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taichi24
03-20-2014, 10:57 AM
I am not sure if this topic has been discussed before here -

Do top students in your class compete for attention? What's your experience? Any interesting story to share?

Janet Rosen
03-20-2014, 11:49 AM
Sam, I find it difficult to understand exactly what you are asking:
What do you mean by "top students," please? Do you mean the most senior or do you mean the most physically talented or?
I understand human beings experiencing envy or jealousy but I'm not clear in a dojo context, in what way do people compete for attention, and whose attention are they competing for? I ask this because while human emotions are universal, behaviors are not and I just don't see anything remotely like this where I train.

SeiserL
03-21-2014, 06:56 AM
IMHO, some do and some don't, depends on their level of maturity.

lbb
03-21-2014, 09:11 AM
Attention-seeking is a behavior that some people don't seem to outgrow, or that they struggle with. We're used to seeing it in small children who have not yet learned to observe and modulate their own behavior, and who need external controls to be able to get along with others. In an adult, this sort of attention-seeking is disconcerting. We want to grant other adults the respect that is appropriate to their age, and when we are faced with someone who cannot control their impulses as adults should...what do you do, treat them like a child? I think that's why these behaviors often go unchecked, at least for a time.

Attention-seeking only works if it's gratified -- if someone else plays the game. The most important factor is sensei's behavior. Sensei needs to recognize what's going on and manage it. I don't think it's necessary to treat this person like a child, but with firmness -- for example, if the student is seeking constant attention in the form of "feedback" ("sensei, how's this? am I doing it right?"), seems to me that sensei can simply say firmly, "I've already told you how to do it, now stop asking and practice." If, on the other hand, sensei gets drawn in by the attention-seeking behavior, it will only persist, because the attention-seeker's impulses are being gratified.

For the dojo at large, I think the larger danger is if other students observe that the attention-seeker is getting a larger share of attention (even if only at first, or only a small amount) and start to vie for attention themselves, out of fear that they'll lose out. Now sensei's got more than one to deal with, and it's harder to get things back on track. If you're one of those students who sees the attention-seeker gobbling up sensei's time, and you start to feel anxious, don't give in to the impulse to imitate the behavior - but do get your training and instruction. If there's really something you're not getting, ask sensei. If the attention-seeker is making it impossible to do that during class, ask sensei after class ("I wanted to ask about the first technique we did..."). If you're getting the instruction, then do your best to calm your anxiety and focus on that -- that's what you came for.

JP3
03-22-2014, 06:58 PM
Sure, people enjoy being "at the front" of the class, it's a thing that sort of feeds self-image.

Which is why I usually run class from a circle at the beginning. There is no back, or front, of the class when everyone is in a circle.

taichi24
03-24-2014, 12:32 PM
Sam, I find it difficult to understand exactly what you are asking:
What do you mean by "top students," please? Do you mean the most senior or do you mean the most physically talented or?
I understand human beings experiencing envy or jealousy but I'm not clear in a dojo context, in what way do people compete for attention, and whose attention are they competing for? I ask this because while human emotions are universal, behaviors are not and I just don't see anything remotely like this where I train.

Sorry if my original post was too vague.

I was referring to a situation where a couple of physically more talented students (not necessarily the most senior ones) compete to get attention from fellow students or recognition from instructors...

It sounds silly, though.

taichi24
03-24-2014, 12:33 PM
Sure, people enjoy being "at the front" of the class, it's a thing that sort of feeds self-image.

Which is why I usually run class from a circle at the beginning. There is no back, or front, of the class when everyone is in a circle.

That's a great idea:)

taichi24
03-24-2014, 12:36 PM
Attention-seeking is a behavior that some people don't seem to outgrow, or that they struggle with. We're used to seeing it in small children who have not yet learned to observe and modulate their own behavior, and who need external controls to be able to get along with others. In an adult, this sort of attention-seeking is disconcerting. We want to grant other adults the respect that is appropriate to their age, and when we are faced with someone who cannot control their impulses as adults should...what do you do, treat them like a child? I think that's why these behaviors often go unchecked, at least for a time.

Attention-seeking only works if it's gratified -- if someone else plays the game. The most important factor is sensei's behavior. Sensei needs to recognize what's going on and manage it. I don't think it's necessary to treat this person like a child, but with firmness -- for example, if the student is seeking constant attention in the form of "feedback" ("sensei, how's this? am I doing it right?"), seems to me that sensei can simply say firmly, "I've already told you how to do it, now stop asking and practice." If, on the other hand, sensei gets drawn in by the attention-seeking behavior, it will only persist, because the attention-seeker's impulses are being gratified.

For the dojo at large, I think the larger danger is if other students observe that the attention-seeker is getting a larger share of attention (even if only at first, or only a small amount) and start to vie for attention themselves, out of fear that they'll lose out. Now sensei's got more than one to deal with, and it's harder to get things back on track. If you're one of those students who sees the attention-seeker gobbling up sensei's time, and you start to feel anxious, don't give in to the impulse to imitate the behavior - but do get your training and instruction. If there's really something you're not getting, ask sensei. If the attention-seeker is making it impossible to do that during class, ask sensei after class ("I wanted to ask about the first technique we did..."). If you're getting the instruction, then do your best to calm your anxiety and focus on that -- that's what you came for.

Thank you! This is great advice.