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AnonymusGuy 11-20-2007 09:27 AM

Problems in a dojo
 
About two years ago, two of my colleagues were taking a 1st kyu exam, and I was their uke. During their exam I wasn't aware that I made one mistake regarding dojo etiquette (I was sitting in the wrong place) because no one ever told me it was wrong. After their exam ended this guy approached me and in front of everybody told me about my mistake in a way "Are you crazy, do you know what you did...!?" He then turned his back on me and walked away before I had the chance to tell him that I didn't know about this rule. Then I called him by his name, and he turned around and said "Who do you think you are to call me like that!"

What's worse, later I told our dojo cho about this incident. He told me he'll investigate it. And a few days later he told me he talked with this guy and that the problem wasn't this guys behavior, but the main problem was in the way that I tried to get his attention when he turned his back on me when I tried to explain.

Sometime in May this year, there was this martial arts demonstration, and our dojo was invited to participate in it. This guy was the leader of our demo team, and since I wasn't in the demo team I took my camera to take some photos for the club (to put on our web site) and I also took pictures of other demo teams. At one point before the demonstration began, i approached this guy and asked him if he could gather the demo team so I could make a group photo. His reaction was literally "What do you want with this camera!? You think entire world is revolving around you because of it?", and after the demonstration he approached me and I had to listen various insults from him, most of them were (among other things) about my behavior (that I don't know how to behave). And he even proposed that if there's a problem we solve it with a fight...

Of course, once again I reported this to our dojo cho, and his response was "Uh you have to solve that problem with him". Is this just me or this guy has no interest what's happening in the dojo?

Just a few more things about this guy that gives me a hard time...: Many times I had to practice with him he was very rough when he applied techniques on me, and when it was my turn I couldn't apply any technique on him because he resisted by brute force. After that his explanation was often something like "Uh, that's wrong, but you'll learn it someday." My other colleagues also complained about that... And of course he is bigger and stronger than me.

And by the way, this lack of interest (or ability) of our dojo cho to do something about all this situation (this black belt guy that is harassing me) is literally killing my desire to continue practicing, not to mention that I feel very uncomfortable in class especially if this guy is present or even leads the class (i leave the class if he's leading it).

Any advice what to do?

dps 11-20-2007 09:40 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Try another dojo. If the problem is the other guy, you have solved your problem. If the problem is with you, the problem will follow you.

David

gdandscompserv 11-20-2007 09:42 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Look for a kinder, friendlier dojo.:)

SmilingNage 11-20-2007 11:03 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
The Cho should step in and say, regardless of who is at fault, cut the crap, shake hands and be done with this nonsense. But since he is unwilling, you should leave. Make sure you tell your teacher why you are leaving. Include the fact that this senior feels that the only way to resolve the issue(s) would be if the two of you duke it out.

One lesson from this, would be see how you interact and influence others. You do play a part in this, regardless of the size of the role or your intent. I think this is the most interesting aspect of Aikido, the interaction between practitioners. If you bully your uke chances are they will try to do the same to you. Through practice a lot about yourself is revealed. For me anyway, its been an eye opener.

James Davis 11-20-2007 11:09 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
If this person is truly as unreasonable as he's being portrayed, I'd just leave. Mentioning his antics to the dojocho may result in his having a vendetta against you. Leave quietly without leaving turmoil in your wake. Just my opinion. I never have this problem; Everybody loves me.:D

Will Prusner 11-20-2007 11:17 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Write a note to the Dojo-cho explaining the situation, and how you feel you have been dishonored and then commit seppuku all over the dojo to give it that extra "oomph"...

...But seriously, instead of leaving, or fighting, why not try using Aikido principles to resolve the conflict (what a concept).

SmilingNage 11-20-2007 11:22 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Just leaving does resolve the immediate issue for yourself but it wont correct any future outbreaks of this behavior. If its a matter of safety; If senior students were picking fights in my dojo, I would sure would want to know about it.

Larry Cuvin 11-20-2007 01:28 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
I'm just curious but not knowing the dojo etiquette at that time tells me that you are new to the dojo and possibly to the art. If this is true, are you the only one available to take ukemi for these two 1st Kyu testers? It seems unfair to have someone new to take ukemi for an advanced student.

The guy is an just a major d1ck and for him to suggest settling any problem by "taking it outside" sends me negative signals regarding your dojo. The dojocho's response almost proves this theory and is either a good friend of him or just afraid.

Have sensei resolve the problem and if not satisfied respectfully leave the dojo and look for another that will suit your needs.

SeiserL 11-20-2007 01:34 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
If you cannot move the other person, then move yourself.

Ron Tisdale 11-20-2007 02:35 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
There really isn't enough information to give any useful advice. That is kind of the problem with this particular sub-forum, but it is what it is...

Maybe invite the guy for a beer, ask him to help you (nicely) understand his point of view, and get back to training? If that doesn't work, maybe leaving is the only option.

The only time I personally remember anyone of my dojo mates being mad enough to knock some sense into me, was when I was cranking like crazy on his joints to get a waza to work, when he was actually trying to help me learn by providing useful resistance. I was a bit thick at the time...who knows why. :eek: :crazy:

We actually get along just fine, he's one of my favorite training partners and seniors, and the instructor made sure everyone was satisfied and there was no issue. :) I made it clear that I was in the wrong, and that was the end of it. If that's not what is happening where you are, I guess I'd have to consider not staying there.

Best,
Ron (it was really cool when he was throwing me later that night...felt like I was being launched from a 747! :D Wheeeeeeee!)

Don 11-20-2007 07:33 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Ron gives some good advice. On the presumption you are following reasonable dojo etiquette, then invite the guy for a beer after class to see where his head is. After all, dojo etiquette should end at the mats edge and you are equals last time I checked in the U.S. If the guy is a prick off the mat as well as on the mat then either ignore him on the mat (yes you can politely refuse to practice with him) or find another dojo. You run into people like that sometimes who for some reason lack something in the rest of their life and think that because they have achieved more proficiency in technique than lower ranked students, it makes it okay for them to not have any proficiency in human relations. (generally called being d*ck). Just because you are a lower ranked student than this person, doesn't give him or her the right to treat you like a piece of trash.

Nikopol 11-20-2007 10:14 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
I usually find the expression "Who do you think you are to ..."

is an indication that the person has nothing upstairs.

But it won't help to point that out.

It sounds like this brown belt is a petty tyrant who has an inflated view of his abilities. You are bound to encounter a few. They get especially hysterical around testing time. I wouldn't judge a person by his antics before or immediately after a test or exhibition. Just breath and stay alert.

The advise to politely decline to train with him seems reasonable, and perhaps this is a good way to bring attention to his attitude, and he will himself realize he had better straighten up. But if there is no improvement and the kancho does not intervene, then this is one of those times when I would agree that you may be better off finding a new dojo.

Pierre Kewcharoen 11-21-2007 07:20 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
If this guy is a a-hole and your sensei is not seeing this. Then you should leave. If it was up to me, id kick him in the balls then leave. Don't take no crap from bullies.

Instigator 11-21-2007 09:34 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
I'd punch his lights out then say "Bow to your sensei!"

But in all seriousness, I would leave that school. An instructor who does not care for his students (which is shown by how he has helped you with your problem) is not an instructor worth caring for. I would make sure to tell the instructor exactly why you are leaving, and do not be rude but do not candy coat it. I'd say something like this.

"I am leaving due to personal issues with person X. I have tried to resolve the problem, but he refuses. I have tried to get your help, but you have refused. I am done with this. Let me know if this situation changes and maybe we can try again. Thanks."

Brian Vickery 11-21-2007 11:00 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote: (Post 194404)
Maybe invite the guy for a beer, ask him to help you (nicely) understand his point of view, and get back to training?

...I also agree with this approach, talking with the guy 'man to man' outside the dojo over a beer. My guess from what little you've said is that this guy just has no respect for you at all, and this meeting will at least start him thinking that maybe he's made the wrong assumption about you. He might not even be aware that he's been such a jerk toward you, and this will at least bring that to his attention. If he refuses or continues to treat you disrespectfully during/after your talk, then the guy is just an arrogant jerk, and there's nothing you can do about it.

...but where I differ from Ron's opinion is that I would NOT leave the dojo! Continue to train, just ignore this idiot! And don't 'fight' this guy, that's just plain wrong! [A fight won't decide who is right, it just decides who is stronger!!! ...not very Aiki!]

...by doing the beer thing, you've done all you can to fix the problem, but sometimes problems just can't be fixed ...and life goes on! ...BUT DON'T QUIT!!!!!

Ron Tisdale 11-21-2007 11:11 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
I have to admit, I like the *idea* of not quitting...but sometimes the reality is that you cut your losses. Especially if the senior instructor is as "hands off" as the posts make it seem. But my view could be totally skewed...

B,
R

ChrisMoses 11-21-2007 11:24 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Pierre Kewcharoen wrote: (Post 194459)
If this guy is a a-hole and your sensei is not seeing this. Then you should leave. If it was up to me, id kick him in the balls then leave. Don't take no crap from bullies.

What he said. Rank is no excuse to be a dick.

Jorge Garcia 11-21-2007 11:36 AM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 193932)
About two years ago, two of my colleagues were taking a 1st kyu exam, and I was their uke. During their exam I wasn't aware that I made one mistake regarding dojo etiquette (I was sitting in the wrong place) because no one ever told me it was wrong. After their exam ended this guy approached me and in front of everybody told me about my mistake in a way "Are you crazy, do you know what you did...!?" He then turned his back on me and walked away before I had the chance to tell him that I didn't know about this rule. Then I called him by his name, and he turned around and said "Who do you think you are to call me like that!"

What's worse, later I told our dojo cho about this incident. He told me he'll investigate it. And a few days later he told me he talked with this guy and that the problem wasn't this guys behavior, but the main problem was in the way that I tried to get his attention when he turned his back on me when I tried to explain.

Sometime in May this year, there was this martial arts demonstration, and our dojo was invited to participate in it. This guy was the leader of our demo team, and since I wasn't in the demo team I took my camera to take some photos for the club (to put on our web site) and I also took pictures of other demo teams. At one point before the demonstration began, i approached this guy and asked him if he could gather the demo team so I could make a group photo. His reaction was literally "What do you want with this camera!? You think entire world is revolving around you because of it?", and after the demonstration he approached me and I had to listen various insults from him, most of them were (among other things) about my behavior (that I don't know how to behave). And he even proposed that if there's a problem we solve it with a fight...

Of course, once again I reported this to our dojo cho, and his response was "Uh you have to solve that problem with him". Is this just me or this guy has no interest what's happening in the dojo?

Just a few more things about this guy that gives me a hard time...: Many times I had to practice with him he was very rough when he applied techniques on me, and when it was my turn I couldn't apply any technique on him because he resisted by brute force. After that his explanation was often something like "Uh, that's wrong, but you'll learn it someday." My other colleagues also complained about that... And of course he is bigger and stronger than me.

And by the way, this lack of interest (or ability) of our dojo cho to do something about all this situation (this black belt guy that is harassing me) is literally killing my desire to continue practicing, not to mention that I feel very uncomfortable in class especially if this guy is present or even leads the class (i leave the class if he's leading it).

Any advice what to do?

I've been through this and if you've gone to the dojo cho, you might as well leave because nothing will change. Don't worry, there is a place that will want you and appreciate you. The atmosphere has created what you have in that guy. It will absorb you too if you don't get away from it.

Best wishes,
Jorge

Pierre Kewcharoen 11-21-2007 12:05 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Brian Vickery wrote: (Post 194496)
...I also agree with this approach, talking with the guy 'man to man' outside the dojo over a beer. My guess from what little you've said is that this guy just has no respect for you at all, and this meeting will at least start him thinking that maybe he's made the wrong assumption about you. He might not even be aware that he's been such a jerk toward you, and this will at least bring that to his attention. If he refuses or continues to treat you disrespectfully during/after your talk, then the guy is just an arrogant jerk, and there's nothing you can do about it.

...but where I differ from Ron's opinion is that I would NOT leave the dojo! Continue to train, just ignore this idiot! And don't 'fight' this guy, that's just plain wrong! [A fight won't decide who is right, it just decides who is stronger!!! ...not very Aiki!]

...by doing the beer thing, you've done all you can to fix the problem, but sometimes problems just can't be fixed ...and life goes on! ...BUT DON'T QUIT!!!!!

Easier said than done. If hes doing it now he is going to continue doing it. And from the looks of it, he is going to be allowed to do it. Can't tell from the size of the class, but I think it will be kinda hard to avoid him. Its a direct blueprint of what goes on during bullying in elementary school. The guy even wanted to fight him for no reason. If he stays, I think a fight will ensue sooner or later. Better see how your sensei reacts too, last time i checked it was aikido not a underground bar fighting karate.

Brian Vickery 11-21-2007 01:21 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Pierre Kewcharoen wrote: (Post 194506)
Easier said than done....

...you're right about that! ...I never said it was going to be easy, but if you ever want the guy to respect you, you have to start acting like somebody worth respecting!

...or you could just take the easy way out & disappear!

...it's up to you which path you take!

Best of luck with this one!

Marc Abrams 11-21-2007 01:45 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
You are in a difficult predicament. Attention to detail can provide you with a lot of clues as to where to go from here.

1) Look around at other schools in your area and ask yourself if this particular sensei is so much better than the others in your area that you cannot "afford" to leave this training opportunity. If the answer is "no", I see no reason why to engage in such a masochistic process.

2) Japanese culture usually allows for the social influences to balance out the "nail that sticks up." If the teacher is not Japanese, or is not very traditional, then the teacher is clearly failing in the responsibility to create and sustain a safe training atmosphere.

3) If you choose to stay, you can simply avoid working with that person. If confronted by that person, tell the person that you are there to train with people who are interested in helping you learn.

4) If you have to work with that person, as uke, be as soft as humanly possible and exit early in ukemi so that the person does not have an opportunity to be intentionally hard. This tactic usually results in that person not wanting to work with you. As nage, if the person refuses to allow you to complete the technique, stand there and ask for his assistance in helping you to be able to complete the technique as nage.

5) You can be up-front with that person in an open manner. You can tell this person that you are eager and open to learning, but that for some reason, you and he do not seem to work well together. He as the senior student, has an obligation to help you learn, and you would want to know from him, why this is so difficult for both of you. Ask directly, what both of you could do to improve the situation.

This person may not change, despite your best efforts. This is an opportunity for you to see how you can avoid conflict. If conflict is inevitable, then simply do what you must to stay safe. If the situation becomes a real risk to your personal safety and the teacher does not protect the students, then find training opportunities elsewhere. This path of budo is a LONG path with many options. Be patient and do not fear trying other directions.

Best wishes for a safe ending to this bad situation.

Marc Abrams

AnonymusGuy 11-21-2007 02:11 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Larry Cuvin wrote: (Post 194398)
I'm just curious but not knowing the dojo etiquette at that time tells me that you are new to the dojo and possibly to the art. If this is true, are you the only one available to take ukemi for these two 1st Kyu testers? It seems unfair to have someone new to take ukemi for an advanced student.

Actually, I hold the rank of 1st kyu.

The thing is that for some reason dojo etiquette in our dojo is almost non existent (we just know when to bow, but we don't line up according to rank, people walk on and off the mat as they like etc.), and no one has ever told me about that rule I broke (Even other people of my rank told me they didn't know it was wrong, but obviously this guy that's harassing me found it to be a good reason to harass me....)

One other thing regarding this dojo is that a lot of people that hold my rank, an even some lower ranks, are sometimes allowed to assists the instructors (and our dojo cho) when there's many people in class, and even sometimes to lead the beginners class if/when instructors are absent.... But they never let me assist, or lead the class. ( I mean if i don't deserve the rank I currently have, why did they let me take the grading exams in the first place?)

A few times I visited other Aikido clubs in my area (different styles). Later, when my dojo cho heard about that, he told me it was bad thing to do, that ill get egotistic, and asked me if I think that I'm better than the rest of the people in dojo, etc.

So much for now...

AnonymusGuy

PS. English is not my native language...

Marc Abrams 11-21-2007 02:54 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
AnonymusGuy:

From your most recent post, I can deduce that your head teacher is insecure and breeds egotistical forms of insecurity in his students. If my teacher responded to me in the way that he did about your visits to other dojos, I would simply thank him for his opinion, and render my opinion that I would be better off at another school.

Marc Abrams

jennifer paige smith 11-21-2007 03:27 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Christian Moses wrote: (Post 194502)
What he said. Rank is no excuse to be a dick.

What he said, and the He before him. Rank is all the more reason Not to be a dick. The dickiness is a sign of self importance and that is the result of an un-checked Ego. Or even a bunch of unchecked egos that run the power/etiquette enforcement of a dojo. Like in a petri dish, the self-importance phenomena can spread in a dojo and you may not find support from 'upper management'. But I would ask you to take the advice of David Skaggs and look for another dojo to train at for a bit, just to get a reality check on your personal situation. And I am inspired to remind you that Sempai are there to provide real examples of the benefits of training through their behaviour in all aspects of human relations within the dojo (and arguabley, without) as well as help you responsibley understand the rules. If they have left you feeling drug-out, well....

And finally, I would recommend reading the rules of etiquette from the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba.They are comprehensive and address all members of training life, including sempai and sensei.

Good Luck!

James Davis 11-21-2007 03:44 PM

Re: Problems in a dojo
 
Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 194519)
A few times I visited other Aikido clubs in my area (different styles). Later, when my dojo cho heard about that, he told me it was bad thing to do, that ill get egotistic, and asked me if I think that I'm better than the rest of the people in dojo, etc.

Does he think that his school, or his way, is better than all the other schools? I would so be down the road if I were you.

Quote:

Anonymous User wrote: (Post 194519)
PS. English is not my native language...

You write it really well.:)


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