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-   -   I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18410)

massless 07-21-2010 03:09 PM

I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I've lurked for a bit but now I'm at a crossroads of sorts so I made an account. This is a little on the long side, thanks in advance for reading.

First, some background:

I am studying Aikido under the Birankai organization. The Aikido we do is extreemly rough. This , I think, exemplifies what we do in the dojo. I have been training for almost a year now very rigorously. I go 4 days a week, 2 - 3 classes each day for a total of 9 - 10 hours a week. I test for 4th Kyu next month.

My issues:

As my training has progressed over the course of the last year my Sensei has become rougher and rougher on me, far more so than anyone else at the school. He tells me this is because I am a young guy (25) and can take the punishment. I was attracted to the school because I wanted something "real" and the rough nature appealed to that. I welcome the skinned and swollen knees and the bruises all along my arms but it's getting to the point that I am afraid he is going to break my body. I already exhibit most of the symptoms of a separated shoulder and I hurt, literally, all the time. I see that he has a broken body and I'm not sure whatever it is that Aikido is offering me is worth that price. He is a man that favors training in extremes. During the winter he begrudgingly installed a heater because people stopped coming. Similarly, I live in the desert southwest and the dojo doesn't have air conditioning. The temperature outside yesterday was about 105 and he had us training to the point where nearly everyone wanted to vomit (no one did!). I know that I wanted to die during the class. That was the point.

I have also been fighting my gut feeling that this is a cult. I realize that this is an ongoing point of contention for some people and I'm not trying to editorialize on the art as a whole. Moreover, I was attracted to the art because of the interesting philosophy underpinning it. That being said, there is an unsettling fanaticism in the dojo that doesn't sit well with me. Every time I turn around, there is another function to attend: Dojo improvements, potlucks, garage sales and on and on. I understand that these are standard community building exercises (A stated objective of Sensei is to build a thriving community around Aikido) but I feel increasingly trapped withing that community. The tipping point came last night, though. Sensei went to Japan to study at Ichikukai dojo some time ago and brought back the practice of misogi. For those not familiar with the practice: you sit in seiza, hold the knot of your obi and scream the syllables "to ho ka mi e mi ta me" while compressing your diaphragm each time. We did our second round of it ever last night and in the middle of it Sensei came up behind people and shoved their shoulders down with each syllable. It was dark, there was a room full of swaying people chanting a Shinto prayer, and then this. I got a really bad feeling and thought, "This is really fucked up."

At this point I'm thinking of walking away. This makes me sad and apprehensive. I have gotten a lot out or Aikido. I feel a great deal more confident in life. I have social anxiety and taking an Aikido perspective has made a world of difference. People have told me, " I can't belive how much more capable you are in life since starting Aikido." When I started, my weight was 160 lbs with 17% body fat. Today I weigh 175 with 11% body fat. I tend to over commit to things and I feel that if I walk away, for whatever reason, I will be a failure. I have heard Sensei talk of others who have left as being people who, "just don't have what it takes for the kind of training we do here."

On the other hand: I am tired of hurting all the time, not having any personal time that isn't spent doing Aikido, doing Aikido functions, or recovering from Aikido. The emphatic chanting and high-heat training don't sit well with me either.

In any case, I am in something of a feedback loop within myself and I'd like to hear anything you guys have to say just to gain some perspective on the situation.

Thanks for reading this thing. I think it helped just to type it all out.

In short: I feel like my body is being ruined and that my dojo is becoming a cult. I feel fed up and am thinking about leaving but I'm reluctant because of what I've gotten out of Aikido so far.

Karo 07-23-2010 03:47 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Leave this dojo. Find another one. Don't let anybody tell you that it's because "you don't have what it takes". That's how abuse is justified. And there's a fine line between "hard training" and "abuse".

Training should be challenging, but should not feel like punishment.

Seriously, look for another dojo. Nobody says leaving your current one has to be the end of your aikido career.

Karo

Larry Feldman 07-23-2010 03:56 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Find a new teacher.

Benjamin Mehner 07-23-2010 04:02 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I agree with the above posters. Find a new dojo.

dave9nine 07-23-2010 04:32 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
first, use idea of a spectrum or scale to properly give yourself perspective about your experience thus far:
your dojo's is but one form/approach on a big spectrum which, on one end has people killing themselves (literally) to train as if they will encounter armed bandits everyday, and on the other has people barely touching each other who dont train for life and death application but perhaps instead to learn something about subtle relationships of energy, motion, etc.
no need to assign value to either, simply just place your experience somewhere in there, so you can see that there is in fact other approaches.

next, like others here have said, find another place to train.
if this is socially difficult, then maybe it does speak to a sense of "cultishness"; any good dojo worth their salt should let people come and go as they wish--good training should speak for itself.

in the end, it doesnt matter what anyone in the world says; you only have but to listen to your own body.

it is true that it is difficult to find a balance between training hard and effectively, and training safely.
in my view, if we have to kill ourselves to learn something that is supposed to teach us about safety and self defense, what's the point?
we are not 16th century samurai warriors, after all...
just my dos pesos.
-dave

Mikemac 07-23-2010 04:33 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
X 3.....find another teacher and dojo...

Also, have you considered that you are taking a heavy class load, which might be why you're burned out? Hey....I want a hakama too, but no way i want to put in 40 hour weeks to get there. Maybe you're trying too hard?

Janet Rosen 07-23-2010 04:39 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I have seen instructors & students act very cultish with quotes from them burned into my memory from years ago ("Don't tell anybody I'm curling my hair before my ranking, they will think I'm superficial" "I can't go to the party unless my sensei gives me permission"). There IS another way to train, without trashing your body or surrendering your own inner core. Go find it now.

jbblack 07-23-2010 05:21 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Hi, I fully agree - find another dojo. Aikido is a wonderful adventure. I am 66 and have been doing Aikido for a number of years at dojo's all over the country. Every day I learn something new. It has been wonder full for both mind and body.

If you are the Travis Patterson in albuquerque I would recommend:
Sandia Budokan http://www.sandiabudokan.org/aikido.html

The style of Aikido studied at the Sandia Budokan is from his lineage, in affiliation with Robert Nadeau Sensei, 7th Dan, Shihan, and the California Aikido Association.

You will find Nadeau Shihan's aikido night and day from the hard styles.

Stick with Aikido and change dojo's.

Cheers, Jeff

Aiki1 07-23-2010 05:45 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Dispite what some people say, there are many styles of Aikido, and many training approaches. Chiba's style is not for everyone, Tohei's style is not for everyone, Iwama style is not for everyone, Saotome's style is not for everyone, etc etc etc.

Find the one that is right for you, that has the right instructor.

raul rodrigo 07-23-2010 06:22 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Time to go, I think.

Blackstarfish 07-23-2010 07:13 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I would also very much recommend getting into a new dojo.

And we are also in the Albuquerque Area. We are a small group - and a USA branch of the Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido. I am also a maker of custom knives - and our company website is www.ds-tactical.org, but I can also be found through my blog-site www.rog99.blogspot.com or by reading the book I co-authored with my teachers, "Positive Aikido."

-Dave

Peter Goldsbury 07-23-2010 07:37 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I began aikido training when I was 25, like you, and trained for 8 hours per week. However, I had already decided to finish my academic studies before settling down in one place. Accordingly, I trained in K Chiba's UK dojo for a period, but then I moved, from dojo to dojo, as I moved universities. So I never felt bad about changing dojos. I did not really settle until I came here.

Since I believed that K Chiba had a mystical view of the teacher-student relationship, I used to argue with him about teaching and learning, but he was always very reasonable. He always stressed that he wanted commitment: students who would do the training as he conceived it, no matter what. My own belief was that he had projected his own ideas about the teacher-student relationship on to aikido, but that there were other ways that did not involve so much fanaticism and fear of not proving one's commitment sufficiently. His students, however, especially his senior students, sometimes strove to 'out-Chiba' Chiba and they were the one who exhibited cult-like behavior, as they attempted to give guru status to their sensei and interpret whatever he said as having cosmic significance. Of course, they were encouraged.

Now, 41 years later, I run a dojo here in Japan and I have students. I do not believe that my aikido matches the 'style' of a certain teacher or teachers, though it is certainly my own. Anyway, I have experienced the type of training you describe--and I could also dish it out accordingly, but I changed, as the teachers changed, and without any regrets or nostalgia for a past golden age.

There is much more that I could write, but it would not be appropriate in an open forum. Feel free to PM me, if you wish.

PAG

Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
I've lurked for a bit but now I'm at a crossroads of sorts so I made an account. This is a little on the long side, thanks in advance for reading.

First, some background:

I am studying Aikido under the Birankai organization. The Aikido we do is extreemly rough. This , I think, exemplifies what we do in the dojo. I have been training for almost a year now very rigorously. I go 4 days a week, 2 - 3 classes each day for a total of 9 - 10 hours a week. I test for 4th Kyu next month.

My issues:

As my training has progressed over the course of the last year my Sensei has become rougher and rougher on me, far more so than anyone else at the school. He tells me this is because I am a young guy (25) and can take the punishment. I was attracted to the school because I wanted something "real" and the rough nature appealed to that. I welcome the skinned and swollen knees and the bruises all along my arms but it's getting to the point that I am afraid he is going to break my body. I already exhibit most of the symptoms of a separated shoulder and I hurt, literally, all the time. I see that he has a broken body and I'm not sure whatever it is that Aikido is offering me is worth that price. He is a man that favors training in extremes. During the winter he begrudgingly installed a heater because people stopped coming. Similarly, I live in the desert southwest and the dojo doesn't have air conditioning. The temperature outside yesterday was about 105 and he had us training to the point where nearly everyone wanted to vomit (no one did!). I know that I wanted to die during the class. That was the point.

I have also been fighting my gut feeling that this is a cult. I realize that this is an ongoing point of contention for some people and I'm not trying to editorialize on the art as a whole. Moreover, I was attracted to the art because of the interesting philosophy underpinning it. That being said, there is an unsettling fanaticism in the dojo that doesn't sit well with me. Every time I turn around, there is another function to attend: Dojo improvements, potlucks, garage sales and on and on. I understand that these are standard community building exercises (A stated objective of Sensei is to build a thriving community around Aikido) but I feel increasingly trapped withing that community. The tipping point came last night, though. Sensei went to Japan to study at Ichikukai dojo some time ago and brought back the practice of misogi. For those not familiar with the practice: you sit in seiza, hold the knot of your obi and scream the syllables "to ho ka mi e mi ta me" while compressing your diaphragm each time. We did our second round of it ever last night and in the middle of it Sensei came up behind people and shoved their shoulders down with each syllable. It was dark, there was a room full of swaying people chanting a Shinto prayer, and then this. I got a really bad feeling and thought, "This is really fucked up."

At this point I'm thinking of walking away. This makes me sad and apprehensive. I have gotten a lot out or Aikido. I feel a great deal more confident in life. I have social anxiety and taking an Aikido perspective has made a world of difference. People have told me, " I can't belive how much more capable you are in life since starting Aikido." When I started, my weight was 160 lbs with 17% body fat. Today I weigh 175 with 11% body fat. I tend to over commit to things and I feel that if I walk away, for whatever reason, I will be a failure. I have heard Sensei talk of others who have left as being people who, "just don't have what it takes for the kind of training we do here."

On the other hand: I am tired of hurting all the time, not having any personal time that isn't spent doing Aikido, doing Aikido functions, or recovering from Aikido. The emphatic chanting and high-heat training don't sit well with me either.

In any case, I am in something of a feedback loop within myself and I'd like to hear anything you guys have to say just to gain some perspective on the situation.

Thanks for reading this thing. I think it helped just to type it all out.

In short: I feel like my body is being ruined and that my dojo is becoming a cult. I feel fed up and am thinking about leaving but I'm reluctant because of what I've gotten out of Aikido so far.


Abasan 07-23-2010 08:22 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I wouldn't like getting smacked in the face if I was just learning. But I guess, if you're a yudansha and still have no idea how to attack properly (as per your teacher's method), then MAYBE your teacher can wake you up. But in the end, you'd have to judge whether it was malicious, or just that the teacher thought that a tactile approach would be better than repeating ad nauseaum.

I don't know the context of your dojo's approach, and I certainly don't have the world experience of PAG to make my own reasoning, but have you even talked to your sensei about your concerns? Sometimes, misinterpretation and miscommunication leads you down invalid assumptions.

Janet Rosen 07-23-2010 09:11 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 261889)
His students, however, especially his senior students, sometimes strove to 'out-Chiba' Chiba and they were the one who exhibited cult-like behavior

Consistent w/ my experience.

DH 07-23-2010 09:33 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Mr Patterson.
You should collect yourself, review and coalesce your thoughts into talking points and then perhaps write a letter to your teacher or hand it to him sealed.
Tell him you will not engage him until ...he... has had time to reflect on his answers. When the time comes meet in a public place, over lunch or dinner and discuss the issues. I can only tell you that this opens up many possibilities to you:
You will increase the chances of getting the most out of the both of you.
You will have increased the chances that it gave the teacher time to ask others what they think, ask his significant other, (note* it matters not who among them can see. IT is just that you are giving so many people opportunities for growth; maybe in stepping up now or in later years looking back and seeing their own culpability. Maybe six years down the line they will look back and say "Boy this is just what Travis was saying and I blew him off!!" and it comes back to reinforce an even stronger position then.

The first voice
Very few times are we the only one who sees something. I know it can feel that way at first, but trust me on this, many people see but they back away from confrontation till someone else goes first. Sure it takes courage to be the first. But rushing in pell mell and just thinking of you rarely is sufficient. Be the better man.

What if...he hears you and apologizes
What if...he doesn't, but ten years from now a group of men see you or reach out to you and thank you for what you said and did?
In either case the exchange opens up the both of you to learning something about yourselves and each other.

If he pulls the "I am the sensei crap" and shuts you down. then just sit back quietly and look him in the eye.. Tell him "This is no longer a conversation I'll talk...you listen." and state your case.
At the end of the day. DO NOT TOLLERATE ABUSE OR POOR JUDGMENT. It is unacceptable.

Here's a tip from me
'In the absence of a good leader...lead." Sometimes that means being the first and only voice (soon to be followed by others). Sometimes that means facing outragous opposition, Sometimes it ends very well with people learning and coming together, and sometimes.........sometimes it just means abandoning ship!!

Chiba was a world class abuser, I had my own run in with him which ended up with him on his back. Lets, also remember that he ended up apologizing to all of his students for being an abuser. I teach at a dojo that is under Chiba and the teacher there (retired spec ops) is no lightwieght by any ones standards, and is a perfect.... gentleman on and off the mat. Maybe someone allowed Chiba an opportunity for growth.
From some of the recent quotes I am hearing, it sounds like it is coming from a changed man.
Hey...I hated the guy, but people actually do change. Someone helpd the guy out didn't they.

Look long my friend
Think long.
Very few times is it just about you. You can be helping others who are going to step up behind you. You can help those above you. Do not allow them the arrogance (presumed or otherwise) of a position to speak for an entire art. There are a lot of good people out there working it.
Cheers
Dan

ninjaqutie 07-23-2010 11:18 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)

I am studying Aikido under the Birankai organization. The Aikido we do is extremely rough. This , I think, exemplifies what we do in the dojo. I have been training for almost a year now very rigorously. I go 4 days a week, 2 - 3 classes each day for a total of 9 - 10 hours a week. I test for 4th Kyu next month.

Like you, I also study under the Birankai organization. Like you, I also train four days a week (2 to 3 classes a day depending on whether it is the summer or winter schedule). Also, like you, I have been training a little over a year and I will also be testing for 4th kyu soon. So, in a lot of ways, I feel like I can really relate to you.

Where we differ is I do not believe the aikido in my dojo is rough. Do you get whacked in the head with the occasional bokken, poked in the eye or hit in the face? Sure, but that is part of martial arts. It would be silly to believe I wouldn’t incur any injuries what so ever. HOWEVER, if you feel like your sensei is going to break your bones, something is wrong there. I believe a little pain is necessary to learn, however, I believe that pain should be stopped once you are showing compliance or tap (or something similar). For him to say you are young and can take it is just plain irrational. If anything, he should be trying to help you preserve your body so you can train even longer! There is a difference between accidentally injuring someone and maliciously injuring someone. It sounds like my dojo is the prior and yours is unfortunately the latter :(


Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
My issues:

As my training has progressed over the course of the last year my Sensei has become rougher and rougher on me, far more so than anyone else at the school.

What do you mean by rougher? My sensei (and sempai) are a bit rougher with me then they did a year ago, but I would say it is proportional to my ability’s (most times anyway!). My sensei is also tougher on me at times. I think it is partly because I am one of the students who trains regularly and I look at it as a compliment. On the other hand, if your sensei is wrenching the techniques on you and is slamming you down to the mat to a point where you can’t take care of yourself, then again…. something is wrong!

Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
I welcome the skinned and swollen knees and the bruises all along my arms but it's getting to the point that I am afraid he is going to break my body. I already exhibit most of the symptoms of a separated shoulder and I hurt, literally, all the time.

Like you, because of the amount of hours I train, I am also usually sore. Like you, I also frequently have mat burn, swollen knees from a lot of suwariwaza and bruises. Sometimes I come home and just crash on the couch and don’t move until I manage to force myself to go upstairs and get ready for bed. The difference there is that I have NEVER, not once thought that I was going to get a “broken body” (not quite sure if you mean broken bones or just a worn out body…). If training makes you feel that way, then the training does seem extreme.

Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
He is a man that favors training in extremes. During the winter he begrudgingly installed a heater because people stopped coming. Similarly, I live in the desert southwest and the dojo doesn't have air conditioning. The temperature outside yesterday was about 105.

My old dojo was in an un-insulated garage, so the heater was really pointless. We kept warm in the winter by training vigorously. It sure was cold and the mats were hard, but once we got warmed up, it wasn’t so bad. Both my old dojo and my current dojo do not have AC. My old dojo was on the east coast, so we had heat and humidity to deal with. Now that I live in Oregon, I don’t have the humidity issue, but I have trained in 104 and 105 heat no problem. HOWEVER, neither of these dojo’s pushed us to the point that everyone wanted to vomit! Both of the places I have trained were strict on water though (only before and after class). So, I really tried to focus on hydrating before and after class.

Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
Every time I turn around, there is another function to attend: Dojo improvements, potlucks, garage sales and on and on. I understand that these are standard community building exercises (A stated objective of Sensei is to build a thriving community around Aikido) but I feel increasingly trapped withing that community.

I personally believe that things like this are great! I wish my dojo had more events like that. My question for you is, are you obligated to go to these? What happens if you don’t go to these? Are you punished or reprimanded? Our sensei would be upset if we didn’t go, but I know for a fact he wouldn’t look down on us or treat us horrible if we weren’t able (or wanted) to attend.

Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
At this point I'm thinking of walking away. This makes me sad and apprehensive. I have gotten a lot out or Aikido. I feel a great deal more confident in life. I have social anxiety and taking an Aikido perspective has made a world of difference……….On the other hand: I am tired of hurting all the time, not having any personal time that isn't spent doing Aikido, doing Aikido functions, or recovering from Aikido. The emphatic chanting and high-heat training don't sit well with me either.

Of course you are going to be sad to walk away. You have put a lot of effort and passion into your training. It is never easy to walk away from something. Even though it sounds like you have a bad taste in your mouth, I’m sure you also have some fond memories (or at least I hope you do) that makes walking away a bit hard. In the end, you have to do what is best for YOU! Don’t let him guilt trip you into staying just to prove that you can tough it out. That is just his attempt to bully you into staying. It sounds like you would be happier training somewhere else and I can’t blame you for that. The one thing I would say is don’t write off birankai just because of your experience with your teacher. If another organization interests you, sure try it out! If you find a dojo that is completely non affiliated with an organization, that is great too! However, I would encourage you not to pass up a school or instructor just because they are students of chiba sensei or are under the birankai umbrella. Go find a dojo where you will be happy and thrive in a non cultish, body friendly environment. Best of luck to you!!!!!!!

Quote:

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: (Post 261889)
His students, however, especially his senior students, sometimes strove to 'out-Chiba' Chiba and they were the one who exhibited cult-like behavior, as they attempted to give guru status to their sensei and interpret whatever he said as having cosmic significance. Of course, they were encouraged.

Hhhm… I find this interesting. Maybe my sensei (and a few others of chiba’s that I know are the exception here, but I have never gotten that impression. I guess a big factor here is the personality of the person who trained under chiba. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that my sensei and some of the others I know also trained under other teachers as well. I am sure that makes a difference as well.

Nafis Zahir 07-23-2010 11:28 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Travis,

I train in the Birankai and I really love the hard core training. I came into the Birankai at a time when Chiba Sensei had mellowed out. Even so, I still think that his Aikido is devastating. I think that Chiba Sensei came to understand that he can relax, not be so hard, yet still be very serious and just as deadly. It is a learning process. He is someone I really respect as a martial artist.

That being said, I will tell you this. Everyone has their own threshold of tolerance. Only you know what yours is. You have to follow your first mind and at the same time, sit down and weigh your options. Pit the positives of staying against the negatives of staying. Even if you decide to leave, you will take the experience of being there with you and you can turn it into something postive that will help you continue to grow in Aikido as you move on and progress. Also, once you make your decision, accept it, remain calm and try not to leave bitter. There comes a time when we all move on at some point.

Lastly, I hope that what I have written, as well as others, helps you put things in perspective, but the decision is yours and yours alone. You have to do what you think is best for you. You may find out later that there are a few positive things that you got out of your time at that dojo. You may decide to leave that dojo, but if you love Aikido, then stick with. This is your journey.

DH 07-24-2010 10:12 AM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Quote:

Nafis Zahir wrote: (Post 261901)
Travis,

I train in the Birankai and I really love the hard core training. I came into the Birankai at a time when Chiba Sensei had mellowed out. Even so, I still think that his Aikido is devastating. I think that Chiba Sensei came to understand that he can relax, not be so hard, yet still be very serious and just as deadly. It is a learning process. He is someone I really respect as a martial artist.

That being said, I will tell you this. Everyone has their own threshold of tolerance. Only you know what yours is. You have to follow your first mind and at the same time, sit down and weigh your options. Pit the positives of staying against the negatives of staying. Even if you decide to leave, you will take the experience of being there with you and you can turn it into something postive that will help you continue to grow in Aikido as you move on and progress. Also, once you make your decision, accept it, remain calm and try not to leave bitter. There comes a time when we all move on at some point.

Lastly, I hope that what I have written, as well as others, helps you put things in perspective, but the decision is yours and yours alone. You have to do what you think is best for you. You may find out later that there are a few positive things that you got out of your time at that dojo. You may decide to leave that dojo, but if you love Aikido, then stick with. This is your journey.

Yet I have seen:
Him abusing student A.
I have then seen student A. wreck both shoulders of student B.
What did his father say to him when it happened twice?
"What are you in...some kind of Cult?"

Unfortunately, even when the abuser finds himself and realizes what a mess he has made it doesn't mean he can always fix that mess. Certain things get "wired" into people.
"I was abused by the teacher I love, so this must be the way."
It can turn into a complicated mess better left for the professionals, but as you have read here and elsewhere, the damage was far ranging. I don't have the credentials but I know "mean" when I see it.
Is there more that can be done to "re-set" the teachers he created that still abuse. Probably. But as I pointed out he is trying and there are some nice people under him as well.
Here we are though in 2010 with Travis; yet another example.
All in all this has not created quite "the legacy" the man wanted to be known for, I'm sure.

One last thing
As far the tough guy nonsense. I can compare him to some real tough men; like Cotoure or Rickson..I don't hear of them abusing people. Training accidents aside, repeatedly wrecking people who cooperate with you is not tough it's sick, needy, and actually pretty weak..

Dan

massless 07-24-2010 11:26 AM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. They have given me a great deal to think about and they have had the desires effect on me by getting me out of my own personal feedback loop. I realized that I wrote the original message when my thoughts and feelings were muddled. Here is where I am at so far:

I am definitely suffering burnout. This is associated with a lot of misdirected anger. I realized that I hurt all the time because I train all the time. I'm going to dramatically cut my hours after my test. I took one day off last week with no explicit reason and the feeling of relief it gave me was amazing. I felt as though I was in control of my life again.

While I enjoy the rough training, I do feel that it has become recklessly hard. Between the high heat training and some of the recent classes, I am worried somewhat for my safety.

Misogi really bothers me. It is a rigorous religious ritual that is meant to induce a certain state of mind and it's crossing a personal boundary for me. We talk in the dojo of the importance of embracing that which is uncomfortable to allow for growth but I don't really want any part of this.

Tomorrow I am going to speak to a senior student about my concerns, see what she says, and take it from there.

Thank you all again for helping me to sort out what I think and feel so I can communicate my concerns clearly to myself and others.

NagaBaba 07-24-2010 11:29 AM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Quote:

Travis Patterson wrote: (Post 261738)
In short: I feel like my body is being ruined and that my dojo is becoming a cult. I feel fed up and am thinking about leaving but I'm reluctant because of what I've gotten out of Aikido so far.

Many ppl don't like what Chiba sensei is teaching,because they simply don't understand it. For me, sensei is one of best teachers I've ever met, and I had a chance to practice with many of O sensei students.

It is true, some of his students are overzealous, but generally this type of training transforms your body and mind and prepare it to discover a true goal of aikido practice. It will very very difficult, if not possible, to find similar approach out of Birankai. So if you quit now, very probably you will not be able to practice aikido anymore.

Body transformation - it is an illusion to think you can do it without injuries. However when you are young(25) , they heals fast.That is the reason for vigorous training now, Later you can always slow down.
Mind transformation - if I was you, I'd try for longer time those "strange" exercise your instructor is proposing. It has nothing to do with 'sect", it is a part of spiritual training.

I think the key words are 'commitment' and 'sincerity'. You are developing it now to be able to still practice 50 years later...

mathewjgano 07-24-2010 11:55 AM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
I'd just like to echo the idea that while misogi might feel like a religious activity, it's just another form of meditation...there are a variety of forms of misogi. Also, I've known at least one atheist who practiced misogi...was it a religious experience for him?

Aikibu 07-24-2010 12:11 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
As the saying goes where there is smoke there's fire....

At the very least I would say take a month off to gain some perspective...

After a month ask yourself if you miss it. If you do then go back. If you don't then move on to another system of Aikido if you like...

I have visited a few Birankai Place over the years and my experience is similar to Dan Hardin's....

Sometimes folks place personalities above principles and Aikido can be rife with that kind of perspective and that seems to be the case with your Dojo (Though you have to admit I only have your perspective.)

As for Misogi Again it appears to be personalities above principles

I prefer to share my practice(s) with folks who are somewhat modest and humble about their own practice. :)

William Hazen

Rob Watson 07-24-2010 03:04 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Man, I feel compelled to say something but I really don't have much to stand on ...

Basically I'd say that our training is our own responsibility. I too longed for the rough and tumble but when it came to it I really was biting off more than I could chew but was not secure enough in my own belief in myself to acknowledge my limit and back away and ratchet down the intensity so I ended up permanently injured. I was young, strong and eager but now I'm old, strong, eager and broken.

I fault no one but myself (at the time I certainly was ready to blame others).

I'd also say that 4th kyu is way too early to be put through what you have described. 'Grooming' up to yudansha to enable the level of training and exploration that from the outside looks to be abuse plain and simple is one thing but jumping straight into it for mudansha is not the way. I use 'grooming' purposely as it is a loaded word. To wax metaphorical one can build much more from soft clay that can be fired into solidity than simply starting with a chunk of granite and chipping away to see what is left. One method builds while the other destroys.

To really go out on a limb I'd also say that I don't recall mention that the founder ever insisting anyone do anything. He trained himself and others followed. If they could not keep up they were left to their own devices. I try to keep up with my sensei but I fail. I still do my best and do make progress. Others do more and others do less but we all progress together.

In my own case the worst patch was after 3rd kyu because I was really self deluded and believed the fantasy. I got better eventually, mostly. These days when the overly eager 3+ kyus come around I point out to them that the correct form is more important than whatever it is they are able to perform and they really need to slow down and dial back the power to find the correct form otherwise they will be going backwards. Some listen, others I liberally apply reversal (or just stop them) to demonstrate the weakness of their efforts.Right or wrong, at least I hope to have helped prevent them repeating my mistakes.

oisin bourke 07-24-2010 06:51 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
Quote:

Szczepan Janczuk wrote: (Post 261918)

Body transformation - it is an illusion to think you can do it without injuries.

That is pure attitude is pure stupidity IMO. Sure, you're going to get knocks and perhaps some acute injuries if you're unlucky, but training in a way that you're chronically injuring yourself is just bad training.

What's the point in having phenomenal skills in your later years if you can't walk or use your hands properly?

You shouldn't be giving such dumb advice on a public forum.

RED 07-24-2010 07:24 PM

Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.
 
sounds like burn out.
I don't personally know you situation, so I can't tell you to leave or not man. But Aikido is about love. If you don't love it, don't do it. Everyone gets burn out every now and again, especially if they train a lot.
If you have a zeal to return after your burn out it might be because you honestly love Aikido... if not; well, don't do anything you don't honestly love.


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