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Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 01:54 PM
Hi,

I have a bit of a sensitive issue.
There is a student of no rank(7th kyu) in my school. They had previously trained for about three years off and on over seas with several unaffiliated/independent Aikido schools before coming to our school. One of the unaffiliated schools he says gave him a Dan ranking. His Aikido, according to my Sensei, myself and the rest of the instructors at our dojo is sub-par according to our standards for what a Dan rank should be... in fact it is sub-par to what we consider a 5th kyu.He claims he is just from Teacher XYZ's linage and we are a different style that's why it is different. But we have many students in our school who were formally from Teacher XYZ (even directly Teacher XYZ's students) they look nothing like him. But we have welcomed him to come and test and train with us :-D... when he first joined I and a few of the senior students put forth a lot of effort to understand and learn his approach to Aikido.

Now here's my issue: His attitude has gradually became sour. He arrives late because he hates the way we stretch in the beginning of class, gets on and off the mat without telling anyone where he's going.(A big no-no in our school.) This is a minor annoyance however.

The biggest issue is how he's effecting our junior students. :( He refused to train with the senior students, or instructor's of the dojo. He will only take people he "thinks" are of low rank as training partners in class. When my Sensei is holding a class this student will often ignore the exercise or technique we've been instructed to practice, grab a junior student as a partner and proceed to instruct our junior student in whatever the heck he seems to feel that student needs to learn in his opinion. When the teacher claps for everyone to line back up, often they have to clap more than once to get his attention. He'll just keep on trying to tutor the junior student while the instructor is trying to change techniques. If there is only one beginner on the mat, they poor thing is basically stalked by him for every technique. I have a few younger female students in the school, they have come to me privately and asked me to sit next to them during class so they can bow to train with me immediately. They are creeped out with how he wants to train ONLY with them. (I don't think he's a perv, but they do unfortunately :( )

We are also starting to have issues with new students. I'm designated to prepare junior students for their kyu tests.(6th through 1st) Often time I'll tell a junior student "Sensei wants to see this done this particular way for your test." Then the junior student will often reply "But blank told me to do it this way." And 99% of the time the way in which this guy is telling junior students to do test techniques would result in failure. He just doesn't understand our standards or our system.

He refuses to take ukemi. I mean sometimes he falls down awkwardly.. maybe 5-10 times per class. But the average Aikidoka takes a good 70-100 ukemi during a typical class. He even goes so far as to just walk forward without striking, or grabbing and expect the student to do the technique when we demand that he takes ukemi for his partner. But it has no energy, it isn't an attack actually. Just a lazy toad like movement forward, then he stands still refusing to fall down. Which is frustrating because he only trains with 7th and 6th kyu who are trying to learn form. :(

But the hardest issue is when I'm teaching my classes. He at least twice per-class will interrupt my demonstration to point out how what I'm doing is flawed. (which I always reply, let's discuss it after class or at open mat...to which we never end up doing because he won't train with anyone of dan ranking!) He does his typical ignore the exercise at hand, teach his junior partner whatever he wants to teach them crap. So I saw him teaching the junior student and went up and said to myself, "Well if he is instructing them, they obviously need help, i'm the teacher I'll go instruct them." I interjected and called the junior student to attack me. This guy told the junior student to come back to him... :-/ I said "I'm going to help them with the technique." He said "we aren't doing that technique" I ignored him and proceeded to instruct the junior student which is my job! This made him angry for some reason. To which he just said I made the junior student look worse, right in front of the junior student. Which sucks for the poor kids self esteem!

I got angry, I wanted to tell him to sit out. I wanted to tell him to get the hell off my mat. But I didn't. I clapped and told everyone to line up for lined ukemi drills. He sat out of course. But what got me more upset was the fact he was telling under-classmen they didn't have to participate if they didn't want to. That what I was teaching would only injure them. (I was teaching standard forward, backwards, and barrel-rolls. Not even break-falls!)

So this is my issue. I'm not the Sensei or head instructor. Just a senior instructor. I've relayed my issues to my Sensei, my Sensei has the same complaints. He does the same crap to my Sensei in class apparently. My Sensei is at a loss, and is just trying to not create awkwardness or a disruption. We want to be welcoming, and we don't want junior students to see any negativity between the seniors and this student. e sort of just been trying to be polite, isolate our junior students and hope he falls in line or quits. We have asked him to not do many of these above described behaviors. If a senior instructor asks him, he argues with them. If the Sensei asks him he nods, then just ignores the request. I'm not sure how this will end up.
If I was running the school I would told him he is not welcome to classes or suspend him. But I respect my Sensei's desire to try and ride it out.

Marc Abrams
06-21-2012, 02:43 PM
I'm frankly amazed that ANY sensei tolerates that crap for a milisecond! A dojo is not a democracy. Whoever is that teacher on the mat is the boss in that moment. No ands, ifs or buts about it. If a student does not like it, then that student has the opportunity not to attend that class. When a student enters the threshold of the dojo, there is an obligation of students and teachers about proper conduct that should upheld. The teachers, particularly, the dojo cho, needs to immediately assert authority regarding proper roles in a dojo. You are already describing a situation where this student has undermined the working of the dojo to the benefit of nobody in attendance. I would have taken that student aside in private and spell out the way in which the dojo is run and leave it up to the person to either comply or leave, with NOTHING in between.

Marc Abrams

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 02:48 PM
I'm frankly amazed that ANY sensei tolerates that crap for a milisecond! A dojo is not a democracy. Whoever is that teacher on the mat is the boss in that moment. No ands, ifs or buts about it. If a student does not like it, then that student has the opportunity not to attend that class. When a student enters the threshold of the dojo, there is an obligation of students and teachers about proper conduct that should upheld. The teachers, particularly, the dojo cho, needs to immediately assert authority regarding proper roles in a dojo. You are already describing a situation where this student has undermined the working of the dojo to the benefit of nobody in attendance. I would have taken that student aside in private and spell out the way in which the dojo is run and leave it up to the person to either comply or leave, with NOTHING in between.

Marc Abrams

I agree with you 100%. If it was my school, I would of already had that conversation with him. Not to be mean to him or anything, just it isn't helpful to the junior students or class. I've done my best to control my own classes, while trying to respect that the Sensei wants there to be no visible discourse between anyone in front of junior students. :/

philipsmith
06-21-2012, 02:49 PM
I agree with Marc.

He should be asked to leave

JJF
06-21-2012, 03:51 PM
You might consider asking a range of the more senior students to make sure he will practice with them - each taking shifts during each class. They should keep calm and ignore his c... while training seriously and at all times letting him know that they expect him to give honest attacks to the best of his ability and follow the directions of the instructor.

You might also tell him - quietly in an unambiguously way - that he most participate in all aspects of the training including ukemi training.

Tell him that it is important in your dojo to follow the rules of dojo-kun and that you would like to help him do this. Then hand him a short written list of do's and dont's.

This is a wonderful chance to practice being a good instructor. Speaking calmly but with great authority about how you expect people to behave. If he tells you something along of the lines of 'we are doing something else' then say - calmly - "Well.. in this dojo we hold it important that all students do exactly what the sensei has told them to. so go back to that." First time you might want to add a 'Please'.. then take it up a notch at the time. If you yell at him or loose your temper I am afraid you might just add to his mischief. He needs role models that seizes the role and helps him see the borders he is currently crossing.

It's good you talk to your dojo-cho. All instructors and relevant senior students should be included in the discussion. If you all agree on how to handle him, then he will either get the message from the united group of senseis - or he will leave since he is not getting his way.

If possible I hope you will avoid kicking him out. He needs this much more than many others. Help him grow as a person if you can find the power to do so.

Good luck

robin_jet_alt
06-21-2012, 04:38 PM
I agree with Marc too. That is just unbelievable.

Rob Watson
06-21-2012, 05:00 PM
My Sensei is at a loss

You got bigger problems than one jerk disrupting class.

Marc Abrams
06-21-2012, 05:14 PM
I agree with you 100%. If it was my school, I would of already had that conversation with him. Not to be mean to him or anything, just it isn't helpful to the junior students or class. I've done my best to control my own classes, while trying to respect that the Sensei wants there to be no visible discourse between anyone in front of junior students. :/

I hear what you are saying and suggest that you set an example for yourself. You can take him aside privately and let him know the "way of the land' or simply make a class announcement that everybody is expected to work together on the tasks that Sensei sets before them. If that person is not willing to do so, he is simply asked to remove himself from class so that there will be no discord and that you will be more than willing to discuss your action directly with him after the class has ended and in private.

The other issue to consider is that the best wishes and expectations of others do not always exist in reality. The teacher is responsible for the WHOLE CLASS. No discord among the whole class can also mean removing a divisive element from the mix. Frankly speaking, I think that the Dojo Cho needs to step to the proverbial plate on this one and set the standard, because there is visible discord in the dojo. Just because it is not being directly confronted does not mean that it is not plainly evident for all to see.

Marc Abrams

Janet Rosen
06-21-2012, 05:23 PM
You cannot change your dojocho (whose response I find unbelievable) but you certainly can and should set the tone and limits within your own class. If you "get in trouble" for doing so, rather than than this rude troublemaker being dealt with, that will make clear how dysfunctional the dojo culture is.

Travers Hughes
06-21-2012, 05:53 PM
Hi - first post from me (long time lurker). I agree with Marc Abrams and Philip Smith. I would even be more assertive - "asking" someone to leave implies that they have the control in the situation, and this is not the case (or shouldn't be). "Telling" them with the voice of authority that you have of taking that class seems more appropriate. Do you teach a regular schedule? If I were in your shoes, I would make plain that in MY classes (that are x,y and z), this behavior is not acceptable from anyone in these classes. If there are other classes available, direct the student to those classes. Let the other teachers know you have done this. You may find that in making your stance that the others follow.
This is not a matter of ego, but of safety. Sensei may have other reasons for not acting, so of course would recommend discussing with him/her first.
Other option is call this student out for ukemi when discussing a technique. Nothing like trial by fire and public humiliation to put one's skills into perspective.

gregstec
06-21-2012, 06:16 PM
Sounds like you have an issue with a young individual with an ego problem. Marc and others have giving good advice that in most cases would normally be followed by any dojo with a commitment to serious training - after all, that type of behavior is not tolerated in any teaching environment.

So, if your dojo is serious about its budo, this guy needs to change his behavior or be shown the door. However, if the dojocho is more interested in collecting this guy's dues, you got more problems than you realize; as I think someone already mentioned. Allowing this type of behavior to continue will eventually bring all students down to his level because the serious students will leave and all you will have left (and attract) will be just more students like him.

Good luck

Greg

Walter Martindale
06-21-2012, 06:19 PM
"Excuse me. We're practicing this, join in or leave"
"You - practice with him..."
"Now, practice with her..."
"Now, practice with him..."
"Excuse me - this isn't a democracy - if you don't like the way we do things, there's the door."
"You're taking ukemi - if you don't like it, there's the door."
"Yes, I know you're paying your membership, and that is to train in OUR system of Aikido."
"Ok - so-and-so told you to do something that way but you're here now, try to learn how we do it, and add our movements to your repertoire..."
"You have the manners of a two-year-old, we'll treat you that way if you wish. Now, go into the corner for a time-out."

James Sawers
06-21-2012, 07:26 PM
You've got a nut-job here and a serious safety issue. Calm discussion and logic does not work with such people. Show him the door post haste and be glad that no one has been hurt already. You and your other instructors are also nuts for putting up with such behavior. You are as much to blame. The nut-job probably can't help being a nut-job, but you and other instructors, I assume, have no excuse. Politness has nothing to do with it.

Michael Hackett
06-21-2012, 08:01 PM
There's a Japanese word that covers this situation perfectly, "Sayonara". If you are teaching and he behaves the way you've described, give him one warning and then DIRECT him to leave your mat during your class. He is disruptive and disrespectful and such conduct should not be tolerated.

Anthony Loeppert
06-21-2012, 08:43 PM
You've got a nut-job here and a serious safety issue. Calm discussion and logic does not work with such people. Show him the door post haste and be glad that no one has been hurt already. You and your other instructors are also nuts for putting up with such behavior. You are as much to blame. The nut-job probably can't help being a nut-job, but you and other instructors, I assume, have no excuse. Politness has nothing to do with it.

Ouch.... but maybe... Best to nip such things in the bud.

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 09:12 PM
You got bigger problems than one jerk disrupting class.

I know :/

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 09:21 PM
I hear what you are saying and suggest that you set an example for yourself. You can take him aside privately and let him know the "way of the land' or simply make a class announcement that everybody is expected to work together on the tasks that Sensei sets before them. If that person is not willing to do so, he is simply asked to remove himself from class so that there will be no discord and that you will be more than willing to discuss your action directly with him after the class has ended and in private.

The other issue to consider is that the best wishes and expectations of others do not always exist in reality. The teacher is responsible for the WHOLE CLASS. No discord among the whole class can also mean removing a divisive element from the mix. Frankly speaking, I think that the Dojo Cho needs to step to the proverbial plate on this one and set the standard, because there is visible discord in the dojo. Just because it is not being directly confronted does not mean that it is not plainly evident for all to see.

Marc Abrams

It has become apparent to other students unfortunately. He's been taken aside in the past. He at this point i think is doing stuff that is warranting that he should excuse himself from the mat.
I when I see a beginner not getting the training they need to be getting, I'll specifically tell that beginner to trade partners, forcing my problem student to train with a more senior student. I always make sure he partners with some one who won't accept him correcting them. In which he just gives that poor senior student crap ukemi, which pisses that senior student off. I'll also try to change to line techniques in which he's not allowed to teach anyone, which he typically just sits out. And then I have to say to him quietly to cut it out when he tries to encourage others students to also sit it out... like I'm giving them inferior instruction. I've been doing this about 15 years longer than this guy, so it is frustrating to see him trying to make they younger students not trust the way in which I'm leading them. It so far has just lead to a very strained personal relationship with this guy. Because i'm constantly after class having to say "Hey man, what was up with that?! Not cool!"

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 09:31 PM
You cannot change your dojocho (whose response I find unbelievable) but you certainly can and should set the tone and limits within your own class. If you "get in trouble" for doing so, rather than than this rude troublemaker being dealt with, that will make clear how dysfunctional the dojo culture is.

In general, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission with Sensei. I've been taking this approach to keep control of my classes as best as I can. My approach is more direct than Sensei's.

My only thought is that this person's dream is to be a teacher. He comes to teach obviously, not train. He keeps others from training. Sometimes when I'm called last minute to cover a class for another instructor, when he hears the instructor isn't showing up I've actually had to kick him out of the high seat. (He typically sits in the back of the mat where all the beginners are..his targets.) It just comes off super nutty to me.

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 09:40 PM
Hi - first post from me (long time lurker). I agree with Marc Abrams and Philip Smith. I would even be more assertive - "asking" someone to leave implies that they have the control in the situation, and this is not the case (or shouldn't be). "Telling" them with the voice of authority that you have of taking that class seems more appropriate. Do you teach a regular schedule? If I were in your shoes, I would make plain that in MY classes (that are x,y and z), this behavior is not acceptable from anyone in these classes. If there are other classes available, direct the student to those classes. Let the other teachers know you have done this. You may find that in making your stance that the others follow.
This is not a matter of ego, but of safety. Sensei may have other reasons for not acting, so of course would recommend discussing with him/her first.
Other option is call this student out for ukemi when discussing a technique. Nothing like trial by fire and public humiliation to put one's skills into perspective.

There is another teacher in our school that took a very aggressive tone with the guy. He just out rightly avoids the guys classes. He drives by and if he sees him teaching, he leaves lol. I wouldn't technically be apposed to this becoming my situation as well.

Found out today from a junior student that he has been inviting newbie students to receive instruction from him outside of class. I haven't told Sensei this yet. But that might just put Sensei over the edge with their patience with him... he's a nutter I think.

lbb
06-21-2012, 09:50 PM
I have never seen a situation remotely like this. No doubt this is due in part to the (thankfully) rare incidence of this sort of sociopath in the population, but also because in no dojo where I have trained would this behavior have been tolerated. Not one bit of it. You cross the line, if you're a newbie you have it explained to you where the line is. You get corrected. You're expected to stay corrected on your own. That's it. That's how it's supposed to work.

As for how it's working (or not working) in your dojo...no wonder your juniors are confused.

The guy's incorrigible. What does your sensei hope to accomplish with him? He's not going to get with the program; it's past time for him to leave.

Trying to be polite
06-21-2012, 09:51 PM
You've got a nut-job here and a serious safety issue. Calm discussion and logic does not work with such people. Show him the door post haste and be glad that no one has been hurt already. You and your other instructors are also nuts for putting up with such behavior. You are as much to blame. The nut-job probably can't help being a nut-job, but you and other instructors, I assume, have no excuse. Politness has nothing to do with it.

I agree entirely. We have been the ones allowing this to continue, for the sake of keeping peace with the guy and not causing a scene we've tried behind the scene methods of dealing with him. We've yet to go as far as give him ultimatums however. Sensei ask we not give ultimatums. Sensei has simply said to all of us "You need to keep control of your class, and I expect you to." Some instructors, including myself have taken his uke from him and directed them to new partners who are seniors and won't put up with it. It often leads to him sitting out... which is good with me. But I have to remind him he doesn't get to decide which part of the class he wishes to participate in or not. Come to think of it I had that same conversation with a 5 year old in the kids class last week lol

Michael Hackett
06-21-2012, 11:20 PM
Your sensei has told you and the other instructors to take control of your classes, so do it. If he wanted to place restrictions on your control, he would have done so. Do what's best for your class and the students attending. Immediately seize on his misconduct, correct it once, and then show him the door if it continues. That seems fully in keeping with what your sensei instructed you to do.

Janet Rosen
06-22-2012, 12:03 AM
Your sensei has told you and the other instructors to take control of your classes, so do it. If he wanted to place restrictions on your control, he would have done so. Do what's best for your class and the students attending. Immediately seize on his misconduct, correct it once, and then show him the door if it continues. That seems fully in keeping with what your sensei instructed you to do.

Yep.

James Sawers
06-22-2012, 12:24 AM
Once you finally get rid of this guy, you will probably hear about a new dojo in your area with an instructor with really advanced ranks in 4-5 different martial arts.

PeterR
06-22-2012, 01:05 AM
Rudeness comes in all sorts of forms.

I've had people show up with a little red book loudly proclaiming what I was doing was not Aikido to an actual physical assault. In both cases they had not actually crossed the threshold of the class so to speak so getting rid of them was no issue.

The most difficult was in Japan with a 30+ Japanese gentleman who the more he took the class, the more frustrated he became, to the more he ended up lecturing my Japanese partner on his shortcomings as a teacher. Finally things were said and he stormed out (the gentleman not the partner - of course the partner was also a gentleman). Strangely a few months later he came back and apologized having the same experience with different Aikido teachers but we declined his request to continue.

So - besides a story - if you feel that something must be said you are probably right and the longer you leave it the worse it will get. If you are not the head of the school it is not your place to kick someone out but you should tell whoever is your opinion. Most people will fool themselves into saying its not that bad until others help them see. Most people want to see the dynamic of their group being constructive.

robin_jet_alt
06-22-2012, 01:49 AM
Another approach that probably wouldn't go down too well with insurance, but it's the sort of thing my teacher might do is as follows.

1. use him for demonstrations every time.
2. If he doesn't give you a decent attack, call him out on it. Make him practice his attack in front of the class until he attacks you properly.
3. Once he attacks you properly, POUND HIM INTO THE MAT repeatedly, without regard to whether or not he can take the fall. (He is wearing a black belt, he SHOULD be able to take the fall).
4. Rinse and repeat :)

Travers Hughes
06-22-2012, 01:59 AM
Another approach that probably wouldn't go down too well with insurance, but it's the sort of thing my teacher might do is as follows.

1. use him for demonstrations every time.
2. If he doesn't give you a decent attack, call him out on it. Make him practice his attack in front of the class until he attacks you properly.
3. Once he attacks you properly, POUND HIM INTO THE MAT repeatedly, without regard to whether or not he can take the fall. (He is wearing a black belt, he SHOULD be able to take the fall).
4. Rinse and repeat :)

Exactly - this is what I tried to refer to, but you captured it much better - thanks

JJF
06-22-2012, 04:21 AM
Well.. sounds like you've tried a lot of ways to handle this. It is necessary to be strong and know when patience is in place, and when it is time to accept the loss and move on.

I am a bit sorry to read all the 'my way or the highway' opinions. I still think Aikido is about forgiveness and acceptance. Practiced on and off the mat, but this is not the same as being a pushover. If you can seriously say that he has been told exactly what types of behaviour you cannot accept, and he continues to do so, then let him now that the next time he does any of these things is - in effect - him writing his own discharge from the dojo.

It might be time to prune the three.. but it's a shame when it cannot be avoided.

Good luck

Patrick O'Regan
06-22-2012, 04:34 AM
Hi
I have a couple of questions for the OP.
How do you usually teach etiquette at your dojo?
Do you have any written document regarding what's expected in terms of etiquette?

cheers
Paddy

Hellis
06-22-2012, 05:50 AM
I find this whole situation unreal as well as unacceptable.
I would expect all dojos to have, as I have, a set of rules, I make sure students read the rules on the day they join. I then ask if they have any questions so there are no excuses later.
This guy would not last one class with me.

Henry Ellis
Co-author of `Positive Aikido`
http://aikido-bracknell.blogspot.com/

inframan
06-22-2012, 08:13 AM
Take the guy aside, return his last payment and just say, "I'm sorry but you are not a good fit with our way of training." If he comes back, might be time to call the cops.

lbb
06-22-2012, 08:20 AM
I agree entirely. We have been the ones allowing this to continue, for the sake of keeping peace with the guy and not causing a scene we've tried behind the scene methods of dealing with him.

For the sake of keeping peace? You don't have peace with this guy's disruptions, so what's to keep? This is false logic; you can't preserve that which doesn't exist.

Basia Halliop
06-22-2012, 08:45 AM
I don't think I would feel capable of teaching a class with an adult student in it who directly went against what I told them to do that way (kids are a little different, a certain amount of immaturity comes with the territory with them, plus they're tiny so you always have a way to stop them in an emergency if it comes to that). But an adult???? I wouldn't feel confident that I could teach my class and give the junior students a safe and productive learning environment.

For one thing I want to be able to teach the students and help them learn, that's the point, and secondly in the extreme, I need to know that if I say 'stop, that's unsafe, let me show you how to do it safely' I have the ability to stop anyone in the class immediately!

So, I'm pretty sure if it was me if I asked him once or twice directly to stop doing something and he didn't, I'd refuse to have him on the mat while I was teaching, and if necessarily politely tell Sensei that I could not teach that particular person. If my teacher wanted to ask someone else to teach the class in that case, then OK, I would deal with that.

But if I'm teaching a class I feel responsible to the beginners to make sure they're safe and learning, and I'm not willing to take that responsibility without the ability to do it.

IMO there's way too much concern about ONE person who clearly doesn't care about your concern anyway, and not nearly enough concern for all the junior students who are being harmed here and who have to put up with him all the time. Getting senior students to babysit him is a partial solution in the short term, but those senior students' time could be far better spent helping people who want to learn. But OK, that's not something you yourself appear to have direct control over, though I think it's important enough to try discussing your thoughts with your Sensei.

Basia Halliop
06-22-2012, 09:18 AM
OK, that was long, but the most important point is that in addition to all the more subtle stuff, a physically mature adult on the mat that you can't control is a major safety issue. Even if the guy is not malicious, we're doing stuff that can easily hurt people.

Junior students need to know that if they say 'no' to something you will be willing and able to back them up, and you need to be able to tell people what to do in order to prevent injuries not just to them, but to their partner.

lbb
06-22-2012, 11:04 AM
IMO there's way too much concern about ONE person who clearly doesn't care about your concern anyway, and not nearly enough concern for all the junior students who are being harmed here and who have to put up with him all the time. Getting senior students to babysit him is a partial solution in the short term, but those senior students' time could be far better spent helping people who want to learn.

That. The guy's sucking all your time and energy, and other students are getting shortchanged.

It's really no different than technique. If someone doesn't know how to do something, or know that they're supposed to do something, you teach them. As they try to learn what you're teaching, you help them and give them feedback. If they refuse the lesson, you don't keep trying to teach it -- and you definitely don't shortchange your other students to try and get a point across when it's being rejected with such evident determination.

Michael Hackett
06-22-2012, 11:29 AM
Basia summed it up perfectly. An analogy might be the role of a classroom teacher in relation to the school principal. As a teacher you can't expell a student from the school, but you can recommend it to the principal. You CAN remove the student from your classroom when he acts disruptively.

Trying to be polite
06-22-2012, 08:39 PM
Hi
I have a couple of questions for the OP.
How do you usually teach etiquette at your dojo?
Do you have any written document regarding what's expected in terms of etiquette?

cheers
Paddy

Hi,
Yes we have a PDF of etiquette emailed and printed out, every new student receives this hand book. also a senior student discusses basic etiquette with new students before the start of their first class. This guy is basically the turd in the punch bowl; everyone else seems to understand the policies and put forth no opposition.

PeterR
06-22-2012, 09:21 PM
Every class, work space, team have people that 'demand' more time and effort than others. It's a reality and usually a nice bell curve so you have the other side of the coin also.

Management trick/difficulty is too shift the mean to the positive side and really if you have to get rid of the extreme outlier that is what you have to do. Otherwise the whole group suffers.

Shadowfax
06-23-2012, 12:56 PM
For the sake of keeping peace? You don't have peace with this guy's disruptions, so what's to keep? This is false logic; you can't preserve that which doesn't exist.

I have to agree with Mary. Peace is not being kept. If your students don't feel comfortable training with this person then this needs to be addressed. If the subtle things are not working then it's time to be a bit more obvious. A student needs to be able to trust and respect their teacher. If their teacher is permitting a situation in which the students are continually being harassed and mistreated then trust and respect will be lost.

Stop being polite to this moron and start being the guy in charge. Period end of discussion he does not get to have a say in the matter. If he does not like how you teach and how you run YOUR class, then he has a choice. It's his choice. You don't even really have to make it for him. But make it really clear to him what that choice is.

Mario Tobias
06-23-2012, 06:18 PM
He "said" that he was promoted to yudansha. Does he have evidence that he indeed has attained Dan ranking. Can he provide it? It looks like you gauge his aikido as sub-par.

Clearly he does not understand the kohai-sempai-sensei relationship in a dojo.

You must make him remember.

If he still insists to train with you and if he can't produce evidence of him being a yudansha, if it were me I'd tell him to start out as a 7th kyu to teach him about proper etiquette if he wants to continue training. If he doesn't agree, ask him to train in another dojo.

sakumeikan
06-23-2012, 06:48 PM
Hi,

I have a bit of a sensitive issue.
There is a student of no rank(7th kyu) in my school. They had previously trained for about three years off and on over seas with several unaffiliated/independent Aikido schools before coming to our school. One of the unaffiliated schools he says gave him a Dan ranking. His Aikido, according to my Sensei, myself and the rest of the instructors at our dojo is sub-par according to our standards for what a Dan rank should be... in fact it is sub-par to what we consider a 5th kyu.He claims he is just from Teacher XYZ's linage and we are a different style that's why it is different. But we have many students in our school who were formally from Teacher XYZ (even directly Teacher XYZ's students) they look nothing like him. But we have welcomed him to come and test and train with us :-D... when he first joined I and a few of the senior students put forth a lot of effort to understand and learn his approach to Aikido.

Now here's my issue: His attitude has gradually became sour. He arrives late because he hates the way we stretch in the beginning of class, gets on and off the mat without telling anyone where he's going.(A big no-no in our school.) This is a minor annoyance however.

The biggest issue is how he's effecting our junior students. :( He refused to train with the senior students, or instructor's of the dojo. He will only take people he "thinks" are of low rank as training partners in class. When my Sensei is holding a class this student will often ignore the exercise or technique we've been instructed to practice, grab a junior student as a partner and proceed to instruct our junior student in whatever the heck he seems to feel that student needs to learn in his opinion. When the teacher claps for everyone to line back up, often they have to clap more than once to get his attention. He'll just keep on trying to tutor the junior student while the instructor is trying to change techniques. If there is only one beginner on the mat, they poor thing is basically stalked by him for every technique. I have a few younger female students in the school, they have come to me privately and asked me to sit next to them during class so they can bow to train with me immediately. They are creeped out with how he wants to train ONLY with them. (I don't think he's a perv, but they do unfortunately :( )

We are also starting to have issues with new students. I'm designated to prepare junior students for their kyu tests.(6th through 1st) Often time I'll tell a junior student "Sensei wants to see this done this particular way for your test." Then the junior student will often reply "But blank told me to do it this way." And 99% of the time the way in which this guy is telling junior students to do test techniques would result in failure. He just doesn't understand our standards or our system.

He refuses to take ukemi. I mean sometimes he falls down awkwardly.. maybe 5-10 times per class. But the average Aikidoka takes a good 70-100 ukemi during a typical class. He even goes so far as to just walk forward without striking, or grabbing and expect the student to do the technique when we demand that he takes ukemi for his partner. But it has no energy, it isn't an attack actually. Just a lazy toad like movement forward, then he stands still refusing to fall down. Which is frustrating because he only trains with 7th and 6th kyu who are trying to learn form. :(

But the hardest issue is when I'm teaching my classes. He at least twice per-class will interrupt my demonstration to point out how what I'm doing is flawed. (which I always reply, let's discuss it after class or at open mat...to which we never end up doing because he won't train with anyone of dan ranking!) He does his typical ignore the exercise at hand, teach his junior partner whatever he wants to teach them crap. So I saw him teaching the junior student and went up and said to myself, "Well if he is instructing them, they obviously need help, i'm the teacher I'll go instruct them." I interjected and called the junior student to attack me. This guy told the junior student to come back to him... :-/ I said "I'm going to help them with the technique." He said "we aren't doing that technique" I ignored him and proceeded to instruct the junior student which is my job! This made him angry for some reason. To which he just said I made the junior student look worse, right in front of the junior student. Which sucks for the poor kids self esteem!

I got angry, I wanted to tell him to sit out. I wanted to tell him to get the hell off my mat. But I didn't. I clapped and told everyone to line up for lined ukemi drills. He sat out of course. But what got me more upset was the fact he was telling under-classmen they didn't have to participate if they didn't want to. That what I was teaching would only injure them. (I was teaching standard forward, backwards, and barrel-rolls. Not even break-falls!)

So this is my issue. I'm not the Sensei or head instructor. Just a senior instructor. I've relayed my issues to my Sensei, my Sensei has the same complaints. He does the same crap to my Sensei in class apparently. My Sensei is at a loss, and is just trying to not create awkwardness or a disruption. We want to be welcoming, and we don't want junior students to see any negativity between the seniors and this student. e sort of just been trying to be polite, isolate our junior students and hope he falls in line or quits. We have asked him to not do many of these above described behaviors. If a senior instructor asks him, he argues with them. If the Sensei asks him he nods, then just ignores the request. I'm not sure how this will end up.
If I was running the school I would told him he is not welcome to classes or suspend him. But I respect my Sensei's desire to try and ride it out.

Dear Unknown Writer,
Why have you wasted so much of your time asking the forum members such an inane question?If you do not know the answer to your problem you and your mates might be high grade aikidoka with lots of skills, but I think you have little common sense.The answer/solution is as plain as the nose on your face.Get the guy, tell him straight he is acting the clown, tell him to either act
in a acceptable manner.If he does not agree kick him out.There, I have solved your problem now you can sleep at night.If you feel like sending me a monetary donation for this advice by all means do so.
All donations gratefully accepted , Cheers, Joe

graham christian
06-23-2012, 07:03 PM
Hi. I wonder why you call it trying to be polite.

I think you really need to understand a simple yet powerful truth called NO!!!

No I often say is a sword. If your no doesn't mean no then you have yet that lessen to learn and I think you had better learn it quick.

In this case it sounds more now like 'no, goodbye!'

Peace.G.

Trying to be polite
06-23-2012, 09:59 PM
He "said" that he was promoted to yudansha. Does he have evidence that he indeed has attained Dan ranking. Can he provide it? It looks like you gauge his aikido as sub-par.

Clearly he does not understand the kohai-sempai-sensei relationship in a dojo.

You must make him remember.

If he still insists to train with you and if he can't produce evidence of him being a yudansha, if it were me I'd tell him to start out as a 7th kyu to teach him about proper etiquette if he wants to continue training. If he doesn't agree, ask him to train in another dojo.

No, no proof of anything. Wouldn't matter anyways he claims to be ranked by an unaffiliated independent teacher our organization does not recognized. Politics aside, he does understand some things about the kohai-sempai relationship. In the past when he has to be my training partner he often will say "you go first you are the senior student". But that's where it ends.

This individual has recently opted to try and test in our system, which is more frustrating. He'll learn how we do things just long enough for a test, but revert back and continue to teach other students his methods which is not the type of Aikido we want to promote. Frankly the way his Aikido looks we've questioned int he past whether or not he's just read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos then fabricated the lineage he claims to have.

Either way, I appreciate everyone's input on the situation. It just validates my own feelings in this situation. I have yet to read a response I don't wholly agree with. Since my last class the guy where I was a little more firm with him by directing students to train with whom I wanted them to train with, and cut him quickly when he interrupted me, he's not been back. He's done this in the past. A teacher will be firm with him, he'll skip class for a week or so then come back after he's cooled down. Unfortunately last time this happened he came back with an attitude like he had something to prove.

Unfortunately he, was rough with a female senior student at a class recently. She was "instructing him", he was doing a sankyo and she asked him to lighten up and he went harder instead, had something to prove to our senior ??? Unfortunately she told no one about this until after the class was over and the guy left for the day. She has issues with wanting to be perceived as tough, but I really wish she didn't just suck it up and told the teacher. She doesn't want us to kick him out or bring it up with him... not entirely sure why it was bad enough to tell us about, yet she's embarrassed and asked us to not bring to make a deal out of it. But with all due respect to her, i already told our Sensei, and I think I have to bring that up with him if I see him again. That really doesn't pass as cool for me.

sakumeikan
06-24-2012, 05:14 AM
No, no proof of anything. Wouldn't matter anyways he claims to be ranked by an unaffiliated independent teacher our organization does not recognized. Politics aside, he does understand some things about the kohai-sempai relationship. In the past when he has to be my training partner he often will say "you go first you are the senior student". But that's where it ends.

This individual has recently opted to try and test in our system, which is more frustrating. He'll learn how we do things just long enough for a test, but revert back and continue to teach other students his methods which is not the type of Aikido we want to promote. Frankly the way his Aikido looks we've questioned int he past whether or not he's just read a lot of books and watched a lot of videos then fabricated the lineage he claims to have.

Either way, I appreciate everyone's input on the situation. It just validates my own feelings in this situation. I have yet to read a response I don't wholly agree with. Since my last class the guy where I was a little more firm with him by directing students to train with whom I wanted them to train with, and cut him quickly when he interrupted me, he's not been back. He's done this in the past. A teacher will be firm with him, he'll skip class for a week or so then come back after he's cooled down. Unfortunately last time this happened he came back with an attitude like he had something to prove.

Unfortunately he, was rough with a female senior student at a class recently. She was "instructing him", he was doing a sankyo and she asked him to lighten up and he went harder instead, had something to prove to our senior ??? Unfortunately she told no one about this until after the class was over and the guy left for the day. She has issues with wanting to be perceived as tough, but I really wish she didn't just suck it up and told the teacher. She doesn't want us to kick him out or bring it up with him... not entirely sure why it was bad enough to tell us about, yet she's embarrassed and asked us to not bring to make a deal out of it. But with all due respect to her, i already told our Sensei, and I think I have to bring that up with him if I see him again. That really doesn't pass as cool for me.
Hello again,
How much longer aree you going to take too kick this guy backside in the direction of the kerb?Face the fact that the guy is taking you and your group for a ride.Take action do not waste time trying to be understanding or lovey dovey .Get my message ???Hope so. Joe.

heathererandolph
06-24-2012, 08:53 AM
Mr./Ms. Politeness:

I see a some underlying issues here. I'm not sure on this person, Person X's rank in your dojo? That is not clear to me. If he's a 7th or 6th Kyu then he falls under your domain in preparing students for testing. If he is a Dan rank then well it is what it is. Anyhow, you and he need to be clear on that. The second is your responsibility, to what degree are you responsible for the people in the class? These issues might be something you could bring up with your leader, your Cho or Sensei. Word to the wise: don't gossip, don't speak I'll of others, I don't believe it can have any positive impact to tear a student down or to say he doesn't deserve a black belt. That is someone else's decision to make. The thing is if you do everything for everyone, well what about your own training?

I think handling upper level students is difficult, anyhow. And also they are in a new role. Some things will pass with time. If you get him thinking about his own progress he may start training with upper belts. He may not. But if you do something else you may be successful while if you keep doing the same you will have similar results.

Some of the things you that irritate you mention are common habits of some people I have known over the years. It's funny how when someone was late for class or left early it didn't bother me at all as a student in the dojo. Sometimes it's what we make of things. Anyhow, it is a basic tenant of human nature that you can bring out the best in people or you can bring out the worst in people. I really do think you need to examine your actions to see if you could be escalating this situation in the wrong direction.

I'm sure most would agree he probably is not as badly behaved with all the instructors. It is easy to have an enemy. We come to Aikido for a challenge. This is it. If we take the easy route in Aikido then the learning is undermined. I truly do believe he is looking for leadership from you, and you are not providing a steady, clear sense of leadership. Nature abhors a vacuum. There are two ways you can look at it. Either he is stepping up since you are not, or he is seizing on an opportunity. Actually his motivations don't really matter, and he might not understand them either.

I know everyone pretty much has said he is wrong, and yes I have to agree. He has been non-compliant and disobedient. His Aikido must be way out there to not take Ukemi. How can he do randori? But, that is his training, not him. If he had bad instruction it is not his fault. He is a product of his environment.
Enough about him. What about you? Doesn't seem like he did anything actually dangerous, if he did you'd be all over it. Just irritating, possibly humiliating. But, isn't Aikido about humility?

He criticizes your technique during your demo, and that is not polite but, if I were you I'd respond to that. You said he "pointed out a flaw in my technique" which makes me wonder if there was a flaw, if he's shaking your confidence, or there wasn't a flaw. If there was a flaw then thank him for pointing it out. If there wasn't one then show him why there was no flaw, if you need further study to decide then say so. If he's shaking your confidence, well maybe this will prompt you to reexamine this technique. Maybe your rule book says you cannot respond, but some things are not covered by the rule book.

Granted, you don't want to start a conversation or an argument. If he has further comment, that's the point where you can let him know there isn't time in the middle of demos for such discussion. If you say you'll talk to him about it later then do so.

If it were me I'd stay away from a black belt and lower grouping if the black belt isn't someone who was my student originally. Truly, his Sensei isn't even in the dojo. If he is a black belt (?) You could perhaps do some technique with both of them. There can be far too much talking in Aikido anyways. If you show some genuine excitement about the technique you've shown then he may become convinced that he wants to do it too. You really really do not want to argue with a student in the class. I can understand your fear that he might corrupt these students, but it is just not worth it. The students probably want consistency, and if you can explain that to him it might help. Sometimes the why can go a long way in someones understanding. Walking on and off the mat could be a safety issue and he needs to ask your permission before stepping off the mat. You don't know if he's hurt or why? Tell him he can stay on the mat if he just wants to observe. Assume the best not the worst and you may be surprised.

Maybe if the Cho sees bad or wrong technique from lower belts you can tell him that Mr. X has been making his impact and that may get him kicked out, or talked to but sometimes, as an instructor you have to let go.

You need to advise these women on how to stand up for themselves, rather than trying to be Sir Lancelot. Advise them to suggest changing partners if they already worked with someone, heading directly towards someone else, whatever you would do in a similar situation. They came to martial arts class for a reason.

Yes, you need to intervene sometimes but be positive . Be creative. Have a random selection of partners, work in small groups, lines. "work in" with he and his partner. Make him want to take Ukemi. Tell him, you can't do line technique without Ukemi. THEN do amazing big throws. That sounds reasonable. Or Randori. He'd be salivating if everyone could do randori instead of him.
Politeness, the most important thing. Do not let this effect your practice, and then, let this bring you to a new level. It is difficult to progress as a black belt. This situation could be distracting you. This could be your call to action. This guy can't stop you. Unless you let him.

James Sawers
06-24-2012, 02:49 PM
I'm beginning to think this is a put-on. No teacher/sensei/dojo could be run this badly. As wise Joe said, it is just common sense, you don't need to be a black-belt to know what to do. Your lowest kyu ranks know what to do.

Janet Rosen
06-24-2012, 03:55 PM
I'm beginning to think this is a put-on. No teacher/sensei/dojo could be run this badly.

You'd be surprised the stories we hear...

James Sawers
06-24-2012, 04:19 PM
Might as well invoke Godwin's Law and get this over with as I think this person has been given all the info she needs to do the right thing......

hughrbeyer
06-24-2012, 07:16 PM
Okay:

Who does this guy think he is, Hitler? Better toss him out or it will be 1935 all over again.

Are we done now?

Trying to be polite
06-24-2012, 07:55 PM
Hello again,
How much longer aree you going to take too kick this guy backside in the direction of the kerb?Face the fact that the guy is taking you and your group for a ride.Take action do not waste time trying to be understanding or lovey dovey .Get my message ???Hope so. Joe.

I agree with what you are saying. This is not my school. I can limit his access my own classes, but have no control on whether or not the school will continue to accept his patronage or not.

Trying to be polite
06-24-2012, 08:04 PM
Mr./Ms. Politeness:

I see a some underlying issues here. I'm not sure on this person, Person X's rank in your dojo? That is not clear to me. If he's a 7th or 6th Kyu then he falls under your domain in preparing students for testing. If he is a Dan rank then well it is what it is. Anyhow, you and he need to be clear on that. The second is your responsibility, to what degree are you responsible for the people in the class? These issues might be something you could bring up with your leader, your Cho or Sensei. Word to the wise: don't gossip, don't speak I'll of others, I don't believe it can have any positive impact to tear a student down or to say he doesn't deserve a black belt. That is someone else's decision to make. The thing is if you do everything for everyone, well what about your own training?

I think handling upper level students is difficult, anyhow. And also they are in a new role. Some things will pass with time. If you get him thinking about his own progress he may start training with upper belts. He may not. But if you do something else you may be successful while if you keep doing the same you will have similar results.

Some of the things you that irritate you mention are common habits of some people I have known over the years. It's funny how when someone was late for class or left early it didn't bother me at all as a student in the dojo. Sometimes it's what we make of things. Anyhow, it is a basic tenant of human nature that you can bring out the best in people or you can bring out the worst in people. I really do think you need to examine your actions to see if you could be escalating this situation in the wrong direction.

I'm sure most would agree he probably is not as badly behaved with all the instructors. It is easy to have an enemy. We come to Aikido for a challenge. This is it. If we take the easy route in Aikido then the learning is undermined. I truly do believe he is looking for leadership from you, and you are not providing a steady, clear sense of leadership. Nature abhors a vacuum. There are two ways you can look at it. Either he is stepping up since you are not, or he is seizing on an opportunity. Actually his motivations don't really matter, and he might not understand them either.

I know everyone pretty much has said he is wrong, and yes I have to agree. He has been non-compliant and disobedient. His Aikido must be way out there to not take Ukemi. How can he do randori? But, that is his training, not him. If he had bad instruction it is not his fault. He is a product of his environment.
Enough about him. What about you? Doesn't seem like he did anything actually dangerous, if he did you'd be all over it. Just irritating, possibly humiliating. But, isn't Aikido about humility?

He criticizes your technique during your demo, and that is not polite but, if I were you I'd respond to that. You said he "pointed out a flaw in my technique" which makes me wonder if there was a flaw, if he's shaking your confidence, or there wasn't a flaw. If there was a flaw then thank him for pointing it out. If there wasn't one then show him why there was no flaw, if you need further study to decide then say so. If he's shaking your confidence, well maybe this will prompt you to reexamine this technique. Maybe your rule book says you cannot respond, but some things are not covered by the rule book.

Granted, you don't want to start a conversation or an argument. If he has further comment, that's the point where you can let him know there isn't time in the middle of demos for such discussion. If you say you'll talk to him about it later then do so.

If it were me I'd stay away from a black belt and lower grouping if the black belt isn't someone who was my student originally. Truly, his Sensei isn't even in the dojo. If he is a black belt (?) You could perhaps do some technique with both of them. There can be far too much talking in Aikido anyways. If you show some genuine excitement about the technique you've shown then he may become convinced that he wants to do it too. You really really do not want to argue with a student in the class. I can understand your fear that he might corrupt these students, but it is just not worth it. The students probably want consistency, and if you can explain that to him it might help. Sometimes the why can go a long way in someones understanding. Walking on and off the mat could be a safety issue and he needs to ask your permission before stepping off the mat. You don't know if he's hurt or why? Tell him he can stay on the mat if he just wants to observe. Assume the best not the worst and you may be surprised.

Maybe if the Cho sees bad or wrong technique from lower belts you can tell him that Mr. X has been making his impact and that may get him kicked out, or talked to but sometimes, as an instructor you have to let go.

You need to advise these women on how to stand up for themselves, rather than trying to be Sir Lancelot. Advise them to suggest changing partners if they already worked with someone, heading directly towards someone else, whatever you would do in a similar situation. They came to martial arts class for a reason.

Yes, you need to intervene sometimes but be positive . Be creative. Have a random selection of partners, work in small groups, lines. "work in" with he and his partner. Make him want to take Ukemi. Tell him, you can't do line technique without Ukemi. THEN do amazing big throws. That sounds reasonable. Or Randori. He'd be salivating if everyone could do randori instead of him.
Politeness, the most important thing. Do not let this effect your practice, and then, let this bring you to a new level. It is difficult to progress as a black belt. This situation could be distracting you. This could be your call to action. This guy can't stop you. Unless you let him.

I agree with you completely. The issue is still i have control over my own class, not anywhere else. I've talked with my Sensei, it is really in their hand currently. Especially if he is now avoiding my classes altogether I might not run into him. Randori with him is a bad idea, he is dangerous when he's nage and flat out sluggish when he's uke. I don't let him participate in those things currently in anything I run for those reasons.

Michael Hackett
06-24-2012, 10:07 PM
Then your problem is solved. The school may still have a problem, but you don't. You've kicked it upstairs to your sensei and he will handle the situation on behalf of the dojo. Now stop wringing your hands and gnashing your teeth. Teach your classes to the best of your ability and enjoy the experience. It's over, done, complete, finished.

PeterR
06-24-2012, 11:32 PM
I have a small question (beating a dead horse is easy because it can't kick back) but does he wear a black belt in class.

Walter Martindale
06-25-2012, 07:27 AM
I agree with what you are saying. This is not my school. I can limit his access my own classes, but have no control on whether or not the school will continue to accept his patronage or not.

Looks like your dojo needs an "enforcer"...

Shadowfax
06-25-2012, 08:18 AM
I agree with what you are saying. This is not my school. I can limit his access my own classes, but have no control on whether or not the school will continue to accept his patronage or not.

Ok so your problem is solved. :)

Now share your solution with the next teacher who is graced with his presence and so on and so forth. Eventually he will either avoid every teachers class, effectively removing himself from the dojo, or he will run up against someone who can get through to him and he will learn.

Trying to be polite
06-25-2012, 12:51 PM
I have a small question (beating a dead horse is easy because it can't kick back) but does he wear a black belt in class.

No, that's not permitted at all. He chose to join our school with the association it is connected to, and it has been made clear to him that means starting from the bottom up.

Trying to be polite
06-25-2012, 12:56 PM
I would like to thank everyone for their comments and allowing me to share my issue. I've come to what I think is the best approach. I take control of my own class and the aspects I do have control over. I think I'll suggest taking control and tightening up on the structures of our classes to my fellow teachers for the sake and safety of our other practitioners. He'll either have to conform to our system and rules, or he'll run out of classes that are welcoming to him.

Thanks for everyone's input.

morph4me
06-25-2012, 12:56 PM
No, that's not permitted at all. He chose to join our school with the association it is connected to, and it has been made clear to him that means starting from the bottom up.

Apparently not.

Trying to be polite
06-25-2012, 01:46 PM
Apparently not.

Reword; he is aware he isn't allowed to be considered a black belt, he is aware that if he tests he will be starting at 6th kyu. However, he is quite obvious in his actions about how he thinks what we teach isn't important to learn.

lbb
06-25-2012, 05:04 PM
No, that's not permitted at all. He chose to join our school with the association it is connected to, and it has been made clear to him that means starting from the bottom up.

I have a peripherally related question: what would you think of a student who wanted to train at your dojo and be a dojo member, but did not want to be part of the association your dojo is part of and did not want to test for rank?

sakumeikan
06-25-2012, 05:34 PM
I have a peripherally related question: what would you think of a student who wanted to train at your dojo and be a dojo member, but did not want to be part of the association your dojo is part of and did not want to test for rank?

Dear Mary,
Just allow him to train.If there are no issues about group insurance andas long as the student pays the fees and conducts him/herself in a proper manner whats the problem?As long as you/student are happy no problem. Cheers, Joe

robin_jet_alt
06-25-2012, 06:49 PM
Dear Mary,
Just allow him to train.If there are no issues about group insurance andas long as the student pays the fees and conducts him/herself in a proper manner whats the problem?As long as you/student are happy no problem. Cheers, Joe

I agree. If he trains appropriately, then the rest of it doesn't really matter does it?

odudog
06-25-2012, 08:17 PM
I think you should film a class and show it to his previous sensei that he claimed gave him dan ranking. Find out if that behavior was accepted at the previous dojo. You will then have a better framework to work with. At the very least, you could get him into hot water with a sensei that he respects.

chubbycubbysmash
06-26-2012, 11:48 AM
You know, we had a student almost as bad as what you described come to our dojo a few times. Not only did he complain the mat fee was too expensive--he wanted to train about 8 days a month with us, but was part of another dojo and didn't want to officially "join" ours, which is fine, we have a few students like that, but the thing was sometimes he wouldn't pay or would say he didn't have enough money--he even tried to pay $10 for a $55 seminar! He would make all sort of excuses.

He wouldn't take ukemi often, sometimes he'd grapple if a higher ranking student tried to throw him, and being the only girl in our aikido program, he'd follow me around and try really hard to practice with me, even though my creep meter was going straight off the charts (it got so bad that my husband, whose classes he often came to, forbid me to practice with him and had one of our tougher/rougher live in students even interrupt him when he tried to practice with me and pair off with him), telling me about how the love of his life was Chinese so he knows all of our customs and stuff but then she left him, etc. Talk loudly and correct higher rank and lower rank alike, always arrived forty five late (we run an hour and a half classes) so he didn't have to exert himself, talk back to sensei about not doing the technique the way we were doing it because it wasn't how he was taught.

He hasn't come back in a while, because he got told off in front of the class by my husband about his disrespectful behavior (after having multiple private talks with him), and our live in student became in charge of collecting his fees (and the student is a no-BS kind of guy.)

Sometimes, in all honesty, these people will never learn. You have to decide if it's worth keeping him if he's scaring your female students. If they don't feel protected, and they leave, then you lost multiple people to that one person, and it is still a business.

lbb
06-26-2012, 12:28 PM
Wow, Josephine, you've trained in some pretty broken places.

chubbycubbysmash
06-26-2012, 01:19 PM
I've only trained in one dojo (although I've been to multiple seminars), so I'd say "place" rather than "places."

Every place has their ups and downs, so could you clarify as why you would consider where I train "broken"?

You can't control people, but you can control how you react and who you allow into your doors. There are those that believe in non-confrontation no matter what, but when it becomes a question of safety and legal ramifications, and not allowing the dojo to become a sexual harassment suit in the making, then the answer is pretty clear to me as to what is the necessary steps to take. Everything else, with the disrespect and talking out of line, and arriving to class late, and not paying up--those are small things in comparison to having most female students become uncomfortable because they sense something from a guy who has been subtly harassing them.

A book I had read also said that a lot of men won't see anything wrong with a guy, even if all the women around them feel like the guy is "creepy." Gut instinct is important, and there has to be a reason. I didn't particularly enjoy the fact that the guy tried to follow me into our apartment after a seminar (I own the building the dojo is in, thus the business aspect itself is important to me, and live upstairs with my husband in an apartment that is connected) and more than anything, that was probably the last straw.

There are weirdos in every corner of the world. The Aikido community is not immune. The fact that we ended up getting someone like him was just a matter of chance and time, and when you have multiple people coming every week, whether visiting or joining or taking a seminar, you'd be an anomaly if you didn't at least run into a few.

trying to be polite
06-26-2012, 02:04 PM
I have a peripherally related question: what would you think of a student who wanted to train at your dojo and be a dojo member, but did not want to be part of the association your dojo is part of and did not want to test for rank?

Hi, Good question.
In the past we have had people(and still have some) who wished not to test for various reasons. They were allowed to participate and join our school and train. Those have actually been some of our most respectful members in the past.
Sometimes it is financial reasons, they don't want to pay federation dues. Some don't care to gain rank, others simply have a black belt in another art and don't want to climb ranks anywhere but want to learn aikido. These people have always, and are welcome.
We have one lady who's been with us for 7 years who has not taken a single test... she just doesn't want to join any federation or association.
The problem guy in question has been made aware he dos not have to test or join our association to train with us. But he has stated he wants to test and climb the rank game.

trying to be polite
06-26-2012, 02:16 PM
You know, we had a student almost as bad as what you described come to our dojo a few times. Not only did he complain the mat fee was too expensive--he wanted to train about 8 days a month with us, but was part of another dojo and didn't want to officially "join" ours, which is fine, we have a few students like that, but the thing was sometimes he wouldn't pay or would say he didn't have enough money--he even tried to pay $10 for a $55 seminar! He would make all sort of excuses.

He wouldn't take ukemi often, sometimes he'd grapple if a higher ranking student tried to throw him, and being the only girl in our aikido program, he'd follow me around and try really hard to practice with me, even though my creep meter was going straight off the charts (it got so bad that my husband, whose classes he often came to, forbid me to practice with him and had one of our tougher/rougher live in students even interrupt him when he tried to practice with me and pair off with him), telling me about how the love of his life was Chinese so he knows all of our customs and stuff but then she left him, etc. Talk loudly and correct higher rank and lower rank alike, always arrived forty five late (we run an hour and a half classes) so he didn't have to exert himself, talk back to sensei about not doing the technique the way we were doing it because it wasn't how he was taught.

He hasn't come back in a while, because he got told off in front of the class by my husband about his disrespectful behavior (after having multiple private talks with him), and our live in student became in charge of collecting his fees (and the student is a no-BS kind of guy.)

Sometimes, in all honesty, these people will never learn. You have to decide if it's worth keeping him if he's scaring your female students. If they don't feel protected, and they leave, then you lost multiple people to that one person, and it is still a business.

thank you for sharing your story. . I'm not a woman, and my creepy meter goes off. Your problem is very similar to our problem, only our problem guy is very good about paying dues... but we have an automatic payment system.
We had a Shihan visit last year at a seminar,(an 8th dan) our problem guy showed up and took this class like every other class. He was teaching in the class and following beginners around and instructing them. I was severely afraid that our Shihan would notice, it would be such an embarrassment for us. I took the guy aside quickly to remind him not to do this... and for the love of God not in front of our Shihan. He disagreed with the Shihan. He thinks what we do is BS, though he says it in a back-handed way and isn't aggressive with his opinion... but actions speak louder than words. I think you are right, and I don't think this is some one who will every learn from us.

chubbycubbysmash
06-26-2012, 02:36 PM
=)

Well he's no longer our problem, he's someone else's, hopefully.

I'm curious as to why he is even bothering to learn at your dojo if he believes everything your dojo is doing is wrong, other than to stroke his own ego. I mean it seems kind of silly to be training in something you don't believe in, right? Unless your point is actually not to train and just point out the flaws in others.

I don't believe you can change personality disorders. Behaviors certainly, habits, maybe, but the fundamental basics that makes the guy tick? I doubt it. If his incentives and motivations are wrong, there is nothing on this planet that will stop him from doing what he wants. You can shuffle him to another dojo, but he'll probably do the same thing too.

I cringed when I read about how he acted at the seminar. Yikes. The guy's overstayed his welcome.

Trying to be polite
06-26-2012, 04:02 PM
=)

Well he's no longer our problem, he's someone else's, hopefully.

I'm curious as to why he is even bothering to learn at your dojo if he believes everything your dojo is doing is wrong, other than to stroke his own ego. I mean it seems kind of silly to be training in something you don't believe in, right? Unless your point is actually not to train and just point out the flaws in others.

I don't believe you can change personality disorders. Behaviors certainly, habits, maybe, but the fundamental basics that makes the guy tick? I doubt it. If his incentives and motivations are wrong, there is nothing on this planet that will stop him from doing what he wants. You can shuffle him to another dojo, but he'll probably do the same thing too.

I cringed when I read about how he acted at the seminar. Yikes. The guy's overstayed his welcome.

I've thought a lot about this in the past. He's been with us since around December, and so far we must be allowing something that is serving him. People only do what works for them. I think he has no plans to get better at Aikido, or to learn our style, or to learn Aikido period. But I do think we for quite some time were allowing him to fulfill a need to teach others. Leading and instructing others in my opinion probably serves him in some way, and we've been allowing him to get away with instructing 7th and 6th kyu under our noses. Now it has exploded into a problem. I really can only say we got ourselves to blame, we should of nipped this at the bud. But he's been away since the last class last week where I took better control of the class. He was visibly aggravated with how I was leading the class. I was leading the class directly to control whom everyone practiced with, I did a lot of line ukemi drills... basically he was dis-empowered to continue the behavior he has been up to. If he comes back to my class he'll see the same. My opinion at this point is if you come to my class you are expected to train... and train in the exercises put forth. Not discuss, not debate, not instruct...train!

I hope he gets inspired to train in Aikido rather than quit. Not sure if that's realistic however.

James Sawers
06-26-2012, 04:37 PM
I still don't get it why, despite all the advice you have been given, you do not see that you are now the problem. Here you are restructuring your entire class just to accomodate someone who shows with consistent behavior that he will not comply. When I used to be a counselor, I would describe this guy as someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people cannot be argued with, they do not/cannot listen. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity - sound like someone you know??

sakumeikan
06-26-2012, 06:46 PM
I've thought a lot about this in the past. He's been with us since around December, and so far we must be allowing something that is serving him. People only do what works for them. I think he has no plans to get better at Aikido, or to learn our style, or to learn Aikido period. But I do think we for quite some time were allowing him to fulfill a need to teach others. Leading and instructing others in my opinion probably serves him in some way, and we've been allowing him to get away with instructing 7th and 6th kyu under our noses. Now it has exploded into a problem. I really can only say we got ourselves to blame, we should of nipped this at the bud. But he's been away since the last class last week where I took better control of the class. He was visibly aggravated with how I was leading the class. I was leading the class directly to control whom everyone practiced with, I did a lot of line ukemi drills... basically he was dis-empowered to continue the behavior he has been up to. If he comes back to my class he'll see the same. My opinion at this point is if you come to my class you are expected to train... and train in the exercises put forth. Not discuss, not debate, not instruct...train!

I hope he gets inspired to train in Aikido rather than quit. Not sure if that's realistic however.
Hi,
How about doing us all a favour and moving house a hundred miles away from the awkward student or break the guys legs in a few places?? That way we do not to contend with this sort of rubbish.Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.The mind boggles at your ineptitude to deal with this bloke. Joe.

trying to be polite
06-26-2012, 07:25 PM
I still don't get it why, despite all the advice you have been given, you do not see that you are now the problem. Here you are restructuring your entire class just to accomodate someone who shows with consistent behavior that he will not comply. When I used to be a counselor, I would describe this guy as someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people cannot be argued with, they do not/cannot listen. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity - sound like someone you know??

In the end this is not my school. I can only control the experience the other students in my class have by limiting their contact with him. It is the head instructor's call in the end whether or not they want to continue admitting this person to the school. I however do not have to admit him to my class.

Marc Abrams
06-26-2012, 09:00 PM
I still don't get it why, despite all the advice you have been given, you do not see that you are now the problem. Here you are restructuring your entire class just to accomodate someone who shows with consistent behavior that he will not comply. When I used to be a counselor, I would describe this guy as someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people cannot be argued with, they do not/cannot listen. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity - sound like someone you know??

James:

I am a practicing, licensed psychologist. For us, making diagnosis without an actual assessment in simply unethical. Why don't we leave the psychological jargon out of this situation since it adds nothing useful here. Professional lexicons can easily be misused, such as in your post above.

We can all agree that this person is not a positive influence in that dojo. We can all agree that the dojo is now regretting it's initial approach to this person. I think that it is quite unfair to say that this poster is now the problem. He is actively trying to adjust to the situation in a way that fits within the existing limitations of how that dojo operates. I frankly think that this poster is acting in a positive manner and will discover and learn how to best handle situations as a teacher.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

chubbycubbysmash
06-26-2012, 10:10 PM
*slowly backs away from this thread*

Um. Wow. Lotta hostility on the internet these days. On an Aikido forum no less (eep... I'm guessing no one finds this as ironically funny as I do....) Agreed with Abrams-sensei, I think he's trying but not everyone has the same approach to dealing with problematic people, especially if they haven't had the misfortune to do so before. Everyone is different, and I thought it was good to hear about all the different roads and the consequences they have led to, and allowing him to pick and choose what would work for him and what wouldn't. All IMHO of course.

Michael Hackett
06-26-2012, 10:22 PM
I don't see much hostility in this thread. The individual concerned may be flawed and may have all sorts of problems, I will grant you that. His conduct however, as described, was disruptive, rude, and perhaps even dangerous. Why he behaves as he does is not of much concern, how he behaves is and most folks here made what I still consider to be reasonable suggestions for solving the problem. I understand Charlie Manson, but I'm sure not gonna have him lead our local Boy Scout troop. If that constitutes hostility, then I must admit to that particular flaw of character.

chubbycubbysmash
06-26-2012, 10:46 PM
Ack, should have been clearer-I was referring to some of the responses that I feel crossed into attacking the OP personally, and that made me sort of sad (including lying, exaggeration, inability as a teacher etc. along with the actual reasonable solutions. The posters probably didn't mean it that way but that's how it came across to me). I know having to hear about this makes people mad, especially when the guy does seem not exactly right in the head and it seems like no one is doing anything, but speaking so... I don't know, aggressively? to the OP...

I thought the OP was really polite in how he was speaking and addressing concerns and doing his best under the current circumstances. I know the internet doesn't have tones so it's difficult to really get a grasp on an accurate feel of what other people are trying to get across.

I'm all for booting the guy out, one way or another, but it's not always as easy as opening the door and physically tossing him to the streets. (Maybe it is for some people, I don't know, but obviously not for OP and his dojo. I don't think it would be easy for me either, honestly, if I was in his position.)

Anyway, sorry for the confusion. I was just really taken aback by some posts. I shall now zip up my big mouth!

Much luck to the OP in finding a good way to effectively deal with this guy.

Janet Rosen
06-26-2012, 10:52 PM
I don't see anything I consider hostile or attacking in this thread. YMMV.

James Sawers
06-26-2012, 10:58 PM
Marc:

You are quite correct in what you say. Didn't mean this to come across as a diagnosis, just an example of how it is a waste of time to use reason and logic with some people.

Marc Abrams
06-27-2012, 08:12 AM
Marc:

You are quite correct in what you say. Didn't mean this to come across as a diagnosis, just an example of how it is a waste of time to use reason and logic with some people.

James:

I think that this poster is trying and struggling with this issue. I can think back to when I first started teaching (at my teacher's direction as opposed to my preferred choice...) and all of the issues that I struggled with. Instead of giving me directions to some of the issues that arose, my teacher would remind me that my over-riding responsibility was toward protecting the class. This forced me to think through how my choices would not just effect one person, but the entire class. Not many easy answers exist when you are in charge....

Regards,

Marc Abrams

James Sawers
06-27-2012, 06:04 PM
So true........I forget sometimes.........

Trying to be polite
06-27-2012, 09:37 PM
To update a bit, the guy in question has not been back since my last class. In my last class I purposely structured my class to disable the behavior he was exhibiting. If he was correcting his partner, I'd take his partner from him, because in my mind if he's correcting his partner then his partner needs to be tutored, and I told him as much. I purposely did ukemi drills when I saw he wasn't take ukemi and even encouraging his partner to not take the type of ukemi we take at our school. So obviously the class needed a refresher on ukemi. When he interrupted me while I was demonstrating I cut him off quickly and said "We can discuss it after class or at open mat" or I specifically explained to the class in detail why what the guy was saying wouldn't work for what we were doing.
I was respectful and firm. And he left visibly irritated because he couldn't do what he wanted to do. Hasn't returned to any class since.

Janet Rosen
06-27-2012, 11:15 PM
That sounds good!

Mario Tobias
06-28-2012, 02:36 PM
When he interrupted me while I was demonstrating I cut him off quickly and said "We can discuss it after class or at open mat" or I specifically explained to the class in detail why what the guy was saying wouldn't work for what we were doing.
I was respectful and firm.

Whoever should be teaching in front of the class shouldn't be interrupted or challenged. This is part of the etiquette in an aikido dojo. Even some dojos are very strict in talking during practice. talking during practice is acceptable but interrupting whoever is in front of class teaching is unacceptable behaviour.

Basia Halliop
06-28-2012, 03:08 PM
Nice update!

lbb
06-28-2012, 03:40 PM
To OP, congrats on refusing to let him play his game by his rules, and for getting your class back on track for the benefit of your students (as opposed to this individual, who clearly was never there to learn anything, and thus can't be called a student).

Trying to be polite
06-28-2012, 08:28 PM
Thank to everyone for their input in this issue. If he does return I know that at least in my classes things will be more controlled and positive.
All the best!

sakumeikan
06-29-2012, 02:28 AM
Thank to everyone for their input in this issue. If he does return I know that at least in my classes things will be more controlled and positive.
All the best!

Dear Mr X,
Can I take it this is the last we read about this subject?Cheers, Joe

danj
06-29-2012, 11:56 PM
Well I gotta say from the cheap seats its been a nice quest narrative. Far from grinding it out in a dojo alone, the OP with the aikiweb community pitching in with a variety of opinions and strategies (to match varying personality types) has resolved a troubling issue. Its a cautionary tale and success story all in one with the values of being true to oneself, yet having to fulfil the role responsibility of instructor and care for a class/dojo being laid out and dealt with successfully in a rational discourse.

Bravo !

hughrbeyer
06-30-2012, 10:10 PM
Joe: Sorry, mate.

To the OP: It is a success story, and I don't want to denigrate it. I might well have ended up with a very similar solution.

But I do want to point out that you ended up warping the structure of the entire class to deal with this one person. You were able to do it in a way that still provided value to the class (yay you), but that's what you did.

Is that the best way to deal with such a situation? Might you need to confront such a student more directly? Would it be better for the class? Would it be better for the disruptive student in the long run?

Moot points, now, thankfully. But maybe worth planting in the back-brain and see what they generate.

trying to be polite
07-01-2012, 07:28 PM
Joe: Sorry, mate.

To the OP: It is a success story, and I don't want to denigrate it. I might well have ended up with a very similar solution.

But I do want to point out that you ended up warping the structure of the entire class to deal with this one person. You were able to do it in a way that still provided value to the class (yay you), but that's what you did.

Is that the best way to deal with such a situation? Might you need to confront such a student more directly? Would it be better for the class? Would it be better for the disruptive student in the long run?

Moot points, now, thankfully. But maybe worth planting in the back-brain and see what they generate.

I don't disagree that being more direct would be more efficient, quicker, and a lot less painful. However, as I've explained, a direct confrontation was forbidden by our head instructor. If a direct confrontation occurred I was not permitted to be the one taking the initiative; that privilege (or lack there of) belongs to the head instructor or dojo-cho alone. It was made clear to me that that was not my place, and my direction was that I was to keep control of my class.

Michael Hackett
07-01-2012, 08:41 PM
Dear Polite,

The target keeps changing. In Post 91 you NOW say that a direct confrontation was prohibited by your Dojo Cho. You never mentioned that before, but said the decision to allow him to continue training in your school was that of the Dojo Cho. You did say that he gave each of you instructions to control your class and you did not mention any restrictions in that regard. That changes the tenor of the situation and I would have made other suggestions to you, and perhaps others would have as well. How can you teach a class safely without the authority to confront a student who is doing something dangerous for example? Did you truly mean that any direct confrontation with this student was expressly prohibited, or were you just speaking in a shorthand way? I thought this had been put to bed. If I have misunderstood you, please call me on it.

robin_jet_alt
07-01-2012, 09:26 PM
Dear Polite,

The target keeps changing. In Post 91 you NOW say that a direct confrontation was prohibited by your Dojo Cho. You never mentioned that before, but said the decision to allow him to continue training in your school was that of the Dojo Cho. You did say that he gave each of you instructions to control your class and you did not mention any restrictions in that regard. That changes the tenor of the situation and I would have made other suggestions to you, and perhaps others would have as well. How can you teach a class safely without the authority to confront a student who is doing something dangerous for example? Did you truly mean that any direct confrontation with this student was expressly prohibited, or were you just speaking in a shorthand way? I thought this had been put to bed. If I have misunderstood you, please call me on it.

Ease up a bit! I got the distinct impression from his early posts that his dojo-cho was not going to let him go as far as he wanted.

trying to be polite
07-01-2012, 09:48 PM
To quote myself exactly from page 1. :(

I agree with you 100%. If it was my school, I would of already had that conversation with him. Not to be mean to him or anything, just it isn't helpful to the junior students or class. I've done my best to control my own classes, while trying to respect that the Sensei wants there to be no visible discourse between anyone in front of junior students. :/

Trying to be polite
07-01-2012, 09:51 PM
Also page 1

We have been the ones allowing this to continue, for the sake of keeping peace with the guy and not causing a scene we've tried behind the scene methods of dealing with him. We've yet to go as far as give him ultimatums however. Sensei ask we not give ultimatums. Sensei has simply said to all of us "You need to keep control of your class, and I expect you to."

Trying to be polite
07-01-2012, 09:53 PM
page 2

I agree with what you are saying. This is not my school. I can limit his access my own classes, but have no control on whether or not the school will continue to accept his patronage or not.

Michael Hackett
07-01-2012, 10:36 PM
Dear Robin and Polite,

It isn't my intention to beat on Polite at all. The three posts that Polite highlights in 94, 95, and 96 do not speak to direct confrontation in my mind. One could certainly confront the student directly outside of the view and hearing of the other students in an immediate fashion (Number 94). I suppose telling the student directly that his conduct would have to change immediately or he would have to leave the class could be considered an ultimatum (Number 95), but in the spirit of the direction given by the Dojo Cho to control the class, it would just be a manner of effective control in my view. I don't quibble with Polite's comment in Number 96 and that doesn't speak to my concern at all.

I think Polite did the best he could do with the conditions he outlined earlier. I am just saying that he changed the context of the situation with his later post and informed us of a very specific rule that he only alluded to earlier. That's why I asked the still unanswered question. I don't have an axe to grind with Polite at all - I'm just glad I'm not in his position.

Given the specific instruction that I was prohibited from directly confronting the student, I would have asked for clarification. If I was then told that any direct confrontation was unacceptable, I would explain that I was unwilling to teach a class where I had complete responsibility without the same level of authority. That is far different than my earlier suggestion and based entirely on those two pesky little words. I obviously misunderstood the situation, and please don't misunderstand me - I'm not beating on Polite at all and wish him a full class of decent students who want to learn from him.

John Ianus
10-23-2012, 04:40 AM
I saw an almost identical person, and my teacher was having the same troubles.
But it was up to the head teacher and the person sort of behaved when the head teacher was there. Also the instructor didn't want to make the person leave because maybe they would change. Also he maybe felt it was his shortcoming not to earn this man's respect. But recently that troublesome person left of his own accord.

SteveTrinkle
10-23-2012, 07:50 AM
more ukemi needed

JLRonin
11-13-2012, 11:57 PM
Counceling always works.