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Patrick Musselman 02-04-2006 02:50 PM

Uncooperative participant
 
Sorry for the lengthy post... this is my first time. :)

I recently came across a scenario where an instructor, relocating from another town, basically forced his way into an existing Aikido dojo which is run by a close friend of mine.

As I understand it this is a general overview of what took place. This new individual joined the existing dojo with the assumption that he would simply integrate as an instructor. During his first couple of weeks at the dojo he taught on the mat, didn't stick with technique as demonstrated by the instructor, and showed a complete lack of respect towards the existing instructor. As the existing instructor of this dojo became familiar with the intentions of the new individual he very discretely pulled him aside and explained the ground rules of the dojo. The ground rules basically stating that in this dojo there is one instructor, if you want to continue training here you need to accept the rules and follow instruction like everyone else, or train somewhere else.

After having been pulled aside the new individual decided to continue with the same behavior as before, stating that where he comes from he is doing nothing wrong. The existing instructor pulled him aside once again, pointed out the new individuals continued behavior and unwillingness to change, and asked him to leave. Upon hearing this the new individual put up a fight and, long story short, ended up being escorted from the dojo by the police.

Now comes the real dilemma, since this is a dojo operating under the local parks and recreation department final say comes from the city. This new individual went to the recreation center managers and complained, basically forcing his way back into the class. It has been almost a month now and this new individual continues to show blatant disrespect and cause disruption to the whole dojo.

This new individual holds the rank of yondan and comes with obvious aikido experience from a different style of aikido where he taught as a chief instructor. How then does he think this is even remotely acceptable? The way I see it, if my friend's dojo where held in a "traditional dojo" setting there would be no question but to toss this guy out on his rear. However, given the operation of this dojo that seems to be easier said that done.

I find personal interest in this story because I too teach and operate a dojo under the local parks and recreation dept. Has anyone ever experienced a similar situation? I respect the thoughts and opinions of this forum and would like to hear what you have to say.

Respectfully,
Patrick

Edwin Neal 02-04-2006 03:22 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
it seems like there are two things going here... as the association with parks and rec you have to basically allow access to other members of the 'public'... the issue of the aikidoka should have been discussed before allowing them to join the class... perhaps a call or letter to this persons old dojo/sensei would be appropriate... you did not say what rank the instructor at your dojo held, but if it is less than the 'visitor' that is of course going to cause problems since it is not 'technically' a dojo but a program sponsored by parks and rec, and he may feel his rank give him seniority and thus the final word on issues of aikido... two samurai in town one must die... hope things work out for you...

justin 02-04-2006 03:50 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
what an awful situation to end up in i do feel for you Patrick, i would refuse to train whilst this guy is in situation once he has no students then maybe he would move on, but sadly i would guess he would just get his own beginners and the loyal students would be the ones to miss out.

hope it works out well for you an your friend.

Hagen Seibert 02-04-2006 04:25 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Nevertheless, itīs your friends dojo as he probably started things up. And itīs a lot of work to start from zero.
Even if this person has a higher rank he has to respect that. Especially, as heīs from another organization, so usually his rank in another organization is: 6th kyu.

So my advice: Fight this person out or there will never be peace. If he adresses the association, tell them you views, that he is unbearable. Get together and refuse to train with him.

Awful situation, my symphaties.

PaulieWalnuts 02-04-2006 04:29 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Personally if it was me id first ask this disrespectful tool what he thinks he is up to , then drag him out side and kick the dogpoo out of his ass. :)
he will destroy the dojo for his own.

Misogi-no-Gyo 02-04-2006 06:51 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
As I understand it this is a general overview of what took place. This new individual joined the existing dojo with the assumption that he would simply integrate as an instructor. During his first couple of weeks at the dojo he taught on the mat, didn't stick with technique as demonstrated by the instructor, and showed a complete lack of respect towards the existing instructor. As the existing instructor of this dojo became familiar with the intentions of the new individual he very discretely pulled him aside and explained the ground rules of the dojo. The ground rules basically stating that in this dojo there is one instructor, if you want to continue training here you need to accept the rules and follow instruction like everyone else, or train somewhere else.

If you have truly represented the straight facts as would be seen by any outsider observing the situation, then how your friend acted seems fair enough. This is a fairly typical scenario and be what one would expect to find at any traditional martial arts dojo whether found in a Park or a fancy Japanese-style dojo.

Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
After having been pulled aside the new individual decided to continue with the same behavior as before, stating that where he comes from he is doing nothing wrong. The existing instructor pulled him aside once again, pointed out the new individuals continued behavior and unwillingness to change, and asked him to leave. Upon hearing this the new individual put up a fight and, long story short, ended up being escorted from the dojo by the police.

Someone should have extended a little bit of ki directly into his throat, nothing that would cause any damage mind you, just enough to put him asleep...
Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
Now comes the real dilemma, since this is a dojo operating under the local parks and recreation department final say comes from the city. This new individual went to the recreation center managers and complained, basically forcing his way back into the class. It has been almost a month now and this new individual continues to show blatant disrespect and cause disruption to the whole dojo.

As others have stated, it is a wonder why anyone continues to train with him.
Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
This new individual holds the rank of yondan and comes with obvious aikido experience from a different style of aikido where he taught as a chief instructor. How then does he think this is even remotely acceptable?

Rank has different meaning in different places. The yondon about which you say he has (hell, he could be one of them 14th dan guys who go by the name of "shihan") received outside of the Aikikai, while it is to be recognized for what it is it is not aikikai rank and should not be seen as it -- certainly not by any teacher inside of the Aikikai.
Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
The way I see it, if my friend's dojo where held in a "traditional dojo" setting there would be no question but to toss this guy out on his rear. However, given the operation of this dojo that seems to be easier said that done.

The bottom line is that this should not be tolerated at any level. While it is considered legal to allow a convicted sex-offender to live in your neighborhood, it doesn't mean you have to like it, or tolerate it. Most importantly, you do not have to sit on your hands and bite your tongue. There are groups dedicated to making sure that the sex-offender's face and address are known throughout the community. They post flyers on telephone polls near schools and in other public places where kids and parents are known to gather. I would begin by having your friend do the following:
  • Out him - Get a picture of him, post it on every martial arts website along with his name and a true story of exactly what this guy pulls on any given night. Be specific, and if you are worried about liability, get him on video tape and post that, too
  • Find out from where he came -- Of course, this information should be part of your standard registration form. Get his former dojo's name, the name of both his direct instructor and Chief Instructor and post that information on the internet as well.
  • Contact his former school and inform them of his current activities. If I found out that one of my former student's was pulling that kind of crap, I wouldn't hesitate to contact him and put things in their proper perspective. However, I would certainly want to know about it before allowing him back into my school to train.
Quote:

Patrick Musselman wrote:
I find personal interest in this story because I too teach and operate a dojo under the local parks and recreation dept. Has anyone ever experienced a similar situation? I respect the thoughts and opinions of this forum and would like to hear what you have to say.

Just because one operates in a public venue does not mean that you have to accept every person that comes along and chooses to act inappropriately in a martial arts setting. There simply isn't enough Insurance in the world to go around allowing people to do techniques as they see fit on juniors, or worse, beginners who very well might get injured because they are not familiar with how to take ukemi from this person. Certainly if even one other student were injured, even so much as a black and blue mark, it could be seen as grounds for the removal of this person as a proactive way of preventing further injury. Dojos that allow disparate technical approaches can be seen as either a good or a bad thing. However, should I come in wearing a black belt in another style it doesn't mean I know anything about how the dojo I am entering does techniques. When I walk on someone else's mat, I do so as a white belt, even if I am wearing my black belt. While this often frustrates the dan-level practitioners that I choose as my partner at these times, because they often want to rock-n-roll on the mat, not show someone techniques from the ground up, I am merely trying to see how they do things different from how I do them. How else would I expect to learn anything? Perhaps you could seek to have your friend invite his teacher to the dojo for a seminar. Once he comes around, you can brief him with regards to this situation, and he should be able to find a way to work things out.

It is important to realize that while it is always best to try to find a work-around, or better yet, find a way to have the person realize the error of their ways and become a better person having learned as much, it is not always possible to wait that long when most everyone's instruction at the dojo is suffering. The bottom line, if you don't do something to end this now, (keep it legal, of course) like the sex-offender, this person will go somewhere else and do it again.

As a community, none of us should stand by and allow that to happen to anyone's dojo. While it isn't anyone's but Mr. Musselman's problem today (along with those at his friends dojo) if nothing is done immediately it very well might be one of the rest of us reading this here's problem tomorrow.



.

nekobaka 02-04-2006 07:58 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
I think you have a good reason to speak with the park and rec and explain that this kind of behavior is not acceptable for your dojo. if it was another sport and someone new came to play say basketball and insisted on changing the rules, that wouldn't be acceptable.

a side note, at my dojo, sensei's son usually teaches when his father isn't there, even thought there are a lot of people who out rank him. everyone seems happy enough.

djyoung 02-05-2006 02:26 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Ani: From what I have seen, there is much more respect (and honour) still in Japan than nearly any other country in the world and it would just not be right to disrespect the sensei or his son. America on the other hand is probably the least respectful country in the world where nobody seems to care about respect, honour or manners.

Patrick: Im guessing that your friend had a chat to the sport and rec people already? What did they have to say? What were their reasons for letting the guy come back? Did they know the full story? I'd say the best idea would be to get the authorities on side first, even if that means going in with evidence as Shaun suggested.

It seems to me any martial arts person of medium to high rank that doesnt have any respect for the dojo, the instructors etc has missed a big part of their training and NEEDS to start at the beginning again!!

Good luck with this problem!

がんばってよ!

justin 02-05-2006 02:59 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
[quote=David Young]Ani: From what I have seen, there is much more respect (and honour) still in Japan than nearly any other country in the world and it would just not be right to disrespect the sensei or his son. America on the other hand is probably the least respectful country in the world where nobody seems to care about respect, honour or manners.




that is a bit of a sweeping statement i know many Americans that have plenty of respect

Mato-san 02-05-2006 05:47 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
I agree that you should find out about the guy (former dojo, affiliation) Go to the top, sign a pertition and it is quiet possible that this clown will be stripped of his beloved yondan, he may have to start from scratch if it is bad enough. Get testimonies, footage, pics, police statements and go big. To the top. Sounds like this clown needs to be sent back to the circus were he belongs. If all else fails, kick the f*** out him and show him you mean "stand down".

Matt Molloy 02-05-2006 06:05 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Quote:

Stefen Miller wrote:
Personally if it was me id first ask this disrespectful tool what he thinks he is up to , then drag him out side and kick the dogpoo out of his ass. :)
he will destroy the dojo for his own.

Now now Stef, don't hang back. Tell us what you really think. ;)

Possibly have the dojo leader point out that, whilst he is welcome to attend the dojo, if he isn't taking instruction from the boss then nobody has to partner up with him.

As he wanders round the dojo saying "Onegaishimasu" to all and sundry the only thing that he gets back is a polite, "No thank you" from every grade from the highest Dan grade to the lowest Kyu grade.

Shouldn't take too long before he gives up. If he lays a finger on anyone to try to make them train with him then it's time to escort him from the dojo. In the nicest possible way of course. :D

Also I'd agree with Justin that we shouldn't slander the entire American nation. There are plenty of nice Americans and plenty of not so nice people in other countries. Nobody has a monopoly.

Cheers,

Matt.

George S. Ledyard 02-05-2006 08:31 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
Find out who his teacher is and call / write him or her... There's no way I'd allow a student of mine to behave in that fashion.

Also, talk to the Parks and Rec folks. Virtually every activity which takes place on Parks Dept property had some provision for dealing with an unruly or disruptive participant or spectator. Happens all the time.

Finally, if all elese fails, assuming the class goes along, you can "shun" him. No one talks with him, no one trains with him... it's as if he doesn't exist.

Larry Feldman 02-05-2006 09:15 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
When confronted with a similar 'guest' I threw him out of class.

When asking a 'theoretical question of one of my seniors, "what if a higher ranking instructor from our organization moves to my city?" His answer was that I 'founded' the dojo, it's my place. In truth I probably would have welcomed the help, but the stance was interesting.

Some good ideas mentioned above.

If you can't solve the problem with his organization, then your problem appears with the Parks and Rec department. I would alert them to the safety concerns. I would also consider bringing the entire class to a responsible person at the department and explain that all of you will cease to practice there if he doesn't leave. You should use your credability as another Parks and Rec instructor. Do they want to start from nothing all over again to build a class?
Lastley if you feel he is that disruptive, you might consider a restraining order from the police, where he is not permitted to be near the dojo.

Patrick Musselman 02-05-2006 11:25 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
I truly appreciate everyone's comments. As a final note I will say this, that my friend is a far better person than I. Just as some of you have stated, I'm sure it would be very satisfying to identify this individual publicly, however it is not my friends intent to damage this man's reputation or cause him any harm.

This whole experience, if nothing else, has been a great exercise in Aiki. One of my friends biggest concerns is the statement his actions in this situation will make to his students.

Based upon the general consensus of everyone on this post it sounds like my friend is on the right track, and I'm sure this will all work out in the end.

Thank you,
Patrick

crbateman 02-05-2006 09:12 PM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
As the park and rec people seem to hold the cards because it is their venue, if you feel that they have been given the full story and are partial to the fellow with the disruptive attitude, I would recommend that your original instructor look for another venue, and take his sympathetic students with him. Then, Mr. Pushy can hang out in his publicly funded dojo by himself. Your instructor cannot assert himself in the present situation. Only when he has absolute say will he be able to control things like this. And Ledyard Sensei is right on when he says to contact the new guy's teacher. Do not assume, however, that he will automatically be sympathetic. It is possible, although unlikely, that the attitude you have encountered was a learned one. Not everyone does what is right.

Mark Uttech 02-10-2006 10:42 AM

Re: Uncooperative participant
 
This is really an interesting problem; thanks for posting it. How it all plays out will add to the aikido lessons for us all. In gassho


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