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John Boswell
12-08-2004, 10:29 AM
I realize before I even start this thread that I'm going to sound childish and immature, but hey... oh well.

At my dojo, there is a boy or "young man" age 15 who, shall we say "Portly" and ungodly limber. He can bend his joints a dozen ways from Sunday and still not feel pain! He's very new to aikido and has yet to learn to connect with his own center, let alone anyone elses.

Anyways, I was working with him last night and... he seems to have it out for me. I am the biggest guy in the class so he looks upon me as a challenge: both to throw me and NOT be thrown BY me.

Well, seeing as I have zero patience... I did my best but eventually lost my cool and just CHUNKED his butt on the ground! Technique went right out the window, harmony was totally absent, blending was nothing but all energy sending him down!

But you gotta realize, I'd go to put him in kotegaishi or something and I'd take his arm, but the rest of him was left a mile behind and planted like he was bolted to the floor! He would not stay connected and would not MOVE!

I spoke to my Sensei after class about it and confessed my frustration. He laughed because he saw the whole thing and yes... I made an ass of myself. Sensei said to instruct this kid in connection and point out atemi openings when he doesn't move properly and how to protect himself... but I dunno if I have the patience to do that! The boy just plain pisses me off.

SO... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.

aikidocapecod
12-08-2004, 10:47 AM
First, learn to control your own person. The moment you TRY to throw your partner, you lose. Learn to move your own body to a position that allows you to move his hara. If you rely on pain from a wrist lock to throw Uke, technique is gone. There are many out there that have different levels of pain. So relying on pain as a motivator is not the best idea.
Also.....inform the YOUNGSTER that class is about learning....not who is the toughest meanest SOB in class. And if that does not work and he still decides that he will not be thrown...then, just understand that one with this mindset will not learn. But you have learned that you can control yourself.....

Janet Rosen
12-08-2004, 10:49 AM
In a word (or a few): stop taking it personally! You are frustrated because he is not the partner *you* want him to be.
Well, he's "not being a good uke" because he doesn't know how.
Now, how can he learn? (hint: involves a gradual process of learning to connect his mind and body)
BTW, I realize the above sounds unsympathetic to you, and I'm not! I have felt the same frustrations and anger you express, and know just how you feel. I just don't know any way to get past it except to totally change my *own* expectations, since I can't change anybody else's..

kironin
12-08-2004, 11:24 AM
I spoke to my Sensei after class about it and confessed my frustration. He laughed because he saw the whole thing and yes... I made an ass of myself. Sensei said to instruct this kid in connection and point out atemi openings when he doesn't move properly and how to protect himself... but I dunno if I have the patience to do that! The boy just plain pisses me off.

SO... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.


What you want to improve is the speed with which you regain your cool.

He is going to piss you off. Get pissed off. Remember who you are dealing with, age and experience, and let it go.

Mastery is in the speed of recovery. :D

You can remain pissed off for the rest of the class and in to tomorrow and on or you let go and chill within a split second and deal with giving the kid some guidiance.

It's difficult to make specific suggestions other than I don't like just pointing out the atemi. I prefer for what you describing to get uke to realize that when they are bolted to the ground that they are no longer trying to attack and yes they are a sitting duck for being struck repeatedly a dozen different ways but that also I can simply walk in a certain direction and they will fall over on their butt. When a person does that behavior, you simply don't need anything as sophisticated as standard aikido waza. Help him to understand that. Gumbies can't stand up any better than anyone else if you go in the right direction.

Also his lack of aggression means more gumbiness because his muscles are not engaged in attacking you. Small rotation movements can too far for his joints and lead to real injury before he knows it. Be sure you are dealing with him and not just one joint.

Rocky Izumi
12-08-2004, 11:35 AM
What are you pissed off about? Enjoy yourself and your uke. He is a wonderful uke that you are unlikely to be provided with again in a long time. We too have a gumby like yours in our dojo, of the same age. I love working with him because he makes me do my techniques absolutely perfectly. You should be thanking him for doing that to you. If you are still having trouble moving him, remember, doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results is a good definition of insanity. This is a chance for you to experiment to see how to improve your Aikido. If you can move him, think what your technique with others will be like? People who follow you no matter what, and flow with you even when you do not flow are not letting you have a good practice. You should be upset at the people who are following you so easily, not at this gumby. They are the ones who are not giving you a good practice, they are helping you train in poor technique. Gumby is giving you good practice.

Rock

Amendes
12-08-2004, 12:09 PM
The whole point of Aikido is to be able to work with everyone and share energy. Even if it's not the energy you expect, you learn to make it work. If he intends to consistently be cocky, the so what?
Let him, follow it in, do something else. But if you stand there and get frustrated because it is not working and try to force it, then it will never work.

If need be get the teachers attention and tell him/her you need help with your technique, if it is the ukes fault then the teacher will say. But atlest the kid won't take offense since your asking about your technique.

John Boswell
12-08-2004, 02:27 PM
Thanks everyone for the feedback. It's been a frustrating time and so I appreciate the external viewpoints.

Andrew, I understand the point of aikido training and that I COULD do something else, but that's not the point. Right now, we're going over some fundemental movements that I'd really, really like to practice. What's the point of "practice" if you CAN'T because someone is sitting there being 300 lbs of dead weight? If I wanted that, I'd go to the gym!

The kid won't take any offense, I tried to offend him and he laughed. He really seems to care less. Otherwise, some very good things have been said: I need to not take things personally, let my anger pass by, enjoy having an unusal Uke and move along. Won't be easy but oh well...

We'll see.

Thanks everyone!

Don_Modesto
12-08-2004, 02:47 PM
I realize before I even start this thread that I'm going to sound childish and immature, but hey... oh well.

This IS frustrating. At his level, you must be careful not to injure him. I've had youth walk out of my class, because I didn't slam them when they resisted, I think. A YUDANSHA resisting against convention is fair game--Training Opportunity, Oh Yeah!

But a green kid?...

Sometimes it's just a matter of timing and gesture. Have you smiled self-deprecatingly upon being stuffed?

The thing about being grateful to them is true in my experience, but it's a hard adjustment to make. I've amended my expectations. It becomes for me a different kind of training. I dump the idea of finishing a technique and work on the AIKI of taking his balance completely immediately upon engagement. If I fail, well, I've got three more times to try before his turn. It's not very impressive to the kid, but neither were Edison's 99 failed filament trials impressive to his assistants. He nailed it, though, didn't he.

Good luck. Let us know how you resolve it.

JAHsattva
12-08-2004, 02:56 PM
hello! :)

this is all good advise.

i would say listen to your sensei.

you can point out atemi openings.

with an open hand coming at your face you either move,block,or get smacked right?

he should grasp this concept quickly.
im not saying "try to hit him"

in aikido, if the uke isnt attacking or moving ,there is no need to defend yourself. you will both end up standing there.doing nothing.
this uke is a test in your patience.

just another reminder,that you never know what to expect while training.

also, i would ask him if he wants to be nage first.
he could just be intimidated with the thought of being thrown.

it sounds like he isn't fully "there" when executing an attack.

i like to try and fullfill the role of uke,as if i was really an attacker. he might be "asleep at the wheel" so to speak when attacking. his mind is somewhere else.you'll have to direct his attention.

:ai:

p00kiethebear
12-08-2004, 03:58 PM
he should grasp this concept quickly.
im not saying "try to hit him"

Once in a while, I've needed a good smack in the face or punch to the gut to remember my blocking and moving correctly as uke. Maybe it would do him some good. Just don't do it in a mean way. Do it under the guise of "helping him to understand movement"

George S. Ledyard
12-08-2004, 05:09 PM
Hi John,
You didn't injure the boy, right? So I think your are more frustrated by your own frustration than anything. I know from having kids that it's just like that... you feel bad because this kid just took your center. But you clearly didn't react over the top.

It's the job of the teacher, in my opinion to handle folks like this. They need to be shown how they are leaving themselves open for injury and why this isn't sensible martially. Usually, it's only the teacher in the dojo who has the technique and the control at the same time to lay the boy out without injuring him.

My old Assistant Chief Instructor for many years was Lee Crawford Sensei (Aikido Northshore). Many times I watched as some guy would put himself in a position in which she would have to injure him to complete the technique. Out of compassion, she would let the guy off the hook and then he would think she couldn't throw him because she was female. I would go over and show the guys exactly what it was she had chosen not to do with him and inform him that he should be thankful to her for being so nice. If I could scare him a bit doing it, so much the better.

But it really is the Chief Instructor's job to do this. You don't want everybody in the place thinking they are supposed to be delivering object lessons to the other students.I know that at times I will allow the bozo to pursist in being a bozo for a while just to see how the other folks handle it. Sounds like your teacher was doing a bit of that. As long as the practice stays safe it doesn't hurt to let people confront their own ego issues when soomeone is a butt. But it is important to protect the bozo from the real consequences of his actions until later in his practice when he should know better. Then it's "pop and drop" as far as I am concerned.

kbellor
12-08-2004, 05:43 PM
Well, God bless everyone who can keep their cool. Sorry I haven't been able to go through all the messages (am on my way to class), but this one resonated with me and I hope I am not straying too far afield from the most recent comments. I started classes with my 15-year old son. I am grateful for the patience of the seniors in the dojo who must feel frustrated with his "moonbeam" demeanor, i. e., disconnect between mind & body. Being a beginner and his Mom, I let the teaching flow and encourage him to at his most present, to pay attention!

He is sincere and not cocky so he has those going for him, not quite the same sitch as you describe. But I am voting for all the patience you can muster.

Regards to all,

Kay

SeiserL
12-08-2004, 05:48 PM
IMHO, sounds like you have taken this individual too seriously and too personally. What is the fantasythat you are running through your head that gives this person so much power? To control your cool, control your head.

Yep, IMHO, we all do this. There are a few people that just piss me off. Thye have been my best teachers.

George S. Ledyard
12-08-2004, 06:08 PM
Well, God bless everyone who can keep their cool. Sorry I haven't been able to go through all the messages (am on my way to class), but this one resonated with me and I hope I am not straying too far afield from the most recent comments. I started classes with my 15-year old son. I am grateful for the patience of the seniors in the dojo who must feel frustrated with his "moonbeam" demeanor, i. e., disconnect between mind & body. Being a beginner and his Mom, I let the teaching flow and encourage him to at his most present, to pay attention!

He is sincere and not cocky so he has those going for him, not quite the same sitch as you describe. But I am voting for all the patience you can muster.

Regards to all,

Kay
I taught a seminar this past weekend up in Canada. There were two boys training at this dojo who were just a kick. They were prototypical young teens. Before, in between and after training pouncing on each other like lion cubs. I am sure that everyone in the dojo views them as both very funny and frustrating to train with in some ways as they definitely have the "show me" attitude that goes with being young and feeling immortal.

A couple of times they were a bit testy with me (something I am used to from teaching Defensive Tactics) so I showed them why it might not be sensible to do what they had been doing, a couple of times makin them wide eyed as they realized that they had just missed being nuked. At that age they will take in the lesson up to a point but they really do think that at some level they are invulnerable so taking them right to the limit doesn't really scare them but rather is just another "rush". I did a sacrifice throw from suwari waza that made one young man's eyes wide as he flew over me but then he immediately just started laughing from the pure joy of it. Like the Lion on whom the cubs pounce, you might give them a bop but the claws are always kept in. You want the lesson planted but you don't want to extinguish the joy of training out at the limits, that's how they are going to get better. The adults in the dojo "pride" all have to be patient with the cubs. It's part of everybody's responsibility in the dojo as well as being personal training.

Qatana
12-08-2004, 07:02 PM
My favorite training partner is 15,5th kyu.. His attacks are a little out of control but his ukemi is wonderfully receptive and he has a frighteningly instinctive grasp of technical principle.
On the other hand, there was a young man training with us over the summer who is roughly twice my height & weight and i had no end of trouble with him-his arms were twice as long as mine and he wcould hold me off with one hand, because he could,and I absolutely had to be doing it correctly or I'd just end up walking under his arm with no result. Something just clicked one day and I lost the anger and found the gratitude for what I had ultimately gained from continuing to train with him even when I didn't want to.

maikerus
12-08-2004, 11:45 PM
I realize before I even start this thread that I'm going to sound childish and immature, but hey... oh well.

Ha ha...at least you called it :D

Seriously, whenever I get in this position I always try and remember that I'm just not good enough yet to move everyone the way I want to. And since that is my problem, not there's, I really have no right to take it out on them no matter how fleetingly good that would feel.

That's frustrating, but at least it makes me the focus of the frustration and I can do something about that - like keep training ;)

Use it as an opportunity and find out where and when his joints actually do lock. And then figure out how to get them to that point from a technique. It should be interesting. I envy you the opportunity :)

cheers,

--Michael

-

MaryKaye
12-09-2004, 02:05 AM
Chinn sensei of Southern California Ki Society said to us repeatedly last seminar: "Don't move your partner, just move yourself."

It's remarkable how often this gets me unstuck. Maybe if you move from your center, focus on your own balance and rhythm, and ignore the annoying person on the end of your arm, you'll find that things work out after all.

Mary Kaye

Bronson
12-09-2004, 02:35 AM
whenever I get in this position I always try and remember that I'm just not good enough yet to move everyone the way I want to. And since that is my problem, not there's, I really have no right to take it out on them no matter how fleetingly good that would feel.


I think Michael nailed it.

Bronson

Johan Nielsen
12-09-2004, 04:28 AM
But you gotta realize, I'd go to put him in kotegaishi or something and I'd take his arm, but the rest of him was left a mile behind and planted like he was bolted to the floor! He would not stay connected and would not MOVE!



Hello everyone,

First I must say that this experience you had with the aikido kotegaeshi is a great illustration of the biggest problem with this technique. Don't focus on his arm. That is irrelevant. Focus on how you can move and unbalance his body instead. There is no need to show him how atemi could be made. That is just a way to "cheat" in making him to realize that he could suffer a blow and therefore performing the technique for you. You on the other hand should also be aware of the possility that he could easily strike you when he is in perfect balance and right in front of you. Maybe that is not in the aikido training, but in a real self defence situation you can't count on a common aikido reaction, but a "normal" reaction from someone who has not done aikido.

Second I think that it is you who have a problem with the kid and not the other way around. You think that because you are older and bigger he should be somewhat intimidated by you. Big mistake from your side. If he dosen't care about your size he really has the right attitude and focus in the dojo. Think about that. And furthermore you really shouldn't lose your temper fore a variety of reasons. It seems that it is you who is the impatient "kid" in this matter. But reflect on how you should cope with your aggressions instead. Maybe it is a better way to meet his "hard" with your "soft". Don't clash hard against hard. Then it is a matter of strength and that is not in line with aikido right? I think that you must figure out for yourself in what way you can do so most easily.
Good luck!

ian
12-09-2004, 05:37 AM
Just let time take care of it - if he isn't trying to understand the purpose of the aikido training he is either to immature or to beligerent and will probably get disheartened and leave - don't worry about it, he has some responsibility!

batemanb
12-09-2004, 06:12 AM
I think Michael nailed it.

Bronson

Very good point from Michael, but also from Mary Kaye.

Don't get wrapped up in trying to move him, just move you, he will follow if you move with your whole body. It's about non conflict, don't try and force anything, just move in the direction of least resistance, and make your movements very large, over exaggerate, it will soon fall into place.

regards

Bryans

John Boswell
12-09-2004, 09:41 AM
Hello everyone,

First I must say that this experience you had with the aikido kotegaeshi is a great illustration of the biggest problem with this technique. Don't focus on his arm. That is irrelevant. Focus on how you can move and unbalance his body instead. There is no need to show him how atemi could be made. That is just a way to "cheat" in making him to realize that he could suffer a blow and therefore performing the technique for you. You on the other hand should also be aware of the possility that he could easily strike you when he is in perfect balance and right in front of you. Maybe that is not in the aikido training, but in a real self defence situation you can't count on a common aikido reaction, but a "normal" reaction from someone who has not done aikido.

Second I think that it is you who have a problem with the kid and not the other way around. You think that because you are older and bigger he should be somewhat intimidated by you. Big mistake from your side. If he dosen't care about your size he really has the right attitude and focus in the dojo. Think about that. And furthermore you really shouldn't lose your temper fore a variety of reasons. It seems that it is you who is the impatient "kid" in this matter. But reflect on how you should cope with your aggressions instead. Maybe it is a better way to meet his "hard" with your "soft". Don't clash hard against hard. Then it is a matter of strength and that is not in line with aikido right? I think that you must figure out for yourself in what way you can do so most easily.
Good luck!

Johan, interesting points you've made here.

After getting a LITTLE bit of sleep and thinking on things, re-reading these posts, etc. I do now realilze that due to this uke's disconnection, I did NOT have his center nor did I have his balance... he didn't have to move because I wasn't moving him. Now, as for WHY I wasn't moving him there is some responsibility on my part as Nage to get this guys balance.

HOWEVER... we're in a dojo, practicing to learn technique. Street situation? I'd have lost this hands down. Dojo situation, his mindset and attitude are completely wrong. Johan's second point has to do with attitude and that I'm trying to intimidate this kid. Well, I'm not! I could care less what he thinks of me or my size, I'm there to practice and train! When your uke's arm goes limp as a rag and he just stands there with no expression like he could care less what you are trying to do.... THAT is frustrating.

BUT, I see many things that I personally need to work on that go above and beyond the flaws of an uke. I've gotten many good ideas from everyone that has commented so far and I hope others have taken something from my mistakes here.

Thank you for the feedback everyone! Keep em coming if you like, this has been a really excellent thread! :)

Johan Nielsen
12-09-2004, 10:42 AM
Hello John.

I'm sorry if I made you upset. This was not my intention, and maybe I misinterpreted the situation you wrote about. However now that you have explained furhter I can only agree with you. Uke should of course stay interested and provide good learning material for his training partners. He should do realistic attacks and not stand like a fool waiting for action from your side. You must have a proper attack the be able to perform a good technique. You should tell him that you want better attacks.

pezalinski
12-09-2004, 11:53 AM
My suggestion? Be a good uke, in turn, and demonstrate the kind of attack and ukemi you are expecting him to learn; maybe with a "this" and "not this" kind of example. You can't expect him to show what he does not know. Either he'll get it, or he won't -- it's not your responsibility to make him learn, but to simply give him a good template to emulate.

John Boswell
12-09-2004, 01:40 PM
Johan,

My apologies... I'm not mad at you. I guess my anger at the uke is carrying over. Sorry bout that. I didn't like the thought that I was needing my size to intimidate. If that were the case, no one would practice with me. Any hostility you perceived was only residual anger left over from tuesday night... and I need to get it under control.

Still working on it!

Sita Nanthavong
12-10-2004, 12:26 PM
SO... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.

I have a similar situation, only the guy's not a punk and I'm actually the smallest in my class. lol This guy is super limber and he's very new, not even a year, yet, and he's not connected to his center. When I try to do techniques such as nikkyo, it hurst me more than it hurts him, I think. lol

I've learned to forget about making the technique work and work on form, instead. I'm not going to use excessive force or raise a ruckus or get frustrated... it's very "un-aiki". My sensei knows this and he's okay with it.

It's superfrustrating, though, when we do irimi nage or kokyu nage and the guy doesn't blend. He waits until I actually hit him and then he goes down. Ugh!!! So, I just raise my arm over him and skip the whole contact thing.

Best luck with you and your guy!!

Charles Hill
12-10-2004, 09:44 PM
When your uke's arm goes limp as a rag and he just stands there with no expression like he could care less what you are trying to do.... THAT is frustrating.


John has a variety of interesting problems with this guy, but this is the one that interests me the most. I am convinced that in Aikido practice, it takes two to make good technique and if one person is not moving correctly the technique cannot be good. For example, I feel that in kotegaeshi, uke must have some extension in his arm or the technique will not work. Also, without that extension, nage`s hand which was to do the kotegaeshi can easily strike uke`s face/body making the kotegaeshi a moot point. I feel that the reason I do kotegaeshi is because I cannot strike uke who is extending his arm to keep me from striking.

What I find frustrating is how often I practice with people who ignore atemi. In my current dojo situation, I feel that I cannot hit "for real." So, I either put up with a bad situation or I refuse to train with some people.

John, I feel your pain!

Charles Hill

aikidoc
12-10-2004, 10:28 PM
OK. Time for the sensei to chime in here.

A little history. This young man has come a long way in taking any ukemi. Very rarely do I ever day one state to anyone that I'm concerned a student is simply not going to cut it and should maybe consider another art. In this young man's case, I did make such a statement to senior students since he was horribly uncoordinated day one. His rolls for the first month or more looked like a crash and burn and after about 2 months is he now becoming actually capable of taking a forward roll without collapsing into a heap like a dish rag. And that's the problem. He is a dish rag from a joint perspective-he in fact scares the hell out of me when he is being locked out. He does not feel pain until the point a joint is about to dislocate.

Being overly flexible he has difficulty with connecting any of his body parts to any of his other body parts not alone his center. As an uke, he even challenges me to break his balance and take him down. However, I do and it can be done but the technique has to be precise with a lot of extension and quick before he can recover (he does so easily due to flexiblity). If I stop any of the energy he can recover.

I have been working on him to get him to connect with his center and have been pointing out to him the risks he is incurring by not doing so as well as his suki. Since he can recover easily and disconnects when he does get taken down it is scary because he usually goes down hard due to the fact he has to be taken to a no recovery point. Due to his lack of body connection it is a point where he cannot take the fall as safely as he should. At this point, although he falls hard, he has been able to slap out and not get injured.

He has been a challenge even for the senior students to take down. This can be a good thing for the senior students since he has obviously challenged them to the point of frustration. Sometimes I like to challenge the senior students to not rely on me working everything out for them. It's sort of like here's an attack and now I want you to figure out a technique you've never done before using the principles of aikido you've learned (tai sabaki, etc.).

It is time however to intervene more aggressively, as George points out it is my responsibility. The reason it is time to intervene is the frustration level has escalated since the same type of event happened with another student the next night with jo dori. The young man locked down and changed the dynamics of the attack (he was uke) causing frustration with another senior student who simply did a leg sweep and dumped him on his ass. It looks like it is time for a week of classes or more if necessary on musubi and ukemi. The young man has his moments and does give a fair attack and respond-however, not consistently. I think he wants to challenge the senior students subconsciously. However, if I continue to let him do so he will likely get injured which is not tolerated by me. Especially if it is done out of frustration.

Since gradual improvement and intermittent shards of improvement were occurring, I let this continue with verbal instruction to the young man to stop his behavior. However, I may have let this go on too long since the frustration level has risen. My responsibility of course. I do like students to try and work out such difficulties, however, I am not willing to do so at the risk of injury to a less senior student.

After last night's frustration response (actually after John's experience-we had a small class last night), I had already decided to fix the problem more directly. I did want to see where this thread went before I commented.

aikidoc
12-10-2004, 10:36 PM
As a side point to Charles' comment, I love to point out the openings for atemi (as George well knows I am interested in atemi waza). However, I can't really let the student feel the opening as he would in real situation. Occasionally, I will deliver a rather aggressive surface slap or finger flick (kind of like snapping a towel) to remind them-just enough to sting a bit but not hard enough to do any damage.:) It keeps them honest.

John Boswell
12-11-2004, 11:47 AM
Sensei,

Sorry to hear class was small and frustrations are spreading. I feel, hearing you say that, that this thread might be partly to blame as classmates might have read what I said and took my side in a personal way. I didn't mean for it to escalate.

On the other hand, more ukemi waza might be a good thing all around! As for my missing the last part of the week, I was just plain exhausted and that would have manifested in further frustration on my part. Better to take a quick break and recover than bring my troubles to the mat.

I did learn a lot from this thread. "Listening" or reading what others have said here made me realize your comment of :" the technique has to be precise with a lot of extension and quick before he can recover " is dead on and I saw that earlier and even more so now. But DANG my temper!! Sheesh!

Just slap me the next time I go "judo" on somebody, okay? :D (... but gimme a three step headstart towards the door. ;) )

Janet Rosen
12-11-2004, 01:04 PM
Just to say that I thank both instructor and sr student for being open participants in the thread, as it is a rare and valuable opportunty in sharing ideas and problemsolving for ALL of us, and in a IRL rather than theoretical situation.
Great use of aikiweb!

Aiki Teacher
12-11-2004, 11:42 PM
John and fellows in the post,
The young man in question does have very poor connection, to be expected. He is new. He often tries to resist techniques when they are being done on him. I have worked with the young man many times and I often have to hold back to keep form hurting the young man. I never relish hurting anyone. Being a teacher, I have learned that with teanagers you can't take anything personally from them sometimes they are just immature and it is not directed at you! Where is this going?

As I said I have had the same experience when working with this fellow. I stay calm when I feel him lock down I take him they way he wants to go. Of course he ends up asking how he got thrown. Then I can explain what happened!

The other night we had the same problem again with him locking down on an attack. I held back to keep from hurting him, he locked down again on his second attack. His third attack however I opened up a little more and he went down. Sensei was then able to explain to him that he needs to remain better connected and not resist to the point that he gets injured.

Basically Bos, sensei is going to talk with him about his ukimi, but for you my friend, I understand your frustration. Maybe you need to avoid "him" for a few sessions until we get this worked out (but still come to class). Sensei and myself are working on this with him. I am sure that his behavior is not personally directed at you. Heck, he tries to lock me down and I am a shodan. But again for you, breathe relax and remember he is just a kid, and the situation will be taken care of!

CNYMike
12-12-2004, 12:41 AM
..... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.

In addition to all the other points that has been raised, a couple of things I've learned which apply to all systems that get heavily into locking and throwing, and this includes Aikido:

1. The Devil is in the Details When it comes to joint locks and throws, all techniques have little fine points and details that you have to get. In other words, if you have to do A, B, C, and D to get a technique to work and you get A, B, and D, it won't work. If anything, Aikido may be more sensitive to this sort of thing because you can hold your uke up just by having too much tension in your upper body! So when someone doesn't fall down like you expect them too, it is possible you are missing something. But on top of that ....

2. Some people just can't be moved easily if at all. Even without an attitude, they are just bery good at setting themselves just so, and that makes factor 1 more pronounced. We have a gentleman like that in Kali, who's my senior in fact; if you muff a technique with him, he probably won't go over. (Sadly, I lost my temper with him back in the Spring, which was not only poor behavior but disrepectful on my part because the gentleman in question is my senior in Kali. Not only did I deserve the talking-to I got from him in the changing room, but I was so upset I considered quitting martial arts altogether. What's the point of 20 years of training if all you get out of it is a swelled head?)

Now, if this uke actually has a negative attitude, that's another matter. But that's in addition to the two factors I have mentioned. In your situation, I would conisder that I was messing up the technique somehow and ask my instructor for help. If he still didn't go over .... take your turns as nage and then feed him the attack and don't sweat it.

batemanb
12-12-2004, 03:47 AM
We have a young lad like this in our club. He`s 18 now, joined us at 15, in the first year or so he was very much like the lad you are describing, to a point he is still like it today, but he has changed a lot. He is so flexible and disconnected, in the early days it was difficult to move him, he wanted to lock you down because that`s what 15 year olds want to do, they want to show the world that they are cool and hot, and you know nowt. Nikkyo was extremely difficult, sankyo nigh on impossible and ikkyo pins just had no effect what so ever.

Now, he still maintains a high degree of flexibility, techniques only work if you do them correctly, but they do work, I can move him, quite easily now, I can apply any lock, pin or throw because I have figured out how is body moves. It`s all down to balance, connection, distance , moving and extension, even if he`s a limp rag, it doesn`t negate the extension, because I don`t rely on him, I create it.

I do point out openings when they are there, I do stress that he shouldn`t allow himself to take the pins as far as he can because not everyone does it in a controlled manner, or to the level that they are feeling the stretch as they pin, so he is likely to get injured on a seminar someday if he isn`t careful. But one of the key factors in his change is the fact that we have continued to work with him, as he has grown older, he come to respect things that he didn`t know or understand 3 years ago, but that may just have been the fact that his nose occasionally got flattened with a "stray" atemi ;).

If he still wants to train, work with him, it will be valuable to you all.

regards

Bryan

Lyle Laizure
12-12-2004, 10:24 PM
I would try what your Sensei has suggested.

gasman
12-13-2004, 10:33 AM
To the original post:

If a newbie resists my technique, I usually switch technique to go in the direction that he/she is resisting. Or I will demonstrate an atemi to show him/her that their present position is a bad position. Just to give a demonstration to that person what aiki is about. It takes some time before some newbies lose their life long imprented idea of WINNING.

Ive got one guy now who used to train some gongfu style. He is incredibly apt at grounding himself and resisting my every move, even if I change direction. Thankfully he has understood the concept of our training, but I ask him every once in a while to resist so I can learn.

Most important is to not let your aiki pride get in the way. Very often you will experience that people with less aikido experience than you will have certain qualities you still havent achieved. It is not a hindrance, it is a challenge.

MitchMZ
12-13-2004, 12:01 PM
I try and do the technique better, and getting angry only makes it harder to do this.

kironin
12-13-2004, 01:08 PM
OK. Time for the sensei to chime in here.
A little history. This young man has come a long way in taking any ukemi. Very rarely do I ever day one state to anyone that I'm concerned a student is simply not going to cut it and should maybe consider another art. In this young man's case, I did make such a statement to senior students since he was horribly uncoordinated day one. His rolls for the first month or more looked like a crash and burn and after about 2 months is he now becoming actually capable of taking a forward roll without collapsing into a heap like a dish rag. And that's the problem. He is a dish rag from a joint perspective-he in fact scares the hell out of me when he is being locked out. He does not feel pain until the point a joint is about to dislocate. ...


Boy, I can relate to this a great deal! For the last year, I have had a 17 year old that was horribly uncoordinated. In the first few months, he did pretty much is as you described. Crash and burn everytime. was a total dish rag. Attacks totally limp, unable to follow, etc.
On top of that, he is close to deaf with a severe speech impediment (we had his name wrong for weeks). It was not clear how much he understood and his answers were next to unintelligable. His parents were in total denial about all this.

Needless to say, other students found him extremely frustrating to work with. I really had my doubts about the wisdom of letting him continue in fairness to the other students. With the communication problems, it was not clear how intelligent he was and it was not clear that he would be ever able to pick up what we were doing to any reasonable degree. Most of the time, I became his partner to let the other students try to practice the lesson without the extra burden he presented, but that's compromise at best because it took away time from paying attention to other students.

Even after months of instruction, I still found myself grimacing every time I saw him take a fall or attempt a roll. Something had to snap given the crashes he took, but I guess because of the flexibility and youth it never has though it looked simply awful.

Sometime ago, his rolls started to look something like rolls, his ability to follow in a technique actually started to happen and I had him and another student start practicing for their first test. Last weekend at a seminar we had, I could throw him around in a series of techniques and took pretty decent ukemi, one after the other. He retained enough at the end of the morning to throw me around with an actual lead and recognizable form of the sequence of techniques we had been learning. You give him the japanese term loud enough and he actually does the right technique. I expect he will do a decent performance on his test this week. It seems he has made a significant step forward in progress though it took most of the year to see any evidence of it.

His attitude in general is quite a bit better. I think given his initial demeanor and from what his parents have said that he was definitely picked on by other kids. His initial behavior in class could be disruptive at times. That has not happended in quite a while. My other students can actual practice with him now and any tensions/frustrations have long since melted away.

bob_stra
12-13-2004, 03:48 PM
Well, seeing as I have zero patience... I did my best but eventually lost my cool and just CHUNKED his butt on the ground! Technique went right out the window, harmony was totally absent, blending was nothing but all energy sending him down!


Ever consider that perhaps you did *exactly* the right thing? Maybe this aikido thing isn't all lightness and twee?

Because apart from the emotional spinning / attachment (which is a different issue and not my place to comment on).....what's the problem?

*shrugs*

He resisted. You 'chunked him' him. Immovable object meets irresistible force.

Good Aikido.

As for how to deal with it in the future -

(1) Talk to him and explain *exactly* what / why you are doing. Tell him it's not combat, but an exploration

OR

(2) Don't tell him and chunk him again. Try to figure out why that's working and the other thing isn't. Is it an issue of force, distraction, imminent threat of pain? Then use that to 'move' him 'gently'

All easy to write. Harder to do.

My $0.02

John Boswell
12-14-2004, 10:36 AM
He resisted. You 'chunked him' him. Immovable object meets irresistible force.

Good Aikido.

:D

OH... how I wish I could agree with you on this one. And in some respects, I do and like the thought of getting to agree.

On the other hand, in the process of this thread, I've come to understand where my "technique" was never there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that my reaction wasn't appropriate for the mat.

SURE... unmoveable object meeting irrestible force would be good aikido, but only minus the emotion. Had I not lost my cool... had I NOT wanted to literally break a bone or two to "teach him a lesson," then there would have been no problem.

BUT I LIKE WHAT YOU SAID! Hadn't thought of like that at all... good stuff! Thanks, Bob!

bob_stra
12-14-2004, 11:36 AM
:D

On the other hand, in the process of this thread, I've come to understand where my "technique" was never there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that my reaction wasn't appropriate for the mat.



Well, now we're getting into 'emotional morality'. As I see it -

You were angry, so you acted angry. Naturally.

Whether it was appropriate or not I leave up to you.

But AFAIK, nothing wrong with acting angry, as long as you're mindful of it. The bodily sensations it causes, the thoughts it stirs up etc. Getting really familiar with a habit eventually gives you choice of whether to indulge it or not. Otherwise, there's that choiceless, automatic 'click whir'.

As I see it - hurting someone (without conscious choice) and not hurting someone (without conscious choice) are both forms of compulsive behaviour.Neither compulsion by itself is good.

Personally, I think one of the problems in aikido is that we are taught to 'play nice' while seething underneath. How's that old quote go? 'Warriors choose peace, others are condemned to it".

There's something to be said for 'truth in combat' / standing up for yourself / confronting reality. Even when it's ugly.

As always - IMHO. YMMV. Just a different take from us aikiOrc / judothug crossbreeds.

Now - put your hand out so we can rap your wrist :-)

Edit: I am of course ignoring the other chap in all of this - a flaw in my logic. Eye for an eye leaves us all blind? So I'll leave to you the decision / point of no return of when "I'm not my brother's keeper" should occur.

Michael Neal
12-15-2004, 12:52 PM
anger is a legitimate human emotion that in itself is not bad, it has a biological purpose. However, to let anger completely control you can lead to bad things happening.
So to react out of anger is not bad, to overeact out of anger would be.

John Boswell
12-15-2004, 01:26 PM
anger is a legitimate human emotion that in itself is not bad, it has a biological purpose. However, to let anger completely control you can lead to bad things happening.
So to react out of anger is not bad, to overeact out of anger would be.

In my continued analysis of the incident, I did find something in myself that gave me a little ray of hope. As I was acting out my anger, I entered irimi on the uke to throw him down, but in the process I fell myself.

I looked back on what I did wrong that caused me to lose my balance and I realized... the uke was dangerously close to a nearby wall. This particular wall has mirrors that are not as secure as they should or could be. ALSO, there were other students practicing nearby and they too could have been in danger of having this kid thrown on them.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I understood I was overreacting out of anger and pulled my energy back in an attempt to not truly injure the uke or others nearby. Had I done the technique I started FULLY... and properly, he would have slapped out into the mirrored wall with his feet swinging out and possibly hitting nearby classmates. BUT... instead, I took the fall myself and he just dropped down instead of down and out.

Excellent point, Mr. Neal. You're absolutly right. :)

And thanks!

Amassus
12-20-2004, 06:36 PM
To keep my cool I do this...

I put an ice cube down my pants, I really forget about getting angry after that! ;)
It really keeps my cool :D

(Just trying to lighten things up)