View Full Version : Roguish practitioners

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Richard Harnack
11-11-2000, 05:45 PM
It takes me a while to sometimes read everything and sometimes longer to figure out that I missed something.

In an earlier post, on a slightly different thread, the question was raised how to deal with "roguish" practicioners" (there I managed to squeeze in both the British and American spellings).

Since "roguish" can mean mean and ill tempered, or, it can refer to persons not affilitated with normal human society, the question is somewhat unclear. Never mind, I'll answer both and possibly a third when it occurs to me.

Sometimes you will have people from another style come into your dojo to "check you out". Occasionally they have the manners and courtesy of a pug with gas. Such persons may actually seek your permission to train in your dojo then proceed to "trash" your students or otherwise set out to prove that their aikido is "better" than yours. For those who are hurting your students, politely ask them to leave. If their sensei has bred any respect in them they will. If they become belligerent and combative, repeat your request and add that as a private business that if they do not leave then your only recourse is to call the police. Do not give them three requests, simply act.

If you have this type of experience with such bad elements, presumably you know who their sensei is, as such boors usually trumpet it about. Make certain you know their name, then on another day call their sensei and let them know what happened. Do so calmly. Their sensei's response will probably tell you where they learned their behavior. Fortunately such occurences are rare.

Usually, the "roguish" person may simply not understand what your rules are and is following what they think is right. A simple "We do it differently here" should be enough to clue them in.

Then there is the visitor who comes from another organization who is focused on being "right". There is an US organization which is noted for turning out many such teachers. All they ever hear is theirs is the right way and everyone else is not. As a consequence, I am able to discern their organization by how often they say "You are not doing that right". (No I am not going to mention this organization by name, that would not be right.)

When confronted with this type of person, the phrases "We do it differently here" or "We are exploring an different principle in this art" both allow you to inform the person that your expectation is they are there to train in how you do things.

Your confidence in your own training and your depth of understanding of the principles and reasons behind your training is your best proof against the "boors, rogues and other not-so-nice people".

I hope this helps to clarify, not muddy, the waters.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack

11-11-2000, 08:34 PM
Richard Harnack wrote:
If their sensei has bred any respect in them they will.

Seems to me that if their sensei had bred any sense into them they wouldn't be in someone elses dojo trashing students just to prove something in the first place.

11-11-2000, 09:52 PM

Since when is aikido a means of measure?
As far as I know, O Sensei specified that there was to be NO COMPETITION in aikido.
The idiot who is showing off his (or her) skill in aikodo is not on the right track.
Those kind of "humans" are better off in a match of "catch as catch can"

My only hope for them is that they understand the meaning of "Ma Ai"
(keeping the proper distance)

Richard Harnack
11-12-2000, 10:15 PM
Kelly, if the sensei had bred proper respect in them, true most visitors from other dojos would behave themselves.

Occasionaly, however, even despite the sensei's best training students have been known to get "wild" ideas in their head. It takes a lot of training for most Aikidoka (and other martial artists) to get past the intrinsic assumption that their style is the best. So this has led to Aikidoka showing up at a dojo with a "chip on their shoulder".

The difficulty for the new instructor lays in their own sense of insecurity and desire to be "perfect" in front of their students. When challenged in the least by such boors, the new instructor either strikes a posture of perfection (usually a mistake) or they cave in and devalue their own training.

From my perspective, the best Aikido instructors teach their students. By this I mean that those who are actually teaching, teach. Those who want to show off are busy showing off. Those who rely solely on their rank, rely on their rank. Only those who teach others and look to better their understanding are worth the time and energy to train with. The others are like dessert -- fun to watch, but ultimately entertainment. Thus the "boors" who show up are entertainment of a sick and horribly fascinating type, but not anyone you would want to sit down at a meal with.