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New Guys
10-22-2004, 08:14 PM
I left Aikido training a few years back and am considering returning however my Sensei is on the opposite end of the political spectrum then I am. I remain apolitical in training environments but I believe his personal philosophy interferes with the training and leads to some agitation between the two of us. I don't want politics in my training (Sensei criticizes certain lifestyles occasionally and even goes as far as to say they are NOT the Aikido way) and I don't want to apologize for my life away from the dojo, (business owner and capitalist). I want to train and be a good Aikidoka. I don't know if it is possible with my Sensei's politics. HELP!

The Conservative Aikido Student

Yokaze
10-27-2004, 05:04 PM
I suggest limiting your interaction to your training, and let that be it. Don't talk to him other than to ask a question regarding technique. If he says something you don't like that has nothing to do with Aikido (even if he says it does) just ignore it. That's not the reason you're there.

Another option is to find another dojo. If this is not possible, your only choices short of quitting are telling your sensei your concerns or just refusing to let them bother you and focusing on the reason you're there.

maikerus
10-27-2004, 06:43 PM
Just because you don't agree with someone's politics or religion or lifestyle or whatever doesn't mean that you can't learn from them. We go through life dealing with people we don't agree with or share common beliefs with. Sometimes they are even co-workers or our managers. It's the people we do share a common viewpoint with on important ideas that become friends.

As Rob said, limit it to training. And try not to put a political focus on everything that he says. Of course, if he is using up your training time to expound on his vision of the world order then perhaps its time to find another instructor.

My Few Yen,

--Michael

JessePasley
10-27-2004, 09:59 PM
Agitation between teacher and student!?! Surely you must jest!

Okay, sorry for the sarcasm. A dojo where everybody acts and thinks alike is what I would call a 'Lame Dojo'. You, as a student, are there to learn, not to agree. Any teacher who expects you to agree would be asking a lot. I wouldn't sweat it...instead I would think of sly ways to bring the focus of the class back to training if your teacher goes off on a tangent. Or maybe just keep the fire of his Ego stoked by nodding your head whenever he spouts off his garbage.

PeterR
10-27-2004, 10:05 PM
...instead I would think of sly ways to bring the focus of the class back to training if your teacher goes off on a tangent. Or maybe just keep the fire of his Ego stoked by nodding your head whenever he spouts off his garbage.

hmmmmm ........ :D

Chris Li
10-27-2004, 10:26 PM
I left Aikido training a few years back and am considering returning however my Sensei is on the opposite end of the political spectrum then I am. I remain apolitical in training environments but I believe his personal philosophy interferes with the training and leads to some agitation between the two of us. I don't want politics in my training (Sensei criticizes certain lifestyles occasionally and even goes as far as to say they are NOT the Aikido way) and I don't want to apologize for my life away from the dojo, (business owner and capitalist). I want to train and be a good Aikidoka. I don't know if it is possible with my Sensei's politics. HELP!

The Conservative Aikido Student

You could always bring up the record of Morihei Ueshiba's active involvement with the extreme right-wing. :)

Best,

Chris

SeiserL
10-28-2004, 09:16 AM
IMHO, sounds like you get to practice both physical and mental Aikido. The concepts of Aikido imply to enter and blend with what is, even (or especially) conflict. Learn not to take things too seriously or too personally, including yourself. Just train. As Bruce lee would say "absorb what is useful, disregard the rest, add what is uniquely yours." (or something like that)

Neil Mick
10-28-2004, 05:51 PM
IMHO, sounds like you get to practice both physical and mental Aikido. The concepts of Aikido imply to enter and blend with what is, even (or especially) conflict. Learn not to take things too seriously or too personally, including yourself. Just train. As Bruce lee would say "absorb what is useful, disregard the rest, add what is uniquely yours." (or something like that)

Yeah, what he said.

Also, just remember that we all, including your Sensei: are students of Aikido, with a lot to learn.

I had similar problems with my Sensei, a few years' back. 911 changed his politics greatly, and he became more Conservative. This guy even went so far as to fly an American flag over his dojo for years, afterwards.

Believe it or not: I tend to keep my mouth shut about politics in the dojo...it's not the appropriate venue. But, one day in Oct. '01, I found myself in the midst of a political discussion as we were all preparing to put on our shoes, and exit back into our lives.

The conversation quickly turned intense, and I was asked what my solution to the problem was. When I gave it, Sensei (who was upstairs listening at the time) came roaring downstairs and loudly declaimed that I was "full of sh*t."

I was shocked, and embarassed. I would never dare to express my opinion of HIS beliefs, as it would be poor etiquette. I avoided the dojo for about a week, until I felt comfortable enough to attend class again.

Later, we both apologized (altho, I really didn't think I did anything wrong), and I kept training there, until I left for issues unrelated to politics.

Politics was always a bone of contention that we mostly left unstated, but he was a good Aikido instructor, even if he left something to be desired, in tact.

Learn what you can from your Sensei, and shrug off his foibles, if you can. If the foibles interfere with his lessons too much: then it's time to find another dojo. At least, IMO.

Erik
10-28-2004, 09:56 PM
The conversation quickly turned intense, and I was asked what my solution to the problem was. When I gave it, Sensei (who was upstairs listening at the time) came roaring downstairs and loudly declaimed that I was "full of sh*t."

Inconcievable, impossible, utterly incomprehensible. I can't imagine anyone saying that to you. You must be making this up. Do you often write this kind of fiction? :D

Chris Li
10-28-2004, 10:00 PM
Neil, not to detract from the thread, but there really isn't anything wrong with having an American flag, in America. Most people don't find it to be an abomination or even a political statement for that matter. 9-11, for a little while at least, drew people together and part of that solidarity was shown by the flag.

One of the public budokan that I trained at in Japan always had the Japanese flag prominently displayed on the wall.


Best,

Chris

Neil Mick
10-29-2004, 05:34 PM
Inconcievable, impossible, utterly incomprehensible. I can't imagine anyone saying that to you. You must be making this up. Do you often write this kind of fiction? :D

Yes: In my spare time, I write lofty and prosaic prose about a President who adheres to the law and consults his lawyers for things other than redefining torture (you opened yourself up, for that one ;) ).

Neil Mick
10-29-2004, 05:44 PM
Neil, not to detract from the thread, but there really isn't anything wrong with having an American flag, in America. Most people don't find it to be an abomination or even a political statement for that matter. 9-11, for a little while at least, drew people together and part of that solidarity was shown by the flag.

Please: waving the American flag is the quintessence of political statements. If it wasn't: then the issue of burning it, wouldn't be such a big deal. It's just a piece of cloth, right?


One of the public budokan that I trained at in Japan always had the Japanese flag prominently displayed on the wall.

Since this IS a Japanese martial art: I would say that the symbolism of displaying a Japanese flag is dissimilar, to waving an American flag.

Imagine, if a Korean martial arts dojo in Chinatown, USA, displayed a Japanese flag, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Or, if the same Korean school (in contemporary times) displayed an Afghani flag, shortly after 911.

Do you think passersby would simply shrug and nod sagely, praising all the freedom of speech we allow, in this country?

If that dojo survived a week without harassment: I for one would be mightily surprised.

I used to train in Capoeira. It is common to see capoeirista's sporting Brazilian flags on their shirts, and it's expected for advanced students in the Art to learn Portuguese.

The national identity of a MA is closely tied to its place of origin. However, waving an American flag over a Japanese dojo is a patent political statement (completely unconnected with the study of Aikido), and the Sensei was well-aware of its implications.

He was making a political statement, and he well knew this.

Chris Li
10-29-2004, 06:22 PM
Since this IS a Japanese martial art: I would say that the symbolism of displaying a Japanese flag is dissimilar, to waving an American flag.

Sure, if I were displaying an American flag over a dojo in Japan. In an American dojo with an American instructor? Not so much.

Imagine, if a Korean martial arts dojo in Chinatown, USA, displayed a Japanese flag, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Or, if the same Korean school (in contemporary times) displayed an Afghani flag, shortly after 911.

Do you think passersby would simply shrug and nod sagely, praising all the freedom of speech we allow, in this country?

They probably wouldn't - but they would be wrong, just as is the objection to the American flag in this case.

Best,

Chris

Neil Mick
10-29-2004, 06:24 PM
Sure, if I were displaying an American flag over a dojo in Japan. In an American dojo with an American instructor? Not so much.

Well, we can agree to disagree. An American flag is a political statement, and this dojo is the only American dojo I've seen in my travels across this country, displaying an American flag (my point is particularly made, with the timing: he started waving the flag, right after 911).

Chris Li
10-29-2004, 07:19 PM
Well, we can agree to disagree. An American flag is a political statement, and this dojo is the only American dojo I've seen in my travels across this country, displaying an American flag (my point is particularly made, with the timing: he started waving the flag, right after 911).

It may have been, but I think that Erik's point is that displaying an American flag is hardly the extremist action that you portrayed it to be,

Best,

Chris

Neil Mick
10-29-2004, 10:50 PM
It may have been, but I think that Erik's point is that displaying an American flag is hardly the extremist action that you portrayed it to be,

Best,

Chris

At least, in your opinion.

Politics, has no place in a dojo. Nuff said.

If I started hanging Che and Mao posters in my dojo: I'd imagine that ppl would get very uncomfortable...for the very same reasons.

Chris Li
10-30-2004, 03:01 AM
At least, in your opinion.

Politics, has no place in a dojo. Nuff said.

Nuff said if it's your dojo - if it's not then I'd say that the instructor is free to do as they like. If I don't like the politics then I'm always free to go somewhere else. In any case, flags are very common in Japanese and Korean dojo, and even in many dojo in the US - and politics had a very large part in Morihei Ueshiba's dojo.

Best,

Chris

Rocky Izumi
11-22-2004, 08:55 PM
What is the difference between loyalty to an individual and his or her ideals, and loyalty to a country and its ideals?

The problem, it seems to me, arises when there is conflict between the ideals espoused and the actions carried out.

Rock

JayRhone
11-23-2004, 03:58 PM
In my old dojo we had a pakistani flag and an american flag hanging from the inside of the walls and we were required to wear patches on our shoulders of both of these flags. And a patch over our hearts with our style logo. I think it's just to show the heritage of the style and as for the american flag, don't you think that if you go international it's a good way to see where people are from. See. You've got the martial arts background, the country you train in and the style you take, all on your gi.