View Full Version : Protecting Your Self
Watching My Back
05-03-2004, 12:38 PM
Recently a student who trains at my school made a joke about me with full intention to upset me.
Jokes normally roll off and I usually don't care, especially not from this student who I've disciplined before and has it out for me.
However as a younger beginner student in his teenage cocky years, he decided that he was really gonna upset me this time. And the joke he said was that one of the other students who is a good friend of mine and alot younger, is giving / receiving sodomy from me. And some other nasty things along that line that involved sexual nature issues.
The student he said this about is still a kid, and I'm an adult. And I find it very distasteful and upsetting that someone would ever make a joke about that.
I know this is absolutely dangerous to have people even joking about this, especially when I will soon be teaching children's classes. I have told my sensei and he will deal with the student, but I am so upset right now over this that I think I will probably not teach the children's classes either as originally planned.
In fact I told my sensei if that student is there, I don't know if I'll feel comfortable in class.
Anyways has anyone else ever had to deal with this sorta BS before?
05-03-2004, 01:40 PM
No I haven't...but in my opinion, the Head Instructor should expell the student promptly for at least six months. If at the end of that time he can demonstrate a more appropriate attitude in the dojo, I might allow him to return. Might seem kind of harsh, but there it is.
I'm not sure that you should allow the improper actions of this twerp to stop you from teaching...your call, but I'd think long and hard about it. Sorry you have to deal with this kind of thing.
05-03-2004, 02:49 PM
"I'd give him a HAAAAAAAAA and a HIYAAAAAAAAA! And I'd kick him, sir." Don't give up teaching for some little *@#$. If you have something to give to the world you shouldn't hold back because someone doesn't like you. This is true in more than Aikido. Don't let other people control you by behaving in negative ways. Best of luck.
Oh, and i agree with Ron. That student should be kicked to the curb for a couple months.
05-03-2004, 04:37 PM
1) getting really emotioanal about things is something I try not to do. If I get too emotional about something, it's usually a sign that I need to work on the issue. i.e. if somebody jokes about me or my life and I get upset about it, that means I am not comfortable with how I live my life.
If I am ok with myself & my life, then it does not matter what others say.
Of course listening to nasty jokes is not a preferred way to spend time, but you can just ignore him or without getting emotional tell the guy that you don't like this kind of jokes.
If there is no responce to his jokes, he'll shut up. If you react to his jokes emotionally, that would encorage him.
2) if you decide not to teach children's class because of this nasty joke, then are acting as if the joke has some truth to it.
Since what he says is not true, there is no need to change your life.
just my thoughts... as they say on another forum YMMV (your milage may varry)
05-03-2004, 05:21 PM
Agree with the last poster. If you decide not to teach kids' class, it shows that that twerp has gotten under your skin, and suggests you have something to hide. Besides, they say teaching is really good for your aikido. Don't miss such a wonderful opportunity.
If you're worried that you'll be accused of abusing the kids you teach, take practical measures to protect yourself. Make sure that you are never alone with a child or children from the class. Change clothes in a different room. If possible make sure there is at least one other adult (pref. a woman) present at all times. Encourage parents to come and watch class.
I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. I hate it when people really get under my skin, and it's impossible to pretend they haven't. Can only recommend meditation, or a meditation-like mindset: don't try to push it away, just acknowledge it: Yes, it bothers me, ok, there is that.
05-03-2004, 05:29 PM
That student should be expelled permanently, preferably after a sound kicking is administered to them.
05-03-2004, 05:33 PM
Woops, hit post a little early. You shouldnt allow something like a malicious joke to stop you from teaching, deal with the issue and trust in your sensei. Im sure things will be sorted out soon enough, you have my sympathy as I can only imagine how you must feel. I would be very furious and disgusted at any aikidoka who would stoop to such levels.
05-03-2004, 05:35 PM
I agree with Nick here. This little brat isn't doing anything but hurting the morale of the whole. It effects the dojo as much as it does you (At the moment.)
I agree with the rest of them, you should teach the kids class but this should only be done if you feel you comfortable doing it... and hey you got yourself an uke to demonastrate on ;).... In all seriousness, something needs to be done with the kid some harsh form of punishment a forever ban sounds like the deal to me.
05-04-2004, 06:20 AM
The world would be a much better place if everyone agreed with me :)
05-04-2004, 08:49 AM
It sounds like a good time for a stern lecture on respect. Your head instructor may want to remind people about the rules of practice and respect. If people continually violate rules that make it unsafe or uncomfortable for people to train, they may be asked to leave either temporarily or permanently.
Don't let people get to you. We take things too personally and too seriously. When people make statements (jokes), its a statement about who they are, not who you are. Direct compassionate confrontation on the inappropriateness of the statement may embarrass the student and aid them in seeing the error of their ways.
Its another chance for you to practice Aikido. Relax, breath, and enjoy your training.
Watching My Back
05-04-2004, 08:53 AM
You know i posted a reply last night and it dident show up.
But i did talk to sensi. And he said that I should talk to this person myself. Confront him myself and ask him why he said what he said. He said not to get anyone else to do it for me, like him or another senior, because that would only make more noise then needs to be made.
He said find out why he says things like this to me, and if he thinks its true. He also told me that if the student was still persisting with this sort of thing then I was to get him to interviene. But first to handel it on my own, becuase I am in not danger of anything since there has always been other adults in the dojo or change room or what ever with me anyways.
And everyone there knows its BS. But he thinks that doing disapline right away isent the solution, however dealign with it personally and trying to help the kid who said this out is. Because the whole reason this kid is here is to be better. And the kid has no friends and has alot of social problems in his life because of this. And we have had one student that came to us like that a long time ago. Now he is changed alot himself.
Oh and he also made sure to stress i not get mad or show any anger or hate towards this individual, as hard as it is not to be angered by this. Because he said thers always going to be someone who angers me in life.
So im gonna see what happens with this advice. In all the years i've known him his advice has never failed me.
05-04-2004, 08:57 AM
Grrr not being logged in doesnt let me edit my post.
He has no friends because his attitude. Not becuase anything was ever done to him.. I just noticed that soemoen could misunderstand that easily... PHEEWW
Also maybe easily interpreted that the Sensi idea was BS... NO! Sorry... What the kid says about me is...
05-04-2004, 10:31 AM
I'd agree with the breathing, a lot... this is hard, hard, hard to face calmly. And I think the reason is that, with a one-time joke, you can blow it off, but with repeated instances, you start to wonder if this person could possibly, actually believe that you're the sort of person who would do such a thing. In other words, you might be upset siply because you feel your character is being judged. And wrongly.
In any case, my first reaction is "expel the jerk" -- but I have to agree with your sensei's point that instant discipline isn't always the best answer. If you can find out from this kid (in other words, if he can give you an honest answer) WHY he does this stuff, you might be able to work toward a real solution that not only benefits you (he stops) but also benefits him (he learns a better way to interact with people).
As usual, the richer, deeper answer is also a lot harder and will take a lot more work. You up to it?
Peace, and best of luck.
05-05-2004, 02:22 PM
Much as the sensei's "give the kid a chance to reform" stance is admirable, I suspect that trying to have a nice sincere discussion with Beavis (or is it Butthead?) about his bad behavior may only result in immature sniggering and more bad behavior. Since the bad behavior in question is talking behind your back, it may not be immediately apparent that this has not stopped - unless you can enlist one or more of the guys to keep an ear out for you.
If someone doesn't respect you, they won't necessarily start respecting you just because you confront them about it. They might, but then again, they might not.
Am reminded of past interactions with a former landlady's very dysfunctional teenagers, who unfortunately lived next door.
05-05-2004, 04:35 PM
You can act like you didn't hear it.
This way, in order to upset you, he will have to be far less subtle next time, and his attempt will stand out in the eyes of others more than just a "simple joke".
He can throw jokes all he wants, but if he starts to get up during warmups and run around quacking like a duck, and you escort him off the mat, it will be crystal clear to everyone that your actions are justified, and that he is the jackass here.
05-05-2004, 04:49 PM
I think the conversation should be held with the student with his parents present. That way there are no surprises if the kid has to be disciplined or removed from class. This kid sounds like he has some serious psychological issues and needs to be handled cautiously. I would not have this conversation without someone else present in a private setting.
05-05-2004, 07:06 PM
This youngster's "joking" isn't just inappropriate, but it can be terribly dangerous for you. In this day and age, comments about sexual contact with minors can cause you horrendous expense, pain, and embarrassment. Just yesterday a man named Stoll was released from 17 years in a California prison from a case that started almost as simply.
You've received some sage advice from other folks; talk to the kid with his parents and another witness present, invite student's parents to attend your classes, and ensure you have another responsible adult around when you are with the kids.
This isn't a laughing matter, at least out here on the West Coast. Don't give up teaching unless you feel really paranoid, but take some of the other's advice on how best to protect yourself from unfounded allegations.
Best wishes on your decision.
05-05-2004, 07:31 PM
It boils down to consequences and what happens if people don't learn about them.
It's a simplistic model I know but aberrations (sexual, criminal, etc.) don't just show up but escalate from somewhere. Kid gets away with opportunistic thievery starts thinking about making opportunities, and so forth.
If something isn't done about malicious gossip then it will get worse. If something is done (and in the open) dojo remains a better place and the kid learns a lesson. Personally I think Ron is being too kind. Those allegations are serious enough to take on a life of their own - boot the kid out permanently.
05-24-2004, 05:14 AM
In Terry Dobsons "Aikido in everyday Life" there is a chapter about dealing with malicious gossip.
As Aikido offers no techniques/prinsiples to deal with hidden attacks his advice is to confront the person in order to force him into an open attack, then you can deal with it.
But I understood that boy has already given an open insult.
Anyway, I think you have to enter into a confrontation in order to settle it.
Keep your temper down and ask him if he really thinks what he is saying,
and what he thinks is the benefit of it ?
Make clear that he is putting a risk to him attending classes.
Good luck !
05-24-2004, 10:06 AM
Hmmmm? What do we do with an physical aikido situation? There is an aggressive action on the part of uke...our training indicates that we maintain our posture and deal with the agresssion by entering/blending using movement, placement and leverage from (hopefully) a superior position.
During the attack we don''t ask someone else to step in for us...we are training to deal with the situation ourselves.
Does this type of physical training have any parellels in a non-physical situation ..... I think so.
05-25-2004, 11:34 PM
Get the kid's parents into the dojo, and explain to them why their son is being thrown out. End of story. If I was visiting a dojo for the first time and saw that kind of behavior, I would be out the door and never be back. This is extremely dangerous and needs to be shut down immeadiately. No ifs, ands, or buts. It'll also be a good lesson for the kid on what happens when you shoot off your mouth.
05-26-2004, 02:48 AM
It sounds as if the kid wants attention, your attention especially he has no friends. He may be jealous of your friendship with the other student.
05-26-2004, 03:39 AM
Hmm, I would boot him from the dojo with his parents present so they know what is going on and why etc.
05-26-2004, 07:29 AM
Following your Sensi's advice seems like the best way to go. You will feel much better after confronting this person.
Your post was 20 days ago, has anything happened since then??
05-29-2004, 08:26 PM
<quote>It sounds as if the kid wants attention, your attention especially he has no friends. He may be jealous of your friendship with the other student.</quote>
I don't know if he is jealous, but some kids are just like that. Respect is important and needs to be reinforced especially in a martial art.
05-30-2004, 12:15 AM
IMO the time to correct the fault - the tasteless joke - has already passed. Neither confronting nor taking disciplinary action this far after the fact will improve matters. You're dealing with an arrogant teen, correct? Hate to say it; but as far as he's concerned; he's won - twice. First when he let his crude arrow fly. Second when you didn't respond immediately. To use an old cliche you showed weakness; and he scored his point. To come back even an hour after the event to deal with it is way too late; to his way of thinking (and likely to others); it shows you weren't prepared to deal with a disciplinary problem and had to psyche yourself up. To let things wait for days is even worse - to come back after such a time and confront the lad can demonstrate the holding of a grudge, among other things.
The most important thing to do when encountering such a situation is to deal with it now. It's also one of the hardest for a newer instructor.
Now, I don't necessarily mean raising the roof here; though that is an option - one I personally don't like, though may at times be necessary. A quick reprimand may be enough - even a light-hearted one (though in this particular instance I doubt it.) In such a situation my response would be quick and to the point: "You - off the mat. Now." Never get into a confrontation. Never argue. Never relinquish your authority even for a split second.
This is a confusing thing for newer instructors to bang their heads around. You can be the nicest, friendliest, funniest instructor in the world; but as an instructor you must take and maintain control of the class. Your class may be strictly organized (which is how I prefer to teach), or it can be totally chaotic (which is how my Sensei teaches), both work well depending on the teacher's style, but even in the most chaotic classes the good Sensei rules overall. If he/she doesn't; it's not a class, the students aren't learning anything other than the fact their teacher's a pushover.
Please don't think I'm being preachy or anything; though the specifics are always different this situation eventually happens to every new teacher - and with few exceptions everyone fails the test; because really it's just an inevitable part of your training. New teachers are very nervous and insecure about their authority; this either comes out as meekness or as a power-trip. Students will sense that weakness and push their luck; said new instructor rarely has sufficient experience and confidence to deal with it properly. Meek instructors backpedal and don't do anything; power-trippers explode and rant. Both reactions destroy discipline and morale.
Back to the described situation: Under the current situation; I'd recommend waiting. Since it's too late to do anything of effect; don't do it - wait. To use an old term; give him enough rope to hang himself. If he pushes again, then respond, and respond instantly in the manner I described above. If that means suspension or expulsion do it, but do it immediately. If you're not sure at the time if you have the authority to send someone off the mat (remember; authority isn't a factor of rank; it's borrowed - given by the boss to his seniors), do it anyway - doing so will force the Sensei to choose between you and the student. In the given case; with the prior incident as evidence; he'll be required to support you.
Hope this helps a bit - sorry you're having trouble, but don't let it get to you, from what I read you're doing fine. :)
06-22-2004, 06:45 PM
I think Dave is right and it's late to pursue this incident, but be prepared for the next attack.
Next time he does some nasty joke, joke yourself.
For example, tell hem that usially such nasty jokes are made by people who were abused themselves. And ask him if he was abused? That should make him crazy and either make him akt in inappropriate way and reveal his real intensions or will drive him away from you. If he keeps joking ask him again if he is sure he was not abused... This is one way to shut his mouth.
I know this is not pleasant, but unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. I would prefer to smash him physically, but we live in a century when it's illegal.
06-22-2004, 09:33 PM
Ok second thought, I would discourage you to joke the way I suggested in my previous posting. That may be used against you and treated as "harrastment". Especially if you live in US and especially in California. Therefore just tell him that his words are just a lie and hi is just a jerk. Do not express any empsions and do not allow his words to reach their target. Treat him as a jerk and a person with a low intelligence, do not get his words seriously. I'm pretty sure most of people treat him the same way, so you will not be alone and you will not be a target for others to laugh.
Do not try to defend or attack, just go away and help his force to draw him down.
06-24-2004, 08:33 AM
In life different events develop us into more mature people and aikidoka, who earn the respect of others first by attempting to deal with issues as they occur. I see little rational positive action in simply expelling the offender. Neither of you will have learned or developed anything from the origional action. Life is not a game, is not easy, and we need all the friends we can acquire through our respectfulness and effort for good, to participate 100%, in a fullfilling life.
Albeit any attempt to degrade and upset you, is not a joke. Although humour may have been used as the tool to cover his nastiness toward you. Whether a momentry jibe or a longer intentioned challenge to your character. "Real respect is earned not given."
Certainly you must find a way to confront this challenge, positively turning a bad attitude in this case, in to a good one. As an Instructor you will need to deal with many various incidents that will enable your ability to assist yourself and others in the future.
Certainly you should confront the person who has offended you, and ask or demand for his proof of his accusation. You will require to do this in the same public way, that he accused you of the offence, and preferably in the same place he made the accusation. Advise him that such things are very serious, and explain briefly why you do take such comment extremely serious. Also you would have recourse to legal action, should you wish to take that action for damage to your character, as such comment stigmatises your working life, domestic life, and personal life.
You will win over some of your group present, if not all because of your courage to face the issue.
Ensure that your accuser realises that in future, you will hold no further grudge. The ball is in his court to your future action. However he will need to take action now !
I have encounted all manner of issues over the years, from being the only adult present when young girl students have had their first menstruation, to those willful students who believe they have a better system of development than that of Aikido. Very few have suffered long term embarrasment, and my claim to never give up on them even when they give up on themselves is still true.
10-31-2004, 03:21 PM
I was accused of rape and attempted murder when I was 15 or so in high school, if that counts at all :-s I had to leave, but I don't think you should, if you're at the level of teaching others. I also think you should teach the class. Try to hide your discomfort, so the guy doesn't have the satisfaction (cliche alert :-p)
I think it's grounds for expulsion from the class, though, do you guys do that at all, stop someone coming if they do something bad enough like that? Or am I just being naive there :-$
I dunno, I think it's up to your judgement, but I don't think you should let it spoil your training, or your teaching. Hope it all works out
10-31-2004, 05:02 PM
Although the time after the incident is an issue, the seriousness of the accusation is very concerning. I would not let this pass. This student needs to realize the consequences of his behavior and you need to protect your a**. Child abuse is very serious and whether believed or not the statement itself can result in an investigation if it is picked up by anyone else. The consequences for you can be dire and costly. I also have a concern about the way your sensei is handling this. Passing it back to you is not, IMHO, a good approach. He/she should be involved and address this with the students, you and the parents present. This kid sounds like trouble and I'd boot him. You don't need anyone causing that type of problem for the dojo or you personally. There also may be legal issues that could be filed against the kid-not a lawyer so I don't know.
10-31-2004, 06:22 PM
you need to protect your a**
Ape? Axe? Ark?
Niamh Marie O'Leary-Liu
11-01-2004, 07:40 AM
Has nobody thought about the impact this troubled young man's accusations may have on the minor student who is the friend of the instructor? Not only does it sound like sexual harassment of both the instructor and the student, but also think of the social implications for the kid subject to this malicious gossip. That student may be driven out of the dojo and the rumors could even end up circulating in his school if any of his classmates are also involved in the dojo. This could destroy him emotionally and socially and put him in therapy for years. The sensei and the instructor need to take a united stand to prevent this from happening. The child is in their care and the sensei's inaction is creating an environment of apparent apathy and lack of social responsibility from the top down, despite his intentions. It is in this environment that a bully will thrive.
Additionally, the instructor and the minor student the object of the teenager's accusations should be aware that the accusations may be punishable as a crime, and/or may even subject the teenager (and his parents) to civil liability. In addition to the effect on the minor student, the teenager's accusations are potentially devastating to the instructor's ability to work as a children's instructor. What do you think the parents of the kids to be enrolled under his guidance would do if they even got a whiff of such a rumor?
I don't know about where you live, but in my jurisdiction, slander is a CRIME, punishable by a fine and/or actual jail time. According to the law here:
"Slander is a--
(1) false and malicious utterance made by word of mouth in a public manner against a person, whereby such person is charged with the commission of a deed punishable by law; or
(2) a tale, or report maliciously made tending to injure the honor, reputation or worthiness of any person or any religious denomination or organization." (14 V.I.C. §1180 (2004)).
I agree with what some of the others have said that the troubled teenager may benefit from some discipline and adult involvement in his life. With his parents present, he should be made aware of the severity of the consequences of his lies and afforded an opportunity to make amends and to reform his ways. But failing his immediate compliance, he should at least be kicked out of the dojo permanently. His actions are extremely damaging and possibly criminal. If he gets away with this misconduct, what will it be next? Allowing his continued malicious presence threatens the children and other students who deserve to have a dojo that is a safe and supportive community for them to learn aikido.
I am an attorney but I don't know what jurisdiction the instructor lives in, nor am I an expert in this particular issue, so I cannot and do not give legal advice to anyone in this forum; I only raise these points to encourage this instructor to seek out advice from a licensed attorney in his location. Many attorneys will give a free initial consultation.
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