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-   -   touchy topic (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2662)

Paula Lydon 09-26-2002 11:13 PM

touchy topic
 
Hi all!
~~Does anyone out there have to deal with favoritism in their dojo? On either end of it? How do you handle it?
~~Just curious...:rolleyes:

Adam Ross 09-26-2002 11:33 PM

Go to another dojo. If your sensai likes to play favorites, then find another one. Your paying money there to get the same amount of attention as anyone else.

Genex 09-27-2002 05:54 AM

Wait till the favorate is walking off the mat then kneecap them with a steel bar, they wont be favorate any more evileyes

alternativly speak with your sensei about it, i'm sure they'd listen to you and if they dont, find a dojo that knows how to practice aikido.

yoroshiku

pete

rachmass 09-27-2002 06:04 AM

just look at it as a life-lesson. My teacher paid a lot of attention to some folks, and barely any to others. In the end, those of us who he did not physically work with a lot, still ended up being able to steal his technique and learn a ton from him! While I don't think it was necessarily favoritism, it felt like it at times. Maybe he was just giving each of us what we needed, and those that he wasn't correcting just needed to observe better for themselves (me included).

Anyway, it is just a thought.

best,

Rachel

aiki_what 09-27-2002 07:55 AM

Your Aikido is your reponsibility. Worrying about who Sensei pays attention to should not be a problem you are concerned with. Teachers have a variety of reasons for using/working with particular uke. Maybe they do play favorites sometimes but I go back to my original statement....worry about your own aikido.

Mark

memyselfandi 09-27-2002 09:21 AM

Unless of course he means that he's the favorite...(I know I'd feel guilty about something like that...maybe...)

aikigreg 09-27-2002 10:15 AM

If I were teaching, I'd use whomever I was most comfortable with as uke. However, if I saw that another student was getting to train for free when I had to pay, or some other kind of perk like that, I would probably find another dojo.

If I want some of my sensei's time, I ask for it and get it. Try that.

SeiserL 09-27-2002 01:06 PM

IMHO, its somewhat human to have some people you work better with than other for any number of reasons. Don't take it too personally or seriously. O'Sensei even said that an instructor can only teach you so much, that your training is ultimately your responsibility.

How do I handle it? I don't. It's not my problem, its only Sensei's preferences. He haas the right to make his own choices.

Until again,

Lynn

Chuck Clark 09-27-2002 01:10 PM

Over the years I have had students say:

"You are ignoring me, why?", and I answer, "You're doing fine and as a senior, you should concentrate on your practice, not what I'm doing."

and another one...

"You're ignoring me, why?", and I might say, "You never really listen and try to do what I show you and suggest that you do, so I'm waiting for you to "get it" on your own."

Those that I use as uke when demonstrating something before the class, I want someone that can really give a dependable attack with good distance, timing, and intent to cause me a problem that I have to solve. Preferably, solve with the technique, etc. that I'm wanting to demonstrate. There is never any favoritism.

Favoritism, in my book, is when an instructor gives more attention to those they "like" or are connected with socially outside the dojo, or someone they "hope" to make a relationship with... Those sorts of things are really inappropriate.

Regards,

akiy 09-27-2002 01:12 PM

I remember reading an interesting essay by Richard Heckler, I believe, in "Aikido and the New Warrior" in which his teacher started to pay pretty much no attention to him right before his shodan exam (calling him, "What's his name" and such)...

-- Jun

opherdonchin 09-27-2002 01:17 PM

Quote:

Adam Ross wrote:
If your sensai likes to play favorites, then find another one.

Quote:

Marc Mueller wrote:
Your Aikido is your reponsibility. Worrying about who Sensei pays attention to should not be a problem you are concerned with.

Wow. What different viewpoints. Makes you wonder how that comes about. Are the differences because of different ideals about what AiKiDo should be about or different experiences with and understanding of favoritism.

In the thread on Disadvantages of Ukemi Jaime Exley said
Quote:

Jaime Exley wrote:
I want to be the kind of uke that my sempai trip over each other to practice with. When a Shihan comes to visit our dojo, I want to be the guy that gets all the hands on experience.

There it seems like Jaime is claiming that the good AiKiDoka structures his training in order to be selected as a favorite. That certainly seems logical in what is, in many ways, an apprentice/craftsman system of training.

Of course, everything can be treated as an opportunity to learn, including being ignored by the sensei. There is also the very difficult question about whether we do expect or should expect our sensei's to possess admirable qualities as human beings, or whether we expect them to have just as many faults as their students.

paw 09-27-2002 02:39 PM

Quote:

Wow. What different viewpoints. Makes you wonder how that comes about. Are the differences because of different ideals about what AiKiDo should be about or different experiences with and understanding of favoritism.
I think you'll find similar viewpoints in the "Responsibilities: Teacher's or Students" thread, which may suggest that there are differences as what the responsibilities of a "teacher" are and what the responsibilities of a "student" are. I also suspect that different people have different ideas of what "favoritism" is, and as a result how serious or whimsical it is for an instructor to have favorites. Then, everyone has their own personal preferences about what works best for them to add into the mix.

Mostly guessing,

Paul

Deb Fisher 09-27-2002 04:59 PM

I think it's interesting that most people are assuming Paula is talking about the relationship between herself as student and her sensei. Since this is in the teaching section, and I don't know whether you are teaching (but do know that you have many years of experience) - Paula, are you asking about giving out favoritism or dealing with favoritism from a sensei?

Or both? And has anyone else noticed that favoritism is a weird word to spell? Every time I type it, it looks wrong.

Deb

Paula Lydon 09-27-2002 08:15 PM

Hi Deb,

~~Yes, the assumption has been striking as I worded it 'on either side'. Prior to Aikido I taught a number of years in another MA and had to deal with the balance of both being approached by students who seemed to want favoritism and my own urge to indulge my human draw to this person over that. I was one of those (probably neurotic) instructors who wanted to keep teaching on almost a professional level; warm and welcoming, helpful to all and yet absolutely disciplined when that was called for. My students knew where I stood.

~~I've also been in a situation where my instructor tried to show me favoritism, giving me extra time and attention. I found it uncomfortable so I put more effort into extra duties and helping other students, which then made it feel acceptable. Yes, I know, my own internal check and balance scale.

~~More recently I've been in a dojo where a head teacher focused on a couple of people that even senior students told me he 'took under his wing'. A large school, many students had a similar complaint. Mostly I just figure...oh well, that's just the way it is, and I focus on my training. Yes, there are lessons in this as well, it just seems like an extra bump in the training road that doesn't need to be there. I know it's difficult to be the 'favorite' as well...

~~When I said I was just curious, that's what I meant ;)

Hi Jun,

~~I read that as well in Mr. Heckler's book (also an excerpt in G. Leonard's Silent Pulse, I believe). His instructor and dojo seemed to put much emphasis on internal/character training as well. Perhaps some dojos/teachers conduct that training so subtly that slow students, like me, don't catch it.

~~Interesting topic, though...has brough out quite the spectrum of views. Thanks to all!:)

mike lee 09-28-2002 06:00 AM

keep it simple
 
The dojo where I used to practice had something written on the wall in Chinese. One day I asked someone to translate it. It said, "ping chang hseen" or "maintain your usual mind."

They said that this concept was easily understood, but actually quit difficult to realize and put into practice. In fact, they said, it's a daily exercise, a kind of discipline.

I think that when instructors start using amateur psychology on their students, along with other mind games, it will ultimately backfire and have a destabilizing affect on the dojo.

I think it's important to stay on course and stick with the training program. Let people work out their problems through the course of their aikido training and bring things back into harmony by "maintaining your usual mind," and being a silent example of harmony in action. :do:

opherdonchin 09-30-2002 02:13 PM

I also worry a lot about favoritism when I teach (or even as a senior student in the class). I wrestle with it by making sure that I maintain fairly strict regimen's of rotation in putting in who I train with, or who I give my teaching time too. I am not as 'considerate' in choosing my uke since I feel that my own comfort is a key aspect of effectively conveying technique. Still, even with the issue of who I train with or approach with advice, I wonder whether I am being overly strict with myself. Like in all things, I believe the right answer to any situation of conflict is one that makes me more comfortable. On this issue, I still haven't found an approach that really makes me comfortable.

mike lee 10-01-2002 03:56 AM

the danger zone
 
Comfort does not always equal correct.

For example: I would feel very uncomfortable about setting and splinting someone's broken bone. But if I was high in the mountains and far from help, I would do it because it needed to be done.

I know this is an extreme example, but my point is that it is a sign of maturity for a person to work in and deal with uncomfortable situations.

Ultimately, isn't that what we're training for?

:do:

Jermaine Alley 10-30-2002 01:35 PM

i think that all of us are guilty of favortism in some sense somewhere downthe line.

I happen to like to train with a certain few people because i know that when we want to kick up the tempo a bit, i don't have to worry about going 'too fast' for them. I wont have to worry about being 'too careful' with them either. I expect to give it hard, and recieve it hard (keep your minds out of the gutter) when i practice.

But that only happens for a little while. I try to train with as many people as i can. As many different body types, and sexes as well. It is important to play with everyone in our dojo.

jermaine

ze'ev erlich 10-30-2002 03:20 PM

instructor's answer
 
Hi,

I teach Aikido.

My sensei in Japan and also me in Israel sometimes have to let some a person practice without too much attention.

It is not a matter of love or hate.

It is just because teaching Aikido has unique ways. It is most common to let people make mistakes and let them find the way on their own. Of course, a good sensei knows what mistakes should be corrected now, and what mistakes should be left for later.

And... all sensei are after all human. It is most possible that your sense can communicate better with other while with other people he has more difficult time because they have to learn how to learn Aikido.

A good sensei should teach his students how to learn Aikido. Sensei should explain his teaching methods and explain why he pays more attention to some people and less to others.

If you really feel that your sensei does not like you, it is important to have a private talk with him/her before you decide to leave.

Good luck, and enjoy Aikido,

Ze'ev.

Gopher Boy 11-03-2002 08:00 PM

Well, this started as a long winded message with the disclaimer of me "not presuming to tell more experienced people how to train others..." So, I deleted it.

It boils down one paragraph. A student of any discipline (academic, physical, musical...) not getting positive re-inforcement of their confidence will often have 'something to prove'.

As a student, I certainly don't want to train with people like that and I am sure that teaching them would quickly take the enjoyment out.

p.

Ghost Fox 11-04-2002 07:50 AM

What's wrong with favoritism?
 
As long as I don't neglect the other students, what is wrong with spending extra time with a given student?

I've notice some people come to Aikido and give the bare minimum (nothing wrong with that). They come to classes once a week (due to prior commitments, responsibilities or simple laziness), and they train & progress at a good steady pace. Then there are people who come to the dojo four to seven days a week. They come to class early and leave late so that they can practice and stretch by themselves and they are extremely passionate about the art. Why shouldn't I invest extra time in the person who sacrifices his time and energy for the art? Why shouldn't he be groomed for better things?

When I was in college I worked hard to become the favorite of all the teachers in my major. I got excellent grades, asked questions and had an honest interest in the subject matter. They responded by forming more casual relationships with me and pointing me in certain directions and giving me advice in my career track. Did they grade my test any easier? No! On the contrary I usually had to work harder as their level of expectation increased.

When I started in my current dojo, I busted my balls inside and outside of the dojo to make it up the ranks. I arrived early to practice my Aiki Taiso and Ki Exercises and I left late to help out around the dojo. I worked until my Ukemi exceeded most of the Yudansha in the dojo, so that I was being picked to demonstrate techniques with the Sensei. Did I start to receive some favoritism? Yes and why shouldn't I. I worked hard for it, and I was held to a higher standard then the other Mudansha.

Again, as long as the Sensei does not neglect the other students in the dojo, there is nothing wrong with him taking extra time (before, during and after class) with a student.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Ghost Fox 11-04-2002 07:51 AM

What's wrong with favoritism?
 
What's wrong with favoritism? As long as I don't neglect the other students, what is wrong with spending extra time with a given student?

I've notice some people come to Aikido and give the bare minimum (nothing wrong with that). They come to classes once a week (due to prior commitments, responsibilities or simple laziness), and they train & progress at a good steady pace. Then there are people who come to the dojo four to seven days a week. They come to class early and leave late so that they can practice and stretch by themselves and they are extremely passionate about the art. Why shouldn't I invest extra time in the person who sacrifices his time and energy for the art? Why shouldn't he be groomed for better things?

When I was in college I worked hard to become the favorite of all the teachers in my major. I got excellent grades, asked questions and had an honest interest in the subject matter. They responded by forming more casual relationships with me and pointing me in certain directions and giving me advice in my career track. Did they grade my test any easier? No! On the contrary I usually had to work harder as their level of expectation increased.

When I started in my current dojo, I busted my balls inside and outside of the dojo to make it up the ranks. I arrived early to practice my Aiki Taiso and Ki Exercises and I left late to help out around the dojo. I worked until my Ukemi exceeded most of the Yudansha in the dojo, so that I was being picked to demonstrate techniques with the Sensei. Did I start to receive some favoritism? Yes and why shouldn't I. I worked hard for it, and I was held to a higher standard then the other Mudansha.

Again, as long as the Sensei does not neglect the other students in the dojo, there is nothing wrong with him taking extra time (before, during and after class) with a student.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Ghost Fox 11-04-2002 07:52 AM

On the other hand, favoritism based on race, religion, and/or trying to get some is totaly uncool.

Bruce Baker 11-04-2002 09:48 AM

Role models, or those of less talent, or merely seeing something of yourself in your students?

Motivation can be given in paying attention to a student, or not paying attention to a student, it all depends on how you look at the situation.

Examine your emotional attachment, and reevaluate your needs in reference to thinking the teacher is giving favoritism.

There will be some grooming of certain students that show promise, and there will other students who find the answers on their own. It is my opinion that those who can find answers on their own are the stronger breed of student who can adapt and change where the curried favorite student becomes stuck in the teachers way of thinking and way of doing things.

It is not a bad thing to understand the ways of a teacher, but it does limit the growth of the student when they are on their own.

Don't be concerned about favoritism, let it go if you don't see the reason for it, so long as you get the instruction you need for Aikido, who cares?


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