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02-16-2006, 08:03 PM
Greetings everyone,

Our Saturday class is straight after the Kids class and for 2 weeks now I have had a junior (around 11yrs old) 1st kyu come up to me and tell me that he is a higher belt than I am and that he knows more techniques than I do. I am 27 yrs old and only 7th kyu so it would be understandable that he would be more experienced than me in regards to time spent on the mat. The way I dealt with it was to say that " yes you are a higher belt than me " and just got back on the mat. The second time when he said that he knows more techniques than I do I said " I would be careful who you say that to " then hoped back on the mat. I say hello to this young person and his father has just started training in the adult classes.

Has anyone here been in a similar situation and if so how did you deal with. I fear that what he is saying to me in class he may be saying to his mates at school and this would get him in big trouble.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Joe Bowen
02-16-2006, 08:19 PM
I would say you're letting an eleven year old kid get your dander up for no good reason. Forgetaboutit, and train...Or you can tell him that while he may know more Aikido techniques, you more more about life in general, and are higher ranked than him in that regard. Does he say similar things to his father?

02-16-2006, 08:26 PM
Hi Joe,

Its not getting me wound up. I was more worried about why he was saying these things in the first place. Aikido teaches humility (a humble view of ones importance) and being 1st kyu, given that he is very young he should still be portraying this trait towards lower ranks (lead by example).

Then again its only my opinion.

02-16-2006, 08:39 PM
just stick out your tounge and tell him "at least Im past puberty"

Michael O'Brien
02-16-2006, 08:47 PM
hehe ... Daniel has good advice ... Or you might tell him that no matter what techniques he knows you are still big enough to squash him like the annoying brat he is behaving as. :)

02-16-2006, 09:12 PM
bend over, put your hands on your knees, look him in the eye and say

"And we are so proud of you"

His father has an easier time.

"Yeah but you still have to [insert disgusting household chore here]"

02-16-2006, 10:09 PM
Heh, I like all the replies.

I'm sure its tough to teach an 11 year old humility. I didn't really learn any until a bit later than that, myself.

I say: Challenge him to a drinking contest. The last one standing is the true champion of the Universe. You must then trade belts.

Edwin Neal
02-16-2006, 10:55 PM
ask him is that a challenge? then kick his ass... no i'm just joking... no i'm not... yes i am... really! this is why i don't think most kids below about 14 or so should even start aikido...

02-16-2006, 11:56 PM
Aikido teaches humility...Yes, Aikido teaches, but some people don't LEARN.

Even if he doesn't know it, most kids grades are merely representative of their knowledge of technique (usually simplified ones at that), and have little or nothing to do with their philosophies or attitudes. It doesn't pay to worry about it, as that student's deportment on the mat is a matter for the instructor's attention, not yours. Eventually, there will be an "adjustment", one way or another. Don't let yourself be drawn into a comparison of ranks. Belts are just to hold your pants up, anyway.

Mark Freeman
02-17-2006, 03:38 AM
Belts are just to hold your pants up, anyway.

tell him this, and that anyway, yours is bigger than his! ;)

02-17-2006, 03:59 AM
Thanks everyone for your replies.


02-17-2006, 05:12 AM
Just say "Yeah, whatever!"

Then get on with your training and ignore him.

(That's what his schoolfriends would say if he was like that with them).


02-17-2006, 05:22 AM
Greetings everyone,

I fear that what he is saying to me in class he may be saying to his mates at school and this would get him in big trouble.

Let him get a kicking from his classmates? It might do him a bit of good.

I think you dealt with him really well. Personally I'd be a bit tempted to pat him on the head too. He's only a kid.

Michael Meister
02-17-2006, 05:57 AM
Yes, Aikido teaches, but some people don't LEARN.

Reminds me to what a former german teacher of mine used to say...

some will never learn, some will learn even later, and then there are those who even by then will not learn...

But with an 11 year old, I dare say, there is still hope ;) . Anyway, I wouldn't be concerned about it. At some point, we were all invincible and quite proud on what we knew and could do... disillusion comes early enough.

James Davis
02-17-2006, 10:54 AM
"Yes, and your belt is very pretty. What color is your car?" :p

02-17-2006, 11:32 AM
I think all of these replies would work. :) I would just ask him a realy hard math question or something that only an adult would no.

Edwin Neal
02-17-2006, 11:55 AM
really just accept his challenge and tap him out... then tell him "your kungfu sucks" i am the sempai now... ;-))

02-17-2006, 12:02 PM
"Yes, and your belt is very pretty. What color is your car?" :p
I like that one

02-17-2006, 01:49 PM
I train with a twelve year old who will occasionally, in the most polite way possible, say things like this to me. He is quite correct, though, so it's hard to get mad at him.... As far as I can tell by observing him with his agemates, he is very discreet about his aikido off the mat. But he can't help noticing that I'm in a position of authority (assistant instructor) over him but he has four years' training time on me, and he *is* better than I am.

I figure it does me no harm to acknowledge this. Kids have trouble getting respect for their accomplishments, why add to their frustration? Besides, I'm hoping he can teach me ryote tori tenchinage irimi, which for some reason I just can't get my head around....

Mary Kaye

02-17-2006, 02:21 PM
Has anyone here been in a similar situation and if so how did you deal with. I fear that what he is saying to me in class he may be saying to his mates at school and this would get him in big trouble.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Even as a yudansha, I have been corrected by people who were certain I was training incorrectly. Of course, I was, but many of them had no idea what I was doing wrong.

I would handle this by swallowing any lingering pride, saying Oneigaishimasu! and enjoy training and learning from him. It is very likely he might learn something from you in the process, even if you don't intend to teach it.


02-17-2006, 08:20 PM
You could always point out that his Mom still has to drive him to class... ;)

02-17-2006, 09:41 PM
It seems kids always want to prove such things, but sometimes its dangerous for them to be over confident and perhaps get hurt as Ben suggests. Sometimes gently proving the point that belts dont matter may make them see that they are being over confident (I tied a kid up with his own belt once for the same thing hehe). Also nobody seems to have suggested letting the instructor of the kids classes know about this, not in a whinging or complaining way, but as a concern that the kid isnt learning that humility and perhaps anything else he should be learning.

The problem with letting his classmates give him a good kicking is that a) he could be seriously hurt b) he may get totally disenchanted and quit completely c) worse

Also reminding him that he should respect his elders and its fairly rude to say what he is saying to you could do no harm.

Roman Kremianski
02-18-2006, 06:50 AM
Don't fret it Ben, a 9-year-old told me the same thing. :P

02-18-2006, 01:23 PM
At my classes there are a group of four yellow belts all in the same age group of around 11 to 13. All of them have been doing Aikido for longer than me, however, I cannot help thinking that I am a more experienced student, despite being a white belt. Their attitude towards the art is less serious than mine, although I realise this comes with age. I have trained with them on occasion, and it has only served to reinforce this belief of mine. But, then again, perhaps I shouldn't be so focused on others' paths, and instead I should keep my eyes straight ahead on my own goals.

For my advice to you, I don't think there's anything you can do to help them except maybe let them learn from their own experiences - finding out for themselves where gloating will get them.

[Edit - typos :o ]

02-19-2006, 06:35 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies.

They have all been very helpful even the tying up with the belt (I am going to try this one LOL).