Hi all, I'm an italian aikidoka, 2^kyu from a more or less aikikaish dojo (that is:we are unaffiliated, but from what I've seen at seminars aikikai is what we're closer to).
After reading this forum for a while i decided to subscribe to ask for help.
My problem is this: there is a woman in my dojo who's much smaller then me (smallest person in the dojo, actually).
Now, it's my dojo's politics to have everyone train with everyone else, at times, but whenever we're paired she simply refuses to be uke claiming I'm too big and I'd hurt her. No matter how much I say 'fine, we can just go very slowly so as to learn the finer points' or whatever. She just refuses. Please note I'm absolutely not the butcher sort of aikidoka!
This is, obviously, a rather unpleasant situation to me ( and to her too, I suppose) as I don't like being considered as sort of a boogie man, but it seems I can't find a way out!
Any suggestion, please?
Yes, that's what I'll do eventually if I can't find a solution. But it's sort of humiliating to admit I can't find a way to solve our incompatibility. She does train with other people btw (even if she is of the 'no! Don't throw me, I don't feel safe with falls' variety). It seems it's just my being the big guy that scares her.
I'm not even that enormous btw (187 cm, 98 kg) but I happen to be the the biggest in the dojo at the moment.
I really would like a way to solve the problem, rather then just avoid it.
Of course there may be just no solution.
Thank you, anyway.
Have you ever tried to be her partner during paired warm-up excersises? I'm 1,96 (and not the biggest in my dojo) and had a similar situation. When katate dori tenkan ho was called, I was already sitting next to the person in question, bowed and tried to be the softes uke ever. That broke the ice.
I think she's very stupid. Or she
just want to enjoy aiki-dance.
If you like her, please persuade her
to train with various people as possible.
Or don't think about her anymore. :)
Talk to your teacher if you can't work it out, but I'd recommend that you take it in the context of attempting to work out a solution rather than just cutting her off (I'm not saying that you would do that, but that's what was suggested).
Have you asked her why she's afraid you'll hurt her? maybe you could try being nage on your knees while she's standing so you're at the same height? Maybe you could point out gently that she is missing getting experience dealing with someone as big as you and she might need that in the real world sometime.
Is there someone else close to her size in your dojo? Maybe she can watch you with them and see that they will not get hurt.
Also she may just have a major mental block dealing with larger people. There might be some hidden reason that is causing this fear that you are not aware of.
I guess just talking to her and getting to know her so she will discover that you are a really nice guy, and you won't hurt her.
Anne Marie Giri
[Edited by giriasis on January 24, 2001 at 12:40pm]
How much ukemi training do you have in your dojo? I've been in the same position at a seminar. I asked the her(in this case) how much ukemi she had trained. She told me that they didn't teach that, you had to learn it the hard way. After that session I asked her if she would be interested in some ukemitraining, and she agreed. I did the basic with her, I mean from seiza doing a roll forward, and sitting on your but doing a roll backwards. Soon we did it from standing and she build more confidence ( It didn't hurt her!).
The next session she had no problem being uke (she told them she didn't do breakfall) and she thanked me after.
Nicola, even if you have ukemi training in your dojo, do more, maby as a warm up! If she start to feel she can do both break fall and rolles then maby she'll not be afraid anymore. I do not believe ignoreing her is the right attitude in a dojo.
'Hope this is of some value!
Train with a smile on your face, and your Aikido will be circular and without corners. :)
Wow, I don't like the sound of having to learn ukemi the hard way! Is that really possible?
Where I used to train there were a lot of people from the building trade, who were very big and beefy. I found them intimidating at first, however for me it felt like part of aikido training to face someone who is obviously your physical superior, and be able to deal with it (both as uke and tori). [the females at the time tended to be alot more experienced and had no problems with them].
I think one difficulty females often face is that they may get thrown on to their chest (if she has big chest/breasts it may be very difficult for her to do a fast break fall without hurting herself and she may feel that it is not so much the power but the speed of the throw which stops her preventing this). - this may also be something which she may not feel obliged to point out to you. [us men have a similar groin problem if your legs happen to close together too quickly!]
Best advice I could give is to get to know her socially, so she trusts you as a person (or just let her get used to you down the dojo). Then eventually when she has the courage, train with her very gently and slowly (and so she can do a roll, rather than a breakfall) - gradually picking up power and pace over the weeks making she that she still has control of her own ukemis.
To me fear of our opponent or a weapon is an intrinsic aspect of aikido which we have to overcome (which is why I like bokken work).
Try swariwaza (sp?) (knealing techniques) with her. Big people are much less intimidating when doing swariwaza. If she doesn't come around then let it be.
If she trys swariwaza with you, she'll see that you are not actually the boogie man.....
Although, I kinda like being the boogie man!
Dan P. - Mongo
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