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Old 07-25-2001, 12:44 PM   #12
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
Question Perfectionism

Originally posted by MikeE
Oh yes she is a perfectionist. (I think that may be part of the problem--she wants everything structured but Aikido waza tends to vary everytime you do a technique with adifferent uke.) And she is very hard on herself.
Very good assumption!!

We too use the hour tracking system (remember that Sosa Sensei was a senior instructor for Seidokan for a long time)

Do you have any ideas how to make her less of a perfectionist? Or would I even want to?
1. Once you mentioned Sosa Sensei, I recalled who you are. Hello!

2. Yes you do want her to be "less of a perfectionist", here's why.

First off, there is a distinction between being a perfectionist and refining one's art. The perfectionist oftentimes will go only so far then give up, unless their perfectionism is a reflection of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, in which case they need more than Aikido. The problem with extreme perfectionism is that it leads to a type of paralysis ("If I can't get it perfectly, then I won't do it.) Refining one's technique acknowledges the need for growth, but also acknowledges that one may be capable of using a technique, just not as well as one will become.

Secondly, this type of extreme test anxiety, especially in an art such as Aikido where we have techniques and not prescribed kata, is perfomance anxiety. One way around it is to have her along with the rest of the class go through a modified jiyu waza. My bet is that she does fine as long as others are also doing the same thing on the mat at the same time. In other words don't tell her it is a test until afterwards. This way she gets to go through the whole "exam" without feeling that she must perform.

Ultimately it rests with her. As noted above, if she does have OCD, then that is beyond the scope of your purview. If she does not have OCD, then be sneaky in how you "test" her.

Good Luck. Drop me an e-mail with your address etc. Joe Crotty will be coming here at the end of October for a Jo-Ken workshop.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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