I don't understand -- I do. I had "shodan tunnel vision" once upon a time. I got lucky. I dislocated my shoulder a week before my shodan test. While I was healing up, I got my head out of the tunnel enough to realize that while I could show up again and get my shodan...I didn't really want it. And this wasn't a situation like yours, just one in which the school and I had really gone in two different directions. I was no longer with the program, simply going through the motions, and my shodan wouldn't have had the value that I wanted it to have. So I walked away. If I had that shodan today, it would not enhance my life one bit, and what I have without it is much better.

There are always other dojos, better dojos. If there aren't any where you live, you may just have to wait for a few years until your situation changes. Or if it means that much, you may have to decide to change it sooner. If money is an issue, there may be a way -- you may get a reduced rate, or be able to do work around the dojo, or find a university club, or maybe give up your Friday evening pizza and beer. There are other, better, more worthy people to train with, and there are ways to do it.

If you are tempted to reply with any other "reasons" why you "can't" leave, my answer is as before. Stop making excuses for not changing your situation. Stop refusing to cut your losses.

aikidokaanonymno
09-20-2011, 02:41 PM
I don't know why you're laughing. Michael isn't making jokes...

... But you didn't take that advice, so why are you falling back on it now? I don't think you've suddenly changed your mind and believe it will work. I think you're using this as an excuse for inaction...

..You paid $400 for some kind of "get a shodan" program? That was a mistake...

It was a bitter laugh, not an actual one.

I just recently got that advice from my teacher, and I haven't had a chance to use it. The attacks from Sensei stopped for a good year while we talked only when necessary. Recently, I made the mistake of showing my care for him again and fell into his trap. Then I messed up by criticizing his decision along with some other students. Got another awful lecture, while the other students simply got talked to in a normal tone of voice. This is why I phoned my receptive teacher and got this new piece of advice that I haven't tested.

I paid to test. It was a federation testing fee. I tested, got the rank, and am waiting for the Hombu certificate to arrive.

Meanwhile, I'll start checking out other dojos, I already emailed one of them about possible training. But I would like this topic deleted if possible. Some people might identify me. Thank you everyone who contributed. I really appreciate everyone's care and willingness to respond although I know that I'm really stubborn and hard to convince. I assure you not to worry, you guys helped me make the right decision.

Marc Abrams
09-20-2011, 02:49 PM
It was a bitter laugh, not an actual one.

I just recently got that advice from my teacher, and I haven't had a chance to use it. The attacks from Sensei stopped for a good year while we talked only when necessary. Recently, I made the mistake of showing my care for him again and fell into his trap. Then I messed up by criticizing his decision along with some other students. Got another awful lecture, while the other students simply got talked to in a normal tone of voice. This is why I phoned my receptive teacher and got this new piece of advice that I haven't tested.

I paid to test. It was a federation testing fee. I tested, got the rank, and am waiting for the Hombu certificate to arrive.

Meanwhile, I'll start checking out other dojos, I already emailed one of them about possible training. But I would like this topic deleted if possible. Some people might identify me. Thank you everyone who contributed. I really appreciate everyone's care and willingness to respond although I know that I'm really stubborn and hard to convince. I assure you not to worry, you guys helped me make the right decision.

Send a private mail to Jun Aikiyama and ask him to remove the thread. The sad part of deleting this thread is that what happened to you is likely to happen to his next victim. Silence only serves to reinforce and support this teacher's unacceptable behaviors.

Good Luck at your new dojo!

Marc Abrams

Michael Hackett
09-20-2011, 03:46 PM
Sadly, Mary M. is right. I've heard all those excuses from hospital beds and the emergency room. I've heard them in the home, with children present, and I've seen the result a few times at the autopsy. I've even been physically attacked by the reporting victim when trying to arrest the offender, and then heard more excuses. Those are the worst cases from a physical standpoint - beaten and broken spouses, significant others, and family members.

And as sadly, I've seen the results of psychological and sexual abuse as well and heard all those excuses. Bruises heal, but I doubt that psychological scars ever do.

As I said earlier, I don't know if either is the case here and certainly hope not. Talking to someone who cares, knows the party(ies) and is objective may be more valuable.

Since you wish the thread to be closed, I will say no more and continue to wish you well.

robin_jet_alt
09-21-2011, 12:02 AM
Hahaha, yes, those stupid kinds of excuses keep popping in my head.

The receptive teacher tells me to leave but also to try telling him, "I will not be spoken to like this" and walking away when he gets nasty.

I can't leave just yet. I'm waiting for my Dan certificate. Otherwise it's $400 down the drain, and I'm a college student, it's a lot for me. I don't think he'll give it to me if I leave. I think I can hold out for a bit of time that's left. We can just ignore each other for now, like we did for about a year some time ago, when I spent more time working (for money) for my receptive teacher as opposed to "helping out the dojo" and acted like I didn't care about him.

Well, how long do you expect it to take for your certificate to get to you? I think it was only a couple of weeks between testing and getting my certificate. During that time, you could easily say you have the flu or something.

If you ask Jun to delete this thread, please print it out for your own reference first. Memory can play funny tricks on you, and you might want to remind yourself about everyone's advice at some point.

Hanna B
09-21-2011, 12:44 AM
I spent quite some time training in dojos where oh so many things made me unhappy (although the situation was not abusive, no comparison here). I stayed because I wanted the aikido they do there - no other style, no other teachers were of interest to me. In the end, actually right after my nidan test, I came to ask myself: OK, so I've become pretty good at this, at least of some aspects of the art. Was it worth it?

The moment I asked myself the question, it was obvious that it wasn't. So I left. It took me almost a year after that nidan test, but the decision was already made and I had started shopping around for other opportunities. Until you actually want them, you won't see the opportunities around.

I've learned some important lessons, and one of them is to choose places where I'm happy, where people around me interacts with me in ways I like, and avoid the opposite. I'm trying to use that in other parts of my life too. I've spent way too much time accepting and adapting things and situations that made me shrink rather than grow.

So I say good for you... good for you that you are making this decision. You won't regret it. Life is full of opportunities.

And if you do leave...just go. Don't discuss, don't explain, don't return calls, don't make or respond to contact. Go and stay away.

That's the easiest way - and it's hard enough as it is, isn't it? so why choose more complicated ways. There is no need for you to explain to your sensei why you are leaving.

Here's a text by Rob Redmond, called How to quit a karate club (http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2007/09/03/how-to-quit-a-karate-club/). His context is karate but all the relevant parts of the text apply.

aikidokaanonymno
09-21-2011, 08:11 AM
Send a private mail to Jun Aikiyama and ask him to remove the thread.

Where is his email listed? Do I just go through the "contact us" message thing?

...Silence only serves to reinforce and support this teacher's unacceptable behaviors...


His next victim won't listen anyway. I saw how his previous deshi suffered. For some reason I thought it won't happen to me, because he appears very nice and caring in the beginning. His deshi left. I took over. Although she comes back from time to time nowadays.

Talking to someone who cares, knows the party(ies) and is objective may be more valuable.

My receptive teacher met him and stayed with us at one of our camps to support me during my test and all... She didn't form a very good opinion of him, but perhaps that's because I poisoned her initial thoughts.

If you ask Jun to delete this thread, please print it out for your own reference first. Memory can play funny tricks on you, and you might want to remind yourself about everyone's advice at some point.

That's true. I will print this out. Good idea.

...Until you actually want them, you won't see the opportunities around...

Yes, I've never wanted another teacher. I could only imagine myself being his student. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think, after watching some videos from another dojo, I've convinced myself that I like it better. I'm gonna check out their classes soon :)

Thanks everyone, again!

gregstec
09-21-2011, 08:48 AM
Where is his email listed? Do I just go through the "contact us" message thing?

His next victim won't listen anyway. I saw how his previous deshi suffered. For some reason I thought it won't happen to me, because he appears very nice and caring in the beginning. His deshi left. I took over. Although she comes back from time to time nowadays.

My receptive teacher met him and stayed with us at one of our camps to support me during my test and all... She didn't form a very good opinion of him, but perhaps that's because I poisoned her initial thoughts.

That's true. I will print this out. Good idea.

Yes, I've never wanted another teacher. I could only imagine myself being his student. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think, after watching some videos from another dojo, I've convinced myself that I like it better. I'm gonna check out their classes soon :)

Thanks everyone, again!

I gave you some very good advice in the the beginning of this thread based on my initial understanding of what was going - that advice remains the same. However, it has become evident that you have a much more serious problem and issue to deal with based on what has been divulged in subsequent posts in this thread.

You have been given advice from some professionals that have a lot of real life experience in abusive situations, and from my lay person's observation, you are also exhibiting classic behavior of denial as well as trying to find support for that denial by posting in this thread.

You absolutely MUST leave that relationship to start your healing - and yes, you need some healing since you have been groomed for so long, you need to be un-groomed so to speak. Just leaving and going to another dojo will eliminate the present problem, but unless you seek professional help in this area, you will be ripe for it to happen again in your future.

I hope the best for you, but you need to make the right decisions now to get your life back on a positive track.

Greg

Marc Abrams
09-21-2011, 09:07 AM
Where is his email listed? Do I just go through the "contact us" message thing?

Look up at the top right area and underneath your name, there will be a private message link. you can also use the "contact us".

His next victim won't listen anyway. I saw how his previous deshi suffered. For some reason I thought it won't happen to me, because he appears very nice and caring in the beginning. His deshi left. I took over. Although she comes back from time to time nowadays.

I am sure that this is what the previous deshi believed. You are now pointing out that he has a pattern of grooming young women as his "deshi." This is a very disturbing pattern. I am sure that his teacher, or shihan of that organization would not be happy to hear about this pattern (I hope so).

Your silence, like that of the previous deshi, serve only to support the continuance of his behaviors. Have you ever heard the expression "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem" ?

My receptive teacher met him and stayed with us at one of our camps to support me during my test and all... She didn't form a very good opinion of him, but perhaps that's because I poisoned her initial thoughts.

Your receptive teacher's impressions were accurate and not poisoned. Your tendency toward coming to this person's "defense" only indicates how much psychological damage he has caused you.

Yes, I've never wanted another teacher. I could only imagine myself being his student. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think, after watching some videos from another dojo, I've convinced myself that I like it better. I'm gonna check out their classes soon :)

Thanks everyone, again!

Your teacher preyed on your need for a father figure. Your idolization allowed you to endure things that were beyond the pale of appropriate. I would strongly suggest going to the school's counseling center to address this "father figure" issue in therapy. If it is not properly resolved, it might come back to haunt you later. A honest person makes a mistake and learns from it after acknowledging one's own role in the mistake. A fool does not acknowledge one's own role and walks "blindly" into a similar mistake. A masochist makes a career out of this type of self-destructive pattern. Your honesty is refreshing. Use it now to your benefit. Personal honesty can easily become a perishable commodity.

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams

kewms
09-21-2011, 11:35 AM
My receptive teacher met him and stayed with us at one of our camps to support me during my test and all... She didn't form a very good opinion of him, but perhaps that's because I poisoned her initial thoughts.

When you're in a positive relationship, you won't "poison" other people's impressions of it.

Friends and teachers are great mirrors. If they tell you that someone (a teacher, but also a boyfriend or a business colleague) is bad news, they're usually reflecting back what you already know but don't want to admit to yourself. Listen to them.

All of that aside, I've also found that as I've gained more experience, I've become more and more discerning in my understanding of "good aikido" and "good dojos." Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that this was the right dojo for you six years ago, there's no shame in admitting that your needs and goals have changed and it's time to move on.

Katherine

worrier
09-22-2011, 08:54 AM
I've never thought that being mean and yelling and all that was a good motivational technique. But that's probably because it never has and will never work for me personally. At one of the jobs I got, there was a woman who did my training and literally every single thing I did was wrong - she never yelled or anything, but made me feel so embarrassed and worthless, I quit after 3 days, it totally destroyed me. Yet I am able to put up with a lot of bullsh*t from people, but not those who actually get to me by making me feel useless and totally incompetent.

aikidokaanonymno
09-22-2011, 10:56 AM
You absolutely MUST leave that relationship to start your healing - and yes, you need some healing since you have been groomed for so long, you need to be un-groomed so to speak. Just leaving and going to another dojo will eliminate the present problem, but unless you seek professional help in this area, you will be ripe for it to happen again in your future.

My school teacher should be able to help me with that. She got me out of the initial deep, black hole - I stopped helping Sensei with kids' classes and other things, and eventually came to see that our relationship was not healthy, nor normal.

...Your silence, like that of the previous deshi, serve only to support the continuance of his behaviors. Have you ever heard the expression "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem" ?..

No one will believe us that it's that bad. The previous deshi was telling me about it, but once you're in, you're in and you're blind.

...Yet I am able to put up with a lot of bullsh*t from people, but not those who actually get to me by making me feel useless and totally incompetent.

Yes, I can take criticism, sarcasm, and harshness from other people because I know they have good intentions. For some reason, it's only Sensei that gets to me.

Thanks everyone!

I sent the message about deleting these thread, so it should happen soon.

Marc Abrams
09-22-2011, 11:00 AM
No one will believe us that it's that bad. The previous deshi was telling me about it, but once you're in, you're in and you're blind.



Once you are in, you are quickly blinded. Two previous deshi saying the same thing, with one warning the other about what would and did happen is VERY VERY DIFFERENT! This person's Shihan should be informed and be allowed the opportunity to begin a discussion with this instructor....... History tends to repeat itself, unless you and the other deshi have the courage to become part of the braking process.

Good Luck,

Marc Abrams

aikidokaanonymno
09-22-2011, 06:19 PM
...This person's Shihan should be informed and be allowed the opportunity to begin a discussion with this instructor....... History tends to repeat itself, unless you and the other deshi have the courage to become part of the braking process.


Unfortunately, his Shihan has passed away recently. And that was the only person he would listen to...
His previous deshi is quite open about it with the other students. But he never acknowledges his mistakes and never listens to advice given by people that are younger than him. It absolutely pointless to argue with him or rationalize, or present a different point of view. I've come to believe that people don't change because someone told them to. They only change if they want to change, and this man is most resistant to change.
I don't know... I could write to the federation, but I don't want to be a bitch and cause problems for his dojo. "How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours". Besides, who will they listen to? A college kid or an old, respectable Sensei?

Marc Abrams
09-22-2011, 08:56 PM
Unfortunately, his Shihan has passed away recently. And that was the only person he would listen to...
His previous deshi is quite open about it with the other students. But he never acknowledges his mistakes and never listens to advice given by people that are younger than him. It absolutely pointless to argue with him or rationalize, or present a different point of view. I've come to believe that people don't change because someone told them to. They only change if they want to change, and this man is most resistant to change.
I don't know... I could write to the federation, but I don't want to be a bitch and cause problems for his dojo. "How people treat you is their karma, how you react is yours". Besides, who will they listen to? A college kid or an old, respectable Sensei?

You might want to consider that this shihan would be the person most likely to back/protect him. The head of the federation would listen VERY CAREFULLY to you and the previous deshi describe the pattern that you two had been subjected to. There is a lot of information and concern in our community about teacher abuses lately. The timing could not be better to raise this issue with the federation. Saying that you would "be a bitch" or "cause problems" is simply part of the unhealthy consequences of what you went through. The previous deshi tried to warn you and that did not work. Maybe it is time that you and the previous deshi do something a little more assertive to stop this unhealthy pattern. I am sure that the next potential victim of his "mentoring" will thank you in advance.

Marc Abrams

George S. Ledyard
09-23-2011, 04:46 PM
Hello,

I've been practicing Aikido for 6 years, every day, at the same dojo. It has been my goal to become Sensei's uchideshi, however as the years went by I realized that he is quite difficult to deal with. For 4 years I helped him with kids' classes, dojo maintenance, website building, and even babysat his son. In other words, whatever he asked, I did because I respected him and wanted to learn from him. He'd reward me sometimes, by giving me free uniforms or weapons, or letting me attend a seminar for free. (I should mention that I started when I was 13 and now I am in college, thus the money for Aikido was always tight for me)
However, amidst these rewards, he would frequently yell at me, call me dumb, or an idiot, tell me that I should be ashamed of myself, things like that... Sometimes he scolded me in private, and sometimes in front of everyone. Overall, whenever I made a behavioral mistake and did not live up to his moral standards for me, he would make me feel guilty and worthless. He tells me that it's because he cares for me that he is expecting more out of me than out of any other student in the dojo. He tells me that I have to believe him, and never discuss his ill decisions with other students. Other people in the dojo verify that he is very controlling and often treats me like crap. No one else treats me in the way that he does.

Because I want to be serious in my training, I was wandering if this verbal abuse is of any good. It really got to me during my senior year of high school and if it weren't for my school teacher who saw me change from a confident person into some miserable heap and decided to help me. From her standpoint verbal abuse is not right and she thinks I should find a different dojo because it might end up causing problems in the future. (For example, girls who were abused by their coaches then ended up marrying older, abusive men because that's what they were used to). But, I've read a few things about uchideshi and I know they were mistreated.

My question is, does this kind of verbal and sometimes physical abuse lead to any character building? If I decide to stay with my current Sensei, is there any chance I can become a better individual or will it destroy me? I've read that students often become like their teachers. I don't want to have the same personality as my Sensei, but I do love his technique... On the other hand, I would love to improve my own personality, but I don't know if standing verbal abuse will help me achieve that goal or not.

Any advice?

Get a new teacher... It is entirely voluntary to put up with anything from a teacher.

I will say that a bit of this is cultural... There is a whole "nail that sticks up must be pounded down" thing that exists with many of (not all by any means) the Japanese teachers. One simply has to decide whether a line is crossed as to whether it has become abusive or not.

To my way of thinking, it's abuse when it damages your spirit. So, it is my opinion that the whole "getting pounded down" thing tends to pretty much stop when you stop caring. The teacher looks at the folks that let themselves be cowed by it and decides that they weren't worth investing in, he looks at the folks who got pissed off and left, and decides the same thing. He looks at the folks who can take it and don't change what they are doing and he decides that they are the ones who are tough enough to stick it out and he stops pulling all the BS.

So, two things... If any teacher crosses the line, whether he be Japanese or American, you need to confront him with it and see how he reacts or simply leave. As I said, it crosses the line when it damages your spirit. Only you know what the line is. I have seen many folks quit over the years and I am still here. The "line" for them was quite different than the line for me. I have never been more than a bit temporarily annoyed by any of the "nail pounding" and I don't spend one iota of my time worrying about it. So, clearly for me, it has never come very close to crossing that line.

I would say that my tolerance of such things is somewhat dependent on whether the teacher is Japanese or American. For many Japanese this whole pounding the "nail down that sticks up" is automatic. Enough so that when I meet Japanese teachers who don't act like that, I really appreciate them even more. I don't put up with much at all along these lines from American teachers. Other than in the Marine Corps and other military groups, it really isn't part of our culture. There are coaches who act that way and I wouldn't have ever let one of my kids train with one of them. People internalize this way of looking at things and the next thing you know, they are treating their kids like this or their spouses like this. I have much more of an expectation of positive attitude and positive feedback from the American teachers. While for many Japanese teachers some of this is simply built into the teacher student relationship, almost on an unconscious level, when an American teacher acts this way, it's usually just a power trip. I wouldn't give anyone that much power.

When the line that gets crossed is physical, that's also something you need to decide. Did you get scared? Did a technique hurt more than you wanted? Or did you get injured? The first two constitute hard training for many folks (although even that may cross the line for many people). But the last, if it happens with any frequency in a dojo, constitutes abuse. I wouldn't train with any teacher who acted that way.

In your own case, I would tell the teacher the next time he is being abusive that he needs to stop, he needs to treat your respectfully, period. If he pulls that crap that it's for your own good etc and it's because he cares for you, call him on it. He is perfectly capable of giving you feedback about what you need to change without being rude or demeaning. If he's not, you really need to get a new teacher, sooner rather than later. If he gets physically abusive after you say something, you walk out right then and there and don't go back.

That my take on it...
- George
- George

Mirubiri
09-27-2011, 04:29 PM
You are writting here because you donīt feel right. Indeed, I believe that what you are really asking is if it worths the pain to continue learning like that. You donīt need any advice because you currently have your answer and you know it. What you donīt really understand is why you donīt feel right going ahead with that decision. The answer is easy; You are being manipulated since you were 13 years old and it is a natural feeling for you.

I'm sure that if you talk to your teacher like others have recommended you, your teacher will understand you... at least for some weeks or a couple of months and then all will return again.

If your decision is to continue studying under him, take that into account the next time you will be abused by that....#$%!

aikidokaanonymno
09-29-2011, 11:44 PM
Jun Akiyama said that he doesn't delete posts, so since it's still here, I'll share the news.

I quit. I signed up in a new dojo. I guess that as time passes I'll know for sure if this was a good decision or not. I feel free and happy and sad at the same time...

Thank you, everyone! :)

kewms
09-29-2011, 11:58 PM
Good for you!

Best of luck on the next part of your journey.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
09-30-2011, 01:06 AM
You've taken an important step into adulthood worknight decision and action!

Mary Eastland
09-30-2011, 08:23 AM
Good for you. Enjoy this part of your journey.

Diana Frese
09-30-2011, 09:23 AM
Hi, I just got back on to the computer and had forgotten to sign off before my husband used it for some other programs, then turned off the computer. I noticed this thread is still current, so here's something I read years ago.

The title of the thread is verbal abuse, and here is a story about kids and spanking which although physical rather than verbal, seems to bring up a similar concept of "Why? For what purpose is the perpetrator (?) doing this?"

Spanking of kids has become illegal in many areas of the U.S. now but in a book Koichi Tohei Sensei wrote years ago, called Aikido in Daily Life back then.... that was a topic he mentioned. Unfortunately my copy is in family storage and other peoples stuff is packed in front.... But I'll do my best to recount it properly.

The concept may be helpful to anyone, although it referred to spanking, and kids.

Tohei Sensei asked if the father was spanking the kid to improve the kid. I think I remember the father admitting that was what his intention was for doing so.

But here's the fascinating part. Tohei Sensei didn't scold the father, he just asked a question. Instead of instigating the father's psychological defense mechanisms, he planted a thought and the father went home and thought about it. Evidently he figured out that spanking wasn't improving his kid's behavior after all.

Tohei Sensei reported the father never spanked the kid again.

A rather long tale, but the application here is that our anonymous lady aikidoka who has earned nidan and probably will one day get her certificate (or maybe request a duplicate? I don't know how that might work out?)

has decided for purposes of her own progress and improvement, to train at a dojo where she feels that she can. Good luck to you, anonymous lady aikidoka!

Diana Frese
09-30-2011, 09:37 AM
To round out the references, here is a story from Sensei Terry Dobson, co-author (I think Victor Miller was the other co-author) of a book that was originally titled "Giving in to Get Your Way".

The book is about daily life applications and includes uses of the concept of circle, square, triangle that has fascinated so many here on Aiki Web. However, there is another concept that plays a prominent part in the book, that of Robin Hood on the bridge. I forget whether the challenger was Friar Tuck or Little John, this book also is in family storage....

According to Terry, there are six ways of responding to a challenge and the first two are fight or flight. Then there are Parlay (negotiation) and Deception (trickery) and finally Aiki, where there is a solution that benefits both. I think I left one out, it might have been something like a delaying tactic....

But the one that came to mind here, along with something Terry said at a seminar relating to the book was, to be effective, if you are going to leave the scene of conflict, just depart. Just like that. To be effective, I'm sure he meant. And this is what the lady aikidoka has done. I'm adding this from Terry, because I just realized in a story I posted in my blog last week that happened years ago : leaving a possible confrontation over a table in a restaurant was probably an unconscious application of something learned earlier....

In a seminar taught by Terry. Both of these cases were non physical, verbal situations solved by a physical action. Leaving the scene of conflict.

Abasan
09-30-2011, 10:06 AM
Little john.

Diana Frese
09-30-2011, 12:46 PM
Thanks, Ahmad! I should read Robin Hood again, it's a classic and fascinating.

aikidokaanonymno
10-01-2011, 05:26 PM
...Leaving the scene of conflict.

I've actually read that book, or at least that part of it. Easy to read and agree but so hard to actually do what's written!

Thanks for sharing the stories.

And thanks, everyone, for the good wishes!

Phil Van Treese
10-05-2011, 02:24 PM
If my sensei would have treated me like that, there is no doubt he'd hear something from me and then I would leave. That abuse will never make you better but it sure will bring you down. Leave the dojo and go else where. There are better dojos around that treat people with respect. Find one!!!!!!

Aikidaddy
10-06-2011, 01:25 AM
Coming from an Aikido Sensei for a number of years,and a sports coach, teaching kids in both activities, as well as having kids of my own who are grown, and played sports instead of martial arts. I have done everything I could when it came to building either an athlete or a martial artist. I will tell you I had lots of complaints, and disgruntled behavior displayed as a result of my coaching style and style as a sensei. It comes with the territory when you are in a leadership position.

Sometimes it is hard to brake an attitude that is not useful to a student or player. To humble them as stuff goes to their head, to scold them, or insult them because the get the idea the can do things better. Sometimes be being rough on a student or player brings out their best. There are a lot of attitudes a coach or sensei has to mange.

If profanity is used in terms of curse words, racist terms and sexual language that is the line. Other wise, as my coach told me, "suck it up."

bobvermoolen@gmail.com
10-26-2011, 06:40 AM
My advice is. Find another dojo before u start disliking Aikido for the wrong reasons.

Bubx
01-14-2012, 09:48 PM
As my grandfather used to say, "keep moving, don't look back."

Malicat
01-14-2012, 11:01 PM
I realize this is a bit old, but this struck a chord with me. I first started training in sport karate when I was 13. My Sensei would yell at us if we weren't paying attention, he would smack us (Hard!) on the legs while we were in stances to make sure we were firmly in stance, and he would immediately correct mistakes. I never once felt bad or upset by the way he handled any of it, and instead felt as if all of those corrections were because he cared about us and wanted us to be better martial artists.

Sadly, after 2 years the dojo closed due to lack of students, and I went looking for a new dojo. I went to one of the more popular ones in the area, and felt as if I was always wrong and would never manage to pick up the style we were learning (Okinawan Karate) even though the sensei never yelled. Feeling as if I was a constant screw up and being treated with contempt when I asked questions was making me miserable, so I quit after a month. Based on the number of students the second school had, I'm sure that there are lots people who learn well in that sort of environment, but I do not. I feel fortunate that my first sensei was a role model and gave me a good idea of what to look for in a teacher.

When I went to my first Aikido class this past September, I found an even less harsh environment that my first school. Class always has me smiling, and frequently laughing with my Sensei and other students, and even when we do something wrong, it's a joy to practice the same technique repeatedly so I can do it correctly. Aikido is very precise, which is not what I am used to, but I can't begin to describe the feeling of joy I had when I finally 'got' sankyo.

If a teacher is being easy on me because I am a girl, or new, or for whatever reason, I am not learning. If a teacher is being unduly harsh and my confidence and joy in the art itself is getting damaged, I am also not learning. But my first experiences have taught me what I need, and what I don't need, to get the most out of my training. I feel confident and safe around all of the yudansha and senior students at both of the dojos where I train. If I don't feel safe and respected by the men I train under, and with, I am not going to spend time there. And no matter how superior I feel Aikido is to my first style of karate, I will always been profoundly grateful for what I learned under my first Sensei.

--Ashley

dalen7
01-19-2012, 02:49 AM
"You suffer till you realize you do not need to suffer"...
As a child the parent would typically be involved as to see what is happening.
As an adult you have various options such as walking away or ignoring it.
[But never taking anything anyone says about you for face-value... after all we are constantly changing and no word can describe a being that is in the constant state of 'change', as it were.]

As far as skill set, perhaps try some grappling/tai boxing [gina carano bit] and see what your six years of Aikido fit into things. [After three years I took it into grappling and quickly saw what was what and have to say helped my Aikido tremendously. After all, its my humble opinion that Aikido is not whole without Judo and/or BJJ. [Its more about distance, it all ties together as one art: jiu-jitsu]

Attitude does not, obviously, make one skilled at anything...

The question really boils down to why you stay, as you mentioned if you go somewhere else, there you are. So whatever you are dealing with now, in some form or another it will happen again.

Peace

dalen7
01-19-2012, 03:09 AM
and even when we do something wrong, it's a joy to practice the same technique repeatedly so I can do it correctly. Aikido is very precise, which is not what I am used to, but I can't begin to describe the feeling of joy I had when I finally 'got' sankyo.

--Ashley

Indeed, the "Joy of Aikido" - like Bob Ross, "we dont have mistakes, we just have happy accidents"
Totally can relate to this Eckhart Tolle style teaching. :)

With Aikido a couple of things were important for my learning, as I did not speak Hungarian fluently at the time. [actually I still dont]

- feel the technique... not just go through a motion.
[This leads up later to a BJJ type scenario where its like a puzzle as uke rolls out if Ikkyo if the control is not tight and then either uke pins nage, or nage goes for the armbar.] :)

- most importantly is a safe learning environment at the beginning where nage does not over apply nikkyo. [I still have a funky feeling in my wrist from time to time from early Aikido days when nage over applied the technique.]

In Aikido there is no need for yelling... this isnt the military where they are trying to break everyone down and rebuild them in Uncle Sams image. :)

If someone is actually paying money, I doubt they want to be yelled at - though some people may enjoy the motivation they get from, "come on... one more rep!!!" - which is more of an encouragement yell vs. talking down to.

Anyway... :)

Peace

Malicat
01-19-2012, 08:07 AM
In Aikido there is no need for yelling... this isnt the military where they are trying to break everyone down and rebuild them in Uncle Sams image. :)

If someone is actually paying money, I doubt they want to be yelled at - though some people may enjoy the motivation they get from, "come on... one more rep!!!" - which is more of an encouragement yell vs. talking down to.


I do actually know some people who gain motivation from spite. "You think I can't do this? I'll show you!!!" I just personally don't. I prefer the idea of, this teaching style doesn't suit my learning style, as opposed to making blanket statements, "This teacher is bad." or "This teacher is good." Especially since I am not there to make a judgement call.

--Ashley

aikidokaanonymno
02-22-2012, 07:00 PM
Well, just thought I'd check back in, now that I've been at the new dojo for a few months.

Let me just say, dear God, what was wrong with me? Why was I so blind? I love Aikido so much more now! I am learning something new every day! Thanks everyone!

On a side note, I do think that the Stanford Prison Experiment does explain why I stayed for so long in such a negative environment.

gregstec
02-22-2012, 07:22 PM
Well, just thought I'd check back in, now that I've been at the new dojo for a few months.

Let me just say, dear God, what was wrong with me? Why was I so blind? I love Aikido so much more now! I am learning something new every day! Thanks everyone!

On a side note, I do think that the Stanford Prison Experiment does explain why I stayed for so long in such a negative environment.

Glad things worked out :)

I am not sure if this has already been said in this thread, but here goes anyway. Two different people can yell at you at the same time for doing something wrong with exactly the same words but be two entirely different inputs - the difference lies in the intent behind the criticism - some people enjoy demeaning you and others truly want to help with corrective input - you can generally feel the difference when it occurs.

Greg

hughrbeyer
02-22-2012, 07:44 PM
Whoopee! Amazing what a little shift in perspective will do, huh?

Thanks for posting an update. My day's a little brighter.

robin_jet_alt
02-22-2012, 07:54 PM
Whoopee! Amazing what a little shift in perspective will do, huh?

Thanks for posting an update. My day's a little brighter.

I agree. I'm really happy to hear that you are doing so well. Thanks for letting us know.

Janet Rosen
02-22-2012, 09:43 PM
YAY!!!

Alic
02-23-2012, 02:49 AM
Good on ya, girl!

I am one of the luckier newbie Aikidoka's in that my first dojo happens to be a high quality one, with an experienced and balanced instructor who cares for his student's wellbeing and development. When we make a really dumb mistake, instead of blowing up in our face, he just keel laughing up streams of tears. He keeps the atmosphere light but invigorating, all the while serious about the techniques he taught. This makes you want to come back for more everytime, and hate that training is ending.

In your case, that teacher was simply a douchebag, nothing more to say. His behaviour is highly disturbing, to the point of potentially dangerous (predatory, almost?). If my master saw this kind of behaviour, there would be no telling what he'd do.

I'm glad you didn't let this injustice go on any further (no doubt due to the efforts of our fellow aikidoka's). See how different it is when the atmosphere is light and electrified instead of heavy and murky?

Keep training in that kind of happy atmosphere. Hard training and abusive training are two different things, and the masters of the old knew which is which. Sadly, not all sensei's of today's Aikido world understands that...

SeiserL
02-23-2012, 07:32 AM
IMHO, now you are learning Aikido: get off the attack line.

Compliments.

Diana Frese
02-23-2012, 09:58 AM
I'm so glad you posted, and with such good news. It's heartwarming, too, to see how many others who had been concerned about you posted joyful comments!

aikidokaanonymno
02-25-2012, 06:43 PM
Two different people can yell at you at the same time for doing something wrong with exactly the same words but be two entirely different inputs - the difference lies in the intent behind the criticism - some people enjoy demeaning you and others truly want to help with corrective input - you can generally feel the difference when it occurs.
That's true. I've been yelled at by people in the academia, but it never had such negative effects on my psyche. I couldn't understand why it was different, but now I know.

Everyone here is so supportive, Aikido really is full of great people! I'm so glad my love for the art has been restored. Thank you, all. Safety and peace to all of you!

TheAikidoka
02-29-2012, 06:03 PM
Verbal abuse is not to build character, it is to break character. Think army drill sergeant. Why do drill sergeants act the way they do?
First break you down and then build you up to be a soldier.
To some extent this goes for martial arts to.

In Aikido I think this is very much out of place.

Think deeply about why you would want stay with this teacher. Is he that good? Or is the dojo conveniently 'there'? If you cannot find a (very) good reason to stay, leave immediately.

I could not agree more. However in some sense you have to take responsibilty too, remember you can choose to stay or choose to go, but whatever you do choose be happy about it. Nobody and I mean nobody should make anybody feel worthless. If this is the case what worth is it staying with this teacher, in fact I would hardly call this a teacher, it`s a bully!

Andy B

Chimer
03-03-2012, 11:19 AM
This is intteresting . I find only in martial arts such intimate relations exist. People seem to join martial because of an interpersonal need as student and instructor. I see Aikido to be more a favorable environment.