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Unregistered
01-29-2003, 02:51 PM
My friend hasn't been coming to class for the past few months, each time making up a new excuse: no cash, no time, too tired...etc. But I could feel something weird was going on. Yesterday I confronted her and she admitted that she wasn't going to class because she couldn't be with Sensei in the same room. She said she had witnessed him acting real vulgar and violent outside the dojo, and that she had lost all respect for him. She can't look at him the same way.
What do you think? Can an aikidoka discard Sensei's certain personality traits outside the dojo, and concentrate on his skills inside?
Would you drop aikido too, if you were in my friend's shoes?
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.

shihonage
01-29-2003, 03:03 PM
Two points come to mind.

1) There ARE situations in life where ANYONE would be required to act vulgar and violent, in order to stand own ground in the only language that the other side can understand. It all depends on the context of how it's happening.

Acting vulgar and violent is better than hiding it all inside. All humans have this kind of balance which they need to maintain.

Maybe your instructor just caught his wife cheating on him.

Maybe some ape was towing his car and didn't listen to arguments.

Once again, depends on context.

2) How do you know that your instructor is the best in the country ?

diesel
01-29-2003, 03:07 PM
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.
Yeah, mine too...

In all seriousness.. people are not perfect. If you expect your sensei to be perfect, you probaly do not know them well enough. It's a matter of your personality and morals.

e6

Unregistered
01-29-2003, 03:11 PM
Hey, all the Sensei's are human, and from what I've read and heard, most of the top sensei's have a fairly dark side to them. Maybe that's what attracted them to the martial arts in the first place. Maybe your friend is making excuses and just doesn't like aikido. There is a lot of pain and mental adjustment involved, which some people don't care for, they like their comfortable rut.

siwilson
01-29-2003, 03:27 PM
Budo is a way of "Life"!

DO you feel that your Sensei is someone you can associate with all your life?

MikeE
01-29-2003, 10:21 PM
A friend of mine that trained under O' Sensei once told me the O' Sensei kind of addressed this. (I'm pretty sure he was referring to O' Sensei...but even if he wasn't..it still applies)

I may not be perfect in the translation...and I will be paraphrasing, but, I believe he said something to the fact that:

If I train under a person with fantastic hand technique...but poor hygiene, what will I take with me?

I'm sure I would take the technique and not the hygiene.

Hanna B
01-30-2003, 01:15 AM
Would you drop aikido too, if you were in my friend's shoes?If I felt the way your friend does when I was a beginner, I would probably drop aikido. Today, I would try to find another dojo. If there isn't one that I think is OK within reasonable distance... that would be a dilemma.

I do think I would take more from a teacher that I consider really good, but only to a certain extent.
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.
I don't suppose you have actually tried all the others? Skill are many things - technical skills (which can in itself be subdivided into many areas) and teaching skills. Neither do necessarily equal rank.

Regards

Edward
01-30-2003, 02:00 AM
Isn't it odd that the whole marketing thing about aikido concentrates on character building and creating some kind of a superhuman with an outstanding morality, humanity, and honesty...blablabla...

In the same time, we rarely find any of these traits in our instructors. In the countrary, they are mostly every thing we do not want to become, technical side apart.

I have reached the conviction some time ago that instructors are just on the mats. I do not care what they do outside. Maybe under movie influence, or books, whatever, we all would like to find a master under whom to train in the real meaning of Budo. Someone to consider as a role model. Helas, there is a great gap between reality and idealization.

Abasan
01-30-2003, 03:43 AM
The story was, even Koichi tohei and kishommaru were at odds and argued. Thats the way of mankind.

They're not saints or angels. As long as you don't revere them, you should get along well enough.

Kelly Allen
01-30-2003, 04:00 AM
Human nature is human nature no matter how much martial art knowledge one has. You have to be comfortable with the person who instructs you weather its in martial arts or mathimatics. If finding another instructor is out of the question then it's my opinion that your friend is really not intrested in training period, and all the excuses he\she is using are just that, excuses.

mike lee
01-30-2003, 07:48 AM
You have to be comfortable with the person who instructs you weather its in martial arts or mathimatics.

So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?

Unregistered
01-30-2003, 08:08 AM
"If I train under a person with fantastic hand technique...but poor hygiene, what will I take with me?"

Unfortunately for me, their poor hygiene is what lingers longest... (must be my Alzheimers)

PeterR
01-30-2003, 08:16 AM
So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?
:D
In the same time, we rarely find any of these traits in our instructors. In the countrary, they are mostly every thing we do not want to become, technical side apart.
A bit harsh Edward or perhaps I've been lucky.

Still it all depends on where you sit between the two extremes of I want to learn some neat tricks and I am looking for a God like being to show me the true way of everything. Personally I like the Do and am glad to have found a teacher that can occaisionally nudge me in the right direction. Since the journey is essentially self driven, he is not required to be perfect, especially my vision of perfection. I mention that because those who are often most strident (I have no idea what the young lady witnessed so I talk general) have often a very strong idea of what should be what. That what often has more to do with their cultural/religious background than Aikido.

SeiserL
01-30-2003, 09:32 AM
My compliments for your compassion.

IMHO, it is your friends choice. If they have lost respect and no longer wish to be in the same room with the instructor, then it is their right not to train there.

Worry about your own training.

Until again,

Lynn

Jeff Tibbetts
01-30-2003, 11:28 AM
Forgive me for saying this, but I DO think that instructors need to be something like role models. I have several reasons for thinking this, psychologically, socially, and philosophically. First off, the way that the human mind learns and interprets things is hopelessly complex. In the dojo, we undergo a sort of physical brainwashing, trying to replace our instincts with better reactions (don't block it, blend with it) and this gets put into our muscle memory. Through the process of emulating our teachers we begin to move like them, you can look up all sorts of books and such that say you can tell who someone trained with by watching them. Now, I know it's not fair but this happens in the mind as well as the body, and we begin to replace the ways that we think with more Aikido-like thoughts, such as centering, trying to keep beginner's mind, etc. Now, the mind doesn't make much of a distinction between that stuff and other things like speach patterns and even thought processes, if we are in the learning mode with someone than you are ALWAYS in learning mode with them, on some level. Now this can stop when you leave the dojo, BUT, I don't think it does for most of us. You can attach that learning mode to the dojo itself as opposed to the teacher, but is that something you want to do? I think that for many of us, Aikido is something that you take home with you, practice all the time, and you see things outside the dojo that might bring some insight into your training. Am I wrong here? I think that Aikido should be something that you do basically 24 hours a day. Assuming that this is the case, your instructors are surely thinking along the same lines, and should be held to similar standards. The fact of the matter is that we really don't know what happened in this case. If it was something as simple as the friend saw the instructor at a bar and overheard them telling a dirty joke then, yes, this is going too far to hold that against them, but I doubt that it would have even be brought up, right? I think that most everyone who posts on these boards is pretty sensible, and I don't think they would bring this up unless it was something pretty bad. Let's say that the person you're trying to copy every day was yelling racial slurs at a black man, and threatening to kick his ass! Ok, exteme case, sure, but by the argument that they can't be held accountable for their actions outside the dojo it's a perfectly suitable one. How many of us would continue with that teacher? I for one am not so quick to drop my training at the dojo doorstep untill the next time I'm there, I want to bring it with me for daily use. I would think that after 10 years of training every day in the art of harmony that I would be able to control my emotions a little bit more. The samurai have always valued coolness under pressure, and this is something that I think we should all strive to exhibit. Why would you not hold a senior and highly ranked instructor to this? I know I'm naive, so don't tell me, but this is something I feel pretty strongly about, and I'm surprised that so many of you don't care what your insructors do. Please, could a voice of experience help me to see if I'm wrong?

Kelly Allen
02-02-2003, 01:35 AM
So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?
:D Never was very good at spelling. And I'm from Canada! Its always cold.:cool:

Kelly Allen
02-02-2003, 01:59 AM
Jeff Tibbets wrote:

Am I wrong here? I think that Aikido should be something that you do basically 24 hours a day.

No Jeff you are not wrong! I chose Aikido for 1 health 2 the ideals 3 My instructor is a heck of a nice guy, in the dojo and out. Now I'm not perfect, but I admit when I'm wrong, and that I beleive is the essence of Aikido. Find your flaws and improve them. Those people who instruct who have questionable behaviour out of the dojo have, in my opinion, not seen the big Aikido picture. My original comment then applies. You have to be comfortable with your instructor whether it be in Aikido or Mathimatics. (Did I spell it right this time Mike?)

Kelly Allen
02-02-2003, 02:03 AM
My compliments for your compassion.

IMHO, it is your friends choice. If they have lost respect and no longer wish to be in the same room with the instructor, then it is their right not to train there.

Worry about your own training.

Until again,

Lynn
I have seen this IMHO in a few posts now. What does it mean?

Edward
02-02-2003, 02:04 AM
A bit harsh Edward or perhaps I've been lucky.
Maybe I'm too demanding of my teachers. But since I started my Budo training at the age of 15 or 16, mostly Judo and recently Aikido, I have rarely met, if ever, a teacher that I could consider as a role model both on and off the mats. I have been very lucky however to have met many excellent teachers from the technical side. What my teachers do off the mats is not my business (although I have many reservations of what some of them actually do on the mats!). But still, being a kind of idealistic person who believes what is written in the books, I still hope to meet some day a Budo master whose behaviour is consistent with his teachings.

PeterR
02-02-2003, 02:25 AM
I also have a problem with hypocracy - if you preach you better practice. Luckily with Nariyama there isn't a whole lot of preaching. I also have yet to meet anyone who I would consider an all encompassing role model - if I did I would have serious questions about myself. As it stands there are several people who's approach to life I find admirable, enough so that I would tend to overlook certain (defined by me) flaws. It's like my end goal is an amalgm of the best of many and hopefully avoiding the worst of all. I've stated several times that I believe the Do is essentially self driven and it is far more important for me to concentrate on my own training (as Lynn pointed out) than someone else's "lack of perfection".

From the other side of the spectrum we have people saying that they are in search of a guru yet as a pre-condition have a whole spectrum of ideals that must be met. Some of those pre-conditions (gleamed from haunting this and other forums) are down right puritanical and I can't help asking "if you have all the answers why ask".
Maybe I'm too demanding of my teachers. But since I started my Budo training at the age of 15 or 16, mostly Judo and recently Aikido, I have rarely met, if ever, a teacher that I could consider as a role model both on and off the mats. I have been very lucky however to have met many excellent teachers from the technical side. What my teachers do off the mats is not my business (although I have many reservations of what some of them actually do on the mats!). But still, being a kind of idealistic person who believes what is written in the books, I still hope to meet some day a Budo master whose behaviour is consistent with his teachings.

Hanna B
02-02-2003, 03:38 AM
I have seen this IMHO in a few posts now. What does it mean?In My Humble Opinion.

Hanna B
02-02-2003, 03:50 AM
I chose Aikido for 1 health 2 the ideals 3 My instructor is a heck of a nice guy, in the dojo and out. Now I'm not perfect, but I admit when I'm wrong, and that I beleive is the essence of Aikido. Find your flaws and improve them.
You have to be comfortable with your instructor whether it be in Aikido or MathimaticsI don't suppose that you study maths because of the ideals? You are saying two different things here Kelly.

Most of us want to be reasonably comfortable with the people around us. That's one thing.

Some people believe in this "ideal" thing in aikido. That gives you another reason for wanting to have an aikido teacher who you can think of as a good person. I have yet to see any reasons to believe that people who do aikido are better than people who do skydiving. I think you can improve yourself through aikido, but you can do that in lots of activities.

So Unregistered (who might very well be posing the question for him/herself, not for the friend), ask yourself if you would feel OK learning maths, archery or skydiving from this person. I don't thnk aikido is any different.

Edward
02-02-2003, 05:26 AM
As it stands there are several people who's approach to life I find admirable, enough so that I would tend to overlook certain (defined by me) flaws. I've stated several times that I believe the Do is essentially self driven and it is far more important for me to concentrate on my own training (as Lynn pointed out) than someone else's "lack of perfection".
Similarly to you, I do find admirable qualities and approach to life in many instructors. My problem is with people who preach what aikido should and should not be, but if you scrutinize their personal lives, you cannot find a trace of their preachings. There are some intructors who spend valuable time of training idly talking about aikido manners, aikido personnality, aikido honesty, humbleness, compassion... etc. And they are the exact opposite of what they preach, ironically as if they are trying to show you by example how not to become.

I agree that Do is a personal journey, and I have been following it as such. I believe that one should take from each teacher what he has best to offer and discard the rest. However, you will be easily accused of lacking in aikido spirit or budo spirit if you do not join the rest in the butt kissing rituals etc. etc.

Unregistered
02-05-2003, 12:02 AM
sensei means teacher, not god-like master. Also what is vulgar to one person isn't vulgar to others.

Also, it is this person's right to decide whether to train or not. If they aren't comfortable, then fine. You decide for you, they decide for them.

(on the side- when of the mats, a lot of my best martial arts teachers could be pretty crude. What do you expect from people whose livelyhood is teaching MARTIAL arts? This ain't tea ceremony folks)

Jeff Tibbetts
02-05-2003, 08:16 AM
I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I was looking through the old polls on Aikiweb and I noticed one that asked if a teacher's character matters if their technique is effective. The absolutely overwhelming answer was Yes!

the poll results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=77)

Now if this is the case, why do most of the posts in this thread support the idea that their character would not prevent you from training at their dojo if you found them to be questionable? I think part of it may have been that the question wasn't phrased the same way, that character does matter but not that much. Any thoughts or ideas? Or is there a quiet majority on this board who DOES think that character matters?

For the record I wholeheartedy agree that it's better to look to your own training and not look for flaws in others, and that you should try to manifest the Aikido ideals in your own way and not judge others; but I also concede that if I cought my teacher acting in very poor taste I may have some misgivings about his instruction. Obviously, if he bagan to lecture about moral responsibility or something I'm quite sure I'd tune out. At any rate, there is a lot going on with this issue, and I don't think it's as cut and dried as people would like to think.

Unregistered
02-05-2003, 08:54 AM
'Acting vulgar and violent' is an extremely subjective phrase. Since we don't know the facts of what the lady witnessed, how can a judgment be made? It would be better for one to look at the students this teacher has and see how they are; are they mindless thugs with no manners, or are they admirable examples of people we'd hope to be like one day? Could a rotten teacher produce good students like that?

achilleus
02-05-2003, 10:47 AM
[QUOTE=" (on the side- when of the mats, a lot of my best martial arts teachers could be pretty crude. What do you expect from people whose livelyhood is teaching MARTIAL arts? This ain't tea ceremony folks)[/QUOTE]

I was with you until your side comment. I live in St. Louis which has two important things pertinant to this discussion. 1) is a master teacher of the Yagyu Shinkage-Ryu (ken) and 2) is the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Our sister city in Japan is Suwa and every year their delegates come to the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan for a festival. Many martial arts demos, good food, great fun. The yagyu master I mentioned, being a fleunt speaker of the tongue, acts as liason for the delegates from Suwa and occasionally demonstrates some of the Muso ryu-jo kata, but his prime responsibility is assisting the formal tea ceremony.

my side comment - he doesn't charge or make his living from teaching, and he's a helluva nice guy: sword, jo or tea!

:circle:

DA

Unregistered
02-05-2003, 12:32 PM
I think the real problem is that it is unclear what this sensei actually did that offended the first poster's friend.

Vulgarity doesn't sound THAT serious - unless it means flashing or say "XXXX me" to a twelve year old or something. I'd probably not want to train under someone if they were extremely or habitually vulgar.

And violence? What exactly did this guy do? Beat someone up? or just threaten to beat someone up? Under what circumstances? Was anyone hospitalized?

Vulgarity combined with violence, if manifesting itself physically, and not just verbally, is more or less sexual assault, which is criminal behavior.

Kelly Allen
02-06-2003, 12:44 AM
I don't suppose that you study maths because of the ideals? You are saying two different things here Kelly.

Most of us want to be reasonably comfortable with the people around us. That's one thing.
Actually Quantum Physics has been the basis for alot of ideals. But all I was saying was that I wouldn't want someone who I disliked to teach or tutor me anything.

Everyone, however, has their flaws and querks. (I probably have more than my share :freaky: ) One must be comfortable with those flaws if he/she expects to learn from that person.

If I wittnessed my instructor grabbing every womans ass that walked by while we were haveing beer waza then I wouldn't be comfortable training with him afterwards for the simple reason that I wouldn't respect or like him afterwards.

If on the other hand he told me a racial joke, (which I wouldn't laugh at). That in itself wouldn't keep me from going to his dojo. It's all relitive.:)

Unregistered
02-06-2003, 10:06 AM
Well maybe this belongs in another thread, but I don't care for the idea of racial jokes tolerated by my teachers... if they allow groups of people to stand around 'joking' like that it would ruin the atmosphere of our dojo and keep away many of the very people we want to attract to aikido.

mike lee
02-06-2003, 10:19 AM
I never saw a shihan in aikido make a pass at a woman or make a racial joke. I think we would do well to follow their example.

Edward
02-06-2003, 10:22 AM
I never saw a shihan in aikido make a pass at a woman
Me neither, but I've heard about one who does:D

Mel Barker
02-06-2003, 11:03 AM
I never saw a shihan in aikido make a pass at a woman...
Well I sure have! Not a pretty sight.

Shihan are people too. From many reports I've heard, some wouldn't make my friends list. Just like the population in general.

Mel Barker

mike lee
02-06-2003, 11:43 AM
So who are the bad shihans of aikido?

akiy
02-06-2003, 02:31 PM
I don't think there's any need to be naming names, Mike.

-- Jun

Kelly Allen
02-07-2003, 04:00 AM
Well maybe this belongs in another thread, but I don't care for the idea of racial jokes tolerated by my teachers... if they allow groups of people to stand around 'joking' like that it would ruin the atmosphere of our dojo and keep away many of the very people we want to attract to aikido.
This is my point. What wouldn't bother me to the point of not going to their dojo might bother someone else to the point that it would keep him/her out of their dojo and vice versa.

Kelly Allen
02-07-2003, 04:09 AM
I never saw a shihan in aikido make a pass at a woman. I think we would do well to follow their example.
Grabbing a bunch of womens asses I don't consider making a pass. If the shihans who have wives didn't make passes at women how did they court their wives?

paul keessen
02-07-2003, 07:15 AM
very difficult, but well we are all just people! who knows what high grade teachers do in their free time? do you want to know? i don't! but on the other hand, if he or she teaches the wyof aikido to us, he is also expected to live like this, because otherwise it would be fake! but wel remeber that we all have some weird moments!!

good luck

haha i don't know if this helps...it's difficult:P bye bye

paul keessen
02-07-2003, 07:19 AM
there is one more thing i wouldlike to say...

we as students always expecht our sensei's as peoples who are perfect.

but last time there was a very high ranked sensei who did a seminar at our dojo, he is very good and even studied under o sensei.

When we were training he climbed out of the window to smoke a cigarette!! i was SO suprised, nut also a bit dissapointed! but later i thought..well okay...he is a human being..haha it was pretty funny actually!

paw
02-07-2003, 07:52 AM
Grabbing a bunch of womens asses I don't consider making a pass.
Maybe laws are different where you are, but where I live "grabbing a bunch of womens asses" would be sexual assault.
If the shihans who have wives didn't make passes at women how did they court their wives?

Maybe by having a life outside the dojo? There's also a positional power issue. Certainly student/teacher relationships can work, but there may very good reasons why so many companies, government agencies, schools and training facilities do not allow such relationships.

Regards,

Paul

Edward
02-07-2003, 10:20 AM
we as students always expecht our sensei's as peoples who are perfect.
I think this is an eternal problem. We as citizens would expect our politicians to be perfect. As human beings, we would expect our religion leaders to be perfect... etc.etc.

But the truth is, we should not discredit what they teach because of what they do. Maybe our teachers, politicians and priests do not live by the principles they advocate. But these principles are still valid, and if the leaders are unable to implement what they preach in their daily lives, it is not a reason for us to quit.

I think that it says somewhere in the bible that people should listen to the preechings of the priests, but should not emulate their deeds. Maybe this is also true in aikido.

E.J. Nella
02-07-2003, 11:50 AM
Interesting point Edward, made me stop and think for a few moments. It looks like you are saying we should take what our teachers say, and not pay attention to what they do. I think you are correct in saying teachers and other leaders are human and prone to human frailties. My issue is, I could read a book on the philosophy of Aikido or “Peaceful Reconciliation” and get as much! What I want to do is bring what I practice physically, into my daily spiritual life. To do this, I believe one needs a Sensei that has done the same. Even though I know that how they achieved this, and how I will hopefully do the same may be slightly different. I believe many of us learn quicker and easier by observing and then mimicking. Some can learn by hearing or reading and then attempting to embody the desired behavior, but I think there are very few of us that are able to do this. I also think there are few of us that can successfully learn from someone that teaches to do something they are unable to do themselves. It doesn’t give them much credibility.

Now every once in a while our teachers/leaders will stumble. We have to expect this, not be surprised by it. It is our practice to forgive and forget or attempt peaceful reconciliation. This does not excuse someone whose behavior is offensive to us and they do not even attempt to correct it. If someone errs, and continues to err in the same way, with no attempt to correct the offending activities. We need to examine whether or not we will be able to ignore the inconsistency of saying one thing and doing another.

I have seen the “spirit” of Aikido in 95% of all the Sensei’s I have ever personally been in contact with. It inspires me when I see someone “walking the walk” instead of just “talking the talk”. It exhibits to me it can be done, and is being done!

PeterR
02-08-2003, 12:27 AM
For smoking or climbing out of a window?

Where is it stated "Thou shalt not do either" in Aikido.

Not picking on you personally Paul but this is a classic example of someone layering their own conceptions of what Aikido should be.

My contention is that if you are interested in finding a guru, especially one who fits your preconceptions, your Aikido journey will be far less successful than if you enter the game looking for an interesting teacher of the technical side and letting the Do grow.
there is one more thing i wouldlike to say...

we as students always expecht our sensei's as peoples who are perfect.

but last time there was a very high ranked sensei who did a seminar at our dojo, he is very good and even studied under o sensei.

When we were training he climbed out of the window to smoke a cigarette!! i was SO suprised, nut also a bit dissapointed! but later i thought..well okay...he is a human being..haha it was pretty funny actually!

Kelly Allen
02-08-2003, 04:58 AM
"LET THE DO GROW" Hey Peter I like that! Can I use that on a T-Shirt? It's really catchy!

PeterR
02-09-2003, 05:28 PM
Once it's here it's public domain - go for it. and Thanks
"LET THE DO GROW" Hey Peter I like that! Can I use that on a T-Shirt? It's really catchy!

cindy perkins
02-22-2003, 01:32 PM
I believe the right answer depends very much on why you study Aikido. I have studied fencing and archery and mathematics in the past, and as long as my teacher did not do something so offensive that I would have problems being near him or her, it didn't matter. I was there to learn skills and techniques. I also go to meditation retreats to study the Dharma and practice. I hold my teachers to high standards, because they are there to teach me ways to be a better person, and I need to see that these ways have worked for them.

I study Aikido for spiritual reasons as well as physical. Sensei is human, occasionally interpersonally clumsy, but always with good or peaceful intentions at heart. When angry, he is sharp but courteous. When a student seems embarrassed, he is quickly concerned; when he makes a mistake, he owns it. I do not ask perfection of my spiritual teachers, but I do ask that they do their best to represent the teaching.

I believe that in my daily life, I cannot help but be a teacher to those who observe me or ask me questions. I do my best to hold myself to the ideals, too... I fail often, but I try!