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dapidmini
03-16-2012, 11:14 AM
ever since I passed my yudansha exam, Sensei has asked me to teach some of the classes and that made me unable to train as hard as I wanted to. and it's been almost six months since Sensei started asking me to teach the classes..

I'm really tired of teaching beginners in my current dojo. I had to hold back when doing a technique with them, thus I don't get the exercise I came to train for (they can't do a decent ukemi because my dojo focuses more on teaching them how to be a nage, instead of uke). I don't get to improve my timing because I have to stop in each movements to show them to the students..

I just love the feeling when I can do a technique with correct timing and flow. I've actually been having a bad mood if I couldn't spend 2 hours throwing and getting thrown at least every other day. maybe it's the endorphine or something.. I also want to be able to train as hard as I can when I still have the energy and time for it, instead of wasting my time teaching people who don't even really have the passion for aikido. they said that they want to exercise. but instead of training hard, most of them just chat on the mat. it really pisses me off and make me want to leave them and pair up with other senior students who I can apply my real aikido to and have the desire to learn and train hard..

english is not my first language so I can't describe my feelings very well but I hope that you get how irritated I'm feeling. I'm actually considering taking up capoeira and taekwondo to get the exercise I wanted that Aikido can't provide me.

I believe that some of you have had this kind of feeling/experience before so I'd really like to hear how you handled it..

Hanna B
03-16-2012, 11:21 AM
Teaching too much, too soon is a good way to burn out. At least if it prevents one from training oneself.

In how big portion of the aikido classes that you take part of do you teach only?

ramenboy
03-16-2012, 11:36 AM
go to the classes you DON'T teach, and get your practice in :)

and take alot of ukemi from your students

Demetrio Cereijo
03-16-2012, 11:39 AM
Ask to get paid for your work as instructor.

dapidmini
03-16-2012, 12:20 PM
In how big portion of the aikido classes that you take part of do you teach only?

my dojo holds 6 classes a week and every senior students are asked to pair up with the new people. and there are new people coming in almost every month. so we always have to pair up with the new people. as one of the most senior students, Sensei usually put me in charge of the new people. so basically every time I attend a class, I'm supposed to pair up with the new people even though I'm not the one teaching that class.

go to the classes you DON'T teach, and get your practice in :)

and take alot of ukemi from your students

a class in my dojo where I don't have to teach is very rare. it only happens when all the students that are attending the class are above 3rd kyu.

the new people can't even do the techniques well (at least not for my standard for new people) thus my ukemi is not comfortable.. :(

Ask to get paid for your work as instructor.

my dojo is in a financial trouble as it is. even the admin, who also teach some of the classes, don't get paid. we use all of the tuition money to pay for the dojo's rent and paying Sensei. the only person getting paid in our dojo is Sensei because we're having him come from a neighbor town.

chillzATL
03-16-2012, 12:23 PM
Ask to get paid for your work as instructor.

problem solved! :)

dapidmini
03-16-2012, 12:30 PM
problem solved! :)

I'm currently making enough money. so I'm not interested in asking money from the dojo when the dojo is having financial problems..;)

phitruong
03-16-2012, 12:48 PM
during class break, before class, after class - those times you can ask other ranked members to work with you, be your uke or be their uke to get your exercise in. think out of the box (mine is chinese take-out and you never know what you get) for the solution.

dapidmini
03-16-2012, 12:56 PM
during class break, before class, after class - those times you can ask other ranked members to work with you, be your uke or be their uke to get your exercise in. think out of the box (mine is chinese take-out and you never know what you get) for the solution.

when the mat is set, the class starts right away. after the class has ended, the mats get stored in the storage room right away. during class breaks, the new people also asks me to teach them the previous techniques and I have to do the administrative works such as signing their attendance book.. and more often than not, I'm the only senior student to attend the class.

Rob Watson
03-16-2012, 12:59 PM
I believe that some of you have had this kind of feeling/experience before so I'd really like to hear how you handled it..

Patience. Think of it as you are bring these folks up to the level where they can do the fun stuff. How else are you going to get a variety of well trained folks to work with if they don't get trained?

If your ukemi is uncomfortable with beginners you have got a huge hole in your skill set that needs a tremendous amount of work. $0.02.

gregstec
03-16-2012, 01:19 PM
Sounds like you don't want to be yudansha - give up your rank and become a beginner again and then you can train with all the senor people you want :rolleyes:

ramenboy
03-16-2012, 01:45 PM
here's something to think about... how did you get through YOUR training? do you think your sensei/sempai had the same feelings about you?

time to give back a little.

Kevin Leavitt
03-16-2012, 01:59 PM
I have the same issue, albeit it is in my BJJ class. I am a brown belt in BJJ, and the most senior guy around my area. I virtually have no one to challenge and train me and I spend almost 100% of my time instructing.

As my black belt told me, welcome to the other side! I am now in a postion where I will spend most of my time leading and teaching and less just having fun training.

It is a different level of growth. I am held even more accountable for doing techniques, kata, and movements correctly. I have to set the example, so my growth and development is different. I have to work on my communication skills and learn how to work with students.

Maybe look at what you are doing in a different light?

It was hard for me at first making the transition to being a senior, but now I understand it better. I still like it when I can get on the mat with guys that are better than me and just have fun and roll. However, those times are rare these days. I feel your pain!

Demetrio Cereijo
03-16-2012, 02:00 PM
time to give back a little.

How was the saying? Give them a hand and they'll take your arm?

Shadowfax
03-16-2012, 02:12 PM
I am still working my way toward shodan but I understand a bit of what you are feeling. We have a flood of new people in our small dojo and yep all of the more experienced students are expected to pair up with and help the beginners. Yep sometimes you just want to work out hard and sometimes it is frustrating to work with someone who does not know where to put his/her hands or feet let alone how to do a technique.

But you know I have found that I learn a whole lot of things while trying to find a way to teach someone what they need to do. I notice things and become aware of details I had not really thought of for a while if at all. There is a lot of value in working with brand new people, remembering that we to were once brand new. Teaching new people has helped me to be much more aware of what I am doing in my own training.

Luckily for me our little dojo has classes set aside that are only for the more advanced students so we do get to train hard too and sometimes sensei will specifically pair up a couple of advanced students and give them something more complex to work on while he/she is working with beginners on something else. Maybe you should ask your sensei to do something similar if he has not already.

Remember that the dojo needs fresh blood. You need those beginners especially for a small dojo that is just making ends meet. You don't want to chase them away by your resentful attitude. Trust me they can feel that from you and it will discourage many of them from continuing.

Talk to your sensei about your frustrations if you are able and even ask some of the more advanced people to work out with you hard after class or use one of them for demo and really throw them around to show your new student what will be possible for them in the future. Just this week I really was having a fierce need to just really train hard and get thrown around and I made that need known and had no problem finding a number of people more than happy to fill that need for me. My own teachers took up that task quite happily.

One of the things my teachers have made sure to tell us from early on. We should expect that as we progress we will have more responsibility to help those behind us to learn and once shodan has been reached we ought to expect that we will be required to take up some of the responsibly in teaching. I have already been required to bow in and lead class a couple of times. I look at those assignments as a mark of my teacher's trust in me and as a privileged assignment rather than an onerous and distasteful chore.

Janet Rosen
03-16-2012, 03:14 PM
If I haven't absorbed enough after a certain # of yrs on the mat to essentially be self-correcting a fair amount of the time, if I can't learn from working with beginners, then I figure I ought to quit aikido.

ramenboy
03-16-2012, 03:16 PM
How was the saying? Give them a hand and they'll take your arm?

ha! or wrist? :P

Walter Martindale
03-16-2012, 09:42 PM
here's something to think about... how did you get through YOUR training? do you think your sensei/sempai had the same feelings about you?

time to give back a little.

I was going to say.. I wonder how the senior students felt while they were helping you learn to the stage you're at...

Learn from the people you're practicing with - help them get better so that you've got more senior folks around, and then THEY can help some of the beginners...
W

dapidmini
03-16-2012, 09:42 PM
here's something to think about... how did you get through YOUR training? do you think your sensei/sempai had the same feelings about you?

I agree that we shouldn't always be on the receiving end, and we have to give back at some point. but one can only stand so much boredom before he snaps..

I first started Aikido in a dojo where the mats were fixed on the floor. so we didn't have to set up and put them away after class is over. and I had my brother (who lives in another province now) to work with. we started together, so we were both beginners. fortunately, my cousin was a fast learner so we were able to train a lot after class WITHOUT much help from our seniors (they just needed to point out a few things a few times, and we'll remember it and practice until we get it right). I'm sad that none of the new people in my dojo can or willing to take as much training or pain that we went through

I was going to say.. I wonder how the senior students felt while they were helping you learn to the stage you're at...

Learn from the people you're practicing with - help them get better so that you've got more senior folks around, and then THEY can help some of the beginners...
W

my previous dojo has A LOT of yudanshas so they take turns on taking charge of the new people. and the Sensei didn't bother with the new people too much, because most of the people that came there were really prepared to train and learn hard. so they actually listen and remembers what were shown in the front(just 4 times for each technique, 1 left and right omote, 1 left and right ura). we were basically taking care of ourselves most of the time.

Michael Hackett
03-17-2012, 12:02 AM
Unless you are an Academy Award level actor, you can bet the beginners can feel and sense your attitude. That doesn't create an environment where they will want to return and work hard to become better. They don't know enough to do you any favors and you certainly sound as if you're not doing them any favors. Either develop a positive attitude towards teaching them or give up on the teaching until you can show that kind of attitude.

sakumeikan
03-17-2012, 04:40 AM
ever since I passed my yudansha exam, Sensei has asked me to teach some of the classes and that made me unable to train as hard as I wanted to. and it's been almost six months since Sensei started asking me to teach the classes..

I'm really tired of teaching beginners in my current dojo. I had to hold back when doing a technique with them, thus I don't get the exercise I came to train for (they can't do a decent ukemi because my dojo focuses more on teaching them how to be a nage, instead of uke). I don't get to improve my timing because I have to stop in each movements to show them to the students..

I just love the feeling when I can do a technique with correct timing and flow. I've actually been having a bad mood if I couldn't spend 2 hours throwing and getting thrown at least every other day. maybe it's the endorphine or something.. I also want to be able to train as hard as I can when I still have the energy and time for it, instead of wasting my time teaching people who don't even really have the passion for aikido. they said that they want to exercise. but instead of training hard, most of them just chat on the mat. it really pisses me off and make me want to leave them and pair up with other senior students who I can apply my real aikido to and have the desire to learn and train hard..

english is not my first language so I can't describe my feelings very well but I hope that you get how irritated I'm feeling. I'm actually considering taking up capoeira and taekwondo to get the exercise I wanted that Aikido can't provide me.

I believe that some of you have had this kind of feeling/experience before so I'd really like to hear how you handled it..

Dear Mr Santana,
If your sensei is asking you to take every class every day I could say you a some justification to be upset.On the other hand if you are only teaching one /two classes a week whats the problem?I think you come across to me as somewhat self centred./selfish.By that I mean you are thinking about you.
If you had not been taught by someone , who spent time /energy with you , you would not be a dan grade,?Why not use your time spent with these beginners to polish your own art do you think because you now have first dan you are a good aikidoka? Teaching allows one to contribute something back to others.All you appear to be is resentful of beginners. If the beginners are lazy , as the teacher you do something about it . Wake them up !! The beginners are necessary in a dojo -they are the future.You should feel honoured that your instructor thinks you are capable of teaching them.
Your attitude is not helping the members.Who would want a teacher who is not interested /lacks patience /clearly is bored to tears and cannot be bothered. My advice either alter you mindset , or have the guts to tell you instructor you do not want to teach.As it is if I was in your class with you as my instructor[thankfully I am not] I would ditch you as fast as possible., What Aikido needs most of all are competent teachers who are compassionate /skilled/patient and care about their members.
In my book you do not exemplify these virtues.Do your teacher and your students a favour.Change your perspective/stop teaching or leave and take up something else. To my mind you have learnt a few waza , but little about Aikido. Cheers, Joe.

Hanna B
03-17-2012, 05:04 AM
here's something to think about... how did you get through YOUR training? do you think your sensei/sempai had the same feelings about you?

time to give back a little.

Well.

Yeah.

But.

Why doesn't the dojo have more yudansha? Perhaps it is something in how the dojo is operated and how the classes are taught, that make them disappear. Maybe they all get worn out by having this burden laid on them. They don't yet know how to learn from training with beginners, and they seldom feel they get much out from practise.

Teaching mixed level classes, including beginners, while giving something to all levels is difficult. I really don't think that those who never trained in such a setting, and much less taught such classes, will understand.

Perhaps you recieved lots of pushing and help before the shodan test, and now your teacher puts part of that energy elsewhere? Still, it's not clever letting the advanced students feel they are almost forgotten and ignored. David S, maybe you should talk to your teacher about it. There's no guarantee you'll have satisfying answers from him. But maybe you'll get him thinking. Perhaps he can compensate you by tossing you aroung for a couple of minutes, a couple of times during class, so you'll be happy to go back to the beginners to get some rest :D or something like that. (Oh yes, you learn a lot from taking ukemi from skilled people) OTOH he may get angry at you and think you are ungrateful. Well... you are already thinking about leaving if the situation doesn't get any better, right?

Lyle Laizure
03-17-2012, 09:42 AM
Why not take over the class and only hold classes twice a week. The other time you can visit the dojo from the nearby town that the curent sensei comes from and train there?

sakumeikan
03-17-2012, 11:59 AM
Why not take over the class and only hold classes twice a week. The other time you can visit the dojo from the nearby town that the curent sensei comes from and train there?

Dear Lyle,
Nice way of escaping.The problem is not the sensei or the members/beginners. The problem is the man himself. He is a person who seems to use others and brings little to the table in respect of giving back that which someone gave him. Cheers, Joe

sakumeikan
03-17-2012, 12:03 PM
I'm currently making enough money. so I'm not interested in asking money from the dojo when the dojo is having financial problems..;)

Dear David,
I see that you have one redeeming quality here. Why not discover other traits , eg wiliingness , enthusiasm to help others , your sensei who perhaps need your support?Service to others can be rewarding. Cheers, Joe

dapidmini
03-17-2012, 12:07 PM
thanks for all your comments. I see now how a comment can be so different when it's coming from someone who really understands the situation an OP is having and those who don't.

Well.

Yeah.

But.

Why doesn't the dojo have more yudansha? Perhaps it is something in how the dojo is operated and how the classes are taught, that make them disappear. Maybe they all get worn out by having this burden laid on them. They don't yet know how to learn from training with beginners, and they seldom feel they get much out from practise.

Teaching mixed level classes, including beginners, while giving something to all levels is difficult. I really don't think that those who never trained in such a setting, and much less taught such classes, will understand.

Perhaps you recieved lots of pushing and help before the shodan test, and now your teacher puts part of that energy elsewhere? Still, it's not clever letting the advanced students feel they are almost forgotten and ignored. David S, maybe you should talk to your teacher about it. There's no guarantee you'll have satisfying answers from him. But maybe you'll get him thinking. Perhaps he can compensate you by tossing you aroung for a couple of minutes, a couple of times during class, so you'll be happy to go back to the beginners to get some rest :D or something like that. (Oh yes, you learn a lot from taking ukemi from skilled people) OTOH he may get angry at you and think you are ungrateful. Well... you are already thinking about leaving if the situation doesn't get any better, right?

thanks for the reply, Hanna. I still love Aikido and would like to continue training in the dojo, if possible. the people are actually quite nice as a person so I'd like to hang around them. but in appropriate times. and I love Sensei's aikido and techniques..

well, I think I'll try using some of the ways to get enough exercise for a while.. let's see how it works out.:rolleyes:

Hanna B
03-17-2012, 12:24 PM
Is there a hope that you will soon have more fellow yudansha, to share the task of taking care of the beginners in mixed class?

How was these classes operated before you got your shodan? Who trained with the beginners then?

Hanna B
03-17-2012, 12:46 PM
If you had mat time outside class when you could play with people on somewhat your level this situation might not feel as a burden, the way it does now. It could be that your teacher doesn't see the consequences of this lack of off class mat time. Teachers often follow the system they were formed in, without much reflektion. They might not see how practical differences in their own dojo as opposed to the one where they were trained should be adapted to also makes changes in dojo culture/class structure etc necessary. One class a week geared at higher levels maybe could be an idea? that will give you the energy you need for helping with the beginners.

In your dojo, do you usually train with the same partner the whole class? Introducing partner rotation, and dividing the duty of taking care of the newbes between the more advanced students in the group, could be a solution. There are flip sides to the no partner change-system too, but this is one of the major downsides. It's much easier to be the nice and caring sempai if you don't have to fulfill that role all the time.

I do suggest talking to your sensei.

I much prefer dojos where people are supposed to help out and think of the dojo as a whole, and not at every occasion grab the partner that suits them best. However, everybody also needs to be a little selfish - but too much selfishness ruins the dojo. There's a balance.

Eva Antonia
03-17-2012, 01:12 PM
Dear David,

I don't know you, and I don't know your dojo, so no need to make comments on your character or the quality of teaching over there.
But there are two cases in my experience, where we were in a very similar situation.

1) The teacher of the dojo I join in Turkey virtually started from scratch. He founded the university dojo at Istanbul Technical University when he was shodan, and since the dojo was new, and the only one at the university, all students were beginners. So for some years he only worked with beginners (except seminars, and in Turkey they are not so frequent as here in Belgium) and educated his ukes. That was some seven or eight years ago. When I first came to his dojo, he had already one yudansha and ten or so advanced kyus. When I go there now, there are four or five classes per DAY, for small kids, advanced kids, tanto/ bokken, beginner adults, advanced adults, you name it. It cost him some years, and a lot of time, but finally it worked. So, there are no good ukes => you start producing them, and some day you'll have them.

2) In my dojo here in Belgium, all advanced students dropped out when the old sensei quit due to health reasons. Most of them went to a neighbouring dojo, and only us (4th kyu and lower) remained. Another teacher took over; he had some "advanced" students, but still there were very few hakamas on the mat. That was three years ago. No we have a 2nd dan, who joined from outside, and apparently we were not too boring to train with, so he stayed, and all the "old" aikidokas advanced, so there is always someone advanced to train with.

This said, I always have perceived it as a honour to be found good enough to teach beginners. If I don't know anything, I can't transmit anything. So if the teacher trusts me enough to let me teach beginners, I see it as a compliment, but also as a responsibility, and actually I even enjoy it. We have two classes where most students are beginners, and two classes where most students are advanced. I go to all of them, and I think it is interesting to work with beginners
=> they attack differently (they are not yet formed in the aikido mould), so you have to be more flexible
=> they don't know the movement very well, so you have to be slow and precise. That improves also your own techniques.
=> sometimes they are quite observant and tell you about an error you never found out yourself...

And in case its getting bored, there are always seminars.

Best regards,

Eva

Hanna B
03-17-2012, 01:39 PM
thanks for all your comments. I see now how a comment can be so different when it's coming from someone who really understands the situation an OP is having and those who don't.

I haven't been in your clothes, exactly. But all dojos that don't have beginner classes have to deal with this: how to teach and how to organize things so that the demands of all levels are met.

I've taught in a small dojo where I mostly had beginners plus one 3rd kyu student. After one year I realise I had put most of my effort on the beginners, and not given him enough time and attention.

I've been in dojos where we trained with the same partner the whole class, and the more advanced students were assigned the task of taking care of a beginner. Some of the advanced students loved it. Some were mildly unhappy about the situation but didn't feel they could complain... there is much to learn from teaching beginners - I like it, I even started a small university dojo in order to be able to continue doing it. But like in everything else, people are different. For some people it takes more time to appreciate working with beginners. But usually, I'd say that's not really expected at shodan. (Then there are those who LOVE teaching a beginner since they can spread their ego all over the poor beginner. It's not always those who are most fond of training with beginners who do the best job at it)

I've also trained at dojos where everybody took care of themselves, and chose training partners only to their own benefit never thinking about the good of the dojo. This can sometimes create good aikido, but never happy dojos.

So I've wrestled with these issues, a lot! from different perspectives.

Stories like Eva's, and dojos I've seen where by some funny coincidence most of the advanced students drop out when they have to spend too much time taking care of beginners, tell that your feelings are not that unusual. That people pass harsh judgements on you is unevitable, I think. They follow the general aikido/budo norm. But I do think that some people here could consider what Jun has written about moderating the tone of one's posts.

kewms
03-17-2012, 01:56 PM
From your post, I see two issues. The first is "getting exercise," for which there are plenty of solutions. Done right, aikido isn't great as exercise anyway. Join a gym, study another art, go running with your dog, whatever.

The second is that you feel like your own training is suffering because you're working with beginners all the time. For that, I agree with the consensus. It's a different kind of training, sure, but beginners have a lot to teach.

Katherine

Michael Hackett
03-17-2012, 02:05 PM
Hanna, I think, at least here in the United States, that we use the term sempai differently than in Japanese culture. Here I understand the term to mean someone who is senior and sets an example for those who are junior, a role model of sorts. My limited understanding is that in Japan a sempai is one who essentiall "adopts" a junior and guides that person's development. From my perspective, I can't understand how an individual can turn off his role as sempai and just be another student, any more than I can understand a formal leader of an organization ignoring his obligation as a leader to become just one of the troops. Are we using the term differently?

I don't speak to Mr. Santana's character. I am simply observing that his attitude towards training with beginners is quite likely obvious to them and counter-productive to their training and to the well-being of the dojo. In my opinion it would be better to not take on the role of training them, or change his attitude towards them. It is difficult enough to start training in this art without the added burden of feeling unwelcome and a trial to be borne. His annoyance is one issue, and his personal need for more substantial training is another. They are two different things, and he can accomplish his personal goals in other ways, without demonstrating the negative behavior of being annoyed.

Hanna B
03-17-2012, 02:14 PM
Michael, others have said harsher things than you have.

A sempai is the more advanced of two students - no more, no less. We all have sempai, those who started training before us/are more advanced, and kohai - those who started training after us/are less advaned. Someone who always is training with his juniors will be in the role of sempai all the time. When he's training with seniors or with people his own level, obviously he doesn't have to be doing any kind of mentoring/teaching. Then he can relax that part, and concentrate on other things.

I do think the Japanese stresses this more than Westerners typically do. But when you put advanced students to train with beginners, surely you are asking of them to act as sempai.

Michael Hackett
03-17-2012, 03:32 PM
Hanna, I think we agree on the use of the term "sempai", but we disagree somewhat in what that role entails. One who is sempai to another is always sempai, regardless of who he is training with at that moment. I may be kohai to my specific training partner at a certain moment, but I am always sempai to my juniors and I'm expected to set a proper example with my own conduct. I am obligated to be respectful to my dojo mates, demonstrate the proper ettiquette, and train in the manner that is expected in my dojo. I'm quibbling a bit admittedly, but I can't simply turn off that role, any more than my sensei can turn off his role in the dojo. I might not be tasked or obligated to train/teach/coach a junior at a certain time, but I am always obligated to act appropriately. That view is why I argued with your earlier post and now you've clarified and we're probably not that far apart.

hughrbeyer
03-17-2012, 09:32 PM
I have to say, I have some sympathy with the OP. Yeah, you can learn a lot from teaching and from working with beginners. But... teaching several times a week? As a new shodan? For the whole class? So that you never get to practice with people at your own level or better? Without changing partners so you're working with just one new person? When you're not actually running the class so you can't fix the problems you see (like people chatting on the mat)?

I don't know if all that matches the OP's situation but even if just most of them do, I can see being unhappy. I'd work towards doing some classes which are for senior people only. Or maybe start an informal working group that can practice outside of class time.

Linda Eskin
03-18-2012, 12:27 AM
... I don't get the exercise I came to train for (they can't do a decent ukemi because my dojo focuses more on teaching them how to be a nage, instead of uke).

My idea will only address a tiny part of your issue, but it's worth a try. If your dojo is too focused on the techniques, and not enough on ukemi, maybe you could be The One Who Focuses On Ukemi.

At the dojo where I train Sensei teaches most of the classes, and the rest are taught by the yudansha. Each of them has a little stronger focus in one area - ukemi, suwari-waza, paired weapons practice, etc.. They get to focus on an aspect that inspires them, and for those of us in their classes, we get a variety of approaches to teaching and technique.

One of the main reasons I came to Aikido was to learn ukemi. Maybe you aren't the only one at your dojo who wishes there was a stronger focus on it.

kewms
03-18-2012, 01:09 AM
My idea will only address a tiny part of your issue, but it's worth a try. If your dojo is too focused on the techniques, and not enough on ukemi, maybe you could be The One Who Focuses On Ukemi.

This is an excellent point... Their ukemi isn't very good. But you're doing a lot of the teaching. So why aren't you teaching them better ukemi?

Katherine

dapidmini
03-18-2012, 09:01 AM
Dear David,

1) The teacher of the dojo I join in Turkey virtually started from scratch. He founded the university dojo at Istanbul Technical University when he was shodan, and since the dojo was new, and the only one at the university, all students were beginners. ... there are four or five classes per DAY, for small kids, advanced kids, tanto/ bokken, beginner adults, advanced adults, you name it. It cost him some years, and a lot of time, but finally it worked. So, there are no good ukes => you start producing them, and some day you'll have them.

hats off to the Teacher in Turkey. I admire his perseverance and spirit of spreading Aikido. and 5 classes per DAY? now that's what I call full time job. I don't think I'm as great a teacher as he is.


2) ...so there is always someone advanced to train with.

...I see it as a compliment, but also as a responsibility, and actually I even enjoy it. We have two classes where most students are beginners, and two classes where most students are advanced. I go to all of them, and I think it is interesting to work with beginners


unfortunately, most of the "old" students only comes 1-2 times a week while I come to almost every class (6 classes a week). so in most of the classes, we almost always get overwhelmed because the new students to old students ratio is about 4-5 : 1


And in case its getting bored, there are always seminars.


unfortunately, in my country there are very few seminars. and most of the time it's in another province, so I can't take part in it because I have to go to work.


I don't speak to Mr. Santana's character. I am simply observing that his attitude towards training with beginners is quite likely obvious to them and counter-productive to their training and to the well-being of the dojo. In my opinion it would be better to not take on the role of training them, or change his attitude towards them. It is difficult enough to start training in this art without the added burden of feeling unwelcome and a trial to be borne. His annoyance is one issue, and his personal need for more substantial training is another. They are two different things, and he can accomplish his personal goals in other ways, without demonstrating the negative behavior of being annoyed.

it's not that I hate teaching, I just want to train hard as well. when I'm teaching, I only focus on teaching. I still think being asked to teach is an honor and responsibility. it's just that at the end of a week, I thought to myself "what have I been spending all those hours of my life for?".

I'm perfectly ready and willing to give back to my Kohai, but it doesn't mean that I have to spend every night just to give to everyone and getting nothing for myself, right?

This is an excellent point... Their ukemi isn't very good. But you're doing a lot of the teaching. So why aren't you teaching them better ukemi?

Katherine

believe me, I've been teaching a lot more ukemi than how I was taught in my previous dojo. but most of them either too stiff or can't or don't have the intention to focus on training and watch the details that are being pointed out by the instructor and follow them

dapidmini
03-18-2012, 09:27 AM
the time limit to edit my last post has expired and I just read this post.

From your post, I see two issues. The first is "getting exercise," for which there are plenty of solutions. Done right, aikido isn't great as exercise anyway. Join a gym, study another art, go running with your dog, whatever.

The second is that you feel like your own training is suffering because you're working with beginners all the time. For that, I agree with the consensus. It's a different kind of training, sure, but beginners have a lot to teach.

Katherine

in my previous dojo, I got more exercise than I could've wished for that I had to sit and rest on the edge of the mat some of the times because most of the students are so full of energy and looks ready to spend all of them on the mat.

I'm not only looking for exercise, but I also love the feeling when I do an aikido technique correctly (precise movement, timing, balance keeping and taking, etc). that's why if possible I'd like to train hard in the dojo. I've tried going to the gym and jogging, but they don't give me the same feeling I get in the dojo..

when I tried going to the only judo dojo in my town, it turns out that the people are not nearly as nice as the people in aikido dojo.

I went to a taekwondo class too but not for long, because sensei started asking me to teach a class on the same schedule as the taekwondo class.

I also went to a kungfu and muay thai class but the teacher had to close down the class because his job is taking too much of his time

Janet Rosen
03-18-2012, 01:24 PM
David, it sure looks like you have been trying to find solutions, and I salute you for that.
I am wondering .... if you need to increase student's ability to take ukemi and you need a bit of a workout...why not spend the first 15 minutes of a class specifically on ukemi skills, and then close the class with line practice jiyuwaza - you start as nage - they line up and one at a time (not randori style) each student comes as quickly as he/she is comfortable with either a designated attack or any attack and you do simple "randori throw" paced to each one's abilities to let them get more comfortable....if they each run up to take their turn you will get some exercise. Then they get to practice randori throw with you in line as one of the ukes.
You could of course do technique on them when you are nage but in my experience for newbies it makes more sense when they are nage to be limited to the simplest of kokyu throws.
Good to teach ukemi skills (including giving a real attack while moving, rather than just hurling oneself), pacing, flow, etc - and good way for everybody to work up a bit of a sweat.

Lyle Laizure
03-18-2012, 04:57 PM
Dear Lyle,
Nice way of escaping.The problem is not the sensei or the members/beginners. The problem is the man himself. He is a person who seems to use others and brings little to the table in respect of giving back that which someone gave him. Cheers, Joe

Sarcasm isn't heard well via text. I agree he needs to give back to the others. Something that I am sure anyone who has practiced any art for any real length of time has done. I certainly didn't walk into the dojo and not need my sempai's help. There is a responsibility inherent with accepting rank.

Shadowfax
03-18-2012, 09:08 PM
unfortunately, most of the "old" students only comes 1-2 times a week while I come to almost every class (6 classes a week). so in most of the classes, we almost always get overwhelmed because the new students to old students ratio is about 4-5 : 1

I'm perfectly ready and willing to give back to my Kohai, but it doesn't mean that I have to spend every night just to give to everyone and getting nothing for myself, right?


Ok questions based on this.

1) Are all of the 5-6 classes a week your dojo has open to everyone or are classes classified as beginner, advanced only, intermediate etc?

2) how many of those classes each week are you actually leading/instructing?

If your classes are all open to all levels you might talk to your sensei about making some of the classes advanced only so that your higher level students can focus on more than just basics. I agree it is not fair to expect your senior students to shepherd beginners every single class. But is this really the case in your dojo or are you just not looking for ways and opportunities to continue your own advancement while also helping those behind you?

If you are teaching all of the classes every week or a larger number than what you would like then you need to learn how to set some limits. You can tell your teacher that you can only teach a certain number of classes per week.

If you are in a mixed level class and are not leading you can allow the beginners to train with one another once they have had a few classes and grab someone more advanced for part of the class. I do this myself. So far no one has died. Beginners need to learn that they are not going to be led by the hand forever. Yes the first 5-6 classes maybe they need to be taken under wing more but they need to learn to work with everyone and that includes people at their own level or even newer if someone new turns up for class that day. You are not doing them any favors by babying them.

My dojo is quite small. We only have 5 classes a week and three of those are mixed level Beginner oriented classes. But we do have two classes where we can get into deeper and more energetic training as well. Sure I miss having 5 classes a week of training that is geared for intermediate/advanced levels but OTOH I think I have really learned a lot from working with all of the new people. Even if I do have an awfully hard time not flattening them by accident. :o

kewms
03-18-2012, 09:15 PM
unfortunately, most of the "old" students only comes 1-2 times a week while I come to almost every class (6 classes a week). so in most of the classes, we almost always get overwhelmed because the new students to old students ratio is about 4-5 : 1

There are two reasons why this might happen.

One is good: the dojo is new and growing, so there aren't very many senior students and there's a steady influx of new students. But over time, you'll accumulate more senior students and the situation will improve.

One is bad: no one sticks around long enough to get really good. And perhaps now you know why not.

Katherine

dapidmini
03-19-2012, 06:21 AM
there are actually 4 shodans in my dojo right now. but most of them can't come as often because of personal reasons. being the only shodan in a class, Sensei always tell me to take care of the new people. Sensei can only handle so many new people at once, and when there is a student doing something wrong, I feel the urge to correct him, therefore, losing my chance to train...

so I guess I'm having this problem because I care too much about the new people? should I just ignore them occasionally? I want people to at least get the basic movement right so that Sensei won't need to lecture them too much. he does that, btw.

Shadowfax
03-19-2012, 07:34 AM
so I guess I'm having this problem because I care too much about the new people? should I just ignore them occasionally? I want people to at least get the basic movement right so that Sensei won't need to lecture them too much. he does that, btw.

If sensei is teaching and leading class then it is his job to teach and to correct not yours. Sometimes people make mistakes. Often they learn from them.

You have not answered any of my questions.

lbb
03-19-2012, 08:43 AM
Hi David,

One question for you: as you are taking part of the teaching load, and particularly as you are a novice teacher, do you get the opportunity to discuss your teaching with your sensei? Do you take advantage of that opportunity?

It occurs to me that being a new teacher is a very lonely place, IF you don't have a senior teacher to talk to and say, "I was teaching such-and-such and they were all doing thus-and-so, so I tried to explain it this way, and they all looked blank, and..."

Mary Eastland
03-19-2012, 09:40 AM
I agree with Mary M....when I started teaching I had a myriad of feelings and ideas...I really appreciate that I could talk to Ron about them.

I still do. We chat about every class...before and after.

Amir Krause
03-19-2012, 11:21 AM
Hi David

In the dojo learn we have the same concept- Yundasha should help beginners to free Sensei to deal with others. In the past, I have had a period in which I had the same problem, my solution was simple - I talked with my Sensei, and explained about my feelings. Turns out, he felt I was interested in teaching, since, siilarly t your own descrition, I used to stop my own training to help others (in our dojo, this is even expected of Yudasha / vetrans).

After our talk, I found I only had to treach at some specific part of the time, which provided me with additional time to train with others. Further, Sensei realized he has to show "favorisem" to those who dedicate time to teach - and invite them to be his Uke and practice with him some. Thus incouraging other Yundasha (we had some) to give more attention to beginners even if their time is limited.

I shoudl also note that in oru dojo too, people first learn Ukemi and only then learn anything else. e.g. first lesson - backwards fall tens of times, then some Korindo Tai-Sabaki, then a single technique involving backwards fall when they are Uke.

Good luck
Amir

Lunatic Bodhisattva
03-20-2012, 07:48 AM
In my current dojo our classes are mixed. We try to pair up with someone different for each technique. Sometimes you are pared up with a beginner and sometimes with a senior student, sometimes you do more teaching, sometimes more learning. It was the same way at Boulder Aikikai.

That said, teaching newer students is important. I think it is very important to help less experienced individuals create proper habits, correct stance, moving from center, proper angle, proper rolls etc. Give them the fundamentals to progress to the level that allows them to go all out.

I also believe every Dojo should teach proper Ukemi before teaching anything else.

If you you are worried about getting a workout perhaps an hour of P90X everyday would help.

Good luck, I really hope you get it all sorted out.

TheAikidoka
03-20-2012, 09:30 AM
Hi David,
I too have had experiences like this too, and yes it is frustrating and can really get you down when you "think" people are not trying hard enough, when people seem to be not interested in the learning Aikido.

my question to you is a simple one, are you interested in learning Aikido?

Because if you truly are, then your teacher is teaching you an invaluable lesson, Humility.

when students are newly promoted to yudansha, it goes to there head and start throwing advanced and beginners all over the place to display there knowledge and power.
Just like you said this is exactly what you enjoy doing, and this is what training means to you.
Your teacher by getting you to teach as a man of rank, is showing you that it's not about throwing people all over the dojo and saying see look what I can do! True knowledge and power should not be displayed in a vulgar demonstration of constant winning over the opponent.
it is taking the care to show begginers, the correct way, so you bring them gently up to your level of understanding. In this way the whole dojo improves at the same time, and then you can train in a manor you see fit for the students and situation in hand.This is an honour and a blessing. Not something that must be endured and put up with until a time that you can start throwing and pinning people down again.

indeed by teaching, you learn more about yourself and the technique's of Aikido, because you have to break the fundamentals right down to their essential points, this re-inforces your own understanding whilst encouraging students to see and feel it for themselves.

last Thursday we spent two hours practicing only Ai hanmi Ikkyo, with the emphasis on the beginners, and on learning the fundamental basics of body movement to allow the technique to unfold. I found this to be totally rudimentary and frustraing and extremely annoying, I wanted to practice throws, get all sweaty from the constant changing of techniques and increased pace that the normal class offers.
Until I saw the care in which sensei was demonstrating humility, correct fundamental Waza. And I thanked him for a great class.

It is not about what you or I want to be doing, its about what the beginner's needs to learn, understand and then know in themselves, that is most important. Anything else should be seen as very selfish indeed, this is how I felt last Thursday when I caught myself wanting to do all the other stuff Aikido offers, I felt selfishness.

If your students lack anything, it could be they have not been taught it, did not understand it, or do not believe it works. It is your Job as Yudansha and now as a sensei, to make sure that if your students lack anything, you fulfill that lack with correct knowledge, and see to it that it is applied correctly also.

In Budo,

Andy B

aikidoka81
03-20-2012, 11:56 PM
my previous dojo has A LOT of yudanshas so they take turns on taking charge of the new people. and the Sensei didn't bother with the new people too much, because most of the people that came there were really prepared to train and learn hard. so they actually listen and remembers what were shown in the front(just 4 times for each technique, 1 left and right omote, 1 left and right ura). we were basically taking care of ourselves most of the time.

That's what your sensei should do. He should get the seniors to take turns teaching the newbies. While a senior is teaching newbies, the other seniors can get the training they need. That's what my dojo does. Talk nicely to your sensei about your problem and suggest that the seniors take turns teaching the newbies so that all the seniors get the training that they need. A newbie must pair up with a senior so that the senior can guide them. When I was a newbie and I paired up with another newbie, we were both clueless and didn't know what to do. We were all newbies once, we all needed seniors to teach and guide us otherwise we'd be so lost. If my seniors were unhappy and impatient when teaching me, I wouldn't be happy either. I might have even lost interest and been scared off.

Alberto_Italiano
04-17-2012, 10:48 AM
ever since I passed my yudansha exam, Sensei has asked me to teach some of the classes and that made me unable to train as hard as I wanted to. and it's been almost six months since Sensei started asking me to teach the classes..

I'm really tired of teaching beginners in my current dojo. I had to hold back when doing a technique with them, thus I don't get the exercise I came to train for (they can't do a decent ukemi because my dojo focuses more on teaching them how to be a nage, instead of uke). I don't get to improve my timing because I have to stop in each movements to show them to the students..

I just love the feeling when I can do a technique with correct timing and flow. I've actually been having a bad mood if I couldn't spend 2 hours throwing and getting thrown at least every other day. maybe it's the endorphine or something.. I also want to be able to train as hard as I can when I still have the energy and time for it, instead of wasting my time teaching people who don't even really have the passion for aikido. they said that they want to exercise. but instead of training hard, most of them just chat on the mat. it really pisses me off and make me want to leave them and pair up with other senior students who I can apply my real aikido to and have the desire to learn and train hard..

english is not my first language so I can't describe my feelings very well but I hope that you get how irritated I'm feeling. I'm actually considering taking up capoeira and taekwondo to get the exercise I wanted that Aikido can't provide me.

I believe that some of you have had this kind of feeling/experience before so I'd really like to hear how you handled it..

I think I would be ok with you as a teacher.
My ideal teacher does not teach - he beats me up, throws me, and never illustrates one single technique, and never speaks one word, and just makes one gesture at the beginning of the lesson meaning: attack me ruthlessly, stupid monk!
1 hour of pure fight. No pauses, no explanations, no directions. Nothing. Just fight.

I go back home with my ideas very confused. I am aching. And most of all very humbled. I cannot place one thing right. I realize I am really mr nobody. I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling feeling how inferior I am. I realize I am worthless at aikido.
I run in my mind over and over again all that happened. I see my mistakes, a few of them at least, and I try to envision many ways not to make them again, most of which will come out to be just other mistakes - new ones.

Suddenly, I realize that every other lesson, mistake by mistake, I am magicallygetting a tad better every time.

My teacher, in turn, can train freestyle.
Oh and there is no dojo. It's an open space, and the mat is sands. The weather does not matter - given day, given hour, we're there, who arrives first seizas and zenwaits.

Atharvaveda Aikido, Aikido in the Forests :D

Meggy Gurova
04-24-2012, 07:25 AM
... instead of wasting my time teaching people who don't even really have the passion for aikido. they said that they want to exercise. but instead of training hard, most of them just chat on the mat. it really pisses me off and make me want to leave them and pair up with other senior students who I can apply my real aikido to and have the desire to learn and train hard..


Hi David,
I see you got great advices. How is it going on now after some time? You wrote something about your first sensei and how the training was hard and he did not needed to show the techniques a lot of times- you just learned. Sounds like a great role model. Maybe you can think about whats the technique of his teaching and try to copy it.
Sounds like you are not happy with your own classes. I mean you are "the boss" you can create the perfect class exactly the way you want it to be. If you believe in your students they will prove you they can do more that you thought they could.
I think the way of training is only depending on the teacher. You are the one that have to create the level of training and the discipline. You can choose powerfully techniques in motion, train a lot of ukemi every class and encourage them to rase up from the tatami faster after being throne to increase the dynamic of the training and for them not to have time to talk with each other ;)
Other thing that helps is when showing the technique to all of them to show it 1,2 or 3 times slowly just bringing up the most important things you want to point out then showing it 2-3 times fast the way it should be, then showing 1-2 times the uke part, and keeping to that method every time, so they have a kind of method they are used to see, and at the same time its keeping the dynamic of the hole training.

sakumeikan
04-24-2012, 05:30 PM
I think I would be ok with you as a teacher.
My ideal teacher does not teach - he beats me up, throws me, and never illustrates one single technique, and never speaks one word, and just makes one gesture at the beginning of the lesson meaning: attack me ruthlessly, stupid monk!
1 hour of pure fight. No pauses, no explanations, no directions. Nothing. Just fight.

I go back home with my ideas very confused. I am aching. And most of all very humbled. I cannot place one thing right. I realize I am really mr nobody. I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling feeling how inferior I am. I realize I am worthless at aikido.
I run in my mind over and over again all that happened. I see my mistakes, a few of them at least, and I try to envision many ways not to make them again, most of which will come out to be just other mistakes - new ones.

Suddenly, I realize that every other lesson, mistake by mistake, I am magicallygetting a tad better every time.

My teacher, in turn, can train freestyle.
Oh and there is no dojo. It's an open space, and the mat is sands. The weather does not matter - given day, given hour, we're there, who arrives first seizas and zenwaits.

Atharvaveda Aikido, Aikido in the Forests :D
Dear Alberto,
First let me ask how are you?Well I hope?Now a few questions 1.How many guys are in the class?2.What rank is your instructor and his lineage?3.Have you any reference other than your instructor that you are learning Aikido?
In my opinion simply getting a thorough bashing does not imply you are somehow getting better at aikido.My view is this.You need to train hard but train wisely.simply getting turned over by your teacher is in my mind counterproductive.Still if it works for you great.i can think of a quicker ways to acquire skills other than the above. Cheers, Joe.

Kevin Leavitt
04-24-2012, 11:58 PM
agree with Joe. with that logic, I should beat my kids everyday until they start behaving, then beat them a little more to ensure that it sticks...regardless of their actions and actual needs and psychology.

I have no issues with holding someone accountable and training hard, but it needs to be guided as well.

I do a pretty good job as a coach I think. I work hard with each student and try and adapt my training and teaching methods to them individually to help them develop the skills that I think are fundamentally important. Each one is different.

and yes, there are a few students that in the beginning, you can't begin to teach them until they are ready to learn and have actually followed the example Alberto presented. I call it "taming the wild mustang". I simply work with them until they are ready to learn...or the quit. Until they are ready to stop fighting and going all out...you can't really get to any true teaching and simply have to be patient and show them the error of their ways....God I love Marines! :)

Mike Hamer
08-22-2012, 11:14 PM
I love some of the replies on here.... :)

Richard Stevens
08-30-2012, 01:28 PM
It seems like you don't enjoy teaching. Don't teach.

Bengal107
08-30-2012, 03:09 PM
if i were you i would change aikido dojo. there's nothing wrong with that...you could look around in your city and find a better one probably. sorry if that came off as blunt but thats what i would do. forget doing things for other people and seeming polite, get what you want out of your practice and don't waste time.

TOMAC
11-01-2012, 11:49 AM
In my dojo, where my wife and I are senior instructors, we ask 1st kyu and shodans to teach beginner classes. The reason we do this is that we believe that teaching a class of beginners is a good way for students at that stage of their development to organize their thinking with regard to basic technique. If you are so sure of yourself that you feel that the teaching experience is not helping you to grow then you should reexamine how you approach the art. After more than 35 years in Aikido I still have moments of doubt about technique and principles of Aikido. Also, I find it a challenge to present the basics in a way that doesn't confuse and helps beginners grow.

Finally, if you're Sensei has asked you to take on teaching duties you should be complemented that he/she has that much confidence in you. You should return his/her trust by concentrating on doing your very best. If you simply believe your Sensei is dumping on you maybe you should look for another place to train. Frankly, if I had a student who felt that way I would be glad to have him/her out of the dojo.