View Full Version : Personality clash between aikidoka

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11-20-2003, 03:05 PM
Hello all.

Last night's training session ended on a sour note. One of our members bowed off early and left. He was obviously upset about something. After class, our instructor came to speak with us, asking us what was wrong.

The guy had bowed off during the start of a randori session between four of us, while the rest of the class (newer members) went through some basic techniques. We were left to our own devices.

The guy who left early had clashed with our 2nd kyu. The second kyu can come across confrontational, he doesn't mean to, its just him. This other guy is introverted and likes to train but I have never seen him smile and I think he takes things a little too seriously.

The mix of the two ended in the quiet guy simply bowing off after he had tried to train with the second kyu.

Such a shame that this has happened. I have to admit the 2nd kyu can be hard to get along with but both may be at fault.

One of the shodan also thinks that the quiet guy might have quite a temper and is always fighting to keep it in check, so when things were starting to get out of control last night (internally not physically) he chose to bow out to let himself calm down.

This makes sense to me because the 2nd kyu has started to get me angry a few times in class and I have had to make an effort to relax, and laugh it off.

Wow, what a long thread. Sorry folks. Just getting stuff off my chest. Its not nice to see someone leave the mat due to a negative experience.

Peace and love to all! :ai: :D

Kevin Wilbanks
11-20-2003, 03:28 PM
I think you would be better off talking to the people involved first.

1) Posting it here could lead to the participating parties recognizing themselves in your account, leading to an even bigger mess.

2) Without talking to both of them, you have no idea what transpired. I had trouble with a bully type who harassed and intimdated me and others to varying degrees. Many thought he was just "a bit hard to work with". Others of us knew first hand that it was more than that. For instance, he once got really close to me and quietly threatened to punch me in the face if I didn't alter the way I was gripping his hand in sankyo, in a very grave tone... we were standing less than 10 feet from the sensei.

11-20-2003, 07:38 PM
This sounds really familiar. I witnessed this kind of things personally on many different occasions in different dojos.

The issue must be resolved between these two. If they can't resolve it, their fellow practitioners should help them.

Make an effort not to involve your sensei in resolving this. In extreme cases only that you should ask for your sensei's help.

Most of the times these things started without having anything to do with practice.

11-20-2003, 09:43 PM
Good pointers.

Sometimes the best way to handle issues like these is to move irimi -- enter in to it, and be direct, yet flexible. Ask direct questions, no beating around the bush. Sometimes you won't like what you hear, but at least you have a chance to find out the truth, and no longer need to guess.


11-20-2003, 11:10 PM
Good advice, and I do believe that is the best way to resolve matters like these.

Any "political" or any "sweet talk" approach would actually prolong the matters. If they refuse to sit down and talk about it, I suggest a dojo meeting. Again, do your best not to involve your sensei.

The meeting could be just between the members, or it may be headed by the dojo-cho. Basically you need a moderator that is unbiased but at the same time the wisest of the group. The moderator should be able to see beyond what is presented.

All the members should help as witnesses and/or character witness. If you think this started to sound like a court, don't. It's an open discussion forum, where each has a chance to be heard. No judgements shall be passed. The final decision will be made only between the people that have the problem.

Use this time also to resolve any problems that might also exist in the dojo. Any problem at all. Anybody that believes that there are other problems are allowed to speak afterwards.

Do these type of forum or open discussion once in a while. This helps the cohesiveness of the members and prevents "politics".

David Yap
11-21-2003, 04:53 AM
Bowing out early b4 the end of the class to avoid a conflict or to neutralise an ugly situation is good move, IMHO.

I had done this (bowing out) many many years ago (when I first started to train) to avoid any serious injury(ies) that could be rendered to my kohai (not by me mind you but) by an assistant instructor. That incident at that time left a bad taste in my mouth about aikidokas in general and question the philosophy of love and harmony preached in aikido - hence I stopped training aikido for quite a lot, definitely not with the same group. I can clearly remember the details of what happened that evening.

We were practising munetzuki kotegaishi. My kohai (the nage) did not side stepped as I came in with punch. He grabbed my hand, immediately turned it over and attempted to do the kotegish while still standing in my line of attack and with me firmly rooted. I offered to attack him again but he declined and continued to twist my wrist and attempted to push it down to the floor. In the process, I could have punched him in the face five times over. It caught the attention of the assistant instructor. He then came over and enquired what was happening. I told him the nage was attempting to bring me down just like that. He then took over the nage's grip on my hand and immediately sent me down to floor with such force that almost dislocate both my hand and elbow and said, "Like this, who said it can't be done?". I was totally surprised by his speed and force and was irritated with the fact that he had cheated on the situation - me offering to him my hand on a plate; I cheekily said, "That's excessive force". He didn't like what he heard and asked my kohai to attack him. He was frenzy mad, he threw the guy forcefully over and over again, put the guy in a strong ni-kyo lock when he was down on the mat. Poor guy was tapping out in pain and wriggling his legs and butt all about yet the assistant instructor held on to the lock. He kept throwing and locking the guy over and over again. In my mind, I told myself "Shit!! look what you've started". The class instructor could only looked on timidly. In disgust, I bowed out of the class hoping that my absence would cool him down.

A couple of weeks later, I met the chief instructor on the street. He heard about me leaving the class early. I explained what really happened. He said never mind the assistant instructor, that he was young, hot-tempered and immature. I told him the least the instructor could do was stopped it with a clap of his hands. He said that the instructor didn't see the incident. That's BS. As far as I was concerned, the instructor had lost control of his class. Here was a typical incompetent group, you have an assistant instructor who lost control of himself and took his anger out on the students and an instructor who lost charge and a chief instructor who wanted to be a "Mr. Nice Guy" and not said anything. That's about waiting for a disaster to happen.

In hint sight, I never regretted that early bow.

11-21-2003, 08:09 AM
IMHO, Aikido is more than a clashing of the bodies. It is also the clashing of the egos. Thus it gives the opportunity to resolve them or at least to practice the principles of Aikido in our interpersonal relationships.

Finding our how other people get to us is a matter on introspection and insight. On the mat and off, we will have to interact with all kinds. The people who get to us are often our best teachers. We can look at them and blame them, or look at ourselves and get healthier.

It also allows us to ask, whose problem is this? And this give them the respect that they will find their own way to resolve their own differences.

Most people with ego problems are just hurting or in fear. A chance to practice compassion.

When asked to enter and blend, even in a personality clash, remember to stay relaxed, centered, breathe, and enter with peace and love. Everybody wins or everybody loses.

Kelly Allen
11-21-2003, 11:27 PM
I agree with you totaly Lynn. It's not always easy to know how to blend in bad situations in and out of the Dojo though. Sometimes the only thing to do is just walk away.

05-27-2004, 10:20 PM
Just an update on this situation. It is many months down the track now and neither aikidoka frequent our club. Oh well.

05-27-2004, 10:30 PM
I would say with those situations, leave it alone. Things tend to work themselves out. I've bowed out early because other stress made me more prone to snap and take it out on someone.

Other issues could have been the cause here (in one or both of them)

Jordan Steele
05-28-2004, 11:28 AM
Paul is absoutely correct. Nosiness and intervention only causes more probelms, just let it fix itself.