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Nick Simpson
12-01-2005, 04:00 AM
Not like out of a cowboy movie. But that would be cool.

Last night at one of our dojo's my sensei was teaching (in place of that dojo's sensei).There was a new student, a lady who has previously trained elsewhere abroad and is looking to train somewhere locally now. She holds the grade of fourth kyu, I believe.

Well, anyway, when my sensei is teaching, as the assistant instructor and one of the senior students it is my duty to make sure that ettiquette is followed yada yada yada.

I noticed during the start of class that she did not put any mats out while the rest of us did so. And during the end of the class she went to do the same, I gave her a few minutes in case she was going to get something from her bag or put her shoes on or whateve then join the rest of the class. But she didnt.

So I said:

' Excuse me, Are you injured? '

As she may have some injury or problem that prevented her lifting the mats. I dont know, the last thing I want to do is offend or belittle someone. Especially prospective students.

She said 'No.'

So I replied ' Well could you please put some mats away?'

And she looked a bit shocked.

I got teased alittle by some of the other seniors and felt a bit rotten but that is the level of ettiquette my sensei expects, and it's one of my roles.

Was I over the top or whatever? Should I perhaps have let it slip with it being her first session here? Any thoughts guys an gals?

PeterR
12-01-2005, 04:07 AM
Yes Nick you are bad.

First time visitors are guests.

PeterR
12-01-2005, 04:07 AM
Yes Nick you are bad. :D

First time visitors are guests.

Mark Uttech
12-01-2005, 05:20 AM
You made a mistake in the sense of asking a first time guest in your home to take out the garbage on their way out.

In gassho

Karen Wolek
12-01-2005, 05:45 AM
Was she a spectator or a visitor or a student? Maybe that dojo gives a free trial lesson? Ours doesn't, so during your first class, you are expected to help out. We are a permanent dojo, so we don't have to take out or put back any mats. But after my first class, Sensei came over and handed me a duster. Someone then explained we clean after every class...and everyone cleans.

So it depends on exactly what her status was. Most of the time, even guests from other dojo help out at the end of class.

happysod
12-01-2005, 06:19 AM
Nope, not a bad guy in my book - if she was a total beginner, new to aikido etc. yep, you'd be a bully, but a 4th kyu should have enough sense to follow dojo rules. I'd have perhaps put it differently, but I'm behind the sentiment - Mark, when you're a guest don't you at least offer to do the dishes or some other chore when your hosts are clearing up?

Dazzler
12-01-2005, 06:28 AM
My thoughts:

I'd have left it to see if she returned and watched to see if she helped next time.

Maybe she just forgot her manners under the stress / excitement of training somewhere new.

If someone had used the exact words that are quoted to me I'd probably had said "shove your mats up your ...rear".

Although I'm sure I'd have put the mats away anyway.

Do let us know if she comes back.

D

Tim Gerrard
12-01-2005, 06:33 AM
I was there, I saw it all. Nick you were EVIL :D

ruthmc
12-01-2005, 07:08 AM
I'd have let it go the first time, but if she did the same after her next class I would just say to her "Can you help us put the mats away please?".

She may just have been waiting to be told what to do :)

Ruth

Josh Reyer
12-01-2005, 07:19 AM
"Could you please put some mats away?" seems fine. Everything else seems a bit over the top. Sometimes people just aren't sure what to do, if they should do anything.

giriasis
12-01-2005, 07:57 AM
I agree that you should just have asked her to help put the mats away and then explained that part of the etiquette in your dojo. Etiquette from dojo to dojo varies so please do assume that she automatically knew what to to. I think your approach was awkward and could come across as abrasive. Skip asking about an injury part and politely at the beginning of class explain the rules.

Nick Simpson
12-01-2005, 08:39 AM
I cant believe this, I just wrote an essay replying to each of you and thanking for your views and going more in depth into my reasoning, I hit post and aikiweb tells me I cannot post because I am not logged in (when I was), I log in and it tells me 'Invalid thread address' or whatever and my post is lost in the ether of the internet. Great. That just took me like 40 minutes. Sorry guys :p

ian
12-01-2005, 09:39 AM
Yes Nick you are bad

(just thought if it was said three times in a row something might happen to you).

As a 4th kyu I would have expected her to help. Everything comes down to judgement, but I think you did something that the rest wished they'd done but were too embarassed to. It's not really etiquette - it's about helping others. As an instructor I still helps put the mats in and out - basically 'cos its' quicker and we can get more training done, and also because we're all students of aikido. Regardless of the dojo I'd at least offer to help to put the mats away. Just because someone isn't obliged to do something doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

John Boswell
12-01-2005, 09:47 AM
I cant believe this, I just wrote an essay replying to each of you and thanking for your views and going more in depth into my reasoning, I hit post and aikiweb tells me I cannot post because I am not logged in (when I was), I log in and it tells me 'Invalid thread address' or whatever and my post is lost in the ether of the internet. Great. That just took me like 40 minutes. Sorry guys :p

Yeah... that sort of thing happens to "bad" people. :D

...glad I'm not you! :p


Just kidding, Nick! As a senior student/assistant instructor of the dojo, you were well within your rights. Personally, I probably would have given her one free ride and then ask on the next class... but that's just me. ;)

Brian Vickery
12-01-2005, 09:52 AM
Hey Nick,

...I'm not big on kicking somebody who is down, but I have to agree with the majority here, you should have just let it slide the 1st time, maybe even the 1st few times if she is just a guest. If she does end up joining the dojo, THEN woud be the appropriate time to fill her in on particular dojo etiquette.

...students should observe etiquette voluntarily, it's not something that should be forced upon them. Students that don't follow proper etiquette pay the price for that later, like not being invited to test by the sensei, or end up being ignored during training because of their disrespectful actions.

...it's like the old saying: "what goes around comes around!"

Regards,

Brian Vickery

MaryKaye
12-01-2005, 10:44 AM
I'm a guest at a lot of different dojo, and had I been your visitor,your approach wouldn't have bothered me. Sometimes as a guest I just can't figure out what to do to help, and really appreciate being told.

Certainly, by about the third or fourth class you really want to say something; having students who train regularly and don't do chores breeds resentment. I've heard from dojo where they let patterns like that get established; they are hard to break after a while, and not good for morale.

Mary Kaye

Josh Reyer
12-01-2005, 11:58 AM
Well, it's certainly nothing to get too worried about. If she comes again, simply say "Sorry if I came off a little harsh last time," and I'm sure it'll smooth over. Heck, since psychological studies have shown that people have more positive reactions to someone who is mean and then nice compared to someone who is just always nice, she'll probably come to like you even more.

James Davis
12-01-2005, 12:05 PM
Whether you outrank someone or not, IMO it's better to ask her to help in a straitforward manner than ask her if she's injured. If she were limping, and your concern had been genuine, there would have been nothing wrong with your question. It seems that your initial question was meant to catch her off guard for your subsequent request. Not fair, man, not fair. :(

Just apologize, and I'm sure everything will be cool. :)

odudog
12-01-2005, 12:27 PM
I agree with everyone else here, you were wrong. I would have let it slide more than just once. She is looking for a home dojo so she will always be a guest. Once she does what the dojo requires to become a full member, then she should be required to pitch in. Besides, maybe she was behaving according to the rules of her previous dojo, they excuse guests from pitching in.

crbateman
12-01-2005, 12:38 PM
A couple of thoughts here... Unfortunately, they conflict with each other.

1) Courtesy says treat her like a guest, and say nothing, as her behavior was not intended to offend.

2) Courtesy also says that when you step into somebody else's dojo, you should follow their rules. (When in Rome, do as the Romans...).

She should have had sense enough to look around, and act as the others in the class were doing. You should have exercised enough restraint to not point out that she did not have sense enough...

In the future, when guest students are on the mat, perhaps the instructor should end the class by announcing "OK, let's everybody pitch in and grab a mat...". That way, the guest will know what is expected, even if she can't see it happening right in front of her face, and yet will not feel insulted by being singled out about it.

justin
12-01-2005, 01:01 PM
i am with clark our instructors always end with a "and the good news to is to cool down we can all put the mats away" and everyone does it, not a problem.

John Boswell
12-01-2005, 01:49 PM
i am with clark our instructors always end with a "and the good news to is to cool down we can all put the mats away" and everyone does it, not a problem.

Brilliant ! :D

odudog
12-01-2005, 01:53 PM
Mr. Bateman, there is a way for both of your thoughts could have been followed: 2) she could have behaved as the Romans do and pitched in 1) Nick, could then have treated her like a guest, and instructed her not to worry about it and that the regular dojo members would handle the mats. No more conflicting thoughts.

Nick Simpson
12-01-2005, 02:12 PM
Wow, thanks again for the replies guys an gals. I've had a really long day and although I should respond to everyone in my usual overly-detailed manner Im not going to, because i've had a long day and am very tired and after the fiasco that was my attempted post earlier on, I just dont have the will anymore :)

What I am surprised with is the spectrum of answers and attitudes, but then again, It's to be expected. It seems roughly half say yes, half say no. I'll think on some of the points and come back later/tommorrow.

Theres a few things that I dont agree with so I'll quickly get them out:

1) Thanks Brian, but thats not the way that we do things. The general consensus is that students learn ettiquette asap. Bad habits are hard to unlearn and sloppy ettiquette makes for sloppy practise. Is it not better that she is aware of the ettiquette now than to waste her time and end up being ignored/told off later?

2) James, I wasnt trying to catch her out. Thinking about it I can see how it might appear that way, and thats something I REALLY didnt intend. I asked that because I have seen people tell others to do something when the person in question is disabled or has a problem doing said thing. I really didnt want to offend her by asking her to do something that she might not physically have been able to do. But thanks for bringing that up as I can now see how that might have sounded...

3)Sorry you think that Mike, I disagree :) , but thats what makes the world and all its people so cool and funky isnt it? As for your 2nd post, interesting concept, very aiki, but there would be no reason for me to tell her not to observe ettiquette as it is not my place to do so :p

I am a bit zealous sometimes (most of the times), I agree with that, so yeah perhaps I could have let it go, but I still stand by my actions. Perhaps I will re-think my approach and just ask 'Fancy putting some mats away?'.

Well, that got longish. Thanks again :)

AikiSean!
12-01-2005, 02:18 PM
I don't think the message was wrong, but maybe the delivery was a tad off.

Nick Simpson
12-01-2005, 02:21 PM
That seems to be the common perception, but can you see my concerns in why I asked her if she was injured? What I was trying to do was ask her in a NICE manner if there was a reason she couldnt put mats away. People are complicated. Bah.

James Davis
12-01-2005, 04:13 PM
That seems to be the common perception, but can you see my concerns in why I asked her if she was injured? What I was trying to do was ask her in a NICE manner if there was a reason she couldnt put mats away. People are complicated. Bah.
Next time, try shortening it to "Bah!". :D

John Boswell
12-01-2005, 04:18 PM
Next time, try shortening it to "Bah!". :D

ROFL!!! :p

Sonja2012
12-02-2005, 01:45 AM
If I was a guest in another dojo and (inintentionally) did something that would be against that dojos ettiquette I would want to be told straight away - even if it would make me feel awkward at first. It depends on the tone you used of course but I think you did her a favour.

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 08:56 AM
I used a nice tone. Im lovely.

Steve Mullen
12-02-2005, 09:21 AM
I train in the same dojo as nick and would like to add a little to what he said. This class is a unversity class which is ran by a bigger organisation. There are new students every year join the class, many have had no experience in ANY martial arts class EVER, yet they still all seem to get the idea that they put the matts away with the rest of us. There were a lot of senior grades (for that class) there and lots of students who don't wear gi yet, but who have trained at the class since september(ish) who also put the matts away, this means that (with the exception of the sensei) pretty much the entire class was putting the matts away, I would have thought that would have been enough of a hint.

As for the way he said it, anyone who knows nick would know that he means no harm (when he does you can tell the difference) this girl had trained with him a few times that night and would have known this.

It might be a biased oppinion but i think nick did the right thing to instill the level of etiquette that is needed for our organisation, especially as the girl in question will be attending a class ran by the chief Sensei for our org on monday. Any slight embarrasment or bad hurt feelings which may have been caused on Wednesday would have saved a lot of embarresment on monday had Sensei picked up on it then.

rob_liberti
12-02-2005, 09:30 AM
I think the emotional content of your message sends an important message. What I got out of your words was "I have authority over you. I have cornered you now. Now that is has been established that you do not have any excuses about being injured, you are bad for not helping put the mats away."

Rank means responsbility. My question to myself before talking to a new student about that would be: How can I mentor in a trust-building way to preserve the wa? Authoritive power is BS. Expert power is valuable but only few very thick skinned people will listen to you if you are a jerk about it (even unintentionally). The only power that has any meaning is Charasmatic power. Being incharge of people in martial arts should require both expert and charasmatic power. It would be interesting to see both of those things tested for rank.

Rob

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 09:42 AM
Im very charismatic. I just thought that I was using the right words. I can see now how they could have been misconstrued, in the future I will adopt a simpler approach methinks.

happysod
12-02-2005, 09:46 AM
"Howay man, move the mats, divvint just stand there like a sack of tatties" perchance?

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 09:57 AM
Thats it! Thanks Ian :) Years of watching Aufwhiedersen Pet, must have paid off eh?

happysod
12-02-2005, 10:13 AM
No, as I mentioned in the bikes & beer intro, I'm originally from Seaton Sluice, so rather aware of the normal vernacular of that bit of the artic circle (already shivering at the thought of visiting dearest momma)... aah, W/bay YMCA dojo, now that was an interesting aikido dojo

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 10:16 AM
Who taught there? Wasn't Isac Coll Sensei was it?

happysod
12-02-2005, 10:37 AM
Oh yes, Isaac and George - he isn't with your lot now is he? (I think he was unaffiliated when I was there)

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 10:40 AM
Nope, he was part of a different org than ours originally and he now runs his own club.

Steve Mullen
12-02-2005, 10:41 AM
No, but one of our local sensei started with him and thinks a great deal of him. he has took a few people along to train with him too, i haven't been yet, but i hope to soon

happysod
12-02-2005, 10:49 AM
Isaac was an evil bugger then and I doubt he's changed that much, tell him I said hi very long distance and ask him to tell you his bouncer stories

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 11:03 AM
That would mean I would have to get close enough to talk to him...

senshincenter
12-02-2005, 11:06 AM
I think it's fine to ask someone to follow your dojo customs - even is that custom is that all guests help out, etc.

However, I think coming at her first with the injury question might of come across like you were doubting her good intentions or something - so yeah, maybe asking her first to help and then, if pressed, maybe follow that up with some allowances to the contrary, maybe that might have been best.

Sometimes it's us that can't come to the obviousness of the truth in such circumstances - thus we can't just say it as it is. We can't just say, "Hey, nice to have you in class. Would you mind helping out with the mats before you get ready to leave. Thanks." We often look for some way to say it without saying it how it is (e.g. Do you have some problem or reason for why you are not following our customs?). But in doing that, we leave a lot of room for potential misunderstanding in the other person.

On a kind of other topic, while dojo culture runs best as a natural extension of the group following protocols they have agreed to adopt as their own, every dojo needs an assistant instructor or a dai-senpai that has no problem just saying things like they are. Man - that's not just the right of this kind of senior member, that's the duty of this kind of member. Sensei may have to be diplomatic, e.g. "It would be great if folks could donate some money toward the purchase of some new mats, the old ones are really falling a part. Hopefully, you will see that everyone's well-being will benefit from us pooling our resources toward this end." Dai-Senpai version: "Come on - dish up some cash - we need mats. It's OUR dojo, it's OUR expense."

In the grand scheme of things, Nick, you did the thing you were supposed to do - only next time, in my opinion, you might want to try and be more comfortable with your necessary role and just say it like it is: "Please stay and help us all clean up - it's part of the class here." Then, if she has something or some reason to excuse her, she should tell it to you (which is something your instructor should let her know that she can do). If not, then she should simply say, "Whoops, sorry. Thanks for telling me." End of story.

Nick Simpson
12-02-2005, 11:23 AM
Thanks David, thats a very refreshing pov. I've thought about it alot and what you suggest (as well as a few others) is the direction Im going to take in future matters like this.

ikkitosennomusha
12-02-2005, 12:02 PM
Yes Nick you are bad

(just thought if it was said three times in a row something might happen to you).

As a 4th kyu I would have expected her to help. Everything comes down to judgement, but I think you did something that the rest wished they'd done but were too embarassed to. It's not really etiquette - it's about helping others. As an instructor I still helps put the mats in and out - basically 'cos its' quicker and we can get more training done, and also because we're all students of aikido. Regardless of the dojo I'd at least offer to help to put the mats away. Just because someone isn't obliged to do something doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

I kinda like where you are going with this. My sensei proudly explained that he had already put his dues in as a mudansha regarding putting away mats. Therefore, he never helped. Although, he did help tape them together. A sensei not helping put away mats is like a sensei not willing to take ukemi from his students. Leading by example is always the best policy.

You are not a bad guy. Regardless of entering rank and what a mudansha "ought" to know, I feel it is sensei's erspopnsibility to kindly go over expectations. Once this has been established by the sensei, then the sempai may moderate and inforce it.

I probably would have let it slide until she recieved verbal notification from Sensei regarding dojo expectations or a leaflets that some dojo hand out to new students explaining the rules.

I got onto a kohei that had been training with us for quite a while. Apparently he thought he did not have to put mats away like the rest of us. He would walk around and watch us as if he was too good. I finally said something. I felt bad for it as I do not like to play babysitter but sometimes it is necessary and it provides the opportunity to lead the stray.

aikigirl10
12-02-2005, 03:29 PM
maybe u should try going back to her and explain that u werent trying to be rude and maybe explain that its just part of the procedure and etiquette of your dojo. Like Sean said.. the message was fine , the delivery might have come off as a little rude.

Lan Powers
12-02-2005, 11:14 PM
I don't see any problem with your addressing the problem.
Everyone should do their share.....everyone ELSE was, afterall. (Instructor included)
Lan

Nick Simpson
12-03-2005, 07:02 AM
Thanks again guys. Brad, I know what you mean I dont particularly enjoy doing it,but it has to be done. This isnt the first time at that dojo that I have said something to someone. Previously it was a student who had been training there for 3/4 years, when the rest of us put the mats away he would inspect his bokken and jo for damage, till I asked him if he could put some mats away. I just didnt really want this pattern to re-establish itself.

crbateman
12-03-2005, 07:13 AM
I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner... This visitor had to ask permission to train in your dojo, right? Perhaps that is the opportunity for your Sensei to reply "Yes, you may train with us, provided you follow our dojo rules, which include helping us take down the mats after training..."

3girls
12-03-2005, 08:23 AM
Hey Nick,

just my .02 truthfully after class was over she should have offered to help out. This would be much like me coming to dinner and after I would ask to help clean up. It would be up to you to accept or decline in both situations. That said like some already has said a simple "hey do you have a minute to help pick up?" because we never know what is on someones mind at the time. Maybe she has troubles at home and the the dojo was her moment to forget then after class she was dreading going home. Who knows?

Thanks
BK
Jhn20:29

Mat Hill
12-04-2005, 06:48 AM
I think you did fine.

Sure, maybe it would seem to some people that you were trying to catch her out with the injury question, but let's face it, everybody's different and there is ALWAYS a chance that what you say will be misconstrued and you will end up treading on someone's toes.

Well, in a dojo, no-one should have such big toes! And if they do they could put them to good use and flick the mats onto the pile with them... er... Where was I?

Oh yes, as the senior in the dojo, you were not only right but obliged to explain the rules to her, and I see no reason at all to let it slide because she's a guest. Although this rule does not have any safety implications, dojo rules often do, and rules and etiquette are there precisely to prevent misunderstandings which could lead to someone getting hurt. Sometimes my sensei would let guests off, but that's his prerogative, not mine.

LMAO at Rob Liberti who construes such a litany of sins from your simple questions! In any Japanese dojo (and let's face it, although in many ways Japanese budoka are not the most diplomatic people, they do tend to have a rather deep understanding of 'wa') she would have been told straight out: no tone of voice, no subtleties, just with a simple please at the end. And LOL (is there an acronym for 'sneering slightly'?! :p ) at all the people who said, "Well, I agree with everyone else: you should have let it slide."... as Nick has pointed out, it was about fifty-fifty in agreement; way to go with the selective memory!

To me, because anyone can take anything badly, the most important thing is my delivery (which is why although I always seem a pompous ass over the net, precisely because I overexplain myself in an attempt to avoid misunderstanding, when most people seem to think I'm OK! :sorry: ), and Nick and his kohai/sempai have confirmed that his tone was OK.

So all that remains to ask is; what did she say at the time Nick, and did she come back?!

Mat Hill
12-04-2005, 06:53 AM
Sorry for the double post...

all the above said, I think Clarke's suggestion and whoever it was who said that about making a general announcement about warming-down by putting the mats away are also excellent suggestions...

as is use of the word 'Bah!' :eek: :D

Nick Simpson
12-05-2005, 05:28 AM
Hehe, well, I missed class yesterday but apparently she mentioned something previously about not being able to come to sundays, and either monday/wednesday might be tough for her to get to regularly because she trains in another art elsewhere and lives a fair drive away. Or something. I suppose I will see if she appears tonight, which is the best night for a prospective student to turn up as our senior Instructor is visiting and teaching tonight. We will see.

Matt, she didnt really say much, just looked a little startled and said yeah, I think.

Again, thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this thread, whatever your thoughts and answers may have been.

The general anouncement is a good idea, I agree, but as I am not the instructor I have no right/chance to do so. Also, with new students coming at different times and the dojo being in a constant flux of people (being a university dojo) it is rather difficult to make announcements like that. A one on one chat would probably be easier, but again, as I have said, thats not my role.

Josh Reyer
12-05-2005, 06:18 AM
What about a sign?

John (King John)
12-05-2005, 07:11 AM
Wow Nick, that certainly gave different views. I was there and you were just being yourself. I hope she comes back too.
Remember when that girl went off the mat to answer her 'phone? I gave some thought on how to mention the correct thing to do. Being as everyone had seen her go off the mat to answer it, I decided not to mention it in front of everyone and cause her embarrassment. So afterwards I simply spoke to her alone. I really wasn't nasty, at least I think (or hope) so. Nevertheless she must have been embarrassed and didn't return. Damn. I still wonder what would have been the right thing to do. Perhaps either way would have caused the same outcome. All part of the learning curve, I guess.

Nick P.
12-05-2005, 08:26 AM
"Howay man, move the mats, divvint just stand there like a sack of tatties" perchance?

<Dad's voice from "So I married an axe murderer" = ON>

"Oh! So you think your awesome Ki can move mats from over there, do you, without even touching them?
Everyone! Gather around! Let's all watch Miss Fancy Pants here heave mats through the air and stack them all neatly in a pile! Someone call BBC!"

<Dad's voice from "So I married an axe murderer" = OFF>

Of course there is always the classic
"Dont' just do something! Stand there!"

Nick Simpson
12-05-2005, 10:34 AM
Thanks John. Yeah I remember the phone incident, I think you did the right thing there and thats probably how I would have handled it. Shame she never came back, but perhaps it was just a coincidence? 2 and a half hours to Mr Sensei. Yay! Or should that be YAR! ?

John (King John)
12-05-2005, 10:35 AM
Yar!

Nick Simpson
12-05-2005, 10:37 AM
Yar! It is then.

Steve Mullen
12-05-2005, 10:45 AM
dam it, you guys are off to train with my shane and im at work in wales, its very much not fair

Nick Simpson
12-05-2005, 10:48 AM
'my' Shane? Thats sensei to you!

Steve Mullen
12-05-2005, 10:55 AM
i meant mr (my shane : ) )

Nick Simpson
12-05-2005, 11:22 AM
Damn right.

Lyle Bogin
12-05-2005, 02:27 PM
Wait until she googles you and finds this thread ;) Happens to me all the time. :)

Nick Simpson
12-06-2005, 04:20 AM
Haha. I google myself frequently and all that pops up is aikiweb. I can live with that ;)

darin
12-06-2005, 09:52 AM
So we will be expecting to see you on Dr Phil tomorrow?

Nick Simpson
12-06-2005, 12:15 PM
Pardon?

Ketsan
12-06-2005, 12:29 PM
I always help out when I visit other people's dojos, I see it as common courtesy. The way I see things if she's come to your dojo to train as a perminent member and she doesn't help with the mats it reflects very badly on her and her previous dojo. Now while I wouldn't ask a visitor to help I would ask anyone who was joining or had joined the dojo to help.

Mato-san
01-02-2006, 02:24 AM
You are bad Nick,
Should have let it slip the first time, maybe explain in an ordinary fashion that, at our dojo we help put away the mats at the end of class out of respect.
It was her first lesson, and wouldnt be surprised if it were her last at your dojo.
And if she comes back, its not cause she likes Nick!

JAMJTX
01-02-2006, 12:48 PM
My first thought was that being a 4th Kyu, she was around another dojo long enought to understand about after class cleanup. In every dojo I ever trained in there is some kind of after-class cleanup.

There are places where there is not. Perhaps she is from such a place and did not think she needed to help. (I did visit a few that did no cleaning after class and never went back.)

Or she felt that being a "visitor" she was not obligated to help.

My own thoughts are that an inexperienced visitor who came to see what Aikido is like is not obligated to clean the dojo. But an experienced visitor would pitch in to show some appreciation for the training and an interest in joining. Not wanting to help/stick around any longer may have been an indication that she decided not to come back.

The "are you injured" question would be appropriate for a regular student who was not pulling his weight. But probably not for a visitor. Perhaps a general announcement like: "Can everyone help put the mats away" would have been better.

I don't think you were necessarily wrong to expect her to help.

Mato-san
01-02-2006, 06:45 PM
The "are you injured" question would be appropriate for a regular student who was not pulling his weight. But probably not for a visitor. Perhaps a general announcement like: "Can everyone help put the mats away" would have been better.

.[/QUOTE]
BINGO

Leon Aman
01-03-2006, 04:27 AM
I agree with the majority that you are bad Nick :) considering that you are an assistant instructor, but you didnt consider the feeling of your guest that she is not aware of your dojos rule.

Josh Reyer
01-03-2006, 06:45 AM
It's funny. Recently I dropped in and trained at another dojo in Nagoya. At my usual dojo, we train in a municipal gymnasium's judojo, so we never clean after class. At the dojo I went to in Nagoya, it's a very small "sports center"; really a tiny two-room building shared by an aikido dojo, a kendo dojo, and a karate dojo. After training, the sensei made some small talk, asked if I enjoyed it, and then said, "Now, after class we put away the [i]tatami[.i]. Please help!" No muss, no fuss. But it made me think of this thread.

batemanb
01-03-2006, 07:14 AM
I'd have let it slide on the first visit. Did she come back?

Nick Simpson
01-07-2006, 11:34 AM
Nope, she hasnt returned so far. Apparently she was injured: a bad back. Of course she may have a plethora of reasons for not telling me (or anyone who trained with her that class) but I find it a little strange that I gave her the option of saying 'yes, I am' and she did not take it...

Mat Hill
01-07-2006, 09:30 PM
So she was injured!

The plot thinnens!

(There follows a lot of second guessing with possibly limited value but based on simple observations of various interactions in various dojo over a long time! This is not meant to imply anything about this particular woman, but merely to illustrate the wonderful diversity of the precious human snowflake... I should can that tone - I forget that people write that kind of thing seriously on the net sometimes! :yuck: :D )

Maybe she was a just difficult customer... hence the mobile incident. Maybe she was one of those freeloaders. Maybe she uses one of those recurring mysterious 'bad back' injuries to get out of practice and cleaning up and stuff when she doesn't feel like it, and got all embarassed, not being brazen enough to lie completely about it and answer 'Yes' to the 'Are you injured?' question. She may have been caught on the hop with a guilty conscience.

Then again maybe she is genuinely injured and didn't answer yes because she is profoundly embarassed about it. This may also give her an excuse to leave her phone on when there's a high possibility of a call coming so she has an excuse to leave the mat for a breather without drawing attention to her 'weakness'. I was the assistant instructor a few times for a few sessions with a very badly disfigured and badly injured accident victim who wanted to sample aiki ... I asked her not to do anything she felt uncomfortable with, and said not to worry about feeling uncomfortable in the first place, because beginners always feel uncomfortable about things anyway. I thought I'd done everything I could: not bending over backwards which might make her feel more awkward, but not treating her quite the same as everyone else as this might have glossed over her probalem and made her think I wasn't serious enough or didn't recognise her injury as as serious as it was... giving her a tad more than the usual encouragement I give beginners, and making sure she had ample opportunity not to do the things that would cause her distress. She didn't come back after about three sessions, and furthermore, she didn't tell anyone why. I was a bit upset!

I found out later from her mentor who'd come with her, who I happened to meet, that she'd been embarassed assuming the kneeling position prior to learning a forward roll as a precursor to maeukemi because it meant she had to open her legs more than she felt comfortable as a woman. Now of course, I've had many many women on the mat and none of them have had that problem, or at least voiced it, before, so I can only gather that it was her particular quirk... and then maybe as a quirk of human nature, she wanted to be recognised as a woman, perhaps even more so since her accident, which may lead to embarassment in unsuspected places.

So, maybe your case was embarassed Nick.

...[/random speculation]

Anyway, i still think you were right in what you said. Of course, in future putting it the other way round may be better, 'We always help put the mats away after class... unless you're injured in some way?' or many of the other excellent suggestions on the board.

I've gotta laugh at the third person on this thread agreeing with 'everyone' or 'the majority'... I agree with the majority that you are bad Nick :) considering that you are an assistant instructor, but you didnt consider the feeling of your guest that she is not aware of your dojos rule.Sorry Leon, not picking on you, it's just statistical chance! You've just agreed with the majority, when if you count the number of people who said Nick was bad, and the number of people who said Nick was good, and the number of people who didn't express clearly one way or the other you may find that including yourself 13 people said Bad, 14 people have said Good, and 7 are undecided/indifferent/unclear/non-judgmental/other. Therefore, you are in and agreeing with a minority! There's nice wee example of selective observation for you! :cool:

Of course, my selective observation is deciding who is undecided/indifferent/unclear/non-judgmental/other... so in a parallel universe you may just be right! :hypno:

Josh, yep, that agrees pretty much with my experience in Japan and the observation from my previous post. I find it interesting that most of the people in Japan on this thread said that Nick was bad because she should have been treated like a guest... maybe most of the gaijin are too used to being treated specially over here, even long-termers who have reached some kind of exulted status! In my experience, whether you're treated like a guest anyway, you should be the first to ask/act on putting mats away etc... then you'll find you're treated a lot more naturally: like being asked directly to put the mats away!

Josh Reyer
01-07-2006, 11:20 PM
So she was injured!
Maybe she was a just difficult customer... hence the mobile incident. Maybe she was one of those freeloaders. Maybe she uses one of those recurring mysterious 'bad back' injuries to get out of practice and cleaning up and stuff when she doesn't feel like it, and got all embarassed, not being brazen enough to lie completely about it and answer 'Yes' to the 'Are you injured?' question. She may have been caught on the hop with a guilty conscience.

Then again maybe she is genuinely injured and didn't answer yes because she is profoundly embarassed about it.

Maybe she hurt her back putting the mats away. :D

Josh, yep, that agrees pretty much with my experience in Japan and the observation from my previous post. I find it interesting that most of the people in Japan on this thread said that Nick was bad because she should have been treated like a guest... maybe most of the gaijin are too used to being treated specially over here, even long-termers who have reached some kind of exulted status! In my experience, whether you're treated like a guest anyway, you should be the first to ask/act on putting mats away etc... then you'll find you're treated a lot more naturally: like being asked directly to put the mats away!

Well, what, 3 or 4 people in Japan replied in this thread? Gotta be careful about sample size. ;)

In my volleyball circle, we pay 500 yen every week to cover the gym rental. First timers are considered guests, so they don't have to pay. In terms of cleaning after practice, though, it's just kind of assumed and everyone pitches in. In Japan (as I'm sure you know Mat, but for the benefit of others), all students clean up the classroom everyday after school. This is also the case for extracurricular clubs, which everyone belongs to. So, I've never seen a case where someone, even a first timer, didn't jump in right away with the cleaning. It's like a habit. Except, as I said, at my usual dojo. But in that case, there's nothing to put away, and the tatami get professionally cleaned. Although everyone takes their garbage with them, of course.

Nick Simpson
01-08-2006, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the replies again, Mat and Josh. Just to clarify, the girl with the mobile phone was a different person and that happened over a year ago. General dojo ettiquette is that phones are turned off, unless the person is on call or expecting a call for whatever reason, if they make this known to the instructor/s then there is no problem with this. In that case, the girl either did not know or had not listened and when her phone went off she left the mat without permission and answered it in the dojo and then came back on the mat without permission. John tried to politely explain to her why this is not the done thing. Unfortuantely as has been said, that girl didnt come back either.

Yeah, I agree that a guest should at least make an effort to pitch in with everybody else, especially if they are considering joining a dojo. I understand this may be different to the way things are done in Japan, but this is not Japan :)

Anyways, I just thought I'd let people know that she didnt come back. Im not really asking for anymore advice here, but feel free to continue with this thread if you wish. I have been told by my instructor, head regional instructor and the head of our organisation that I was in the right and she was expected to help out. The injury question is not really part of the issue, I was not trying to trip her up, but I have took on board what people have said regarding this and will change my tack in the future. Thanks again guys and gals ;)

Mat Hill
01-08-2006, 09:13 PM
OK.

OK!

But sometimes they just won't die! :freaky:

Yeah, I agree that a guest should at least make an effort to pitch in with everybody else, especially if they are considering joining a dojo. I understand this may be different to the way things are done in Japan, but this is not Japan :)That is precisely the way things are done over here too.

That's it from me!

merlynn
03-21-2006, 09:37 AM
Not like out of a cowboy movie. But that would be cool.

Last night at one of our dojo's my sensei was teaching (in place of that dojo's sensei).There was a new student, a lady who has previously trained elsewhere abroad and is looking to train somewhere locally now. She holds the grade of fourth kyu, I believe.

Well, anyway, when my sensei is teaching, as the assistant instructor and one of the senior students it is my duty to make sure that ettiquette is followed yada yada yada.

I noticed during the start of class that she did not put any mats out while the rest of us did so. And during the end of the class she went to do the same, I gave her a few minutes in case she was going to get something from her bag or put her shoes on or whateve then join the rest of the class. But she didnt.

So I said:

' Excuse me, Are you injured? '

As she may have some injury or problem that prevented her lifting the mats. I dont know, the last thing I want to do is offend or belittle someone. Especially prospective students.

She said 'No.'

So I replied ' Well could you please put some mats away?'

And she looked a bit shocked.

I got teased alittle by some of the other seniors and felt a bit rotten but that is the level of ettiquette my sensei expects, and it's one of my roles.

Was I over the top or whatever? Should I perhaps have let it slip with it being her first session here? Any thoughts guys an gals?
as a student of lone pine ryu we train in 2 locations one in woking and one in guildford, i first attended a monday class where people attending the dojo have to put the mats out ... so any ways i turned up for the first time on a monday to find our childrens instructor putting the mats out by himself so i immediatly offered to help him ! i didnt have to do this but as a matter of meer courtesy i did do. is it just me or am i expecting to much of people when i think its just common courtesy to help

Alec Corper
03-21-2006, 10:10 AM
Nick, You must be bad, mad, and sad since this thread is still alive more than a year later :D

For me it's a case of "mi casa es su casa" so make yourself at home and help out!

Nick Simpson
03-21-2006, 01:09 PM
Lets go to the graveyard, dig up zombies. And stuff.

Ron Tisdale
03-21-2006, 01:54 PM
uh uh...no stuff. Absolutely no stuff whatsoever shall be dug up on my watch! ;)

B,
R

Nick Simpson
03-21-2006, 02:01 PM
No zombies, no stuff. Deal!

Mark Freeman
03-22-2006, 05:51 PM
Really Nick you are very very bad, but in a very Mr T sort of way ;)

Nick Simpson
03-27-2006, 03:45 AM
Or a michael jackson sort of way?

merlynn
03-27-2006, 11:52 AM
Really Nick you are very very bad, but in a very Mr T sort of way ;)
he may be bad but we all love him dearly :D :p

zenofmoo
03-27-2006, 03:22 PM
So right then mate, I think the general consensus is that your BAD! For no other reason than your bad.

I would like to offer a couple of opposing pov here.

Firstly, I belong to a regular club where we don't have to put mats away nor do we clean afterward. Going to a new club, this would be different for me.

Secondly, If I saw the rest of people putting the mats away, I would presume that I needed to help out with that, as a simple courtesy.

emma.mason15
03-28-2006, 04:04 PM
I agree .... Nick simpson your a very bad man ....... GO to my room! ... ;)

James Davis
03-28-2006, 05:28 PM
I agree .... Nick simpson your a very bad man ....... GO to my room! ... ;)
Dirty, dirty girl. :disgust:

emma.mason15
03-28-2006, 07:11 PM
*shrugs!*

Dan D Carreau
03-29-2006, 03:06 PM
Nick

Any new menbers if they seam out of place you should help them
as you would with a white blet.

Dan

merlynn
03-30-2006, 04:17 AM
Dirty, dirty girl. :disgust:
yes but james this is why we all love emma so much :p :D

Scott Josephus
03-30-2006, 05:25 PM
Hi, just my quick two cents. I just became 4th kyu, which means that I've been approximately training for about two years. Now, here's the thing- as I am constantly reminded by my Sensei- the techniques themselves are part of our training, true, but awareness is also a big part of our training. Now, assuming, as the aikidoka in question is also 4th Kyu, that your dojo rules vary slightly from hers, it shouldn't have taken that much awareness to notice, "Hmm . . . everyone else is putting away mats. Perhaps I should also". Just a thought. SO I don't think that you were out of line at all.
A point in case: This past weekend, I went up to Merrillville for and Iaido seminar, and when it was over, I wasn't sure of the dojo's general customs, so I went to the Dojo Cho and asked if there was anything I could do to help. I ended up sweeping the mat. The point is, being 4th Kyu, she should have known better, and could have asked if she wasn't sure about protocol. Our chores and customs for cleaning the dojo are as much a part of our training as whatever waza or undowe do on the mat. As my Sensei points out often, "Everything in Aikido is there for a reason, from the way we get up from Seiza to the way in which we clean the dojo. I think that perhaps she needs to revisit that.

Anyway, to answer, no I don't think you're bad, she should have known better.

:ai: :ki: :do:

Michael Neal
03-31-2006, 01:40 PM
I think you could have gradually accustomed this person to your dojos etiquette without confronting them about it on their first night. I personally would have said Ok and helped you put the mats away then never came back, to me it would appear like you were a bunch of nannies on power trips.

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2006, 02:47 PM
I kind of equate this to some military experiences I have. I am a field grade officer, in public, in uniform soldiers of lower rank are supposed to salute me when passing. I is similar in function and reasons we do things in the dojo as far as ettiquette goes. There is a reason for it and it is appropriate.

That said, I don't keep count or worry about it either. Many times soldiers will be talking to their buddies or it just doesn't seem to pass the common sense test. While it is well within my right to go up and demand the respect and make them do it...I don't and would be embarrassed to do this. Many times I will salute the soldiers if their hands are full.

Why say this? well while it is important to do this stuff, sometimes it goes beyond the reasons for doing it and if I become a "salute collector" what kind of person I am really?

I also don't care of keep track of who picks up mats in the dojo, only when it becomes a problem does it really matter, which is rarely. Sometimes people get involved in a conversation, and it is much more important to have that conversation than to pick up mats. Who really cares.

Our egos must be able to handle the fact that we are their to train ourselves and as long as we do what is right, then we are good to go. When we start "counting" and worrying about others...we miss the point of our training all together.

Michael O'Brien
03-31-2006, 04:44 PM
Sometimes people get involved in a conversation, and it is much more important to have that conversation than to pick up mats. Who really cares.

In our dojo everyone also pitches in to clean. This involves sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, etc. and it never involves any one person being involved in the cleaning for more than 5 minutes. I can't imagine any conversation being so important that it can't wait that 5 minutes.

Cleaning the dojo is part of your training. It is part of building that respect and kinship with your training partners in the mutual spirit of co-operation. In my opinion it is disrespectful for someone to stand around carrying on a conversation while everyone else cleans around them.

Satome Shihan actually addresses cleaning of the dojo two times:

In "rules of the dojo" it states:
Cleaning is an active prayer of thanksgiving. It is each student's responsibility to assist in cleaning the dojo and to cleanse his or her own mind and heart.
In "Proper dojo etiquette" it states:
The amt should be swept before class each day and after practice is over. It is everyone's responsibility to keep the dojo clean.

Then it states:
If you are unable to abide by these rules, you will be unable to study Aikido in this dojo.

I think that spells it out pretty clearly.

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2006, 05:26 PM
The point i was trying to make is that one should not be concerned with what others do or don't do so much as their own actions.

I study/studied with ASU in DC area so I am aware of the rules of ASU and Saotome sensei. He also is big on patience, tolerance, and having people work together. That can come in many forms.

I agree cleaning is important and one should be concerned with filial responsibilities to the dojo and the community. There is yin and yang invovled however!

Michael O'Brien
03-31-2006, 06:45 PM
The point i was trying to make is that one should not be concerned with what others do or don't do so much as their own actions.

I study/studied with ASU in DC area so I am aware of the rules of ASU and Saotome sensei. He also is big on patience, tolerance, and having people work together. That can come in many forms.

I agree cleaning is important and one should be concerned with filial responsibilities to the dojo and the community. There is yin and yang invovled however!

Kevin,
I agree people should not be concerned with what others are doing per say and also agree there is a yin and yang involved.

I was merely pointing out that proper dojo etiquette dictates that everyone should be involved in the cleaning process and on that basis Nick, as assistant instructor and responsible for ensuring proper dojo etiquette involved, was well within his responsibilitys to ask the lady in question to assit in cleaing up instead of packing her bag to leave.

We have had students who had to go to work immediately after training and are making a sacrifice to be there to train on a "lunch hour" so as soon as we bow out they have to grab a rushed shower and get back to work. There may always be extenuating circumstances but this wasn't presented as that type of situation.

Kevin Leavitt
04-01-2006, 11:49 AM
sounds good Michael! Have a nice day!

johanlook
04-02-2006, 11:34 PM
With all the crap that I've seen go on in dojos in general its laughable that you even need to worry about being a badass over stuff like this. That being said, you're an evil, mean-spirited man - keep up the good work.