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Jonathan Thielen
05-19-2005, 08:10 AM
Last night during practice I found myself having a flood of memories of those little comments that senior students have made to me that will stay with me the rest of my life. Some of them were simply small (or not so small!) corrections that seemed to instantly "click." Some were indicators of things that I still struggle with, things I know I will still be working on for years--(this latter variety is certainly the majority).

I don't think that any of my sempai are aware of the lasting impression some of their comments have made, though I am certainly grateful for each thing that was somehow exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right time in my practice.

Do any of you have stories of these kinds of small, "harmless" things that a senior student or sensei says to you--but which have a major impact and become a part of your lasting consciousness, on or off the mat?

mj
05-19-2005, 08:51 AM
'Confidence is not competence'

SeiserL
05-19-2005, 09:34 AM
When I first began, I had a Sempai watch me and comment to others that I was a white belt. Later i asked him about it. he said that I was doing really good but that i was only a white belt. others were just confusing me by trying to get me to perform at a level higher than I was at. Awareness and acceptance brings great progress.

RebeccaM
05-19-2005, 10:18 AM
In a weapons class: "Don't watch the stick."

Steven
05-19-2005, 10:39 AM
First rule of self-defense and Aikido ... Don't get hit!

James Davis
05-19-2005, 10:55 AM
I was once thrown ONTO the ankle of my sempai when I was a brand new aikidoka. :uch: It bruised my back quite a bit, but sempai Mark was hobbling around on crutches for weeks! :blush: I felt horrible about his not being able to train, and told him so. :sorry: Sempai Mark smiled, patted me on the back and said, "James, it's okay. Accidents happen sometimes. That's why I'm going to get you back and make it look like an accident." :eek: (He was only kidding.) :p (I think.) :confused: (I hope!) :blush:

Joost Korpel
05-19-2005, 11:34 AM
Sempai: Did you know that you can do Yankyo on the leg?
Me: AAAaaarrrrgggghhhh!....slap...slap...slap :eek:

Paul Kerr
05-19-2005, 11:56 AM
"Never show where you go"

senshincenter
05-19-2005, 02:36 PM
Great topic!

I got three from three different senpai:

1. "If you can 'get it' in a day, it's not worth having."

2. "You don't want to go backwards to go forward - if you are entering, enter."

3. (feeling sick during my first sesshin - in the bathroom) "During my first sesshin, I felt like vomiting too. Hang in there, it goes away."

ruthmc
05-19-2005, 03:16 PM
"Don't think, just do"

Ruth

DCP
05-19-2005, 04:15 PM
"Don't attack me like you're already dead."
-Whited Sensei

(Happy birthday Mark)

KerstineElnegaard
05-19-2005, 04:34 PM
Sempai: Did you know that you can do Yankyo on the leg?
Me: AAAaaarrrrgggghhhh!....slap...slap...slap :eek:

I just had to comment on this one ;) Yep I know the feeling... But its worse if you, while the lock is being applied hear another voice: "how do you do that???" owie... Plus, sometimes when people have "demonstrated" yonkyu on my leg, I ended up hovering, being lifted from the ground only by the lock... that also qualifes as an owie :D

ChristianBoddum
05-19-2005, 04:44 PM
Donīt drop your sword !

So far I havenīt - since !

pezalinski
05-19-2005, 05:19 PM
"Touch same as Hit -- Hit same as Kill" -- i.e., in a fight situation, if they can touch you, thay can hit you; and if they can hit you, they can kill you... so the Aikidoka's First Rule is: Don't let them touch you. :D

DustinAcuff
05-19-2005, 06:15 PM
Best thing I've ever heard from a senior student : don't break the head uke or you become him.

Rod Yabut
05-19-2005, 06:48 PM
on techniques.."sometimes certain techniques don't work on certain people. So don't force it."

on being nage...."Get off the line of attack!"

and lastly..."There is no mercy in this dojo, is there?!!" - :D j/k! Sorry couldn't resist.

Charles Hill
05-19-2005, 07:44 PM
"Never try to outdrink the Japanese. The trick is to outpour them."

Charles

Jeanne Shepard
05-19-2005, 08:11 PM
"Don't fall out of the tree, monkey!" :p

(i.e. don't bail on ukemi, stay with it 'til the end.)

Jeanne

Kevin Kelly
05-19-2005, 08:31 PM
It wasn't a sempai but my sensei, "your bokken is upside down"....:)

Charlie
05-19-2005, 10:05 PM
[when it comes to the application of Aikido techniques] It doesn't always have to be pretty...but it MUST be effective.

xuzen
05-19-2005, 10:14 PM
[when it comes to the application of Aikido techniques] It doesn't always have to be pretty...but it MUST be effective.

Love the advise Charles, it is quite a useful advise.

As for me, this is not from a sempai but from an manga anime:-
No matter how hard your opponent punches, no matter how hard he kicks, it is of no value if he can't connect with you.

Boon.

Lan Powers
05-19-2005, 10:54 PM
"breathe"

samurai_kenshin
05-20-2005, 12:43 AM
It wasn't a sempai but my sensei, "your bokken is upside down"....:)
*breaks down laughing* Same thing happened to me! Actually, mine was upside-down and backwards... :confused: I keep asking myself almost 7 months later how I did that...
My most memorable quote from a sempai was: "If it feels comfortable for the uke, you're not doing it right"

samurai_kenshin
05-20-2005, 12:45 AM
As for me, this is not from a sempai but from an manga anime:-


Boon.
That was Saito from Rurouni Kenshin wasn't it?

xuzen
05-20-2005, 01:22 AM
That was Saito from Rurouni Kenshin wasn't it?

Could be... I have forgetten which character or which episode or which manga anime. It is such a blur now, but that comments seemed stuck in my head like forever. It is a good quote though.

Boon.

Bronson
05-20-2005, 03:40 AM
From on of my first instructors: "When I look back on my life I can see that most of the problems I've had were because of my pride and ego."

From the other of my first instructors: "You don't have to move faster you have to move righter."

From a conversation with my Sensei after my last promotion:

Me: I'm not sure if I feel ready to handle the responsibilities that come with promotion.

Sensei: That's how I felt after all of mine.

Bronson

Pauliina Lievonen
05-20-2005, 05:37 AM
When I was going to give up and stop one hour before the end of the second day of a weekend seminar: "You're not injured, or ill. There's nothing wrong with you, you're just tired."

Then I had a little cry, and continued training. I didn't die. :)
kvaak
Pauliina

Nick Simpson
05-20-2005, 06:50 AM
About the upside down bokken, when I uked for Steven Mullen a few month back on his 3rd kyu test he had to do happo-giri (eight way cut) to finish off with. So off he goes, picks up a jo, bows to it and the panel and proceeds to do happo-giri with it. As he finishes Sensei Riley says:

"Well done Steve, but isnt happo-giri supposed to be done with a bokken?"

Steve then looks down at the jo in his hand and recoils in shock as if he only just noticed it!

Im aways going to remember that fondly :)

Devin McDowell
05-20-2005, 07:07 AM
On practicing with tanbos:

"Don't block with your head"

Jonathan Thielen
05-20-2005, 08:16 AM
Great posts, everyone! Thanks for sharing.
Jonathan

Kevin Kelly
05-24-2005, 01:50 PM
*breaks down laughing* Same thing happened to me! Actually, mine was upside-down and backwards... :confused: I keep asking myself almost 7 months later how I did that...


Yeah, but I did it twice... :D

beanchild
05-25-2005, 02:16 PM
-->move first, technique second
-->speed will come later
-->be the uke everyone wants to work with, not the uke no one wants to work with

all three have proved extremely helpful, and i know they'll continue to be useful

samurai_kenshin
05-25-2005, 05:03 PM
Yeah, but I did it twice... :D
*laughter becomes too much to bear* on monday someone tried to load me for...um...I think it's kaishi waza. He did it too fast and I ended up doing a (very bad) imitation of a hi fall. Sensei almost died laughing, then showed me a video after class of her doing exactly the same thing when she was my age. The touching quote: "In 30 plus years, you too can be great!"

MaryKaye
05-25-2005, 07:12 PM
Mary Heiny sensei, at a seminar:

In order to do this well you're going to have to try a lot of things that won't work. You might as well get started, because it only gets more embarrasing as you go up in rank.

Somebody or other, in their blog:

Aikido is like, someone hands you a feather and tells you that not only can you pound nails with it, it'll work better than a hammer.

Mary Kaye

Tim Gerrard
05-26-2005, 02:27 AM
The touching quote: "In 30 plus years, you too can be great!"

In one class during randori, tried to perform a technique which involves taking uke's hip with your centre as a shomen strike comes down. Messed up, Sensei was heard saying "Maybe in 30 years..."

Why is it always thirty years? I don't think I'll live that long.....

:D

Thomas Ambrose
05-26-2005, 02:56 AM
While doing Ikkyo or something during my second or third month...

Me: It feels off, I think I am doing something wrong.
Sempai: Of course you are doing it wrong, Thomas. You are a beginner!

(Still feels true six months later, probably still will six months from now, and again...):D

Paul Kerr
05-26-2005, 04:38 AM
I started aikido in 1989 at the Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. After about three weeks of practice I remember Miyamoto sensei was assisting Okumura sensei and we were practising ai-hanmi nikkyo. Miyamoto came round everyone helping. My turn. I'm on the floor getting pinned by him and I start tapping out like crazy. I mean, the nikkyo itself was a blinder and now this pin has me totally splatted. I hear Miyamoto in my ear - "You tap too soon. You must learn to like this feeling."

Jeremy Young
05-26-2005, 10:13 AM
somthing my instructor said to me while explaining the importance of whole body movement during the execution of a techinque was...
"how can you expect to move the other guy if you can not move yourself???"
This is something that always stayed with me.
Now if i could just move myself!! :confused:

Kyudos
05-26-2005, 10:35 AM
All in a similar vein....

"Evade - Control - Technique"

"If you don't evade, you can't control. If you can't control, you won't have a technique."

"Control starts with evasion, technique starts with control."

Jack Simpson
05-26-2005, 04:24 PM
"in Aikido you can always choose your partner".

In other words, if you're training with someone dangerous or out of control, simply bow out and find a new training partner. That has saved me many times.

Jack :ai:

daniel loughlin
06-02-2005, 06:39 AM
This made me laugh so much when it happened.as sensei was demonstrating a technique with me attacking from behind holding under the arms he acussed me of hugging him and made me attack again.

And the first time i did weapons training and held my bokkken a little low sensei said are you fighting midgets?? fun times hehe

Nick Simpson
06-02-2005, 06:53 AM
"You tap too soon. You must learn to like this feeling."

Much love for this statement.

jss
06-02-2005, 12:13 PM
You're trying too hard.

malsmith
06-02-2005, 02:43 PM
one sensei was demonstrating a ki strike on another sensei and then asked him to describe what he felt during the strike... and the sensei said "it was all... like... (he looked like he was thinking hard) ... bedump"
after he said it he just started laughing at himself realizing how ridiculous it sounded.

Yo-Jimbo
06-02-2005, 02:49 PM
Perhaps ten or so years ago, the tip of my bokken was pressed just below his sternum and his bokken came screaming to a halt at my neck. On which he commented, "Now we are both dead. What did that prove?"

daniel loughlin
06-04-2005, 06:11 AM
you see i even teach you how to walk here

Peter Goldsbury
06-04-2005, 07:11 AM
"Peter, You must become like a cat."

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
06-04-2005, 03:42 PM
So many things to recount! I'll try to mention a few.

ON SEIZA
Kushida-sensei sometimes gives very long lectures, during which we of course sit in seiza. My first time, I became very sore (probably from squirming a bit) and so bowed into anza. Later at dinner, I explained to my sempai, James, that I did this because I figured it would be disrespectful to subject myself to so much discomfort that I could no longer focus on Kushida-sensei's words. James paused, and politely remarked, "Actually, I remember he once said, 'If it hurts so much you can't hear me, is okay. Is good training."

ON BEING SLOW
It took me a very long time to learn forward and backward rolls. James and Stephen (sempai) both worked with me quite a bit. I remember at one point commenting on this. I think it was Stephen who said, "Well, look at it this way. You're picking up so many tips from this, that you'll be able to teach anyone later on."

rob_liberti
06-07-2005, 02:35 PM
I was told "You work very hard. Your mother must be very proud of you." I was sweating and the teacher was bone dry.

Later I was told "You are my most skillful student - unfortunately for you, aikido has nothing to do with that kind of skill."

They were proud moments... :)

Rob

Ron Tisdale
06-07-2005, 03:08 PM
It wasn't a statement. It was a technique. We were doing katate mochi sokumen iriminage in class and I just didn't get the point. So I asked a sempai to do the technique to me so that I could understand it. When I woke up, he was staring down at me asking if I was ok...

Ron (fondly remembering his first concussion in aikido)

John Boswell
06-09-2005, 11:03 AM
Sensei Riggs often (more often than I care to admit) says to us "students often times ADD steps to the technique. I'm just taking things away."

Lan mentioned "Breath." That's a good one

Other comments I've liked:

"Whereever you go, take your feet with you."

"Don't stop! Do something... anything, but don't stop!"

"Once again... with feeling! Allegro! Allegro!"

"Don't think too much! Just do it..."

"Don't forget to breath." Oh yeah... ;)

And of course the ever popular," Just relax! " Like we never heard that before? hehe

Natasha Bradley
06-10-2005, 03:13 AM
The other week, during randori, "smile, you're supposed to be enjoying this!".

Natasha.

MaryKaye
06-10-2005, 10:33 AM
Sensei (to the 41 year old woman in a class full of teenagers): Relax your hands! You look like Emperor Palpatine zapping people with the Force!

(The teens haven't let me forget it yet.)

Sensei, examining the wall: I can't believe you made such a big hole! (I didn't stop hearing about that one until there was a patch and three coats of paint on it.)

Sempai: Never stand still in the middle of a fight. (I had triumphantly stopped his shihonage tanto disarm. So he took my tanto away and scalped me while I was still standing there triumphantly flatfooted. It was a great lesson.)

Mary Kaye

lwoodcock
06-10-2005, 03:12 PM
I never post, but I had to share this comment sensei made to the dojo after a lot of people had been skipping practice:

"You can learn aikido if you are tired. You can learn aikido if you are sick. You can learn aikido if you've had a bad day.

You cannot learn aikido if you are not in class."

Best guilt trip ever -- it still gets me to class some days!

eekthecat
06-15-2005, 08:38 AM
From a much loved Sempai

"too many minds!!! ..mind the people, mind the bokken, mind the floor... forget all and just do.."

Jory Boling
06-15-2005, 09:05 AM
in the middle of iriminage my senpai told me this gem "study the tiger." needless to say i stopped in the middle of the technique to say "what?" and then "what?" again after he repeated himself. finally, i realized he was saying "stay in tighter." it still makes us laugh when i offer it to him.

Mike.Ordway
06-15-2005, 01:00 PM
"If the other guy looks uncomfortable you're probably doing it right"

rogueenergy
06-15-2005, 01:48 PM
"Lower your center."

"You're thinking too much."

"It's not like that, it's like this."

"It's like the universe, always move"

malsmith
06-15-2005, 02:50 PM
my shihan once said "mal, you're really good at following the rules, so i am making a new rule... no more trips to the ER during class!" (that was after a guy almost seriously ripped my eye out of my head during some "freestyle" striking and blocking)

Jeanne Shepard
06-16-2005, 12:18 AM
Keep moving!

Jeanne

Sue Trinidad
06-16-2005, 11:27 PM
Sensei never says that we're doing something wrong. Rather, "ok, that's something different." (and then proceeds to show what we're supposed to be doing.)

Also this: "when you walk, the universe walks."

And, most often, "Don't say CAN'T!"

Nick Simpson
06-17-2005, 06:21 AM
Who says that aikidoka have no sense of humor?

guest89893
06-17-2005, 02:35 PM
"It helps if you get out of the way, first."

& on doing quiet forward rolls:
"I find if you just match the rotational movement of the Earth you don't make a sound."

Still working on both of them.

MikeCallender
06-18-2005, 10:48 AM
Shut up and train!

Mike

Tubig
06-20-2005, 10:54 PM
* Blend like a blender!

* Love the mat, Kiss the air, and you will never be scared of ukemi again.

* Dameh!!! I heard a sound on your break fall.

* Relax. your jaw is uptight when youre doing Kiai.

Eric Webber
06-21-2005, 09:53 AM
"No one makes you angry. You choose to be angry. Look at what we do here: we ask people to step up and swing at us, and then thank them afterwad. Learn to do that in the rest of the world, and you will choose to thank people for helping you practice your aikido outside of the dojo." -My first Sensei.

dream
06-21-2005, 10:56 AM
"You are not moving." :uch:

"You must believe in what you are doing"

"Aikido is not how you fight, it is how you eat, how you sleep, and how you live your life."

Jeanne Shepard
06-21-2005, 07:21 PM
* Blend like a blender!

* Love the mat, Kiss the air, and you will never be scared of ukemi again.



Oh how could I forget! "The mat is your FRIEND!"

Jeanne

rogueenergy
06-21-2005, 11:37 PM
Look for why it works

Joe Bowen
06-21-2005, 11:56 PM
When I first arrived in Korea and started studying with the Korea Aikido Federation, most of the students and Youn Sensei did not know enough English to converse with me. They really only knew one word which I heard over and over and over and over again......

"Relax"

Tubig
06-22-2005, 01:26 AM
Breath through your stomach. It is alright to look fat in aikido.

Simone
06-22-2005, 06:26 AM
Hi everyone!

I really like this thread.

The last answer woke one incident from my memory: someone was taking pictures during class and took one from my backside. I was really concerned that it looked a bit too fat (I didn't wear a hakama for long then and still think it makes myself look fatter). My sensei came and said: "Don't you have better things to do than be concerned about the look of your backside?". Yep, he was right.

Two other things from my sensei:
don't be stronger, be smarter - move!
to improve, omit everything unneccessary. I'm still trying to figure out what is necessary and what not!

Simone

Lance
06-24-2005, 11:33 AM
Student: I Think Im Doing It Wrong.
Sempei: Did You Get Hit?
Student:no
Sempei: Then We Can Work With It

When I Became Sempei I Decided To Use That Line As Well It Really Stuck With Me.

Lance

ElizabethCastor
06-24-2005, 01:54 PM
So last night while my partner had me in a sankyo pin I heard the dreaded words...

"yeah... that works okay; but if you want to make it really interesting you could do this...<insert technique I couldn't see>" tap! tap! tap! :D

Ron Tisdale
06-24-2005, 01:59 PM
:) I really hate to hear things like that! My instructor was demonstrating something or the other in a clinic, and I guess he must have seen me doing something wierd recently on a kotegaeshi standing pin, so he has me lay down on my back and proceeds to show the class how to do it right...OUCH!...the first time I had to tap with my feet as my free arm got stuck underneath me some how (note to self: NEVER LET THE FREE ARM GET STUCK UNDERNEATH YOU!!!).

Ron :)

Drew Scott
06-24-2005, 02:03 PM
"Never block with your face."

Lan Powers
06-24-2005, 06:01 PM
Another truism that I heard and let pass, only to call it up over and over
"It's all in the Hips"
Lan

Bronson
06-25-2005, 02:20 AM
:) NEVER LET THE FREE ARM GET STUCK UNDERNEATH YOU!!!).

I've had to tap with my head. Sensei had both of my feet and arms controlled. That was an interesting class :D

Bronson

ElizabethCastor
06-27-2005, 05:59 PM
I've had to tap with my head. Sensei had both of my feet and arms controlled. That was an interesting class :D

That's another notable quoteable from my classes:
ME: Sensei, I can't tap when I'm all scrunched like that :blush:
SENSEI: Use what you've got, if it's free tap with it. :D

Although, I haven't had to tap with my head before... but the feet for sure...

Christy S
06-29-2005, 06:12 PM
My sensei gave me this advice for a few of my tests:

"knock'em down and make it look like aikido" -it works very well b/c it forces me to give it my all, i think what he is really saying is that if you do it right and with inner strength, your aikido will work with uke ending up on the ground

samurai_kenshin
07-01-2005, 08:52 PM
my new favorite, From Kishna, I think: "Ouch".

beanchild
07-13-2005, 09:53 AM
one that really helped me with my ukemi: Attack the mat!

maeukemi
07-14-2005, 06:42 PM
"This is your part of the world, your mat. Eventually you will own the whole world, but for now, this is your mat."

" It's okay to screw up. Sometimes you have to screw up forty times before you get it right, so just do the technique." (his variation on "Shut up and train.")

"Trust your process."

Robert Cheshire
07-15-2005, 11:46 AM
"If you ever make me look bad in front of sensei again...." I made that one up.

After getting hit (when I should have used better Tai Sabaki) "If it were me, I'd move out of the way."

After an Ugly throw - Me: That was ugly. Sensei: Did he get thrown? Me: Yes Sensei: Then you did the throw right. We can work on making it look better.

I have a couple more, but, it's lunch time and my brian is on food. I'll write more later.

Eric Webber
07-15-2005, 01:45 PM
In the middle of a seminar the Sensei says, "That's actually not terrible... maybe there's hope for you yet." Kindest compliment I've heard him give. :p

Paula Lydon
07-15-2005, 05:30 PM
~~For me, it's a look that sticks: 'Paula, I showed a particular technique and that's what I'd like to see you practicing, not going off on your own shit' ;)

Dunadan
07-16-2005, 09:03 AM
Sensei: "Breathe." (This to me, not breathing, well and truly pinned through ikkyo.)

Me: "Sensei, is there anything I can do to help the dojo?"
Sensei: "Practice."

Chiba Sensei: "Whatever may be the difficulties you face, don't think you are alone. There are hundreds of people out there willing to help you. Okay?" (You had to be there: it was said with a conviction that makes despair impossible every time I recall those words.)

Upyu
08-27-2005, 10:37 AM
1. If you think he's "tense" why can't you throw him?

2. Shin no nai karada ha bujutsu tosite hanasi ni naranai
(A body w/out a strong core is useless for Bujutsu)

3. Edaha ha doudemo ii, shin ga subete.
(Techniques are useless, everything depends on your "core")

4. Nuku kedo nukanaindayo. Nuku tte koto ha jitsu ha monosugoku turaikoto da. Sonnani nukitai nara Sauna ike!
(You relax, but you don't let go/relax. You know, "relaxing" is something that's very taxing on your body, if you're looking for a "relaxing" time then I suggest you try the sauna.)

toyamabarnard
08-27-2005, 05:28 PM
"Congradulations! I don't know what that was, but it was fun to watch"

"If you let me finish, I'll explain to everyone (why / how)......."

On Iaido "Very good, here though we only have eight directions to cut in"

"If you hold your bokken right it probably won't hurt that much"

and "Yes your neighbors might call the Police" :D

chuckmeitner
08-27-2005, 09:21 PM
On going fast

"A garbage truck going 70 MPH is still a garbage truck.

markwalsh
08-28-2005, 06:36 PM
"Take what you do seriously, don't take yourself seriously."

Jess Perchard
10-25-2006, 03:44 PM
From my Sensai: 'Aikido is the dance the martial arts'

Jess Perchard
10-25-2006, 03:45 PM
...Man, I can't even quote properly... that was supposed to read 'Aikido is the dance of martial arts'

paulb
10-25-2006, 04:47 PM
Watashi no hakama totemo segoi desu.

RoyK
10-26-2006, 11:01 AM
Watashi no hakama totemo segoi desu.

offtopic: i've been studying japanese for a month by myself, and i'm delighted to find that i know exactly what this sentence means :cool: yay!

stevie p.
10-26-2006, 03:32 PM
What about:

'okay. now place the back of his hand towards your balls!'

context is always imprtant i think.

ramenboy
11-01-2006, 11:29 AM
"shut up and practice"

BC
11-01-2006, 01:56 PM
Sempai's comment after demonstrating a technique on me for my partner, in which I caught and accidently dislocated my little toe landing in a breakfall. We were standing around examining said toe, which actually didn't hurt (yet). He says: "Well, I think I've helped enough here."

Jerry, you might be able to guess who this is... :)

ramenboy
11-01-2006, 04:33 PM
..."Well, I think I've helped enough here."

Jerry, you might be able to guess who this is... :)


hahahahahaha! priceless...

more than enough

Jorge Garcia
11-02-2006, 07:22 AM
My sempai always told me, " Don't ever criticize your Seniors!"

RampantWolf
11-02-2006, 07:40 AM
"And for those who didn't see what I did, I'll slow the next one down"... after uke tripped over his feet and fell into an ukemi without Shite having to move.

racingsnake
11-02-2006, 10:00 AM
"Be more positive. the whole point of this technique is to be positive. You're about as positive as... an electron. Incidentally, that's a negatively-charged particle."

This comment has certainly stuck with me. It was made about 24 years ago by a senior student when I'd been practicing for about 10 weeks. At the time, it was all I could do to get the 'choreography' right, let alone think about 'ki', 'irimi' or any of those good things.

For a comparatively off-hand remark, it really knocked me back, and to be honest, it soured my view of that dojo as a learning environment at the time. I just didn't want to be somewhere where my efforts were rearded with sarcasm and put-downs, even if they were meant to produce a positive effect.

Twenty years later I took up aikido again (elsewhere), and am thoroughly enjoying it. Whenever we get new students in our dojo, my self-imposed rule is to offer help and advice, but never criticism. If you destroy a beginner's confidence, even with the best of intentions, they will probably stop enjoying, stop learning and then stop coming at all. Which is not very productive.

Well, this has been most therapeutic..... ;^)

Nick Pagnucco
11-02-2006, 01:53 PM
Just had one last night.

I was working on my 2nd kyu last night, with one of the dans in my dojo looking one. He tried telling me to be more energetic, to follow through more... finally he said "O-Sensei taught us to be merciful, not to be nice."

I suspect that my opinion of that quote will change several times as I continue to train, but it will stay with me.

stelios
11-03-2006, 08:11 AM
After a very beautifully executed irimi-nage by me as nage and a very bored & fat-slow uke that fell awkwardly on his back: "Relax, you are not Ueshiba!"

Amanda
11-15-2006, 07:14 AM
The ones I hear most often are 'relax' and 'don't rush'. My sensei just might have those taped to save him the bother of repeating them so often.

The one I remember at the momet is 'remember to breathe'. This was at the weekend. We'd been doing a timed set of techniques and I was feeling rather woozy. I sort of smiled and gasped in response.

Chiburi
11-28-2006, 12:59 AM
This one's mine. I'm sure it's been said before in other forms, though.

"Imagine all forms of martial art as it’s own world, culture, existence, etc. Aikido is the dance, the poetry and art of that world."

Jaikido
11-28-2006, 09:17 AM
"No matter how good you do the technique, you always cock it up when Sensei is watching"

"You're all amazing, theres just something not quite right"

sanosuke
11-28-2006, 09:22 AM
"Adapt soon, you're not the only one learning aikido here, your partner is too. Don't let your partner down."

Thank you for Marissa Senpai in Malaysia.

billybob
12-12-2006, 12:33 PM
warmhearted stuff. thanks all

"If you relax, taking break falls won't hurt as much (whispered)" . Turns out they weren't having me on!

"David, turn your head Away from the punch."

"Not that relaxed, and stop moaning and get up. You're embarrassing me."


dave

Carlos Rivera
12-16-2006, 10:40 AM
From Iwama, Japan:

1- "Hanmi"

2- "Kiai" :ki:

3- "Keep your hands in front of your center"

4- "Move from your hips"


Everything else falls into place after that.
:cool:
:ai: :ki: :do:

mriehle
12-16-2006, 07:18 PM
Not really a sempai comment. But a comment about a sempai, sort of.

At a recent seminar. I was feeling a bit at sea since they were a completely different style than I'm used to and the forms of the techniques were far different (okay, not that far, but enough to create confusion) from what I am used to and these guys are far more "physical" than what I am used to. Heck, even the etiquette rules got me in trouble; things they considered rude are commonplace where I come from and things they considered commonplace are rude, Just Not Done under the rules I'm used to.

So...

Someone I'm working with says to me: "Whatever you prefer, Sempai.".

At which point I no longer was sure of what I prefered.

Robert Jackson
12-17-2006, 01:31 AM
"wall!"

JeffDuncan
12-31-2006, 03:24 PM
"wall!"

LOL THATS MY FAVORITE!!!

What was meant was to aware of your surroundings... but all that made it out before the concrete slapped me in the face was "Wall"...lol

Ken Zink
12-31-2006, 06:04 PM
Some gems I've taken to heart:

"Practice, Practice, Practice!"
"Breathe"
"Move"
"Don't block with your face"

Robert Jackson
01-01-2007, 09:38 AM
LOL THATS MY FAVORITE!!!

What was meant was to aware of your surroundings... but all that made it out before the concrete slapped me in the face was "Wall"...lol


No on this one he really meant WALL!... As he was 2 seconds late and I had just went through the wall.

Murgen
01-02-2007, 10:18 PM
In a fight there is no "Oops I screwed that up, let me try again" You have to be spontaneous.

You guys.......what can I say........you don't suck, but your not way out there either.

nuxie
03-03-2011, 11:37 PM
"Always Hamni"

and my favorite was when I was learning how to cut with a bokken and he told me it looked like a lightning strike.

dps
03-04-2011, 03:55 AM
1. If I stop correcting you it is because you are doing it perfectly or there is no hope for you. Nobody does it perfectly.

2. Shut up, you ask too many questions.

3. All your answers are on the mat.

dps

Russ Q
03-04-2011, 01:20 PM
....gasping for breath, flat on my back....other folks taking a break sempai said to me:

"Get up! Don't stop!"

That was a long time ago....but it motivated me to quit smoking and made me think...he didn't get stern with anyone else...I must be special:-)...for today at least.

Cheers,

Russ

amoeba
03-07-2011, 04:39 AM
Night before my shodan exam:

"For tomorrow: Just don't make a fool out of yourself!"

Gnaaaaaaahhh... didn't help at all!:D

Tony Wagstaffe
03-07-2011, 04:41 AM
Pratt......

George S. Ledyard
03-07-2011, 10:54 AM
I think seniors should be very conscious of what they say and how they say it. That doesn't mean you are always nice... sometimes a verbal atemi is the right thing at the time. But it shouldn't be unconscious or unintentional.

One of my good friends had been training for only a few months when he attended his first seminar. The teacher passed by. looked at him, and said "If you are going to do things that way, you should just quit." then walked off. My friend has been training for fifteen or twenty years now and still remembers that moment as if it were yesterday.

At another seminar, one of my fellow teachers had brought two of her top junior students to see Saotome Sensei. One of the two was actually one of the rare teens who had made it to black belt. My friend told her students to get right up there, front and center, and maybe they'd be noticed by Saotome Sensei and take some ukemi.

The teacher hosting the seminar actually told them to go back because they were taking up space that should be for the seniors to have access to Sensei. I was, frankly, totally appalled. Does anyone think that these two young people will not remember being told to "go to the back of the bus" twenty years from now? And this was from someone who is very serious about Aikido's mission to create world peace, it's trans-formative power etc. In that one instant that teacher created a whole raft of bad karma. These kids are the future of Aikido! If anything, we should be falling all over ourselves to encourage young folks like this. Anyway, this sort of comment or action can never be undone or taken back. It's like it's written in stone on the tablets of these kid's memories. Yet I believe that the teacher who did this was simply being "unmindful" in the Buddhist sense of the consequences of his actions.

On the other hand, I have been told by a couple of students who are quite serious that one of their earliest memories of training with me was me looking at something they are doing and saying "WHAT was THAT?". Or the time I told my uke "That is not a strike... that is a strike-like substance, a faux strike; that is a shomen no uchi... I want a REAL strike!" I gathered that these had served as something of a motivator NOT to hear that comment again. So sometimes tough love is effective but it needs to be used judiciously...

Mark Freeman
03-07-2011, 11:28 AM
I was struggling badly trying to throw a partner a few grades up on me with shihonage. My teacher walking past, said "take your time, it'll get done quicker". I consciously slowed down and low and behold, it semed to work so much easier!:) I went home that evening and for many evenings after, was just scratching my head and wondering. Those words have never left me and they still have a positive effect to this day.:cool:

Hellis
03-07-2011, 11:45 AM
1960 - Masahilo Nakazono Sensei to a dan grade at the Hut Dojo.
" Necessary sell your gi and hakama while prices are high "

The effect on this young man was devastating..

Henry Ellis
Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Tony Wagstaffe
03-07-2011, 01:35 PM
1960 - Masahilo Nakazono Sensei to a dan grade at the Hut Dojo.
" Necessary sell your gi and hakama while prices are high "

The effect on this young man was devastating..

Henry Ellis
Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Henry,
We used to get similar comments or something like that, when serving "Her Majesty" If one didn't pull his weight, you were demoted as quick as you like....
The loss of face to your fellow service men was hard enough to bear let alone the financial penalty....
Did that Dan grade pull his socks up?

Hellis
03-07-2011, 03:00 PM
Henry,
We used to get similar comments or something like that, when serving "Her Majesty" If one didn't pull his weight, you were demoted as quick as you like....
The loss of face to your fellow service men was hard enough to bear let alone the financial penalty....
Did that Dan grade pull his socks up?

Tony

The guy did not need to pull his almonds up, he was the best dan grade at the Hut...The comment would not have got to me as it did to him, he struggled with the issue for a few weeks, he then left the Hut and Aikido for good, a very sad loss..........

Henry Ellis
Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.blogspot.com/

chris wright
03-08-2011, 03:03 AM
From my sempai's - 'get yourself safe' i.e. move (Stuart Robinson)
'you can either finish him (uke) or finish your technique, sometimes there's no time to finish them both' (Dean Sheldrake)
'when doing shihonage - if uke feels comfortable, you're probably doing it wrong' (Dean Sheldrake)

Tony Wagstaffe
03-09-2011, 04:37 AM
Tony

The guy did not need to pull his almonds up, he was the best dan grade at the Hut...The comment would not have got to me as it did to him, he struggled with the issue for a few weeks, he then left the Hut and Aikido for good, a very sad loss..........

Henry Ellis
Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.blogspot.com/

Henry,

After Reading P.A. Was it due to N Sensei being a little too hard on him personally? I read you kept your Dan grades. It is sad that he stopped going. It seems it knocked his confidence back somewhat. One of the lessons of aikido that many do not learn. As he was one of the best dan grades would that be a lesson in being overconfident and the dangers inherent in that?

Hellis
03-09-2011, 06:31 AM
Henry,

After Reading P.A. Was it due to N Sensei being a little too hard on him personally? I read you kept your Dan grades. It is sad that he stopped going. It seems it knocked his confidence back somewhat. One of the lessons of aikido that many do not learn. As he was one of the best dan grades would that be a lesson in being overconfident and the dangers inherent in that?

Tony

I am pleased to see that you have read `Positive Aikido` . I trust you found it an interesting read ?

The guy in question was a second dan, only the second one at that time to be graded by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. I am afraid it had nothing to do with teaching any lessons. We were to discover later that it was Aikikai politics playing its hand...This was the very early days, they did not want westerners achieving high grades, they wanted the Japanese to be all prominent...The guy was as good as any Japanese of equal grade.

Henry Ellis

Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Tony Wagstaffe
03-09-2011, 09:26 AM
Tony

I am pleased to see that you have read `Positive Aikido` . I trust you found it an interesting read ?

The guy in question was a second dan, only the second one at that time to be graded by Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. I am afraid it had nothing to do with teaching any lessons. We were to discover later that it was Aikikai politics playing its hand...This was the very early days, they did not want westerners achieving high grades, they wanted the Japanese to be all prominent...The guy was as good as any Japanese of equal grade.

Henry Ellis

Positive Aikido
http://aikido-books.blogspot.com/

Henry,
This has also been the case within the Tomiki/Shodokan orgs.
There were many grades worth their salt and even above those of the Japanese levels that were never ever ranked to the level they should be at.
Such was the case at I believe was the first international aikido competitions where a highly regarded English Dan grade reached the finals of the tanto randori shiai and won it outright only to be placed second behind a Japanese player on a technical decision.
They didn't want to lose "face" by losing the competition to a "Gaijin"
That Dan grade was offered promotion on the spot, but refused it, saying to basically stuff their Dan grade promotion up their proverbial's..... The Japanese lost more face by that decision than any promotion they could give that man.....
To my mind there are way too many "black belts" that would rank green belt or less in my mind and also my teachers....
My Japanese friend, who you know about, often said that the level was just as good here if not better. Once something becomes international things change.... He said "Take football for instance"......:straightf ;) Whether for better or worse nobody can say that they own aikido..... No matter what style!!
The book was well worth it and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read about the reality of how it was all those years ago. As the book says inside the cover, it does what it says on the tin!!
Tree huggers and ribbon twirlers, those who love to dance? Go and buy a book on "philosophy" the moon, stars, planets or housewife's choice, you'll be better off.....
My Japanese friend will also get to learn about British aikido from another perspective, the true one!!