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Lucky Luke
06-03-2005, 02:44 PM
So last nights training I'm working with a new student. Technique is Shomenuchi Shihonage and I'm nage. I do the technique slowly as this student has zilch ukemi ability and I don't want to hurt him. I enter shihonage and begin to cut down uke begins to twist out of shihonage. We've all experienced this with beginners. With experienced Aikidoka I can just continue with a smooth cut down and a pin if I choose. But this is beginner stop and go aikido, so I tighten up the grip with a little elbow atemi to the back to prevent the twist. I gently suggest that twisting away from shihonage is a good way to get hurt, much safer to turn a little towards nage, easier on shoulder, better ukemi with more ukemi options.

I complete the technique and we begin on the other side. Same procedure, he twists, I restate and gently take him to the mat. By the third try he has decided its not his ukemi that needs work, but rather that my technique is all wrong and procedes to lecture me on how I should enter and block the attack, then move into shihonage. He assures me this will work much better. He is wearing a TKD gi, so I see were he gets his idea that this is some kind of block. I explain that in aikido the focus is on moving and blending, not standing still and blocking. He disagrees. At this point I'm looking for the instuctor and of course she is on the other side of the mat.

In the end I just shrugged it off and continued the workout with the beginner constantly trying to verbally correct my obvious misunderstanding of this technique. I basically ignored him but it took a lot of mental effort not to just crank down on the throw. Granted I've studied aikido off and on since 1988, and I still consider myself very much a beginner. And yes, I do believe you can learn from beginners but here is the real kicker. This guy had been practicing Aikido for a total of TWO WEEKS!!!

Okay, just had to get that off my chest. Not looking for any feedback but I need a good two hour session of Zazen and maybe a beer or two....

tarik
06-03-2005, 04:28 PM
But this is beginner stop and go aikido, so I tighten up the grip with a little elbow atemi to the back to prevent the twist. I gently suggest that twisting away from shihonage is a good way to get hurt, much safer to turn a little towards nage, easier on shoulder, better ukemi with more ukemi options.

Perhaps if you led him off balance more before you tried to go under the arm, he wouldn't be able to twist?

When I find my newbie partners can twist out it's not only because I allow them the room, but because I didn't take their balance before I entered, in deference to their newbie status. Easy correction.

Tarik

Kevin Leavitt
06-03-2005, 04:49 PM
ahh...the wonderful dyanmic of aikido! Yes, most of us have been there. It is hard to figure out what to do. Usually I just smile and move on. The problem is, that you are limited by the parameters of the technique that sensei has you working on. Most new guys don't understand yet that if they resist that technique, it opens up for another.

I have on occassion pointed this out, or demonstrated it. Other times I just simply irimi and stop and do not continue on. They just stand there looking and after a few awkard minutes, they usually figure out that "yeah I see now...there is no need for the fight to continue if I do not move effectively and protect myself".

giriasis
06-03-2005, 06:23 PM
I've often experienced this from aikido newbies with previous martial arts experience. The problem is that they do have enough sophistication to understand whether your technique might be working, but not enough knowledge in aikido to understand how or why it doesn't. Most recently I had one such newbie try to correct me and explain the technique to me. I've been practicing aikido consistently for 6 years, he had about 6 classes. I just pulled rank on him after his about 10th attempt at doing this. It turns out he has a judo background, he could take good ukemi and catch on to the techniques quickly, so he was jumping to the conclusion that he understood aikido as well as me. He definently understands JUDO better than me but not AIKIDO. But now, he's turning out to be a great training partner, and I just helped him pass his 5th kyu test.

Usually when newbies are just plain awkward and don't know where to go a good strong lead in your technique is better than going way too soft. If you go too soft they don't feel the lead, you most often do sacrifice the essence of the technique, and then they think you're technique isn't working right. You can still be soft and not sacrifice the essence of the technique. Take the balance and keep them off-balance the whole way. It's harder to do technique slowly and effecitively, but you really do discover you own technical flaws that way. If your just sacrificing the essence of the technique then you are just going too easy rather than going softly with them.

tarik
06-03-2005, 07:05 PM
What are your goals when you train with such a new person?

To make the technique work when they try to resist?

To work together to understand the technique better?

To learn together or just get your own learning out of the training and leave them to get theirs?

You mention a strong lead? What is a strong lead? Power? What kind of power?

Your post seems to reject soft as not strong, yet the strongest leads I have ever experienced have been soft.. so soft, that yes, I could not feel them until I relaxed enough to feel what was happening to my body. My problem, that fortunately my partners have been generous enough to explain and instruct and share.

But I had to be open to learning first.

I'd ask my partner, what is your goal in this training? To stop me? To make it more difficult to learn, or easier? If they persisted in trying to educate me in a path I KNEW to be wrong (and I could only know with the authority of having explored it for many years), then I might choose simply to throw them, yes softly, yes effectively, and wait for them to be ready to listen and learn.

If they're open to learning at that moment, they probably wouldn't be correcting me when they should be paying attention to what does and does not work in the technique.

So yes, if I were training with them, and they were insistant on not following the practice, I'd probably just be throwing (softly as I could manage) and concentrating on what *I* could get out of it.

Tarik

Charles Hill
06-03-2005, 07:09 PM
There is a video of O`Sensei doing shihonage on an American MP who almost twists out of it. So I wouldn`t worry about it if I were you. Also, I have seen many many TKD people in beginning Aikido classes, but I have never seen them stay.

Charles

giriasis
06-03-2005, 08:44 PM
What are your goals when you train with such a new person?

To make the technique work when they try to resist?

To work together to understand the technique better?

To learn together or just get your own learning out of the training and leave them to get theirs?

When I work with a newbie/beginner in aikido my goal is to see to it that they learn the technique. That they learn to take good ukemi and not let themselves get hurt. That they learn how the technique work and why it works the way it does. My sensei encourages the most senior to help out the juniors. He's "scolded" me for not saying enough to my junior partners.

You mention a strong lead? What is a strong lead? Power? What kind of power?

What is a good strong lead? Hmmm...how do I explain this. In doing proper technique I show the uke where to go. A good strong lead comes from proper technique. Part of doing proper technique is moving from my center and not muscling my techniques. Moving from my center is the "power" behind my technique. But I don't think of it as power, but rather as being centered. By "strong" I mean confident and self-assured so that the beginner/ newbie feels secure and comfortable enough that they end up following me to where I want to take them. If they don't go where I want them to, then I'm not doing the technique correctly.

Your post seems to reject soft as not strong, yet the strongest leads I have ever experienced have been soft.. so soft, that yes, I could not feel them until I relaxed enough to feel what was happening to my body.

Actually, that's my point. A person can be soft and strong at the same time. I'm talking about people (I'm one of those people, btw) being TOO SOFT to the point that they SACRIFICE THE ESSENCE OF THEIR TECHNIQUE (i.e. you start doing the technique improperly and ineffectively) However, my discovery with working with newbies if they can't feel where you are going they are not going there. If a person acts afraid to throw them, they will be afraid to fall. If they have previous martial arts experience they automatically conclude your technique is not "effective." I'm not talking about muscling, cranking and being abusive to a partner. Hardly, in the least. Actually, quite the opposite.

What I am advocating is to not patronize the beginner (or the person you think not capable of taking the ukemi) by going "too easy" or "too soft" as per my definiton above. You're essentially doing them no favor by not throwing them effectively. First, if they have any knowledge of martial arts then they will resist, spin out, counter, etc. Or second, a beginner will be too afraid to move or put themselves in some weird awkward position.

My problem, that fortunately my partners have been generous enough to explain and instruct and share.

I explain, instruct AND share all the time. You're contrary impression most likely came from my example. I guess it sounded like I was advocating to thrash your parnter. But, I'm not. You see each time I explained or instructed this particular newbie (but not a martial art newbie) he consistently CORRECTED what I told him. He would stop me and point to another couple and tell me that was how we were supposed to do it. THAT is incredibly disrespectful. He did THAT 10 times while we were partnered together. Unfortunately, no sharing could happened in this particular situation as each time I told him something he IGNORED IT and then TOLD ME TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. I would just try to train then he'd interrupt my training. I've never experience such behavior before.

I don't advocate thrashing, but I do advocate speaking up to your partner, whatever the rank, and let them know they have crossed the line with you. This particular partner did. I did not throw him hard or roughly. I asked him what his aikido experience was as he was acting like he was ranked as if he really was not an aikido newbie. He said did have any aikido experience. I told him I've been doing this 6 years and asked him to please be quite so I could train. Then we went back to training, but silently this time. No thrasing, no retributional excessive hard throwing. Nothing like that. That path leads to nastiness and egotistic escalation. You really misinterpreted what I was saying, but thanks for asking for clarification.

But I had to be open to learning first.

I'd ask my partner, what is your goal in this training? To stop me? To make it more difficult to learn, or easier? If they persisted in trying to educate me in a path I KNEW to be wrong (and I could only know with the authority of having explored it for many years), then I might choose simply to throw them, yes softly, yes effectively, and wait for them to be ready to listen and learn.

If they're open to learning at that moment, they probably wouldn't be correcting me when they should be paying attention to what does and does not work in the technique.

So yes, if I were training with them, and they were insistant on not following the practice, I'd probably just be throwing (softly as I could manage) and concentrating on what *I* could get out of it.

Usually, this is what I do. I was trying to get out of it what I could, but this time this partner was rather persistent. Now, after he's been here after a few months, he HAS become a partner to share with and he does listen to me. I know he will eventually turn into a really great training partner.

NagaBaba
06-03-2005, 11:19 PM
The best explanation it isn't verbal explanation at all. You must do technique work efficiently without any doubt. Physically. Not let him spin away. Not to hurt him, but technique must be tight, in good control of balance and extention. In one can't do it, you must ask instructor for help.

Lucky Luke
06-04-2005, 08:18 AM
Well this has turned into an interesting thread. In my initial post I apparently gave the impresssion that I was having trouble with this newbie spinning out of shihonage.


Perhaps if you led him off balance more before you tried to go under the arm, he wouldn't be able to twist?

When I find my newbie partners can twist out it's not only because I allow them the room, but because I didn't take their balance before I entered, in deference to their newbie status. Easy correction.

Good advice, but I wasn't having any problem controlling the technique or leading uke. In fact the technique is irrelevant to the issue. My real issue is newbies stopping to lecture me on my technique with incorrect advice. Ann Marie best described this situation:

You see each time I explained or instructed this particular newbie (but not a martial art newbie) he consistently CORRECTED what I told him. He would stop me and point to another couple and tell me that was how we were supposed to do it. THAT is incredibly disrespectful. He did THAT 10 times while we were partnered together. Unfortunately, no sharing could happened in this particular situation as each time I told him something he IGNORED IT and then TOLD ME TO DO SOMETHING ELSE. I would just try to train then he'd interrupt my training.

This is precisely the frustration I was experiencing. Some of the sugggestions I've seen include:

The best explanation it isn't verbal explanation at all. You must do technique work efficiently without any doubt. Physically. Not let him spin away. Not to hurt him, but technique must be tight, in good control of balance and extention. In one can't do it, you must ask instructor for help.

Yep. Only problem for me is that my full intent shihonage works great on yudansha that can protect themselves with good ukemi. However, doing the same on a two week newbie that doesn't understand ukemi and is extremely stiff can easily lead to injury, at least for me. My compromise is the typical stop and go technique, so that the newbie understand the basic motion of the technique and how to adjust their body correctly when they are taken off balance. My focus is just to get the basics across to the newbie. Dynamic Aikido can come later.

Asking the instructor for help with difficult newbies is the ideal answer. However with 30 plus bodies practicing, sensei is often busy helping others on the other side of the dojo. As I mentioned in my first post, I did not have an opportunity to politely get my instructors attention.

So yes, if I were training with them, and they were insistant on not following the practice, I'd probably just be throwing (softly as I could manage) and concentrating on what *I* could get out of it.

Yep, that was what I ended up doing. But this particular newbie never got the message and kept lecturing me at every opportunity.
Apparently this newbie did the same thing to my young son on a Katatetori Kotegaishi. My son explained that he was easing up on the kotagaishi as it can be hard on the wrist until you learn how to move. Newbie told him to just go ahead and do it, he could take it. Well, he went down like a sack of potatoes and came up rubbing his wrist. No more lecturing. My son actually experiences this type of newbie attitude all the time. He is a young teen so newbies make the mistake of assuming they know more because they are adults. He just shows them they are wrong and doesn't worry about them getting hurt. His attitude is, if you insist on taking punishment he is willing to oblige, here is the mat. I now understand where he is coming from, and I can see how it stops the now-it-all newbie chit chat, but thats not my style.

I asked him what his aikido experience was as he was acting like he was ranked as if he really was not an aikido newbie. He said did have any aikido experience. I told him I've been doing this 6 years and asked him to please be quite so I could train. Then we went back to training, but silently this time. No thrasing, no retributional excessive hard throwing. Nothing like that.

Anne Marie, I like this idea the best. "I've trained for beacoup years and your just starting, now shutup and focus on learning instead of teaching." Politely of course.

Now that I've had my copule of beers, I'd love to hear similar experiences from others and how you handled it.

Lorien Lowe
06-04-2005, 04:58 PM
Depending on the friendliness of the newbie/shihan, I give some version of either, "It's considered impolite to teach unless you're the instructor of the class," or "shut up and train."

The newbie might still think that I don't have a clue, but at least I don't have to listen to it. Then I can 'ask the instructor for help' when the instructor's available.

Pauliina Lievonen
06-04-2005, 06:15 PM
I don't seem to get this all that often, maybe because I also lead classes at the dojo sometimes so beginners assume that I know what I'm doing. :rolleyes: :D

I can think of one quite recently, the conversation went like this:
newbie: "Your supposed to go that way!"
me: "No, I'm not. "
newbie: "Oh. "

kvaak
Pauliina

Ben Eaton
06-05-2005, 06:12 AM
I actually find myself at the other end of this, I'm the new guy.

In my class I'm in fact the oldest (it's a children's class and I joined just before my 16th birthday so they kept me in this class understandably until some more get to adult class age), but I'm actually the lowest ranked. I find myself training with some of the higher grades, but I do notice slight things that they are doing wrong. I don't ever think that I've been observing their technique and oh this this and this are all wrong, I'm just a good listener and as I'm new I try to listen as intently as possible to sensei and get all the information in.

However, I have more sense and decency than to "correct" my partner, instead try to utilise what I notice they aren't doing when I perform the technique on them. Usually it comes out that next time they do it they've felt the extra twist or grip that I've done as sensei instructed, and then use this. I think any beginner shouldn't lecture a person trying to teach them, but there are times when the beginner has picked up or remembered something that they have not. (I am by no means saying I do them perfectly, 9 times out of 10 it's me doing something wrong)

In a fairly small class these things are usually cleared up when sensei walks past as they are doing a technique and says "That's not how you do it. THIS *yelp of pain* is how you do it. *grins*" (Does go into more detail but not after having a bit of a laugh :) ) Best way is sensei.

KandA
06-05-2005, 11:24 AM
I learned an effective way to stop the "twist" this weekend from a fellow classmate . . . he is much taller than I and he actually starts to kneel when he enters Shihonage . . . he still on very much on balance . . . there is NO way that uke can twist out, plus it is very gentle on the beginner uke because their center of balance has been thrown SO far out of wack that they are practically on the mat by the time the move is about 3/4 of the way over . . .

i am a beginner as well . . . as is the person who showed me how to kneel during Shihonage . . . but at the same time, we have many advanced students in our class . . . it is just a matter of respect that you do not criticize those with more experience/higher rank . . . sensei will take care of that :)

tarik
06-06-2005, 12:58 PM
The entire point of my post is that you have to talk to your partner. Not instruct them, necessarily, but talk to them about when they are trying to accomplish.

Our practice is all about what if... we set up an attack and a technique and practice it. It's EASY to get out of a technique when you know what is coming. You don't give as sincere an attack, you kill your center, you sandbag, whatever. It's so easy to do, that for beginners, they often don't even realize that they are doing it.

For the partner who has other experience and is bringing it into the dojo when new techniques are being taught, it seems to me that they are not open to learning. They have watched, decided that they understood, and have already tried to integrate new knowledge into their body.

So talking to them is more likely to illustrate this point and allow them to open up to trying something different. If it doesn't, then either don't train with them... or as I said before, just focus on your training (and on protecting your partner) and ignore them.

I've trained with (and instructed) PLENTY of such individuals over the years and the primary conclusion I have always walked away with is that it is not simply my responsibility to teach (it IS, of course) but it equally is THEIR responsibility to learn (and study). If they are not ready to learn, I am not going to waste too much time trying to teach them.

Regards,

Tarik

MaryKaye
06-06-2005, 04:07 PM
I'm currently going through this with a six-year-old. We've been working on katate kosa tori kokyunage, and he's found that he can stay on his feet and keep from being thrown. Between the difficulty of getting under his center (I'd about have to drag my knuckles on the floor) and my desire not to overstress his ukemi, I just can't do the throw reliably without using force in a way we don't encourage.

I've just been saying "Okay, that was nice. Now can you let me practice the throw, and you practice the ukemi?" But I'm only an assistant teacher. It would be harder to take this attitude if I were the main teacher.

Mary Kaye

Yo-Jimbo
06-06-2005, 04:14 PM
Sometimes even kohai have grandeur hiding beneath their delusions. Letting go of one's own delusions is much harder than attributing them to others (appropriately or wrongly).
Personally, I try something along the lines of the following:
1st, when kohai makes a suggestion, I consider that the comment is something that has possibly been over looked by myself in previous training. I then examine it physically if it seems prudent to do so.
2nd, if the same suggestion still seems contrary to my understanding, I consider that I didn't even understand properly what was trying to be related and that the kernel of wisdom was effected by my preconceptions or that the lesson to be gleaned is related to the suggestion tangentially. I try to train with it in the back of my mind for future use.
3rd, if I can't reconcile my understanding with that of kohai's and the issue is pressed, I would explain as best I can the problems I have with the suggestion as it pertains to the current training. I try to infer (as subtext) that I listened carefully, but it would be wise to respect and act on the knowledge of sempai (or sensei of course) in the absence of direct counter example.
4th, if kohai still presses at this point, I just smile and practice on doing my own technique better, and remain totally mute (at least one of us has shut up at this point :D ). Either I am not currently ready to learn from kohai's suggestion, or it has little real merit. Which ever way is the reality, further debate isn't likely to help in the short run. Regardless, it is a great opportunity to practice "dealing with adversity" calmly under aggravating conditions.
Of course there is the flip side of this, so I watch when I'm the kohai how I push my sempai through each of these stages with my suggestions. My process for listening to sempai or sensei is similar (and rightfully practiced more often). The only differences are how far I trust to extend myself in the examination of principle and the way that I would default if I can't currently reconcile concepts.
Since I will always be burdened with my own delusions, the best process I know is to keep tearing them down and watching how I build them back up again.
Both sides of this topic are important and common. I've learned many good martial things from TKD and judo practitioners even when they had rather narrow views (not all do of course, neither are aikidojin/aikidoka immune). It is nice that such a good conversation could come out of the need for one to rant (I know the feeling).
One of my favorite jokes for keeping kohai and sempai honest with themselves:
Kohai: "So, how long have you been training?"
Sempai: "Today is my first day. *long pause, with second part sometimes much later* My first, first day in aikido was back in (for me '91)."

Frustrated
06-07-2005, 01:59 AM
Whilst practicing a Sankyo variation (slow time, because I have a REAL problem getting this), with a beginner, I was, as usual struggling slightly with the technique, also the stop/start and trying not to hurt uke didn't help the flow ot the technique, but i had control and thinkgs were going well. She turned round and said "I bet i could have hit you by now." Does anyone else get this, when a beginner doesn't realise that you would actually have piled their face into the mat if it was being done realistically, and that training slowly to perfect technique ISN'T the same as incompetance. Just wish that her ukemi was good enough so I could show a full speed sankyo, then ask her to pick out weak spots.

:D

maikerus
06-07-2005, 02:44 AM
Just wish that her ukemi was good enough so I could show a full speed sankyo, then ask her to pick out weak spots.
Sometimes you just have to show them. I usually try and bring them just to the point where they are about to become a puddle of protoplasm on the mat...and then stop and hold them up before they actually hit the mat (or the wall...or whatever)

Doesn't always work though...not always good enough to stop them from splatting. Maybe in a few years <sigh> :D

Sonja2012
06-07-2005, 03:26 AM
Heehee, love this thread ;)

My husband once practiced kaiten nage with somebody of lower rank than him. Just before the throw the kohai said to him "But at this point I could bite your ankle!"

:freaky: :eek: :D

Hubby smiled and replied: "You probably could. But didnīt you see my knee right in front of your nose? What would you reckon would be more painful - a bite in the ankle or a knee in your face?" :p

I used to get terribly upset with people like that (and still do sometimes). Just last weekend I practiced with a kohai. We were doing a version of nikkyo shown by the teacher. Or at least I was, as kohai was not doing what was being shown. Anyway, I kept my mouth shut about it as I think that I should only correct somebody if asked for help.

All of a sudden this guy started correcting me on a very minor detail. Normally I would have gotten all upset and would have started a discussion with him. But then I remembered somebody here at aikiweb saying once "less chat, more mat" and instead I let the next technique sit properly. Kohai collapsed to my feet and shut up.

I have only been able to do this recently, because before I would have been scared to hurt uke, but now that my technique (at least that one ;) ) is better, I can actually apply it strongly without putting uke in danger.
This seems a very easy way of dealing with people like that and it certainly feels good afterwards, but I canīt help feeling that it is also a somewhat macho way of dealing with that problem. Unfortunately I am not enlightened enough to find a better way yet. ;)

With beginners it can be a whole different story though. Often their attack is "wrong" or they turn out of a technique (sometimes to prove that they know better, sometimes simply because they donīt know better or are even trying to be helpful). I have just started to teach my first beginnerīs course and find this a difficult question, too. So far, I have had good succes trying to show people that by turning out or attacking wrong (e.g. shomen uchi with straight arm, etc) they actually put themselves in a worse position or leave themselves open for atemi, etc. This has helped so far, but I havenīt had any particularly hard cases of newbie-delusions-of-grandeur :)

Duncan Woods
06-07-2005, 01:19 PM
I don't think the response should be resentful of the beginner. You should expect them to be as inept verbally and tactfully as they are technically. In all respects you as sempai must make up for the shortfall. What you are taking as delusion is also keenness, curiosity, questioning and active thinking about the technique which is fantastic and deserves a good response. Ignore any flim-flam you could take as criticism/ego take everything as a question and give the best answers and demonstration you can - you are a model. If you feel certain enough to be frustrated by it then you should be certain enough to rise above it.

For me, a good response is 'At this level this is an exercise in body movement without reversals or resistance. Try focusing on staying relaxed, feeling how your posture is broken and taking a safe ukemi' or some such. My sensei often demonstrates the twist in the demo to clearly show its not what is wanted. If necessary, a high elbow extending uke really neutralises any twisting with discomfort but not danger. Simply saying 'Don't twist' if they begin to also works.

Insofar as ensuring a safe ukemi, we start off by not gripping uke so that the cut is under their control. They can let go at any point and perform their stiff crumple when they need. It also makes trying to reverse the technique transparently absurd since they could simply let go.

This has been a message from a deluded-newbie in defense of his brethren.

Pauliina Lievonen
06-07-2005, 04:55 PM
If you feel certain enough to be frustrated by it then you should be certain enough to rise above it.


I was planning to write a longer reply to this thread but Duncan really said everything I wanted to say. Nice one.

kvaak
Pauliina

Lorien Lowe
06-08-2005, 02:25 PM
I don't think the response should be resentful of the beginner. You should expect them to be as inept verbally and tactfully as they are technically. In all respects you as sempai must make up for the shortfall.

Points worth repeating.

Nick Simpson
06-09-2005, 06:04 AM
Or you could just take them aside, quietly explain to them about ettiquette and 'dojo training' and how resisting a technique is likely to end in pain/injury for them. And then beat them down.

aikidoc
06-09-2005, 09:06 AM
Highly flexible people are always a challenge. Stay tight with him and if that doesn't work try crossing your thumbs across his wrist-when they try to twist out it is very painful.

Random_guy
06-09-2005, 11:22 AM
I've often experienced this from aikido newbies with previous martial arts experience.

It turns out he has a judo background, he could take good ukemi and catch on to the techniques quickly, so he was jumping to the conclusion that he understood aikido as well as me. He definently understands JUDO better than me but not AIKIDO.


A few months ago in our dojo a man who had a black belt (though I'm not sure what level of it, and I'd prefer not to say which style as I don't wish to form any stereotypes) came along and most of us were quite interested; what would he make of Aikido? Unfortunatly, though he could pick up techniques easily enough he seemed to be there not so much to learn Aikido but to stress what he saw as weaknesses; our dojo practices Tomiki Aikido, so we always have randori at the last half hour or so. Instead of letting techniques flow (practicing just kakari-geiko randori) he would do everything possible to resist them, almost getting injured in the process even though he was told on several occasions, and later in tanto randori he would use alot of his own styles techniques, frequently 'batting' the tanto out of uke's hand. I know of course that not all beginners with other MA experiance are like this, but they can be..hmm.. a challenge at times.
I really do enjoy when people with other MA backgrounds come to practice Aikido, but also speaking as a beginner who also had other MA backgrounds it can be difficult to break free of what you've already learnt and question where certain things would actually work (though I never pointed this out or made any comment; I was there to learn Aikido, not teach another style).

RG

giriasis
06-09-2005, 08:35 PM
I really do enjoy when people with other MA backgrounds come to practice Aikido, but also speaking as a beginner who also had other MA backgrounds it can be difficult to break free of what you've already learnt and question where certain things would actually work (though I never pointed this out or made any comment; I was there to learn Aikido, not teach another style).

I really enjoy it when people come in with other MA backgrounds, too. They really do add a lot to the training environment and provide are really great perspective. And your right, they have an adjustment period to go through. But that is not an excuse for them to being absolutely rude -- an explanation but not a justification. However, not all beginners with MA background are rude, and you are right that there is a lot of unlearning they need to do to learn aikido. I guess I would assume (you know what that means, right? ;) ) that since they do have previous martial arts experience they would know better and come in with a sense of humility. But like I said, my example really was an extreme, and instead of cranking (like some people here assumed I did) I spoke up and said something. I talked to him to find out what the heck was going on in his head. Unfortunately, the ONLY THING that worked was pulling rank because he was refusing to listen to me otherwise. I never had to do that before, but it's a better solution than trying to lash out at the poor guy. :straightf

Anyhow, he's already past that "i've trained in another martial art phase" and is becoming a great training partner.

RE: "teaching" in class -- Yes, at my dojo, my sensei expects and encourages the higher ranked student to help teach the beginners (or lower ranked) and not just stand there silently allowing them to suffer and struggle in an attempt to teach themselves. My sensei has discovered beginners learn faster when he allows the higher ranking to assist and even instruct the lower ranking. (Of course we're under his watchful eye, and he steps in if we totally mess things up. :blush: ) (And btw, this could be a 4th dan to 1st dan or, 1st kyu to a 3rd kyu or, a 5th kyu to a day-one-newbie.) So, I was not out-of-line by "instructing" him. So if you like "no talk or hardly no talk" training, you'd probably get really annoyed training at our dojo.

Entusiastic beginner
06-10-2005, 10:42 AM
I am a beginner in aikido but with MA background. I've only been to 3 classes so far and it's great. It's similar to what I've learnt in the past (taijutsu) so I do understand the techniques and i'm not too bad as an uke given pointers here and there. I know I have a lot of getting use to( that's why I went on 3 consecutive days) but I am able to keep up with the class.

I've seen mistakes done by my seniors and although I've never corrected them, I wonder if I should. I'm afraid they'd feel humiliated. They are probably 5th or 6th kyu(it starts at 6 here) and I don't even have my gi yet. So is it proper to correct your seniors?

Qatana
06-10-2005, 01:06 PM
If you have only been to three classes how can you tell they're making mistakes?

They won't feel humiliated, they will probably feel insulted.Wouldn't it be better to ask sensei to show you Both how to do the technique properly?

giriasis
06-10-2005, 02:52 PM
I've seen mistakes done by my seniors and although I've never corrected them, I wonder if I should. I'm afraid they'd feel humiliated. They are probably 5th or 6th kyu(it starts at 6 here) and I don't even have my gi yet. So is it proper to correct your seniors?

If you really have a question about your technique, there is nothing wrong with bowing to the sensei and asking for his/her help. If you have a question about your partner's technique try your best to give them good honest ukemi as it's taught in the dojo. Also please realize that although you're partners might be making mistakes, they might be aware of those mistakes and that they might actually be working on them. There is a reason they are 6th and 5th kyus -- their techniques are not going to be perfect yet. It's like telling an overweight/ obese person they are "fat". You don't have to tell them that -- they already know it. If all you want to do is point out their mistakes, and since you only have three days experience then I don't see how you will help them -- aikido-wise -- other than pointing out their errors. I assure you, you have errors, too.

Also, you might have awareness of openings and how you might be able to counter from your previous martial arts background. Just be patient and take the time to learn aikido, and your previous MA background will be obvious to others as you train, and you will eventually be able to share that with them.

Pauliina Lievonen
06-10-2005, 07:33 PM
The rule of thumb I try to stick to is: If my partner makes a mistake, and I both know a way to fix it, and I'm 120% sure that my "fix" is the right one, I might say something. If I see a mistake, but I don't know what to do about it, I'll just shut up and take ukemi.

This takes care of almost all cases. :D

kvaak
Pauliina

Entusiastic beginner
06-11-2005, 07:33 AM
I hope noone's taking what I said wrongly. I do not wish to correct someone just for the sake of pointing out their mistakes and I don't act as if I know everything. My techniques obviously will have mistakes but I have the sensei and sempais to correct me. If I am having problems, someone is always there to help me.

I guess you guys must be wondering 'what would a beginner like me know about Aikido?'. I admit I know very little at this point. What mistakes I've seen in others are usually the ones that I've done before and have been corrected. Anyway, I'm too shy(always have been) to say anything so no worries there.http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/images/icons/icon10.gif
Talking

Sonja2012
06-11-2005, 01:03 PM
There is one thing that - for me - makes a very good teacher: to know exactly what tip each student needs at what time. Dave Lowry wrote about that in his book Moving toward Stillness - it is the chapter called Sottaku doji. It is excellent reading.
IMHO only your sensei knows when it is the right time for the right tip. Of course your sempai can help, and it suree is great fun to play around on the mat with a friend, gently blocking, giving each other tips, etc. But there is nothing like the tips I get from sensei. Even though you might have experience in other MA, you certainly havenīt got the knowledge of where the individual student is at and what he/she can handle. Therefore IMHO you should be quiet unless your partner asks you for help.

Just my two cents.

Lorien Lowe
06-11-2005, 04:52 PM
Senior students are allowed to make *basic* corrections at my dojo - "don't let your hands get behind your head" for shihonage, for example.
If the sensei is walking by, though, I'd rather wave them over than say something myself; for one thing, the sensei will often notice and correct something totally different that what I wanted to say, and for another my shoulder injury came from trying to help a kohai with kaiten-nage and not paying enough attention to my own ukemi.
Far better for both me and my kohai if I concentrate on taking good ukemi and let the teacher teach.

In a bigger dojo, I imagine it would be much more important for the sempai to help out with basic corrections; more than 10 students is a big class for us, though, so we get a lot of personal attention.

giriasis
06-12-2005, 10:16 AM
I hope noone's taking what I said wrongly. I do not wish to correct someone just for the sake of pointing out their mistakes and I don't act as if I know everything. My techniques obviously will have mistakes but I have the sensei and sempais to correct me. If I am having problems, someone is always there to help me.

All you need to do is worry more about your technique. If the instructor is around to correct you then they are around to help your partner. It never dawned on me in my early days of aikido to want to correct someone or to at least worry they are making errors, too. I was still too busy figuring out where my hands and feet went as nage and as uke still figuring out how the heck to do a roll out of a particular technique.

I guess you guys must be wondering 'what would a beginner like me know about Aikido?'. I admit I know very little at this point. What mistakes I've seen in others are usually the ones that I've done before and have been corrected. Anyway, I'm too shy(always have been) to say anything so no worries there.

Actually, that is what I think when a beginner tries to correct me. Here's a better example other than the excessive corrector I previous described. The instructor demonstrates a technique: yokomenuchi gokyo omote with an irimi opening. I did a tenshin opening instead, but had a mind fart and didn't do the irimi although I had the full intent to do irimi not tenshin. I reverted to what I had been ingraining into my mind for my 2nd kyu test. However, newbie/ beginner says "you did it wrong." I think to myself, "ergh, I just did something else, but say, "thanks for pointing that out." I continue doing irimi opening instead of tenshin. I then just let him do what he thinks is right when it's his turn. He then did tenshin, too, btw. I say, "it's a lot harder than it looks." He nods. (He was just getting ready for his 5th kyu test.) Sensei comes over to help.

Now, when I'm working with someone more senior. The first thing that I do is to do my best to give honest ukemi. I go where they lead me and don't necessary go "where I'm supposed to go." For example, if we are doing kaitennage and they don't get my head, I stand back up, but my ukemi is also good enough to take an iriminage when I do that. Most of the time that's the kind of feedback my seniors need. The next time they throw me they have my head.

If I want to say something to a senior, I ask -- do you mind if I suggest something? But remember I'm not a beginner any more, but I'm still not a their level. Usually the senior welcomes it. But then again, I've been training with them for years and they know me as well as I know them, and it usually is an exchange rather than a correction session. But usually, I only do this if I have more of a training relationship with my senior where we have developed this overtime and it's more of a mutual training partnership than a sempai/ kohai kind of thing.

I do have many "mutual training partnerships" with those who are only a year or two behind me. They're my best training partners. We know each others limits, but still can go "all out" with each other if we wanted. From these guys I don't mind the assitance. So you ask why with them and not a newbie with three classes? The answer is simple. I have developed a training relationship with them over the past few years. It evolved out of respect and trust. You can develop that, too. But three classes won't cut it.

Like I said in my other previous example (the excessive corrector) I'm beginning to develop a better training relationship with him. It will happen where you can have a positive exchange with your partners, but yes, you will come across as "you think you know more aikido than your seniors" if you just try to start correcting them on your first few days of practice.

So, what do you do when you see a senior student made a mistake that you were once corrected on? First, don't assume they don't think they made the mistake. Second, continue giving them honest ukemi (the way it's taught in your dojo). Third, just worry about your mistakes and not your partners. Finally, once you get more training time in who knows they might want you to say something, but considering you only have three practice days in, then that's not enough to develop a relationship without insulting them.

emi_moes
06-16-2005, 04:51 PM
I think that this experience has been beneficial to you. From what I've seen Aikido is Much more than simply throwing & ukemi, it is also a big part of how to view things. Just as one blends with an attack, one should blend with people in disagreements or difficulties/problems in every day life.

As my dojo is geared to college students it seems important to relate Aikido to things outside of the dojo, & not just the physical. Also as it's mainly visited in a university class there tends to be a high turnover rate. While I realize I may not be anywhere near as experienced as you I have still noticed this with "beginner students."

Old and Grumpy
06-18-2005, 06:38 PM
So last nights training I'm working with a new student. Technique is Shomenuchi Shihonage and I'm nage. I do the technique slowly as this student has zilch ukemi ability and I don't want to hurt him. I enter shihonage and begin to cut down uke begins to twist out of shihonage. We've all experienced this with beginners. With experienced Aikidoka I can just continue with a smooth cut down and a pin if I choose. But this is beginner stop and go aikido, so I tighten up the grip with a little elbow atemi to the back to prevent the twist. I gently suggest that twisting away from shihonage is a good way to get hurt, much safer to turn a little towards nage, easier on shoulder, better ukemi with more ukemi options.

I complete the technique and we begin on the other side. Same procedure, he twists, I restate and gently take him to the mat. By the third try he has decided its not his ukemi that needs work, but rather that my technique is all wrong and procedes to lecture me on how I should enter and block the attack, then move into shihonage. He assures me this will work much better. He is wearing a TKD gi, so I see were he gets his idea that this is some kind of block. I explain that in aikido the focus is on moving and blending, not standing still and blocking. He disagrees. At this point I'm looking for the instructor and of course she is on the other side of the mat.
,.......

Now don't take this the wrong way, cause my first experience in my first two weeks of aikido was that I was hurting the practiced students because I took the slack out of techniques no matter how bad they were in terms of aikido proficientcy.

I think it was my second week of aikido, in 1997, and I had this chiropractor who was an ex-marine, and pretty tough, but he kept putting up more and more resistence trying to show me that what I was doing was not going to work because I wasn't cutting down like most people do for shihonage. Looking back on it today, I had more of a chicken wing with a yonkyo than shihonage and that just wrenches the shoulder socket out of joint if uke resists. Well .. uke resisted and a scream of pain, a pretty loud yelp came out, so I let go and looked over at the teacher and said,' he is resisting too much." to which my partner gave the sad look that this new student was doing shihonage all wrong, which was probably right, but it takes time to adjust, at least for grumpy old men, ya know what I mean?

Anyway, the teacher asked the student to do exactly what he did with me, and the word came down ... he was resisting too much! RELAX ... don't fight the technique, but I should do it slower and keep my uke's arm over his shoulder not out to the side which would wrench my partners shoulder even more with any resistence.

Point is ... eventually, in about two years, even the biggest hardheads who kept saying I was gonna quit aikido because I didn't have a feel for the techniques ... just gave up trying to make judgements, and I learned to be gentle yet firm as I learned to feel how far I could go with different people. This was something I had missed in my jujitsu/ karate classes, learning to feel the tightness of my practice partner. For the first five years of martial art training, which is about what I had before aikido .. I just wanted to take out all the slack until pain, which was usually a yelp or tapping out/ slapping to release the technique, was the only motivator to release the techniques before injury occurred.

NO, it wasn't a kinder gentler aikido I was looking for in those first two years of practice, but a style of practice that left absolutely no other choice than compliance. And yet, I really wasn't looking to cause harm or injury to anyone.

It doesn't matter if you are a beginner, or from another style, or simply just passing though trying out an aikido class ... people with a good spirit will give your body back in as good or better condition because that is what good caring people do. When we borrow something, we give it back, barring accident or breakage beyond our control, in as good or better condition than when we borrowed it, including human bodies, right?

One last story.

My buddy and I were going to South Carolina to pick up some baby clams for his clam farm. (Yeah, there are clam beds where people are literally farming crops of clams, and they are licensed farmers, believe it or not.)
Well, we stopped by Okimura's sensei's dojo in Newark, Delaware. That night there were only two or three students, and Karate black belt who was in his late forties wanting to try out aikido class. Nicest fella you would want to meet. Polite. Knowledgeable, and completely open to the throws and techniques that we were practicing.

Here we are, two strangers from another dojo, although we had been there for three or four seminars over the last four years, we were helping each other out to understand not only the way Okimura sensei's teacher for that night wanted his student for that class to do aikido, but adding our own two cents for what our teacher practiced also, as we tried to help this person understand why we let ourselves practice so gently. In trying to keep the practice safe and yet fast paced enough to keep everyone up to speed, despite the variety of proficientcy levels for people in the room, we did keep it real for this karate black belt who wanted to try out aikido as well as see his variations for what we were practicing.

We had a few more hours to drive through the night, but I can't help but remember that this was a prime example of the people in aikido are not alone in world, nor do we have the franchise for being caring or nice. Sometimes there are opportunitys for us all to learn from each other.

Yeah, there are other stories of people coming to our dojo who were just plain unreceptive for the techniques or the training as they are trying to prove everything we are doing for aikido doesn't work. But then, if anyone even half understands getting closer and closer to reality is as much the responsibility of the uke as it is the nage while giving back that body you borrowed for practice in as good or better condition than you found it, this problem is not just a problem with beginners who have delusions of grandeur, is it?

As difficult as it is for some people to grasp .... we learn to hurt each other and yet be gentle and caring at the same time.

Strange world, huh?

Sometimes people are gonna get hurt when they have the wrong attitude, and they are actually trying to hurt themselves or others, but I would hope that we meet some nice people along the way and realize ... aikido has no patent on good caring people. They are everywhere, sometimes even in that new student who is pretty awkward for aikido practice.

CitoMaramba
05-26-2006, 08:17 AM
When corrected by beginners, I usually smile and say politely, "Thank you very much".
A lot of the time, they are right, anyway :)

Nick P.
05-26-2006, 09:14 AM
Newbie Shihan: "No, no, that is all wrong. Do it like this instead."
Me: >Nods head, smiles in agreement, unloads hardest technique they can handle<
"Like that? Was that better?"
Newbie Shihan: "How come I now see 3 of you, and where did my pants go?"

Ecosamurai
05-27-2006, 12:24 AM
This issue tends to pop up from time to time everywhere. For myself I've noticed that it doesn't happen to me anymore seeing as I'm the instructor of the class now rather than a student. It would take someone really cocky to try to tell the guy teaching the lesson he's doing it wrong ;) Not that thats beyond the realms of possibility mind. But it hasn't happened to me yet.

What I have had happen is things go a bit wrong when demonstrating a technique in front of the class, if I have a beginner for an uke and they don't know what is expected of them things can go a bit awry. It happened this week in fact. My chosen uke was supposed to be attacking me ushiro tekubi tori but rather than grabbing my other wrist once he was behind me he just kept charging along having no real clue where he was or where he was going. It took a lot of control on my part to stop him planting his own face into the mat :D

When this sort of thing happens to me while I'm teaching the lesson I usually just laugh and explain what happened and ask uke to do it again until he/she gets their part right so that I can do my part (demonstrating the technique we're about to practice).

I have also had people come to Aikido from other martial arts backgrounds and look at what I'm teaching with a critical eye, I really have no problem with this in any way. My feelings on the matter are simply this: If I can't explain it properly, then I don't really understand it myself. Which means I've found something else I need to learn :)

My experience of people from other MA backgrounds coming to Aikido is easily described by lumping them into two broad categories.

1 - They have their curiosity piqued and keep coming back
2 - They think Aikido (or the instructor who happens to be teaching it at that time) is a load of rubbish and they leave.

I tend to find that those in category 2 come back when their joints etc can't hack all the stuff they want to do in TKD or whatever, then they reappear aged 35+ with dodgy knees, shoulders etc and wonder why they didn't start Aikido earlier.

Mike

PS - With regards to the original shihonage twist out thing. Easy, bend your knees if you're nage or when they're off balance midway through the twist let go and take a bold confident step straight towards them, they tend to fall over and realise that the technique doesn't have to be text book for them to find themselves on their backside.

Lucy Smith
05-27-2006, 05:15 PM
I'm taking my 5th kyu test on June, so you can figure I'm a newbie. I never correct my sempai, even if they are younger than me (and they all are, except when one of the adults comes for our class), and they sort of expect me not respecting them or trying to correct them if they don't understand clearly, only because I'm older. What I have done, on just a couple of occasions, was helping other newbies when they had absolutely no clue of what to do, not even what foot to move first. And it was only with my friends, who started with me, and with whom I am very confident. I haven't corrected other new guys who weren't friends of mine.

Mark Uttech
05-27-2006, 06:25 PM
O Sensei, the founder has been quoted as saying: "Aikido is not for correcting the minds of others; it is for correcting your own mind. I trust you understand."

kaishaku
05-27-2006, 11:56 PM
That's 'cause shiho nage isn't a realistic technique. Ever seen anyone use it in the cage? Nuff said.

(I'm just kidding.)

statisticool
05-30-2006, 07:58 PM
As a beginner, I've found this thread very educational. Thanks!

I'd personally try to correct a senior only if I was concerned a technique would be injurious if applied to me, them, or to someone else.

Even then, I'd phrase my concern in a question, as opposed to a statement.

If I'm wrong, which I think has happened maybe once or twice in my life ;) ,at least I was erring on the side of caution.

Mark Uttech
06-02-2006, 02:06 PM
Here is a reflection that really works for me: "Any mistake you see, is a mistake for you."

Nick Pagnucco
06-02-2006, 04:04 PM
I've been on both sides of this fence recently (I'm a 3rd kyu), and its been a frustrating issue with me.

#1: I am the beginner with delusions
I was at a seminar recently, and I was lucky enough to work with several dans. One of the first was an older gentleman, and it was a technique that started with a same-side wrist grab. So, he did it 4 times, and then it was my turn. I try it... and he resists. Hard. As in will NOT move at all. I blink, try to relax, check my position, and try again. More resistance. I'm starting to get a bit urked. I dont know him, and while its obvious I outweight him and am probably stronger, there's no way in hell I'd be dumb enough to intentionally muscle a dan at a seminar. So, this continues, maybe 4 ot 5 tries all together. Me trying to do the technique, him clamping down hard to stop it. Meanwhile, he's just calmly looking at me.

So finally I smile, shrug and ask what I'm doing wrong. "The problem with young people is they always think they need to use strength." Ah, ok... I was using strength. I can believe that... its happened before that I was using strength and not aware of it. So, he shows me where he wants me to move, I move, and he takes ukemi. For the rest of the time I worked with him, he shut me down more often than not, and offered minimal feedback on what was happening.

I didn't react well. I kept my reaction inside, but it was very frustrating. He wouldn't tell me what he didn't like, or how to fix it, and he wouldn't let me try to 'feel' the technique. I think the thing that really got me was the way it began: he tanked, and continued to tank, and then finally told me I was being too strong. I realized later I used more and more strength every time... and while I know I shouldn't do that, its an understandable mistake: if I dont know what I'm doing wrong, and no one is telling me, chances are I will, even if its unintentional, resort to "do the same thing, only harder." It was humbling, but not particularly educational. I dont know what I was supposed to do


#2: a beginner in my dojo.
I'm training right now for my next kyu test, and last night I was training with 3 other people (a 5th kyu, 2nd kyu, & 1st kyu). It was a small class (half what it usually is, w/ at least 1 dan there), so the class became "Helping me train for the test." ok, fine.

The 5th kyu would attack harder, faster, and resist all technique. And resist in ways that dont help me learn techniques. I mean, sure, he can block my ushiro shihonage pretty well since a) I need a lot of work on it, b) he knows its coming, and c) I'm not gonna switch to a sankkyo or something. But thats not helping me train for my test, and I dont see how its helping him learn ukemi. I also outweigh him by at least 50 pounds, and I resisted the urge to just squash him with my mass, because, again... that doesn't help me train.

In retrospect, I think I should have said something. I didn't at the time, b/c I know him, and he would take it more or less as me admitting I couldn't handle him. So, I trained to go at same speeds, etc... a fact he's quite oblivious to.


I dunno... just needed to rant. He got under my skin yesterday, and I dont really know how to react.

So... act better than me ;)

Lyle Bogin
06-03-2006, 08:00 AM
Ha, Cito is right on.

With new aikidoists from other martial arts, I like to talk about techniques in terms of their martial art if I know something about it.

It's hard to come to aikido from another martial art, especially since it's a fixed game. If the guy was at another type of school, he could easily establish his identity by doing some measured competing. I know we should begin as beginners, but it there is a valid culture in all athletics (or in most persuits) or figuring out who should be your teacher and who should be your student.

The most amazing thing to see is when someone coming in with this attitude changes their mind and learns to appreciate what you, and aikido, really has to offer.

As a final thought, I was once discussing with a friend how I came to SBK with a similar attitude. Not that I would correct my seniors, but I would counter them, strike them, etc. I apologized to him for that first year of being a bit of a jerk, and he said "I don't mean to offend you, but I never noticed."

Too cool.

Mark Freeman
06-03-2006, 09:24 AM
I've been on both sides of this fence recently (I'm a 3rd kyu), and its been a frustrating issue with me.

#1: I am the beginner with delusions
I was at a seminar recently, and I was lucky enough to work with several dans. One of the first was an older gentleman, and it was a technique that started with a same-side wrist grab. So, he did it 4 times, and then it was my turn. I try it... and he resists. Hard. As in will NOT move at all. I blink, try to relax, check my position, and try again. More resistance. I'm starting to get a bit urked. I dont know him, and while its obvious I outweight him and am probably stronger, there's no way in hell I'd be dumb enough to intentionally muscle a dan at a seminar. So, this continues, maybe 4 ot 5 tries all together. Me trying to do the technique, him clamping down hard to stop it. Meanwhile, he's just calmly looking at me.

So finally I smile, shrug and ask what I'm doing wrong. "The problem with young people is they always think they need to use strength." Ah, ok... I was using strength. I can believe that... its happened before that I was using strength and not aware of it. So, he shows me where he wants me to move, I move, and he takes ukemi. For the rest of the time I worked with him, he shut me down more often than not, and offered minimal feedback on what was happening.

I didn't react well. I kept my reaction inside, but it was very frustrating. He wouldn't tell me what he didn't like, or how to fix it, and he wouldn't let me try to 'feel' the technique. I think the thing that really got me was the way it began: he tanked, and continued to tank, and then finally told me I was being too strong. I realized later I used more and more strength every time... and while I know I shouldn't do that, its an understandable mistake: if I dont know what I'm doing wrong, and no one is telling me, chances are I will, even if its unintentional, resort to "do the same thing, only harder." It was humbling, but not particularly educational. I dont know what I was supposed to do


#2: a beginner in my dojo.
I'm training right now for my next kyu test, and last night I was training with 3 other people (a 5th kyu, 2nd kyu, & 1st kyu). It was a small class (half what it usually is, w/ at least 1 dan there), so the class became "Helping me train for the test." ok, fine.

The 5th kyu would attack harder, faster, and resist all technique. And resist in ways that dont help me learn techniques. I mean, sure, he can block my ushiro shihonage pretty well since a) I need a lot of work on it, b) he knows its coming, and c) I'm not gonna switch to a sankkyo or something. But thats not helping me train for my test, and I dont see how its helping him learn ukemi. I also outweigh him by at least 50 pounds, and I resisted the urge to just squash him with my mass, because, again... that doesn't help me train.

In retrospect, I think I should have said something. I didn't at the time, b/c I know him, and he would take it more or less as me admitting I couldn't handle him. So, I trained to go at same speeds, etc... a fact he's quite oblivious to.


I dunno... just needed to rant. He got under my skin yesterday, and I dont really know how to react.

So... act better than me ;)

Where is the Sensei in all of this Nicholas? Surely he/she is the logical step to a resolution.

regards,

Mark
Wg

Nick Pagnucco
06-04-2006, 11:48 AM
Where is the Sensei in all of this Nicholas? Surely he/she is the logical step to a resolution.

Well... a few things.
First, the instructor for that class couldn't show up that day, so the person in charge was the 1st kyu. But this really isn't something I'd lay at his feet.

Second, I was over-reacting. The 5th kyu wasn't doing anything THAT bad (he was attacking earnestly, allbeit not perfectly or in the way I would have preferred), but it was getting under my skin. "Beginners with delusions of grandeur" is definitely a spectrum, with some people more gray than others, some more tolerable than others. The guy I talked about is definitely on the spread, but he's not as bad as one could be. My over-reacting carried over to how I described it in my post here.

Third, I was handling it more or less the way I am supposed to (at least in my dojo in what we call a circle class): keep moving and figure out how to manage. I just wasn't in the mood to do that cheerfully b/c my test techniques weren't going smoothly. If he was doing something clearly wrong, the 1st kyu would have definitely jumped in to correct things.

DOnt get me wrong: it wasn't the most fun I ever had at practice, I think the beginner I talked about needs to change his orientation a bit, and in retrospect I perhaps should have said something. But it wasn't nearly as bad as something things people have described on this thread.

mj
06-06-2006, 04:45 PM
(he was attacking earnestly, allbeit not perfectly or in the way I would have preferred), but it was getting under my skin. .
Welcome to martial arts.

Ken McGrew
06-11-2006, 01:53 AM
Lucky,

You did the right thing, kept your cool, didn't retaliate, Etc.

Next stop should have been sensei. Not to get the new guy in trouble, but so Sensei would see the need to explain why and how we train.

Your problem with the new student (who evidently is finally catching on) was that he failed to understand that he was simulating a fast and strong attack, though moving slowly for safety. Had he really come fast and had your thrown fast, he would not have been able to twist out of anything. You know this. If he wouldn't listen to you, Sensei needed to remind everyone of the rules.

This sort of nonsense goes on way too often. Beginners just don't understand the meaning of ukemi or the reasons that we practice the way we do. Sometimes experiences students will take advantage of the slow practice and kindness of Nage because they want to demonstrate their (imagined) superiority by refusing to follow in their ukemi. If Sensei doesn't call them on it, it will continue.

Ken

Mark Freeman
06-11-2006, 08:54 AM
If Sensei doesn't call them on it, it will continue.

I agree Ken, everything that happens in the dojo is the Sensei's resposibility. if there is 'bad' ukemi going on, then it is the Sensei who allows it.
Of course, that doesn't mean that 'bad' ukemi shouldn't/doesn't take place. The teacher should be close enough to all their students to know ( by taking ukemi themselves perhaps ;) ) what each student is like. Each student should be crystal clear on what the teacher wants them to aim for when they practice the role of uke. This may be different for the different 'styles' of aikido, however, if there is confusion, the teacher needs to take responsibility.

regards,

Mark

ruthmc
06-13-2006, 07:31 AM
if there is 'bad' ukemi going on, then it is the Sensei who allows it.
Of course, that doesn't mean that 'bad' ukemi shouldn't/doesn't take place. The teacher should be close enough to all their students to know ( by taking ukemi themselves perhaps ;) ) what each student is like.
This may not always happen, though, as some ukes reserve their stupid antics for their fellow students, and are as good as gold when they get hold of sensei... :(

It takes a pretty sharp-eyed sensei to spot that kind of thing IME.

These days I just make atemi towards the 'bad' uke's openings and then point out that I cannot do technique against that kind of attack as I am not a 10th dan ;)

Ruth

Mark Freeman
06-13-2006, 12:52 PM
This may not always happen, though, as some ukes reserve their stupid antics for their fellow students, and are as good as gold when they get hold of sensei... :(

Yes Ruth, there is always that old chestnut :D

It takes a pretty sharp-eyed sensei to spot that kind of thing IME.

Sharp eyed or not the sensei is still responsible for what and how the students practice.

regards,

Mark

ruthmc
06-14-2006, 06:13 AM
Sharp eyed or not the sensei is still responsible for what and how the students practice.
:) Absolutely agree. But not all sensei are fully aware of their responsibilities. Perhaps we need a thread on sensei with delusions of grandeur? :D

Ruth

RoyK
07-19-2006, 02:15 AM
Man does it twist my dreads when a complete newbie tries to tell me what to do. I can hardly contain myself, and I guess my eyes betray it since my look usually shuts them up.
And by the time it's their turn to do the technique, they ofcourse never get it right, and that's the end of the debate.

jonreading
07-19-2006, 12:17 PM
The head instructor is ultimately responsible for the conduct of his/her students in the dojo. However, sensei is busy and sometimes not always capable of watching everyone all of the time. A responsibility of senpai in the dojo is to police the actions of kohai. A beginner in aikido is by definition a kohai to those already training. If senpai choose not to tolerate inappropriate actions, this helps alleviate pressure for sensei to intervene in all but those issues that transcend the senpai/kohai relationship. Be careful to recognize the difference between approaching your instructor with a problem that you cannot resolve individually, and approaching your instructor with a problem for which you do not want repsonibility.

It seems that we as an American society are constantly looking to externalize responsibility. Take the genius that cuts off his foot mowing the lawn, then sues the lawnmower manufacturer for failing to identify the lawn mower uses moving blades that may be sharp; a jury then supports the claim saying, "well, he needs the money and the lawnmower manufacturer is so big..." We externalize responsibility and our society supports those decisions.

So what does that mean? That means that sometimes students choose not to take responsibility for issues within the dojo. How often do you hear (or think) "This guy is a jerk, and he might hurt someone BUT I don't want to get involved...", "My partner is doing the technique wrong, BUT sensei will correct him...", "This guy is fighting me and he is going to get hurt BUT I'll just change my technique to accomodate him and avoid the issue."

Ask yourself, why was I unable to correct this problem independently? Here are a couple of sources for why kohai feel they have authority to conflict with other students:
1. Ignorance. Kohain that do not realize the consequences of their actions often contest or resist senior students.
2. Respect. Kohai that do not respect senpai will often openly contradict or contest senior students in training.
3. Skill. Kohai that feel they are better than senpai will often resist or contest technique from senior students.
4. Endorsement. Kohai that feel their actions are endorsed by other students (or the instructor) will often contest senior students.