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Unregistered 06-21-2002 12:33 PM

Getting High On The Mat!
What are your feelings on smoking marijuana and doing Aikido? At a seminar a student came up to a group of us and asked if anyone wanted to go smoke a joint. One student agreed. They asked the sensei if he wanted to join them and he left with them. They all came back for the next class which the sensei taught.

All thoughts, help and ideas appreciated.

Unregistered 06-21-2002 12:44 PM

Irresponsible and dangerous to you and the other students. This is a martial art with a suprisingly high injury rate considerng how gently it is often practised.

Students should get high AFTER class. Senseis should set a better exapmle.

Katie Jennings 06-21-2002 01:26 PM

RE: Gettin' High
I think that he certainly shouldnt have taught. Whether he wanted to get high or not is up to him

Lyle Bogin 06-21-2002 02:12 PM

Being high or drunk on the mat is dangerous and inconsiderate (and very common...I had one instructor who used to walk up to his stoned students and say "practicing sleeping style?").

If you want to train high or drunk, do so on your own time.

Unregistered 06-21-2002 03:04 PM

high on the mat
Hmm. I am maybe biased but I think practicing drunk is worse that practicing stoned - more loss of motor and impulse control, also drunks smell bad. What about people who reek of cigarette smoke on the mat? - or does that go in the same category as BO?

Some people function adequately stoned, some don't function at all. I once watched a dance audition performed by a stoned dancer chick and she did well and got the part.

Teaching either way is not exactly admirable. So? you want me to look up to you as an example? I dont think so!

SeiserL 06-21-2002 03:45 PM

Practicing Aikido in any state of altered consciousness is very dangerous and extremely inconsiderate of those you train with! I would refuse to train with you.

Until again (if you're clean and sober),


Unregistered 06-21-2002 03:47 PM

What happened during the lesson afterwards? Did you watch the class? Was the lesson degraded, did the teacher lose coherency? Was the rest of the seminar a waste? Were people injured? Did the students ruin the lesson for people who were on the mat? Were people aware of what happened who didn't witness the conversation?

what about going to class sick, or injured? what about angry or emotionally distraught? what about taking cough syrup, or methadone?
what about HIV in the dojo?

What happened concretely?

personally I think it's waste of pot to smoke pot and go train. Focus in practice will anull the high .. you get to a different space; one which anyone who practices regularly reaches without being stoned anyway. Practice without focus and you're wasting your training time.

Unregistered 06-21-2002 04:14 PM

How about this:

Most folks on the mat are altered in some way or another -- pharmaceutically, "para"-pharmaceutically and otherwise. We aikido folks are all a bit whacky.

I'd say that stuff like the neophyte's fear, the inflated egos of way too many senior students, the parochialism and attendant crappy mental hygeine (not to mention crappy technique) in many dojo all pose similar dangers to those posed by a stoned student or instructor.

Janet Rosen 06-21-2002 04:25 PM

There are people for whom smoking marijuana will make them stoned and they will be impaired and should not do aikido, drive a car, operate machinery, use a saw, etc...
There are people who smoke daily and have smoked daily for decades; they function very well in their careers and personal lives and you don't know it because you can't tell.
I cannot say what category these students and teacher fit into.
I can say that either way they were incredibly indiscreet and set a bad example though.

ChristianBoddum 06-21-2002 04:54 PM

Re: Getting High On The Mat!
Hi there !
I have to say that i have been a smoker
and embarrassing moments have occured on the mat,I very much appreciate my fellow trainee's
and senseis for putting up with me and now
I realise how lucky I am.
As earlier mentioned strange but nice people
are in the aikido community ,and patience is a virtue that in my case has made me even more
caring because of the lack of judgement I've met.
Yours - Chr.B.:)

siwilson 06-21-2002 05:34 PM

There is a name for anyone who walks on the mat high - Arse hole!!!!!

Unregistered 06-21-2002 05:47 PM

Re: Re: Getting High On The Mat!
In the part of the aikido world I come from pot-smoking is pretty common by both instructors and students. I was part of this number for a while, but have come to eschew drugs. I agree with Janet in that much of the time you can't tell if someone is loaded or not, especially if they are habitues. While lots of folks (NORML and so forth) would like the world to think that pot-smoking is a lifestyle choice, I tend to think that it is really an addiction or dependency...or develops that way. There is a certain autism or self-centeredness to being a pothead. There is already enough navel-gazing in aikido (I know, people just want to visualize their tandens more readily). For me it all proved to be insidously deceptive. Really, I'd rather smoke a bowl and watch Ren and Stimpy than smoke a bowl and practice.

Drinking is pretty common, too. I've been around -- as, no doubt a lot of other people senior instructors who've just reeked. I'd probably win the award for the most hungover on Saturday mornings award at a place where I used to practice. But then I don't practice there anymore and am no longer hungover on Saturday mornings. Connection? Hmmmm....

Let's start a new topic about the use of Red Bull and how it affects breakfalls.

guest1234 06-22-2002 07:33 AM

This is how I would rate all that everyone has been mentioning, and my rationale: worst offense to least

intoxication of any form (drugs legal and not, etoh)--no matter how good you are and used to the effects, you ARE NOT. period. studies have been done of reaction times. you endanger yourself and others. irresponsible beyond belief.

HIV, Hep C---ONLY a problem if you get blood on someone. and if you do, you owe them a warning. otherwise not a factor. irresponsible only if you indisciminately bleed on others and don't warn them.

Tobacco smoke/perfume--these can trigger asthma attacks in some people...wash off the odor before you walk on the mat.

Other communicable diseases (cold, flu, etc)--stay off the mat, you'll make others sick---a lot more likely than spreading HIV, just not as deadly, but still not nice.

Long nails (toe or otherwise)---obvious reasons, along with jewelry.

Questionable hygiene--odors can distract others, outright dirt is almost as risky if not more as the known cold... here I'd also put the women who wear makeup that rubs off on my gi...

It is sad that people doing Aikido care so little for other in the dojo that they would put their own selfish pleasure or desires over the health and safety of others.

mike lee 06-22-2002 10:12 AM

once upon a time
When I was a college student, a very long time ago, I dropped some acid with a classmate, and then, I guess, partly out of a sense of dedication and partly out of a sense of adventure, I went to aikido practice. My classmate went elsewhere.

About half way through the practice the drug began to take effect. Although I didn't want anyone to know what was going on, especially my teacher, I found myself becoming extra-ordinarilly careful with my uke. I was a brown belt at the time and among the highest ranking students in the class. I felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility for the welfare of my partner that I almost became petrified with fear.

Although I learned something spiritually from the experience, I also vowed to never practice aikido in an altered state again, because to do so, I feel, would be very self centered.

If my partner were ever to become injured while I was on drugs or even medication, I think that the level of the sense of guilt would be very high.

I would also find it difficult to respect a teacher that used any kind of drug during class. I think that it would be an expression of self centeredness that indicates that the teacher is not giving the students the attention that they deserve. It demonstrates a lack of a sense of responsibility to him or her self, the students and the art.

There's a time and place for everything. I recommend habitually keeping the aikido dojo a place that remains basically pure.

Unregistered 06-23-2002 11:02 AM

high on the mat - not!
This is for Lynn S, whose post ran immediately after mine. I AM clean and sober! I don't drink, don't smoke, and don't do drugs.

My comments about pot being less obnoxious/dangerous than drinking are not a rationalization for my personal consumption but rather are based on observations of others' behavior. I was trying to make the same point as Janet - certain individuals (who are usually QUITE habituated to daily marijuana use) function pretty well stoned.

Or perhaps you were using the "you" in "I would refuse to train with you" to refer to the stoner described in the first post?

Unregistered 06-23-2002 11:24 AM

Thanks for the replies so far.

This is only my second post. Hope if there was confusion this clears any of it up.

SeiserL 06-23-2002 07:33 PM

Re: high on the mat - not!

Originally posted by Unregistered

Or perhaps you were using the "you" in "I would refuse to train with you" to refer to the stoner described in the first post?

Thanks for understanding. It was not a personal attack on "you", but a personal statement about myself. I do not train with people I do not trust. I cannot trust anyone in an altered state of consciousness to train with enough awareness to do it safely. I too live clean and sober.

Until again,


JJF 06-27-2002 02:46 AM

I know people who have been smoking a lot - also before practicing. I have never actually experience any of them harming anyone while under influence - however it IS illegal and I don't think it's up to each person to decide wether he or she can practice under the influence of drugs. Just don't do it!!! I very much second Colleen's mail.

Of course we all have flaws and strange habits (I myself CRAVE coffee in the morning ;)) and we should - to a certain extend - be lenient to each other while we are going through our individual development. However deliberately manipulating your senses before practicing seems to me to be too much of a risk taken on behalf of your class-mates.

As every one might have guessed by now I have no personal experience with getting high on any illegal substance. And the only thing that get me high on the mat is when the practice is going really well. Actually I would prefer that 'natural high' over any form of substance-produced high (yes - even over the buzz of a good single-malt whisky :D)

In my opinion Aikido practice is not 'an experience' but more like time and effort dedicated to progress. Therefore we should walk the path with firm steps and awareness and not try to fly down it while hovering on a cloud - no matter what color it might have.

Rigidly yours

Genex 07-04-2002 07:06 AM

i've got to agree only get high AFTER class ;)
before is silly you'll try and concentrate and do stuff which undermines the point of getting high your meant to relax or play games see, not do aikido
besides where the hell do you keep your stash in your gi? ppl been sowing pockets in them or sommat?

Jim ashby 07-04-2002 09:45 AM

Just enough
Just being on the mat is enough of a high for me. Our Thursday night class is a privilege, not a right and i smile every time I go on and leave.
Have fun.

jimvance 07-04-2002 12:57 PM

This is a messy topic. Messy for so many reasons, one being that cannabis is illegal in most of the Western world, and admitting to usage effectively convicts you of committing a crime (which in the Western world still carries the stigma of "sin", or a breaking of a divine commandment). I greatly respected Ellis Amdur's autobiographical accounts of training with Terry Dobson, if for nothing else, the naive honesty conveyed within the story. I am also reminded of stories, like in the book "Crooked Cucumber" by David Chadwick, of (limited) drug use within Zen Buddhist circles in the 1960s and 1970s. The people interested in the usage coupled with "a practice" (if it is not just plain habit or addiction) are normally looking for greater spiritual insight, much akin to shamanistic practices. There is a social contract within budo, and to bring an unknown variable into the practice of budo does a dis-service to those you practice with. Whether or not you want to use cannabis or LSD is for you to decide, but if you want to train with someone while you are under its effects is irresponsible. Perhaps just telling them will be enough, perhaps abstaining only before class is not enough (they may refuse to train with you based on the information you give them). My own personal feelings on the matter are that if you want to use any substance, you should do it responsibly. Training in budo is an education (amongst other things) and being intoxicated lessens my capability for proper education. I also don't want to rely on external stimuli to break through internal barriers. These are recreational substances, unnecessary to everyday interaction and survival, and to me, budo is not playtime.

Jim Vance

Genex 07-05-2002 06:13 AM

Actualy very coincidentaly whilst me and a friend were walking to class last night we walked past the Y.M.C.A and all we could smell was weed it was thick in the atmosphere, i swear you could almost see the smoke in the air the bong must have been two story's high because even when we went to the school where we practice we could still smell it thick in the air (school is over 100 yrds away from the Y.M.C.A) unfortunatly when we left it had dissapated, but there ya go

Leslie Parks 07-05-2002 03:58 PM

Getting High on the Mat
Do you really want to put your body, no matter how good your ukemi, in someone's hands who has deliberately and knowingly compromised their own consciousness, reaction time and control??
It is challenging enough to maintain awareness and safety on the mat without introducing marijuana, alcohol, or others.

No thank you.

Pretoriano 07-05-2002 05:24 PM

Oh men, I just can stop laughing a this funny post, I just want to see somebody entering the dojo to train in altered states, shit, that's what I CALL AN INMEDIATELY KICK ASS OUT of the dojo.

JPT 07-06-2002 04:39 PM


At a seminar a student came up to a group of us and asked if anyone wanted to go smoke a joint. One student agreed. They asked the sensei if he wanted to join them and he left with them. They all came back for the next class which the sensei taught
What if this Sensei purposely went outside with the students, so that he could tell them off in private and not embarrass them infront of the rest of the class ?
:triangle: :circle: :square:

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