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mle
11-10-2002, 04:12 PM
I'm working on a Bill of Rights for martial arts practicioners.
Seems a little crazy, but then I see so many people get legislated, manipulated and downright abused by their dojo and it is very frustrating.. what I'd like to do is create a document which one can compare one's experience to and make a judgement about where one is training.

Something like:
1. Right to train in an art which suits you
2. Right to train within that art to the fullest of your ability
3. Right not to suffer physical harm (this does not include minor training injuries) as punishment or retaliation in training.
4. Right to be accepted in a dojo on merit of heart (kokoro as I understand it) ability and potential, NOT gender, race, or political merit.
5. The right, once accepted, to train and contribute fully.
6. Right to cross-train without retaliation, rejection, or judgement.
7. Right to advance in grade given reasonable time in grade (up to 1 year) without having to trade (a) over $100 US, (b) sexual favors or actions (c) political favors
8. Right to speak openly, freely, honestly.

This is meant to be offered to the student seeking to evaluate the status of training at their dojo (dojang/kwoon/etc).

Please offer input! and please keep it simple for me. :-)


Thank you all for your time.

mle

Brian H
11-10-2002, 04:35 PM
This is purely an exercise in playing devil's advocate, but ...

What about people who think a "traditional" dojo requires that you be treated like farm yard animal? Begging admittance, silly drills, yelling orders, unquestioning obedience and menial tasks etc.

I would not be happy training in that environment, but since they exist people must be seeking them out.

Kevin Leavitt
11-10-2002, 08:52 PM
I think I know where you are going with this...but you also have the right not to participate if you don't like what you are experiencing.

Coming from the military environment and having studied in traditional dojos....there is something to be said for authoritarian rule in this enviornment.

Obviously, mental and physical abuse have no appropriate place in any martial, military, or quasi-military environment. Hazing comes to mind.

Having said that, there is a fine line between hazing/abuse and hard training that serves to mold you into the tough warrior that you need to be mentally and physically.

I really hate it when my partner or sensei do not have the decency to tell me that I am "ate up" and doing something wrong. I'd rather them be a little rude and step on my ego in the dojo than fill me full of "warm and fuzzies" that come back to haunt me adversely someday!

Sometimes we need to be pushed outside of our comfort zones slightly in order to grow!

Obviously, some of the things you list are good, I do think that many of them are common sense though!

Food for thought!

Erik
11-10-2002, 09:18 PM
I'm working on a Bill of Rights for martial arts practicioners.

Seems a little crazy, but then I see so many people get legislated, manipulated and downright abused by their dojo and it is very frustrating.. what I'd like to do is create a document which one can compare one's experience to and make a judgement about where one is training.
As one of the militants on this subject, I can endorse this in it's way. Some thoughts worth the digital space they occupy.
3. Right not to suffer physical harm (this does not include minor training injuries) as punishment or retaliation in training.
This should be obvious. I would add mental and sexual abuse as well. I would then extend that to not being hit on by the instructor, but some seem to think that's ok.
7. Right to advance in grade given reasonable time in grade (up to 1 year) without having to trade (a) over $100 US, (b) sexual favors or actions (c) political favors
This is a toughie because dan ranks through Hombu all exceed $100. In fact, the higher ranks run into 4 figures.
8. Right to speak openly, freely, honestly.
Again, one that should be obvious but....

I would also add something along the lines of a drug free environment and the right to use your common sense. Something about being in a dojo makes people stupid (me been there. me do that. so me know.) and I think they sometimes need to be reminded that they have a brain.

Erik
11-10-2002, 09:24 PM
This is purely an exercise in playing devil's advocate, but ...

What about people who think a "traditional" dojo requires that you be treated like farm yard animal? Begging admittance, silly drills, yelling orders, unquestioning obedience and menial tasks etc.
Brian, I couldn't agree more on this one. Once, you get past about 19 years old who needs that s***. It's completely lost on my why people submit themselves to it, and to top it off, they pay to be a farm animal. Probably, there are farm animals treated better.

Jucas
11-11-2002, 03:19 AM
What practical application do you hope for this "bill of rights" to take part in?

When you say, "It will be offered to help a student, evauluate the status of training at their dojo";

Do you mean for these to be followed as guidelines in the dojo? Outside? Both?

Simply for a basis of comparison?

Furthermore on what level; Personal, enviromental, etc?

I lean toward making less specific rules/commandments, that is why we have the law and the government. In this case, a established set of principles could be more productive in evaluating one's dojo. These general guidelines should be simple enough that they leave something to be answered, yet can become as specific as needed.

A few examples of what I am thinking:

- All pratitioners reserver the right to train a productive enviroment in which: verbal, physical and sexual abuse are completely void.

-It is the responsibility of all practitioners: To arrive at the Dojo(school) with focused and open minds, and to contribute openly to a enviroment which promotes health (mental & physical), happiness and the well-being of the individuals and the Dojo enviroment.

Something like that maybe?

-J

PeterR
11-11-2002, 03:27 AM
Brian, I couldn't agree more on this one. Once, you get past about 19 years old who needs that s***. It's completely lost on my why people submit themselves to it, and to top it off, they pay to be a farm animal. Probably, there are farm animals treated better.
I don't know there are a lot of strange people out there. Form the http://www.akidofaq.com

The top 10 reasons Aikido training is like S&M

10. You go to a special place, get dressed in special clothes and tell someone how to hurt you

9. You pay to have it done to you

8. The more you do it. The harder and faster you want it.

7. Practitioners of both arts stay up all night looking for their stuff on the internet.

6. It can take your relationship to a new level if you can get you spouse involved.

5. You always say "Thank You" to the person hurting you when they are done.

4. Even if someone gets really hurt, chances are they'll do it again.

3. "The more you relax, the less this will hurt!"

2. No one understands why you do it except other people involved in the activity.

1. You inflict pain in an effort to get your partner horizontal. And then it's your turn. And you're glad!

PeterR
11-11-2002, 03:34 AM
That little aside out of the way. While I don't necessarily disagree with most of Emily's "rights", I do have a problem with a list in general.

For example although I would like to become a member of any dojo I wish, why should that be my right at the expense of the teacher to teach who he wants to.

The right to a grade a year - sorry but I expect I wont be grading once a year any more and this is good - no grading fees.

Also not to thrilled by putting a monetary value in the list. If sensei has to eat and I am willing to pay his prices. My choice/his choice.

mle
11-11-2002, 03:45 AM
What about people who think a "traditional" dojo requires that you be treated like farm yard animal? Begging admittance, silly drills, yelling orders, unquestioning obedience and menial tasks etc.
This is Chuck posting under Emily's account.

Sorry for the slight deviation, this is a pet peeve of mine.

What you described is not a 'traditional' dojo at all. It is a remnant of the militaristic BS imposed on budo training by the Japanese government and military during their little spate of aggressive behavior in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

Hard training is one thing. The line up, shout lots, do hundreds of calisthenics and such rot is another.

In the old dojo, students were expected to BE disciplined when they came for training. They were expected to BEHAVE like adults, train hard and not HAVE to be 'whipped into shape' by a drill instructor.

Sensei oughtn't be a DI. He/she has far too many other things that need to be taught. If students need that kind of false discipline, then they need to be doing something else (IMNSHO).

I believe the student has a responsibility to be fit and disciplined. The dojo/teacher has the responsibility to teach the art and transmit the concepts.

Many folks confuse 'hard discipline' with tradition. It is not the same ...

Chuck

mike lee
11-11-2002, 04:08 AM
Most countries have legal systems where such abuses can be sorted out. This would make such a "bill of rights" reduntant, not to mention the fact that it would not be legally binding. Quite frankly, it wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on.

In addition, making such "demands" on a martial arts teacher and questioning his judgment is extremely disrespectful.

As far as my experiences as a student, I looked at it this way: If the teacher didn't say anything to me I took it as indicating that he didn't take me seriously because I wasn't training hard enough. But if he chewed me out on a regular basis, I took it as meaning that he was interested in seeing me make some progress. As my training progressed, I was chewed out less and less, until only minor suggestions were occassionally given. At this point, I realized that I had learned the basics of the art. This was after about five years of extremely intensive training at the black-belt level under a shihan.

:do:

On the other hand, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

ian
11-11-2002, 05:19 AM
Most countries have legal systems where such abuses can be sorted out. This would make such a "bill of rights" reduntant, not to mention the fact that it would not be legally binding. Quite frankly, it wouldn't be worth the paper it was written on.
I pretty much agree with everything Mike says. Anybody that has had to push themselves to the very limit knows that an easy time and satisfaction generally do not go hand in hand. People look for different things out of aikido. Those who look to make it a useable self defence need to train hard and diligently.

I would be much more serious in the training(without incurring injuries) if I knew the people that would benefit most from it would stick around. I think the sensei's method of teaching reflects their objectives. For me, I think it should be a self-defence. Although technique is very useful, real self-defence requires repeated training and a certain level of fitness and physical ability. Why do people spend years doing aikido for self-defence, and not spend a month getting fit? Maybe aikido should be split into two different groups so people know what they are expecting when they go to a club e.g. applied and non-applied aikido? (maybe like what has happened to Tai-Chi).

Ian

ian
11-11-2002, 05:23 AM
P.S. I don't like the attitude that the sensei is providing a 'service' for the students. I have never met anyone that teaches aikido for the money. If you don't want to train with them, don't - find someone you respect and admire, and train with them instead.

Ian

Brian H
11-11-2002, 06:16 AM
What you described is not a 'traditional' dojo at all. It is a remnant of the militaristic BS imposed on budo training by the Japanese government and military during their little spate of aggressive behavior in the 20s, 30s and 40s.
I feel the same way, but there is an element in our community that think dojos that have a dignified environment are for "sissies" and as Kevin points out, a regimented class structure does have its place (a program for troubled youth?).

I am just suggesting that if a student wants to enter into that kind dojo, why stop them.

If a dojo was not meeting my expectations, my ultimate redress is to leave the mat (as a temporary solution), or to leave the dojo(a permanent solution).

I imagine that if a teacher was behaving badly an empty mat (or dojo) would get the point across nicely.

A right to leave the mat and decline to train?

mle
11-11-2002, 04:45 PM
I should stress that I myself am not at this time under any duress in my training. I am, however, talking to friends who are.

BTW I like the kitchen plenty hot, thank you. Intensity is not always physical.

I've changed things up a bit with folk's advice, here's the new batch.

We the students, in order to improve our lot and personal discrimination as students of the martial arts, do hereby create this list of Rights and Responsibilities in order to pursue our potential.

Any right may be waived at any time, should mutual interest between dojo and participant call for such. All rights refer back to #1- if you are having to refer to the rest of the list, this place may not suit you, nor you it.

1. Right to seek out an art which suits you

2. Right to train within that art to the fullest of your ability (that's trying hard and paying attention)

3. Right not to suffer physical harm (this does not include minor training injuries) as punishment or retaliation in training.

4. Right to be accepted in a dojo on merit and potential, as defined by that system.

5. The right, once accepted and committed, to follow organization guidelines and contribute fully.

6. Right to cross-train without retaliation, rejection, or judgement, with permission or advice of your instructor.

7. Right to advance in grade given effort, contribution, and growth without having to trade (a) unreasonable fees, (b) sexual favors or actions (c) political favors

8. Right to speak openly and honestly, when appropriate.

Is that better, or am I trying to herd elephants with a table fan?

mle

Richard Elliott
11-11-2002, 06:03 PM
Hi mle!

Interesting project! It really is too bad written guidelines seem necessary. I really believe that abuses must be a very low % of the MA poplulation. I hope so. Maybe I'm lucky that I can say I have never had a MA teacher I didn't really like on some basic level.

I'm wondering if the word "Freedom" is really more aptly applied on some of these than 'Rights"? For instance, #1,2,5,6,8,maybe #7.

Especially for raw beginners (I started at 38 yrs old), it seems to me, it would give a better introduction if these "guidelines" were worded in a more friendly and personal way?

O.K. this might sound polyanna, but: #2. Student should ideally train with honesty and heart with respect for the teach and rules of the respective school...

Student responsibilities, I feel, might be stressed; this, for the sake of all those good teachers and adminers of good and open will.

#7 implies full disclosure from the beginning i.e. no changing the fees w/o notification. B and C. are obvious no-nos.

Obviously, as the student has the right or freedom to leave, so the teacher has the right or freedom to bar a student: To me, "Rights" just sounds needlessly confrontational.

I tried to write a message an hour ago. When I came back you made some changes I had recommended. Like #8 "... when appropriate."

All this brings to mind a thread, somewhere here, about separating the knowledge being transmitted from the teacher/student bond. I keep thinking about that in a lot of different contexts...

Good luck with this! I'm green for all your traveling! Your friend

Chocolateuke
11-11-2002, 06:43 PM
This is intresting.. But dont most orginizations already have guidlines? Also, what do you mean by right? Are these things that cannot be taken away from you?? Im gonna question some of the guildlines you posted only to validate them for me.

3. Right not to suffer physical harm (this does not include minor training injuries) as punishment or retaliation in training.

Does this mean you cannot throw a student who has lied to the dojo extra hard for a day?? what about a student who brings drugs to the dojo can not punish them??



4. Right to be accepted in a dojo on merit and potential, as defined by that system.

A dojo is a private owned space, the sensei owns the space (or rents) and therefore should be able to do what he wants with it and that includes excludeing people. Who says he has to train anybody even if it is Bruce lee.

Just some thoughts. I like most of it and really am intrested in where this is gonna go. However, some things need to be issued on these rights. and like Mike said the words are only worth the paper writen on.

opherdonchin
11-11-2002, 10:23 PM
Hey Mle, I really like the idea and the effort. My take on it is that you are trying to put into words something that many of us bring to our judgements about a dojo and to the advice we give people who are looking for a dojo or questioning their dojo. That is, I understand it much better when I think of it as a sort of modern 'budo' of rights and responsibilities that are more of an aspiration than a strict guideline.

aef
11-12-2002, 03:20 AM
Hi, mle.

I think this is a really good idea. I'm quite new to aikido, and I've been lucky enough never to have felt as though I was being mistreated in my training, but it occurs to me that in terms of guidelines for students who are wondering whether they should continue to put up with whatever it is about their dojo that's disturbing to them, there are two categories that might be useful:

1) Guidelines for answering the question, "Can I reasonably expect to find a dojo to train in where I don't have to put up with _____?"

2) Guidelines for answering the question "Would what I have to put up with in order to continue training or advance in rank normally be considered abuse, ie, is a senior person in the dojo using his/her position of power to force students to endure things that expose them to unreasonable risk, or physical or mental harm?"

Since you're calling this a bill of rights, it seems like you're probably trying to answer something closer to 2. I think that in order to answer that in a really useful way, it's necessary to be at least as specific as you have been in the rules you've put down so far. I think people can generally decide for themselves whether or not they want to be abused (and will, in general, decide that they don't). Once in a while, though, an instance may come up in which it's not clear whether abuse is involved. This might be kind of rare, but then, martial arts training always involves letting people do some things to you that you wouldn't otherwise... of course, the tricky part is that where to draw the line depends a lot on personal and cultural values. And now, I'm just rambling, so I think I should just say that what you've put down so far looks pretty good to me.

I would add one rule, the right to expect your instructors to make every effort within reason to prevent serious injuries. This would include providing whatever safety equipment is standard for the activity being practiced, ensuring that everyone involved in the activity has had adequate training and experience to participate safely, and pointing out anything about the activity that's especially dangerous, and how to minimize the risk involved.

Hmmm... I'm starting to sound like someone's mom or something... must be that thread last week about injuries that got me thinking about it.

Anyway, good luck!

Annelise

justinm
11-12-2002, 06:32 AM
I have a gut reaction against this whole Bill of Rights stuff. Not sure why, but I think I just don't get it. Maybe it is an American thing? If I HAD to come up with something, it would be along these lines:

1. The Sensei has the right to run the dojo anyway they damn well please.

2. Everyone has the right to leave if they don't like it.

I struggle with anything else.

Justin

Bruce Baker
11-12-2002, 07:11 AM
The first thing you learn in trying to learn a martial art is that you are learning to be martial to be dominant.

YOU LEARN A MARTIAL ART TO BE DOMINANT.

So, in effect, you give yourself rights in being the dominant fighter, or having the greater ability.

Second, a hard lesson I learned from butting heads with NJ unemployment, you have no rights except that you can leave any job at any time to find another job. Employers can fire you at any time for any reason, and not suffer any repercussions, because you are working at their behest to assist them in their labors.

Get it into your head, you need to learn how to make a choice, and you need to learn how to stand up for who you are. These are choices, and as far as the Bill of Rights ... you make your own Bill of Rights with 'Fist Law', or doninance ... within societies laws that is.

Once understanding you have no rights, you will then understand how much more important it is to attain the clarity you need not to consider the grade, kyu, dan, or any other system of advancement being your primary goal in learning a martial art, but that learning to make techniques your own property are the key to martial arts.

Ain't no stupid belt gonna protect you in a group of attackers, you have to do what must be done ... with or without your belt or uniform.

Rights? Sorry, nice concept, but in the sense we are teaching variations in methods to physically dominate other human beings, you first need to learn how to be dominate to make the rules. This is the lesson of life, and my learned lessons of being an employee verse being an employer.

Maybe I am a true Ronin?

I have never saught the recognition of belt, grade, or saught to be a teacher ... my martial journey was let me be the little old man who could really hurt people if need be, but could be the cute little old man, just the same.

So, if I am a bit different in not wanting to extol any organization, or individuals who are key to any martial endeavor, that is my journey. If you guys want a Bill of Rights, fine. Just remember, you have the right to walk away and learn on your own terms too.

By the way, Fist law refers to the cognizant mind that recognizes your need to make choices, be aware of how those choices affect yourself and others, and that in carrying out those choices you will be subject to the laws of society. I use the term to awaken you to the fact you are learning to be physically dominant on some level over other human beings.

Jason Tonks
11-12-2002, 10:37 AM
I really think that this is the wrong way to go about things. It could well lead down an extreme path. Of course people have rights but as Bruce (in my interpretation) has put it, it is up to us at the end of the day to monitor these. Like Bruce said if you don't like what's going on, leave. People should feel priveleged that they have somewhere to train at all. Most people within the Martial Arts are decent honourable people but as everywhere there are idiots. Steer clear of them. I can just see this going too far, that shihonage hurt my shoulder a bit, I'm gonna sue. Before you know it we'd all be doing Politically Correct Aikido. We're not are we!?

All the best

Jason T

Erik
11-12-2002, 10:48 AM
Something from a different practice.

http://www.yrec.org/yrecguidelines.html

erikmenzel
11-12-2002, 10:50 AM
Maybe I am a true Ronin?
Or just the misguided jester who thinks himself king cause he allowed to sit on the throne.

Or just the fool who mistakes the reflection in the pond for the moon.

akiy
11-12-2002, 11:11 AM
Something from a different practice.

http://www.yrec.org/yrecguidelines.html
Shouldn't their #12 ("Yoga teachers will treat their students with respec") be #1 on their list?

Frankly, I feel that most of the other things on the above guidelines for yoga teachers would be too "touchy feely" for a lot of aikido/budo dojo. I'm sure a lot of folks in aikido/budo do not approach their art in the same way the guidelines seem to describe people in yoga approach their art.

All said, I think the guidelines for yoga teachers link above does have some interesting things in it; I'm sure Emily will take a look.

-- Jun

opherdonchin
11-12-2002, 12:18 PM
If I HAD to come up with something, it would be along these lines:

1. The Sensei has the right to run the dojo anyway they damn well please.

2. Everyone has the right to leave if they don't like it.
I'd probably also include something about criticising other teachers and styles, which is important for creating a healthy larger aikido community. Another I'd think about is that not only do people have the right to leave, but they have the right not to suffer abuse or reprisals for leaving or wanting to leave. I'm not sure I'd consider these 'sue-able' rights but I do think that if I heard consistent complaints of this nature from students in a dojo, I would think twice about recommending that dojo.

mle
11-12-2002, 02:17 PM
I have a gut reaction against this whole Bill of Rights stuff. Not sure why, but I think I just don't get it. Maybe it is an American thing? If I HAD to come up with something, it would be along these lines:

1. The Sensei has the right to run the dojo anyway they damn well please.

2. Everyone has the right to leave if they don't like it.

I struggle with anything else.

Justin
Did this sensei have the right to do anything he damn well pleased?

http://ejmas.com/proceedings/GSJSA02burdick.htm

I don't suppose there's a kind of protective guide one can come up with for the perennially misguided (*ahem*) but I did try to scribble down thoughts about what definitely WASN'T acceptable to me in a dojo.

And what I sought.

To be perfectly honest, it was an intellectual exercise to begin with. The name "Bill of Rights" is going over like the Chevy Nova in Mexica ("no va" means "it doesn't go" great for selling a car eh?)

The whole concept has brought to the surface how independent and, I suppose, necessarily Darwinistic budo is (or yoga for that matter! interesting page).

Seems to boil down to, you have the right to seek, the right to try, and the right to try something else.

I'm thinking of renaming the list "mle's List of Things that Bug Her".

Maybe just call it "Reasonable Expectations".

Not quite Dickens, is it!

mle

mle
11-12-2002, 02:38 PM
Hi mle!
Hi Richard! nice to see you out here.
Interesting project! It really is too bad written guidelines seem necessary.
The popular opinion seems to be that they are not. I was just sort of toying with the idea and put it out there. It was WAY soundly rejected as anything resembling rights... still pondering that.
Especially for raw beginners (I started at 38 yrs old), it seems to me, it would give a better introduction if these "guidelines" were worded in a more friendly and personal way?
So "rights" seems confrontational?

Wierd.

We all take for granted certain rights, so much so that we forget to think about them.

Not that we should be chanting them all the time, but that we should not forget.

I live in a country right now where I don't have the rights I had in the USA. Some of it is law and some of it is common sense.

(F'rinstance: do not, during time of possible war, wander about foreign countries wearing USA & flags and making loud comments about why America is Better)

Perhaps this is why I am thinking about rights.

I could get really political here but I'm gonna bite my tongue. Ow.

Small price to see the world, and learn why we value what we value, and why we are the way we are. Travel isn't always easy and it's mostly worth it (with the possible exception of spending my past week in downtown London- winning lottery ticket for the bills please!!)
Student responsibilities, I feel, might be stressed; this, for the sake of all those good teachers and adminers of good and open will.
Student responsibilities are usually pretty well spelled out by the dojo. Bylaws, culture and whatnot.

But not much about the rights of the fodder that walks in the door. Deciding who you teach is your right, as is HOW you teach. Natural events will cause enough evolution of that process.

Tools, guidelines, whatever you want to call it, just trying to thread a snake into a spool of thread...

mle

Richard Elliott
11-12-2002, 03:09 PM
Yer post is very interesting to me, mle.

I've only been outta the country a few times: Mexico and Oklahoma, and Boston, too. Have you considered traveling around, interviewing some MA teachers and students to get feedback on how they view their rights and priveleges concerning training? Maybe you could write an essay about the different politics in MA schools in Europe, compare and contrast type stuff. Tell 'em your not from the USA; you're from the Republic of Texas! Charm 'em into saying how things "really are." Just don't name names, for god's sake!

I suggested "freedom" because "rights" seems a little legalistic in this context, but my dojo experience is very limited.

"fodder" ??? that's a little wierd too. :D

trying to thread a snake into a spool of thread...

I am still trying to get myself thru the eye of a needle.

MaylandL
11-13-2002, 01:25 AM
Hello mle

Having read the Maxston Case and read some of the posts on Aikiweb (eg about the student getting slapped in the face and being demanded to cooperate) I wholeheartedly support your endeavours.

Given the philosophical tenets of Aikido and other martial arts, I am both surprised and saddened that we need to ennuciate these principles/rights. I would have thought them to be self evident. Evidently, they may not be that obvious to some.

I must be really naive or been brought up in very sheltered dojos but, I have always trained at Dojos where there was a mutual respect between students and their sensei and among students with absolute no hint or stain of impropriety or abuse. We have never been forced to do anything that we were not competely comfortable with or punished for not doing it. There have been rare occassions where some students were spoken to by Sensei for their behaviour during class but never punished in the ways noted on this thread. That being said, Sensei is always looking for ways to challenge students whilst not putting them at excessive risks. Yes, unfortunately, injuries do occur but it has never been the intent to injure or abuse students.

The training that I have received in all of the dojos that I've been at has been vigourous, intense, demanding but always joyful. I guess that's been the main reason for me saying in MA for over 12 years, its fun to do and I've enjoyed the company of those I've trained with and been taught by.

I agree with Mr Chuck Gordon's comments about Sensei not being a DI and that the student should be attending class ready to learn. At one of the Dojos that I train at, the Sensei trains with the students becasue he needs to feel the techniques that he is asking students to do so he can determine if they are doing the technnique correctly. He can do this because he has less than 6 students at any one class. We get a lot of personalised and feedback from Sensei, which I find very useful.

Anyway, enough of my rant. Please keep at it. I would be most interested in the results of your endeavours.

All the best for training :)

Bronson
11-13-2002, 05:52 AM
Rules for training and instructing--Koichi Tohei

1. Aikido reveals to us the path to oneness with the universal. To coordinate body and spirit and become one with nature itself is the chief purpose of aikido training

2. As nature loves and protects all creation and help all things to grow and develop, so we must teach every student with sincerity and without discrimination or partiality.

3. There is no discord in the absolute truth of the universal, but there is discord in the realm of relative truth. To compete with others and win brings only relative victory. Not to compete and yet win brings absolute victory. To gain only a relative victory sooner or later leads to inevitable defeat. While you are practicing to become strong, learn how you can avoid fighting. By learning to throw your opponent and enjoy it and to be thrown and enjoy that too and by helping one another in learning the correct techniques you will progress very rapidly.

4. Do not criticize any other martial arts. The mountain does not laugh at the river because it is lowly, nor does the river speak ill of the mountain because it cannot move about. Everyone has his own characteristics and gains his own position in life. Speak ill of others, and it will surely come back to you.

5. The martial arts begin and end with courtesy, not in form alone, but in heart and mind as well. Respect the teacher who taught you and do not cease to be grateful especially to the founder of aikido who showed the way. He who neglects this should not be surprised if his students make light of him.

6. Be warned against conceit. Conceit not only halts your progress, it causes you to regress. Nature is boundless; its principles are profound. What brings conceit? It is brought on by shallow thinking and a cheaply-bought compromise with your ideals.

7. Cultivate the calm mind that comes from making the universal a part of the body by concentrating your thoughts on the single spot in the lower abdomen. You must know that it is a shame to be narrow minded. Do not dispute with others merely to defend your own views. Right is right. Error is error. Judge calmly what is right and what is wrong. If you are convinced that you are wrong, manfully make amends. If you meet one who is superior, joyfully accept his teaching. If any man is in error, quietly explain to him the truth, and strive to make him understand.

8. Even a one inch worm has a half inch spirit. Every man respects his own ego. Do not, therefore, slight anyone, nor hurt his self respect. treat a man with respect, and he will respect you. make light of him, and he will make light of you. respect his personality and listen to his views, and he will gladly follow you.

9. Do not become angry. If you become angry it shows that your mind has wandered from the single spot in the lower abdomen. Anger is something to be ashamed of in aikido. Do not become angry on your own account. be angry only when the rights of nature or of your country are endangered. Concentrate on the single spot, and become angry all over. Know that he who is easily angered loses courage at important moments.

10. Spare no effort when you teach. You advance as your students advance. Do not be impatient when you teach. No one can learn everything well at one time. perseverance is important in teaching, are patience, kindness and the ability to put yourself in your students' place.

11. Do not be a haughty instructor. The students grow in knowledge as they obey their teacher. It is the special characteristic of training in ki that the teacher also advances by teaching his students. training requires an atmosphere of mutual respect between teacher and students. If you see a haughty man, you see a shallow thinker.

12. In practicing do not show your strength without some good purpose lest you awaken resistance in the minds of those watching you. Do not argue about strength, but teach the right way. Words alone cannot explain. Sometimes by being the one thrown, you can teach more effectively. Do not halt your student's throw at midpoint or stop his ki before he can complete a movement, or you will give him bad habits. Strive always by word and act to instill in him the correct ki and the art of aikido.

13. Do whatever you do with conviction. We study thoroughly the principle of the universal and practice it, and the universal protects us. We have nothing to be doubtful or to fear. real conviction comes from the belief that we are one with the universal. We must have the courage to say with Confucius: If I have an easy conscience, I dare to face an enemy of ten thousand men.

Bruce Baker
11-13-2002, 07:58 AM
Well Mr. Knoops, you have grasp part of the humor of my physical situation, but indeed only the surface of it.

Next time you are ill, with the flu, having the ceiling and walls move when you do not, or can not walk down the hall without feeling nauseous, go do Aikido class. If you could, then herein lies the laughter of the Jest.

Of course on good days, I have many hours of somewhat normal condition, although guarded, and it makes getting about easier, but until you have tried to do Aikido practice in this quasi state of health, the only jest is in the smugness of your own security.

If I am a jester, it is because I choose to hide amongst the pretenders who have become complacent with good health and continued practice as their representation of knowledge.

Anyone can practice Aikido when they are healthy, but try it sometime when doctors tell you, " ...you really shouldn't be doing that."

Sorry to rant, apologys if I seem slightly miffed, but indeed I am. One should have a great appreciation of how clowns work their craft, and not use them as foils for description.

Bruce Baker
11-13-2002, 08:09 AM
My sincere apology if anyone percieves that I am trying to be King or jester. Remember, how you percieve others is based upon your own insecuritys.

Maybe it is time to look inside ourselves, and see the weakness in ourseles that allows us to mock others without seeing the weakness of character we most dislike as being the same within ourselves.

mle
11-18-2002, 02:39 PM
Rules for training and instructing--Koichi Tohei
Near the end of my time as a mudansha I spent quite a bit of time digging through K. Tohei's writings. Fascinating and articulate.

I am not attempting to enact legislation.

I don't want lawyers to get any more money.

What I am into is basic human rights.

And it shocks me that in order to train, people would simply toss their basic rights by the wayside.

Yes, when you commit to a dojo, it owns you.

HOWEVER, does that mean it can assault your emotional state? Banish your free thinking? Scar you emotionally, mentally? become poisonously sexual? violate your personal integrity?

By harm, I mean crippling harm inflicted with knowledge and intention. I can tell you a good handful of stories, several I heard from noted teachers and shihan.

I don't mean a bump or bruise, I mean, duh! this *is* a martial art here.

Isn't it?

It's all about balance, as my teacher says.

I got a separated shoulder and a torn deltoid ligament in a very soft style of aikido. I sued no one. I learned from it and healed. Still healing. No malice, just accidents.

I owe a lot of my growth to some very dedicated teachers, and was thankfully thick-skinned enough not to be damaged by others.
3. There is no discord in the absolute truth of the universal, but there is discord in the realm of relative truth.
Seems to me that guidelines are relative truth, and basic rights are universal truth.

If you don't agree with what I've written as basic rights for a martial arts student, then state here what you want them to be.

THEN talk to me about what you want to see, what you want to be part of.
4. Do not criticize any other martial arts.
Also seen in Shotokan Karate and Araki Ryu. A very good rule.
6. Be warned against conceit.
Is asking hard questions conceited?

Will a strong thing be damaged by questioning?

I think not.

If you fear to question, you fear to grow.
13. Do whatever you do with conviction.
Very wonderfully true.

I ask my questions with a clear conscience.

I also fear that my fellow aikidoka do not educate themselves deeply enough, and begin to think that aikido sprang full-grown from Ueshiba's forehead. It was the result of thousands of years of development and wisdom on that little island and on the adjacent mainland. Much of what is found in aikido writings is also found in other books on martial strategy, such as the Sword and the Mind and books from "other styles".

What works, works. Only you can decide what works for YOU.

mle

jk
11-18-2002, 10:53 PM
The bill of rights does sound like a fine thing to have; seems that the wording's a bit difficult to pin down.

How about the dojo managment and instructors making very explicit to prospective members all the expectations and demands they have of students, with the addition that the students have a right to refuse demands not made explicit before they joined? The expectations and demands made by each dojo should be written in terms as black-and-white as possible, so any prospective students have a clear idea of what is or isn't acceptable behavior on the part of the instructors/managment.

So the management will have to put in stuff like, "all members 2nd kyu and above, and below the age of 30, shall run the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds and bench press not less than 350 lbs...leap over 20-storey buildings...etc." It should be detailed stuff, and not general, wishy-washy, subjective language. This sounds like a good way to let instructors run the dojo any damn way they please while at the same time giving prospective students fair warning.

Of course, this should be quite unwieldy in application, but I just wanted to throw this little thought out there...

Regards,

mike lee
11-19-2002, 03:30 AM
Yes, when you commit to a dojo, it owns you.

If there's ever been any abuse, it would spring from such an attitude.

Any rules or regulations should be handed down from the heads of individual martial arts associations. "Demands" do not flow up from the students. Any student who comes into my dojo and starts placing demands on me is finished.

Once again — if there have ever been any gross legal violations in a dojo, it should be taken up with local law-enforcement authorities.

And let there be no doubt in anyone's mind, O'Sensei created aikido.

What works, works. Only you can decide what works for YOU.


Then why expend so much effort telling everyone else how it should work?

erikmenzel
11-19-2002, 04:55 AM
"Demands" do not flow up from the students. Any student who comes into my dojo and starts placing demands on me is finished.
Hear hear!

Bill of Rights, what a nonsense! Studying a martial art or running a dojo is not a democracy!

Sensei has the right to decide whom to teach and whom not!

Students have the duty to do what needs to be done! And if they dont like it they have the right/duty to leave.

If this nonsense continues the next thing will be the ellection of the Founder of Aikido? :confused: :freaky:

mle
11-19-2002, 07:33 AM
Hear hear!

Bill of Rights, what a nonsense! Studying a martial art or running a dojo is not a democracy!

Sensei has the right to decide whom to teach and whom not!

Students have the duty to do what needs to be done! And if they dont like it they have the right/duty to leave.
Here's the _really_ freaky thing.

Mostly I do agree with you.

The whole benevolent dictatorship works well when the dictator is actually benevolent.

I train in such a dojo.

Though I was affianced to the teacher of the dojo I now train at, I still had to be approved to train there. Heck, I didn't even know if I'd like it! but I did, and have been accepted as a student.

What I can't seem to get across to some (others have had interesting feedback, and that's what I'm really interested in) is that I'm actually not capable of putting any laws into effect about aikido so you can quit worrying about that.

I'm not even thinking that this has to be graven in stone and placed upon the mountaintop.

I'm not talking about healthy dojo.

I'm addressing folks who are having problems and trying to give them tools to understand what their options are and that they do in fact HAVE options.

Imagine the loyalty you have to your sensei.

Think how hard and confusing if would be if they hurt you, or created an unhealthy situation around you.

Could you really simply leave?

What would it take?

The basic question is, when does this voluntary abrogation of rights in the dojo in the name of learning become more damaging than helpful?

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. "

- Ben Franklin

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves. "

- Bertrand de Jouvenel

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear "

- George Orwell

mle

mike lee
11-19-2002, 08:06 AM
I'm addressing folks who are having problems and trying to give them tools to understand what their options are and that they do in fact HAVE options.

Then go address those folks.

erikmenzel
11-19-2002, 08:41 AM
I'm addressing folks who are having problems and trying to give them tools to understand what their options are and that they do in fact HAVE options.
Ever considered that you might be barking up the wrong tree? And why being so involved with other dojo?

Ever considered that the whole exercise you are doing might actually be harmful for the good dojo??
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. "

- Ben Franklin

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves. "

- Bertrand de Jouvenel

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear "

- George Orwell
Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

-Ambrose Bierce

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

-Lord Peter Wimsey

She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.

-W. Somerset Maugham

A witty saying proves nothing.

-Voltaire

Wormwood
11-19-2002, 08:48 AM
Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

-Ambrose Bierce

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

-Lord Peter Wimsey

She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.

-W. Somerset Maugham

A witty saying proves nothing.

-Voltaire
The funniest circular logic I have seen in a while.

- Nathan Trail

Bruce Baker
11-19-2002, 11:24 AM
ALL sensei's should remember ... it is the goal of the student to surpass the teacher.

With type of thinking, and the future being within the treatment of how teachers treat students, you would want a student to treat you as you have treated your student, wouldn't you?

That should suffice the explantion of mistreatment, or explain the balance of things in the timeline of life, at least.

mle
11-20-2002, 04:24 AM
Ever considered that you might be barking up the wrong tree? And why being so involved with other dojo?
Because I have friends who suffer from the mismanagement and abuse there. I'm in the safest place I've ever been, myself. Heck, I don't even DO aikido any more, except with friends who give seminars and invite my teacher (who teaches jujutsu) to teach.

So from my safe vantage point, I look out and I say, hey, that s*cks. I wonder if I can raise consciousness by discussing it in the online aikido community (which I have been a member of since 1998). The subject was initially rejected on aikido-L but has turned into a great discussion of what is and is not acceptable in dojo. That's okay. That's what I wanted.

Perhaps you are one of those seniors who believes that sense must be beaten into your juniors? that it is your right to break arms if you feel like it or intimidate women? Then naturally you want nothing to do with the rights I am talking about.

Yes, I get it. You don't agree.

It's very easy to be a disagreable b*stard on email lists. We live very close and may well meet someday. I would like to have a beer and discuss it in person. Please converse with me so that I may look forward to it.

Consider please also that if you have never had problems, then perhaps you are not really qualified to discuss the subject and leave it at that.

Perhaps we could talk about what is unacceptable in dojo and what

we would rather see?

mle

Homework: read _Duelling with Osensei_ by Ellis Amdur

erikmenzel
11-20-2002, 06:39 AM
Because I have friends who suffer from the mismanagement and abuse there. I'm in the safest place I've ever been, myself. Heck, I don't even DO aikido any more, except with friends who give seminars and invite my teacher (who teaches jujutsu) to teach.
Sorry to hear that. Hope you still have a good time training anyway.
So from my safe vantage point, I look out and I say, hey, that s*cks. I wonder if I can raise consciousness by discussing it in the online aikido community (which I have been a member of since 1998). The subject was initially rejected on aikido-L but has turned into a great discussion of what is and is not acceptable in dojo. That's okay. That's what I wanted.
Yet, at the risk of sounding like a broken record: Did you ever consider that the format you chose might give people wrong ideas and thus be harmful for a good dojo??

I think the idea of discussing what is good and normal within a dojo is good. I do however strongly oppose the idea of "rights" for the following reasons:

1) It feels to me a very "america-centric" way of thinking. Something that doesnot score a lot of points in Europe anyway.

2) I have seen how the misconception of student rights can change a dojo for the worst. As I said earlier a dojo is just by nature not a democratic place.
Perhaps you are one of those seniors who believes that sense must be beaten into your juniors? that it is your right to break arms if you feel like it or intimidate women? Then naturally you want nothing to do with the rights I am talking about.
Are we already on the level of name calling and insults? Why so soon, we havent discussed anything yet.
Yes, I get it. You don't agree.
I guess, if you say so. Seems like we even disagree on what we disagree about.
It's very easy to be a disagreable b*stard on email lists. We live very close and may well meet someday. I would like to have a beer and discuss it in person. Please converse with me so that I may look forward to it.
I agree that direct contact is better and that training with each other and having a drink together is often more insightful than disagreeing on some list. I truely do hope to meet you one day and to train together. I am open to all new experiences and like to make friends and contact everywhere.

Consider please also that if you have never had problems, then perhaps you are not really qualified to discuss the subject and leave it at that.
Pot kettle black.
Perhaps we could talk about what is unacceptable in dojo and what we would rather see?
Sounds ok.
Homework: read _Duelling with Osensei_ by Ellis Amdur
homework : use dictionary and look up the word patronize

MattRice
11-20-2002, 10:50 AM
I join the dojo, I expect there to be rules. I expect to follow those rules, or have problems. Those rules cover training conduct and general conduct in the dojo. Virtually anything that I can think of that is not covered by those rules, is covered by the law of the land. That's pretty much it. If I were to be systematically abused at the dojo, I would notice. If I was being abused by Sensei, I would leave. If it was someone else, I'd tell Sensei. If it was abuse that was breaking a law, I'd tell the cops. I realize that all this is sometimes easier said than done, and I'm not callous to the suffering that some may have edured at the hands of an abusive instructor or whatever,but seriously, we must be responsible for OURSELVES.

I think this rule covers about everyting (ASU dojo):

Respect the Founder and his teachings as succeeded and handed down by Saotome Sensei. Respect the dojo, respect your training tools and respect each other.

If we're respecting each other, I think that's a pretty good start...more rules won't do jack if we can't get that part right.

SeiserL
11-20-2002, 11:22 AM
IMHO, a bill of wants and wishes can help you make a better selection. I just don't think its your "right" to demand other people do it your way. Especially because its their school.

Until again,

Lynn

beknapp
11-20-2002, 03:02 PM
it seems to me the concept of rights is for protecting those with less power from those with more. Its a statement about the acceptable use of power, not necessarily limited to democracy. The dojo is not a democracy, and that doesnt change anyone's rights, whatever they may be. In point of fact, the dojo and the teacher have very little real power, and personally I would like to save the concept for real life. In training, it might be more to the point to define what is acceptable to be dishing out; since others can always leave, but we have to live with what we do.

happysod
11-21-2002, 10:50 AM
I’ve been enjoying the reactions to this thread to date and would like to thank mle for this idea, as it was a feature that would never occurred to me. Having said that, I prefer the idea of a comparative document detailing different dojos/associations expectations of the pupil/student relationship, which you mentioned in your first paragraph, rather than an “Aikido Bill of rights” for two reasons.

1. Those who abuse their students are unlikely to make the bill of rights an issue in their dojos. In fact, I would assume they are more likely to use it as a “stick” for the hapless student who tries to get it introduced (unless of course you’re envisaging some sort of legal/social enforcement to these rights – which could get really out of hand).

2. Any codification of rights always brings out the barracks-room lawyers who normally mistake respect from authority as a potential weakness to be exploited for their own perceived advancement in the hierarchy. I can see this could damage a new dojo with an inexperienced sensei quite badly.

So, I must disagree with the bill of rights, mainly because I feel it is unworkable and unenforceable, but appreciate the sentiments behind it.

mike lee
11-21-2002, 11:18 AM
It appears to me that mle is the one that has been abused and that although she claims that she now practices another martial art, she continues to harbor resentment against her former instructor and aikido as a whole.

In response, it is her desire to find a way to exact revenge against her former instructor by getting the aikido community to impose a "bill of rights" on him.

She is either very young, very imature, or both.

Nevertheless, her methods seem to quickly be leading her down the road to mental illness.

It may be time for her fully face her personal tragedy and begin to take an new approach to her life before worse disaster strikes.

akiy
11-21-2002, 11:33 AM
Hi folks,

As usual, please compose your posts here with respect of the other person first and foremost in mind. As I have asked before, if you are unable to continue a discussion without personal attacks, please find a different discussion forum in which to post.

Thank you.

-- Jun

opherdonchin
11-21-2002, 02:46 PM
Thanks, Jun, I was also starting to feel that it was time for that.
If I was being abused by Sensei, I would leave. If it was someone else, I'd tell Sensei. If it was abuse that was breaking a law, I'd tell the cops. I realize that all this is sometimes easier said than done, and I'm not callous to the suffering that some may have edured at the hands of an abusive instructor or whatever,but seriously, we must be responsible for OURSELVES.Matt, I think that it's great that you have the self-respect and the understanding of abuse to feel confident that you can recognize it when you see it. On the other hand, I know for myself that my ideas about what is and isn't acceptable in a dojo grew and changed over time. For instance, the idea that I would learn more if I didn't question my teachers came slowly, and, if it was imposed on me too early would have led me to feel abused and, quite possibly, to leave. I can easily imagine situations which are confusing or borderline, where it might be useful to me to have made my own sense of the rules explicit. That doesn't mean that I have to be hide-bound by those explicit rules, just like I'm still free to question my teachers any time I want and still sometimes do so. It just means that it's nice to have the guidelines clear both for myself and, especially, for newer people who are still working to internalize them.

Many dojos I've been to have a fairly explicit list of their expectations of the students. I wonder how this interacts with the students gaining an understanding of what their expectations should be.

MattRice
11-21-2002, 03:49 PM
Hey Opher

so are you saying that one can be the target of abuse and not realize it; and that a list of criteria to judge that condition may be helpful? Sure, I can see that. It still involves taking responsibility, and not handing it off to someone else.

So are you coming to class tonight so I can abuse you or what?

PS my spell checker insists that your are Gopher, or Opera, so pick one please ;-)

Paul Schweer
11-22-2002, 08:12 AM
It appears to me that mle is the one that has been abused and that although she claims that she now practices another martial art, she continues to harbor resentment against her former instructor and aikido as a whole.

In response, it is her desire to find a way to exact revenge against her former instructor by getting the aikido community to impose a "bill of rights" on him.

She is either very young, very imature, or both.

Nevertheless, her methods seem to quickly be leading her down the road to mental illness.

It may be time for her fully face her personal tragedy and begin to take an new approach to her life before worse disaster strikes.

If you're correct in speculating that Emily is a victim of abuse, I can't imagine how you expect what you've said here to help. If you're not trying to help, what then?

If she is, as you accuse, seeking revenge,
whom do you seek to protect? What threat --
who is threatened when the wounded cry out?

You condemn her methods.
What methods do you recommend?

How many years, how much sweat and blood?
What price have you paid?
What pains? What for?

What now -- that you're strong is a given,
a gift of your teachers, your training --
what now, when the weak
show their neck,
will you do?

Paul Schweer

mle
11-22-2002, 08:16 AM
I will not be responding to individuals who choose to attempt to reduce the argument to an ad hominem level.

Partially out of respect for Jun and because it's a waste of everyone's time.

I am here for an intellectual discussion of the boundaries and possible existence of rights for students in the martial arts.

I deeply appreciate the ideas which have been shared in good faith here.

If the discussion bothers you, you have the "right" to read another thread. If you can disagree with it technically or on a gut level (Justin's reaction was very helpful to me! and very civil :) ) please let me know why, and what you would rather see. Please read through the entire discussion instead of just responding to the "rights" part. I understand that the term "rights" "ain't right" even to those of pro-American sentiment.

Additionally, if the discussion bothers you, perhaps that's because it should.

No, I don't think a "bill of rights" is the proper term for guidelines for diagnosing and avoiding abuse. I just didn't know what else to call it. "Magna Kata" perhaps? ;-)

Any abuse I have suffered personally has been fairly minor, really, and I am still fond of aikido.

Naturally there are some teachers I like better than others, but increasingly that has more to do with their integrity and how they treat their students. Whether their insides match their outsides.

Erik, your dojo is based out of Hombu. AFAIK there is no room in your organization for any questioning of superiors whatsoever, no matter what they do.

In addition, you practice in Europe, and I don't know about the Netherlands, but in Germany Aikido is rather stringently regulated and subject to organizations.

Additionally, you never answered my question.

Not meant as an accusation unless you take it as such.

I didn't leave aikido because I hated aikido, though plenty have. I had an intriguing opportunity to study with Chuck Gordon and I didn't have time for the other. In my plans for the near future is a visit to the closest aikido dojo to play and get acquainted. My original plan was to continue my aikido study, but I got really fascinated by what Chuck does.
I’ve been enjoying the reactions to this thread to date and would like to thank mle for this idea, as it was a feature that would never occurred to me. Having said that, I prefer the idea of a comparative document detailing different dojos/associations expectations of the pupil/student relationship, which you mentioned in your first paragraph, rather than an “Aikido Bill of rights” for two reasons.
This is more of what I am working on at the moment.
1. Those who abuse their students are unlikely to make the bill of rights an issue in their dojos. In fact, I would assume they are more likely to use it as a “stick” for the hapless student who tries to get it introduced (unless of course you’re envisaging some sort of legal/social enforcement to these rights – which could get really out of hand).
Ew, ick, no! we're legislated enough! and if you look at America's "Homeland Security" act, the freedoms we have fought so hard for and shouted so loudly about are getting raped and pillaged... *ack*!

I'm just looking for guidelines which would let people look for trouble signs. What _shouldn't_ be happening in a dojo?
So, I must disagree with the bill of rights, mainly because I feel it is unworkable and unenforceable, but appreciate the sentiments behind it.
Thank you, and I do understand that the concept of "rights" is, in our overlegislated society (US & Europe at least!) a bit dodgy.

Certainly unenforceable!

The hope is that someone, knowing these things shouldn't happen to them, would understand that it "wasn't right" and take proper action. Perhaps leaving, or feeling justified in reporting the incident under criminal codes because they had been, let's say, molested sexually or maliciously injured. This requires a certain amount of maturity and understanding, which a person without boundaries is not liable to "get" in the first place.. very tricky!

At this point I am referring to it as "guidelines" or possibly "reasonable expectations".

Certainly teachers have enough trouble with students expecting to be spoon-fed without having them screaming that their rights are being violated every time they have to take koshi-nage ukemi.

That said, though, I am more interested in informing students that having boundaries is OK, rather than telling teachers what to do with their students.

mle

(Paul, I'd send you a good German beer if I could!! :-) )

mle
11-22-2002, 08:27 AM
Hey Opher

so are you saying that one can be the target of abuse and not realize it; and that a list of criteria to judge that condition may be helpful? Sure, I can see that. It still involves taking responsibility, and not handing it off to someone else.
Bingo.

But if you don't KNOW you are responsible, that it's possible for you to responsibly not let your abuser abuse you, for the sake of BOTH your learning curves, how do you buy a clue?

...for only $19.99!

LOL! yes, I'm getting brain damage now.
So are you coming to class tonight so I can abuse you or what?
Yeah, thump 'im with integrity.

;-D
PS my spell checker insists that your are Gopher, or Opera, so pick one please ;-)
Oprah? Oprah does aikido?

Cool. Next designer hak for women!

mle

seriously, Ellis Amdur's Duelling book addresses this stuff in a very non-fluffy and interesting way.

MattRice
11-22-2002, 10:03 AM
If you're correct in speculating that Emily is a victim of abuse, I can't imagine how you expect what you've said here to help. If you're not trying to help, what then?

If she is, as you accuse, seeking revenge,

whom do you seek to protect? What threat --

who is threatened when the wounded cry out?

You condemn her methods.

What methods do you recommend?

How many years, how much sweat and blood?

What price have you paid?

What pains? What for?

What now -- that you're strong is a given,

a gift of your teachers, your training --

what now, when the weak

show their neck,

will you do?

Paul Schweer
OK, this is eloquent and poignant to the point of making me want to weep. (but I'm a bit of a wuss) Thanks Paul.

from mle
But if you don't KNOW you are responsible, that it's possible for you to responsibly not let your abuser abuse you, for the sake of BOTH your learning curves, how do you buy a clue?
Yeah...dunno. After mulling this all over last night when I should have been thinking of other stuff (like not getting punched in the face in class...DOH!) It's a very complex question you ask, and probably has to do with the way a person is brought up, what happened to them in school as a kid, relationships etc. I don't know the answer, but I bet it's going to be different for everyone.

erikmenzel
11-22-2002, 01:18 PM
Erik, your dojo is based out of Hombu.
It is??? Hmm, I did not know that. Seems you know more about our dojo than we ourselves, yet I cannot remember you visiting our dojo.

AFAIK there is no room in your organization for any questioning of superiors whatsoever, no matter what they do.
As far as I know this is complete and utter nonsense. Can I ask on which you base this?
In addition, you practice in Europe, and I don't know about the Netherlands, but in Germany Aikido is rather stringently regulated and subject to organizations.
Yes, the Netherlands is indeed stringently regulated. We have in our country a lot of problems with at least 4 organisations that all claim to be the one and only. All nothing but politics and powergames.

Our dojo does not take part in this political circus. We are a completely independent dojo. We don't tell others how to run their dojo or organisation and we dont appreciate it when others tell us what to do. We simply train aikido in all its aspects and wish to be judged on what we realy do. We dont want to be judged on prejudice, rumors or assumptions.
Additionally, you never answered my question.
I am guessing here which question you meant. I assume you mean the
Perhaps you are one of those seniors who believes that sense must be beaten into your juniors? that it is your right to break arms if you feel like it or intimidate women? Then naturally you want nothing to do with the rights I am talking about
rambling which I thought to be quite out of line for somebody who does not know me or our dojo and has never trained with me or anybody else in our dojo. I personaly believe and practice the idea that everybody at all time must be safe within a dojo. Even the slightest injury must be prevented. I think that you are always accountable for your actions, whether it be inside the dojo or on an aikido-forum. I think that it is always also your responsibility that people are safe from both physical and psychological harm, especially in the dojo, but not restricted to the dojo only!. For me the idea of abusing beginners or intimidating women is so incomprehensible that for me the sugestion that I might do something like that feels like a very heavy insult.
Not meant as an accusation unless you take it as such.
I realy dislike this comment. For me it radiates the idea of not taking responsibility for your own actions.:mad:

mike lee
11-23-2002, 08:25 AM
What now -- that you're strong is a given,

a gift of your teachers, your training --

what now, when the weak

show their neck,

will you do?

I'll reach down with my mighty arm,

as though I'm Thor,

and say, "get your ass up,

let's train su'more!"

:D

mle
11-23-2002, 10:58 AM
ANd Chuck being too lazy to log MLE out and log back in ...
It appears to me that mle is the one that has been abused and that although she claims that she now practices another martial art, she continues to harbor resentment against her former instructor and aikido as a whole.
I don't know if I'd categorize anything that happened to her before as abuse, but i do know that outside the dojo, she endured much the same sorts of abuse most young girls and young women do on a daily basis. Nothing scarring or really injurious, but abuse nonetheless. We've come a long way, in terms of making the world a better place for women, but still have a long way to go.

And she doesn't have to 'claim' she's studying another art. She is. The jujutsu I teach has somewhat in common with aikido (my teacher studied for a while with both Tohei and Shioda back many years ago and we've kept much of what he learned. However, the differences are fairly large. We study really about half anf half, weapons and empty hand, for one.
In response, it is her desire to find a way to exact revenge against her former instructor by getting the aikido community to impose a "bill of rights" on him.
Nope. Read her posts again. She's not seeking this for her own sake, but for the uninformed, the misinformed and the bullied. And yes, we do know of folks in those situations who ought to know better, but they believe it's the way things are done in the dojo.
She is either very young, very imature, or both.
Neither. Well, depends on how you define 'em. She says she's really flattered at your comment. Her Oil of Olay seems tobe working ...
Nevertheless, her methods seem to quickly be leading her down the road to mental illness.
Eh? Mike, you're SO far off base here. Perhaps you should ask yourself why what she's said threatens you so?

And for the record, this is largely her project, though we've discussed it. My opinion is that those who practice budo have two 'rights' -- the right to try to find a place that suits them and the right to leave if it turns out not to.

And, really, she's mostly dropped the 'rights' thing. It's a powerful word that gets people all het up and wrapped aroud the axle.

What she's doing, really, is developing a set of guidelines for folks who may be in bad situations to help them get out.

Chuck

(MLE's really much cuter then me)

Frp
11-23-2002, 12:06 PM
Mle-

This 'Bill of Rights' idea scares me as well. I can imagine half-assed students claiming they have the right to rank because they have shown up enough.

And, most often and more imortantly, the rules that people follow are the one's that are not expresed in words. (Think of sexism if you doubt that.)

If you want bad dojo's to disapear spread the word that martial arts do not require the boot camp macho atmosphere that so many expect.

Unless you are required to attend class for some reason, school credit or parental disapointment, I suppose, the right to vote with your feet is only right you need. Abusive instructors will soon play all alone.

opherdonchin
11-23-2002, 06:37 PM
So, I remember when this thread first started I spent some time wondering about the one about rank. On the one hand, I can see how witholding rank can be a form of abuse. On the other hand, nothing turns me off more than students who feel like they 'deserve' or have a 'right' to some rank or another. It's a really tricky point. I think that I would say that a student has a 'right' to feel appreciated for their time and commitment (or, more accurately, a good dojo accepts its responsibility to try to convey that feeling). I guess that whether or not the dojo is trying its level best, a student who feels they are un or underappreciated should understand that that is a serious warning sign and it may indicate that it's time to look around at other dojos.

It's all about warning signs, isn't it? It's about trying to understand when it might be a wise idea to start looking around and asking yourself whether this is the right place for you. A lot of people have agreed that this is the one 'basic right' that they would grant a student, but I can see where a lot of students might not understand how or when that right is properly exercised and would be interested in guidance on that point.

Brian H
11-24-2002, 03:45 PM
How about responsibilities (not rights)

"Every person who enters the dojo has the responsibility to maintain a safe and respectful environment for the learning of Aikido. If there is a need, anyone may leave the mat or ask a question in an appropriate manner. Conduct that does not promote an effective learning environment should be avoided at all times."

It may be appropriate to be "mean to" or punish a student to help them learn, but very inappropriate to do the same thing just to be cruel.

It is the overall context that matters and the responsibilities fall on both the student and teacher alike.

mle
11-25-2002, 09:13 AM
Mle-

This 'Bill of Rights' idea scares me as well. I can imagine half-assed students claiming they have the right to rank because they have shown up enough.
Yeah, the rank thing's tricky.

It differs by individual, by school, etc.

What I'm grasping at here is a principle by which keeps it from being abused.

And I'm not at all sure how.

Frankly, rank isn't that important to me and never was, so I'm not terribly "motivated" about that one.. rank is a hole you dig..
And, most often and more imortantly, the rules that people follow are the one's that are not expresed in words. (Think of sexism if you doubt that.)

If you want bad dojo's to disapear spread the word that martial arts do not require the boot camp macho atmosphere that so many expect.
The rules we aspire to seem to be more 'principles' than rules, and that's what I'm trying to get to.

Bingo on the second half of your statement.

On the other hand, some people require that and like it- it's only when you don't like it and it's not working for you that it's a problem. I have to respect that some people get a kick out of lining up and yelling "Osu" or whatever (Hi Justin, Scott) and I know some really great teachers who teach that way.
Unless you are required to attend class for some reason, school credit or parental disapointment, I suppose, the right to vote with your feet is only right you need. Abusive instructors will soon play all alone.
I've started thinking of it as the Darwinistic method, wherein the abusive instructors retain a certain kind of student who is used to that for personal reasons (family history most likely) and the kinder, quieter instructors do the rest of the work including occasional "fixer-uppers" on refugees from the abusive dojo...

I think a concern at this point IS the persistence of abuse (In N America, I know of some in Europe but I don't know specifics) and the turning of the legislative eye on the martial community at large.

What I am curious about is, what resources can those of us who are training happily and feeling good offer those who are feeling trapped, or suffering from Bad Budo?

And what's the difference between correction and abuse? Personally, I think a "natural consequence" such as a bonk with a bokuto or twist or thump is OK. An "unnatural consequence" like a punitive slap when you don't "do it right" is not conducive to learning, it's not part of the "natural consequence".

Bottom lines seem to be "don't check your brain at the door" and "vote with your feet/wallet".

Overall context is more what I am trying to get a sense of in forum and on the aikido-l list.

I'll try to rewrite these things in terms of responsibilities.. that should be interesting!

thanks for your help,

mle