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Suru
05-05-2004, 09:06 PM
Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty? I realize that is not exactly the most traditional way of conducting class, but I'm on a medication that takes away much of my stamina and makes me thirsty. I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do. Note that I'm not looking for some anarchist dojo where anything goes, just one in which I can rest when I need to rest and drink water when I need to. I need the med to be healthy. I need Aiki to be healthy. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.

Drew

Aristeia
05-05-2004, 09:28 PM
I would have thought most any dojo would allow this, if you have explained the situation to the sensei Most sensei are happy to make such allowances if there is a valid reason.

akiy
05-05-2004, 09:47 PM
Off the top of my head, I don't think I've ever been to an aikido dojo that doesn't allow for such things. And, frankly, if I did come across a dojo that didn't, I doubt I'd be going back...

-- Jun

Janet Rosen
05-05-2004, 10:12 PM
Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty?
I would not train in a dojo where I was expected to surrender my adult ability to take responsibility for my health and my training. YMMV, just my two cents...
where I train currently is within the Aikikai umbrella; I believe it's more a matter of individual chief instructors and not a style or affiliation issue.

Largo
05-06-2004, 12:31 AM
yeah, any good dojo will let you do that. If you are just about to collapse, you aren't listening, learning, or helping anyone or yourself. There's nothing to be gained if you are in that state

batemanb
05-06-2004, 01:50 AM
When I was living in Japan it was imperative to take water breaks given that I was sweating off up to 2 kilos in weight in each class through the summer. When doing the level of training that we do regardless of location, water breaks are an important part of general safety and well being. In our dojo here in the UK, many of the seniors bring a bottle of water or some other sports drink (my fav is Lucozade Sport), we notify the sensei as a courtesy, but are free to step off the mat and take a periodic swig to top up fluid.

I've not come across a dojo that will not let you take a water break, or sit out the odd technique, as Jun says, if I did come across one, I wouldn't go back.

rgds


Bryan

Ian Williams
05-06-2004, 05:22 AM
I would not train in a dojo where I was expected to surrender my adult ability to take responsibility for my health and my training. YMMV, just my two cents...
where I train currently is within the Aikikai umbrella; I believe it's more a matter of individual chief instructors and not a style or affiliation issue.

Well said Janet..

If I'm tired and becoming a danger to myself and others, I'll get off the mat and have a drink.

Ron Tisdale
05-06-2004, 07:59 AM
Yoshinkan dojo are the same to my knowledge. You always notify the teacher if you are leaving the mat, but most dojo are not run like the senshusei course :)

My own teacher makes allowances for my knee problem (which is steadily improving).

Ron

jimbaker
05-06-2004, 08:45 AM
Listen to these people, Drew.

Parenthetically, making people depend on you for rest and water during "lessons" is the how Cult leaders find followers. Most adults will object and leave; those who accept are more likely to be good Cult material.

Jim Baker

SeiserL
05-06-2004, 08:53 AM
Got to throw in my complete agreement here. I have never trained (except for the military) anyplace that did not take into account the needs, injuries, or medical conditions of their students.

In the words of the wisest Monty Python, "Run away. Run away. Run away."

Peter Goldsbury
05-06-2004, 09:55 AM
Are there any Aikikai dojos out there in which a student could sit out a technique or two if he's tired and get a drink of water if he is thirsty? I realize that is not exactly the most traditional way of conducting class, but I'm on a medication that takes away much of my stamina and makes me thirsty. I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do. Note that I'm not looking for some anarchist dojo where anything goes, just one in which I can rest when I need to rest and drink water when I need to. I need the med to be healthy. I need Aiki to be healthy. I hope the two are not mutually exclusive.

Drew

Hello Drew,

I live in Japan and in the Aikikai Hombu each class lasts for around 50-55 minutes, and it is not usually accepted to take a break.

However, (1) if you were in my own dojo and you told me that because of your physical condition you needed to take breaks, water etc, this would not be a problem.

However, (2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.

So you need a teacher who recognizes your physical condition, but is also capable of making you go beyond your limitations, as you perceive them.

Best regards,

Don_Modesto
05-06-2004, 01:19 PM
I am in the ASU and would prefer to train in one of our dojos but any Aikikai school would do.

Don't know of an ASU dojo in Miami that I'd recommend, but there are a ton of dojo in Miami. From personal experience, I would recommend Miami Aikikai. From my meager acquaintance with them,I think both Elliot and Gus would accomodate you. I've certainly enjoyed training with them.

Also, I just attended a Mary Heiny seminar put together by sandan Troy Ferguson and he made a good impression as well. Nice students, nice atmosphere for training. PM me for details.

dekodo
05-06-2004, 01:58 PM
Drew,

I see you are in Miami. Where do you study now?

You are welcome to visit and train with us at Miami Budokai any time you wish (corner of Bird & 826). I can assure you we offer a safe and friendly environment to learn and explore aikido and enregy. please email me at darren@flaikido.com
Also, as Don suggested, check out Troy Ferguson, great enregy there. Also Juan Alberto at the aikido Center of Miami.

Regards,

DK

dekodo
05-06-2004, 01:59 PM
oops...

have not posted in a while...I have to update my profile!

Janet Rosen
05-06-2004, 06:27 PM
However, (2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.,Peter, I have to respectfully disagree when it comes to physical issues. I think that a good instructor may know my emotional boundaries (fears, etc) and push the envelope just a bit. But there is no instructor good enough to know by looking what my knee feels like or what my heart rate is.

Aristeia
05-06-2004, 07:43 PM
Absent any further comment from Drew I don't think we should neccessarily be assuming that this is a "bad dojo". Drew doesn't say how long he has been training but it may be he's a beginner who has observed the formal atmosphere in the dojo and the fact that no one else takes rests or water breaks and made some assumptions. This could well be easily resolved with a conversation with the sensei.

Peter Goldsbury
05-06-2004, 09:23 PM
Peter, I have to respectfully disagree when it comes to physical issues. I think that a good instructor may know my emotional boundaries (fears, etc) and push the envelope just a bit. But there is no instructor good enough to know by looking what my knee feels like or what my heart rate is.

Well, we will have to disagree then.

I am not saying that the instructor has to be a doctor or nurse; I am saying that training in aikido, like in any martial art, requires a teacher, the more proficient the better.

Best regards,

Suru
05-06-2004, 09:37 PM
The dojos I've tried in Miami are both high quality, excellent dojos. The instructors are superb and kind, warm people. They just run a really tight ship, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to this style. I'm a yonkyu. I have done most of my training at a dojo in Tallahassee. The Sensei there teaches in what I believe for the most part to be a traditional manner, but he allows students to leave the mat for water or take a break by sitting on the edge of the mat. We still train seriously (but cheerfully) and benefit greatly from it. My problem is that I don't need to sit out one technique and get one drink of water. I need to do this many times per class, depending on how vigorous the training is that day. I assure you all it's not because I'm lazy. I may be somewhat out of shape, which I'm working on, but my main problem is the potent side effects of my medication. I may be returning to Tallahassee, and if I do, I'll certainly return to my old dojo. In this thread, I'm doing a bit of dojo searching but at the same time I'm trying to get a feel for the standards of dojo strictness. Every time I take my own personal break in any dojo, I feel like some kind of petty criminal and I'm hoping to find that I'm not suppossed to feel that way. Thanks to your posts, I feel better about it already. I look forward to more discussion on this matter.

Drew

akiy
05-06-2004, 11:07 PM
Hi Drew,

Have you made the reasons why you need to take your water breaks known to the instructor(s) at the dojo?

-- Jun

Suru
05-06-2004, 11:41 PM
Hi Drew,

Have you made the reasons why you need to take your water breaks known to the instructor(s) at the dojo?

-- Jun

Hey Jun,

Yes I actually did explain my situation to one of the sensei. I wanted to come into class late, figuring I could handle half a class. Unfortunately she, like many sensei, did not like this idea. I figured she would not enjoy my asking her multiple times during class for breaks. She might let me, but like I said before I'd feel like I was a petty criminal, i.e. I would fear becoming the dojo pariah. I would rather train at a dojo at which everybody gets to take a break whenever he/she wants to. Even the most empathic and nurturing person finds it difficult to perceive another's fatigue. The important thing is that I enjoy doing Aikido techniques and only when I'm totally exhausted would I take a break. The main problem is I get exhausted often, not just once a class. My current plan is to keep exercising and practicing waza with my lady friend and possibly return to the dojo in Tally one day.

Drew

dekodo
05-07-2004, 02:53 PM
Drew,

I feel terrible with the experiences you have had in the area, but I cannot say I am surprised. When looking for a school in Miami I experienced a similar response to questions I was asking. Finding the right group of people is never easy. If you are still interested in checking out a school, please contact me. Even If you just want to come over and watch. I've got a class tonight and another one tomorrow. It would be great to train with you.

DK
darren@flaikido.com

giriasis
05-07-2004, 03:27 PM
Drew,

I train at Florida Aikikai with Peter Bernath. We're USAF-East. Please don't let association differences deter you. You will be more than welcome to join us on the mat at our dojo. If you're willing to drive up to Ft. Lauderdale, you are more than welcome to train with us. Peter is very considerate to people's health conditions. We have folks who have bad knees and are not required to sit in seiza or do suwari waza. We have one man who is in his 60s and isn't pushed to do breakfalls. For most of my training with him I was overweight and had to sit out a lot. No problems, and in fact I was encouraged to pace myself and sit out if I need to. And the great majority of people are patient with you. Most recently, sensei had allowed me to show up late. In my past job there was no way I could make to to class by 6:00 but could by 6:30-6:45 (classes are an hour and half) and sensei much preferred that I show up and train than not train just because I was late. Additionally, if you talk to Peter he should allow you to drink water (we usually don't take water breaks) if you keep a bottle at the edge of the mat and talk to him indicating your medical condition.

aikidoc
05-07-2004, 06:01 PM
Instructor awareness of any health problems is imperative. Peter's point of pushing students is necessary to help students press their limits and advance; however, not to the risk of one's health.

I had one student who was diabetic and I was not aware of it. His exercise on the mat exacerbated his diabetes and one night he seemed distracted or confused. One of my students grabbed me and made me aware of his condition deteriorating and his diabetes. Unfortunately, it was not early enough to offset a call to the paramedics since he basically started going into a severe reaction. He ended up having to quit aikido.

In Texas, it is very hot, especially where I am. I have standing orders for people to get water and take a break if they feel a need to. Sometimes it gets over a 100 degrees in the dojo and heat exhaustion is a risk. However, I don't expect students to run off the mat every 5 minutes. We also try to take a water break at the end of one hour for 5 minutes to ensure no one gets sick. I also always try to accomodate health problems in any way I can. Having knee problems myself, I understand the limitations problems can place on students. Common sense is the key to preventing a serious problem.

Jeanne Shepard
05-07-2004, 08:35 PM
I get dizzy easily, and one of my teachers can spend a whole hour focussing on ukemi. I let people know when I have to stop, for the evening or for a short time ( I always try to come back after a short break). But I know if I don't, I have to run off the map to get sick, and I know noone wants me to have to do this. So I do what I need to do to take care of myself, and I don't feel that anyone holds it against me. (Maybe they're just afraid they'll be training with me when it gets bad...)

Jeanne

Tyson Geisendorff
05-07-2004, 11:05 PM
Hello all,

I have been reading Drew's posts with interest. My wife and I are moving to Miami shortly. With Drew's comments in mind, can anyone provide Dojo recommendations?
Tyson

Erik
05-08-2004, 12:36 PM
Hi Drew,

Have you made the reasons why you need to take your water breaks known to the instructor(s) at the dojo?

Jun, I've raised this point before but it's the dojo which needs to take ownership on this issue. Every student should be asked a number of basic questions before they start training or at the bare minimum "are there any health concerns we need to be aware of"? If there are then the instructing staff, all of it, needs to be made aware of it. Of course, that would also mean the staff would have to get together and have meetings, and that instructors would have to reach minimal competence on certain health issues such as First Aid, CPR, and basic health risks.

Really it should go a lot deeper than that but too many dojos just let you walk in, sign up (maybe throw a waiver your way) and let you get on the mat.

While a wise student would go out of their way to make their problems known, if they know which they may not, the fact is that a "professional" organization would have policies in place to address this.

Frankly, I doubt 10%, I feel generous today, of the dojos in the United States could meet a professional standard on this issue.

Robert Cowham
05-09-2004, 05:40 PM
Having had a kidney stone during a visit to Japan in mid summer where I was training every day, I would definitely recommend water breaks as and when required! I presume that I am susceptible to such things, and it may have been coincidence, but so far haven't had a recurrence - it is not something to be recommended.

Look after yourselves!

Robert

kironin
05-09-2004, 10:30 PM
However, (2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.


I could not disagree more with this.
This is a dangerous and irresponsible attitude to take as a teacher.
and I might add arrogant also.

maybe you can get away with it in Japan.

Craig

NagaBaba
05-09-2004, 11:04 PM
Me, I would like to take not only water break, but also sandwich break. I can be very dangerous for other aikidoka with empty stomach. Often I would like to chat with my friends on the mat, do you think it will be possible? If I don't chat I get headaches and become very depresif. I have a paper form my doctor to prove it.

Could someone recommend any instructor willing me in his dojo,please?

Thanks, folks!!

PeterR
05-09-2004, 11:19 PM
Both Craig and Janet;

Nothing like taking a piece out of a post and running with it.

Budo training is about going beyond your perceived abilities and reaching your potential. It is the teachers role to identify where the line between those two states are at any point in time. You can bow out of the training at any time.

jasmine_sun
05-10-2004, 12:11 AM
Personally, I think that a student should be permitted to take a sip of water if he or she is not feeling well, or for medical reasons, or even take abreak if he or she is feeling sick. But I feel that unless you feel unwell in the midst of training, you shouldn't train in the first place if you are feeling sick.

As for aikidokas wanting to get a water break as and when they feel like it in the middle of the class, I think that is unaceptable. Training in a martial art requires discipline and endurance, which might be what Peter Goldsbury is trying to say. It shows a real lack of discipline and disrespect to O Sensei as well should any aikidoka just go off and on the mat as and when they like in the middle of the class.

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2004, 12:19 AM
I could not disagree more with this.
This is a dangerous and irresponsible attitude to take as a teacher.
and I might add arrogant also.

maybe you can get away with it in Japan.

Craig

Well, again, we will have to disagree.

I think that if you read the complete post, it would be clear that I am referring to Japan and to my own dojo.

Further, I do not think it is a matter of "getting away with it", in Japan. I think the attitude I decribed in the entire post, not just the paragraph you chose to quote, is common here and also quite reasonable.

I know many instructors here and see/have seen their relationships with their own teachers, including the Founder himself and both his son and grandson.

But, of course, this is an Internet bulletin board and YMMV.

Lyle Bogin
05-10-2004, 12:20 AM
The trouble occurs, IMO, when the vibe of the dojo interferes with a student's health. Guiding students to a place beyond their perceived limit should be balanced by a deliberate effort on the part of the teaching staff to give the student head room to step off of the mat. Students should be pushed, but they should also be told to trust themselves and that there is no shame, weakness, or failure in taking a break when needed. From my experience, it is easier to find places in which instructors push, but a bit harder to find a dojo in which taking personal breaks is safe from mental baggage.

Chris Li
05-10-2004, 12:52 AM
Further, I do not think it is a matter of "getting away with it", in Japan. I think the attitude I decribed in the entire post, not just the paragraph you chose to quote, is common here and also quite reasonable.

Common in the US too, I think, isn't that what coaches in most sports do? I see high school football coaches trying to push their players to new heights all the time...

Best,

Chris

Orihime
05-10-2004, 02:43 AM
It also depends on the students, don't you think? Some really cannot get past certain limits, so what's the good to push them too hard? This said, being pushed is often good for motivation and endurance.

Janet Rosen
05-10-2004, 11:31 AM
Both Craig and Janet;

Nothing like taking a piece out of a post and running with it.

Budo training is about going beyond your perceived abilities and reaching your potential. It is the teachers role to identify where the line between those two states are at any point in time. You can bow out of the training at any time.
Hi, Peter. I don't at all disagree with your statement about the role of the teacher.
I simply disagree with applying it to the topic of this thread, a student deciding when he/she is in physical need of rest or fluid. Peter G and I have already agreed that we disagree on that point.

giriasis
05-10-2004, 11:53 AM
Drew,

Was I able to help you with my answer? I know there is some high quality aikido in South Florida but some of the schools in the Miami area are kindof strict etiquette wise. We have people who travel from Miami and Boca to train with us and they've been training with Peter for years. If you want to check out our dojo, why not come by and take a class. We have two classes on Saturday and Sunday so it could be worth the drive to try us out. I think you will find that Peter (he is only "Sensei" on the mat) may accomodate you.

Erik
05-10-2004, 12:21 PM
I see high school football coaches trying to push their players to new heights all the time...

Which is why a couple of times a year we get an article about a football player dying. Not allowing a student to get fluid has nothing to do with pushing them to new heights.

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 12:35 PM
Which is why a couple of times a year we get an article about a football player dying. Not allowing a student to get fluid has nothing to do with pushing them to new heights.

Well, I think it can, as long as it is done within reason. If I have a student who has a specific problem, and he lets me know about it, I would try to accomodate. They would still need to let the instructor know when they leave the mat...that's just good safety. What if someone leaves the mat, goes in the bathroom, and no one notices that they left or haven't returned? What if they are lying passed out in the bathroom? I was taught that as an instructor, it would be my responsibility to be aware of people leaving and entering the mat space. Period. And if someone has a problem, then they would follow the same rules...you need to leave the mat...fine...just advise the instructor.

Frankly, I thought the public response to Peter G.'s post was quite rude. Rather unusual for this forum.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 12:41 PM
Yes I actually did explain my situation to one of the sensei. I wanted to come into class late, figuring I could handle half a class. Unfortunately she, like many sensei, did not like this idea.

My own teachers, while probably understanding the need for water in your situation, would not like someone coming in late on a regular basis. One of the foundations of aikido is the idea of harmony, and the format of an aikido class actually fosters this idea. Everyone starts together with reigi, they warm up together all in the same way, they 'sink up' in a sense before technique practice even begins. Many teachers would find this unity of spirit very important. I think of it as quite a separate issue from taking a water break at the edge of the mat when needed for medical reasons. I really can't imagine being made a 'pariah' for that...
Ron

Erik
05-10-2004, 01:17 PM
Ron, I'm not sure why you brought up the asking part of leaving the mat. I'm fine with that, however, I think your example is, at the least, extreme.

Proper hydration is commonsense fitness thinking. And, we are not in a discipline where learning to fight without fluid is terribly relevant. I could understand a special forces soldier, who might wind up in extreme situations, but even there they'd go to great lengths to make sure people are properly hydrated in the field, lest they die. There is just about nothing to be gained by limiting people's hydration and much is put at risk.

Frankly, I thought the public response to Peter G.'s post was quite rude. Rather unusual for this forum.

Honestly, I think some response is deserved. Consider what he did in this thread. He made a medical decision which was basically that Drew should train through a health problem at his instructor's determination. You are probably thinking that he didn't know about the health issue when he made that statement but that's precisely the point, he didn't think to ask. He didn't think to ask because he's not qualified to make the determination he argued that instructors should be making. It's a dangerous path to walk.

By the way, I realize that I can be a bit blunt at times, or even most times, but when I read stuff like I read in this thread it frustrates me no end. I'm amazed the topic even comes up.

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 01:35 PM
I can't believe (having met Peter) that he would not work with the student, and I saw nothing in his post that suggested that. Now maybe its just because I've met him, and have corresponded with him for at least two or three years now.

As to the situation I described...I know for a fact it has happened. :) Your mileage may vary..but extreme or not the reality is that if I teach, my teacher holds me responsible for the well being of the class.

As far as proper hydration is concerned, we are told to show up to class hydrated (peeing clear). THAT is showing proper concern for yourself. If you have a medical problem, then that would have to be taken into consideration as well.

Come on, I'm all for being blunt (you know me :) ) but Peter G. has been THE most useful, polite contributer on ANY of these boards for how many years now? There's gotta be a better way...

Ron

akiy
05-10-2004, 01:42 PM
I can't believe (having met Peter) that he would not work with the student, and I saw nothing in his post that suggested that.
He did write that he would let his student(s) take breaks and such:
(1) if you were in my own dojo and you told me that because of your physical condition you needed to take breaks, water etc, this would not be a problem.
Although he does go on to say that, "(2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you—and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation," his first thoughts seem, to me at least, to override his second...
Come on, I'm all for being blunt (you know me :) ) but Peter G. has been THE most useful, polite contributer on ANY of these boards for how many years now? There's gotta be a better way...
Agreed.

-- Jun

Erik
05-10-2004, 02:30 PM
I can't believe (having met Peter) that he would not work with the student, and I saw nothing in his post that suggested that.

Not having met him I would be very surprised if he didn't work with the student. And, I think his overall point about pushing someone is valid. For the most part I think he's probably a hell of a teacher and pretty damn decent guy.

However, he did write the following:

(2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you?and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.

This is almost the same logic used by football coaches when someone dies on them. They are just pushing their players to go beyond what they thought they were capable of. Football players dying from this practice has a long history and it's only been recently, due to a variety of reasons, that this has changed. I suspect that it was more common 30 years ago but we'd likely never have heard about it.

Plus, he wrote it without full knowledge of the situation which can partially be a pass but is also indicitive of exactly why the situation is dangerous. A coach, or instructor, may not have a full knowledge of their student's health situation. While I think most students address this at least informally, "Sensei, I'm diabetic", without a process in place a student can slip through the cracks. And, it's possible that an instructor might not even know what to do with a diabetic student in an emergency. In my experience, the processes in place, if any, are often not sufficient.

By the way, having been in a semi-emergency situation in a dojo, and having done everything wrong you could do wrong, I'm sensitive, maybe overly so, to the issue.

As to the situation I described...I know for a fact it has happened. :) Your mileage may vary..but extreme or not the reality is that if I teach, my teacher holds me responsible for the well being of the class.

I don't disagree with this. I guess, mostly, I was confused as to how it wound up in the discussion.

As far as proper hydration is concerned, we are told to show up to class hydrated (peeing clear). THAT is showing proper concern for yourself. If you have a medical problem, then that would have to be taken into consideration as well.

This is part of your new student orientation? If so, I'm not only impressed, I'm astounded. You are to be commended if you go into that kind of detail with a new student.

Come on, I'm all for being blunt (you know me :) ) but Peter G. has been THE most useful, polite contributer on ANY of these boards for how many years now?

That's certainly true but does that mean he should be exempt from being challenged?

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 02:53 PM
Not having met him I would be very surprised if he didn't work with the student. And, I think his overall point about pushing someone is valid. For the most part I think he's probably a hell of a teacher and pretty damn decent guy.

However, he did write the following: ...

Sure, he wrote it in the context of his entire post, which made clear he had no problems working with the student. For his trouble, Craig decided to be rude and confrontational.


This is almost the same logic used by football coaches when someone dies on them. They are just pushing their players to go beyond what they thought they were capable of. Football players dying from this practice has a long history and it's only been recently, due to a variety of reasons, that this has changed. I suspect that it was more common 30 years ago but we'd likely never have heard about it.

Sorry, but I just don't see it. Have you read Peter's posts on aikido journal about hikari geiko as practiced at many universities in japan? This is exactly the kind of thing he would be against! I can't speak for the football coaches, but Peter specifically said he would work with the student...maybe that would mean pushing them in other ways **besides denying water**.

Plus, he wrote it without full knowledge of the situation which can partially be a pass but is also indicitive of exactly why the situation is dangerous.

Well of course he did...WE ALL DID...EVERY POST IN THE THREAD IS WITHOUT FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THIS PERSON'S SITUATION.

In my experience, the processes in place, if any, are often not sufficient.

I don't know if it is still in place, but at the main dojo of our association, it was REQUIRED at least two years ago that instructors be certified in CPR. Now, I realize that that is probably a minimum requirement, but it sure sounds like common sense to me.

By the way, having been in a semi-emergency situation in a dojo, and having done everything wrong you could do wrong, I'm sensitive, maybe overly so, to the issue.

I can definately understand that...but then your posts weren't the ones that got me going... :)

I don't disagree with this. I guess, mostly, I was confused as to how it wound up in the discussion.

Part of the discussion in the thread was about whether the student could leave the mat/class to get a drink. I stated in our organization they could, but would have to get the instructor's permission (basically notify the instructor). I then went on to explain WHY. For safety reasons.


This is part of your new student orientation? If so, I'm not only impressed, I'm astounded. You are to be commended if you go into that kind of detail with a new student.

With all students, new and old. Is this unusual? I thought Budo was about being the best you can at any given moment. To do that you should be prepared. If its hot, drink water while you can. If its cold, dress appropriately. If you're going to train all day without eating, get up early and eat a good meal with time to digest it before training. I never thought this stuff was rocket science... I learned most of this attitude in the boy scouts fer christ's sake.

That's certainly true but does that mean he should be exempt from being challenged?

Challenge is not only ok, I think Peter himself would welcome it. I also think it would be nice if people would read the entire post, and not try to put words in his mouth that he didn't say...

After all, if people had questions about what he said, or didn't understand, they could have {gasp} asked a question first before jumping all over him.

But hey, that's just how I roll... :p
As always, your mileage may vary...

Best,
Ron

Chris Li
05-10-2004, 03:25 PM
Which is why a couple of times a year we get an article about a football player dying. Not allowing a student to get fluid has nothing to do with pushing them to new heights.

Well, Ron Tisdale has already answered this in much more detail, but Peter never mentioned anything about denying people hydration - in fact the first section of his post specifically states that he would allow breaks for such things.

Best,

Chris

Erik
05-10-2004, 03:42 PM
Sure, he wrote it in the context of his entire post, which made clear he had no problems working with the student. For his trouble, Craig decided to be rude and confrontational.

Craig can be that way. He's one of those ki guys and you know how they get. :D

Well of course he did...WE ALL DID...EVERY POST IN THE THREAD IS WITHOUT FULL KNOWLEDGE OF THIS PERSON'S SITUATION.

Not quite so simple. I jumped on this point because it's what "could" happen in this sort of situation. This topic has come up before and an instructor took the stance that it was traditional to go without water. The intent was pretty clear in that case . I also once sat through a lecture in a dojo on this very topic. I lit the instructor up after class on it by the way. Yes, I can be this way in the real world too.

What was interesting about this, and one other similar experience, is that there has been some organizational consistency on the topic. While the organization is unrelated to Peter Goldsbury, in any way, I felt compelled to raise a bit of a stink because there is a similar implication in his post.

Note that he did talk about not taking breaks at Hombu during 50 to 55 minute classes. I can do 50 minute runs or classes (assuming it's not all out) without water but that's about the limit. The instructor I semi-chewed out often ran classes for more than 1-1/2 hours under the impression that the Japanese didn't take water breaks.

I don't know if it is still in place, but at the main dojo of our association, it was REQUIRED at least two years ago that instructors be certified in CPR. Now, I realize that that is probably a minimum requirement, but it sure sounds like common sense to me

To me as well and after my FUBAR I got all of that tightened up but prior to that I taught plenty of classes without those things. I know I'm not the only one to have done so.

I can definately understand that...but then your posts weren't the ones that got me going... :)

Damn! I hope I'm not losing my touch. :D

With all students, new and old. Is this unusual? I thought Budo was about being the best you can at any given moment. To do that you should be prepared. If its hot, drink water while you can. If its cold, dress appropriately. If you're going to train all day without eating, get up early and eat a good meal with time to digest it before training. I never thought this stuff was rocket science... I learned most of this attitude in the boy scouts fer christ's sake.

Teaching about urine color in regards to hydration IS rarer.

Another aspect that gets me going in regards to water is how badly it seems to be misunderstood across the board. Even the 8 glasses of water thing was made up by some guy in the 40's who thought it sounded like a good number. Then you read about trainers recommending incredible amounts of water for weight loss, or, football coaches denying water to players or holding camps in 100 degree weather to toughen their players and you understand why I'm surprised to see someone talking about urine color and hydration.

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 04:08 PM
Well, I've never dieted in my life (if I'm getting too heavy I simply try to exercise more and eat less), and I've never played football. :) So I wouldn't know too much about those things.

As to the instructor you chewed out...I don't see a connection between him and what Peter said. But hey, I've been wrong before! :)

Ron Tisdale
05-10-2004, 04:09 PM
Not usually...so there are exceptions.

And he specifically would make them...

Seems cut and dried to me...
RT

Erik
05-10-2004, 04:18 PM
As to the instructor you chewed out...I don't see a connection between him and what Peter said. But hey, I've been wrong before! :)

The first lines of Peter's post involved not taking breaks at Hombu. The instructor I mentioned used Japan as a basis for his argument about not taking water breaks. Hence the two link together in my somewhat warped mind. The problem is that the local guy was possibly running his students longer and harder than Japan does.

To anyone reading this, I deleted a post in between Ron's two posts.

RonRagusa
05-10-2004, 10:50 PM
I would like to share my thoughts on two points. First, I don't require my students to ask permission to leave the mat. Mostly they ask permission of their own accord anyway. I know when they leave and under what circumstances they leave. When I see a student walk off the mat and it's not obviously for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom I make it a point to find out why. Also, at our dojo students take care of one another. We have a very close knit group of people and unusal behavior is noted quickly and brought to the attention of the instructor quickly.

Second, I teach adults and I expect them to behave like adults. My students are told up front that they are to take themselves out if they get hurt, feel ill or get overly tired at any time during class. They are free to leave the mat to hydrate or rest. I am not interested in determining a students limits and then pushing them slightly beyond. I have found over the years that students will train in a manner appropriate to their current level of development and push themselves beyond of their own accord. This is how growth occurs. Students experiencing continued growth continue to train those that stagnate leave.

Peter Goldsbury
05-10-2004, 11:33 PM
Well, I must confess some surprise at the reaction my earlier post caused.

To restate the points I made in another way:

1. The individual ultimately bears the final responsibility for his/her own physical, mental and spiritual condition.

2. The relationship between teacher and student involves a high degree of trust, especially in budo. Perhaps this is a consequence of the meaning of the word 'Sensei', as it is used in Japanese. Implicit in the two characters that make up the word is the idea of having lived before, therefore being in a position to understand the student's experience in training. Another implication, in my opinion, from the student's side now, is that you trust your teacher to take you to a level that you cannot reach by yourself, as I stated, perhaps to a level higher than you thought capable of achieving. This is an opinion based on my own experience of training with teachers such as K Chiba, M Kanetsuka, my own teacher here in Japan, Masakazu Kitahira, and the Aikikai Hombu Shihans I have trained under. I do not think this is a particularly arrogant opinion, but if it is, it is widely held here.

3. Thus, if the student perceives a conflict between the two points above, then there will have to be some sort of compromise, and the boundary of the compromise might differ according to cultural constraints also. As a non-Japanese living in this country, I am very well aware of this and am quite ready to accept that what is considered OK in Japan might not be accepted elsewhere.

In the Aikikai Hombu, classes are short but intense and it is not usual for students to go and take a break in the middle of practice. In my own dojo we are rather more liberal, but I do expect students to train hard once they come on the mat. In any case, when a person signs up, we generally give a short interview and satisfy ourselves as much as we can about his/her physical condition. Of course, insurance is compulsory.

Yours sincerely,

PeterR
05-11-2004, 02:36 AM
Hi Mr. Ragusa;

It sounds like you have found your group dynamic and that it is good.

However, some of us seek out teachers that will push us beyond our limits. That doesn't mean we are not adults or know how to behave as such. The way I teach and train, I feel the group wa would be disturbed if people just wandered on and off the mat at their own volition. I don't think I've ever had to admonish someone for doing so but its understood by all to be rude (in the context of our training). I also don't think I've ever denied (or been denied) the right to leave the mat.

I have a few further comments to the thread in general.

If a medical condition would disrupt the group you are trying to join it is not your right to join the group. If they accommodate you great but its not a given.

If the conditions are so extreme that your body can't take an hour Aikido training without a water break then you should see a doctor and or change those conditions. The latter can include evening classes, air conditioning or a group water break. I agree, feeling a little thirsty is indicative of partial dehydration, but that wont kill you and will make that glass of water at the end taste oh so good.

With respect to the posts regarding Peter G.. What Ron T., Chris and Jun said. Considering that I agree completely with his post I am taking Craig's insult personally Shouldn't I know but the line between difference in opinion and personal insult was crossed.

erikmenzel
05-11-2004, 10:31 AM
I can not speak as a teacher for the simple reason that I am not. I can however speak as a student and at least voice what kind of behavior I expect from my fellow students.
I personally don't understand the big fuss people make about drinking all the time. IMHO experience getting dehydrated in 1 hour of training calls for extreme conditions or indicate a bad fluid consumption the entire day to begin with. If someone under normal circumstances gets dehydrated from training 1 hour it simply means that person hasn't taken enough fluids that day to begin with. This to me already means that someone was not properly prepared for the training and hence not showing me and my fellow students the respect of coming to the training properly prepared.
Under extreme conditions I have not yet met a teacher that doesn't incorporates little breaks in their lessons anyway.
I have witnessed people throwing up cause they were thirsty and drank (large amounts) of cool and refreshing water, which makes me think that people cant decide for themselves what is good/wise/needed.
Lastly I find it highly disturbing in my training if people are allowed to walk of the mat to get a drink. How am I to see the difference between someone walking of the mat due to a serious problem and someone just a bit thirsty. It also interferes with my training cause people walking of the mat for a drink or a rest (for whatever reason) disturb and break the levek of concentration in the dojo.

With regard of special medical conditions: I have yet to meet a teacher that wouldn't allow special things for those that need it. I myself have a medical condition that can easily prevent me from training for more then 45 minutes. This condition is not visible for others and can easily be explained by people that don't know as me being just a lazy bugger. If I am to train somewhere I always ask permission expecting people will not make an exception for me. If they let me train under those conditions then that is great, if they don't then that is great as well. I don't go claiming they should do anything to accommodate me.

I hope this makes some sense, cause I was quite disturbed about how people can make non-issues like water drinking into the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Fred Little
05-11-2004, 02:57 PM
As far as proper hydration is concerned, we are told to show up to class hydrated (peeing clear). Ron

Clear in the air? Or clear in the bowl?

Fred Little

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2004, 03:22 PM
Hmmm, I never thought to distinguish....I always kinda assumed they were the same. Lets just say I float my kidneys before practice, enough so that it appears clear both on the way in and once it gets there... :) Uh, in the bowl that is...

Say, did you ever get to contact Jeff or Nakashima's?

Ron

kironin
05-11-2004, 05:03 PM
However, he did write the following:

Quote:
(2) I would expect you to use your aikido training as a means to improve your physical and spiritual health, so I would expect you to train to a level beyond that which you thought you were capable of. I think this would be crucial for you?and I also think you would not be the best judge in this situation.
/////////////////////////////////////////

This is almost the same logic used by football coaches when someone dies on them. They are just pushing their players to go beyond what they thought they were capable of. Football players dying from this practice has a long history and it's only been recently, due to a variety of reasons, that this has changed. I suspect that it was more common 30 years ago but we'd likely never have heard about it.



Interesting reading some of the follow-up posts. I did read the whole post.
What set Erik off pretty much set off me too. I agree with Erik's replies so I don't have much to add except I have seen Peter's (G) line of reasoning abused quite badly in sports and aikido. I find Jun's argument curious that I am supposed to ignore what Peter Goldsbury said in second part because of what he said in the first part.

Anyway. Peter's already patiently restated his post in more detail and while I can't agree with his reasoning or his reliance on the opinion of some teachers which include some which have been known to abuse students in the past, I also can't really disagree with what he says he does in actual practice. My beef is not really with him.

Reading some of the other relatively intolerant opinions being put forth just reminds me of one of the benefits of being in charge.

For the original poster, maybe your suggestion would have been better recieved if you had asked if it was alright if you showed up on time and bowed out of class early if it got to be too much. The idea of you consistently showing up halfway through the class probably didn't sit so well especially since it is not unusual to cover basic exercise in the first part of a class. I have one student and have had others in the past who show up on time for class but for medical reasons when they have reached their limit bow out (or pace themselves, depends on the class and their condition). This is not a problem for the other students as they can see how dedicated he is. I don't presume to know his limit. I am younger, more fit, and generally don't get as much exercise in these classes as the students do.

Craig

Suru
05-11-2004, 10:58 PM
Hello all,

I have been reading Drew's posts with interest. My wife and I are moving to Miami shortly. With Drew's comments in mind, can anyone provide Dojo recommendations?
Tyson


Dear Tyson,

Gold Coast Aikikai and The Aikido Institute of Miami are both excellent dojos. If you wish to train there and have special needs, I recommend being completely honest with the sensei. They should accomodate you, as the sensei at GCA has been helping me. These are both USAF dojos. They are also quite strict and formal (elements which, to some degree, I believe are essential in Aikido.)

Hope to train w/ you someday,
Drew

Suru
05-11-2004, 11:14 PM
Dear Ron Ragusa,

That sounds like my kind of dojo! That's how the dojo at FSU is. It reminds me of a seminar I attended with Mitsugi Saotome Shihan. I didn't want to go ask him to leave the mat because I could see he was busy guiding the 100 or so students. So I bowed and grabbed some Advil from a box off the mat. I was looking at the package, about to open it when I heard, "You okay?" I looked up and somehow the shihan had spotted me through all those people. I said, "Just a little headache, Sensei." He smiled and said, "Ah, you drank to much last night." I laughed and said, "Yes, Sensei." I'll never forget that moment. He was more concerned with my overall gladness and well being than my leaving the mat w/o permission. "Train with joy!" O'Sensei said. This might be the most important thing he said. If we're not having fun, what's the point? Might as well join the Marine Corps and get paid for it otherwise.

Drew