PDA

View Full Version : Aikido Ethics for Senseis...Your take?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Ari Bolden
02-26-2004, 07:01 PM
Hello fellow aiki practitioners,

After a long absence, I am back and geared up for some more discussions. I need your advice on the matter below.

11 months ago, I opened up my own school. I teach aiki jujitsu, submission grappling, and reality defense tactics. I have a detailed background in aikido, but do not teach aikido per se (rather Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu and BJJ).

I received a message from someone (who we will call "Jon") who was interested in learning more about my school. I had a gut instinct that this "Jon" was the same "Jon" who was one of the leading Aikido Teachers in my area (as in 5th dan)and I was apart of the association he teaches in (although I never trained under him directly). He is highly respected and well liked I might add. I did a reverse lookup on the phone number he gave me, and it was in fact, the one and the same Jon I had suspected.

I very politely called him back saying "Hello, this is Ari Bolden and I am returning your call. What information were you looking for?"

He replied: "Well, I have children and would like to get into something. I am busy on the other days you teach but I see you teach on Sundays. Perhaps I could come down and see what you are all about?"

I told him "You are more than welcome to come check us out. Visitors are always welcome."

"What should I wear?" he asked.

"If you don't have a gi, track pants will do fine. Do you have any martial art experience?"

"I've done a little judo," he said " But nothing WORTH mentioning."

I then thanked him for calling and we ended our call.

NOW: I emailed “Jon” just after the call telling him I was aware of his background but he was more than welcome to come visit our humble little dojo anytime. I told him in the email I realized that some teachers want to check out the competition in a quiet manner. I asked him if I had stepped on his toes in any way as well,just to cover my bases.

I was very polite in my email, but rather perturbed in my heart. Shouldn't the senior instructor of a martial art be a little more open? I let him know in my email that I knew he was fibbin' (but also was very respectful telling him that he was welcome any time...which is true).

I asked some advice from a local aikdioka. Her response :"You are going to be tested by lots of people in the martial arts community. They want to see what you are about. However, I think he should have been forthright with you. It's not my place to say what he was thinking, so, I can't speak for him. But with a new dojo, others want to see what you are all about."

Was it deceitful? Should he have just come out and said who he was? Now he knows I know he "fibbed". Ethics? Character? Am I justified in being worried?

I look forward to your responses.

Thanks All

Warm Regards
Ari B.

PeterR
02-26-2004, 07:33 PM
Another way of looking at it is. Can you imagine getting the phone call.

I am 5th Dan in Aikido and I'm coming down to check you out.

Softly, softly works far better. No question about mis-interpretting a challenge.

Don't read much more into it than that.

aikiSteve
02-26-2004, 07:53 PM
Another way of looking at it is. Can you imagine getting the phone call.

I am 5th Dan in Aikido and I'm coming down to check you out.
"BEEEP, Please leave your name and number and someone will call you back." [click]

Steve Nelson:ai:

shihonage
02-26-2004, 11:56 PM
His motives are his problem.

Why are you so wary of being checked out ?

drDalek
02-27-2004, 02:33 AM
I background checked all of the Aikido instructors in my general area. I dont think I was ever discovered doing so but I dont want to put myself in the hands of someone who might be a criminal or have less than honourable intentions.

Lying about your background, in terms of who you studied under and your grade is usually symptomatic of some deeper insecurity which I would rather not want to deal with.

When I someday decide to open a dojo I wont mind having students call around to my instructors and asking them about me, atleast I will have to endure less "oh and who was your instructor's instructor?" type questions if visitors do their own research.

Yann Golanski
02-27-2004, 04:18 AM
When I cross train in a dojo that isn't a aikido-l or that I know someone in there, I generally wear a white belt say I have done some Aikido and Judo but not much. Which is true, eight years of Aikido is not much.

Why? Because _IF_ I feel that the instructor is unsafe, the attitude on the mat sucks and any other number of reasons that would make me leave the Matt at once, I cast no negative shadow on my organisation and sensei. The "shame and insult" are my own.

OK, my reasons for walking out of a dojo would be blatant racism/sexism, dangerous training (aka people's blood everywhere, broken bones...) and a total lack of respect for your partners. You know, things that we would never consider doing...

So, maybe "Jon" wanted the same thing... He knows.

I think you were absolutely right being straightforward with him. Let us know how it panned out.

Ari Bolden
02-27-2004, 05:59 AM
Alek,

I am not worried about being checked out per se, but rather would like all people coming to my dojo to be honest and straight forward. That's all.

Wynand,

All my information is on my website for the world to see. My background, instructors etc. I think the real question is not "who your instructors are" but rather , " how are you as an instructor."

Does it really matter who your instructors instructor was? Too much emphasis is placed on BIG NAMES and direct lineage. There are some FANTASTIC no named senseis out there that have all taught us a thing or two and are no less important than the 'big names.'

Just my 2 cents on that.

Yann,

I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for your reply!

cheers

Ari

happysod
02-27-2004, 06:32 AM
Why are you so wary of being checked out I'd certainly be worried if I thought Alek was allowed to wander around dojos willy nilly...

Ari, I'd also err on the side of they're just trying not to come across too strong rather than anything else. If I'm wrong, remember as "sensei" you get to give them whatever punishment you'd deem fit while they're guests in your dojo. (almost tempting to give em one anyway if they're as high-up as you imply)

On lineage, I agree, but there's a nice thread on this elsewhere

Don_Modesto
02-27-2004, 09:28 AM
I background checked all of the Aikido instructors in my general area.
You mean detective and tax records and things like that? I'll bet that was pricey.

Or did you just ask around of people who knew him/of him?

aikidoc
02-27-2004, 11:43 AM
As long as you have solid credentials I would not worry about what others think. Lying about your intentions is tacky. If he is losing students to you he might be concerned.

crand32100
02-27-2004, 01:08 PM
I've seen sensei's of much higher ranks do things that I think are much more morally reprehensible, but politics as they are I wouldln't even discuss them in a public forum.

As for your situation, Ari, that is pretty wierd behavior. My impression is that some individuals in the martial arts community are about being scary, and for others that's not it at all. It can be an awkward process trying to figure out where others stand, as your situation demonstrates. He's probably a pretty nice guy. You should have a coffee with him sometime. I've found that usually when I jump to conclusions about someone's wierd behavior it's because I'm missing some information.

shihonage
02-27-2004, 01:26 PM
Alek,

I am not worried about being checked out per se, but rather would like all people coming to my dojo to be honest and straight forward. That's all.
I'd certainly be worried if I thought Alek was allowed to wander around dojos willy nilly...
Who is this mysterious "Alek" fellow you speak of ?

Ari Bolden
02-27-2004, 04:08 PM
The reply from "Jon"..all better now! Now, back to the mats!!!!

Hi Ari,

Sorry for being less than completely forthright.I like to try out new dojos for the simple pleasure of new training.In times past I've run into some young bucks,high on testosterone,who try to score points with the

visiting teacher.That's why I choose anonymity when I can get away with

it.Also,if I really suck,then I'm saved from public embarrassment.

Anyway,I've long wanted try some Daito Ryu,and was pleased to hear that

you'd brought it back to town .I'll give you a call before I come.

All the best with your new school,Ari.I well know the effort it takes to launch such a thing.

Regards, "Jon" (just a guy from "x")

drDalek
02-27-2004, 06:18 PM
You mean detective and tax records and things like that? I'll bet that was pricey.

Or did you just ask around of people who knew him/of him?
Pretty much the latter, I feel I have the ability to judge a person's personality by how they treat me as a visitor and how they treat their students so obviously an in-person visit to the dojo is a big part of deciding if I want to stay and train or leave.

But claiming you studied under so and so and Mr so-and-so does not know you sends up red flags for me.

mantis
02-29-2004, 01:24 AM
martial arts instruction is a double edged sword.

on one side you want to pass on what you know, and try to benefit your students, on the other side it is a business and you need to pay the rent.

i trained under an aikikai instructor who cared more for his students then the business side of it. consequently he had to close his school due to lack of income.

he is an incredible instructor, but the business side has to be balanced, which is not easy for some people.

maybe this other instructor was seeing if your school might effect his business???

he might be putting 3 kids through college???

i wouldn't worry to much about it. your school seems like it might attract a different type of student than his.

if you really respect this instructor, then maybe an alliance might be beneficial to both of you. you can refer certain students to him, vice versu.

senshincenter
02-29-2004, 03:43 PM
Here's one: Why not call and introduce yourself forthrightly, and ask (and offer): "Welcome to the area, just wanted to make sure you know that you and your students are always welcome at our dojo, and if there is anything that we can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask. Please stay in touch. Much hope and respect, best wishes with your dojo."

Anything short of this, one has to admit, is falling short in the art and in one's own human-ness.

dmv

Pretoriano
02-29-2004, 07:26 PM
Ranked j used own of his rights wich is one of the ones for look less,afterly he show it interest for to try up being honest but hided

nothing showed that the man didint have better further aproaches. But this is on oriental thought.

what to expect_ to open themselves their own bussiness, it is that what you ask?

Only little excedents of energy for to share would be enough for to the bussines not to be perjudicate.

Ah, but on the physical life why not to try up some techniques togetther, at least for to know what the other guy is working in

Nice oriental aproach, but he was caught, perhaps an excuse for to go deeper quickly.

Preto