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unresolved 03-25-2005 06:18 AM

Anger on the mat
 
I've been training for a while, and this issue doesn't come up often, thank goodness, but it's been bothering me for a while.

How do you deal with training partners who have really bad tempers?

I know we all get frustrated sometimes, but there have been a couple of times in my training when I've seen someone explode with rage at another person, and I think it's totally inappropriate to a training situation. Once, I saw two senior students get into a fight on the mat. The person teaching (who may have actually been junior to one of them) asked them to leave the mat, and they were spoken to afterward about the incident, apologized, etc. It gave me such a bad feeling that I didn't go back to the dojo for a week, which was unusual for me at the time, but it was all settled appropriately.

The latest incident, I was more directly involved in. A student (the same rank as me) was teaching the class. He and I have never gotten along very well, and in retrospect I probably shouldn't have been going to his class, but I did. Anyway, after avoiding me for most of the class, he called me up to take ukemi. I had no idea what technique he was trying to do. I thought he was just getting started, he thought that I should have fallen already. He changed the technique, and there was a lot of anger in it, but in a normal way for him. I think that if that had been the end of it, I wouldn't have noticed.

I went on, bowed to someone else, then he came back around, angry at me for not falling for the first technique he'd done (which... well, if I'd been able to tell what the heck he was doing...), but the point is that he was quivering with rage, and I went straight into primitive flight response, left the mat, and went home. I think I may have spoken to our (very hands-off, conflict-averse) sensei at that point.

I almost did not come back to the dojo at all, and I still don't feel safe practicing with this guy. I mean, I honestly feel that I am in serious danger with him, not only from the usual careless accidents that might happen, but he's likely to explode emotionally, at me, and it's just not safe. Even when he's not especially angry, he's left quite a lot of serious injuries in his wake.

Now, part of this is an interpersonal problem, but I think that it also affects the dojo as a whole, and makes it a less safe place to practice. Others in our dojo say that this guy is just doing very energetic, enthusiastic aikido, and some people say it's just a stage he's going through (new black belt) but when we've gone to seminars people I know from other dojos have commented on the scariness of this guy's techniques/energy/practice.

So. There's not a whole lot I can do about it, but it's still bothering me. I don't want our dojo to devolve into some airy place where we lose the martial part of the art, but I also don't want people to leave because of this guy (there are others like him, I know). The sensei will not do anything about it, not only because he likes this guy, but because he just doesn't like to address this kind of problem. It's been framed as my problem, but if I look at the serious injuries we've had in the dojo in the past few years, there's a pattern with this guy at the center of it... and I don't think that's ok.

If an issue like this comes up again, how can I address if without coming off as the whiny girl? I really don't think that it's just a woman problem, but I get the impression that he's likely to get angrier at me because I'm female, or maybe it's just that the male members of the dojo read his anger differently. I would like for there to be more women in the dojo (there are a handful of others, at the moment I'm the only one who practices regularly), and this is the kind of thing that would send most women straight for the door, never to return, even though it's not sleazy in a sexual way.

Ugh. It's been months, and this is still bothering me. Any thoughts?

--Staying alive

Kevin Kelly 03-27-2005 12:52 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Well, if this guy has been causing a lot of injuries, and the sensei doesn't seem to really care that he does, I probably would have left. Most people in my dojo have a big smile on their face while practicing Aikido. I've never seen anyone get angry like that. And if you don't do the ukemi right for the sensei, they usually tell you what they are going to do, so you can adjust. Also, they usually don't call someone up who they know can't do the ukemi properly for the given tecnique. Have you ever tried having a talk with this guy? Or is he totally insane? If there is another Aikido dojo in the area, I would check it out. Just my thought.

Kevin

malsmith 03-27-2005 01:14 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
i have a guy like that in my dojo too.... hes my age and i think he does get frustrated and mad at me more than anyone else... and it makes me sad... i mean the whole principle of aikido is to spread peace and love and harmony and so on, and then you get people like that :sorry:

maybe we should just try to be extra cooperative and friendly towards people like that ??

mj 03-27-2005 01:24 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
I went to a dojo like that for over 2 years.

I left.

Janet Rosen 03-27-2005 01:57 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Aikido pushes buttons, and clearly it is pushing his. But you are not his punching bag and I would not stay in a dojo that tolerated one student abusing another.
Yes, it is abuse. "Martial edge" is NOT about reacting with rage and injuring others.
(And anyhow, why should demo ukes be tanking for him anyhow ?! How martial is THAT?)

gregstec 03-27-2005 08:15 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Anger breeds anger and there is absolutely no room for it on the Aikido mat.

I have been in situations where a partner has responded with anger during training for various reasons. Mostly it is due to a personal frustration associated with the technique not going right. The reasons for this can range from Nage just not doing it right to Uke being too resistive - usually it is a little of both. When this occurs, training must stop immediately and some communication needs to take place to dispel any misconceptions on the other's intent, etc. It is good to learn from 'feeling' in Aikido, but not when one or the other is angry - some good verbal communication needs to take place to clear things up.

Unfortunately, emotions do take control at times on the mat regardless of rank or experience. The important thing is to realize this and make the proper adjustments when it occurs - eventually you will reach the point where you will control 'it' and not have 'it' controlling you. This true in all of life's conflicts and challenges and not just Aikido - it normally comes with maturity.

Greg Steckel

ruthmc 03-28-2005 04:06 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Hi Anonymous,

First off - THANK YOU for posting this! I can totally relate to your situation, and for a long time I thought I was the only person who had a problem dealing with other students getting angry in the dojo. It's a relief to know I'm not alone!

Quote:

How do you deal with training partners who have really bad tempers?
I deal with it really, really badly. I can't cope with it and I avoid training with those people if at all possible. I don't understand why somebody should have so little self-control (in an art which is supposed to teach self-control) that they lose their temper or sulk or hurt their training partners. I believe that training in Aikido is a privilege and I train accordingly - joyfully, mindfully and patiently accepting the lessons. Sure it's frustrating when you can't get something right, but there's always another day. Does it really matter so much to the big picture if you can't get your ikkyo ura right at this precise moment? Stop, think, and try again :)

Quote:

I know we all get frustrated sometimes, but there have been a couple of times in my training when I've seen someone explode with rage at another person, and I think it's totally inappropriate to a training situation.
Agreed. It's not even acceptable at kindergarten ;)

Quote:

Once, I saw two senior students get into a fight on the mat.
That's terrible. It's actually a worse reflection on the head instructor than on the students, if they did not know that this is beyond unacceptable.

Quote:

I think I may have spoken to our (very hands-off, conflict-averse) sensei at that point.
Your sensei has to be a good leader in order to run a good dojo. This means that sometimes you have to get your hands in and deal with situations. I left a dojo after 4 years because the chief instructor would not under any circumstances deal with any problems between students, and as a result the problems were stacking up. Although I tried very hard, I was unable to resolve any of the problems I had with two of the students there, so I had to leave.

Quote:

I almost did not come back to the dojo at all, and I still don't feel safe practicing with this guy. I mean, I honestly feel that I am in serious danger with him, not only from the usual careless accidents that might happen, but he's likely to explode emotionally, at me, and it's just not safe. Even when he's not especially angry, he's left quite a lot of serious injuries in his wake.
You are right to be wary. He may injure you (or someone else) badly someday.

It's vital that you talk to your sensei about this. (Even if you think nothing will be done). The dojo could be facing a lawsuit if dangerous guy goes too far one day, not to mention the personal anguish of the bruised and battered ukes he leaves in his wake.. You do not have to leave, but do make it clear to your sensei that under no circumstances will you train with dangerous guy ever again - it's your body and your responsibility to avoid knowingly putting it into dangerous situations. After this, it is your sensei's problem to deal with - it always was and will be, so it's down to them to step up and deal with it.

Quote:

It's been framed as my problem, but if I look at the serious injuries we've had in the dojo in the past few years, there's a pattern with this guy at the center of it... and I don't think that's ok.
No, it's not your problem. You are being made a scapegoat. Tell your sensei that you are not willing to be a scapegoat just because you have the courage to speak up about this problem.

Quote:

If an issue like this comes up again, how can I address if without coming off as the whiny girl?
A bit of straight talking to your sensei without getting emotional will do it. Just lay out the facts, and what is and is not acceptable to you. Give your sensei time to think about it - tell them you don't expect an answer right away. Keep it short, be firm but polite.

Quote:

or maybe it's just that the male members of the dojo read his anger differently.
I'd say you're on to something there! Women are generally not trained to deal with anger (their own or other people's) as it is considered to be an un-feminine emotion. Men are, as they have been dealing with it all their lives since the playground tussles they had as boys. As a result, most women are intimidated by it, confused by it, and deeply upset and traumatised by it. Women will therefore react to it quite differently to men - the men may not even perceive it as a problem at all!

Please do talk to your sensei, even if you think it won't help. These things are always better off in the open, and you may be surprised to find that changes are made just because you speak up.

All the best, have courage, and please let us know how you get on!

Ruth

Kevin Leavitt 03-28-2005 12:44 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
You can only affect how you respond to anger directed at you. The angry person is responsible for their own feelings and actions.

Sensei should be aware of the class dynamic, or a particular students attitude and "manage" it as necessary for the good of the individual, others in the class, and the overall health and welfare of the dojo.

You should not train when angry, nor train with people you are uncomfortable with. It is not always easy to say "no" but sometime necessary I suppose.

One thing for sure, anger met with anger will only produce more anger.

jsm 03-28-2005 01:12 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
This one seems so much like a no-brainer it's almost absurd. I guess I'm rather lucky as the dojo I belong to has a very good training environment. There's no rule to say you have to like everyone you train with but I've never seen anyone get angry or lose control emotionally on the mat. I think it's just understood that it's just not acceptable from anyone. Especially senior students.

While I've only been training in Aikido for about a year, it seems to me there are a couple of warning signs in what you posted about the type of aikido your dojo is teaching.

1) Promoting someone to black belt who cannot control their anger or emotion on the mat seems to me to be a problem. "Victory over one's self" is one of the tenants of Aikido. I could be wrong but I honestly don't think that would happen in our dojo. As a matter of fact I would probably guess that they wouldn't make it past 4th Kyu with an anger problem like you describe. Especially if it has lead to injuries of other students
2) Allowing someone with a known temper problem and history of injuring other students to not only achieve black belt rank but to actually instruct classes is another problem and shows poor judgment on the Sensei's part I'd say. It's inviting disaster.
3) Martial edge does NOT mean Rage or injured Uke's. When training I know which students I can really be aggressive with and which ones require less aggressive practice. I also know which students like to throw aggressively and if I'm working with them and not feeling up to it because of an injury or some other reason I'll let them know before we begin training together that night. There's never a problem. The smart student will use the opportunity to work on some other detail of their technique. The whole premise of Aikido is to protect the attacker isn't it? If you can't control your waza enough to prevent injury to your uke then you need to back off, slow it down and gain more control. Accidents happen but they should be honest accidents. Never the result of a loss of emotional control.
4) Ultimately the Sensei of the school is responsible for everyone there, not just his/her favorite students. Aren't they all his/her kohai? If there is a problem, especially one involving students getting injured, they need to address it.

It just sounds like there's a really bad culture in your dojo and if what you say about things overheard at seminars is true, you may find that your dojo doesn't have a good reputation with others.

You're goal it so study the art of Aikido and it's many techniques and philosophical concepts. Certainly there are many different flavors of aikido out there and it's important to find a "style" that fits your needs. Remember having a martial edge has nothing to do with anger. Actually I'd say it's quite the opposite. If you can't control your own emotions how will you control your opponent? Anger is no different than fear, they both serve to cloud the mind and thus both must be acknowledged as a byproduct of a confrontation and controlled.

Don't quit Aikido, find a better Dojo and feel good about it. There's no shame in it at all.

Unresolved 03-29-2005 04:59 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Thank you everyone for your very supportive replies. I'm glad I'm not crazy to be bothered by this!

Unfortunately, this is the only aikido dojo in my area. I tried another martial art briefly, but I just didn't take to it the way I did to aikido. Commuting to another dojo from here is a practical impossibility - at most, I could afford to go once a week (several hours each direction, usually an overnight, and the money cost of getting there). Right after the incedent, I considered moving so that I could train at a different dojo, but I am quite attached to my home town, and like being near my extended family. Practically, if I could find a job, place to live, etc., I could move, but I have decided that, for now, being here is important to me.

The other option would be to start another dojo in this area. Again, I'm not ready, but I think that in another 5 years or so I might be.

So, I will continue training, avoiding the angry one, and doing what I can to encourage respectful training here.

Thanks again!

anonymousreply 03-29-2005 08:00 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
If your teacher promoted a person that has traits which would not normally allow a person to be promoted in budo practice then...do you want to be promoted by that teacher? I refrained from using the term Sensei, but I realized it is as much an error to use the term teacher. If you look inside yourself and feel you should stay there...perhaps you should talk to someone whose opinion you respect. Preferably someone without a bias.

Janet Rosen 03-29-2005 09:34 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Quote:

If your teacher promoted a person that has traits which would not normally allow a person to be promoted in budo practice then...do you want to be promoted by that teacher?.
Something like that was one of several factors in me leaving a dojo I used to train at.

ian 03-30-2005 04:23 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
The training method at the dojo sounds inappropriate; being very confrontational, competitive and not condusive to 'response conditioning' . Find a dojo where people won't get injured, yet where the attackers are sincere in both the strength of attack, and their willingness to help you develop.

Getting injured and abused will not help you progress.

Unresolved 03-30-2005 09:10 AM

approaching resolution
 
Hello everyone, and especially Anonymous in post #11

To be honest, I have been surprised by the strength of everyone's responses here.

Anon: What you said made me realize that I do not see the leader of this dojo as my Sensei, and haven't for a long time. In retrospect, there was a real break around the time of my sho dan test, in which it became abundantly clear that he did not care about my progress as a student. There are, however, other teachers who do care about my progress, and because of my debt to them, and to aikido in general, quitting the art is not really right. Last fall, one of these other teachers said that I had put too much time and effort into aikido to quit now, and that I couldn't let this one person (never mind that it's the whole dojo culture!) take away my practice.

So, what I can do, living and practicing here, is to give up on the dojo, in a way, and just focus on my own practice - forget about teaching, forget about trying to bring people into the dojo, forget about trying to motivate everyone to go to seminars (well, except from a self-interested point of view in terms of carpooling), and, in short, be a lot more selfish about my practice and stop feeling bad about my refusal to practice with the (sometimes) angry guy, who the sensei clearly prefers over me.

I would like to see another dojo in this area. I think there are enough potential aikidoka around here to support two dojos . In the meantime, I may have to make a temporary move somewhere else so that I can practice regularly with a teacher I respect more.

Thanks.

Hagen Seibert 03-30-2005 09:35 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Dear Anonymus

Unlike most others, who seem to read a general bad state of dojo conditions from your lines I would not go so far to talk about tolerated abuse. Ok, this guyīs not in complete control, thatīs bad. Ok, sensei is not able to adress and manage it, thatīs not very good either.

But from your lines I also read a great sensitiveness on your side. I guess you donīt like to deal with anger, especially if itīs directed at you. Aikido is also about dealing with aggression, not only doing nice movements in harmony, itīs more. So maybe the is a chance in this for you for your own development.

My advice:
Talk to your Sensei. He should know whatīs going on with his students, even if he wonīt change the situation as you would like.

If someone is getting into anger, adress this anger. Especially this guy seems not to be competely beyond rason.

Refuse to train with people, who you fear to hurt you and tell them why.

Only if you have to fear getting hurt sooner or later, leave the dojo. Safety first.

best wishes !

Hagen Seibert 03-30-2005 09:42 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
I was still writing when # 14 was posted,
and Iīm sorry your conclusion is so negative.

anon2 03-30-2005 10:10 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
A few thoughts:
Training with someone who has such a bad temper that they could injure you is a bad idea.
Training in a dojo where this is overlooked/accepted is dangerous, and a bad idea.
I wouldn't want to train under a sensei who runs things this way.
However...
I think it's super-important to think about anger on the mat in a more naunced way than just saying it's inappropriate. Obviously, yelling at someone, or losing control of yourself so that you end up throwing someone too hard etc., these are bad things. At the same time, I wouldn't say that being angry is inappropriate. One thing I find really valuable in my training is getting the opportunity to work with anger, frustration, confusion, etc. (as well as joy, satisfaction, and all those warm fuzzy feelings). I see training as a way to work with anger. By this I mean feeling it without acting it out, but also without repressing or ignoring it.
An example: I'm training with someone who seems to resist a little too much. They're relatively new to Aikido, and probably they're just trying to give honest ukemi/be realistic. I try and try and just can't make the technique work. I end up starting to get frustrated and angry. Happens, right? At this point, I have lots of options. I could get the sensei's attention, and ask for help. I could just keep trying. I could talk to uke about what's happening. But I'm still angry, and that's not a horrible thing. Letting it get to the point that I'm "quivering with rage", I think that was the quote, that's a bad thing, I think, but just being angry, not the worst thing in the world. Maybe an opportunity to develop patience, and some compassion for others who get angry (ie everyone). It is up to your discretion as far as when to get help from sensei, when to keep trying, when to avoid a dangerous uke, when to change dojos. I'm just saying that I would never expect to always be blissfully happy on the mat, and I wouldn't expect it from my uke either.
This post is getting super-long winded. I'll try to wrap up. Anyway, I'm not saying that you should just stew, but that getting a little angry on the mat, as long as it's not acted out, can be a great opportunity. I realize these comments might not apply to the original post exactly, as that situation seemed physically dangerous, and this is a matter of common sense. The issue of physical harm aside, I thought some posts suggested that you should avoid training with people who have "issues" or make you a little uncomfortable, and this bothers me. I think that as long you feel that you're not endangering yourself physically, you should try to train with everybody in your dojo, not just the people who make you comfortable.

Unresolved 03-30-2005 04:49 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
To adress the two (and a half) posts above, I guess I should clarify. I do think it's ok to get angry, to a certain extent. If we don't occasionally experience frustration in the course of practice, we're probably not challenging ourselves enough. However, it's important to deal with that feeling responsibly, not by lashing out at our training partners.

The real issue with this situation was that I felt a real, physical danger from this guy, combined with the sensei's lack of concern about that kind of danger. It's true that I don't like to deal with anger, especially when it's directed at me, but a certain amount is not a problem. If the anger is held in check by some kind of respect and willingness to listen, it's ok. When it's got more of a seek-and-destroy edge to it, my instinct is to just get away as fast as possible (unless I'm in a really self-destructive mood).

As for throwing too hard, sometimes it happens. That, I can deal with although I usually grumble a bit if I've been injured... and keep training unless it's too serious/painful.

Whew. I also just had a conversation with one of my sempai about my change in attitude towards our sensei, and he basically said that, with our sensei, it's better not to expect too much, that way you can appreciate what he does do and not get upset at what he doesn't do (in terms of guidance, knowing what's going on with his students, etc.). I think it will all work out OK.

Calming... deep breathing... all that stuff. Centering.

David Yap 03-30-2005 09:14 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote:
Something like that was one of several factors in me leaving a dojo I used to train at.

Me 2. It was one of the factors in me not taking my shodan years ago. But then again, instructors are humans unaware of the negative implications of their actions.

There are some key questions we need to ask ourselves:

Why are we in the dojo?
What do we seek?
What do we learn?, etc.

The most important question to me is "What do we learn?". It is not about techniques but it is learning about ourselves. It is about knowing the strength and weakness of others in our environment in relation to ours. The ultimate aim of martial arts is training of the heart (our hearts). It is about maturing gracefully. And what better place to learn all these but at a dojo where on any other day people would attack others with all kind of negative emotions (anger, sulkiness, jealousy, insecurity, etc). Most instructors can teach you how to respond to physical attacks. How you deal with emotional attacks depends your wisdom and maturity.

Happy heart training.

David Y

David Yap 03-31-2005 11:38 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Quote:

David Yap wrote:
There are some key questions we need to ask ourselves:

Why are we in the dojo?
What do we seek?
What do we learn?, etc.

The most important question to me is "What do we learn?". It is not about techniques but it is learning about ourselves. It is about knowing the strength and weakness of others in our environment in relation to ours. The ultimate aim of martial arts is training of the heart (our hearts). It is about maturing gracefully. And what better place to learn all these but at a dojo where on any other day people would attack others with all kind of negative emotions (anger, sulkiness, jealousy, insecurity, etc). Most instructors can teach you how to respond to physical attacks. How you deal with emotional attacks depends your wisdom and maturity.

Part 2 - Dealing with emotional people in dojo

Sometime we become selective with the training partners, we want to avoid certain people with this noble thought in mind, "I wish to avoid (a physical conflict) with that person". The truth is emotional conflicts most time result in physical conflicts. Growth and maturity involves control, management and resolution of emotional conflicts. Change is inevitable, we cannot stop the earth's rotation or its orbits round the sun, but growth is optional, changing our attitude is optional As adults we could understand why a child would throw tantrums and sulk for hours and hours but when we ourselves can sulk over long period of time over trivial events or persons is a serious emotional problem worth looking into. If we don't confront our own negative emotions, we will never grow up and that childishness still remains a big part of our character. We remain myopic and can never see the big picture and despite the materialistic things we have, we are still emotionally insecure and find offense in trivial matters and remarks from anyone.

There was a time when I walked up to a person, bowed and about to say "onegaishimasu"; the person gave me a sulky glance, turned and walked away. Should I feel angry at the embarrassment? No. The embarrassment was not on me and it reflected the attitude and lack of etiquette of that person. At times I got angry at a uke who I felt had jammed me from doing a technique. On reflection, I should not be angry and I should have thanked him/her for that (giving me a realistic situation). The truth is he didn't jam my technique but rather my own emotion did. By triggering an emotional reaction from me (by moving my mind so to speak), he has found the connection to my center and thus both of us have reversed our roles -- I have become the attacker and he has become the defender. The best part about this is that it happened in a dojo environment and no physical harm came to me except for some emotional damage to the ego. He has had provided a scenario that can happen in a real fight or self-defense encounter. There is a lesson or two to be learned here -- address the emotional problem and the technical problem will go away.

Some quotes from ancient Chinese strategies: "To kill with a borrowed knife". Meaning to take advantage of an emotional person to do the killing or remove a problem for you. One could be blinded with hatred and be used a brawn by a cunning person. I rather much prefer this strategy, "Disguised as a pig to trap a tiger" which means pretends to be fool while learning the strength and weakness of an adversary.

Ron Tisdale 04-01-2005 07:20 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Thank you for that really nice post David.

Ron

David Yap 04-04-2005 02:18 AM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Thank you for that really nice post David.

Ron

Ron,

You are most welcomed.

David Y

ElizabethCastor 04-04-2005 07:02 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
Quote form post # 14
"So, what I can do, living and practicing here, is to give up on the dojo, in a way, and just focus on my own practice COOL! - forget about teaching, forget about trying to bring people into the dojo, forget about trying to motivate everyone to go to seminars (well, except from a self-interested point of view in terms of carpooling), and, in short, be a lot more selfish about my practice OUCH :sorry: and stop feeling bad about my refusal to practice with the (sometimes) angry guy, who the sensei clearly prefers over me." AWESOME!

When I read this part of your posting I had a quick cringe :blush: Mostly, because down this road I see the potential, a maybe-road, towards the unhealthy practices that seem to be affecting your dojo. I see the possibility that this is the culture of which you speak and seem to want to avoid. Again this is a MAYBE. I am much more hopeful as I read your other replies especially your philosophy in post 17...

Quote from post #17
"One thing I find really valuable in my training is getting the opportunity to work with anger, frustration, confusion, etc. (as well as joy, satisfaction, and all those warm fuzzy feelings). I see training as a way to work with anger. By this I mean feeling it without acting it out, but also without repressing or ignoring it."

I, too, am unsure of and sometimes afraid of the aggression I see and have felt on the mat. "Women are generally not trained to deal with anger (their own or other people's) as it is considered to be an un-feminine emotion" as Ruth so eloquently pointed out.

In fact her reply, recalled to me the class where I learned to thow a tsuki. I can remember feeling numb, dumb and choked up as I wrestled with the idea of such an overtly aggressive move. Luckily, I was in a mostly female class (4+: 2-> with sensei) and I was able to figure it out. Eventually, I learned what you have posted here, to use practice to learn how to deal with anger /aggression /hostility.

All in all, I think you are on the right path and I'm glad to hear that you have some sensitive dojo-mates and teachers to help you maintain balance. And I love that you are open to starting out on your own.

Good luck with burly-man and I hope you practice well!

anon3 04-05-2005 12:00 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
If I feel frustration on the mat, it's usually because of what I bring to practice, not what happens at the dojo. If I've had a bad day, got the wrong leg out of bed, am just out of sync, I can have a really hard time connecting with uke and thus being effective with my techniques = frustration. I usually get over it during practice, but it can take a long time, and some days I just don't go or I go to watch because I know I'd be too focused on stuff that's not aikido. I'm never angry, but rather frustrated with myself when I can't execute techniques for whatever reason. Aikido always makes me happier.
I was at another dojo and had to leave - I simply could not respect my sensei, mainly for his temper tantrums (and one of his favorite remarks was: "Don't come to class if you can't leave a bad day behind!" - my dad was the only who ever got away with "do as I say, not as I do" and my still loving him). Once the respect goes, you have to leave - you can take no instruction from such a person.
Anonymous, it ain't worth it! You can take a break from aikido and come back. You've spent weeks allowing this to bug you, and that's not right. Obviously, you're in the wrong place. Tell the sensei so and get out. The coming summer days and nights are worthy of much better things. That whole idea of humiliation being part of the training is a lot of horses***. There must be respect first and always.

cconstantine 04-05-2005 01:31 PM

Re: Anger on the mat
 
As others have pointed out, the problem is entirely with him. (which you clearly recognize.) I would not continue training at a dojo where such behaviour was tolerated by the sensei/dojo-cho. Stuff happens, there are always "problem children" in a dojo -- it's the overall attitude, and how it is handled the matters.

At my dojo, when I'm teaching class, especially a class of very new people, when I make a mistake (eg, uke doesn't fall, or the technique is muddled) I think it is a great opportunity to make the point that Aikido is not "canned". I'm not doing a stock thing against a stock attack. If you're training at a dojo where [it appears] noone is making mistakes, or where the instructors cover their mistakes... you're instructors are poor teachers. Growing means making mistakes, and being surprised sometimes with what you *are* able to do.

-c


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